Advent 1998 - 4 - Hope is Born!

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Reading: Isaiah 9:2-7; Luke 1:26-38

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

I.   Hope Dawns on dark days

     A.  The people walk in Darkness

           1.  Ever felt like that?

                 a.  At some time or other, everyone goes through a dark time.

                 b.  God holds out hope for those who need it most!

           2.  This is the darkness of feeling far from God

                 a.  It’s not all “Hap hap hap hap happy all the time.”

                 b.  It’s OK to be honest about feeling in the dark — even today.

           3.  This can become despair.

                 a.  Darkness isn’t despair, but it can become despair.

                 b.  “Despair is the premature, arbitrary anticipation of the non-fulfillment of what we hope for from God." (Moltmann)

                 c.  Yet despair is as much a part of life as failure and grief.

     B.  As in the day of Midian’s defeat

           1.  What day was that?

                 a.  The days of Gideon

12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” Judges 6:12-13 (NIV)

           2.  But God delivered Israel in a glorious and surprising way!

                 a.  Using only a few men, God defeated the Midianites by frightening them.

                 b.  God came, when hope was a smoldering wick.

           3.  In days when our experience tells us God’s promises don’t apply to us.

                 a.  In those very days, God is already preparing our victory!

                 b.  When you cannot see, still you can believe.

II.  Hope is Born as a Child

     A.  A Child?

           1.  The hope of Israel coming as a child?

                 a.  Why not a mighty warrior?

                 b.  A child: a new beginning.

           2.  Can a child bear the weight of the nations on his shoulders?

                 a.  No. But an adult can’t either.

                 b.  Empowered by God, anyone can do whatever God intends.

                 c.  But this child is born just for this purpose.

     B.  A Child with many Names

           1.  Isaiah’s names.

                 a.  Wonderful Counselor

                 b.  Mighty God

                 c.  Everlasting Father

                 d.  Prince of Peace

           2.  The Angel’s names

                 a.  Jesus

                 b.  Son of the Most High

                 c.  Immanuel (Matthew 1:23)

     C.  A son of David

           1.  Anointed to be King

                 a.  He will rule.

                 b.  He will be in charge

                 c.  We call him Lord

           2.  A man after God’s own Heart.

                 a.  David was also a man of God

                 b.  He led Israel in worship (still does!)

                 c.  Jesus shows us the way to the Father

           3.  A deliverer

                 a.  David delivered Israel from the surrounding threats

                 b.  Jesus delivers us from the threat of our own sinfulness.

                 c.  In the fullness of time he will deliver us from all pain and suffering.

III. Hope established on Earth

     A.  The child will bring Peace

           1.  “And Peace on Earth”

                 a.  Not just “pie in the sky by and by”

                 b.  Peace on Earth

                 c.  Jesus came to Earth to bring peace to us who live here.

           2.  Peace requires justice,

                 a.  Which he will establish

                 b.  His people are to be a people of justice and righteousness.

           3.  Not a Pax Romana, enforced with brutality.

                 a.  At the time of Mary & Joseph, there was a peace called the Pax Romana.

                 b.  It was a peace built on violence.

                 c.  Jesus comes to build a peace on the foundation of justice and righteousness

     B.  He will not be Defeated

           1.  There will be no end to it.

                 a.  His rule will last forever.

                 b.  That’s a very long time.

           2.  No enemy can succeed against it.

                 a.  Our peace and security are vulnerable.

                 b.  Our enemies are external and internal

                 c.  Neither enemy can succeed against this kingdom.

     C.  God Himself Will do it!

           1.  This hope if founded upon God’s power

                 a.  Not on human cleverness

                 b.  Not on human wisdom

                 c.  On God’s own resources and determination.

           2.  Nothing can succeed against God’s plan

                 a.  Do you realize what that means?

                 b.  It means we can finally live, really live!

                 c.  God’s plan is unfolding as we speak.

           3.  God promises to do it!

                 a.  I can make a promise with every intention of keeping it, but still fail.

                 b.  God will never fail to keep a promise

                 c.  God is keeping his promise, God will keep his promises

The Bottom Line:

Our Hope Has come. Our Hope is Here. Our Hope is surely Coming!

(HoP: GHoF #83 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel vv 1,4)

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