Happy New Year! I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas.
Here we are, we have another new year. In Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country they quoted Shakespeare talking about the future as the Undiscovered Country. This comes from Hamlet, Acts III, Scene I. Do we have to be afraid of the future? I think not. We have talked about Jesus as the Hope of the world. Now, the Hope of the world has come. Jesus has not left us. He is still with us. We are not alone.
Today, let’s talk about the Hope of the world being with us. The Hope of the world indwells us.
My theme is Our Hope is With us.
- In Matthew 1:23 the angel says that Jesus will be called Immanuel which means God with us.
- The point is that God became a man and He lived with us and died for us and we celebrate that.
- But I think there is more to it than that. Jesus is not literally with us now, is He? No, He ascended to Heaven.
- We talk about hope and I talk about fear of the future and in some ways I am sure we can have times when we do not wish to face tomorrow. Maybe this is because we are really not good at giving something to God. Maybe this is because we just have a tough day. But as Christians we do not need to fear the ultimate future. We do not need to fear death. Jesus us our Hope.
- Further as Christians we do have hope for the tough days we face. We are not alone. Our Hope IS with us.
- Let’s read John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
- Jesus left us but He sent us the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus is with us through the Holy Spirit.
- The Spirit’s work is usually quiet.
- In Christianity Today, John Ortberg writes:
Dale Bruner, in an essay on the Trinity, begins with the person of the Holy Spirit:
One of the most surprising discoveries in my own study of the doctrine and experience of the Spirit in the New Testament is what I can only call the shyness of the Spirit …
What I mean here is not the shyness of timidity (cf. 2 Tim. 1:7) but the shyness of deference, the shyness of a concentrated attention on another; it is not the shyness (which we often experience) of self-centeredness, but the shyness of an other-centeredness.
It is, in short, the shyness of love. Bruner points out the ministry of the Spirit in the Gospel of John, a ministry constantly to draw attention not to himself but to the Son—the Spirit comes in the Son’s name, bears witness to the Son, glorifies the Son (cf. John 14:26; 16:13).
The ministry of the Spirit could be pictured, Bruner says, by my drawing a stick figure (representing Jesus) on a blackboard. Then, to express what the Spirit does, I stand behind the blackboard, reach around with one hand, and point with a single finger to the image of Jesus: “Look at him, listen to him, learn from him, follow him, worship him, be devoted to him, serve him, love him, be preoccupied with him.”
The Spirit says, “I will be poured out on earth, and in mostly silent, invisible ways I will offer to lead and guide; never exalting myself, always pointing to the Son.” To a large extent, the Spirit’s promptings will be ignored or even denied. The Spirit will be quenched on Earth. The Spirit, to use New Testament language, will be grieved. The Spirit had never known grief through all eternity, but he will be grieved now, day after day, century after century. The Spirit says, “This price I will pay so that any who will might enter our fellowship.”
- Picking up from that, how is the Spirit with us?
- Why do we look for the big? Can the Spirit be with us in the small?
- The Holy Spirit is our Teacher of spiritual truths. Have you ever thought of something and thought, “How’d I figure that out?” The Holy Spirit helped you. Have you ever thought of Bible verses and wondered where they came from? That is the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus, our hope of the world is with us, through the Holy Spirit, as we witness. The Holy Spirit is our mouthpiece when we witness. He will bring things to mind and guide the conversation.
- In the passage we read from John 14:16-17 the Holy Spirit is called an “advocate.” The idea is that the word used means, “One who comes alongside to help.” We can do many things because the Spirit is with us. Sometimes we don’t know this because we don’t try.
- Peter did not know he could walk on water until he got out of the boat (Matthew 14:28ff). Peter saw Jesus walk on water and he looked to Jesus and got out of the boat. When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus he sunk.
- This year how can you keep your eyes on Jesus like Peter and boldly follow Jesus.
- I am not asking you to jump off a building, but is there a new ministry you are being called to get involved in?
- How do you know?
- First step, seek Jesus. Take time and pray, take time and read your Bible. Spend time in Bible study with the church.
- Second step, seek Jesus. Keep seeking Jesus and as you do watch to see what ideas or opportunities come your way.
- Step three: evaluate. When you get an idea or an opportunity and you think it is from God, think about it. Pray about it, ask some Christian friends about it.
- Step four: think, “why wouldn’t this be from God?”
- Is God calling you to forgive? You can do that with the Holy Spirit. You are not alone.
- Is God calling you to heal a relationship? You can do that with the Holy Spirit, you are not alone.
- Is God calling you to help someone? You can do that through the Holy Spirit, you are not alone.
- Is God calling you to the Mission Field? You can do that through the Holy Spirit, you are not alone.
- Is God calling you to share Jesus with a loved one? You can do that through the Holy Spirit, you are not alone.
- Is God calling you to spend extra time with someone? You can do that through the Holy Spirit, you are not alone.
- Is God calling you to commit to something but you are afraid? You can do that through the Holy Spirit, you are not alone.
- Is God calling you to volunteer somewhere? You can do that through the Holy Spirit, you are not alone.
- Is God calling you to quit something? You can do that through the Holy Spirit, you are not alone.
- Is God calling you to get help for an addiction? You can do that through the Holy Spirit, you are not alone.
- Is God calling you to help someone else with an addiction? You can do that through the Holy Spirit, you are not alone.
- God is with us. God is with you.
Have you ever been scared? I have and it is not fun. Have you ever felt alone? That is not fun either. As a Christian we are never really alone. God is with us. Immanuel.
Do you know Christ?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)