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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 2008-11-30: "The Hope Of Advent"

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THE HOPE OF ADVENT

SERMON STARTER

For centuries Christians have celebrated the Birth of Jesus in various ways. Usually these celebrations center around family and Christian friends. Our American Western worldview has been perverted by our free-enterprise financial leaders to cause Christmas to become the season of consumerism, greed and avarice.

          “Tis the season to make money,

          Fa-la-la-la-la---la-la-la-la!------”

This national lust for possessions and the giving and receiving of expensive gifts at Christmas combined with our current economic downturn has left people feeling hopeless and filled with despair.

Where is Jesus?

BUT WHERE IS JESUS?

R. W. COOPER

It’s Christmas time the people say;

The signs proclaim – the stores portray

Glittering trees and ornaments rare -

Scurrying shoppers everywhere

Laden counters with toys abound –

          Children’s eyes so large and round.

Happy faces and greetings gay;

          Laughter and mirth along the way

BUT WHERE IS JESUS?

 

“Why, it’s His birthday, don’t you know?”

          Says a smiling face ‘mid falling snow.

“He was born in Bethlehem long, long ago.

          So we give gifts to those we know –

To our children dear both far and near.

          To friend and kin we spread our cheer.”

But I bowed my heard with a heavy heart,

          Though to those we love we do our part –

BUT WHERE IS JESUS?

 

“It’s Christmas time, God’s Word declares,

          The Savior came to answer our prayers,

He came to those who loved Him not,

          To save their souls from sin’s dread blot.

He came to give to those in need,

          And for the outcast, his soul did bleed.

Though the earth abounds with need today

We ignore the needy along the way.

BUT WHERE IS JESUS?

 

“We’ve gifts for John and Mary and Sue:

          We’ve love for them and encouragement, too

And this, my friends, we ought to do,

          But where is our gift for the Savior true?

The gift He wants is loving deeds,

          A ready response to a lost world’s needs,

Not wrapped in tissue with ribbons bright

          But embodied in flesh aglow with love’s light.

BUT WHERE IS JESUS?

          This sermon explores one of my favorite scripture texts, Isaiah nine. May you be challenged to seek Him and His Kingdom of love, not just this advent season, but throughout your life.

 

 

 

November 30 2008, Sheepfold Ministries

Pastor Phil Roland

THE HOPE OF ADVENT

Isaiah 9:1-7

"People are feeling hopeless and full of despair this season of the year. Christians have a reason to have HOPE: Christ has come once and will return soon. " Pastor Phil Roland

 

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:7

 

ADVENT: The liturgical period preceding Christmas, beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas and observed by many Christians as a season of prayer, fasting, and penitence.

 

I.   DESPAIR IS EVERYWHERE

          A. Prophets of Gloom Everywhere

                        1. End of the Charismatic Revival

                        2. Religious Fatalism: “We’ve tried it and it didn’t work!”

          B. Economic and Financial World is without Hope

                        1. Not enough Zeros in the National Debt Clock

                        2. Commercial lending is practically at a standstill

            C. International World is without Hope

                        1. Terrorists, Agents Opposing Change of any kind

                        2. Greed and Avarice keep the Masses in Poverty

                        3. Third World Economies: Missing Middle Class

 

II. THE REMEDY TO DESPAIR IS HOPE

"The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned." Isaiah 9:1,2;  Matthew 4:15,16

            A. Two Northernmost Tribes of Israel: far from Jerusalem’s light

                        1. The Light of God has come to them

                        2. God’s Light is Jesus: He comes with Hope

            B. In the place of Great Contention, the light has come

                        1. Mankind’s Despair is God’s Opportunity

                        2. When we give up, God is there for us

                        3. He shows up in unlikely places and circumstances

            C. Hope is a belief in the Positive Outcome for Life’s Problems

                        1. Irrepressible in the Face of Negativity

                        2. Resolute in the Face of Adversity

            D. Jesus Prophesies Quoting Isaiah 9 – Matthew 4:15,16

                        1. He begins here to Preach, “The Kingdom of God is at Hand”

                        2. Oppression and Condemnation: Jesus comes there

                        3. He comes with His Gospel of Light – (Good News)

III. GOD’S REMEDY IS JESUS – Isaiah 9:6,7

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,”

            A. Jesus has All Authority - Matt. 28:18-20

            “And the government will be upon His shoulder.”

            “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given

            to Me in heaven and on earth.  "Go therefore and make disciples of all the

            nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the

            Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded

            you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

                      1. We Hear and Obey His Good News and leave Darkness

                        2. We are Transferred to the Kingdom of God’s Beloved Son

                        “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us

                          into the kingdom of the Son of His love,” Col. 1:13

 

            B. Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor – John 1:17

            ”And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,”

            “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through

              Jesus Christ.     

                   1. His Teaching Fills us with Wonder and Awe

                        2. Moses came with the Law, Jesus with Grace and Truth

 

            C. Jesus is also our “Mighty God “

                        1. Mighty = Warrior, Champion, Valiant One, “Hero”

                        2. He Saves us from Satan’s Doom

                        3. He is “Immanuel” “God with us” – Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; Phil.

                            2:5-11; 2 Peter 1:1

                                               

            D. Jesus is also Our “Eternal Father”

                        1. He has given us the right to become “Children of God”

                        “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become

                          children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born,

                          not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but                             of God.” John 1:12,13

                        2. Jesus Reveals to us the Characteristics of God – John 14:8

                        Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for

                        us."  Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you

                        have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the

                        Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? "Do you not

                        believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that

                        I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father

                        who dwells in Me does the works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father

                        and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works

                        themselves.”

 

            E. Jesus is the Prince of Peace

                        1. He has reconciled us with God – 2 Cor. 5:18,19

                            (Mutual Change Bringing Peace)

                        “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through

                        Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was

                        reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's

                        sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of

                        reconciliation.”

                        2. The Announcement of His Angels was a Message of Peace

                        "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who

                        is Christ the Lord.  "And this will be the sign to you: You will find a

                        Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. "And

                        suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host

                        praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth

                        peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:11-14

                                               

IV. THE HOPE OF ADVENT IS FINDING GOD’S KINGDOM

“Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

            A. Mankind’s Kingdoms will Continue to be Shaken

            B. Christ’s Kingdom Cannot be Shaken – Heb. 12:26-29

            "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." Now this, "Yet

            once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as

            of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may             remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be

            shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with

            reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”

                        1. His kingdom is found in a person

                        2. Find Jesus, find His Kingdom

 

THE HOPE OF ADVENT, Text:

Isaiah 9:1-7

9:1  Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles.

2  The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.

3  You have multiplied the nation And increased its joy; They rejoice before You According to the joy of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

4  For You have broken the yoke of his burden And the staff of his shoulder, The rod of his oppressor, As in the day of Midian.

5  For every warrior's sandal from the noisy battle, And garments rolled in blood, Will be used for burning and fuel of fire.

6  For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7  Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

 

CONCLUDING ILLUSTRATION

HOPE AT CHRISTMAS

Dr. James Dobson relates a story of an elderly woman named Stella Thornhope who was struggling with her first Christmas alone. Her husband had died just a few months prior through a slow developing cancer. Now, several days before Christmas, she was almost snowed in by a brutal weather system. She felt terribly alone so much so she decided she was not going to decorate for Christmas.

Late that afternoon the doorbell rang, and there was a delivery boy with a box. He said, "Mrs. Thornhope?" She nodded. He said, "Would you sign here?" She invited him to step inside and closed the door to get away from the cold. She signed the paper and said, "What's in the box?" The young man laughed and opened up the flap, and inside was a little puppy, a golden Labrador Retriever. The delivery boy picked up the squirming pup and explained, "This is for you, Ma'am. He's six weeks old, completely housebroken." The young puppy began to wiggle in happiness at being released from captivity.

"Who sent this?" Mrs. Thornhope asked.

The young man set the animal down and handed her an envelope and said, "It's all explained here in this envelope, Ma'am. The dog was bought last July while its mother was still pregnant. It was meant to be a Christmas gift to you." The young man then handed her a book, How to Care for Your Labrador Retriever.

In desperation she again asked, "Who sent me this puppy?"

As the young man turned to leave, he said, "Your husband, Ma'am. Merry Christmas."

She opened up the letter from her husband. He had written it three weeks before he died and left it with the kennel owners to be delivered with the puppy as his last Christmas gift to her. The letter was full of love and encouragement and admonishments to be strong. He vowed that he was waiting for the day when she would join him. He had sent her this young animal to keep her company until then.

She wiped away the tears, put the letter down, and then remembering the puppy at her feet, she picked up that golden furry ball and held it to her neck. Then she looked out the window at the lights that outlined the neighbor's house, and she heard from the radio in the kitchen the strains of "Joy to the World, the Lord has Come." Suddenly Stella felt the most amazing sensation of peace washing over her. Her heart felt a joy and a wonder greater than the grief and loneliness.

"Little fella," she said to the dog, "It's just you and me. But you know what? There's a box down in the basement I'll bet you'd like. It's got a little Christmas tree in it and some decorations and some lights that are going to impress you. And there's a manger scene down there. Let's go get it."

God has a way of sending a signal of light to remind us life is stronger than death. Light is more powerful than darkness. God is more powerful than Satan. Good will overcome evil.

"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light," the prophet said. "On those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned" (Matthew 4:16).