A Thrill of Hope: Hope Revealed
In 1944, Corrie Ten Boom, her sister Betsie, and their father Casper, were placed in a Nazi prison for giving refuge to Jewish people during WWII. You can read the full story in her famous biography called The Hiding Place. Eventually, Corrie and Betsie ended up in the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp for women. While they were imprisoned at Ravensbruck, Betsie and Corrie would lead a Bible study each evening with a single copy of a smuggled Bible. Through their genuine love for the other prisoners, they would end up leading many of them to faith in Christ.
However, Betsie's health deteriorated quickly while in those horrible conditions, and she died on December 16, 1944 at the age of 59. Before she died, and in a particularly hard time while being ravished by the cold and tortured with starvation, she told Corrie,"There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still." Corrie held on to those words of hope from her sister. Then suddenly, twelve days later, Corrie was released. Afterwards, she was told that her release was because of a clerical error and that a week later, all the women in her age group were sent to the gas chambers.
Even in the midst of the worst of conditions, Corrie and Betsie never gave up hope.
Hope is the life preserver of our souls when it seems that all is lost.
But before we go any further, lets define it.
What is Hope?
Tertullian said that “Hope is patience with the lamp lit.”
Or maybe I could say it this way:
"Hope is the Motel 6 of virtues: It always leaves the light on."
One thing is for sure… We cannot live without hope.
Max Lucado put it this way: "Biblical hope is not wishful thinking.
It is the unshakable confidence that God can be trusted. It is the belief that God is always at work for our good. It is the assurance that God’s promises are true even while we wait for their fulfillment. Because our hope is certain, we wait patiently, not fretfully, trusting that God is already at work to provide the light we seek, the help we need, and the deliverance we long for.”
Jesus is the light we seek.
Jesus is the help we need.
Jesus is the deliverance we long for.
This Hope is thrilling because of the confidence and the salvation that it brings. It is NOT a false hope. This is a hope that is based on absolute truth!
This is the kind of hope that only God can give us. why? because God keeps His promises!
1. Hope Revealed - In the promise of the Christ
There are 332 passages in the Old Testament that scholars recognize as prophesies of the first coming of the Messiah.
Many of these have to do specifically with His birth.
Take for instance - Isaiah 7:14 -Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
It was fulfilled in Matthew 1:18-25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His nameJesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
He is Jesus by name. But He is Immanuel by nature. He is God with Us.
A few things you need to know about The Incarnate God -
1. The incarnation was not the beginning of Christ. Jesus has always been. He didn’t just suddenly appear 2,000 years ago as a baby. He’s been here from the beginning. He is creator God.
Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Don’t ever forget that Jesus is creator, ruler, master, and authority over ALL things!! He always has been and always will be!! He IS King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
2. The incarnation fulfilled prophesy.
3. The Mega Millions had a $1.6 billon jackpot in October 2018, and the odds of winning it were merely 1 in 302,575,350
Peter Stone’s mathematical calculations determined that the chances of Jesus fulfilling just 8 of the 332 prophesies about his first coming is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. (Silver Dollar analogy I gave last year) Thats a 1 with 17 0’s behind it.
And what if he fulfilled just 48 of the 332? The chances of that are 1 in 10 to the 57th power!!!
And yet Christ fulfilled them all! How? Because he wrote all the prophesies!
4. The incarnation is necessary for salvation. Salvation comes through Christ alone by way of the cross and HIs resurrection . None of us know why this is God’s plan, but it is. And certainly none of us, if we were delivering a savior to a broken world, would send him in the form of a helpless, peasant baby. And yet, this is exactly what God has done.
Jesus removed His robes of royalty, purposefully stepped away from the glory of heaven where He was being attended to by legions of Angels, where He was sitting on a throne of splendor and majesty, where He was omnipotent and omnipresent, and chose to confine Himself to flesh - and humbled himself and became a person.
Philippians 2:7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
He willingly stepped away from His majestic throne and into our messy home.
And what a mess it was!
It had been 400 years since anyone had heard from God. He was silent. This is known as the Intertestamental period. There is no record where God spoke through any prophets. There was no Biblical book written in that time. No one heard God’s voice. He was, of course present, but He did not manifest His presence. He was not dead….but He was silent. So the world lie in wait.
So He did all this in just the right way at just the right time.
My friend Chris Rice summed it up well in his song Welcome to Our World:
Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child
Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home
Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world
Immanuel was here…..God was now with us. And he would grow and experience the highs and lows of everyday life. Fully God…yet fully human.
Jesus gets you! He truly gets you! And He came because he wants to help you get out of your mess!! He wants to give you hope!
He is Immanuel - God WITH Us.
But He is also God FOR us!
Romans 15:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 Now may the God of hope fill YOU with ALL joy and peace in believing, that YOU may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
What an incredible Christmas gift of YOU! God is FOR you!
2. Hope Revealed - In the power of the Cross
Romans 8:31 - What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What the cross reveals to us is just how much God truly LOVES us! He loves us so much that He came and died for our mess. Nothing can diminish the Love of God for us.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
So you can’t earn this salvation. You can’t buy this hope. You can’t lease it for a little while. It’s permanent, but it only through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born
Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
So what??? What does any of this have to do with us today? Everything!!! Because the cross is just as powerful and life changing now as it has ever been.
You may find yourself in a desperate situation today…lost and in a pit of despair.
The lure of wealth
the temptation of sex/relationships
the enticement of addictive substances.
but then there’s Jesus… revealed as the promised Christ…gets down into the pit with you….
wraps his loving arms around you and holds you with his nail scarred hands and says “come unto me….I love you and gave my life for you!
The overwhelming message of Christmas is simply this:
You are loved !!
No matter who you are or what you’ve done…you are loved.
Corrie Ten Boom never forgot that statement: "There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still.”
God is always with you
God is always for you
You need to remember that today.
You also need to remember this:
There is no darkness dark enough where the light of Jesus can’t illuminate your soul.
There is no distance far enough that God’s loving arms can’t reach around you.
So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world
1. Hope Revealed - in the promise of the Christ -
He jumped into our mess
2. Hope Revealed - in the power of the Cross -
He died for our mess
3. Hope Revealed - In the presence of HIs Coming -
Remember I mentioned 332 prophesies are about his first coming.
Did you know that there are literally more than 1800 Biblical references to His second coming!! And if Jesus fulfilled all 332 prophesies about His first coming, you better believe the prophesies about what is yet to come are going to happen. That’s biblical hope…hope with an unshakeable confidence that
One day He will take us out of this mess!
Philippians 2:9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
1 Peter 1:3 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 "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.”