Because of the grace of God, we can have hope. Christmas is all about hope.
“There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four…
She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” Luke 2:36-38
I. Two definitions of Hope 1. The world’s definition “a feeling that what is wanted will happen; desire accompanied by expectation.”
2. The Bible’s definition of Hope: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb 11:1 NKJV
The substance of faith and the things that we hope for are based on the Promises of God. Christian Hope is not wishful thinking or a shot in the dark, rather it is based on the absolute certainty of God’s promises.
You cannot break God’s promises by leaning, standing, sitting, jumping or throwing them around!
God’s hope is: enduring cannot be frustrated will never end eternal
“We have this hope as an anchor of the soul.” Heb. 6:19 NKJV Where is your hope? Is it in a relationship? Is it in money? Is it in your job? Is it in your health insurance? or Is it in the promises of God?
II. The place of hope 1. Hope is not to be found in religion.
2. Hope is not to be found in a relationship with another person. Anna’s husband had been dead for many years. Yet her hope was not in her husband.
3. Hope is found in Jesus Christ. Why is Jesus Christ the fulfillment of hope?
A.He is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. All of God’s promises and all of God’s earthly activity is centered in Jesus. All of history, as far as man is concerned, is built around Jesus. History is divided by His life.
B. Jesus was also the proof that God’s plans cannot be frustrated.
The Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” states Jesus purpose in graphic terms. “Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.” 1 Thess 4:13
III. The power of hope 1. Hope does not disappear
2. Hope does not disappoint “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.“ (Rom. 5:5 NKJV)
3. Hope gives us a reason to live. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.” 2 Thess 2:16-17