SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20111016: "From Hopelessness to Hope"

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from hopelessness to hope


          Nogales is a dusty Mexican town about 60 miles south of Tucson. A tall steel and concrete fence marks the border, barring illegal immigrants from the US. This town has ballooned from a sleepy village of 13,000 to its present population of approximately 270,000 in the last 45 years. The unemployment rate in Nogales is more than 50%, and 80% of its inhabitants live in wood and cardboard settlements with no services of any kind.

        The Economist, an international news magazine from London, contains an article about the abandoned children of this town, some as young as six, who live in old storm drains 20 feet below the ground amid the sewage and garbage that seeps downhill from Mexico to Arizona.

        Abandoned, abused, doing whatever it takes to stay alive, the children have made these sewers and the streets around the sewage outlets their own. There are estimated to be at least 200 of them. Many are brain-damaged from the stolen additives, spray paint and other substances they use in a constant effort to stay high and escape their wretched reality. Disease and violence are a fact of life -- not long ago, one 15 year old was stabbed to death by a 13 year old in a fight over a girl.

        Known as bajadores, or tunnel rats, they run drugs for the cocaine cartels, rob unwary passers-by, and attack people being sent through the tunnels and across the border by the smugglers of illegal immigrants.

        What despair! What hopelessness! But these children are not alone in their hopelessness, in their despair. How many more thousands and millions of people are there in similar situations in this country, resorting to substance abuse and violence in a vain attempt to escape reality, to find a way out of their darkness?

        Children in similar circumstances scrape out a hellish existence all over the less developed world. But how many others, outwardly successful, share with these children a sense of hopelessness? How many find life worthless and meaningless, and find now way of escape?

        Back in the days of Isaiah, the world looked dark, and bleak, and hopeless. The nation of Israel had turned their back on God and God, in His turn, had turned His back on them. To punish them, God was bringing a nation from the north (named Assyria) and that nation was going to sweep down upon them like a flood tide and they wash over them in vengeance.

        This sermon explores Judah's journey from Hopelessness to Hope through the prophet Isaiah's warning and promise of hope.

Pastor Phil Roland   <><<



from hopelessness to hope

Isaiah 61:1-7 (NKJV)
1 "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.
5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, And the sons of the foreigner Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
6 But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, They shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, And in their glory you shall boast.
7 Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.

Sheepfold Ministries – Pastor Phil Roland

October 16, 2011


from hopelessness to hope

Isaiah 59-62 - Isaiah 59:1-15 - Isaiah 61:1-7


“Hope is such a fragile thing. A phone call, a news broadcast, an electronic note from a friend and our personal tranquility and peace of mind is shattered. This sermon explores our need for hope in a hopeless world.”                                                                                                                   Pastor Phil  <><<

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11



          A. Judah has become Lost in Darkness - Isaiah 59:10-12

            "We grope for the wall like the blind, And we grope as if we had no eyes;

            We stumble at noonday as at twilight; We are as dead men in desolate          places. 11 We all growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We look for

            justice, but there is none; For salvation, but it is far from us.

                        1. Those who dwell in Hopelessness see no way out

                        2. For them there is only darkness, peering for light

                        3. There is no justice for wrongs committed against them

                        4. They seek salvation, protection and deliverance to no avail

            B. They are Responsible for their own Plight - Isaiah 59:1,2

            "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His

            ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you

            from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He

            will not hear."

                        1. They are victims of the sins of others

                        2. They have chose to live in separation from God

                                    a. God doesn't show His face to them

                                    b. He ignores their pleas for help

                                    c. Their sins have pushed Him away

                        3. Judah's Sins: Gluttony, Profaning the Sabbath, Idolatry

            C. Judah's Hopeless Confess their Responsibility - Isaiah 59:12-15a

                12 For our transgressions are multiplied before You, And our sins testify

            against us; For our transgressions are with us, And as for our iniquities, we

            know them" 13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, And departing

            from our God, Speaking oppression and revolt, Conceiving and uttering

            from the heart words of falsehood. 14 Justice is turned back, And       righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity

            cannot enter. 15 So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself

            a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him That there was no


                        1. The First Step out of Darkness is to Acknowledge your own                                role in creating the darkness




                        2. Before I work on darkness in the world, I have to deal with                                   the darkness in me

                        3. Personal Confession to God is good for the soul - 1 John 1:9

                        4. Confession to Each Other is Healing - James 5:16

                        "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other

                        so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is

                        powerful and effective."

                        5. Isaiah's listeners had reasons for their hopelessness



"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you."

            A. Most severe testing precedes great blessing

                        1. Job Loss - Under Employment

                        2. Failed Marriage or Relationship

                        3. Personal Rejection

                        4. Easy to feel trapped and hopeless

          B. God can and will bring Light out of Darkness

                        1. He can bring Freedom for our self-imposed prisons

                        2. He can bring Gladness for our Mourning and Sadness

                        3. All tears will be wiped away

                        4. All wrongs will be righted and paid for

            C. These Promises are a foretaste of what is to come - Rom. 8:18

                 "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to                     be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

                        1. Fanny Crosby's Famous Gospel Song, "Blessed Assurance"

                        Blessèd assurance, Jesus is mine!
                        O what a foretaste of glory divine!
                        Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
                        Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.



                        This is my story, this is my song,
                        Praising my Savior, all the day long;
                        This is my story, this is my song,
                        Praising my Savior, all the day long.


                        Perfect submission, perfect delight,
                        Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
                        Angels descending bring from above
                        Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.



                        Perfect submission, all is at rest
                        I in my Savior am happy and blest,
                        Watching and waiting, looking above,
                        Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.


                        2. Jesus has cut through our Darkness w/His Light




“RESTORE” = Hebrew = nIL = “SA-LAM” = Peace in all you do

“I will restore. . .” Joel 2:25


”You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3


            A. We have been Birthed by His Spirit - Isaiah 61:1a

               "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,"

            B. We have been Anointed to Preach Good News - Isaiah 61:1b

               "Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor"

            C. We have been called to Reach out to the Poor

            D. We have been called to Heal the Broken-Hearted - Isaiah 61:1c

                "He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted"

          E. We are called to Proclaim Liberty to the Captives - Isaiah 61:1d

               "To proclaim liberty to the captives"

            1. Captive to Sin and the Devil

            2. Captive to Consequences of Poor Choices

            3. Captive to the World’s Siren Call

          F. We are called to Open Prisons - Isaiah 61:1e

    "And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;"
                   1. Prisons of Hate and Selfishness

                        2. Prisons of Family and Culture

                        3. Prison of Recidivism

                             "If I always do what I've always done,

                              I'll always get what I've always got."

            G. Jesus offers Peace and Freedom from Hopelessness

                        1. He is our Guiding Light

                        2. He is our way of Peace









stinkin’ thinkin’

For all the negative things we have to say to ourselves, God has a positive answer for it.


You say, "It's impossible."
God says: "All thing are possible." (Luke 18:27)


You say, "I'm too tired."
God says: "I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28-20)


You say, "Nobody really loves me."
God says: "I love you." (John 3:16 John 13:34)


You say, "I can't go on."
God says: "My grace is sufficient." (2 Cor. 12:9 - Psalm 91:15)


You say, "I can't figure things out."
God says: "I will direct your steps." (Proverbs 3:5-6)


You say, "I can't do it."
God says: "You can do all things in Me." (Phil 4:13)


You say, "It's not worth it."
God says: "It will be worth it." (Romans 8:28)


You say, "I can't forgive myself."
God says: "I forgive you." (1 John 1:9 - Romans 8:1)


You say, "I can't manage."
God says: "I will supply all your needs." (Phil 4:19)


You say, "I'm afraid."
God says: "I have not given you a spirit of fear." (2 Tim.:7)

You say, "I'm always worried and frustrated."
God says: "Cast all your cares on ME (1 Peter 5:7)

You say, "I don't have enough faith."
God says: "I've given everyone a measure of faith." (Romans 12:3)

You say, "I'm not smart enough."
God says: "I give you wisdom." (1 Cor.1:30)

You say, "I feel all alone."
God says: "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Heb. 13:5)