My Earnest Expectation

My Earnest Expectation

Romans 8:18-27

Verse 19 “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

Philippians 1:15-21

Verse 20 “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, than in nothing I shall be ashamed…”

In the verses before us we see the only two times that this Greek term translated here “earnest expectation” is used. This term carries with it a great deal of meaning. It describes the way that a person looks forward to a future event in absolute certainty that it shall come to pass. There is an implication here of having no doubt of what is to take place at a future point in time. “Earnest expectation” pictures one who is on tiptoe with outstretched neck and squinted eyes searching the horizon for the person or event for which he waits, with full confidence and assurance that he will witness their arrival or it’s coming to pass in due time.

I believe that one very important lesson that is being missed in our day is the ability of our God to take care of us here and now. Things are often “over-spiritualized” you might say. In taking a text and wrongly applying it to our lives we often totally miss what we might glean from it. And most often it is precisely what we need at our current point in life. Oh, the blessings that we so often miss because of our failure to rightly divide the word of Truth.

When God promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us, that promise was “never”. That is a wonderful word and just as sure as the word “ever” when it is spoken by God. Men may say that they will never do this or that and then go back on their word and do exactly what they said they would not. God will not do that which He has told us that He will not do: Just as surely as God will do that which He has said that He will. Praise God for that precious truth. Just pause for a moment and consider the permanence of that word when it is spoken by God. Because we know that it is impossible for God to lie and that He has promised this, we should anxiously (and I mean anxiously not in a bad way but in hopeful anticipation) look forward to seeing just what it is that God is going to do to provide us a means of escape or deliverance from the troubles that we face in this life.

Paul, no doubt had this thought in mind while writing much of the New Testament for us to read now in our day. The same God that Paul had that confidence in is the same God that we serve today. That same God of which Paul had that earnest expectation is the same God that we serve now. We should also have that confidence that God is going to take care of us, no matter what. We should have a set and determined confidence that, come what may, God is going to do just what He has said. Looking at verse 20 we see Paul’s rejoicing in the knowledge that whatever happens to him physically, Christ shall be magnified.

Friend though we suffer, God shall not leave us comfortless. Though we suffer, God shall not leave us defenseless. Though we suffer, we are never alone. We should live our lives even in the times of persecution, pain and sorrow with the earnest expectation that God is still with us and that He is going to take care of us, come what may.

When God promised, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”, He did say, “Never!”

Again, consider the permanence of this word, especially when it is spoken by God.

Paul is teaching us not to become overly distracted by the cares of this life. That God is not gone and whatever happens as we live for Him is going to be for His Glory. (verse 20)

“Christ shall be magnified”

Many will over-spiritualize this type of truth and teach a falsehood. We see in this that we will suffer and that our suffering is just as much for God’s Glory as when we receive and enjoy His blessing. We live a testimony for His Glory when the world see’s us in trial and maintaining a good testimony. The message here is concerning our travel in this life, it is not talking about after death. In this lifetime we should have an earnest expectation that God will deliver us from…

I. The Bondage of Corruption…(decay, ruin)

As long as we live here on earth we are still bound to the bodies in which we live until the Lord grants us sweet release to be in His presence. These bodies are flesh and weak, they grow old and die, they become weak and sick, and one day they will go back to the dust from whence they came. Oh praise God that is not the end for those of us who are earnestly expecting that God is going to come for us one day. I know that as my body grows older I do find a new ailment or a new pain here or there. I am not able to do the things that I once could. I find even that my memory is losing it’s grip on things that once were locked firmly in place. My physical body is going to die one day, unless the Lord comes back for me before then. But I know that God is with me, that His rod and His staff they comfort me. Praise God we know that He will be with us every step of the way home.

We are not only bound to these corrupt and dying bodies, but we are bound by these corrupt bodies to this corrupt and dying world. This wonderful creation that we live in and which supports our lives is also corrupted by sin. The earth was cursed for Adam’s sake. And yet we need the earth and it’s bounty to survive. It is from the earth that we take all the food that we must eat, and the bounty of the earth provides us with our clothing, our homes, our medicines which help us to heal when we are sick. We do grow sick and we could not survive without these blessings that God has given us to sustain us, yet even this world is corrupted and dying. How hopeless a thought that not only are we dying, but even the world that sustains us is dying. It would seem hopeless. And looking around us today at the environmentalists and evolutionists that see nothing past our present world it is no wonder that many of them seem to have no hope. They live each day with the thought that all they believe in is soon to be gone. They seek to save the material world around them and live in fear of the very fact that this world is dying. These people are seeking a way out of what even Christians know is coming, that this world is going to pass away. We know that the elements shall melt with fervent heat according to 2Peter 3:10…

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

It is with earnest expectation that we await the coming day of the Lord and we long for the day that we will be with Him for all eternity.

Because we as children of the Living God know this truth and understand that, according to Romans 8:28, nothing can come our way in this life except it be God’s will to allow it, and that it will be for our good and God’s Glory, we are able to take the knowledge that whatever comes our way, God is there and will take care of us through it all. We will one day be free from this corrupt and evil place and we will be forever in the presence of The One whom we earnestly expect to come at any moment.

II. God will deliver us from Religious persecution

I want us to turn our attention now to Philippians 1:14-18. Here Paul is speaking to two distinct groups of people.

1. Those who are truly brethren

2. Those who profess to be brethren

And Paul declares here that he is prepared to suffer so that Christ may be preached. Notice our text now in view…

“And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”

Php 1:14-18

I don’t require that everyone in the world agree with me but in looking at our text, though I cannot say that those who preached Christ of contention were lost men, I do not believe that they were truly called of God to preach the word of God. I do know, however, that God did not lead them to preach in contention, though He did allow it. This is just one more way to know if a preacher is truly of God or not. And still, look at Paul’s attitude toward this. He did not leap to the defense of himself or his preaching, and he did not let this get him down. He was rejoicing that even these contentious preachers were preaching Christ. And Paul also knew that this would be to his great benefit. Notice verse 19 now…

“For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,”

Php 1:19

Isn’t that an amazing statement! Paul was rejoicing and was walking his Christian walk in earnest expectation that God was going to get him out of this prison soon. Look at just what he was telling us.

Here in America, we have the freedom of religion. Our religious liberty is a precious thing and should be protected. In our day many are foolishly seeking to abolish this religion or that. Many Christians have devoted their lives to fighting this religion or that. It is only right that the church be taught the truth about false teachings and false religions, but the world is going to hell in need of the gospel. Today the devil has so much falsehood in the world, that many of the greatest preachers of truth are so busy fighting these cults and debating with them, arguing with them, contending with them, that the Gospel “Christ” is rarely being preached. Most of the argument is over textual matters that are not matters at all where salvation is concerned. May God help us to get to the point that we see Paul at here, and one day maybe we will be able to rejoice in the abundance of the Christ-centered preaching that will be going on. Leave the false teachers alone. Let the blind lead the blind, cast not your pearls before swine. Educate the people of God to the truth and give the lost world the gospel. That is what they need. The gospel! And remember, as long as they have this freedom that they enjoy to preach their lies and falsehood, though we hate it, we know that we have the freedom to preach the truth as we know it. We must be careful that we do not lose sight of the fact that we are to preach the gospel to every creature, not to argue over things that the lost won’t understand anyway. Paul knew they were exercising their right to speak and be heard and Paul knew that this would work out to his own salvation. He was not talking about his standing in the eyes of God but his condition here in the world. He knew that his circumstances were about to change. His earnest expectation was that God was going to use these circumstances to save him from this prison. Notice the following verses.

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.”

Php 1:20-26

Paul knew that this was going to work out for his good. He knew that he was soon to be free from this prison from which he was writing and that he would be among his friends at Philippi once again. Rome allowed the people religious freedom because they knew that this made for a stronger empire. Paul knew this and understood this and knew that it was going to work out for his own good. Though he may suffer religious persecution he had an earnest expectation of good things from God. And this earnest expectation was not just that of an eternal home in heaven, but of deliverance from his current circumstance. We should not lose sight of the truth that our God is the true God and is still able in this life to deliver us from whatever harm might befall, if it at all be His will to do so.

III. God will deliver from The Hands of The World…

Of course we know that Paul was in prison when he wrote this epistle. We also know that he thought little of anything that he might suffer. We have his attitude toward suffering grandly displayed in looking at what he said concerning our “light affliction”. And this is the man that suffered all that list of things in 2Corinthians 11:25-30…

“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.”

2Co 11:23-33

In light of all that we suffer, in light of all that we face, we must remember to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”; and what kind of mind was that, What is the mindset that we should have in our trials and troubles in this life? Consider Him, that He endured the cross, despising the shame, for the joy that was set before Him. We should remember what God is doing for us and what we have to look forward too. It also helps to remind ourselves of what God has already done. Imagine the comfort that Paul had in the remembrance of the trials that God had already brought him through. Those verses that we just read are part of Paul’s testimony. What a thought when we face trials, to think of all that God has already done for us. We should know that He is not weaker now than He was in the past, and He will yet deliver us.

We must learn to earnestly expect that God will deliver, He will see to our needs, He will be here, He will not leave us comfortless in this world.

When things look dark, look toward the horizon and hang on. “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

It is not carelessness, nor is it a lack of respect, that the child of the Living God may earnestly expect the loving care and help of their father in this life. Just as we have expected the care of our earthly fathers and the provision for our needs here. We can and should expect that our Heavenly Father shall see to our needs, and much more so. Praise God! We can live our lives with the earnest expectation provision in our time of need.

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My Earnest Expectation

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