Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Abounding in a Hope, Gifted from the Father, Delivered by the Son, and Renewed in the Spirit’
© December 3, 2017 by Steve Mickelson
Announcements and Call to Worship; Prayer Opening Hymn #313: My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less; Choruses Prayer and Tithing: Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Responsive Reading #610: (Christ in Prophecy – Isaiah 11 and 42, Jeremiah 23, Malachi) Message by Steve Mickelson: ‘Abounding in a Hope, Gifted from the Father, Delivered by the Son, and Renewed in the Spirit’
Let us pray…
Welcome to Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship’s Praise and Worship Service on this, the first Sunday of December, which is both a Communion Sunday and the first Sunday of Advent.
This Sunday, is the first Sunday, where we lit a candle for the beginning of Advent. Advent occurs during the period, beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. The candle lit today is designated as the Candle of Hope. But what do we mean by hope? Let us check with one online dictionary’s definition of ‘hope’:
Hope – noun (Online dictionary)
- a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
“he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information”
|synonyms:||aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, design, plan|
- archaic – a feeling of trust.
For the Christian believer, our hope is synonymous with trust, as we see in our Wikibits:
Christian Hope: An excerpt article: Hope (virtue)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hope is one of the three theological virtues of the Christian religion, alongside faith and love. “Hope” in the Holy Bible means “a strong and confident expectation” of future reward (see Titus 1:2). In modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a confident expectation”. Paul the Apostle argued that hope was a source of salvation for Christians: “For in hope we have been saved…if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (see Romans 8:25).
According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, hope is a “[t]rustful expectation…the anticipation of a favorable outcome under God’s guidance.In The Pilgrim’s Progress, it is Hopeful who comforts Christian in Doubting Castle; while conversely at the entrance to Dante’s Hell were the words, “Lay down all hope, you that go in by me”.
This brings us to our Scripture Verses, which when examined closely, show that the trust we have changes, as God implements His plan for the salvation of humanity from its judgement for sin. For some eight hundred years, the Children of Israel waited patiently for the advent of the Christ or Messiah, promised by God, Who spoke through the prophets, as we read in Psalm 71:4-6 (ESV)
4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
5 For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
6 Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.
To those who waited in anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah, they had maintained a trust and patience for nearly 800 years, from the time of the first prophecy, to the day that he was born. We should remember over that the Jewish People would often exhibit an impatience having to wait on the Lord. You may recall how they lost patience with their leader, Moses, with their expectation for the Lord to provide them with water. Instead of impatience, they should have demonstrated more hope, trusting that God would provide for their needs in His time.
The Psalmist, best described the nature of the trust expected by the Father, in verse 5 of Psalm 71:
5 For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
God expects to continuously demonstrate our faith and trust in Him, not solely at the time we expect an answer from Him. He does not provide us with ‘miracles on demand’.
We do see that after Jesus brings us the gift of salvation, by way of his sacrifice on the cross, the hopes of believers change from a faith in the arrival of our Messiah to a trust in the Lord’s gifts of salvation and resurrection to an eternal life, as we read in 1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV):
Born Again to a Living Hope
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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
While the People of Israel placed their hope, their trust, in the advent of the birth of Christ, Christians we place our hope, our trust, the gifts Christ has provided, sanctification and the Holy Spirit, as well as what the Lord promised, our own resurrection on the Day Christ returns.
The Lord’s New Covenant will be completed on the Day of Judgement, when Jesus returns. Until that day, we are to place our hope, our trust, focusing on what is Holy, which what is promised us on the day our Lord returns, 1 Peter 1:13 (ESV):
Called to Be Holy
13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[a] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Footnotes: a. 1 Peter 1:13 Greek girding up the loins of your mind
We are fortunate that while we are expected to keep our hope in the fact that our resurrection has been granted through Christ, and we are expected not only to observe the Lord’s sacrifice regularly by way of Holy Communion, in anticipation of His return, but to do honoring Him with a spirit of joy and peace. We are expected, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to trust the Lord, by following His example, as we see in Romans 15:1-13 (ESV):
The Example of Christ
15 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles
8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to your name.”
10 And again it is said,
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
11 And again,
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol him.”
12 And again Isaiah says,
“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
The best way to share the Gospel of Jesus is to allow the light of the Lord shine through us, so that we may bring hope to those who live in darkness, absent of the Holy Spirit, missing that joy and peace which comes only by faith in Christ Jesus.
Let us pray…
Communion: Responsive Reading #626 (The Last Supper – Mark 14)
Closing Hymn #308: My Hope Is in the Lord
Benediction (Romans 15:13):
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.