J.C. Thompson |
In this message, we talk about what happens after Christmas and explore where we place our hope. It's important for us to understand that biblical hope is based on the unchanging, constant love of Christ and not our ever changing circumstances.
Experiencing Christmas – Message 5
December 27, 2020
Memory Verse: This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. Hebrews 6:19a (NLT)
Theme Verse: Same as above
Introduction…We are closing out our series entitled Experiencing Christmas.
A. Today’s message is entitled HOPE.
- Now that Christmas is over, what are you looking forward to? If all of your presents are opened, what is your next thing? Should we have a next thing? Where are we placing our hope? The Bible speaks very clearly about where we should place our hope and what that hope means for our daily lives.
- What does the word Hope mean?
- Well in Hebrew the word for Hope is Qavah which comes from the root word Qav, which is a cord or a rope. So hope is the picture of us pulling on a rope that in anchored in something unmoving able to bear our wait. Biblical hope speaks of waiting on God.
- The New Testament word for Hope is Elpis (el-peace) in Greek which simply means to expect something good or to wait for something good.
- The Christmas season is such good practice for what is means to hope, but now that Christmas is over it can show us that we have maybe placed our hope in someone or something other than God. Could be a relationship/opportunity/bonus, but all those things will leave us empty.
- We must understand the difference between earthly hope and biblical hope. And because the kids are in here today and mostly because I struggle with complicated concepts I brought a rope to help us understand it.
- Faith is complete trust in something. Hope is built on faith. Hope is what your children were experiencing anticipating Christmas. Faith is trusting that Christmas is gonna come.
- Today I hope that we learn that real hope – there is no doubt about it.
B. Biblical hope has…
1. Proper focus (Hebrews 6:18a. C/R: Romans 15:12; Colossians 2:17)
- So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Hebrews 6:18a (NLT)
- When we place our hope in something we actively place ourselves in reliance on the thing that we hope in.
- In Scripture we see the command to “hold fast.” This is the first thing we must understand about hope. While it involves waiting on something, it doesn’t just mean waiting.
- Rope – we pull on a rope. When we hold fast it’s like gripping this rope with all that’s inside of us. In order to place our faith, we must hold fast.
- But the holding is really only a small part of the process. If we were stuck in a hole, and we grab onto the rope, what is gonna make sure that we get out of the hole?
- Besides our strength or our faith, which really doesn’t have to be great, we need a reliable rope and something stronger than ourselves to pull us up.
- Now in this story in Hebrews, the author is speaking about a specific promise that God made to someone. God promised a few things to Abraham, but one specific thing that He promised that Abraham and his offspring would be blessed. God made a promise that Abraham would have a son. But He also made an oath.
- Oaths were commonly used in a legal setting in ancient times. Oaths were required to appeal to a greater authority.
- Now who is a greater authority than God?
- No one! So God made a promise and then He made an oath on the greatest, unchanging authority in the whole world, His very own character.
- But this promise took 25 years of waiting. But Abraham waited an received his son Isaac (Genesis 22)
- But he did not see all of his family bless the whole world, but here we are today, the result of God’s promise to Abraham.
- Jesus came to the earth to fulfill God’s promise to the world, to be our Savior. People in the Old Testament were waiting for Him to appear. We after Christ’s appearance, life, death, and resurrection are waiting for Him to come and fix this world for good.
- But if we are hoping in anything other than Christ, we will be disappointed. Because Biblical hope – there’s no doubt about it.
- APP: Where have you placed your hope?
2. Positive Fruit (Hebrews 6:18b. C/R: Acts 15:19; 1 John 3:3)
- … Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Hebrews 6:18b (NLT)
- Now when we place our hope in the right place through faith, we will have confidence.
- The word used here is Paraklesis. It is a word that is tied very closely with the Greek word used for Holy Spirit. It describes the direct motivation and inspiration to carry out God’s plan.
- When we place our hope in Christ, it empowers us to live in a different way than others around us. Not in a prideful way, but in a way to accomplish what God has promised for us.
- When we place our hope in Christ, the Spirit empowers us to stay encouraged, empowered, patient and content through the process. We become hopeful.
- Have you ever met anyone who has a relationship with God, but their life is a sad unfortunate story of tough breaks, broken relationships or lack of success in how the world views them? Yet they seem to be hopeful?
- Every reason to not hope is there, except they are hopeful. That is God’s doing. He has empowered them to stay focused on His promises rather than the circumstances.
- Hannah is an example of this in Scriptures. She was not able to have children. She prayed with so much passion, the priest thought she was crazy. But God heard her prayers, empowered her prayers and gave her not just the one son, Samuel, but 5 more children!
- In the 1800s, a man named George Müller, believed that God would answer every prayer that he prayed according to His will including meeting the needs of orphans. In his lifetime, George through God’s provision cared for more than 10,000 orphans and began more than 100 schools that educated more than 120,000 students.
- Müller was in constant prayer that God touch the hearts of donors to make provisions for the orphans. For example, thanks was given for breakfast when all the children were sitting at the table even though there was nothing to eat in the house. As they finished praying, the baker knocked on the door with sufficient fresh bread to feed everyone, and the milkman gave them plenty of fresh milk because his cart broke down in front of the orphanage.
- And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure. 1 John 3:3 (ESV)
- Hannah and George became hopeful people, because they placed their hope in Christ. Because Biblical hope – there’s no doubt about it.
- APP: Are you a hopeful person? If not, where are you placing your hope?
3. A perfect foundation (Hebrews 6:19a. C/R: Romans 4:18; Ephesians 2:12)
- Hebrews 6:19a (NLT) - This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.
- When we place our hope in Christ, He will never let us down. The Bible describes this hope as an anchor for our souls.
- Does anyone know what an anchor does? [picture of anchor here]
- An anchor is a tool used to connect a boat to the bed of a body of water to keep it from drifting because of the wind or the water.
- The Bible describes our hope in Christ in this way. It is Jesus as a person and His work that He accomplished in living a sinless life and dying in our place and being raised from the dead for us.
- No matter what is happening around us in our circumstances, our jobs, our schools, or with our friends, Jesus is always there for us. He’s always stable and sound.
- Remember when we talked about the importance of how the strength of what is holding the rope matters much more than our strength. There is not stronger person to hold our rope than Jesus. He is our anchor.
- But some of us struggle to find this hope. We are shaky, we worry, we don’t experience love, peace or joy. The Bible speaks about that too.
- Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:12-13 (ESV)
- 18 For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone. Ephesians 2:18-20 (ESV)
- So if you are feeling separated from this hope, you don’t have to continue to be, Christ is making His appeal to you today, be reconciled with Him. Give your life to Christ.
- If you are someone who experiences this hope, help someone who is struggling. How bad if we experience the goodness of God and don’t share it with someone in need. Pray that God would give you someone right now.
- From the beginning of time Jesus has been the hope of the world. In the Old Testament they were waiting for the Messiah.
- After Jesus came to the earth, which we celebrate at Christmas, people have trusted what He did and that He will come again as He describes in the Bible.
- Here is a reminder of some of the examples.
- Rope Illustration
Abraham - Abraham waited on his son Isaac for 25 years. God promised Abraham a son and Abraham trusted God to give him one. God made him the Father of many nations. God always fulfills His promises.>
- Hannah – Hannah who was teased and ridiculed for not having any children, cried out to the Lord. She prayed with so much energy and passion that the priest thought she was out of her mind. God answered her prayer for a son, and 5 more children after that.
- David - David was anointed to be king, but wouldn’t become king for another 15 years. He had to wait on the Lord to fulfill His promise to Him even while serving a king who was doing everything for selfish reasons. God fulfilled His promise to David.
- Mary the Mother of Jesus - Mary the Mother of Jesus waited on Him to be become the Messiah. The Bible says that after the shepherds shared the good news of Jesus that Mary treasured these things in her heart. She watched Jesus and waited on God to fulfill Jesus’ ministry, even though it would pierce her heart.
- George Müller - George Müller believed that God would answer every prayer that he had if he prayed according to the will of God. God answered him over 50,000 times recorded by George. God provided for the needs of over 10,000 orphans through the ministry of George Müller as George simply trusted God to meet their needs.
- Lottie Moon – Lottie Moon was one of the first women missionaries. She invested almost 40 years in China. She learned to speak Chinese and wrote many letters urging churches to give to the Gospel work there. Now, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering has given over $1.5 billion dollars to missions since 1888.
- People before Jesus placed their hope that He would one day come to be their Messiah. After Jesus came to earth, we place our hope in His finished work on the cross and continue to pursue His kingdom here on earth. We wait for Him to return.
- Have you placed your hope in Christ today? Today is an opportunity for you to place your hope in Christ.
- Because with Biblical hope – there’s no doubt about it.