North Anderson Baptist Church
Advent Season - 2018, In the Land of Hope
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  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 AM
There is hopelessness all around us. What we need is a resurgence of HOPE! We may live in a land that is lacking hope but we CAN begin to live “In the Land of HOPE” when we give our hearts and lives over to the One who is the HOPE of the world, Jesus Christ.
A young boy of eleven stands at the casket of his father while people gather around and pass by. His own testimony is this scene - the experience, had held him “captive” for 40 years. He said “My heart had been trapped in the land of loss, searching for a way out.” This young man’s life was filled with loss - at the age of three, his mother was paralyzed in a car accident. Only three months after his father’s burial, his mother married again. The final blow is that his mother died when he was 25.

How do you view the world when your whole life has been wrapped up in loss? He said, “We seek the joy of life but keep returning to the despair.”
The Israelites were much like this. They had been through such trials and troubles, mostly from their own hand, but they had been living for the promise that was to come, the Messiah, who would take the burdens of life from them and provide freedom from their enemies and give them the ability to be free from the oppression of others who over time had dominated their nation. They waited in hope that the “Promised One” would come. They had the scriptures that told them that God’s promise was real and that the Messiah would come. But why had He not come and where and when would He actually appear to His people?

The Bible says,
In this scripture we see in the prophecy of Isaiah telling the people that they were in distress, walking in darkness and living lives of gloom. This is when the prophet shares what God says about “the child” that is to be born. Isaiah hears the word of the Lord and shares it with the people of God; “in the future” there will be honor coming to the people of Galilee, those along and in the area of the Jordan. Why? A child will be born and He will be a Galilean and through this Child all will become different. This passage gives to us the classic Advent prophecy of the coming of the Christ Child.

Not only in Israel’s day was there gloom, distress and hopelessness but IN OUR day we see it too often, like in the life of a young man who was described above and of many more all around us who are living without hope for today and tomorrow. Hopelessness has been with us almost from the beginning, actually from Genesis three where the fall of man is recorded. Because of sin and without the fellowship of God, there is no hope in this world.
In our passage today we see the prophet telling us what God has told him. Verse 1, {“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—}
There will be no more gloom for those in distress! A change is coming through A child being born, a son given!

Verse 2 says, {The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.}
there was darkness in the land, but they will see a great light, the light of the One and Only Child of God! Where this darkness brought death, this new and great light will bring life, life everlasting!

Verse 3, {You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.}
there is a rejoicing that will come and the gloom of distress and sorrow will be turned into joy because of the child!

In verses 4-5, {4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.}
there will be a change because of the child. That change will bring freedom from the enemies of God who have burdened the people of God with slavery and sorrow through oppression. The final freedom and hope will be after the Second Coming of Christ.

Our God is trustworthy! He can be counted on no matter what. Our lives at times seemed so burdened by sin and trouble, we feel like we are in bondage to all around us and we can’t get out of it.
I know of a family whose lives are being destroyed by sin and by the choices of life that have not been guided by the Lord but by their own desires, some selfish. There is a child with a condition that no one can help but God. Their home will be taken from them because there is no money available because the mother cannot work for having to be with the her child. The father has proved to be quite worthless in helping his family. There doesn’t seem like anyone can help with such a great problem. Her immediate family has more financial obligations that are pending and so there is none left for this one and her children. The mortgage people don’t care, it is just business. No money, and possibly no home and right now no help.

Who will rescue them from themselves? Only with a HOPE in God can answers be found, through a relationship with the Christ Child, of this very season, which we celebrate. He is the One to run to, He is the One to hold on to. Maybe there is another way for them; trusting in Him and believing that He is the only way and waiting on Him to come through.
Does He always take us out of our problems? No, God does not always rescue us from ourselves and the problems we have gotten ourselves in but if we are His child, a part of His family, He is there providing hope, guiding us and helping us through, only as we trust Him and ask for that guidance rather than trusting in self. Paulo Coelho has said, “Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”

If you are a believer, you can trust Him to never leave you nor forsake you in the midst of your trials and troubles. He has the answers and the way out, but it will not just be easy, because life is hard and this is a proving ground here, He is preparing us for a future place in heaven in eternity. God does not always save us out of the problems in our life but you can count in Him walking through them with you and it seems that at times, He carries us through.
One night I had a dream. I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
And across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One set belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. And I noticed that many times along the path of life, there was only one set of footprints. I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life. This really bothered me so I questioned the Lord about it.
Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there's only one set of footsteps. I don't understand why in times I needed you most you should leave me. And the Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you. And I would never, never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I was carrying you.”
On the other hand, for those who have no relationship with Christ, they are on their own. That is what they have wanted in the first place, to be left alone, so, why would God intervene in their life which they have desired to live without God? This would be the case, unless they turn to the great God of the universe searching for truth and help from the only One who can provide for them the HOPE they need by accepting His salvation through repentance of sin. You see, that is why Jesus came, to seek and to save that which were lost. Christmas is not only the coming of the Christ Child but the setting into action the plan that was determined before the foundation of the world, the saving of the alienated and the downtrodden, through the death of the Lamb of God.
Verses 6, {For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.}
- What is the HOPE of this Child? Isaiah has given to us a great description of the Child of the King. First, we hear him declare that this Child is both a human Child, born to us by a woman, but then, Isaiah declares that He is also divine, He is given to us by God, He is the Lord Jesus Christ. Who is “us?” The “us” is the Jews whom the Messiah primarily came from and for. There may be debate if this scripture is about Jesus Christ, but even though it was 740 years before His birth, Christians declare that this is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, of which Isaiah speaks. The hope is that the Messiah would come and provide a new life and leadership for the Jews, the children of God. We know through His own declaration and that of His disciples, that Jesus came for all, you and me, not just for the Jews.
Second, "The government shall be upon his shoulder." The shoulder speaks of strength. The government of this world will be placed on His strong shoulders at His second coming; it was not at His first coming for then He was our Suffering Servant. (JV McGee) We see, as does McGee declare, that many Christians believe that this phrase references the time after Jesus’ Second Coming when He will rule the world in the Millennium.
And then Isaiah gives to us the descriptive names for the Savior to come. He's called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Each of these terms for who Christ is, tells us of His care and great love for us. They describe how great and marvelous our God is as well as what He will do and can do for us when there is no hope and when life is tough or just not going the way we want it to.

Don’t you need a Wonderful Counselor? Who but God knows all that you need and who can back it up with His power? Isn’t it great to have someone who is so wise and yet so intimate with us that He can lean over and touch us with His love? What a Wonderful personal God!

Don’t you need God who is Mighty and powerful enough to touch your heart and life with His grace and healing power? He knows how to deal with the problems of your life and then counsel you as well. There is no problem that can come your way that our Mighty God can’t handle.

Don’t you need a Father who is Eternal, who never ends and who is so magnificent that no one can measure Him or know all about Him, who is greater than all mankind? Isn’t it precious that He chooses to be our Father, with tenderness and kindness touching us gently with His warm and comforting hand?

Don’t you need Peace? He is that Prince of Peace! He is the one who can give you the peace you have been searching for during the gloom and the distress of your life. When things are going rough and there seems to be no end to the problems of life, He is Peace for us. With chaos around us and life so mixed up at times we need this Peace maker. There are those who can’t seemed to make peace with others, here is the chance for you to trust in the Prince of Peace and allow Him to restore to you your balance and relationships with others from whom you have been alienated. Only in Christ can we find “peace with God” that every sinner needs. When we find that peace with God then we can truly find the “peace of God” on a daily basis. God’s heart wants us to live in peace with Him and all those around us.
Verse 7, {Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.”}

shares with us the great concept of the future power and plan of Almighty God as He rules this earth through the Messiah. Some of the prophets did not have the concept of the time gap between the first and the Second Coming of the Christ. Therefore, some seem to indicate that when this Child grew up there might be immediate reigning on the throne of David. Where as many did see the Messiah reigning until the Millennium. Many writers and scholars contend that this part of the scripture is truly found in the thousand year reign.

What we do know is that this Child did become a Man and He gave His life for all of mankind that their sin may be forgiven by the sacrifice of His death on the cross. The wonderful offering that He gave was not the last thing that He did for those on the earth. He not only died but He arose from the dead to live forevermore. Here is when the Messiah Child and all of His great characteristics can be displayed through your life and mine. The Holy Spirit, who is the third part of the Trinity, comes to live in the heart of every person who personally trusts in Christ and surrenders to Him all their sin. The Holy Spirit reigns freely and provides the fruit of the Spirit in our lives that we can be more like Christ on a daily basis. Because of God in us the Hope of Christ resides in our life, His peace will reign in our life, His wisdom can be seen in all we decide and do, His power can be seen displayed in and through our life for the glory of God, and we can be sure that we are the true sons and daughter of the Everlasting Father.

In the land of Hope, God makes the life of the believer full and free with complete purpose and promise.
Are you ready to live with hope and purpose? Because of the coming of Christ Jesus as a child and then His death as a man, and finally His resurrection and return to heaven, allowing the Holy Spirit to live in our lives, no matter what life is now like for you it can be different and enjoy what Jesus desires for you when you surrender your whole life to Him. Today is the day!

Invitation

Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is www.northandersonbaptist.com and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.Pastor Bill Rigsby

http://www.northandersonbaptist.com