“expectation and Hope” Sermon / Romans 15; Matthew 3 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday December 8th 2019 / Season Of Advent / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3
Theme: Expectation and Hope
Intr – Expectation x Hope. There is a significant difference between these two words.
Expectation is that thing that tries to anticipate the outcome of future events, selecting the one that is most favorable to us. Hope is when we wait in faith knowing that the best will always happen as we live our life in faith.
Therefore, to expect is to live in uncertainty; to hope is to be sure for the future.
What happens, for example, when we expect others to act the way we think they should? Family, co-workers, government, Church?... Expectation often leaves us frustrated because we do not always achieve the result we wanted. When we accumulate expectations, then, we are climbing the dangerous mountain of anxiety, of ideals and idealizations. If everything does not come to fruition exactly as we have outlined, our fall may be big, fast and shattering.
Hope offers safer ground. We’ll wait for the best possible result. It is designed to follow along the path trusting in God's best for our lives. Sometimes it is not exactly as we had thought. But often it's way much better than we could have dreamed.
Expectation brings us low. Hope makes us soar high.
Mary – She hoped while she expected;
The disciples – Many times they were filled of expectation instead of hope;
today's Gospel – John the Baptist frustrates the expectations of many. Because he was not bound to fulfill the expectations of people, but to fulfill God’s command to point to Hope in Christ.
In the epistle today, Paul talks about Hope(Romans 15): “For 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.”
_Is your life full of expectations or filled with hope?
_Is your life full of moments where you try to anticipate things as your think they should be, relying too much on your own expectations?
_Are you trying to tell God how things should be – your human expectations?
Many times our biggest problems do not come from things that happened themselves, but from the expectations we had about them. Job position, child rearing, Church events, dreams for the future….
Remember – Expectations may fail. Hope will not. Hope is alive. Hope never fails.
But here is the Christian plot twist: When we are in Hope in Christ, even our expectations can’t fail – for then they are solidly grounded in Him. We can anticipate the Kingdom of God in great expectation because there is no frustration that may come from it. God’s promises are always perfectly fulfilled. Our Hope is never let down.
Christmas is the birth of Hope in human shape; or Hope becoming flesh. Isaiah had already prophesied many centuries before that “The shoot from the stump of Jesse” would come. Jesus. Even against the expectation of many, Hope was there, alive, in the form of a baby. Against the expectations – but fully inside of Hope. Not only this, but it is also Hope showing its results, since for centuries the people of God remained in the hope of the Messiah. The promise was accomplished. Hope in God proved to be true. As it is always. Hope never fails, for it comes from Him Who never fails.
When we speak especially about our life, our faith, our future, our dreams, achievements and needs, when we set aside our human expectations and live more inside the Divine hope, this is where frustration is set aside and security and assuredness are brought closer to our hearts. For Hope in Jesus is a synonym of certainty. We are in the hands of the One who will not disappoint us, because it keeps us safe in His hands – the safest place in the entire World. He embraces, directs us; He keeps us walking. The Hope that comes from Him doesn't leave us frustrated, because it exceeds all our expectations. “Through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Also, it is important to remember how Hope is produced in our heart and life, as Paul has stated in Romans 5: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Advent is a time of Hope, but also for expectation. Since we know Hope is Alive – Jesus – our expectation can’t be frustrated. We know He is the Messiah, the King of Kings, the baby of the manger, the Man on the Cross that fulfills our being and saves us. Paul’s prayer if for us too: “May the God of hope fill you with all ljoy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”(Rm 15.13)
Cc – Still, Christmas is for many people a time not of joy and celebration, but of melancholy, frustration, depression even. That may be due to different reasons. Perhaps even for you this is not the best Christmas ever, Loss of strength, lack of hope, profound sadness… These feelings may also come to us at this time of the year.
Here are some words for you when times like these approach your heart and life:
Christmas is Christ
(Paulo Brum/Lucas Albrecht)
When words are bound to be seldom;
when hope is waning along the way.
When pain is louder, beyond our bearing,
the signs of hope seem to fade away.
If life’s a shadow, if strength has departed;
if guilt is the only surplus,
In Christmas there’s hope, there is meaning for life; now
The Light of the World comes to us!
::In the darkness He’s shining; in the manger he’s lying,
He is our Hope, is our Light.
At the center of Christmas is the baby, the Saviour,
Emmanuel! God with us!
The True Christmas is Christ!::
From yesterday to tomorrow,
forever, He is the One to trust.
From that rough manger the baby becomes the Man
that on the Cross finished all for us.
Christmas is Christ, is the Light in the darkness.
Jesus is born, King of Kings.
Our heart has assurance; by faith comes endurance,
in the Peace that He brings!
Advent and Christmas. We build up in expectation. Because we know our Hope won’t fail. Our Hope is alive. Jesus