Summary: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” Rom 15:13.
Theme: Hope for the lost world
Text: Is. 11:1-10; Rom. 15:4-13; Matt. 3:1-12
Today is the 2nd Sunday of Advent, a time when most Christians are preparing to celebrate the coming of Christ. It is a time when many people are confronted with various problems that result from the pressure to please loved ones or the consequences of wrong decisions and actions. It is often about money, sickness or the loss of a loved one. It is also, very often, the result of the widespread wickedness in the world today. Greed has become the determining factor in our behaviour and actions and we are no longer concerned about the evil consequences of our actions. I recently saw a friend and was surprised at his appearance and the amount of weight he had lost. It was not the result of an illness but the result of a beating he was subjected to at the hands of armed robbers. Such events make us better understand why “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10) to bring hope for the lost world.
The source of hope for the lost world is the Word of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. (John 1:14) He fulfilled the prophecies about the Messiah’s virgin birth in a manger in Bethlehem. He was of the lineage of David, filled with the Spirit of the LORD, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. He fulfilled the prophecies about the Messiah’s death, burial and resurrection. The source of hope for the lost world is the victory of Christ over Satan and sin. Jesus Christ, the righteous Son of God, came to reveal the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and God’s judgment on sin. His death established His victory over Satan and sin for “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23) and “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin”. (Hebrews 9:22) The source of hope for the lost world is the power and authority of Christ. When Jesus Christ defeated Satan He reclaimed the power and authority he had stolen and gave it back to man. He has given every believer “authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy”. (Luke 10:19)
Jesus Christ “was tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sin”. (Heb. 4:15) He qualified as the perfect sacrifice for sin to redeem mankind from destruction. Jesus Christ did what the Law was not capable of doing. The Law was given to point out and reveal sin but lacked the ability to deal with sin. This is why when God gave the Law He made provision to atone for sin by the shedding of the blood of sacrificed animals. Under the Old Covenant, a person who had sinned was required to bring his sacrificial offering to the priest. He would lay his hands on the offering; confess his sin that is then transferred to the animal. In a similar way the pureness of the lamb is transferred to the one offering the sacrifice. Since the wages of sin is death, the one offering the sacrifice then kills the animal to pay the penalty for the sin that had been transferred to it. In the foreknowledge of God, all this was designed to foreshadow what was to be accomplished by Christ. It was a prophetic forecast of the saving, redemptive work that Christ would accomplish for us by the shedding of His blood. No sinner can come into the presence of a Holy God. When Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness our past, present, and future sins were all forgiven. Jesus Christ has paid the full price for our sin.
Believers have a message of hope for the lost world. Unbelievers need to hear the good news that Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for sin. They need to hear about God’s love and faithfulness and understand the meaning of His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. The message to the lost is a message of forgiveness. They need to hear that Christ, who was without sin and had never sinned, was made sin with the sin of the whole world, past, present and future to pay the price for their forgiveness. Because of the blood of Christ “God will be merciful towards our iniquities and will remember our sins no more”. (Heb. 8:12) The message to the lost is a message that God has justified the sinner, just-as-if he had never sinned. Christ shed His blood to pay the penalty for sin so that we do not have to bear the Judgement of God.
The blood of Christ has not only paid the penalty for sin but has also imputed to us the righteousness of Christ.