Read: Romans 15:4-6 & 13
Sometimes we come to a place where our zeal for God is
gone. Our soul is stagnant. We donít have any more
to face things.
When we get like this itís not necessarily because we
committed some gross secret sin or because weíre physically
exhausted. Many times this inner flatness of soul comes
to us simply because weíve neglected one of the basic
gifts God gave us when He brought us into His Kingdom.
When God brings a man or woman to His Son and causes
to be born again of His Spirit, that person immediately
is given three gifts ó basic to every other gift talked
about in scripture.
First, that person is given faith ó the power to see the
unseen and hold on to it. None of us has ever seen Jesus
with these eyes of flesh. Yet, there are people in this
room who are going to willingly die for His name because
they have faith. Of course, to keep this gift you have
to do something with it. If you donít exercise faith it
Secondly, God gives to the believer the power to love
other people the way God loves.
Love is of God and he who loves is born
of God and knows God.
What the believer does with this
power to love deter-
mines whether he grows up into the likeness of Jesus
Christ or whether he degenerates into an empty shell,
a fruitless branch that will be thrown into the fire.
But there is a third gift, a very important and often
neglected one: the gift of hope.
ó The power to look forward and see the goal.
ó The power to hold that vision of heaven even
when we have to walk through absolute darkness.
Like the other two gifts, this gift of hope has to be
nurtured, cultivated, exercised.
If you lose your hope, your faith and love
will soon go down the drain too.
Many of us have a shaky faith and a dubious love in our
hearts because our hope is sick, because we have allowed
our vision of the glory that lies ahead to fade.
When Christian, in Bunyanís Pilgrimís Progress, got to
the Cross and the burden rolled from his back, he was
given a scroll with writing on it which he was to read
as he traveled to the Celestial City. This scroll was
While Christian was climbing up the Hill Difficulty,
he stopped at an arbor half-way up and went to sleep
and the scroll fell out of his hand. He woke with a
start, the day was almost spent and he hurried up the
hill. As he got to the top two men came running toward
him and warned Christian that there were lions up ahead
that would tear him to pieces. It was then that Christian
reached into his coat for his scroll and it was gone.
Without that scroll, without this hope Christian knew that
he couldnít face the lions. So, he climbed down the hill
to the arbor where he had fallen asleep and looked until
he found his scroll.
This is exactly what many of us need to do. Somewhere
along the road we fell asleep and our hope dropped out of
our hands. We need to go back and find it. We wonít get
anywhere until we do.
Donít underestimate the gift of Hope which God gave you.
For itís not hope in some dream that will vanish like
vapor, itís hope that is anchored to a glory that will
still be shining when the heavens and the earth have
Christ in you, the hope of glory.
1. When you have this hope within you, it keeps you from
settling down in this world.
You have seen a vision of Godís Kingdom that makes you
an alien and an exile in this world. Now you see every-
thing in this world as temporary and passing.
ó Your home.
ó Your job.
ó Your family.
ó Your own body.
When friends beckon you to come and settle you just have
no heart for it. How can you be content with this vale
of shadows when you have seen glory? So you press on.
Youíre on your way to a better country.
Youíre seeking a city whose builder and maker is God.
2. When you have
this hope within you, it keeps you from
You canít be discouraged when you see glory up ahead.
People think that they are discouraged by their circum-
stances. Thatís not true. They are discouraged by the
absence of hope. When we lose our scroll we can be
discouraged by a gust of wind.
On the other hand, when we have that scroll, tragedy
after tragedy can come crashing against our lives and
somehow we keep going.
Many of us have been careless with this gift of hope.
ó We have allowed the vision God gave us
ó We have taken our heart off the vision
and let our heart wander around down here
in the shadows.
ó We have lost our scroll.
Ah, but how good God is! The minute we start looking,
He helps us to find it. In Bunyanís story, Christian
knew that it was God who helped him find his scroll so
And how quickly Jesus restored hope to the despairing
Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me?....
Feed my sheep.
When Stephen was about to be stoned to death, the Spirit
pulled back the veil and enabled Stephen to see glory.
ďBehold I see the heavens opened and the Son
of Man standing at the right hand of God.Ē
And that vision of glory sustained him even as the rage
of an angry mob closed in on him and killed him.
So God sustains our hope by enabling us to taste glory
again and again.
ó Itís not a feeling.
ó Itís not a matter of sight or touch,
but a beholding with our spirit, in the blazing light of
Godís Spirit, the Christ who is the hope of glory and who
is in us.
1. We need to be tasting glory in the scriptures.
ď...that by steadfastness and by the
encouragement of scriptures we might
Many believers havenít begun to taste glory in the
scriptures. Theyíre missing the most important reason
why the scriptures have been preserved to us. The
scriptures are the witness of ordinary people like our-
selves, weak people,
had never- the-less been visited by Godís glory and
changed by that
Whether youíre reading the testimony of Moses, Isaiah,
or the Virgin Mary, or Peter, in every case glory from
beyond this world came to them. The glory of the only
begotten of the Father somehow broke into their darkness
and spoke to them. And when you open this book and read
the witness of these people, their word is confirmed.
The same Christ who shone upon them starts
shining upon you afresh.
You enter their world and you find yourself looking out
across a timeless gulf and beholding the glory of the
living God shining down on His Son and blazing out to
you and quickening your whole being.
When you go to the scriptures daily
--- and I doubt if a
person is serious with God who doesnít go to them daily.
Donít be satisfied,
you start tasting glory,
you begin to breathe the atmosphere
as you read the testimony of the prophets and apostles
of the Lord.
2. We need to be
tasting glory through harmony with
brothers and sisters around Jesus.
May the God of steadfastness and
encouragement grant you to live in
such harmony with one another in
accord with Christ Jesus.
ó Harmony with brothers arid sisters around
Jesus is always a foretaste of glory.
ó Disharmony is always a warning of hell.
How few Christian homes and how few fellowships of be-
lievers live in harmony with one another in accord with
Christ Jesus. An occasional half-hour of harmony sand-
wiched between days and weeks of tension,
No wonder we lose our vision!
Do you doubt that God will give us the power to live in
harmony if we make the slightest effort to get off our
high horse and repent of our
Do you doubt that God will help us live together and
work together as brothers and sisters under the cross
if we are willing to conform our own
lives to the mind
Either we live in harmony with one another in accord
with Christ Jesus or we give up whatever vision of glory
we ever had. We lose our hope.
Now if your brother or sister is hard-headed, thatís
problem and they will have to do something about it. But
your brotherís hard-headedness will never destroy your
hope. If your hope is being destroyed, itís your hard-
headedness, your jarring spirit, your evil attitude.
And, itís not a matter of making pacts with each other,
not a matter of endlessly airing our dirty
linen in front of each other. Itís not a matter of some
new technique for probing one anotherís life.
Itís a matter of deciding that whether my
brothers are nice to me or not, Iím going
line my heart up with the heart of the
Lord and deal with my brothers and sisters
according to the mind of Christ.
The minute I do, I begin to taste glory. A stream of
glory begins to flow with healing effect through the Body.
3. We need to be
tasting glory in unified praise.
....that together you may with one voice
glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus
Of course itís impossible to praise God with one voice
when our day-to-day living with each other is marred by
discord. But once weíre making an effort to live in
around the Lord, then we get tremendous help and
encouragement by praising God with one voice.
When Peter and John are released from prison in Acts 4
and come back to their friends, we read that the believers
ďlifted up their voices together to God and said.....Ē
Then follows a beautiful prayer.
Did they pray this prayer in unison?
Did one man pray?
How was it done?
It doesnít matter. The point is that they were together
with their hearts and it rose to God from all of them
together as if it came from one voice. And as this
happened, glory visited them and renewed their hope.
When the eleven disciples sang a hymn with Jesus before
going out to Gethesemane, it rose as one voice. They
were one in their praises of God around their Lord
final touch of heaven to help them as they went into the
most terrible night of their lives.
We need to come out of our stiff self-conscious compart-
ments and really worship God together. And, as we do,
ó we taste heaven,
ó our vision is renewed,
ó our hope is restored.
The believers and fellowships that will survive the days
ahead will be those whose faith in Jesus and love for one
another are held together by a blazing hope, who have
their scroll in their hand and read it as they travel on
toward the City of God.
The word of the Spirit to this body is that we need to
renew our vision by constantly tasting glory.
ó We need to be tasting glory in the scriptures.
We need to be tasting glory through harmony
with each other.
ó We need to be tasting glory by worshiping God
with one voice.
God will help us find our scroll if we really start
looking for it.