Jesus – Our Hope
Nov 27, 2011
1st Sunday of Advent & Consecration Sunday
Our hope is an anchor for the soul, stable, certain. It will stand against the testing of time and reaches into eternity, it is anchored behind the veil in the Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ, our high priest and our forerunner. http://home.hetnet.nl/~antoonwierda/sermons/hope.htm
Scripture: Mark 13:24-37 & 1 Peter 1:3-5
HOPE - Children's sermon - what is hope?" a feeling that what is wanted will happen" - what do you hope for?
I hope that people will remember when they're getting all excited for Christmas - that what we are celebrating is Jesus' birthday - and that He is God's present to us - and He gives us the best present - forgiveness & eternal life.
Every year at this season, we do a lot of things that are tradition – including the celebration of the ADVENT season – right before Christmas. Advent means “coming” and it is the waiting for – preparing for – the coming of something important or momentous – in our case – preparing to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Advent is a “church thing” as opposed to what our society as a whole does – which is pretty much celebrate “the Holidays” [Christmas] beginning as soon as Halloween if over – that’s almost 2 whole months – 1/6th of the year! Our Advent time is supposed to help us WAIT – and PREPARE for Jesus’ birth – so we can fully appreciate the meaning of ALL that happened when God broke into human history – so miraculously – as a baby – who brought the gift of salvation to the world.
We celebrate Advent the 4 weeks preceding Christmas day – and this year we’re going to look at how Jesus’ birth can give US – 21 centuries later – hope, peace, joy & love – the 4 concepts of Advent Sundays.
Today, the 1st Sunday of Advent - we focus on the word hope. Great word – great concept -- Just what is hope? What does that word mean? Webster says hope is “a feeling that what is wanted will happen: Desire accompanied by expectation”
What do you think of that definition? It may suffice for some hopes we have – like,
“I hope it won’t rain tomorrow – I have plans to go on a picnic” or “I hope I’ll do well on a test at school” or “I hope my car will start in the morning” – but Webster’s definition is a little weak when compared to the kind of hope that is referred to in Scripture.
It’s been said that we can’t live without hope. Hans Georg Gadamer, a 20th century philosopher, wrote;” One thing that especially concerns me is that young people today grow up with very little confidence, without optimism, and without an unqualified potential for hope.” (Hans Georg Gadamer, Hermeneutische Entwurfe 6) In an interview marking his 102nd birthday, on February 11, 2002, Gadamer said : "Man cannot live without hope; that is the only proposition which I would gladly continue to defend without qualification." http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3777/is200407/ain9418638 Renascence, Summer 2004 by Grondin, Jean 2:42 2:36
Do you believe that is true – that we cannot live without hope?
When I was in college at MU, one of my majors was Psychology. My profs knew I was a pastor – I went to college when I was called into ministry & served a church the whole time I went thru college & seminary – anyway, in one of my Psych classes we were discussing the idea of hope – and that some say we cannot live without hope. So , my prof Dr. Woo, said, “Joan, you are a pastor – what do you think – do you believe we can’t live without hope?”
While I didn’t have a theological answer – nor some snappy come-back = I did say – and I do think that when people lose hope – they lose the will to go on through difficult circumstances – they often lose the will to live.
Having read Viktor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” in another Psych class – and learning how he, as a survivor of a concentration camp, was able to find meaning in his experience – He and Elie Wiesel, another survivor who wrote; Without hope there is no survival , were able to endure by finding meaning in suffering and that included hope.
Viktor E. Frankl - “A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility
he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an
unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the
"why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any
One insightful pastor, Ken Boa, wrote in his blog;
People cannot live without hope. Throughout history, human beings have endured the loss of many things. People have lost their health, their finances, their reputations, their careers, even their loved ones, and yet have endured. The pages of history books are filled with those who suffered pain, rejection, isolation, persecution and abuse; there have been people who faced concentration camps with unbroken spirits and unbowed heads, people who have been devastated by Job-like trials and yet found the strength to go on without cursing God and dying. Humans can survive the loss of almost anything – but not without hope.
Hope is how we live. Hope is what gets us from one day to the next.
We live by hope, and when hope is gone, endurance and joy and energy and courage just evaporate. Life itself begins to fade. When hope goes, we start to die. One of the most profound proverbs of the Bible says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12). 5:32
Heb. 11:1 relates faith & hope:
Ř NIV 1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.
Ř NLT 1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
We’re going to look closer at this hope – and explore at least 3 kinds of hope of Advent – the hope we have in Jesus Christ. 4:30 5:35 6:18
There are many
passages in the OT that brought hope to the people to whom they were first
written. People who were waiting – and
hoping . . . The prophet Jeremiah speaks
of the fulfillment of the promise to the OT faithful - the hope they
anticipated was the coming of the Messiah.
Jer 33:14-16 “"The
day will come, says the LORD, when I will do for
That is a message of hope. Isaiah also foretold his coming – and spoke of hope . . . Isa 42:1-9 - he speaks of the one to come: READ NIV
1 "Here is my servant, whom I
uphold, my chosen one in whom I
delight; I will put my Spirit on
him and he will bring justice to the
For centuries they waited for what Isaiah prophesied in chap 9 -
" the people walking in darkness have seen a great light . . . for unto us a child is born - unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne . . . from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."
These passages speak with certainty of the future coming of this Messiah – and they inspired a hope within the OT faithful that was much stronger than just “a feeling that what is wanted will happen.” They KNEW it would happen and their hope was a sure hope.
And so they waited – anticipating that coming day, as Micah, the prophet wrote, 7:7, “I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior, my God will hear me.”
It is the coming of that Son - that Savior – the fulfillment of that certain yearning hope of the OT faithful - that we celebrate every Advent & Christmas season. For us who live today - in the span of years marked by AD - this hope has been fulfilled. 8:09 9:14 9:37
We are witnesses and recipients of the results of His coming into the world. We have this book – the Good News of Jesus Christ: his birth - his life - his ministry - his death - his resurrection - his ascension. All of it - for us. As Paul wrote, [Gal 4:4,5] But when the time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 9:49 10:05
The prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – has come true. Immanuel - God with us in the flesh - The 1st facet of the hope of Advent –- our hope for salvation has been realized.
And yet – there is a second facet of his coming – his Advent – a 2nd HOPE that is yet future. We know, that as Titus 2:13 says, "we wait for that blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" .
Although he has come to us as that baby in the stable in Bethlehem, who grew into the carpenter from Nazareth, whom God declared to be "His beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased" - - we yet wait for his 2nd Advent - when He will return as the King of Kings, Lord of Lords - to conquer Satan and all evil once & for all.
So we, who live in the 21st century – in the new Millennium - look backward with gratitude to the hope fulfilled in Jesus’ first Advent - the securing of our salvation - and we look forward in anticipation of His 2nd Advent - the culmination of His victory and the ushering in of eternity.
When we speak the
words of the Lord’s prayer “thy kingdom come . . “. We express our desire to SEE the
In Acts 1, as the disciples watched in wonder – as Jesus ascended to heaven before their eyes – an angel appeared and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Can you imagine what it would’ve been like to stand there that day – to receive that promise? Would that not instill a new hope- an anticipation within you? It did the disciples – and once they received the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised – they boldly proclaimed Jesus’ Lordship, the Church began and the Gospel went forth throughout the whole known civilized world.
The disciples’ minds may have gone back to when they heard Jesus speak the words of the passage we heard earlier from Mark. Jesus described some of what would be happening when he comes back again – the 2nd Advent to which we are looking forward: . . . . 26 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. 12:18 13:12 13:24
Jesus makes it clear no one knows WHEN he will return – but we are ALWAYS to be ready . . . watching and doing what he has told us to do . . .
. . . . , no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
. . . 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!” 13:56 14:00
We can find the description of his coming again, in Rev 1:7,8
he is coming with the clouds,
is our future hope – the coming of the
As G.F. Handel quoted the Scripture in the Hallelujah chorus: Rev. 11:15; “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”
But, now – today – In 2011 (soon 2012, can you believe it?] we live in “the meantime” – the time between Jesus’ 1st Advent – as Savior – and his 2nd Advent as Lord and King. In this in-between time – there is a present day hope. For every person who confesses Jesus Christ as their Lord & Savior - another aspect of hope - another Advent – is fulfilled in his coming into each of our lives, personally – individually.
Rom 5:8;But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us. Jesus accomplished this during his 1st Advent – but it becomes real to each person, individually – when we consciously commit our life to him as our Lord and Savior.
Rom. 10:9,10 – If you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
And that confession, that statement of faith and belief results in what Peter describes in 1 Pet 1:3; “ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from the dead, into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. . . .(8) Though you have not seen him, you love him, and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (KJV) joy unspeakable and full of glory) for you are receiving the salvation of your souls.
WOW! And you can add to that – he gives us His continual presence, even though we can’t see him, by His Holy Spirit living within us.
Gal 4:6 . Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out “Abba, Father” . . .”17:39 17:40
Do you see how the hope of Advent sweeps through the entire panorama of time – in the past – the hope of the ages – the coming of Messiah – and the 1st Advent – the fulfillment of that promise in Bethlehem – and on Calvary and in the empty tomb – to the present – the coming of Jesus into the heart and life of each of us who acknowledge him as Savior and Lord.
Paul reminds us that even with the fulfillment of the hope of the ages past in the 1st Advent – and even with the present hope of our salvation a reality, there is still a “Not-yet” sense of hope into the future when Jesus returns in power and glory to reign as King of Kings Lord of Lords.
In Rom. 8: 23-25 – “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
These vss express a reality in our lives as believers. We have the “firstfruits” of our salvation – the forgiveness of sin, the promise of eternal life & the presence of the Holy Spirit – and yet – yet – we are still groaning, aren’t we? Because the reality of this life is that there are still a lot of struggles, questions, doubts and difficulties we WILL& DO experience in this life – and yet we do look forward to the day described in that passage in Rev. 1. That is our blessed hope, as Peter called it – the hope for which Paul calls us to wait patiently.
I think the 4 weeks we celebrate Advent are a valuable time – to prepare ourselves to celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas – they are a help to me to avoid the tendency to only think of the “Christmas season” as shopping and parties and cookies and lists of wants and so on. All that stuff may be fun – but it doesn’t point us to Jesus – the true reason for the season – as Advent does.
SO – when we think of the Advent Sunday of hope - that isn’t just a “tradition” it is a description of what Peter says “ Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect . . .
What a life full of hope Jesus offers us - the fulfilled hope of His coming at Christmas in Bethlehem - the blessed hope of His return, for which Paul says “we wait eagerly . . . we wait patiently . . .” and in the meantime we have the constant hope and assurance of forgiveness for and cleansing from our sins – and the constant presence of the Holy Spirit with us.
Thanks be to God for the hope we have in Jesus!!21:00 20:54
Let us pray:'
- Adapted from Rom 15:13 –
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope, in the name of Jesus Christ
who was born