John 1:1-51 ESV 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
Thank you, Caleb. Now you can turn in your Bibles over with me to Romans Chapter Eight, I think I said for the reminder, I was getting there, maybe we’ll see, that’s reminding me that I have to like the candle ’cause I forgot last week. So he had a good joke about that in our small group this past week, it seems like the third week every year, I forget.
So we’ve been covering the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, we’ve covered four different keywords really related to Christmas, we covered from Joy one week, if this light
We covered Love last week, and now I’m blanking on the third one. Peace, thank you. Peace, and then today we will be covering hope, and each one of these four will be lit leading up to our Christmas Eve service, and during a Christmas Eve service, and then the central one is the Christ one, He’s the light that shines in the darkness. And these four will be used to light that key one, because all four of these things come to the point in Jesus Christ. So that’s coming up for the Christmas Eve service. Hope is ours this week, and I’m gonna make sure you turn over to Romans 8, that’s where we will be this morning, Romans chapter 8. I want you to read with me a few key Verses from Romans 8, as we jump into this, Romans 8, verse 24 and 25. Romans 8, 24 and 25. And that says, For in this hope, we were saved. Now, hope that a scene is not hope, for who hopes for what he sees, but if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. So that kind of defines for us a central kind of part of what hope is…
Hope is something you don’t currently have, but you want… It’s out in front of you. You hope to get your expected to get… How is this for a Christmas quote? Hope is the most evil of evils, because it prolongs means torment.
Know, who said that? Scrooge….. Yes, I… A famous atheistic philosopher named Frederick niche, you heard of him before. How would you like to live in a world where everybody thought like that, we should not have hope. One author said, to find hope this way, they said, Hope is optimism mixed with desperation and wishful thinking, and kind of a jaded view of what hope is… Yeah, it’s not really biblical hope, I can definitely see how some people would look at HOPE and see how people desperately try to latch on to future positive outcomes with… No sure, they’re gonna get it.
It’s like somebody purchasing lottery tickets when they’ve got a bunch of bills to pay.
A lot of people think that’s what hope is, it’s a desperate, long shot him, Mary, I hope everything’s gonna work out, It’s wishful thinking, but in the end, that kind of hope is an evil. Why? Because it often leaves people worse than they would have been if they had just focused on what was ahead of them, but that’s not Biblical hope, it’s different, there is a desperation to biblical hope, but it’s the kind of desperation of a thirsty man in the desert, reaching out to a water container that somebody offers him, yes, they grab it desperately, but it’s not them wandering through the desk Desert looking for mirage, there’s a sense in which it’s wishful thinking, but that’s only true in the sense that really the biblical story… What the Bible says is going to happen is the fulfillment of every longing heart. Have you heard that? Joy of Every longing. Heart just recognized that. Hope without God is evil. Why? Each was right. In his world view, hope without God is evil because it never delivers… It never comes through. And that’s I since I really think needs was kind of right, he understood something about humanity, but I think he also missed this important part about you and me, that we…
Every single human ever has hope in their DNA, the question isn’t whether or not hope is a good thing, the question is what you hope in… Christmas is a story of hope. Now, if you read the gospel accounts, the first few chapters of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you’ll find at least in my translation, not once is word hope mentioned, which is interesting, it
Doesn’t mean it’s not there, in the sense of the story, the feel of the story, and even in this passage that I just had cared for us, John chapter 1, What is Christ referred to us? The light that shines in the darkness, if that’s not hope, at least partially, I don’t know, is this
Is that by the way, that idea of the hope, the lights shining in the darkness. That’s directly connected back to Isaiah Chapter 8. And in the people who are walking in darkness have seen a what? A great night. Those walking… Why were they in darkness to begin with, because of their sin, they had a banned in their god, they walked away from him, and so God like darkness to surround them, and the only hope is if God would then say, like to shine out of darkness. Let it be. And
That’s what He did through Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfills the universal hopes of Every longing heart, but I have a question, If Christ fulfills our hopes in our heart, why do we still live in such a broken world… We get cheery. We’ve seen Christmas songs. This is a season where it’s easy to be blissfully ignorant of everything going on around us, but I saw a news article today as I was just scrolling the news feed, not today, it was a couple of days ago, of a grown man who beat his mom to death, it’s
Easy to talk about hope, but then how do we deal with hope and the brokenness of this world, the brokenness that you… And I see. You see the tension there. We wanna have hope, then we’re faced with the reality of day in and day out, like… Well, Romans Chapter 8 gives us five hopes… And I’m gonna tie them to the Christmas hope, each one of them. Five hopes that help us to work through that struggle, how do we have hope today that isn’t blissfully ignorant of the brokenness of this world? So that’s where we’re gonna go. Start with me in Romans Chapter 8, Verse 18. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. So here’s your first hope in verse 18, Christmas promises that are sufferings will be repaid with a greater or probably repaid isn’t the right word, we will see greater joy than any sufferings we face here. That’s what that says. The sufferings of this present time are not even worth comparing to the glory that awaits believers. Now, a couple of things, first of all, I think we have to define suffering, because if you’re anything like me, I struggle ever saying that I’m suffering…
I feel like I’m being dramatic. But we have to define, we have to allow the Bible to define suffering for us, and then we have to think about our life that way, and biblically suffering as it’s developed throughout the Word of God, it all comes back to Genesis Chapter 3. Every brokenness that we feel, death that we feel, sickness, that we feel, the nite between us and others, the sin, Dante desires that we have in our heart that are contrary to God, the difficulty of work, the fruitless-ness of going to a job and feeling like it’s pointless, all of these things are the direct result of the fall, they all go back there, so in your life today, everything is biblical suffering, everything that you face, every difficulty you face, you don’t down play and say, Well, this isn’t really suffering because… Well, so and so has it way worse, they may have it worse… That’s okay to recognize. But in that process, we also have to recognize and name what we are going through. Suffering.
And he says here that the sufferings that you go through today are nothing compared with the glories that await the children of God. The scales have been set up, your weighty sufferings are placed on one side, and the infinite mass of glory is placed on the other, and guess which way the scales lean. If my child this week was running around playing with a penny, dirty old penny, running around playing with it and they got a crisp, clean 20 bill from the grandparents, and I say, look what you got… Here you go, let me give this to you and I hand it to them to go… We don’t have them, I don’t think keep all their money, but I say, Hey, go put this in your piggy bank or whatever.
And they reach out to grab that 20 bill, but as they’re reaching out to grab the 20 bill, they drop the penny that they had in their hand and the penny bounces, bounces and rolls right into one of the cracks of the floors that we currently have is we’re re doing our kitchen, never to be seen or heard from again, unless I tear up the kitchen… What doesn’t happen?
And it’s good, and the child just breaks down, throws himself down in a fit, it says, My Penny, while I’m extending out a 20 bill to them.
That’s so often what you and I do with our suffering, we do go through suffering. It is painful, but I don’t think we fully realize the weight of glory that is gonna be exchanged for that suffering, we don’t fully recognize what’s coming for us, and that’s part of the reason why our suffering feel so oppressive, it feels like a dark shadow that sits over our head. Was us down? Wait on our shores. Hope number one is that Christmas promises that our sufferings are nothing compared to the glories that await us. Hope number two is in Verses 19-22, The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who suggest subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth. To now, even today, though creation is beautiful, and it is beautiful, there seems to be something else that kind of hats creation, a death, a pain, rotting Woods, dry bones, the creaking of trees, everything else is just like this language that it’s communicating..Things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be in our world, and so the second hope that we have… Christmas promises that all things will be made right. All things will be made right. Here’s how Isaiah pictures that day when all things are made right, the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with a young go, the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together, and the little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shock raise their young shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the COBRA, and the Wen child shall put his hand in the adders done. That’s almost certainly a reference to Genesis 315, they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the Earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. How well do the waters cover the sea?
0:18:13.1 S2: Pretty well. That’s a weird question to ask, right? That’s how much knowledge there will be on this earth, and therefore because of that knowledge, because the glory of the Lord rests on this earth, there will be no hurt or destruction anywhere on this earth. Look, I don’t know, I’m not like a big charity guy, I do some charity things here or there, but it’s not been a big part of the… And I would say at least part of the reason for that in me, because I often don’t know where to start, anyone else ever feel that way like, yeah, I could give some… But it’s not gonna solve these problems. Like I struggle with that a lot. And that’s like salmon kind of the pain of this sort… Like me, myself, I feel like I have a tough time getting myself under control and the pain that I might cause others, much less as I sit down with somebody else and then I help them work through the pain that they may be causing others. And how do I do that? And then when you add up, there’s over seven billion people here on the earth that are contributing to the pain of others, both in a formal and in an informal way, and then on top of that, we’ve got new sicknesses coming up, we’ve got…
Sickness is killing people. You’ve got winter storms that are dumping tons of snow in the Northeast, we’ve got hurricanes and tornados, we’ve got pain and suffering, even if we were able to get everybody to get along, there would still be that, there would still be paying. And that doesn’t begin to talk about how are we gonna solve world hunger, can we find a cure for the flu or for AIDS or for many of these things, how do we get clean drinking water to those around us? Now, all of those are worthy pursuits, my point in this is saying this is one of our hopes, the Christmas hope is that one day, all things will be made right. Amen. One day there will be no sin toward and against one another, there will be none of that, there will be no fear, anticipation of death, there will be no covid-19 or masks. I thought I’d get more amends there, apparently not, there will be no cancer, there will be no starvation, there will be no thirst, God will make all things right in these few verses, 19 to 22, picture creation as groaning for that day, it’s like creation knows it, it’s got his mind of its own, that’s how it’s pictured here.
She’s got a mind of its own, and she feels like that day is coming, it will be here one day, so God is not just in the business of redeeming you and me, he’s in the business of redeeming the world. But not only that, we have a third Hope, the first hope, if you remember, was that Christmas promises that our sufferings will not be anything compared to the greater glory. Number two is that all things will be made right. Number three is in verse 23 through 25, not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for the adoption of sons, the redemption of our bodies. For this hope, we were saved. Now, hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he sees, but if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Is our body is waste away, we don’t see the hope, right, we long for the day when our bodies will be redeemed, but it’s not right there. We’re not seeing it happen. This brings us to point number three. I hope number three, Christmas promises that God will remake The physical Earth and our physical bodies.
I think sometimes we get this idea in our head that Christianity is a spiritual religion and there’s something wrong with the physical… Everything’s wrong in the physical, God’s gonna eventually allow our bodies to die and then you’ll take our spirits to this perfect spiritual place. That is not true. That is the furthest thing from the biblical story. That’s actually far more ancient Greek and Roman religion than it is Christianity.
Christianity teaches us instead that god has every intention of redeeming and fixing this Broken Earth, and not only the earth, he has every intention of redeeming and fixing every part of you, the sinful brokenness that you have inside, he is already redeemed you from the penalty of that and he is in the process today of redeeming you from the power of that and the death that you face one day if the Lord does not return, he that that won’t overcome him, he has every intention of taking and giving you a perfect body physically to live here on Earth with him. I don’t know, when I look at the problems in this world, Daniel told me a joke a while ago about what programmers say about… They sing the song 99 bottles of milk on the wall, but they sing it with different words, they sing 99 little bugs in the code that they’re coding, 99 little bugs. You take one down and patch the… Fix a 1006 bugs, the code. And how many of you feel that way? You solve one sin and six others, it feels like rears thoroughly had… You finally get your hip work and write, and then suddenly you get migraines that you can’t get rid of, like you see what I’m saying, like we get this sense of how can we ever fix it, but God promises a day when you will be completely redeemed…
Point number four, Verses 26 to 27, Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We can connect this also back to the first fruits of the spirit from verse 23, Christmas promises, hope number four, that God is with us today. You and I have been given the Holy Spirit to be with us. That is a real thing.
God is really with us today, if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, God is really with us, it says that He prays for us in our weakness, this is either weakness from maybe not knowing how to pray, or just a general fleshly sinful weakness, whatever you wanna say. What we know is that God not only loves us and He’s with us, but he’s interested in us… I’m gonna say that again, because sometimes I think we forget about how relationships work, God not only loves us and He’s with us, but he’s also interested in us, he cares about our struggles so much so that even before you can say them, he knows what you’re going through, and he’s praying for you about it. What promises is that? That’s a hope that we have fixed today, we have today, and it’s a promised hope that one day we will be fully in God’s presence with him and see him as Revelation says, face-to-face. Why did God ordain for us to go through sufferings? Why wouldn’t God once we believe… Why wouldn’t he just make our lives perfect, right? Don’t you think more people would believe in me, every religion grapples to decide of suffering, every religion, every philosophy, every view of this world grapples with it, some better than others. There are so many reasons why we go through suffering, at least one of them biblically, is that suffering has a way of getting us to confront ourselves in our own sins.
Suffering has a way of getting us to the point where we have to examine what we put our trust in… Well, when we put our security in, we have to examine our bad habits, confront them, humble ourselves before God and then try to grow through them, but that’s not always suffering. The fact of the matter is, the Bible never gives one catch-all/ be-all answer for why you go through suffering, and in fact, if you think about it, disloyal, if there is an infinitely wise God who’s in control of our lives, and you and I are not infinitely wise, there may be reasons for our suffering that we can’t even comprehend, you get that… But here’s what the Bible does tell us. The Bible, in fact, is the only religion so far as I know, that tells us this, That God cared so much about that suffering that He actually entered into it. The God looked at creation, saw the suffering of humanity and decided, I’m gonna come and become a human and taste the suffering.
I’m gonna be called to man solos and be acquainted with grief, I’m gonna be endured the cross and the pain that’s there. The Bible makes this radical claim that God cares so much about our suffering, and he was willing to enter into it with us.
So at the very least, we can say, God with us and are suffering today. It’s a hope. The fifth and final hope is in verse 28, it’s a familiar passage for many of us, and we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good for those who are called according to the purpose. Hope number five is that Christmas promises that God is working all things together for our good.
All things don’t work together for good for everyone, if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ today, all things are not working together for your good, but rather the events of your life, and then your response is sinful to them, are leading you slowly down a path to help, that will not be your good in the end.
It’s a threat, it’s warning, and it’s an invitation to you today that God knows your sin, he knows you’re suffering, and He extends a hand to you today, offering peace through Jesus Christ. It’s Jesus Christ where the forgiveness is purchased for all of your sin, and it’s there that he meets you through the gospel by making peace with you when you are at war with him, by making peace there he says, Come to Me in that suffering all walk through it with you. I won’t let you buy yourself like the pain of a workout, or the pain of learning a new job or something like that, God shows us that the suffering we encounter today, those who love God, the suffering that those who love God encounter today is part of a process for our good. It’s a good… We may not fully understand this side of heaven, but it is a good…I’ve used the illustration before, if you’ve ever seen the back of a tapestry or even a carpet sometimes depending on the back of it, you’ll see the back in the back does not look like anything, it looks like a mess, looks like somebody just tied a bunch of nuts in a bunch of different colors of thread, and it’s just everywhere, but then you turn around and you realize, Oh, I see. It was this beautiful thing, a beautiful painting, and so often we look at our lives from the back and it looks like a mess, we say, How could beauty be made from this? And all the while, the perfect Weaver is on the other side, leaving our life together exactly how he wants to make a beautiful tapestry, He is working all things for your good
Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice something really important, I’ve given you the hopes, but I haven’t necessarily given you why Christmas connects to those hopes, and that’s number six.
Christmas demonstrates the beginning of a plan that God will fulfill. The beauty of Christmas is that all of these hopes start that morning that Jesus was born.
We get to see the specific ways Christmas initialize each one, and we might not have the end of all of them, but we do see… We have a little taste of the beginning and each one of them.
First of all, the first one, when I said that we received greater glory than we could ever have suffering in this life, think about Christ, think about what he endured. Christ endured the suffering of this world and the cross, then afterward received, glory, received a reward, and we know that all who walk a path following him, we’ll go through suffering, or we will also receive a greater reward, and so that’s how we see… It’s just a little foretaste of the promise that we have, or how about this? Christ began the process of making all things right. Remember that was point number two. Christ began the process of making all things right the moment he’s crucified. How is he making all things right there? He starts, you and me, makes us right with God.
It’s the beginning of a redemption, reconciliation process, where we are now right with God, and that’s just a little taste of how all the world will be right one day. Then it’s amazing, I have about point number three, The that God plans to make our physical bodies right. In this physical art, not just a spiritual thing, Christ took on human flesh. He was pulled as a human… He didn’t come as an angel, he came in human flesh physically. And that’s proof positive that he’s concerned about you and I in our physical bodies. In our physical lives in this physical earth. How about point number four? The fact that God is with us. And we saw that the Holy Spirit is with us today. But what is Christ’s called? And then you well, and manual God with us. And what’s… So we have this little taste of God coming in human form, and they got to see him face-to-face and be with him. Oh, how wonderful. That would have been… Then he left the Holy Spirit as our comforter until He comes again and we are in his presence for all eternity, and we see Him face-to-face.
We get a little foretaste in the Christmas story of God with us. How about number five? How God will work all things for our good, for those who love God. What about point number five? That hope. How has that proven? In the Christmas story, well, Christmas shows us that if God gave us His Son, He will not hold any good thing back from us. Look at Verse 31-32. What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him freely for us all, how will He not also? With Him, graciously give us all things. He desires good for your life, how do we know that because he gave us his… And if He’s given us His Son, that He’ll give you anything, Lester, and Jesus is the greater.
He has your good in mind, I know the suffering feel painful, but he has you’re good in mind, and we see that in the Christmas story, Jesus come to earth, that gift from God in the nativity scene is proof positive that God desires good for you and I even through all the sufferings that we face.
These first five hopes, they are not desperate wishful thinking, we know they’re not desperate wishful thinking like a lottery ticket, no, we… That we have a future hope, because each one of these homes have been started initialized, we’ve got a little taste of them in the Christmas story, so we know it will come one day.
Not desperate wishful thinking.
He will. He started unleashing His grace to you and I today. And the Christmas story satisfies the hopes and the longest of every heart, that’s what makes it so remarkable, and we now today have a taste of that hope, and then we look forward to the full completion of it one day. I encourage you, as you walk through the desert of your life, that thirsty man, as you walk through the desert of your life, drink deeply from these six hopes, it’ll transform you, let’s close or a prayer, and then we’ll sing a song. Just quit your heart about your head’s, still yourself for a moment before God. So if you’re here with us today and you don’t know that salvation, you don’t know that hope you have, you don’t have peace with Christ because you’ve not really trusted in your heart that God can deliver you from your sins through Jesus Christ. I invite you to come to Him today. He’s made a way of peace, is made a way for you to be called his child, a unshakable title that can never be changed if you will, lay down your pride simply trusting… Father, these six hopes are mountain tops that I feel to an adequate decline and much less preach on, but as I’ve lifted these up from your Word today, I ask that your people, you would see him. I pray that they’d see, the Christmas season is a season of hope, a little foretaste of that home in the Christmas story, to hope redemption. I hope that you’ll make all things right, Hope, our bodies, the hope of saviors, being saved from sin wants them for all the hope that you’re working all things for our good, those hopes.
We need them as firm fixtures in our life cornerstones, so that we’re not easily shaken.
I pray that you would open the eyes of our heart so that we can see the heights of these hopes. I pray that we would worship you because of it.