Summary: Advent message on the hope and love of Jesus Chrst. In a time of celebration, there can also be the peace of God to a world that doesn't know peace.
The Peace and love of God
Today, Josh and Michelle lite the first candle of Advent. The candle of hope.
The 4 weeks of Advent point us to Jesus Christ.
Hope in Jesus- what He did on the cross for us.
The peace we find in Jesus- that even in the midst of turmoil, we can have peace.
The love of Christ- The love that is far more than human love. That sacrificial love only Christ can give.
The joy of Jesus- the inner satisfaction of redemption.
Then on Christmas Eve, we lite the Christ candle and celebrate the world over the birth of Jesus Christ for mankind.
We cannot begin to celebrate Advent without Jesus being our only hope.
You cannot truly celebrate Christmas without putting our hope in the Christ child, the redeemer of mankind.
I said a few weeks ago that hope was a funny thing.
When you have it, you feel like you are on top of the world.
When you don’t have it, you feel like the world is on top of you.
Lets look at Psalm 121 as we get a glimpse of what hope really looks like.
Psalms 121- Read
Our hope comes from one source as a believer. Jesus Christ.
We can try to take short cuts, we can attempt to put our trust in other things and other people, but as a believer, it will always come back to Jesus Christ.
I want you to see from this Psalm a few truths.
• God is our only hope- as believers on this side of the cross- it is in Jesus Christ alone.
• Jesus is our provider and our strength.
• Jesus is our protector.
• Jesus is all we need.
“You may never know Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have”
When we look at God as our provider, strength, and our protector, we take a new look at our God.
We need to plan, we need to work, we need to take care of our family. But when God is first, when God gets the first fruits of all we are and all we have, we shift from about me to about God. We look up to God, instead of looking to see all that we will accomplish without Him.
September, 2005- first day of school, a social studies teacher named Martha Cothren changed some students thinking. On that day with the permission of the school leaders at Robinson High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, she removed all of the desks from her classroom. When the first class entered, “Where are our desks”? She said, “You cannot have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk” “Well, maybe because of our grades- no, she said, not about grades. “Maybe, our behavior, no, not about behavior. The first, second, and third period classes came and went. No one could answer the question. By early afternoon, news crews had started to gather in Mrs. Cothren’s class to report about a crazy teacher. Through out the day, noone was able to tell her what he/she had done to earn the right to sit at the desk in the classroom. Now I am going to tell you- she opened the door to the classroom. 27 Veterans, all in uniform walked into that classroom carrying a desk. You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. Now, it is up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be citizens. They paid the price for you to be here. She got teacher of the year in 2006.
What you have- much or little. What you have done- great or small. Is because of Jesus Christ.
It is your responsibility to keep your eyes focused and centered on Him.
“My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness”
Until we get a correct picture of God, we cannot begin to place our hope in the right person.
“The Lord is my refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
“I sought the Lord and he answered me, he delivered me from all my fears”
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
121:1 - “I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? David probably looking at the temple on Mount Moriah, the holy hill of Zion. The place where the ark of the covenant, Oracles of God, the mighty altar of God were- sensing the presence of God.
121:2 He answers himself- “My help comes from the Lord. The maker of heaven and earth”