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Kill Hope



Wrapping up our Call on Heaven collection of talks, Ben Stuart reminds us that many of the good gifts in life make for bad gods. If we desire to live a life devoted to the Lord, we must abandon the hope we put in vices and temporary fixes and turn towards a God who is waiting to save us.

Key Takeaway

God is not shaming you for wanting life or other good things, He will press shame where you are seeking that in the wrong things. He has objectively shown us that we can place our hope in Him and find true life.

This series has been about what it is to be a spiritual person and be a people of prayer. Desperation causes us to enter into the Presence of the King. Desire is what causes us to linger there. The direction we move is always towards people and them coming to know Jesus.

What determines whether or not we engage in this practice of prayer?

Destruction. Something has to die for this kind of life to live.

Kill hope. You will have to kill the hope you have in certain strategies and paths to open you up to better ones. Hope is confidence in a good outcome.

You don't have to abandon your hope in a desired outcome, but you do need to evaluate your current strategy of where you're going to find life. If we truly want to have life, meaning, purpose, and satisfaction in God, then we have to lose some hope in our current strategy because it's not going to get us to where we want to be.

Isaiah 30:1-5. Assyria is coming to take out Jerusalem. King Hezekiah knows they won't be able to withstand it. A group of people wanted to go to ask Egypt to save them. Isaiah warns them not to go because they will receive shame, not life.

Isaiah 30:12-14. Isaiah says, you think that Egypt will be a protective wall, but it's going to collapse in on you, leaving nothing behind. What they were putting their hope in would not save them.

Isaiah 30:15-18. Herein lies the benefit of despair. He doesn't shame them for having a desire for hope and wanting to be saved. He shames them for putting their hope in the wrong strategy.

So what do they need to do? They had to kill hope in the strategy they were using. It's in the returning that the Lord will give rest and strength, quietness, and trust. He is waiting on them to wait on Him. They need to repent. Repentance is abandoning the way of life, way of thinking, the way that you're following something else that you believe will lead you to life. You have to abandon and lose hope in that. Only when you lose hope in insufficient saviors does it open you up to trust in the sufficient Savior.

When does God really move in a person's life or a group of people? It always starts with repentance. When you realize you've been living in a lie that cannot bring you life and turn from it, that's when revival takes place. Jesus said it like this; if you want to save your life, you'll lose it. If you lose your life, you'll find it. See Matthew 16:25. He's not shaming you for wanting to live; he's shaming you for what you are using to get there. Good gifts can be bad gods.

Once you die to what you thought gave you worth, value, and significance; you'll experience real life. In Christianity, life begins in tombs. When you kill your hope in the wrong things, you'll truly live. In Jeremiah 2:12-13, He doesn't shame the people for having thirst; God shames them for forsaking Him and going to a different cistern.

Romans 6:21. What benefit do you get from the things you thought would bring you life, but are now ashamed of? Evaluate that strategy. It's not bringing you life.

What is a functional savior? Alcohol, drugs, and sex are all examples of things that don't bring you life, but instead, enslave you. What is it costing you? They will always take more than they give.

Recovery ministries begin at the point where you admit you are powerless, your life is unmanageable, and your current strategies are not working. It begins in despair. That's where the Christian mission starts. You can't fix yourself, you can't save yourself, you can't meet the standard, so look to the one who can.

When you ask if there is another option other than your functional savior, God answers that He has been waiting to help you. Going back to Isaiah, Egypt couldn't save them; God saved them. Only when we lose hope in the wrong thing, do we open ourselves up to the possibility of a solid hope in the true thing. You don't need to give up hope in life, just put it in the right place.

False hope is a fun term. It shows there can be two sides. The subject aspect of hope is that you want something good in the future. It's emotional content. The objective element is the solid objective reason to believe good is coming. An example would be, "Hope has arrived" which implies that that if you were in trouble, an objective hope that someone bigger than your problem just showed up.

Hope is a subjective sense of confidence built on objective reality.

If you have hope, but no solid objective reasons, then you simply have a wish.

We are looking for hope in the places we can't find it. The Christian message is to abandon hope and replace it.

What gives you any confidence that hope in Jesus is a good outcome? He said to lose your life to find it. In death, you find life. You may think that sounds crazy. So Jesus showed us. He went to the Cross and objectively died on it; he's objectively buried in a tomb; he objectively rolled the stone away. Then He objectively walked out, He objectively showed up to 500 people. He had them touch His side; He ate with them to prove He was objectively resurrected. Death was not the end for Him. It won't be the end for you, and He is coming back for you. Jesus wants you to put your subjective hope in an objective reality that He beat death and used death as an instrument to life, and He'll do it for you.

In Revelation 2:4-5, the Ephesians are discussed. We can take to heart what they were warned of. You may be doing some good things, but you have forgotten your first love. Repent and return to doing the work you did at first. In Acts 19-18-19 we see that when the gospel made it to Ephesus, they removed all of their insufficient gods. Before they started on a new journey with Jesus, they burned the bridge of their old life. They killed the hope of false saviors to walk with the real One.

God waits to be gracious to you. He's not shaming you, He wants to be near you and show you He is the better way leading to life.


"You must not confuse faith that you'll prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose, with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever it might be."

Admiral Jim Stockdale

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Scripture References

  • Isaiah 30:1-5,12-8
  • Jeremiah 2:12-13
  • Romans 6:21
  • Revelation 2:4-5
  • Acts 19:18-19
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.