Have you ever felt like you were in God’s waiting room? If you have, you’re in good company. In this message on the first Sunday of Advent, you will be informed and encouraged as we look to the reasons to hope in God.
The Promised Emmanuel
Advent Part 1: Hope
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Dec. 3rd, 2017
- The period of 4 weeks leading up to Christmas is called “Advent.” This is where we focus on the topics of hope, love, joy and peace to prepare our mind and heart to grasp and embrace the significance of the coming of the promised Emmanuel– Jesus – who is God with us.
- Each week, I am going to draw from a person or group of people from the Christmas story who possess the attribute of the focus for that Sunday.
- The focus on today’s message is hope, and there are two people who posses this characteristic: Simeon and Anna.
- I have never seen these two in any manger scene display, in any story or on any mantle, but they are a part of the Christmas story, nevertheless, and they are found in Luke 2:21-38.
Luke 2:21-38 NLV
Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.
22 Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 23 The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” 24 So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—”either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
25 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.30 I have seen your salvation,31 which you have prepared for all people.32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
- These two share several characteristics: righteousness, devotion, insight, the prophetic, and the thing that they had very much in common: expectant waiting.
- They were both waiting in hope for God to come through on His promise, for their behalf. There are many who have been in God’s waiting room.
God’s Waiting Room
- Noah – for new life
- Abraham – for provision
- Joseph – for justice
- Moses – for instruction
- Job – for vindication
- Naomi – for redemption
- Hannah – for children
- David – for deliverance
- Daniel – for revelation
- Jeremiah – for return
- Elijah – for rain
- Esther – for favor
- Jonah – for another chance
- Apostles – for power
- Peter – for freedom
- Paul – for reward
- Creation – for renewal
- Believers – for resurrection
- Jesus – for His Father to say, “Go get your bride. The wedding is today.”
- If you are in God’s waiting room, you are in the best of company. Do not let go of the God you trust, and do not ever let go of hope. For those who hope in Him, will never end in shame.
- This leads us to the question, Why should we hope in God? I am going to give you three reasons to do so: His character, reputation and promises. Every single verse I am going to list is in the context of hoping, trusting, and waiting for the Lord.
Because of His character
- He is loving (Lam 3:22)
- He is merciful (Lam 3:23)
- He is faithful (Lam 3:23)
- He is good (Lam 3:24)
- He is helpful (Ps 33:20)
- He is protective (Ps 33:20)
- He is truthful (Heb 6:18)
- He is gracious (Isa 30:18)
- He is merciful (Isa 30:18)
- He is justice (Isa 30:18)
Isa 30:18 ESV
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
Because of His reputation
- I have pulled this point from just one passage, Psalm 146, and we are going to read and talk through it.
Ps 146 ESV
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! 2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.
- He made everything
- He keeps faith forever
- He executes justice for the oppressed
- He gives food to the hungry
The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
- He does miracles
- He lifts the lowly
- He loves the righteous
9 The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
- He watches over the sojourners
- He upholds the widow and orphan
- He brings the wicked to ruin
10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!
- He reigns forever
Because of His promises
- If you hope in Him, He sees you (Ps 33:18)
- If you hope in Him, He brings joy (Prov 10:28)
- If you wait for Him, He will deliver you (Prov 20:22)
- If you wait for Him, you will renew your strength (Isa 40:31)
- If you wait for Him, He will be good to you (Lam 3:25-26)
- If you wait for Him, He will save you (Heb 9:28)
- If you wait for Him, He will act for you (Isa 64:4)
Isa 64:4 ESV
From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.
- Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Ps 27:14 ESV)
- Keep holding on, don’t let go. God is worthy of your trust. Continue to put your hope in Him!
Rom 15:13 ESV
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.
Questions for the week ahead:
- What encouraged you from today’s message?
- What are you waiting on and hoping for from the Lord?