Sermon: Barry McWilliams Christ Church 95/01/08
Proverbs 13: 4; 9; 12; 14; 16; 17; 18; 19 High Hopes

These are sermon notes ... Many references are for study purposes

What are your hopes for the new year? For your children, relationships, businesses, homes, church ??
We must not neglect our hope in the Lord
Hope takes effort as a spiritual grace - a neglected part of our spiritual life
"and now these three abide, faith, hope, and love".... Faith and love take hope and effort on our part even though they are from the Spirit... why should not hope? [3-fold combo: 1 Thess 1:3; Gal 5:5-8; 1 Cor 13:13; Hebr 6:10-12 ; 1 Peter 1:21-22] They all work together

Our Hope in the Lord sustains our eternal life

I. What is hope?: True and false

A. False hopes: the aspirations of fools:

The majority of secular thinkers in ancient world regarded hope not as a virtue or a grace, but as temporary illusion, - cf Eph 2:12; 1 Thess 4:13 Still they want the assurance of hope without any foundation.

Proverbs: false hopes of fools which come to bitter ends [References are to Prov 13]

Hard Vs. 15 [19b Unwilling to pay the price] Can we say this of the way of the transgressors? They dream of a flowery path; but they make to themselves a hard way; perhaps pleasing at first, as the spell to fasten them to the end. Wicked men live under a hard taskmaster - I was held before conversion, said Augustine - not with an iron chain, but with the obstinancy of my own will ....In every shape and form, the service of this merciless tyrant is a hard way. Men fight their way to hell, as they do to heaven, through much tribulation, the natural perverseness of the will; the continual warfare with conscience, the absence of peace, the sting of sin, and the certainly of destruction prove a way of thorns. (Bridges on Prov 13:15)

B. True Hope is focused on the Living God at work in our lives

Hope is a favorable and confident expectation -

True Hope:

Abraham and Sarah (Rom 4:18; Hebr 11:11)

Hope is not a kite at the mercy of winds, but a sure anchor of the soul, penetrating deep into the invisible, eternal world!

II. Hope that is diligently pursued brings life:

A. A longing fulfilled

is a Tree of Life; Sweet to the soul - Hope shapes our present vss. 12; 19
Tree of Life: Ezek 47:12; Rev 22:2Kiel & Delitzsch "a quickening and strengthening influence, like that tree of paradise intended to renew and extend the life of man" The believer is not satisfied with transient joys, Hope is a stimulous to purity of life, and to suffering cheerfully
joy vs dispair/ endurance (hope deferred makes the heart sick) False hopes and sickness... vs. 12

False Hope is like a hunger - a longing - prolonged it becomes a torture. Hope in other things is vanity and eventually will disappoint (Rom 5:5) Hope in God never disappoints (Isa 33:24) But even true hope creates a longing: Psalm 119:81-83 and it gives vision (KD: the blessedness of vision is measured by the degree of longing of faith) Hebrews 11:8-10; Proverbs 29:18 - Where there is no vision the people perish (KJV)

Sweet to the soul Psalm 33:22 May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you., Hebr 6:19 Pleasant words Prov 16:24; wisdom - Prov 24:14 know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul, if you find it, there is afurture hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Satisfaction like honey comb - sweet to soul, healing to bones (vs 13) Col 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; Psalm 17:15

B. Hope must be "worked at"

1 Corinthians 9:10 Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. (NIV)

How do we work at our hope?

(Proverbs 13: a series of contrasts: the godly vs the ungodly) Proverbs 13:4 The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
5 The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace.
6 Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
7 One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
8 A man's riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat.
9 The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.
10 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
11 Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
13 He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.
15 Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.
16 Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly.
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.
18 He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
19 A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.
20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
21 Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of the righteous.
22 A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.
23 A poor man's field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away.
24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

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