Hope that Proclaims a Name
Adventus, meaning “the arrival.” The past, present, and future of our faith coming together. Advent is about an ancient longing for the arrival of the Messiah, the anticipation of the birth. We celebrate advent to remember his first arrival and anticipate his coming again, the second advent.
Survey: 2 out of 3 people have practiced or plan to practice re-gifting. Every year we have the opportunity to reopen the gift of Jesus here at Christmas. Be astonished!
Matthew 1:18-19 – Hope is from God.
Hope has a name. It all came about this way, this is one of two narratives of the coming of the Christ child. That which was impossible with man became a reality with God. This announcement was not uncovered but discovered. A Hebrew wedding was more complex than what we have in America today. 1) the arrangement or engagement, then 2) the betrothal, binding without consumption, then 3) the marriage itself, living together as a couple.
Mary became with child through or by the Holy Spirit, which speaks of the power of God through the Holy Spirit. There is a miracle in this conception. The role of the Holy Spirit is through all of this. Hope that is given is from the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit 1) conceived Jesus, and then 2) strengthened his earthly ministry, and then 3) then confirms that it all really happened; reality and hope coming into a broken world.
Romans 8:11 – the same Spirit that was in Christ is at work in you.
Matthew 1:20-21 – Hope clearly points to Jesus Christ.
The dream and the angel. 1) we see harmony here, two separate visitations; to Mary then to Joseph, God has this, it is all about Jesus, 2) we see Joseph addressed as Son of David, the connection is simple, the line through Joseph leads to the Messiah, 3) we see his name is called Yeshua, meaning salvation.
Matthew 1:22-23 – Hope defines our journey of faith.
All this took place, all what? These facts or statements in the text, yes, but all the prophecies were to fulfill the coming of Emmanuel. God with Us. We live our life today, taking God with us, we are on mission, we promote and embrace M3. Jesus is fulfilling every part of the prophetic message. He will build a kingdom forever, Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, that comes through David and points to Jesus, and we are a part of the kingdom coming in the lives of others.
In the beginning of Matthew, we have “Emmanuel, God with Us,” then at the end of his gospel we read, “Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the age.” Matthew begins and ends his book with hope. The Ravi Zachariah’s story of Stacey traveling overseas, the man was the doctor that delivered her and would make sure she arrived home safely to her family.
Matthew 1:24-25 – Hope calls us to true obedience.
Joseph did as the angel told him. He married her and kept her pure until she gave birth. He went from “I’ll handle this” in his own strength to submission to God’s will, plan, and timetable. Hope is the certainty of God when we can’t see what’s next.
Life Group Questions for December 5
- What are some tabloid headlines this week? Who’s been in the grocery store line to read the covers?
- Why is our society so drawn to gossip and scandal? In this day and age, does the story need to be true?
- How do people typically react when facing an embarrassing situation?
- What are two positive qualities about your mom and dad that come to mind when you think back to your childhood?
- What do you know about your parents’ courtship?
- How did your parents pick your name? Who’s got a story?
- Had you been Mary, what would have first popped into your mind?
- What did Joseph initially think when he heard the news (Matthew 1:19)?
- How would you have felt if you were in Joseph’s place?
- Had this couple been in our church, how would our congregation have handled this awkward situation?
- How do you think the “grapevine” would have treated Mary and Joseph?
- How does it feel to be the victim of unsubstantiated rumors? When people attack your character and you know that you are innocent?
- Did the incidents in this passage likely strain or strengthen their marriage relationship?
- The passage tells us that Emmanuel is “God with us.” When did Jesus become a warm person to you, not just a character found in the pages of the Bible?
- How have you recently experience Jesus as Emmanuel? Who has a story?
- We all seek meaning and purpose in life, what does this passage say about the purpose of the incarnation (Matthew 1:21)?
- What do you learn about faith from Joseph?
- How will you respond the next time someone begins to tell you a juicy bit of gossip?
- Ken’s message was all about HOPE, 1) that it is from God, 2) points clearly to Jesus, 3) defines our journey of faith, and 4) calls us to true obedience.
- Where are you on this journey? 1) just starting, 2) at a rest stop, 3) on the shoulder with a flat, 4) nearing your destination, 5) not even packed, 6) somewhere else?
- What difficult, hard-to-swallow command of God do you need to obey today?
- What makes obedience so difficult?
- Who has a story about a time you stepped out in faith and God came through and made quite a difference in your life, or the life of someone else.