Summary: Can we be the candle of HOPE for an Exodus of people who have already been persecuted by their own god, their own countrymen?
Jesus the Hope of the Nations
12 And again, Isaiah says,
“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
one who will arise to rule over the nations;
in him the Gentiles will hope.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is full of HOPE
The word Hope is found nearly 100 times in both the Old and New Testaments.
Our Heavenly Father has provided Hope for us – here and now and for all Eternity and that HOPE is in His Son JESUS.
The Bible says that God is not a respecter of persons Acts 10:34 – that means that God does not show favoritism.
Our God holds out HOPE to ALL people JEW and GENTILE alike.
Jew and Palestinian alike and Christian and Muslim alike.
In our short scripture passage we see St. Paul sharing this very real HOPE with the citizens of ROME as he writes in Romans 15.
What St. Paul is writing is really an updated version of an Old Testament passage from Isaiah 11.
It is a beautiful chapter but time does not permit me to review it with you today.
You might want to read it on your own later today.
Isaiah was prompted by God’s Holy Spirit to write his words some 700+ years before Jesus was born
And in them Isaiah is proclaiming the same HOPE that St. Paul is expressing to the Romans and today I am attempting to repeat both Isaiah and St. Paul’s message of HOPE for our modern ears.
In both cases HOPE was being communicated through a Messiah. A Promised One.
While the Romans had many gods St. Paul was trying to tell them that they could put ALL their HOPE in One God – The Living God – Jesus Christ.
It was a new HOPE to the Romans and believe it or not it is still a new idea to others in our world today.
So many are without this Hope today we know them as Refugees scattered across the Middle East and Europe.
We still have brothers and sisters in Christ in these war torn countries and for them we must pray. Their lives, their faith. Their churches are under attack daily. Our prayers for them can be a kind of Hope that we can offer.
But now we have others who are making their way toward us by the tens of thousands and millions and they are not Christians they are mostly Muslims.
It is a new Exodus my brothers and sisters.
It is an Exodus of those who have been held in bondage to a false hope and a false religion and a false god.
We can see their exodus as a threat or we can see it as one of the greatest opportunities for evangelism that the church has ever known.
Were we not strangers to God at one time, were we not once far from the things of God as they were revealed to His Chosen people?
Yes, yes we were far away from knowing Christ at one time also.
This dear Saints is a great opportunity to share the Hope of Jesus Christ and to bring tens of thousands to a saving knowledge of God.
I want to encourage you to partner with our sister churches to bring refugees from this Exodus to our community.
I believe that by demonstrating the Living Hope on which our faith rests we can do great things for God and see lives changed for the better and souls won for Jesus Christ.
This Advent is about receiving Christ as our Saviour, let it also be about receiving men and women and boys and girls as our brothers and sisters in need.
I know this is a controversial issue with many of us.
But I have to approach it as a Christian.
Think of it, for years millions of Muslims have been unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yes, there is a militant branch but there are also many more typical Muslims or moderate everyday Muslims.
These are people who just want to live out their lives and hope for a better future for themselves and their children.
Sadly extremism has robbed them of that hope as well as their normal day to day lives. Now they find themselves part of an Exodus from their own countries - pushed out because of war, extremism and fanatics who claim to believe the same things that they do.
This has got to get every day Moderate Muslims thinking about just what their faith is all about.
Consider how you would react as a Christian if some way right wing fanatics forced you out of your home, job, or school and even went so far as to push you out of your own country because you would not endorse their brand of so called Christianity?