2Pastor Francois van Niekerk Preacher: Pastor Francois van NiekerkDate: 12 October 2014
3BRAVE HOPE Sermon: Brave hope Text: Romans 4:18 (MSG) ‘When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.’ (Emphasis added)IntroductionI love stories of hope, especially if they are true, real life stories!I want to share such a story, where brave action gave people hope and saved lives. The main character in this story is a Labrador guide dog named Roselle.
4On 11 September 2001, disaster and terror struck America On 11 September 2001, disaster and terror struck America. A series of terrorist attacks left the USA in shock. As part of these terror attacks, two Boeing aircrafts were hi-jacked and crashed into the well known Twin Towers (office blocks of 110 stories each). This is how Roselle’s story of brave hope unfolded on that day:
5Roselle was asleep under her owner’s desk on the 78th floor in Tower 1 of the World Trade Centre when the attack commenced.
6She was awoken by the plane impacting some fifteen floors above them.
7Roselle calmly led her blind owner, Michael Hingson, to stairwell B …
8… despite the smoke, confusion and noise surrounding her … despite the smoke, confusion and noise surrounding her. She led her owner and 30 other people down steps out of the tower. After descending over half the distance, they passed some firemen who were heading up, who Roselle stopped to greet. The descent took just over an hour. Just after they exited the tower, Tower 2 collapsed, sending debris flying. Hingson later said, ‘While everyone ran in panic, Roselle remained totally focused on her job, while debris fell around us, and even hit us, Roselle stayed calm.’ Once clear, Roselle led her owner to the safety of a subway station, where they helped a woman who had been blinded by falling debris. Once they arrived home, Roselle immediately began playing with her retired guide dog predecessor, Linnie, as if nothing important had happened.
9RoselleRoselle was awarded the American Hero Dog of the Year Medal in From then on she was nicknamed Thunder Dog.Even though this brave hero is a dog, I trust you will be inspired to be brave in God and allow Him to use you to write stories of hope on the pages of other people’s lives!
10BRAVE? WHO’S BRAVE? Main points Brave? Who’s brave? Being brave is not always characterised by a lack of fear. Many scared people have gone on to take brave actions that brought deliverance from despair and hope to others.Just think of Gideon, one of the judges of Israel in the Old Testament. He was hiding in fear from the Midianites, who were oppressing them at the time (Judges 6-7).
11JUDGES 6 & 7Gideon was not standing in faith and courage when God started speaking to Him about becoming the deliverer of Israel. His doubt and lack of courage are reflected in the many questions and excuses he posed to the Angel as well as his need for signs and confirmation. Yet, God continued, with great patience, to deal with him and encourage him until he was ready to step out and bravely act on God’s Word and restore hope to Israel. Surely God will do the same for you and me!Your present emotional state of mind may be one of fear or uncertainty but that is no indicator of your potential for bravery. Hear the Lord speak these words to your heart, ‘Be bold, be strong for the Lord your God is with you!’The Word of the Lord and the reality of His presence will give you the spark you need to be brave. It will give you the means to be steady under pressure, just like Thunder Dog. That’s the true definition of bravery – to be calm and steady under pressure, remaining focused on what God has said for you to do.Let’s look at Abraham, the father of our faith, who showed great courage and bravery resulting in hope.
12ABRAHAM THE BRAVE 2. Abraham the Brave Abraham showed himself brave by daring to believe when there was no hope. (Genesis records the story of Abraham and Sarah who had no children at an old age and of God’s promise of descendants.)
13ROMANS 4:18 MSG‘When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do.’‘When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.’ (Emphasis added)Romans 4:18 (MSG)He further displayed bravery by his obedience to God’s instruction to sacrifice Isaac, his son of promise (Genesis 22).
14GENESIS 22Obedience to God is an act of bravery. He honours obedience and rewards it, allowing it to be the catalyst of hope for desperate people around us!
15LESSONS OF HOPE FROM ABRAHAM We can learn the following valuable lessons from the father of our faith:
16LESSONS OF HOPE Hope is independent from reason Hope is not based on your abilityHope is the springboard of faithHopeless situations great opportunitiesHope comes through people taking actionBrave hope is quiet but strongHope from God is never dependent on reason.Hope from God is not dependent on our ability to perform, but rather on God’s limitless ability.Hope is the springboard of faith. Hope from God provides the backdrop for faith to function. Hope provides the basis for faith to operate.Hopeless situations offer great opportunities for us to be brave and bring hope by our example. Remember hope never introduces itself as hope – it simply flows from the actions of people who follow God (doers of His Word).Brave hope does not have to shout. It goes quietly about its business – quiet but strong; remaining fully convinced of God’s ability.
17BRAVE YOU!4. Brave you!Every believer can be brave. Your steady stand under pressure, while focusing on God, can also lead others to hope and safety.Bravery happens when we move the focus off ourselves to God, and is how He wants to use us in giving hope to others.The first brave thing you can do is to ask yourself, ‘Is it all about me in my life?’ The second act of bravery is to move the focus from yourself to God, and to make the commitment, ‘Lord, whatever You say I will do!’Brave actions are released when we, like Abraham …
18Decide to live not on the basis of what you see you can’t do BUT on what God said He would do. … decide to live not on the basis of what we see we can’t do, but on what God said He would do.
19Where there is hope there is life. ApplicationAuthor Norman Vincent Peale did a radical thing. He changed the saying ‘Where there is life there is hope’ to ‘Where there is hope there is life.’ Why did he do this? Because, as he put it, ‘You’re never beaten down as long as you have hope.’I encourage you to be brave! Follow Abraham’s example in your readiness to obey God and give whatever He asks you to during this Faith Promise season.Your bravery can start now. God will inspire you to be brave and write a story of hope through your actions and example.
20I am with you mighty warrior! JUDGES 6:12 In the same way God spoke to Gideon in Judges 6:12, I believe He is saying to you, ‘I am with you mighty warrior! Go from this place to bring hope that there may be life.’
21PrayerLord, I receive Your Word and welcome Your presence in my life today! With Your encouragement, I bravely step out to do what You say. Thank you, that my actions will bring hope and life to others. Amen.