Summary: What does the Bible mean when it says that Jesus Christ is our "hope"?
Isaiah 9:2-7 “Hope That Does Not Disappoint”
Intro—It’s hard to believe that it is December already, isn’t it? I guess I’m just used to Thanksgiving being earlier in the month, and you have an extra week or so to get ready for Christmas, but here we are, just 24 days from the Lord’s birthday. And as we worship during these four Sundays, I want us to really bring into focus just what the coming of the Messiah, the Christ-child, that we celebrate on Christmas, means to each of us—and I want to do that by spending this week and the next three examining four words that we often use in connection with Jesus—words that are short, yet powerful; simple, yet full of meaning...and words that we may just not think about enough as we use them every day.
Those four words are hope, peace, joy and love...four little words, sixteen letters in all, words we use casually...and when we use them, we assume we know what we are talking about, but if we were asked to define them, I think we might spend quite a bit of time coming to agreement on their meanings.
But if we take the time to look and to understand, the Scriptures can show us clearly what these words mean, or should mean, to us as Christians. The word “hope” is one that we use in a very different way than it is used in the Bible, for instance...when we say we have “hope” about something we usually mean that there is no certainty that what we “hope” will or won’t happen—we’re just expressing a preference for one outcome over another. “Hope” in the Bible, however, has quite a different meaning...in I Timothy 1:1, the apostle Paul says Jesus Himself is our Hope, and in Romans 5:5, he says that the Hope that we have does not disappoint, because it is grounded in Jesus Christ...so the Bible teaches that our “hope” is not just a preference for a future outcome, but an assurance that what God has promised will come to pass.
So, what is our “hope” as we come into the Christmas season? What are we assured of by God’s Word? If you’re not there already, turn with me to Isaiah Chapter 9, verses 2-7, and I want to begin by looking at verse 6, as we discover the Hope of Christmas…Verse 6 says that a Child would be born whose name would be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace...The Child described here is Jesus, the Hope of every man, woman and child living today, and so if we come to a better understanding of who He is, we will have a better understanding of the Hope we have in Him.
I. First, Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor—I believe this aspect of our Hope is described back in verse 2 of Isaiah Chapter 9, in which Isaiah says the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light...a counselor is someone who, by imparting their greater wisdom and experience to us, can lead us out of darkness and confusion into light, out of danger into safety...whether we’re talking about school counseling, or job counseling, or marriage counseling, or any other kind of counseling, we mean that we are relying on the person doing the counseling to apply expertise to a situation and bring light into a situation that is dark to us...that’s what Jesus does, He brings light into our darkness and guides us.
But notice that He is not just another counselor...He is the Wonderful Counselor—Does Isaiah say the people needed help with their jobs, or their school situation or their relationships? No! He says in verse 2 that these counselees “dwelt in the land of the shadow of death.” They are not just walking through the valley of the shadow of death as the Psalmist says in Psalm 23, they are living in the land of death...and yet the Wonderful Counselor brings light to their land, and guides them into life...so the first aspect of our sure hope is that we have a Wonderful Counselor able to lead us from death unto life and light.
II. Secondly, our hope is a Mighty God...A God who does more for us than we could ever hope or expect...in verse 3, Isaiah tells us this about the Mighty God…”You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; they rejoice before You according to the joy of the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” In this verse, we see God acting to multiply the people, satisfy the peoples’ needs and bring joy to their hearts...Christ can do this for anyone because He is the Mighty God...Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:20 that our God can do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…” Do you believe that this morning? I do. I believe that we have the Hope of a mighty God, and if I believe that my God is all-powerful, why should I not believe that he can do all that I need Him to do and more? And I don’t just “wish” for His blessings, but I have the sure hope of His blessings in Christ.