BIG IDEA: Hope, our society runs on it. We are people of anticipation (theme parks, vacations, weekends). In fact, our society thrives on hope. And yet, we are in the midst of a crisis of hope. We no longer have hope in things like marriage, our government, politics, etc. How are you doing with your hoping? Are you hoping well? Do you confidently experience the hope of Christ?
We’re taking a break from our study in Ephesians to reflect on Advent. The word “Advent” means “arrival,” and during this time of the year we reflect on Jesus’ first arrival on Earth, looking forward in anticipation to his second arrival. It’s a time of tension between Jesus’ first coming and his second.
SCRIPTURE to CONSIDER: Psalm 72:1-7, Matthew 3:1-10
 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!
 May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!
 May they fear you while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
 In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more! (ESV)
 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”  Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.  Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him,  and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.  Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (ESV)
- Hope: the confident expectation of the future that gives us energy today.
- Anticipation is at the heart of hope. We love looking forward to something. It’s the tension between the already and the not yet.
- Short term expectations: hoping for something this week, this month, or this year. Short term hope won’t give us much energy, so we will take small risks. It’s too short a horizon.
- Long term expectations: hoping for something in a lifetime and for eternity. Long term hope is centered on what God has in store for us, and in it God gives us more energy to take bigger risks. Hoping in the Kingdom of Heaven is the greatest and longest horizon, and it requires great energy and great risk.
- Personal Hope vs. Corporate Hope: do you only hope or expect for things that are related to you, or do you expect or hope for things for your community, city, nation?
- Old Testament Hope: a through-line of hope for an individual, a leader who would lead the people of God in the right direction, but every one of the OT leaders fell short: Moses, Abraham, Joshua, King Saul, King David, etc.
- Video of Ernie Johnson on Inside the NBA on TNT
- The coming King will (Ps.72:1-7)
- Judge with Righteousness
- Bring Prosperity
- Defend those who cannot protect themselves
- Deliver, save and rescue those who need salvation.
- Crush the enemies of goodness.
- Matthew 3:1-10: In the days leading up to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptist called God’s people out on their lack of repentance. There was a complacency around sin and the confession of sins. Confession and repentance must be part of our walk with Christ.
- Don’t Hope in the Past: Don’t assume that just because you have a rich, Christian heritage, or that you have always walked in the faith that you are exempt from repentance. Repent, take your knowledge of the past, and hope forward. Don’t fall into nostalgia.
- Our great hope will be to our benefit, to His glory, and it will draw people to us and to Christ.
- Repent: turn from hoping in the past – from hoping in the small things of the world – to hoping in the future and hoping in Jesus.
- Hope well: hope in God, hope in Jesus, hope in the cross, hope in the resurrection, hope in the second coming..
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