Advent 2022 - Hope

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Isaiah 9:2-7 “2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before you as they rejoice at harvest time and as they rejoice when dividing spoils. 4 For you have shattered their oppressive yoke and the rod on their shoulders, the staff of their oppressor, just as you did on the day of Midian. 5 For every trampling boot of battle and the bloodied garments of war will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.”
This first week of advent is the week we focus on the hope that Christ brings. I shared in the advent devotional how hope is a funny thing. That in order to admit that you have hope, you must first admit that you are in a situation that requires hope. If there was nothing wrong with your life, you would not be hopeful because there is no reason to need hope.
When we look at what the coming of Christ means for us, and the fact that he brings hope, we must ask the question, why do we need hope? What situation are we in that, without Christ, we would have no hope?
eph 2:11-13 tells us “11 So, then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done in the flesh by human hands. 12 At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
There are many aspects of our life before christ that would cause us to have no hope but many of them can be boiled down to how near God is to us. Before Christ, in order for God to be near, there was a whole system of sacrifices and rituals that had be performed and all it took was one slip of the tounge one momentary mistake, and you were again far from God. God was not close enough to comfort, God was not close enough to hear your prayers.
but now, with Christ, we are promised that God is now near to us. he is promises to to comfort us, he promises to hear our prayers.
Biblical hope is putting faith or confidence in God’s promises. It would be like putting confidence in the Military Equal Opportunity program that we got briefed on yesterday. There are things laid out in that program that the Army is promising will happen. When Soldiers are in certain situations and he/she goes to the EOA or EOL, they are putting faith or confidence in what the system promises and that gives them hope.
When we, as christians, lack hope, I find that it is often because we don’t know God’s promises. We don’t know what he has said that he will accomplish and so we are left hopeless.
But if we know his promises, we can put faith the one who gave them and have confidence that whatever we are going through, we will endure because as 2 Cor 1:20 “20 For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in him. Therefore, through him we also say “Amen” to the glory of God.”
And that is why when Isaiah 9:2 says “2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” Isaiah is prophesying Christ.
Let us pray.
At the end of your program I put a list of 7 of the many promises of God. I would like to encourage you to memorize those so they will be with you for you or someone else in a time of need. Because

24 “May the LORD bless you and protect you;

25 may the LORD make his face shine on you

and be gracious to you;

26 may the LORD look with favor on you

and give you peace.”

He will be with you: Psalm 91:15 “15 When he calls out to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor.”
He will protect you: 2 Thes 3:3 “3 But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”
He will give you strength: Isaiah 40:29-31 “29 He gives strength to the faint and strengthens the powerless. 30 Youths may become faint and weary, and young men stumble and fall, 31 but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not become weary, they will walk and not faint.”
He will give you comfort: Isaiah 66:13 “13 As a mother comforts her son, so I will comfort you, and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
He will provide for you: Matt 6:33 “33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”
He will give you peace: Phil 4:6-7 “6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
He will keep you: Matt 10:29 “29 Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent.”
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