Advent of Hope

Advent Of Hope

Sunday, December 2, 2018 – Pastor George M. Dupree

  What is Advent? – Advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival or coming. Advent also means the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.   The Hebrews looked forward to the coming of a Savior or Messiah—the First Advent. The prophecies of the Messiah gave them hope. Hope is associated with anticipation and expectation. God uses the scriptures to bring hope into our lives because the scriptures tell us who God is and they tell us about His awesome love for us. Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.   Advent counts down the four weeks leading up to Christmas. This season is about resetting Jesus Christ at the center of our lives. By observing Advent we will be able to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, which is Jesus, He was God’s gift to all mankind. So in essence, Jesus was the first Christmas present ever given.   The first candle, the candle of hope means his promise and the hope we have because of Him. We can have hope because God is FAITHFUL and will keep the PROMISES He made to us. Our true hope comes through Jesus because He came to forgive our sins and give us eternal life.   Mary brought Jesus into the world; God uses PEOPLE to bring hope into the world. He uses men and women, boys and girls to bring this message of hope. He’s not interested if your perfect, He just wants to use ordinary people to declare and extraordinary message of hope.   As we begin our journey through Advent, we pray we will remember that hope is found in Jesus. You can count on this, during the next 23 days your life will be busy so our expectation for this Advent series is that we’ll be reminded to be more intentional in looking at what has come to us because of the Advent of Christ.   The Old Testament prophet Isaiah said – The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.                        Isaiah 9:2   For someone stuck in a dark place the greatest comfort would be light. The light would bring hope. That’s where we get the expression “light at the end of the tunnel.”   For the Hebrew people the prophecies of a Messiah gave them hope. For Christians we have the comfort of prophesies fulfilled through Christ; which should bring to us anticipation and an expectation that God can do anything and that He will fulfill what He has spoken of.   Jesus brings Hope – He turns DESPAIR into hope. He takes away our sin and that removes despair.   He works great things in us, from the INSIDE OUT. He changes our heart. When He makes us whole on the inside it really doesn’t matter as much what’s happening on the outside.   His main mission was to RESCUE mankind from their sin, that’s redemption. Sin causes separation from God and separation from God causes despair and hopelessness. That’s what the message of the Gospel brings; it brings hope because Jesus brings redemption.   Paul had persecuted the Christians Acts 26:9 “I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many of the believers in Jerusalem to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. 11 Many times I had them whipped in the synagogues to try to get them to curse Christ. I was so violently opposed to them that I even hounded them in distant cities of foreign lands.   Then God told Paul I am going to send you to the Gentiles,18 to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’   Because of him persecuting the Christians Paul probably felt hopeless and alone but after Jesus appeared to him he had HOPE. He tells us where this hope comes from; it’s Christ in us. Colossians 1:27 God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.   Jesus looks beyond the outward appearance and actions, He looks to the heart. In Paul He saw the brokenness and the emptiness that was in his heart and He came along side him and filled his heart with hope.   This we know – Paul was broken and without hope but Jesus changed that. He didn’t reject Paul, instead He was gave him hope.   Romans 15:13   Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. RECEIVE HIS HOPE – GIVE HOPE TO SOMEONE ELSE