Summary: This sermon focuses upon the hope found in Jesus Christ
Look around you today. Can you believe it Christmas is coming? And it will be here before you know it. And like most years it will come fast and go fast, but this year, why not take the time to reflect upon the question: What is this day truly all about?
Over the next few weeks leading up to Christmas, I want us all to reflect upon the awesome miracle that happened in that stable 2000 years ago, and how it still effects us today. Stripping away like a painter or carpenter all that covers its true beauty.- Hopefully finding underneath all the layers of man made ideas- The true meaning of Christmas and in discovering this meaning, we will be directed towards the hope that is found only in Jesus Christ. .
I recently read a story of self-made millionaire Eugene Land, who greatly changed the lives of a sixth-grade class in East Harlem. Mr. Lang had been asked to speak to a class of 59 sixth-graders. What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would drop out of school? He wondered how he could get these predominantly black and Puerto Rican children even to look at him. Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. "Stay in school," he admonished, "and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you." At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope. One student said, "I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling." Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.
Friends, Hope is an amazing thing. Hope can transform a life with no meaning into a life that is full of purpose and direction.
With this question and thought in mind turn with me in your bible to the central reason for our hope John chapter 3 beginning in verse16
In this one verse John 3:16 the entire gospel message is unveiled. God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to us that we might have a hope. The hope being that through Jesus we have the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven with Him.
In that tiny manger lay a baby, Christ, our Lord, our peace, and our hope. A hope that is offered to all. A hope that is offered right now to You and to me. A hope that transcends time that reaches back to our past, touches our present, and reaches out to our future. A hope that transforms.
This gift of hope reaches back to our past
When Jesus shed his blood for us upon that cross 2,000 years ago, he died for all your sins past, present, and future. Many of you sitting here are haunted by your past. Living with guilt, regret, anger, jealousy, you name it. The past clouds your present and blocks your future. This Christmas, Jesus wants to offer to you Hope. A Hope that things can be different, A Hope that you can let go of… you fill in the blank, hope that you can forgive, A hope that despite the past, Jesus stills loves you and he still died for you. A hope that says Jesus’s love for you never changes. He loves you just as much when you in the biggest mess or when you are doing good. His love for you never changes. The holy spirit can enter into your deepest hurts and bring healing.
But healing only comes when you stop denying and start accepting the hand of God into your pain.
1 Peter 1:3 says, “Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on.”
In your bibles Circle the words “new life” and “hope”. That is what Jesus wants to do for you. To offer to you a Living hope.
Paul prays for this for us in Ephesians 1:18 listen to what it says: “You will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us”
I have shared this illustration many times with you, but it fits perfectly here. In Texas I had a friend named Rickey. Rickey was still haunted by memories of abuse as a child. Rickey shared that these memories had held him hostage for many years until one day Jesus entered into those memories and healed him.
Rickey shared that as a child while abuse was going on he would run to the corners of his room placing a hand on each side of the wall. It was here that Rickey felt safe. As a adult after asking Jesus to heal these memories and laying them at the feet of Jesus, Jesus answered his prayer. Rickey said that while in the shower, God gave him a picture of Rickey running as a child to the corner of his room, but this time in the corner was Jesus standing there with a long flowing robe. Rickey saw himself running straight into the outstretched arms of Jesus and then the robe covered him. It was here the Holy Spirit entered into his memory changing it forever. The Holy spirit wants to do that for you today. To heal your pain, To help you forgive either yourself or someone else, to give you fresh perspective on a life long lived under the shadow of pain and suffering. Today choose to open your eyes and let the hope that comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, transform your past.