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Jul 18, 2021

Triple-Header Living

Passage: Romans 12:12

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Romans

Keywords: prayer, hope, faithfulness, trials, perseverance


Paul gives three short, powerful commands in this single verse that hold the potential to turn any difficulty in life into a growth experience.


Triple-Header Living

Romans 12:12

July 18, 2021


INTRO:  Thanks to the generosity of one of our men at Mosaic, Sandy and I got to see Friday night’s Spokane Indian’s Baseball game.  It’s been a while since I’ve been to a baseball game.  This one lasted about 3.5 hours and…and we won against Eugene, 11-4!

Q:  How many of you have ever been to a “double-header” baseball game—two games actually played by the same teams one after the other on the same day? 

Q:  Any idea how long the longest double-header was?  Almost 10 hours (9 hrs., 52 min.)!  It was played in N.Y’s Shea Stadium in 1964 between the N.Y Mets and the San Francisco Giants…before 57, 037 fans!

Q:  Know how many triple-header MLB games there have been in history?  Three—1890, 1891 and 1920…over 100 years ago! 

            So enough of baseball trivia.  This morning’s “triple-header” challenge from Paul is found in Romans 12:12…and I promise it won’t take us 9 hours and 52 minutes to grasp his call… though it may take most of us a lifetime to live it out well.  Let’s read it in context:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

            Our 1st major league triple-header of spiritual character here starts with a call to be “joyful in hope” or “rejoicing in hope” (ESV & NASB). 

That word “hope” is a bit misleading in English.  In the Greek it has more of the sense of “certain expectation about something yet future.”  In the N.T. it is used of everything from the glorious inheritance we have in God’s holy people (Eph. 1:18) to eternal life in glory (Titus 1:2, 3:7) to life in Jesus Christ himself (I Tim. 1:1) and His return (1 Jn. 3:3).  In fact, our God is described by Paul in Romans 15:13 as “the God of hope”.  We could say, “the God of certain expectation about the things future.” 

Neg. ILL:  Waiting for Dad on the curbside in the late afternoon in hopes that we could go to Natatorium Park.  Unfortunately, I think my Mom just sent me to the curb to get me out of the house…and equally unfortunately my “hope” was often disappointed because Dad had not promised to be home in time. 

Pos. ILL:  On the other hand, I remember January 1994 when my parents treated our little-er family to a trip to Orlando’s Disney World.  We had airline tickets, hotel reservations and the promise of my parents that they would meet us at the airport in Orlando.  Andrew was 3, Daniel 6 and Joanna was 8½.  We didn’t tell them where we were going, only that we were taking a trip.  When we arrived in Orland, there were there grandparents waiting in the baggage claim area. 

            That’s one of the reasons I love vacations:  I’m certain they are going to happen and best of all, that expectancy of something special can carry me through months of work or dreary gray winter days in Spokane.  The expectancy of a break, a trip, warmer weather and the like makes life right now lighter. 

            What about something you’re looking forward to in the future energizes you? 

  • A wedding?
  • A degree completion?
  • A new apartment?
  • A road trip or vacation?

Let’s move this to what God wants about the future to make us joyful in the present. 

APP:  Make a list of 3 things you are expecting to experience in the future due to the promises and presence of Jesus Christ in your life today.  (Share.)

  • Growing freedom from sinful habits…and ultimately total freedom from sin, total sanctification. There’s something to shout about!
  • Seeing loved ones who have died in Christ—family, friends, people we’ve poured our lives into.
  • The glory and splendor of God himself
  • …and heaven.
  • The return of Christ to earth.
  • The final judgment.
  • A new resurrected, immortal, glorious body.
  • Meeting saints of old.
  • My eternal home.

God wants us to be positively anticipating things in our future.  He wants us to have multiple reasons every day to be joyful… regardless of what life is dishing out.  This is not a mindless, “Let’s just be happy-happy!”  It has got to be a lot about what and where our expectations lie in life. 

            One of the surest ways to be miserable is to have a lot of unrealistic and unmet expectations.  We set ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment because we build expectations for things God never promised us.  At the same time, we seem to ignore expectations for things God wants us to be happy about

The more my “hopes” or “expectations” about the future rest on things outside of my control and God’s promises, the less joy and rejoicing I’m going to experience in life. 

ILL:  One of my most miserable periods of my life was when we first went to the mission field. I had expectations about a host of things that were out of my control and God hadn’t promised. 

  • I expected to be as fluent in Spanish in a matter of a couple of years as I was in English.
  • I expected to be able to teach and preach effortlessly and freely by the end of the first term.
  • I expected to see people come to Christ more quickly, the church built more easily, the mission team to be more effective, etc.

Sandy, on the other hand, didn’t have those expectations. As a result, she was a lot happier than I was…living in the same apartment, with the same kids, in the same city, in the same country, with the same neighbors, language and coworkers. 

            What are we to be expectantly hopeful about as Christ-followers?  What does God want us to wake up…and fall asleep… being joyfully expectant about?  Listen to a handful of verses that give us some really good direction about that.

  • Romans 5:2—"We boast in the hope of the glory of God.” Since the glory of God is the full experience of all God is, we probably need to give more attention to WHO God is and what it’s going to be like to experience His fullness forever. 

ILL:  When I was engaged to Sandy, I rejoiced in the sure expectation that from August 20th, 1982 on, I was going to get to experience her as my wife, every day, until death will us part.  The hope of that future filled my mind and heart every day.  I couldn’t believe that this gorgeous, happy, intelligent, godly Assyrian woman was going to be my wife to enjoy for the rest of life!  I’d only been acquainted with her for 4 years.  But that was enough to make me a joy-filled, rejoicing 25-year old at the prospect of one day marrying her. 

APP:  Some of us may have only know Jesus for 5 months, others for 5 years, others for 50.  But what we know of Him here is more than enough to make us super-happy about spending eternity with Him at close range, all day, every day…forever.  In a world full of people in whom we admire different components of the beauty of the image of God, it shouldn’t be that hard to fix our affections and hopes more and more upon God himself and the glory, the splendor, the beauty that will overwhelm us when we see Him face to face in all His glory. 

            To have “hope/expectation of the glory of God” himself is to look forward expectantly to the wedding of the Lamb, to “Christ Jesus our hope,” as Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:1. 

  • The “hope of eternal life.” Twice in Titus (1:2 & 3:7) Paul  speaks about the “hope of eternal life” which God has promised to we who know Jesus as Savior and Lord. 

Q:  What about “eternal life” are you really looking forward to?

  • No sickness.
  • No fatigue.
  • No pain.
  • No sorrow.
  • No separation.
  • No misunderstandings.
  • No sin.
  • No misplaced priorities.
  • No bad choices
  • No death.


  • Joy unbounded
  • Clear thinking
  • Sound logic
  • Pure motives
  • Loving desires
  • Strength
  • Health
  • Amazing banquets
  • Friendships unparalleled and unbroken
  • Perfect family
  • Constant learning
  • Artistic capacity
  • Unimaginably beautiful music
  • Colors I’ve never seen

“Rejoicing in hope” of all that God has promised to us and staked his reputation on is not that hard to obey.  But it will mean that we need to change what we think about, dwell on and hope for in the future. 

Say it with me:  “Be joyful in hope….”

The “2nd Major League Game” we’re called to engage in is to “Be…patient in affliction.” 

Now any command that has the word “patient” in it is already a rather big challenge for most of us, right?

ILL:  If you’ve seen the animated movie “Zootopia”, you can’t forget the scene at the DMV.