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CALLED 2 LOVE SERMON

RESOURCES NEEDED: Sermon Notes

Looking For Hope in all the Wrong Places


Other possible titles: Hope on Empty, The Audacity of Misplaced Hope or Runnin’ Low on Hope

“And since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us,
from then all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned” (Acts 27:20).

FOCAL SCRIPTURES: Introduction: “No small storm was assailing us”... Don’t you think this is a fitting
FOCAL SCRIPTURES: description of our world? Doesn’t this sound like an appropriate description for today?
• Acts 27:12-24
• Acts 27:10-24
• Hebrews 11:1 There are plenty of storms in our world and few of them seem very small. There are:
• Hebrews 11:1
• Colossians 3:16 • storms of financial uncertainty, unemployment and recession
• Colossians 3:16 • storms of violence, terrorism and global annihilation
• Matthew 18:4 • storms of cancer and birth defects, suicide and school shootings
• Matthew 18:4 • storms of moral collapse, family fragmentation and child abuse

• Psalm 23 Even in our own family, we’ve experienced storms that weren’t so small. Storms like …
KEY TRUTH:
NOTES:
We may never find answers What are some of your storms?
to rational questions like:
“Why did God allow this?”
and “Why did this happen to Hope Lost
We often find ourselves in life’s storms –
me?” struggling to hold on to hope. We, like
Paul and his first century companions,
But perhaps there’s a more
often struggle to make sense of life’s
important relational
question: In the midst of life’s storms and find ourselves – losing hope!
storms, does God even
notice? And most So where do we find hope in the midst of
importantly: Does He really storms like these? Where do we find
care? hope when it seems like all hope is lost?

Some of us may remember what the


Bible says about hope. The writer of
KEY WORDS FOR Hebrews tells us that “faith is the sub-
FURTHER STUDY: stance of things hoped for…” (Hebrews
11:1). That may sound tricky: Faith in the
midst of life’s storms? When we’re in the
Are you struggling to


Hope
Hope Lost
midst of difficult challenges, faith may hold on to hope?
seem nearly impossible to come by.
• Hope Abandoned

Hope can be lost because some of our storms (like family disintegration and financial
disasters, violence and crime, addictions and abuse) have human contributors. Other storms
(like cancer, natural disasters, birth-defects and infertility) come without warning. These
storms prompt us to ask: “Why God?” “Why now?” and “Why me?” All hope can seem lost.

KEY TRUTH
We may never find answers to rational questions like: “Why did God allow this?” and “Why did
this happen to me?” But perhaps there’s a more important relational question: In the midst of
life’s storms, does God even notice? And most importantly: Does He really care?

LOOKING FOR HOPE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 2010


CALLED 2 LOVE SERMON

Page 2 Sermon Notes

Notes:
Colossians 3:16 Preparation: “Let the word dwell richly in you”
Pastor, pause to reflect on a particular “storm” in your own life. When has hope waned in
your life? Now remember and celebrate the evidence of God’s faithfulness. Consider
sharing this as a testimony of hope when you preach this sermon. “I can recall a time when
NOTES: I thought all hope was lost …”

Letters To God
There is a special film coming to
theaters across the country on April
9th. David Nixon’s newest film, Letters
to God portrays the storms of cancer,
heartbreak, addiction, family trauma
and loneliness and how these storms
take their toll on one special family.
The storms impact this family in such a
way that just like the sea travelers in
out text, “All hope is abandoned!”

Yet in the midst of these storms, the movie portrays an unlikely hero: 8-year-old Tyler
Doherty. Tyler faces a battle with cancer, but inspires hope through his letters to God! Let’s
watch some clips from Letters to God that show just a sampling of life’s storms and how one
boy, one family, and eventually a whole community find hope that is contagious!

In the midst of life’s storms...

Insert link to “Collage of Storm” clips --- bar scene, Tyler in hospital, jail, arrest-handcuffs, mom
in Grandmothers lap, brother angry “I hate him”, etc.
one boy’s hope shines through.

Insert link to “Collage of Hope” clips —-

Hope is
contagious

LOOKING FOR HOPE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 2010


CALLED 2 LOVE SERMON

Page 3 Sermon Notes

Notes:
Hope Regained!

Look around – A first principle for


NOTES: regaining hope is to: Embrace priorities that Our response: Hope regained is going to
last! require:

“And yet now I urge you take up your courage • An attitude like King Jehoshaphat: “we are
for there shall be no loss of life among you; but powerless before this great multitude who
only the ship” (Acts 27:22). Paul gives us this are coming against us; nor do we know what
principle: Make a priority of people, not ships! to do, but our eyes are on thee”
(II Chronicles 20:12).
When life’s storms try to steal our hope –
invest in priorities that last. Priorities such as: • “Serving the Lord with gladness”
(Psalm 100:2) Let’s take time right now and
• God “I am the Alpha and the Omega, serve the Lord with gladness. Let’s pause to
says the Lord God who is and who was give Him thanks and by faith, express our
and who is to come, the Almighty” gratitude for how He notices and cares.
(Revelation 1:8).
Encountering Christ: Just like the
• His Word “The grass withers, the woman in Mark 5, who was struggling with the
flower fades, but the word of God stands storms of her life—we can find hope in the truth
forever” (Isaiah 40:8). that Jesus stops, He notices and He cares. The
Gospel tells us that the woman barely touched
• People “And God created man in His Christ’s robe, but He stopped. And the text
own image, in the image of God He implies that He kept asking,, “Who touched me?”
created him, male and female He created The All-Knowing Jesus certainly knew the identity
Him” (Genesis 1:27). of the woman. Could it be that Jesus called her out
because He wanted the chance to publicly affirm
her faith, demonstrate His care and restore her
hope? Now imagine that Jesus is walking through
Look up – But the most important step in your life. He turns around because He notices you
regaining a hope-filled perspective is to: Look and the storms of your life. Jesus stops and his
up! Hope can be regained when we are loving gaze is for you! He notices, He cares.
reassured that: God notices the storms in our Pause to receive Christ’s love and thank Him for
lives and He cares!

• He notices – “for this very night an angel


of the God to whom I belong and whom I
serve stood before me…” (Acts 27:23)

• Hope can be restored when we under-


stand that God may seem slow, but He is
never late! He notices and sees our pain.

• He cares – “Do not be afraid. Paul, you


must stand before Caesar; and behold,
God granted you all those who are sailing
with you” (Acts 27: 24)

• We may never know, “Why?” but in the


midst of tragedy and trauma, pain and loss,
we have a God who is so personal that He
cares and acts on our behalf. Make the most of
your times with God,
His Word and
His people!

LOOKING FOR HOPE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 2010


CALLED 2 LOVE SERMON

Page 4 Sermon Notes

Notes:
Hope Experienced:
One of the most reassuring and hope-filled Scripture passages is the 23rd Psalm. Let’s read
the passage again and see if God’s Word can lead us into an experience of hope.
NOTES:

Psalm 23 (New International Version)


1
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for His name's sake.
4
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

We are a
community of
hope!

LOOKING FOR HOPE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 2010


CALLED 2 LOVE SERMON

Page 5 Sermon Notes

Notes:
Hope Experienced (cont.):
As you re-read the passage and recall it to I would like for you to imagine walking through
your mind, observe how much God notices your difficult valley—it’s not an easy path.
our walk through the valleys and how much Steep-sided cliffs and dangerous terrain
NOTES: He cares. surround you. You can’t see any hope of
making it through this valley; there seems to
Let’s pause to meditate quietly on the truth of be no end and no rescue in sight. You’re
the text. Psalm 46:10 reminds us to be still and tempted (just like Paul’s companions) to panic,
know that He is God. Let’s try that: to frantically strive, to run from one man-made
solution to the next. Imagine yourself
Imagine yourself walking through your own frantically running, trying to get out of this
difficult valley… valley, losing hope with every turn.

• It might be a valley of disappoint- But if you listen closely, you can hear the
ment and loss. Good Shepherd whisper: Let my rod and staff
guide you. Slow down, stop running. Pause at the
• You might be going through a valley quiet waters. Lie down in the green pastures, sit at
the table I prepared for you. Recall Psalm 23:6
involving loved ones or friends.
again: “surely goodness and love shall follow
• It might be a valley of rejection and me;” Imagine again your frantic search to get
out of the valley – all the while God is saying,
brokenness. Lie down, sit, enjoy the quiet. He wants you to
• You might be experiencing a valley stop, pause, be still – but why?
of financial challenge or navigating
through the storm of job loss. Experience The Word: (Psalm 23:6)
Imagine that you finally stop running through
• You might be going through a valley the valley. You stop the frantic searching;
you’re just still. Now look over your shoulder
of depression or anxiety.
and what do you see? Look closely – His
• Or it may be a valley like Tyler’s… goodness and love are following you! If you’re
CANCER or another series illness still, His goodness and love can catch up with
has touched your life or that of a you. You see, it’s our frantic running that
hinders His goodness and love from finding us.
loved one. Pause, be still – His goodness and love are
embracing you – and his name is Jesus. Be still,
receive and give thanks that He cares.

Be still and
receive .
LOOKING FOR HOPE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 2010
CALLED 2 LOVE SERMON

Page 6 Sermon Notes

Notes:
Top 10 Signs—Your Hope is Misplaced
1. Hope is misplaced when I trade Godly 6. Hope is misplaced when I am
wisdom for the counsel of this world. scarcely able to maintain control of my
NOTES: life surroundings.
“Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be
attended with damage and great loss, not only of “we were scarcely able to get the ships boat
the cargo and ship, but also of our lives, but the under control” (Acts 27:16).
centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and
the captain” (Acts 27:10-11). 7. Hope is misplaced when fear drives my
decision making.
2. Hope is misplaced when I follow the crowd
rather than the Spirit’s leading. “fearing that they might run aground – they
let down the sea anchor and so let themselves be
“the majority reaches a decision to put out to driven along” (Acts 27:17).
sea…” (Acts 27:12).
8. Hope is misplaced when I jettison
3. Hope is misplaced when I ignore warning valuable cargo, like important priorities,
signs of self-centered agendas. personal values and relationships.

“and when a moderate south wind came up, “the next day as we were being violently
supposing they had gained their purpose they storm-tossed, they began to jettison the
weighed anchor and began sailing along Crete, cargo” (Acts 27:18).
close inshore” (Acts 27:12).
9. Hope is misplaced when I throw out life
4. Hope is misplaced when I give in to essentials, like family and friends, health and
prevailing “winds”… “go along to get along.” life-balance.

“but before very long there rushed down from the “and on the third day they threw the ship’s
land a violent wind, called Euraquile and then the tackle overboard with their hands” (Acts 27:19).
ship was caught in it – we gave way to it“
(Acts 27:14). 10. Hope is misplaced when I lose my
bearings, uncertain of how to navigate life.
5. Hope is misplaced when I am driven along
rather than led by the Spirit. “neither sun nor stars appeared for many
days” (Acts 27:20).
“we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven
along” (Acts 27:15).

Which of these 10 might be true in your life? Pause to pray young Samuel’s prayer: “Speak Lord your
servant in listening” I Sam 3:8-9.

Are you looking


for hope in all the
wrong places?

LOOKING FOR HOPE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 2010


CALLED 2 LOVE SERMON

Page 7 Additional Studies

Notes:
Top 10 Signs—Your Hope is Misplaced (cont.)
1. Hope is misplaced when I trade Godly wisdom for the counsel of the world.

NOTES: “’Men, I perceive (theōréō Present, 1st Person, Singular) that the voyage will
certainly be attended with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the
ship, but also of our lives.’ But the centurion was more persuaded (peíthō
Imperfect, Passive, 3rd Person, Singular) by the pilot and the captain of the ship,
than by what was being said by Paul” (Acts 27:10-11).

theōréō has primary reference to spectators at a religious festival, and thus


means “to look at,” “to view,” with such additional senses as “to review
(troops),” “to discover,” “to recognize,” and figuratively “to consider,” “to
contemplate,” “to investigate.”Theological Dictionary of the New Testament:
Abridged in One Volume. theōréō. This verb occurs 58 times (24 in John and
14 in Acts). In John the present theōréō seems to be used instead of horáō. It
has the original sense “to watch” in Matt. 27:55. The chief sense in Acts is “to
perceive” (4:13; 17:16, etc.). In Jn. 6:19; 20:6, 12, 14 sense perception is at
issue, but “to perceive or recognize” is the point in 4:19; 12:9, and “to know
or experience” in 8:51, and possibly in 17:24 in an eschatological sense. Theo
logical Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

The usual Greek senses of peíthō are “to convince,” “to persuade,” “to
seduce,” “to corrupt.” The present expresses intention, the aorist success.
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume

In the NT “to convince” is the most natural sense in Acts 18:4; 28:23, and
“to persuade” in Matt. 27:20; Acts 14:19 (with a hint of “seduce”). In
Acts 12:20; Matt. 14 “to bribe” is probably meant, though “to pacify” is
possible in Matt. 28:14. The meaning is uncertain in 2 Cor. 5:11, where “to
win” is possible but “to persuade” is more likely in context. In Gal. 1:10 the
sense depends on whether the two questions are parallel. If they are, God is
the answer, for it is God’s favor that Paul seeks. If they are not, he is asking
whom he seeks to persuade with his preaching, and the answer is “men.” In
this case, the parallel is a material one; Paul pleases God by his efforts to
persuade men. In 1 Jn. 3:19 the text is uncertain, and one must ask whether
“by this” has a forward or backward reference. The thought is undoubtedly
that of reassurance, and the reason is probably given in vv. 20-21, namely,
that we have confidence in God whether our hearts condemn us or not.
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

LOOKING FOR HOPE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 2010


CALLED 2 LOVE SERMON

Page 8 Additional Studies

Notes:
Top 10 Signs—Your Hope is Misplaced (cont.)
2. Hope is misplaced when I follow the crowd rather than the Spirit’s leading.

“the majority (polys ) reached (títhēmi ) a decision (boulḗ ) to put out to sea
NOTES:
from there…” (Acts 27:12).

polys “much, many, great”

títhēmi “to place, lay”

boulḗ “counsel”

3. Hope is misplaced when I ignore warning signs of self-centered agendas

“And when a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had gained
(kratéō Infinitive, Perfect, Active) their purpose, they weighed anchor and began
sailing along Crete, close inshore” (Acts 27:13).

kratéō This verb, meaning “to be strong,” has such nuances as “to conquer,” “to
seize,” “to arrest,” “to have the use of,” and “to distrain.” It occurs some 170
times in the LXX in such senses as “to be strong,” “to have power,” “to rule,” “to
take control,” and “to hold.” The meanings in Philo are “to rule,” “to conquer,”
and “to be lord over.” In the NT the main sense is “to seize.” The term is used
for the arrest of the Baptist (Mark 6:17), the attempt of Jesus’ family to seize him
(Mark 3:21), the attempts of his enemies to arrest him (Mark 12:12), and the
arrest of Paul (Acts 24:6). A common NT phrase is “to take by the hand” (Mark
1:31 etc.; cf. Gen. 19:16; Isa. 42:6). In Luke 24:16 the eyes of the two disciples
were “held” so that they did not recognize Jesus. Death could not “hold” Jesus
(Acts 2:24), but the sailors thought that they had “obtained” their purpose with a
south wind (Acts 27:13). In Revelation we find such nuances as “holding on” to a
possession in 2:25, and “holding” a teaching in 2:14. “Holding fast” is the point in
Mark 7:3-4; 2 Th. 2:15; Heb. 4:14, “grasping” in Heb. 6:18. In Jn. 20:23, as the
opposite of aphíēmi, kratéō means “to retain.” Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

4. Hope is misplaced when I give in to prevailing “winds”... “go along to get along”.

“But before very long there rushed down from the land a violent wind, called
Euraquilo; and when the ship was caught in it, and could not face the wind, we
gave way (epididomi Aorist, Active, Nominative, Masculine, 1st, Plural) to it”
(Acts 27:15).

epididomi “to give over” (by hand or surrender), i.e. to give up to the power or will
of one.

LOOKING FOR HOPE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 2010


CALLED 2 LOVE SERMON

Page 9 Additional Studies

Notes:
Top 10 Signs—Your Hope is Misplaced (cont.)
5. Hope is misplaced when I am driven along rather than led by the Spirit.

NOTES: Driven Along “and let ourselves be driven along (phérō Imperfect, Passive, 1st Person,
Plural)” (Acts 27:15).

phérō In the sense “to bring” the sick etc. are fetched to Jesus (Mark 1:32; 2:3, etc.) or to
Peter (Acts 5:6). Peter will be “led off” to martyrdom (Jn. 21:18). Intransitively the middle
denotes the onrushing wind in Acts 2:2, and in the passive the ship is driven by the storm
in 27:15, 17. Heb. 6:1 invites believers to “press on,” and 2 Pet. 1:21 says that the prophets
were “impelled” by the Spirit. The “bringing” of the gospel is the point in 2 Jn. 10, and in 2
Pet. 1:17-18 the voice “comes” to Jesus, while prophecy does not “come” by human will in
1:21. The term is a legal one in Jn. 18:29 and Acts 25:18 (cf. 2 Pet. 2:11). In Heb. 9:16
proof of the death of the testator must be “adduced” to bring the diathḗkē into effect. In 1
Pet. 1:13 grace is “offered” to believers at the parousia. The kings will “bring” their glory in
Rev. 21:24 and offer it to God and the Lamb. Believers “bring” their possessions to the
apostles to be used for the common good (Acts 4:34, 37; 5:2). Luke 23:26 refers to
Simon’s “bearing” of the cross. “Bearing fruit” is at issue in Matt. 7:18; Mark 4:8; Jn. 15:2, 4.
The fruit is that of discipleship or of the word. It is the fruit of Christ’s death in Jn. 12:24.
The sense of “enduring” occurs in Heb. 12:20 and 13:13. God “bears” with the objects of
his wrath in Rom. 9:22; this toleration does not restrict his judgment but enables him to
show his glory in mercy. “To uphold” or “to rule” is the sense in Heb. 1:3, where the Son
upholds by his word of power the universe that is created through him (v. 2).
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

6. Hope is misplaced when I am scarcely able to maintain control of my life.

“we were scarcely (mólis) able (ischýō Aorist, Active, 1st Person, Plural) to get
(ginomai Infinitive, Aorist) the ship's boat under control (perikrates)” (Acts
27:16).

Both mólis and mógis mean “hardly,” “with difficulty” (the two forms are
interchangeable). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One
Volume.

The group ischy- has the sense of “ability,” “capacity,” “power,” or “strength.” It
overlaps with the dyna- group, but with greater stress on the power implied. Thus
ischýō is “to be strong, healthy, able,” katischýō “to be strong,” “to be superior,”
“to strengthen,” ischyrós “strong, powerful,” and ischýs “strength,” “ability.” ischýs
is common in earlier Greek and is liked in the LXX, but fades out in Hellenism
and hardly occurs at all in the papyri or on inscriptions. The NT follows the
common pattern, ischýō means “to be able” and occurs often in Luke but also in
Matthew, Revelation, and Hebrews. In Matt. 5:13 it describes the salt that has lost
its savor: it is good for nothing. In Acts 19:20 God’s word prevails mightily. In
Gal. 5:6 circumcision and uncircumcision have no power in relation to the hoped-
for righteousness, only faith working through love. Jms. 5:16 reminds us of the
power of fervent prayer in times of distress. In Phil. 4:13 Paul points us to the
source of all strength for the Christian life; he has in Christ a power that makes all
things possible for him.
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

ginomai “to become, to come into existence, begin to be, receive being.”

perikrates “having full power over a thing,” i.e. to secure or master it.

LOOKING FOR HOPE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 2010


CALLED 2 LOVE SERMON

Page 10 Additional Studies

Notes:
Top 10 Signs—Your Hope is Misplaced (cont.)
7. Hope is misplaced when fear drives my decision-making.

NOTES: “fearing (phobéomai Participle, Present, Passive, Masculine, Plural) that they might
run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor, and so let
themselves be driven along (phérō Imperfect, Passive, 3rd Person, Plural)” (Acts
27:17).

phobéomai With an infinitive the verb means “to be afraid to ...” and, with mḗ, “to
be afraid that....” The fear may be that of individuals or of the whole people.
Mostly the concepts are traditional. The NT opposes all hampering anxiety but
relates fear of God to faith as total trust. Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

phérō See above

8. Hope is misplaced when I jettison valuable cargo.

“The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, they began to jettison
the cargo (poiéō Imperfect, Middle, 3rd Person, Plural ekbole Noun, Accusative,
Feminine, Singular)” (Acts 27:18).

poiéō “to create, make, do, act.”

ekbole “ejection or a throwing out,” denotes “a jettison, a throwing out of cargo,”


literally “they made a casting out.”

9. Hope is misplaced when I throw out essentials.

“and on the third day they threw (rhíptō Aorist, Active, 3rd Person, Plural) the
ship's tackle (skeue ) overboard with their own hands” (Acts 27:19).

rhíptō. In Matt. 15:30 the sick are cast at the feet of Jesus, in 27:5 Judas throws the
money into the temple, in Lk.4:35 the demon throws the man down when exor-
cised, in 17:2 those who harm little ones are threatened with destruction, in Acts
22:23 the throwing off of clothes expresses resolve, and in Matt. 9:36 the people
are like sheep lying on the ground without a shepherd. Theological Dictionary of
the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

10. Hope is misplaced when I’ve lost my bearings.

“neither sun nor stars appeared (epiphaínō )for many days” (Acts 27:20).

In the NT epiphaínō in the intransitive means “to show oneself,” “to appear” (the
stars in Acts 27:20). God intervenes to help in the metaphor of Luke 1:79. The
grace of God has appeared to salvation in the Christ event (Tit. 2:11; cf.
3:4).Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume.

LOOKING FOR HOPE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 2010