Advent 2018 – Day of Hope
December 2, 2018

Advent 2018 – Day of Hope

The first candle - this purple candle - represents hope and expectation for the coming Messiah. As the candle burns throughout the week and becomes smaller and smaller, it helps us remember that time continually passes and the return of Christ becomes nearer and nearer with each passing day.
It is that hope, however faint at times, and that God, however distant He sometimes seems, which brings to the world the anticipation of a King who will rule with truth and justice and righteousness over His people and in His creation. It is that hope that once anticipated, and now anticipates anew, the reign of an Anointed One, a Messiah, who will bring peace and justice and righteousness to the world.
Since the fall, evil feels omnipresent, and that makes cynicism an easy sell for us.   A distant, critical heart that claims to see “what it REALLY going on” gives the illusion of  authenticity, and adds to the allure of “being in the know” 
Cynics are ALWAYS observing, critiquing and never engaged, loving or hoping.   Cynicism is easy for us because it claims to see the problem, can diagnose, and offer solutions, the fatal flaw is that it offers it ALL AT A DISTANCE.
But here is a hard truth:
As long as you roll your eyes, offer smug comments, or scoff at the people and circumstances you currently face at this moment, you only harden your heart and stiffen your neck and reveal a sinful pride that will not allow you to repent or change anything.  This disposition is not only hopeless, but will encourage a cycle of cynical pride that will destroy you and the people around you. 
So what is the way out of Cynicism? 
It’s to turn the eyes of our hearts towards Christ. He alone is the sure hope that can sustain us when the trials, temptations, and evils of this world invade our life. 
We looked at 1 Peter 3-9, but we want to remember vs. 3-4 in particular.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 

This is the LIVING HOPE a Christian has. Meaning that our security is found in the truth that Jesus is alive, ruling and reigning. If that is true, our faith in what we hope for provides a foundation to live and move in this world. 
As we endure suffering, celebrations, disappointments, and victories we do so believing that Jesus is ALIVE and one day we will be AS HE IS; ETERNALLY ALIVE WITH HIM. 
This present and future salvation is kept for us by the strength of God himself.  We see it in vs. 4:

4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
1. Imperishable - Indestructible and can’t be taken away
2. Undefiled - Pure and unblemished
3. Unfading - remains the same
We mentioned that a Christian without Hope is a Christian who has forgotten CHRIST. But the good news of the Gospel is that Christ will never forget about you, he is aware of your situation and need - pray for a renewed hope in Him. 
If we lose sight of our hope, our living hope, and it’s sure fulfillment in Christ, we have reason to give into cynicism. But if by faith we cling to the hope of salvation, we can attain the strength to press on in our faith until we see Jesus face-to-face. 
Cynicism will rob you of Hope
Cynicism will rob you of Joy
Cynicism will rob you of Love
But the life of Jesus will provide life and life abundant amidst the circumstances you face. So may we be a people of hope, who choose to believe that the fact of the Resurrection provides hope that God is still working until he makes all things new. But until then may we continue to hope, continue to pray, continue to press onward until our faith is made sight in the presence of Christ himself. 

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