Light Shining in the Darkness
First Sunday of Advent: HOPE
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:1-8)
Our series over the next few weeks will center around the advent theme of light in the darkness. John 1 tells us that one of the most significant aspects of the incarnation was that Jesus came as light that would overwhelm darkness. Utilizing the traditional themes of advent of hope, faith, love, peace and joy, we will explore how a life centered on Christ overwhelms the world’s darkness. Today, we are looking at the biblical concept of hope.
The necessity of hope:
1. Our sense of wellbeing stems from our hope for the future
We are hope based creatures. The way we feel about the future will determine our right now. If a person has no hope, he or she will have no will.
2. True hope is grounded in certainty
Hope int he Bible is not just wishful thinking- but it is knowledge of a certainty.
The heart of the gospel is not the ethical teaching of Jesus. It’s wonderful teaching, but it is not what transforms lives. The heart of the gospel is a message of hope. The message is not what you must do. The message of Christianity is what Jesus Christ has done. That he died and rose. That when he died, he took away the barrier between us and God.
Our hope as Christians is based on what we know to be true.
The nature of hope
What makes Christian hope different?
1. Our hope is personal
When Thomas saw the resurrected Christ, he didn’t say “All my religious thoughts have come true!” He said “My Lord and my God!” First and foremost, Christianity is personal.
2. Our hope is secured
19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:19-20)
3. Our hope points us to a greater reality
The reason we have a hope that can’t be satisfied in this life is because there is a memory trace in the human soul that wants those things to be true.
That instinctive longing is found only in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Why do you believe hope is so essential to a person’s sense of well being?
- In what ways does life in Christ give us hope?
- What is the difference between “wishful thinking” and “intellectual certainty” when it comes to our definition of hope?
- In what ways are our hope in Christ personal?
- Read Hebrews 6:19-20. Discuss how Christ is an “anchor to our soul” according to this passage.
Posted on Sun, November 29, 2015
by Rick Thompson filed under