“Hope” – Advent #1 – 11-27-16

This year during these four advent Sundays we will be focusing on Hope, Peace, Joy and Love so which one do you think should be the foundation? I am convinced that it is the word hope. Without hope, you have nothing. Without hope, you have destructive thoughts and you have a real possibilities of doing destructive actions. Have you ever been without hope? I have been there and it is about as low as you can get.

In Peanuts Lucy and Linus were sitting in front of the television set when Lucy said to Linus, “Go get me a glass of water.” Linus looked surprised, “Why should I do anything for you? You never do anything for me.” “On your 75th birthday,” Lucy promised, “I’ll bake you a cake.” Linus got up, headed to the kitchen and said, “Life is so more pleasant when you have something to look forward to.” AND IT IS.

Romans 15:12-13
“The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Christmas time should be a season of great hope. We are very mindful of Jesus’ coming to earth as our Saviour. He came to a lost world, and brought us the HOPE of being FOUND again in the grace of God. He came to a blind world and a deaf world, and brought us the HOPE of restored SIGHT and SOUND spiritually, so we should see him again and hear his voice again. It’s a season of HOPE.

Everyone has heard 1 Corinthians Faith, Hope, and Love scripture but guess what often hope is the one of the three usually left out. We hear a lot of messages on Faith, and a lot of messages on Love, but not so much do we hear specifically of this HOPE. We have sung “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart”. There is a verse from it missing in our hymnal: “I’m possessed of a HOPE that is steadfast and sure, since Jesus came into my heart, And no dark clouds of doubt now my pathway obscure, since Jesus came into my heart …” When we have surrendered to Jesus we should be possessing a hope. When you leave today, I pray you have hope.

This Christian HOPE is not merely a wishful thinking that we’re holding on to – IT IS A SURE EXPECTATION THAT ACTUALLY TAKES A HOLD OF US! It’s TRUE, hope possesses us! BIBLICAL HOPE is “a confident expectation based on solid certainty, it rests on God’s sure promises.” In the New Testament, the Christian’s “great hope” particularly relates to the return of Jesus. We celebrate when Jesus came down to earth and gave us hope during this season. Hope is meant to be a foundation in our living and hope is the foundation of our faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “Faith is the substance (the stuff) of things HOPED for…” so let’s look at our Romans scripture where Paul used Isaiah’s scripture:

1. “In HIM the Gentiles shall hope.”
Isaiah was writing here of JESUS (“the root of Jesse”). And the first thing we must note about all Christian hope is that it ALWAYS LOOKS TO JESUS AS IT’S FOCUS.

Our hope looks to Jesus:
Our ultimate HOPE is an eternity with the Lord, we believe in the resurrection of the dead, and that Jesus is coming again! I recently preached about being ready to blast-off to eternity. We examined that and we declare that as Christians to be a fact. We will be free. On the gravestone of Martin Luther King Jr. it says: “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.”
The Christian’s ultimate hope is not in this old world. It’s a HOPE of a better time and place.

But then, SECOND, our Hope does look to Jesus:
Don’t ever forget that Jesus is walking with you every step of the way in your life. Our hope is not meant to be in the men and women and politicians of this world and what they can do for us but our hope is found in looking to Jesus now, fixed on Christ. What is my hope for my lifetime here, Jesus Christ! What is my hope for my family, JESUS CHRIST! Praise God! Our Hope looks to Jesus. “In HIM the gentiles shall hope!” Then, notice, the first phrase of verse 13 says :

2. “May THE GOD OF HOPE . . .”
“The God of Hope” – this implies several things about our God:
A. His NATURE is Hopeful.
God is, by nature, FULL OF HOPE. He is a HOPEFUL God. Seems like a strange statement?
Romans 8:20 says these remarkable words: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in Hope”. In other words, because of sin this world is deteriorating (YOU SAY YOU’RE LIVING? I SAY YOU’RE DYING!) God could have destroyed this entire creation and started again, but He didn’t. He chose instead to subject it to futility IN THE HOPE OF HIS SALVATION PLAN COMING TO FULFILLMENT.

I said Christian hope is not merely “wishful thinking”. Here is another proof – God knows the end from the beginning, and His confident expectation of the success of the gospel is called “HOPE”. He is the God of HOPE. When all others would have seen no other option but to destroy the world because of sin, the God of all Hope saw another way! By NATURE He is Hopeful. Then, secondly, as the God of Hope:

B. He is THE SUPPLIER of Hope to us.
As “the God of Hope” he is able to pour His hope into our lives, all the hope we’ll ever need. When our hope is failing, He is our supply. If you’ve lost sight of your great hope in Christ, this morning, GO TO GOD. Ask Him to restore to you the Joy of His salvation, He’ll fill you with His great hope if you call on Him. Then, thirdly, not only is He the God of Hope by nature, and not only does He supply us with our Hope:

C. He has sent THE GREAT HOPE.
The absolute translation of the phrase “May the God of hope” is actually “May the God of THE hope. He is the God who has sent baby Jesus to bring salvation’s plan. God drew up the blueprint of this wondrous plan of redemption through His Son on the drawing boards of Heaven before the foundation of the world! He has sent this great Hope.He is truly “THE GOD OF HOPE”. Now look at the next phrase:

3. “…fill you with ALL JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING.”
That is what God intends THE hope, Jesus, to do for you. Living a joyless life is not the way God desires you to live. Look up Galatians and check the negative traits before the fruit of the spirit, then I wonder how you have joy and peace.

We look forward to an eternal Hope that is far better than what we have here, BUT WE’RE NOT WAITING FOR IT MISERABLY, full of discontent. NO! God forbid! BECAUSE our hope is an absolute CERTAINTY we have Joy and Peace NOW! Paul drove that point home in Romans 12:12 when he says we live “rejoicing IN HOPE”.

Jesus words are clear that Jesus said in Luke 17:21: “Indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you.” You have eternity in you now! Start living with that understanding. Joy and peace is meant to be a characteristic of our lives. 1 Peter 1:8-9: “Though now you do not see (Jesus) (with your physical eyes), yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” Hope should keep us constantly in JOY and PEACE. Moving on to the next phrase of our text (Romans 15:13) we read:

4. ” so that you may ABOUND in hope”
Once again our translations have diminished the Greek. The Greek word is “perisseuo”, which means “to superabound, to have in excess”. God wants us to SUPERABOUND in Hope. He wants this Hope that we have to be filling us up to overflowing so that it pours out of our lives to affect others. THE HOPE THAT WE HAVE IN JESUS SHOULD BE CONTAGIOUS! The early church would great each other using the word “MARANATHA” – “the Lord is coming!”. They expected Him daily; they lived in that hope. Did you get up this morning and say to yourself : “SELF . . . JESUS MIGHT COME TODAY!” Now that’s hope because it sure would make this world great again! Here is the big finish, so that you may abound in Hope:

We receive this hope, and we live in this hope, we keep this hope alive, BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. The Greek word translated “power” is “DUNAMIS”. From “dunamis” we get our words like “dynamic” & “dynamite”. By the “DYNAMIC ENERGY” of the Holy Spirit.

Our abundant hope is created and released in our lives by the dynamic ENERGIES of the Holy Spirit at work within us. It is the Spirit who enables believers to experience in THIS life the blessings of the life to come. He is the Divine Partner given to us to help us through our Christian walk; we NEED this abundant hope to carry us through thick and thin, and
so the Spirit of God energizes us with it.

Spirit-filled followers of Jesus ought to be the MOST Hope-Full people in the whole world! Filled with the Holy Spirit we ought to be known for our joy in looking to Jesus’ return; and we ought to tell others during this time of celebration of Jesus’ birth that He will in actuality return one day and we should then make every effort to be diligent in telling others about Jesus before it is simply and frankly too late! AND we should be telling people we are happy about it and why we are.

Be used by God, ask God to use you to spread the Good news of the Gospel each day. I pray that we will be a people who : “. . . abound in Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.
This baby born in a manger, Emmanuel, God with us, gives us the truth about hope and these verses show us that we always have hope when we have surrendered to Jesus.

May our lives be characterized by Godly Hope. And may people be touched as they see in our lives “CHRIST IN US . . . THE HOPE OF the world”.

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