The Rebirth of Hope
This is a three part series on the Birth of Chirst and the Message of John the Baptist. These messages can be preached individually or put togother as a series of messages. The main them in the three messages is "The Rebirth of Hope"
In these first few chapters of Luke's Gospel, the theme that emerges is the "Rebirth of Hope". God was about to burst into this world of men. Jesus was about to be born, and after His birth our world, despite all its poverty and injustice, wars and terrorists, has never been the same. Jesus brought forth a rebirth of hope for mankind.
Even the people of Israel, who had been given prophets to declare God's law and guide them into His ways, had twisted life out of shape. In their self-willed ways, they too had cheated one another, lied, and tried to use each other. As a result their lives fell under the control of sin living empty and frustrated lives. During Noah's time God chose to destroy the world because of sin, but this time He chose to send a savior.
As a result God judged the sin of His people as History records a series of defeats and years of foreign captivity. Even though at the time of Christ they were living in their own land, God's people were crushed under the weight of the Roman Empire.
Rome had brought world peace--but with peace came heavy taxes, armies of mercenaries stationed in every land, Roman culture and values, the gladiatorial games, slavery--and misery. There were still wars. There was still poverty and injustice. People still struggled to live, and kept on living by habit long after they had lost all sense of purpose or meaning in life. Their's was a world that had run out of hope. The promised coming of the Messiah represented to them the "Rebirth of Hope".
But something unique was about to happen in an insignificant province in Rome's wide-spread empire. the birth of a Baby would do what no authority or invention of man could. One day that Babe, full grown would say, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full"
Message #1 - Human Responses to God's Intervention
The Old Testament foretold the coming of a day when God would step into this world of darkness to bring light and hope. A Child would be born, a Son given, and that One would bear the name Immanuel, "God with us."
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Mary responded to God's intervention with such beautiful childlike faith. Zechariah, godly and mature had doubted the possibility of birth because of his age. Mary, a young girl, still in her teens, never hesitated or doubted a supernatural birth, though she was single.
Message #2 - Mary's Realized Hope
This message reveals how the birth of this child was the realized hope for Mary, the mother of Jesus. It gave her the faith that was needed as she raised this child for God. But first let's look at this very special birth as recorded in Luke's Gospel.
As human beings we have a tendency to long for the sensational -- for the great miracles and startling evidences of God's presence. But the greatest miracle ever known to mankind was done in quietness and in simplicity of daily life common to millions of men. Mary's realized hope came forth in this manner.
When God came to each one of us, it wasn't necessarily with a big splash or shinning light for the most the most part. He came in the simplicity of daily life that is common to mankind. As we mature and grow in Christ, His mighty work in our lives is often done in this same manner -- in simplicity and quietness. This is the work of Christ that continually brings forth the rebirth of hope in our lives. It begins with the birth of His Spirit in our lives and continues as we faithfully follow His quiet leadings.
Message #3 - Preparing The Way for God's Presence
The new year is a good time to refocus our thoughts and energies on realizing the hope that is within us. My prayer is that this coming year would be a rebirth of hope for each one of our lives in which we see the promises of God being fully realized in each of our hearts.
The message of John the Baptist is just as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago. Before Christ can come and fill our lives with His fullness, there must first be a preparation in our hearts. Our hearts must be prepared for the way of the Lord. Therefore let's look to his message and see how God wants our hearts prepared for the rebirth of hope He desires to bring forth in each of our lives.