The Coming Hope

The Coming Hope

Home Church Service 11/27/2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

When my family and I meet for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. This message was designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points Paul is making. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.

                                                                                   Isaiah 11:1–5 (NASB95)

Here we are – approaching the end of yet another year. The pages on the calendar have been turning quicker and quicker with each successive month and now, well we find ourselves staring at the last month of 2021 and the start of a New Year – and this seems to bring hope to everyone.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – the New Year has NOTHING to do with bringing you hope. The New Year is just a number, a way to keep track of time, the passing of days, nights, weeks and months. If you really want someone in which to place your hopes, now is the time to turn to The Coming Hope – Christ Jesus, the Messiah, Savior of the world.

The Coming Hope for Israel will be a Branch from the stem of Jesse. The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him, and He will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will judge in righteousness and decide in fairness; He will strike the earth and slay the wicked with righteousness and faithfulness as His belt.

As Christ followers, we eagerly await The Coming Hope found in our Savior, Christ Jesus. In His second coming He will return as a Righteous Judge, the only One who can judge rightly and decide fairly. With all power and authority, He will break the chains of evil and destroy the works of the wicked.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “Why do we eagerly await The Coming Hope?”

The Coming Hope will be filled with the Spirit of the Lord and delight in the fear of the Lord.

1). As Christ followers, we eagerly await The Coming Hope because the Branch will not judge by what He sees or decide by what He hears.

The Branch will judge in full wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

Throughout the early chapters of Isaiah there is a forestry image that plays an important role in the prophecy of Isaiah. The prophet sees this forest – the forest of Israel’s pride – as having been completely cut down and burned, this is the prophecy of chapter 6 of Isaiah. Although the prophet Isaiah sees the tree of Davidic pride as having been cut and burned, there is still life in the original root – a life that resides in the faithfulness of God. So, when we read that a “shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,” we need to understand the One who is to come is more than just another descendant of the royal line – this One will spring from the very root of the dynasty.

There are several ways to understand this “Branch” who “springs from the root.” One thought is to take us beyond royal Jerusalem to the humble beginnings of the dynasty in Bethlehem. Yeshua will certainly come into the world He created by humble means. Or perhaps this new David will spring up as a new beginning. In keeping with this theme of a new beginning, we learned in our Ephesians study that God began a new creation in Christ by bringing together those near – the Jewish people – and those far away – the Gentile nations, together to form the body of Christ.

This Branch will rule differently than those who came before Him. He will rule in the Spirit of the Lord and delight in the fear of the Lord. Throughout the Old Testament, when someone is marked by a different kind of ability or motivation – something beyond normal human characteristics – we find the language of the Spirit of the Lord in use. It is through the Spirit of the Lord that God’s people will finally and fully be able to keep their covenant with God. For the Christ follower, it is the Spirit of the Lord that empowers us to have full knowledge and understanding of the mystery of Christ – all things under the rule and reign of Christ.

So then, the One who is Messiah will rule and reign differently than those who have come before Him. The reign of the Branch will be characterized by wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and the fear of the Lord – characteristics that are lacking among God’s people, then and now, but conversely, are found wherever God is truly present. Notice that “fear of the Lord,” is repeated in verses 2-3. This is an important distinction in the reign of the Branch. Far too many who ruled over Judah, and those who try to rule today, in the church or in society, did not and do not rule out of the single concern of obeying, pleasing and glorifying God – which is truly what this phrase means. The chief concern of many, then and now, is in maintaining their own power.

Thus, the Messiah will rule in a true understanding that will not be an intellectual grasp of certain facts, but the kind of wisdom that comes from personal experience and knowledge of the One who is true. Wisdom here is associated with trust in and fear of God; it refers to practical skills with understanding and can also mean experience or shrewdness. Understanding then, is the act, faculty, object and personification of wisdom – putting wisdom in action in practical ways.

Counsel is understood as the giving of good advice and belongs with the knowledge and wisdom words. Strength or power is the ability to effect or produce something; while knowledge is to know by observing and reflecting; or to know or experience. All of these coming together, produce the fear of the Lord – the concern for obeying, pleasing and glorifying God. These characteristics are clearly seen throughout the ministry of Jesus as He continually seeks to do the Father’s will and speak in and with wisdom, understanding and knowledge, even when scribes and Pharisees seek to trick Him or trip Him up on points of the Law.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Is there an area of your life where you sense God is “burning your forest of pride” to bring you hope?

Where did you experience the wisdom, knowledge or understanding of the Branch this week?

Where do you need The Coming Hope, in your life, this week?

2). As Christ followers, we eagerly await The Coming Hope because the Branch will wear righteousness and faithfulness as His belt.

The Branch will judge rightly and decide fairly.

Because the Branch will rule from the concern of obeying, pleasing and glorifying God, He will not judge by what His eyes see – that is, He will not just by appearance or image – and He will not decide by what His ears hear – that is he will not be swayed by public opinion, what others think or say, nor will He decide what the outcome might mean to or for Him. The Branch will not judge or decide solely based on external appearance or heresy – He will judge and decide in full wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

Thus, the rule of the Branch will be in righteousness and fairness. The English word righteousness refers to the quality of being righteous or in the right; it is similar to just, justness and justice. In the biblical sense, righteousness is a divine attribute or a divine activity. In dealing with people, humanity, it denotes a legal or social status or moral state. The Branch will decide in fairness – that is, He will not show favoritism or partiality to anyone. Your status, your wealth, your power or your position do not bring you favor with the Branch.

Two cases in the New Testament come to mind immediately and help to illustrate the rule and reign of the Branch – the woman caught in adultery and the woman at the well. In the case of the woman caught in adultery, it is the Pharisees, the religious elite – whose power, position and authority demand respect (at least in their mind) – who bring this woman to Jesus. In an attempt to try and trip up Jesus, they quote Moses from the Law, calling for this woman to be stoned. But Jesus, in full wisdom, understanding and knowledge, does not fall into their trap. Instead, in righteousness and fairness, Jesus calls for those among the Pharisees, and the following crowd, who are without sin, to cast the first stone. Finding no one to condemn her, neither does Jesus – instead, He sends her away telling her to sin no more.

The woman at the well is also of less than stellar reputation – in fact, she has had five husbands and she is currently living with a man to whom she is not married. After a lengthy conversation the woman runs back to her hometown, convinced she has found the Messiah, and tells everyone about the man she has met. In fact, she tells the townspeople He told her everything she had ever done but never in a sense of shame or guilt, for Jesus did not judge her by what He saw in outward appearance or by what others said about her – only saying that she would ask Him for water if she knew who He truly was.

This is how Jesus – the Branch – has dealt with each one of us. When the Accuser finds an opportunity to present our sin – impure thoughts, foul language, anger, bitterness or hatred – before the Lord, Jesus does not immediately condemn us. Rather, He presents our case before the Father, arguing that our sin has been paid for through His righteousness and in Christ, we are in the midst of the divine activity of being made righteous. He does not judge by our outward appearance, for our filth before the Lord would certainly call for our conviction, nor does He listen to the lies and accusations of the enemy. In fairness He looks beyond the slick lies and schemes of the enemy to see the heart of those who call Him Lord and Savior.

Righteousness and faithfulness are the belt worn by Jesus. Keeping in mind the belt worn by the Roman soldiers, we know this to be more of a leather apron, meant to protect the thighs of the soldier. In Christ, His righteousness is the only reason we can stand before the Father. His rule and reign reflect His righteousness even as we continue to stumble and fall in our journey to maturity. The faithfulness of Christ covers much for those who trust in Him. It covers temporal blessings; spiritual blessings; support in temptation and persecution; direction in difficult times; perseverance and strength in affliction.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

Where did you experience the fairness of Jesus this week?

How did you experience the faithfulness of Jesus this week?

Have you gotten to the place of seeking only to obey, please and glorify God?

The Coming Hope will be filled with the Spirit of the Lord and delight in the fear of the Lord.

Each year it seems as if more and more people blame the passing year for their difficulties and lack of hope, while pinning all of their hopes on the New Year just a few weeks away.

Well guess what? The year just passing, and the New Year just ahead have nothing to do with your difficulties or any hope you may have in the future. The New Year is just a number, a way to count the passing days, nights, weeks and months. If you truly want someone in which to place your hope, now is the time to turn to The Coming Hope – Christ Jesus.

Where do you place your hope? Is it in your job? Or the money you make? Perhaps the government? Maybe it’s your home and the security it provides? Sadly, none of these things can truly bring you hope. Maybe the question should be in WHOM do you place your hope?  Your husband or wife? Your friends or family? Your employer? Perhaps the President of the United States? Maybe it is one of the many well-known athletes of our day? Once again, none of these earth-bound people can bring you hope.

As a Christ follower, our hope should always and only be found in Christ Jesus. We have learned that He alone is above all rule, authority, dominion, and name. He is the creator and sustained of the created order. He alone can give life and create life. He has power over life and death, over light and dark, over nature and humanity. He is the Son of man, Son of God and Savior of the world. As The Coming Hope, He embodies all the characteristics of God the Father, possesses all of His power and authority and yet, He still knows the number of our days. He is the hope of nations, the Messiah, Lord and Savior.

In His first coming, Christ took on flesh to experience all things human. As a babe in His first coming, He came as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. He came to save the world, at least to save those who would receive Him, but it is His second coming we eagerly anticipate. In His second coming He will no longer be the Lamb of God. In His second advent, Jesus Christ will return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He will come as the Righteous Judge, no longer the meek child or the Lamb of God come to remove sin.

In His second coming, Jesus returns as King of kings and Lord of lords. He will come to gather His people together, defeat His enemies and judge the nations. He is the One in whom we place our hope, for He is the One who has called and set His seal upon us. He is the One in whom we are made alive and where we find our strength and boldness. At His second coming those who have trusted in Him will find their final and full redemption. Gone will be the influence of the enemy, all the lies and deceptions. Gone will be the threat of death and the grave. In their place we will find eternal life – hope, peace, joy, and love. Now is the time to turn to Jesus – to turn to The Coming Hope.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord.

Amen and amen.

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