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Living Hope

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Living Hope

Jeremiah 34:14-16; Luke 21:25-36

Rev. Aaron B. Kesson

November 29, 2009

Lambertville UMC

-Signs are everywhere

              • We depend on signs for many things
                • Directions
                • Warnings
                • Gathering Information

oSometimes we ignore signs that we see

“Rest area closed, next rest area 70 miles”

“Bridge Out Ahead”

“Road Closed to Through Traffic”

Honey, maybe we should ask for directions…

oOther times, signs can be confusing

“Caution: Blind Drivers Backing Out”

“Cruise Ships/Use Airport Exit”

“Six Mile Village – 3 Miles”

“Happy Easter – We Rent Handguns!”

Below a stop sign reads “No Stopping, Standing, Parking”

-In our gospel reading, Jesus is telling the disciples about “signs” of things to come

oHe speaks of great distress of nations

oCosmic changes in the moon, sun and stars

oPeople fainting with fear over what is going on

-But, aren’t a lot of these things happening today? Right now?

oWars around the world, people in distress, fear taking over peoples’ lives, etc.

-If we aren’t careful, we will misread the signs that Jesus is warning the disciples (and us) about.

oI am always weary of anyone who claims to have the “key” to the End-Times

They know “when” and “how” it will happen

oI am also discouraged by those who believe Jesus’ words about the End-Times to be fable

To be honest, until the End-Times become history, we won’t really know what things to take literally and what things to take figuratively

Other than the fact that Jesus will come again to redeem His people!

Pushing both extremes – The Radical Middle

-I believe the signs Jesus speaks of are certainly related to the End-Times

oBut, we are not to focus on the signs themselves

The signs do not point to themselves

They point to the reign of Christ and the redemption of His people! (v.28)

-Much more than simply pointing to the End-Times, Jesus is giving the disciples hope, a living hope

oIn our world today, we can see the signs of distress and the need for hope

oFriends, our world is hurting now

oWhat our world needs is not a bunch of End-Times fanaticism, or watered-down religion, but a message of love, grace, and peace that brings them hope!

We are to be signs, pointing our lives toward the living hope who is Jesus Christ Himself!

-Jesus tells the disciples in v. 33 that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away”

oThe words of Christ are the true and sure hope that we can fix our lives upon

oI am convinced that if we continue to hold on to Jesus, our hope will be made secure!

oIn v. 28, Jesus spoke of redemption that is drawing near

Redemption is basically a “buying back”

Jesus is coming to “buy back” what is rightfully His, that is, His people… US!

-There is also some practical advice that Jesus shares with the disciples in vv.34-36

oJust as we can misread signs on the interstate, we can misread the signs of our times and indeed the End-Times, and begin to focus on things that will only lead to fear and desperation

oLook at the analogy used here, Jesus says in v. 34 “lest your hearts be weighed down”; then in v. 36, He tells the disciples to “stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place”

Friends, if our hearts are weighed down with the things of this world:

•Love of money and possessions








•Resentment, etc.

We will miss the signs that are worth watching and waiting for!

And we will be so weighed down that we won’t be able to move forward in our walk with Christ.

•Basically, we allow ourselves to become paralyzed

-How many people in your life have you met, or currently know who have become paralyzed by fear, or anxiety? Being weighed down by the cares of this world?

oMaybe it’s someone you know and love dearly

oPossibly it is someone you work or go to school with

oOr, maybe it is yourself

-Friends, we are called, as followers of Christ, to be salt and light

oWe are to share the message of hope with all whom we meet

oAsk yourself “how am I pointing the way to the hope of Jesus in my life?”

If you struggle with this question, or feel as though you need someone else to point you in that direction first, let me encourage you to seek out someone in whom you trust for Christian guidance and support (maybe your pastors?)

-We are now in the season of advent, a time of preparation and reflection

oNot necessarily about preparation for Christmas

But in preparing our hearts, that we may remain awake and alert to the needs of those around us, and to the signs of the return of our Redeemer, Christ the Lord.

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