Advent 1996 -1- Hope that Never Disappoints
Readings: Isaiah 42:1-4; 1Peter 1:3-12
He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope. Isaiah 42:4 (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade 1Peter 1:3-4a (NIV)
Hope is one of the 3 eternal things Paul mentions in 1Cor.13: These 3 remain Faith, Hope and Love. We often talk about Faith in the Church and of Love. But what of Hope? Hope is central to the Christian message.
I. Looking for Hope (We are all looking for something to hope in.)
A. Hope is more than Wishful thinking
1. Hope is a word we often use in a weak sense, when all the effort is expended, and there’s nothing left to do but see how it turns out. “Well, I hope so”
2. The idea in the Bible is a lot stronger — the reason we even think of doing anything at all.
3. Hope based in something, or someone reliable is more than wishful thinking — it We would go crazy without it.
B. Hope is something to Live for
1. Depression comes when we loose hope — part of depression is a feeling of hopelessness.
2. With hope comes health and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
3. We all realize that things need improving in our personal lives, our society and our world.
C. All people Long for something better
1. There is a universal human longing for things to get better.
a. Which is based on a universal human understanding that things are worse than they ought to be.
b. They are of course. The “islands” long for justice.
II. A Living Hope
A. Jesus came to bring us Hope!
1. The mere fact of incarnation — God taking on human flesh, gives us hope that our humanness is not hopeless, that it is capable of being home to the God who created it.
2. Jesus message was one of hope: “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
3. Jesus’ parables of forgiveness remind us we needn’t be perfect. The “lost and found” parables tell us how God longs to find those who have gone away from him.
B. Our hope is still Living!
1. We don’t follow the sentimental teachings of some dead guy. We serve a risen savior!
2. Our hope can’t be killed! Jesus defeated death!
3. God won’t change his mind about salvation.
C. We Live for a living hope
1. We have a “new birth” into this living hope. A new start, a new family of origin.
2. As people we have to live for some hope. We live for a living hope. Our lives are centered in the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ.
III. Hope worth Having
A. More than a Pipe Dream
1. Christianity is not like buying lottery tickets, or going to Harrah’s — believing that some day your bound to hit it big (though, realistically very few do!).
2. Jesus promises us a real and secure hope
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12 (NIV)
B. Life-Changing Hope
1. The hope we have because of what Jesus has done changes everything!
2. What Jesus has done and will finish will completely change everything.
a. If you think his first coming was something, wait till you see his second!
3. Jesus and His Spirit change us and reorient us and God promises to complete his work in us.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6 (NIV)
C. Hope Guaranteed
1. Our “inheritance” will “never perish, spoil nor fade.”
a. Never perish - won’t be destroyed by anything
b. Never spoil - it’ll never peter out, get stale or old, never rust or loose its value
c. Never fade - it’ll never loose it’s luster for us. We’ll never get tired of it.
2. Our relationship with God is guaranteed
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:37-40 (NIV)
The Bottom Line:
|We hope for what Cannot disappoint. Our hope is in God, who Always keeps His promises!|