Hope, First Sunday in Advent
Sermon shared by Dale Miller
Summary: This was the first Sunday in Advent, we lit the first candle, Hope.
Denomination: Christian/Church of Christ
Audience: General adults
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DEC. 3, 2006, FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT, HOPE-PROPHECY
4So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
TODAY IS THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT. WE WILL LIGHT EACH OF THE FOUR CANDLES, AND ON CHRISTMAS EVE, WE WILL LIGHT THE FIFTH AND FINAL CANDLE. EACH CANDLE HAS MEANING. EACH REMINDS US OF A CERTAIN ASPECT OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON.
TODAY, WE HAVE ALREADY LIT THE FIRST CANDLE. IT REPRESENTS TWO THINGS FOR US. IT REPRESENTS THE PROPHECY, AND THE HOPE. THE TWO GO HAND IN HAND WITH EACH OTHER.
I WAS A SENIOR IN HS, I WAS THE ONLY ONE OF THE THREE OF US THAT HAD A CAR, SO WHEN WE WENT I DROVE. IT WAS BASKETBALL SEASON, AND WE WENT TO THE GAME. CHS WAS BEING BEATEN SOUNDLY BY THE OTHER TEAM, LOSING BY MORE THAN 10 POINTS IN THE 4TH QUARTER. MY FRIENDS WERE SAYING, THIS GAME IS OVER, LETS GO. BUT I REFUSED. THEY WERE GETTING MAD, B/C I WAS SETTING THRU A HOPELESS GAME, AND THEY THOUGHT WE COULD BE DOING SOMETHING BETTER WITH OUR TIME. WE SET THRU TO THE BITTER END. THEY DIDN’T GET IT. I EXPLAINED.
MY DAD ALWAYS TAUGHT ME, WHEN YOU GO TO A GAME YOU STAY FOR THE GAME. ONE OF HIS FAVORITE EXPRESSIONS WAS, I HAVE SEEN SICKER DOGS GET BETTER.
THIS WHOLE DISCUSSION OF HOPE IS ONE THAT EVERY ONE OF US CAN IDENTIFY WITH IN SOME REGARDS. HOW MANY TIMES THIS PAST WEEK DID YOU SAY THE WORDS, I HOPE. I HOPE I DO WELL ON THIS TEST. I HOPE THE RESULTS ARE GOOD. I HOPE I HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO MEET THIS OBLIGATION. WE HANG ON THOSE WORDS, I HOPE.
THE TWO WORDS THAT ARE PROBABLY THE MOST DREADED IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARE, NO HOPE. MY NEPHEW DOVE INTO SHALLOW WATER, BROKE HIS NECK AND DROWNED. THEY MANAGED TO GET HIM TO THE HOSPITAL AND GOT HIS HEART STARTED, AND WITH THE AID OF ALL THE MACHINES THEY COULD SUSTAIN, “LIFE”. WE ASKED THE DOCTOR, WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? HIS RESPONSE WAS, “THERE IS NO HOPE.” THOSE WERE THE WORDS NONE OF US WANTED TO HEAR.
NOW LETS TIE THIS TOGETHER WITH OUR FIRST CANDLE. THE HOPE PROPHECY CANDLE. IN THE BEGINNING, GOD CREATED ADAM AND EVE. HE PUT THEM IN THE GARDEN AND EVERYTHING WAS GOOD. ALL THEIR NEEDS WERE MET. THEY NEVER AGED. THEY WALKED WITH GOD. PERFECT FELLOWSHIP. THE WORD HOPE WAS NON-EXISTENT. THEY DIDN’T HOPE THAT THEY WOULD HAVE ENOUGH OF THIS OR THAT , B/C ALL THOSE THINGS WERE PROVIDED BY THE HAND OF GOD. THEY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND NO HOPE OR HOPELESS EITHER. EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT.
THEN THE EVIL ONE RAISED HIS NASTY HEAD. HE TEMPTED EVE, AND SAID, IF YOU EAT YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD. SHE ATE AND THEN SHE CONVINCED ADAM TO EAT AS WELL. THEY VIOLATED GODS ONLY LAW FOR THEM IN THE GARDEN. THEY SINNED. THEY WERE NAKED AND ASHAMED. THEY WERE GUILTY. GOD PUT THEM OUT OF THE PERFECT GARDEN, AND THEY HAD TO TOIL WITH THEIR HANDS. THE Y HAD TO WORK. THE PHYSICAL ASPECT OF DYING BEGAN TO TAKE PLACE. NOW THEY WERE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN, AND THE WORD HOPE CAME. THEY SAID, I HOPE WE CAN GET BACK IN THERE, I HOPE WE CAN ONCE AGAIN WALK WITH GOD.
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