2017-12-03 – Romans 15:7-13 – Advent : Arrival

2017-12-03 – Romans 15.7-13 – Advent Arrival

Welcome to the first Sunday of Advent. For centuries Christians all over the world have celebrated the Advent season leading up to Christmas. The word Advent means arrival, or appearing, or coming as we anticipate the coming of Christ to Bethlehem’s stable. The Jews of the Old Testament were waiting and hoping for the coming Messiah/Savior. And hope is the subject of our message today. In the midst of all the busyness of this season, the celebrations, the shopping, the lights, the decorations, the parties, and all the other tinsel, trappings, and trimmings, Advent offers us a time of hopeful spiritual preparation.
It provides us a time to reflect on the true joy, peace and love, that the coming of the Christ child makes possible for each and every one of us.

I love the hopeful song/verse that O.S. Hawkins uses in our Christmas CODE devotional to introduce Advent:
O come, O come, Emmanuel. And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lowly exile here; Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel, Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 15:7, pg 163 in the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God.

In Romans 15:7 – Paul writes:

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
As it is written, “Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name”; 10 and again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”; 11 and again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”; 12 and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.” 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.   [Let us Pray]

So as you can see in the text here in verse 7, Paul starts right out by giving some practical instruction, it reads: “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Paul is asking the strong and the weak, the Jew and the Gentile, to welcome each other; to be hospitable with open arms. But notice that he says for us to do it for the glory of God. Do it in a way that makes God look good, for He really is the very definition of the word Good. So when we welcome someone for the glory of God, we are hoping and praying that our welcoming will awaken in them and in us even more love for God, as well as deeper love for each other. For loving people “for the glory of God” is truly the only way we should love a neighbor. You see if we don’t aim to help people see and savor the glory of God, then we really don’t love them at all. It should always be our goal.

Then verses 8-9 say: For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” The word Gentile means non-Jew or Outsider, So be amazed, you Jews and Gentiles: Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel, has come not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for both Jews and Gentiles. There is but one eternal salvation, one New Covenant, one people of God, and that is through the person of Jesus Christ. And Jesus accomplished this salvation solution by serving, and He did it for the glory of God. Christ set an example for how we should serve each other, and we therefore should aspire to be like Him in this, inspired to serve each other as He did. Christ also served us by dying for our sin so that the burden of sin could be lifted from us, therefore we should now live with a new hope that leads us to us becoming more Christ like in character. Christmas is intended to be all about hope. Find that  new hope dear Christian.

In these first three verses here, Paul is striving to help us Gentiles abound in hope. That’s his goal. So as we see the signs of the evil end of times coming about us, this good news Gospel message should cause us to long for the essence of the Holy Spirit and allow hope to abound in our hearts. The aim of this text and the aim of this message is to deepen and strengthen and increase your faith and hope. Because as it says in Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. What do you hope for dear Christian?

I found a cool acronym for the word hope:
H.O.P.E. = HOLDING ON, PRAYING EXPECTANTLY

I have three simple observations for the next verses we have here about hope. First notice that verses 9-12 ahead are actually a list of four quotations from other parts of Scripture. They begin in verse 9, where it says, “As it is written.” And if you go back just a few verses, Paul writes in verse 4 of this same chapter, “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.” So Paul is piling text onto text here from the Old and New Testament Scriptures about the subject of hope.

H.O.P.E. = HOLDING ON, PRAYING EXPECTANTLY

Second, in verse 12 Paul makes this hope aim explicit in the quotation from Isaiah 11:10, where it says “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” So this Old Testament Scripture prophesy he quotes from Isaiah comes to a climax in a promise that Gentiles, not just Jews, will hope in the Messiah. And that we still do today.

H.O.P.E. = HOLDING ON, PRAYING EXPECTANTLY

Third, We see that verse 13 begins and ends with the most explicit statement, that Paul’s aim is that we abound in hope, he wrote: “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.”  Paul appeals to the God of hope, and his appeal is that God would work in us so that we would “abound in hope.” That suggests even an overflow of hope; So we should be full of hope. Hope that pushes out all contrary emotions—like discouragement, depression, fear, anxiety, grumbling, bitterness. Hope does not coexist well with these things. And when it is abounding, and overflowing, it pushes these contrary emotions out. So our first observation is that Paul really wants to help us abound in hope.

However you may be asking, Hope for What, or Hope in What? What is Paul referring to? There are all kinds of things we could hope for; good and healthy things, and even bad or wrong things we could hope for.

[SHOW SEARS & ROBUCK WISH BOOK (1975)]      a.k.a “Wish Book”

So what is Paul talking about that we should be hoping for? The clearest answer in our text today is given in verse 12 where Paul quotes Isaiah 11:10, that “The root of Jesse will come” He says, “even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” So Paul is pointing out that our hope is, rooted in the prophesy of Isaiah, that “The root of Jesse would come”

You might know that Jesse was King David’s father. And David was the greatest king of Israel, so the Messiah/Savior that Israel hoped for was often called “the son of David” and according to scripture, He (the root of Jesse) would be one like David, only greater. But the thing is, Isaiah was prophesizing that Jesus was going to come, and that He did; but Paul here wrote this text and used that quote after Jesus already came, served, died on the cross, rose from the dead and then ascended back into heaven. So why would Paul use that same Isaiah prophesy quote? Well, although it was written with the first Advent in mind, Paul is saying that we Gentiles and followers of Christ, still hope in the person of Christ for the Second Advent. Jesus is still our hope and He is coming back, to finish the job.

Paul’s point was: Jesus still is the Messiah, the son of David, the root of Jesse, and “In him”—verse 12 says—“will the Gentiles hope.” So our first answer to the question, “Hope in what?” is hope in Jesus Christ. Bank your hope on Him. Not yourself, not your intelligence, not your health, not your money, not your job, not your reputation. None of these can sustain your hope. All of them can disappear in a moment. God means for our hope to be firm and unshakable and that is why He sent His own Son Jesus. In Him will the Gentiles hope. At every turn in your life we can say, “Jesus, you are my hope.” You are my hope for my salvation, you are my hope for my marriage, you are my hope for my children, you are my hope for my work and ministry, you are my hope that I will live and die well. Therefore, “In him will [we] the Gentiles hope.”

H.O.P.E. = HOLDING ON, PRAYING EXPECTANTLY

And when we ask more specifically, “Hope for what?” Scripture gives three great answers. First, Romans 5:2 says, “We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Psalm 19:1 says that the galaxies reveal the glory of God, and 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that the gospel of Christ crucified reveals the glory of God. We were made to see and savor God’s greatness and beauty. The glory of God is the source and sum of everything we should be hoping for. And because of the hope we have in Christ, every legitimate joy that we have now in this life is but a foretaste of what we will be experiencing and seeing in the glory of God in heaven, and I can hardly wait.

H.O.P.E. = HOLDING ON, PRAYING EXPECTANTLY

 Second, we hope for the new heavens and new earth. In Romans 8:20 Paul wrote, “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” Someday creation will no longer be plagued by earthquakes and floods and hurricanes, the Bible says that creation itself is groaning for that day. I am hoping for that as well, don’t you?

Isaiah 11:6 talks about the hopeful world to come. It says: “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord”. Doesn’t that sound amazing! And because of Christ, our hope for that day is solid and sure.

And Third, we hope for new bodies with no pain and no death.
Romans 8:23 says, “We, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.”  Not only can we hope for a new heaven and a new earth, but a new body with which to enjoy it for the glory of God.

So in summary, Paul is writing to help us abound in hope in these passages, and that hope is based on Jesus Christ—in him shall [we] the Gentiles hope—and eagerly anticipate the fullness of the revelation of the glory of God, the new heavens and new earth, and with new bodies with no more crying or pain.

Then finally in Verse 13 we learn how our hope may increase, it says,  “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.”
There are two agents of hope mentioned in this verse: the Holy Spirit for which is sealed within the Christian; we can trust in that Holy Spirit. And second is believing, or faith. Through the Holy Spirit and Faith you can increase your hope. And we should pray unceasingly to that end.

H.O.P.E. = HOLDING ON, PRAYING EXPECTANTLY

Author John C. Maxwell, whom I respect greatly, wrote a man named Tertullian, who lived some 200 years after Jesus, said, “Hope is patience, with the lamp lit.” Hope is holding on when things around you begin to slip away. Hope is praying expectantly when there are seemingly no answers.
There once was a man whose shop had been burned during the disastrous Chicago fire. He arrived at the ruins the next morning carrying a table. He set the table amid the charred debris and above it placed this optimistic sign: “Everything lost except wife, children, and hope. Business will be resumed as usual tomorrow morning.” That is hope at work.

Many a man becomes bitter toward life because of the unfortunate circumstances in which they find themselves. Many quit; others have even taken their own lives. The only difference between those who threw in the towel and quit and those who used their energy to rebuild and keep going, is found in the word hope.

H.O.P.E. = HOLDING ON, PRAYING EXPECTANTLY

Hope shines brightest when the hour is the darkest.
Hope motivates when discouragement sets in.
Hope energizes when the body is tired.
Hope sings when all melodies are gone.
Hope believes when evidence is absent.
Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.
Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping.
Hope endures hardship when no one is caring.
Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing.
Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking.
Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging.
Hope dares to give when no one is sharing.

In conclusion may I suggest that you don’t necessarily need a better environment; more riches or more things, you just need more hope. It’s the one thing in your life that you cannot afford do without!

Suffice it to say for today: Hope is the work of God which He offers as a gift. The God of Hope lives in us, and works through us. Hope comes through by faith in the promise that we, the Gentiles, are included in the great salvation of God. For “The root of Jesse has come” dear Christian, that is in the person of Jesus Christ.

So as we start [or Arrive] at this Advent season, know that the hope of those that were waiting for a Messiah have been satisfied. And it is that same hope you can now have for a Savior and a solution for your eternal joy and contentment.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.

Will you accept His invitation of hope today?