December 5, 2021 SUMC 9am Worship Service

Sunday Worship Services:

Sanctuary & online - 9AM and 10:45 AM

Dec. 05, 2021

Rediscover Christmas: Hope

Luke 2:22-38

1.  Introduction: 

     a.  Advent

          i.  Advent means coming or arrival.

          ii.  Advent allows us to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, to celebrate His birth, and to be alert for His second coming.

     b.  Rediscover Christmas – The Attributes of Christ Captured in the Story of His Birth.

          i.  Peace: Genuine & lasting peace only comes through faith in Jesus.

          ii.  Hope, Love, Joy & Jesus

2.  Key Text: Luke 2:22-38

     a.  Historical Context

          i.  God’s promise to Abraham was given 1800 years before Jesus’ birth.

          ii.  Life was not easy for the Jews during most of those years.

          iii.  Most Jews had placed their hope in a Messiah who would come and overthrow the Roman government and let the Israelites rule.

          iv.  There was also a small group of Jews known as “the Quiet in the Land”.  They watched and waited for God to bring comfort and hope to His people through a life of constant worship and prayer.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

     b.  Simeon and Anna – “The Quiet in the Land” – Keeping Hope Alive

          i.  They were torches (beacon) of hope, expecting God to do what He had promised. 

          ii.  Common Traits

               > They were elderly.

               > They experienced hardship and uncertainty throughout their lives.

               > They persisted and remained faithful to God.

               > They didn’t try to fit God into a box of their own making, nor did they impose their own preconceived ideas about the Messiah back on God.

               > They didn’t appear surprised or even uncertain that Jesus was the long-promised and long-awaited Messiah, sent from God.

     C.  Hope

          i.  Definition

               > Cultural Hope: We tend to use the word “hope” in a way that means “wishful thinking.” 

               > Biblical Hope: It is the confident expectation that is rooted in the one who is 100% dependable—Jesus—and not in ourselves or our circumstances. 

          ii.  Hope sees beyond one’s current circumstances.

For in this hope, we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 

Romans 8:24

               > Hope precedes our present reality and by its very nature, exists in the uncertainty before.

          iii.  Hope is patient.

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently

Romans 8:25

               > Biblical patience is not passive.

          iv.  God is with us (Immanuel)—today, tomorrow, and always.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. 

Romans 8:26

               > When we feel too weak to carry on and we feel our grasp slipping on even the ability to try to hope, His Spirit is with us.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 

Isaiah 43:1-2

          v.  Hope inspires us to carry on.

“We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:2-5

3.  Conclusion: The Example Simeon and Anna

     a.  Develop a discipline of quiet, regular prayer. 

     b.  Adopt a posture of hopeful, active waiting. 

     c.  Accept the reality that you probably will not experience the completion of Christ’s work in your lifetime. 

     d.  Let your experience of Christ’s presence in your life be enough.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13