Friday, December 3, 2010


The Coming of Christ

Our hope in Jesus will work in and through our lives.

The Christmas story began in the Old Testament. God’s nature didn’t change, nor did ours, and He had our redemption in mind all the time. The prophets Jeremiah, Malachi, Zephaniah, and Micah all proclaim the Christ that was to come. We will be using these themes to lead up to Christmas, and hopefully, to make the holiday more meaningful for you.

Jeremiah 33:14-16

14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.

15 “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; He will do what is just and right in the land.
16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which He will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior.’

The Days are coming!

Every day we use that small, magical word-“hope.” It’s tough to live without hope. What is hope? It’s a vision for better days that changes us now in the present. There’s something up ahead, around the corner, in sight, and it’s good. HOPE. But that good future isn’t just abstract. It is real because it reaches in and transforms us in the present. At Advent, we are invited to a journey of better days, a journey of real and lasting hope.

As a child, gifts and toys were given—I sure hoped, that my brother and I would get it all! Hoped for a train, a bike, a sled. Later, computer parts were hoped for. Electric books. No more ties! I had a vision of better things than last year. Looking through catalogs and mags, making list, dropping hints. Hoping for the nice dark blue sport’s coat or car.

In our Advent Candle section this morning, we see the promise given to us by the Prophets of the Old Testament. It was a promise given and not realized by many. Some trusted in the Goodness and Holiness of God; they had hope. Do you?

Hope for Them:

Let me introduce you to a man who had real hope. He was the Prophet of Hope, named Jeremiah. Real person. Around 627BC, he was a Jr High age youth, God spoke to him and told him he’d be set apart to serve God. Jer 1:4 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Go ahead 40 years, he is a leader in his country and the main city of Jerusalem is surrounded by Nebuchanessar. (2 Kings 25:2-3) City was hurting real bad. No food. He tells the king Zedekiah to give up. Either do it the easy way or the hard way—you are going to loose! You can trust God or not. King chooses the hard way. (2 Kings 25:5-7)

The king listened to the wrong men. “You Da’ Man! No one is going mess with you or Jerusalem. Don’t believe Jerry.”

Jerry said to look deeper. Not a military thing but a spiritual thing. The people had rejected God’s Promises, killed the prophets and now—judgment day!

The people forgot to look to the Lord. They set aside their hope in Him. They lost the vision of what the Lord wanted to do in their lives-in their country. They forgot how to really hope in God.

The promise given to them gave them hope for things yet to come. (See Hebrews 11 … by Faith.) A family effort. Hope in line of King David/ not in God Himself! A Branch of Jesse (Jeremiah’s verse). Something was up ahead…not a whim but a fact! Sign post that show us the way; i.e. Pilgrims’ Progress. Personal markers along the way. They had pain and Hardship. Slavery in Egypt. Struggle to get the Promise Land. Blessings of the Land becoming theirs. Joy-Nation of Israel established under King David. And there was a call to remember, as in the Passover, of how His Hand was ever there.

Guiding them. Supporting them.

Hope for them was sometimes realized but NOT the MAIN HOPE! The hope of sins being removed would happen later. Yes, they had the sacrifices on the altar with the shedding of blood. But it was all a shadow of the REAL sacrifice of the Lamb of God. They needed to put their hope in this promise. It was real for them. It was HOPE for them.

The Days are coming!

Hope for us:

As we look at the past and the people of the past, (the good promise is lived out), we might be encouraged. If they could do it WITHOUT the printed Bible in front of them, I can move on in my Hope as I put my trust in His Word.

He will run the city (our lives) as the head of operation. “‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.’” This promise given to them is now HIS promise to us~! He will fulfill the good promise. Based on His Character of Holiness and Righteousness.

We who believe this promise, are placed into, grafted into, the Branch of Jesse. There’s something up ahead, around the corner, in sight, and it’s good.

The Days are coming!

Hope in our Lives:

The Here and Now as well as the time in Heaven. Not a pie-in-the-sky but things will be set right for us for His Glory. This good future isn’t just abstract, because it reaches in and transforms us now, in the present. A motto, a saying. Something repeated in our hearing.

"God Has Set Things Right for Us." ~ “The LORD Our Righteous Savior!”

What we are talking about is a transformed life. Can’t really disregard that someone life has changed. We might inspect it while it is way to young and we see faults and imperfect responses. We jump to conclusion that it does not really work, but we need to wait and see. That Good Thing that is repeated for the last 2,000 years is this: Jesus is Lord of All. He is our Hope. He will direct our hearts and change us. It is the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus… The new heart is given to a Believer and there will be changes in the heart. And sometimes, the change is fast-other times it is slow. Healed of a drug addition over night or vision is still spotted because of the acid used in that person’s youth. But both people are changed from within. No mistake about that!

The Days are coming!

That ultimate Hope for us is that our Creator God gave to us His only Son as our only Hope to escape the sin-filled lives we find ourselves in. His Birth would give Mankind Hope of Eternal Life. The real hope of Mankind. Expect, trust, anticipate, wish, look forward to…but the dictionary has a somewhat different twist to that word. hope: “to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely.” Is that Biblical hope?

As a noun: 1. a feeling/ chance that something desirable is likely to happen. … 5. a feeling of trust (archaic) 1. belonging or relating to a much earlier period. 2. used to describe a word or phrase that is no longer in general use but is still encountered in older literature and still sometimes used for special effect. 3. no longer useful or efficient. That maybe why Mr. Webster is not alive today!

But is that how you feel about Hope? Is hope outdated? Is that why so many people kill themselves because they don’t want this archaic experience in their lives? I think not. People have lost HOPE and they wish for it! That is why the Suicide Forrest near Mt Fuji is filled with dead people because they had no hope and they gave up.

The Days are coming!

Ecclesiastes 9:4 “Anyone who is among the living has hope —even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!” Don’t give up!

伝道の書 / 9章 4節/ 希望 すべて生ける者に連なる者には望みがある。生ける犬は、死せるししにまさるからである。

(Side note: Ecclesiastes means what? It is from the Greek word ECCLESIA or congregation or church. The Preacher is writing to the Church!)

Let’s take some time now with the WORD of God. God certainly has a great deal to do with the Believers Hope;

Hebrews 6:19.

19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

1 Peter 1:3.

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,

Colossians 1:5.

the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the Gospel.

Romans 8:24.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?

1 Thessalonians 1:3.

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:13.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

An overflowing confidence!

Titus 2:13.

looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,

The Days are coming!

This Blessed Hope is what the early Church longed for. “Even so come Lord Jesus” was their motto. The Blessed Hope kept them alive with their desire to keep on keeping on when the hard times came along. It was the Blessed Hope that drove them to take this Message of God’s Hope to the corners of the world and to your hearing. Someone believed that message of the Blessed Hope and shared it with you. That all started back in Biblical times and that chain has not been broken. The Evil One would like you to GIVE UP ON HOPE. To cause others to loose Hope. To be despondent. To be negative. To give up. To be one who spreads lies and gossip around. One who spreads discord in the family. Not you? Then the shoe does not fit you but it could fit the person next to you…

Jeremiah prophesies the Movement of God. And it came to be. God has done something in Christ that changes everything. This idea God shared via Jerry is that God’s Promises are of better days, promises that all eventually find their fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ!

The Days are coming! And those days are here right now!!

Next Week The Refining Love of God God allows suffering for our holiness and happiness. Malachi 2:17-3:5

(A major part of this sermon came from a sermon given by Matt Woodley. Much thanks to Matt.)