Romans 15:2-4 – Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
When we look at our lives and relationships, what we all need is some hope. People will say you need food, water, air, and shelter to live, but I would also add hope, because there are people with those other four things that take their own lives because they have lost hope.
As you’re looking at your future and relationships, the question is how do you have hope? Many people will tell you that you should hope in others. But how many of you look at humanity and think “I’m not feeling so good about this”?
Sometimes, people create a false sense of hope that things will get better in the next season. But how many of you have lived long enough to know that’s not the case? There is both good and bad constantly and simultaneously taking place in our lives and there will never be a perfect season this side of Heaven.
So where do we get our hope? Paul says that the Bible is the only place where we can find true hope. The reason the world doesn’t have hope, is beating each other down and not building each other up, and is filled with selfishness and not serving is because they don’t know the One who is the source of true hope.
Ultimately, when we open the Word of God, we start to see the true cause of hopelessness – sin – and the true source of a cure – Jesus. We see what relationships should look like and how we can live in harmony with one another. The more hope we need, the more Scripture we need.
In the Scripture, we can also read stories of God’s faithfulness, even in times of people being unfaithful and unworthy. In our own lives, we often make a to-do list, but we rarely, if ever, make a list of what God’s already done. If we would just look back on what God has already accomplished in our lives and the lives of other Christians, we would never believe the lie that He’s going to stop that now. Living by the power of the Holy Spirit and remembering how much God has done for us already gives us true hope that the world will never have.
Make a list of prayers you’ve seen answered over the past few months or years. Pray that God would encourage you by bringing these things to mind more readily in the future.
To find the free Romans 12-16 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.