Summary: Message of hope. The hope that sustains us through rough times and keeps us focused on the things of Christ.
As we get closer to the Christmas season, in the 2nd week of Advent, we must stay focused on Jesus.
All the distractions only put Jesus on the outside looking in on our Christmas instead of us looking in on Jesus and the true reason of Christmas.
Last week we looked at the angels in the field, announcing with joy the “Good News.”
That Good News was Jesus Christ birth and the redemption that would be available to man.
We saw that though it was good news, it would not be good news to everyone.
It will only be good news to those that respond and follow Christ.
This morning I want to look at hope.
Maybe you’re here this morning and you could use some uplifting words of encouragement.
Maybe you need the comfort of God to embrace you and your family or you and your circumstance.
Biblical hope is more than wishy-washy “hope everything will turn out okay.”
Hope in the Bible isn’t an act, it is a person. That person is Jesus Christ!
You take Christ out of Christmas and all you have is mass chaos of present buying and busyness.
In a word to the exiled Jews- God says through Jeremiah 29:11-
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Not only does God say you have hope, but you have a future.
Not only will He be there now, but He will be there in the future.
We race through that text- take it in context.
God is telling the Jews and us that He will keep His promises.
He will draw them/us back to Himself.
If we respond, He promises to draw close to us.
When you pray, God will listen.
You will seek me and find me when you come to me whole heartedly.
Proverbs tells us that an evil man (those away from Christ) have no future.
1 Peter 1:3-1:7 Text
That is not a usual Christmas verse. Like I said before, you cannot separate the manger and the cross.
The mercy shown us by God offering us a new birth, a born-again experience is the living hope.
Hope in the midst of turmoil.
Hope in the midst of suffering.
Hope in what seems hopeless.
The hope Christ offers is not wishy-washy, but a firm conviction, much like faith that is directed toward the future.
God’s hope which is not based upon the here and now, but on the promises of God for the future.
Christians today in the USA are only beginning to see what the apostles and what other Christians are living around the world. It is not legal to kill a person in the US for being a Christian. You will not draw a crowd enjoying the beating of person for being a Christian. For that you would have to go to some of these other countries around the world. To understand hardship, suffering, you would need to go to elsewhere in the world and stand in the square and call yourself a Christian.
Dr. Tony Evans
We have lasting hope through the salvation we have in Christ. Hope means that even when it looks like it is over, it is not over yet. That is why the Bible says we can rejoice even in our tribulation. God is working in our hard times to produce proven character and hope in us.
Before Jesus came to this earth in the flesh, God seemed distant.
God seemed hidden in the Holy Temples and available to only the High Priest.
People wondered if their sacrifice was accepted. They doubted their salvation.
“May your unfailing love rest upon us, O’ Lord, even as we put our hope in you”
My purpose this morning is to show how Christ coming gives us hope. The God of the universe comes to Earth for you and me.
My aim is that you embrace, rejoice, and respond to that hope that is in Christ.
“Hope is something as important to us as water is to a fish, as vital as electricity is to a light bulb, and as essential as air to a jumbo jet. Hope is basic to life, without that needed spark, we are doomed to the dark, grim existence. Take away our hope, and our world is reduced to something between depression and despair.”
The Christmas story is familiar to us- think about this.
The great thing about the Christmas story is that God did something about our hopelessness.
Over 2000 years ago, God sent an angel Gabriel to a family praying for a son though they were much too old and had failed to do it on their own.