Tuttle Sermon: Brokenness That Leads To Hope

I have really struggled to put all this into words.  Perhaps it is because I am still wrestling with it myself and that it is not yet settled with me.  So, if this sermon sounds a little rough around the edges, it is from the limitations of the presenter and not in any way from the text.

What is my struggle?  Two things.  
One, if we are to be made whole, we must be willing to be broken.  
Two, If we ever want to find hope, we must be willing to suffer.


Where in the Bible did I get these two concepts?  

First Scripture:  Luke 20:17-18
But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

2nd Scripture Romans 5:3-5
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.

These Scriptures tell me two things.  One, if we are to be made whole, we must be willing to be broken.  Two, If we ever want to find hope, we must be willing to suffer.

Let us pray.


You might be wondering, why is this a struggle for me.  Well, I want to encourage people through God’s Word and preaching on brokenness and suffering seem a long way from that purpose.

With all that is going on in our world today, I imagine that people are already fully aware of brokenness and suffering.  So why would I take you there?

I believe that the Lord has led me to this place.  It seems, He wants to preach this sermon first to me and in the struggle I can share with you what I have learned.


First Scripture:  Luke 20:17-18
But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

Jesus lays out 2 options for humanity:  Be broken by falling on the stone of Christ Jesus or be pulverized and scattered by having the Stone of Christ Jesus fall on you.  

There are no other options.  Jesus makes it very clear.  Brokenness is not an option.  The first option is a voluntary surrender to Christ.  The second option is an involuntary Judgement from Christ.  That does not sound very hopeful, does it?  And yet, this is the Good News of the Gospel.

What?  Brokenness is good news????  Yes, it is wonderful news when we consider what gets broken.

Falling on the stone of Christ is going to break many things into pieces.
A stubborn heart…..broken
Anger and resentment…..broken
Guilt and shame…..broken
Fear and hopelessness…..broken
Regrets of the past…..broken
Anxiety over the future…...broken
Desire for revenge….broken
The Hurt from rejection and betrayal of those closest to me…..broken
The pain from my own failures….broken
The sense that I must be in control to be content…...broken
False pride from my own delusion…...broken
Using my accomplishments to cover my sense of worthlessness….broken
Wanting to be my own god…...broken


And that is just the start of my list…...i could keep adding to it…...your list will probably be different than mine

If you choose the first option, falling on the Stone of Christ Jesus, you will be broken to pieces.  All that is false and all that is against the goodness and love of God will be broken.  Listen to me….this is so important.  We must be broken to be free from the bondage of sin and death.  The breaking of ourselves is our rescue and salvation.  All the things that are broken and removed will be replaced with the good things that are found in Christ.

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness


Yes, we will be broken, but we will be made whole again.  We are not broken just to be broken.  We are broken so we can be made whole.  We are broken so we can be free to live in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness.

This is the first option.  It is a choice we are free to make.  Brokenness for Redemption.

The second option is far too awful to consider:  Brokenness for Judgement

Instead of falling on Christ Jesus and willingly surrendering to His Will and Purpose….instead of being broken to be made whole.  To refuse to surrender means that He will break you in judgement.  There is no redemption in this brokenness.  Since you chose to hold on to sin and death there is only destruction for you…...you will be broken and crushed beyond repair.  Why?  Because sin leads to death.  The justice of God demands it.  In your own heart you know this is true.

Luke 20:17-18
But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

God’s Word demands a response.  Will you choose to be broken for redemption or to be broken in judgement?
 
The reason I spent so much time on the first scripture is you cannot get to the second scripture without first surrendering to Christ Jesus and being broken for redemption.  The next scripture is only for the redeemed.  

Those who choose to live apart from the redemption of Christ have no hope.  There are no encouraging words for you if you are unwilling to surrender to Jesus.

So, what happens after we are broken to be made whole again in Christ Jesus?

2nd Scripture Romans 5:3-5
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.

OK, I know that sounds awful doesn’t it.  We get to be broken so we can begin suffering in tribulation.  That does not sound like good news…..until we consider the result of the suffering.

Remember, brokenness by falling on the Stone of Christ Jesus leads to Redemption.  Suffering in Christ Jesus leads to hope.

This is so hard for me to explain and I want to make sure I make this clear.

The redemption in Christ Jesus is both a finished work and a process.  The finished work is that all who call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.  

Romans 10:9-10 (NASB)
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Salvation and Redemption in Christ Jesus is a finished work for all believers.  Once you have been brought from death in sin to life in Christ Jesus, you are a new creation.  You don’t have to be saved again and again.  This is a finished work.

However, there is still a process that must continue for those who are in Christ Jesus.  This process does not save anyone.  Salvation is a finished work.  Suffering proves our faith genuine.  Now this does not prove anything to God.  He does not allow us to suffer so He can validate our salvation.

No, He allows us to suffer so we can be assured that our faith in Christ is real.  Our suffering gives us proof that our salvation is real.

2nd Scripture Romans 5:3-5
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.

Tribulation is one of those religious words that can easily be confused or misused.  Here is what it means.

The word, Tribulation, as used in Romans 5:3 comes from the Greek Word Thlipsis.
Thlipsis is defined as:

properly, pressure (what constricts or rubs together), used of a narrow place that "hems someone in"; tribulation, especially internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined (restricted, "without options").  Internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined.  

When I read that for the first time, I knew I was onto something.  We have been in lockdown since Mid March.  Does it not seem like we are all being confined and restricted?  Don’t we all feel ‘Hemmed In”?

Again, when I saw the definition, I knew I had to preach about it.  Now, I do not want us to confuse tribulation with wrath.  Christian tribulation is much like the brokenness that comes from falling on the Stone of Christ Jesus.  Brokenness in Christ Jesus produces Redemption.  Tribulation in Christ Jesus produces Hope.

And just like those who refuse to surrender to Jesus will be broken in judgement, they will also experience the wrath of God in which they will suffer without hope.

Just to review, Romans 5:3-5 is written to believers in Christ Jesus.  Only believers in Jesus can find hope.  Now to the process.

*Tribulation brings about Perseverance
Followers of Jesus are in a marathon, not a sprint.  We are not tossed to and fro.  Just like when we are broken, it is Jesus who puts us back together.  When we suffer, we are given perseverance by His Holy Spirit.  Since we did not save ourselves….Salvation is the finished work of Christ Jesus.  So also, we do not persevere in our own strength.  Through suffering, we are carried along by Almighty God.


*Perseverance brings about proven character
Our perseverance in tribulation does not prove anything to God.  He already knows we are saved.  Our perseverance in tribulation proves who we are in Christ to ourselves.  We know that we know.

I think character refers to who we really are inside.  It’s the person we see looking back at us in the mirror.  Our true self.  

Why must our character be proven to ourselves?  Anyone saved by faith in Christ has been set free from sin and death.  However, there are still things in our lives that must be burned away through suffering.  This is not to save us, but to free us from the sin that so easily entangles.

Hebrews 12:1
let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

I think if God revealed to us all our sin at the moment of salvation we would die from the shock.  Almighty God in His great mercy and patience gradually shows us the sins that are still causing us pain.  This is the process...the daily walk….becoming more and more like Jesus….each trial healing the wounds of our failures.  

In tribulation, the believer in Christ experiences a proven character.  A character that can not be shaken.  An identity that is tried and true.

*Proven Character Leads To Hope
This is the most difficult part for me to explain.  I still don’t quite understand this but I know it is true because God said it.

Let me restate the process.  Tribulation (suffering) brings about perseverance because we discover we don’t have to rely on our own strength.  We persevere through hard times because the Holy Spirit of God carries us.  It is His strength and not ours.  Perseverance leads to proven character because as we are carried along through the hard times, our true self emerges.  Each difficulty the enemy throws at us becomes turned around and used for our good and His glory.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  As we become more like Him, we grow in our confidence.  Not in our strength or any good thing we have done.  We grow in our confidence that the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross is all we need for salvation.  Jesus is our provider and our deliverer.  He is all we need.  

The refiner’s fire does not create precious metal.  No, it burns away the impurities to reveal the precious metal that was already there.  Proven character shows us more clearly who we are in Christ by burning away the impurities that tarnish who we really are.

This proven character leads to hope.
I have finally arrived at the goal of this sermon.  I want to leave you with this hope.

Who we are in Christ Jesus is revealed and proven to us through suffering and perseverance.  Through the process of tribulation, we become more aware of how bad we really were before salvation.  As these false things are burned away, we become more aware of the kindness and mercy of God.

As we see more clearly who we were in our sin, we grow in our understanding of how helpless we were to save ourselves and how unworthy we were to receive such a wonderful gift.

This process of tribulation burns away our false pride and brings us closer to true humility.  Which reveals to us the love of Christ.

Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  This is so wonderful.  I’ll try to explain.

The gift is not like the trespass.  What we give up in exchange for what we receive is totally lopsided.

I give Jesus my pain and He gives me joy
I give Jesus my fear and He give me peace
I give Jesus my failure and He gives me love
I give Jesus all the things that were destroying me and He give me life

Through this process of tribulation, God pours out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.  He pours out His love.  God is not stingy.  God is not a miser.  God fills our hearts with His love until we overflow.

I still don’t know how this leads to hope.  Maybe it is because we know that nothing will separate us from His love.  Maybe it is because we know He will carry us through any hard time.  Maybe it is because we know there is a wonderful future for us when we are with Christ Jesus.  Maybe it is because we are so thankful for what Christ did for us.  Maybe it is because Jesus has become a real person and not just an idea.  Jesus is more than our thoughts.

I don’t know why proven character leads to hope.  I just know that it does.  I also know there is no other way to hope than through suffering.  Faith that is untested is worthless.

1 Peter 1:7
so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

We are coming to the end of this sermon, but just the beginning of our understanding.  So much more could be said.  So much more remains to be discovered.  Nevertheless, at least we have seen enough to press on further.  I have said many things.  Please test my words with the Word of God.

Luke 20:17-18
But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone’?
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”

Romans 5:3-5
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

If we are to be made whole, we must be willing to be broken.  
If we ever want to find hope, we must be willing to suffer.

Philippians 3:7-9 (NASB)
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

Amen
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