"THE GOD OF HOPE AND PEACE"
I. THE GOD OF PATIENCE.
A. I marvel at the patience of God, how He so patiently puts up with man.
B. Think of how patient God was in fulfilling His promise to Adam that the seed of the woman would bruise Satan's head.
1. This is actually a prophecy of the virgin birth, for a woman does not have a seed, but the egg.
2. Later God declared plainly through the prophet Isaiah, that He would give a sign, that a virgin would conceive and bare a Son and call His name Immanuel which means God with us.
3. Four thousand years, after the promise given to Adam, a virgin in Nazareth was told by the angel Gabriel that God had chosen her as the instrument to bring the Messiah into the world.
4. She was told that He would be great, and would be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God would give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.
C. I think of the great patience with which God has dealt with my weaknesses.
1. I have failed Him many times, yet He is so patient in restoring me.
2. I am encouraged with the patience that Jesus had with His disciples.
a. When Philip said to, Him the night He was arrested to be taken to the cross, "Show us the Father and it will suffice us." Jesus answered, "Have I been so long a time with you and have you not see Me, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."
b. To the doubting disciples on the road to Emmaus 3 days after His resurrection, as they told Him of their broken dreams, He opened up the scriptures to them from Moses through the prophets How that the Messiah would have to suffer and die.
II. AND CONSOLATION. ONE WHO GIVES COMFORT TO THOSE IN SORROW.
A. As Matthew records for us the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, he quoted from the prophet Isaiah, "The people who sat in darkness saw great light, and to them that sat in the region and the shadow of death light is sprung up."
B. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus into the temple to dedicate Him to the Lord the aged Simeon, who we are told was waiting for the consolation of Israel, had been promised by the Lord that he would not die before seeing the Messiah, was led by the Spirit to come into the temple at the same time, and He took the baby Jesus up in his arms and blessed God saying, "Now let your servant depart in peace according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation."
C. Paul blessed God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all tribulation, that we might be able to comfort those who are in trouble. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us so our consolation also aboundeth also by Christ.
D. The prophecy of Isaiah concerning Him declared,
The spirit of the Lord GOD [is] upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
III. THE GOD OF HOPE FILL YOU WITH ALL JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING THAT YOU MAY ABOUND IN HOPE. VS.13
A. Not only is He the God of all patience and consolation, but He is the God of all hope.
B. The importance of hope. Experiment with Norwegian wharf rats.
1. Placed in vats of water where they could not climb out, and the average time of survival before drowning was a matter of minutes, I believe it was 17.
2. In the control group, they pulled them out of the water just as they were about to drown, dried them off took care of them for few days before returning them to the vats. Now the average time of survival was 37 hours.
3. The explanation of the vast difference on endurance given by the psychologists who were performing the experiment was the group that endured so long had been saved, and were thus sustained by hope.
C. The nation of Israel had been waiting and hoping for the promised Messiah.
1. The problem was there seemed to be a great discrepancy in the prophecies concerning the Messiah.
a. The one set of prophecies spoke of the glories of His eternal reign over the house of David
b. The other set spoke of His being despised and rejected and put to a shameful death.
c. They solved the problem by spiritualizing the scriptures that referred to His death, thus they despised and rejected Jesus, and put Him to death on the cross.
d. But according the promise, this same Jesus shall come again to reign forever on the throne of David, and the hope that sustains us in this world gone mad is that Jesus is coming again soon.
e. It is interesting that in regards to the coming again of the Lord James urges us to be patient.
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
2. He is the God of patience as well as hope.
D. Note that this hope is related to joy and peace, Paul prays that the God of hope will fill them with all joy and peace.
1. It is interesting that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the angel announced to the shepherds His birth he said, "Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people."
2. The good tidings of great joy. Gospel of great joy. It brings great joy to all who receive it, for it gives us hope for the future.
E. The God of hope is related also to the God of consolation, for we are consoled in these dark days of man's history by the hope we have for the future.
1. There used to be talk about the silent majority, I believe that that is a fantasy, I do not believe that they exist, I believe that as the restraints are being removed and the majority of the people are living as their sinful natures desired.
2. In spite of the moral darkness that is pervading our society and our world I am sustained by the hope that Jesus is coming again and He shall reign forever and ever as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, forever and ever hallelujah, hallelujah.
IV. THE GOD OF PEACE. VS33
A. Again going to the prophecies of the Messiah, Isaiah declared, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
B. When Jesus was born the angels declared to the shepherds, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men."
C. Jesus came on a mission of peace.
1. For centuries man had been at war with God. He had rebelled God's holy commandments, and was suffering the consequences.
2. Man through sin had become hopelessly separated from God. God's hand was not short that He could not save, neither was His ear heavy that He could not hear, but their sins had separated them from God.
3. Jesus came to bring man back to God by removing the guilt of sin.
4. This He did by taking on Himself our sins, as the prophet Isaiah said, "And God laid on Him the iniquities of us all."
5. In taking our sins, He also took the penalty for our sins, and He died in our place. The prophet went on to say, "For the transgressions of My people was He smitten."
6. However in so doing He made peace with God possible for sinning man.
7. Back in chapter 5 Paul declared, "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
D. We thus see that in and through Jesus, God becomes all of these things to us. He is our consolation, our hope and our peace.
E. Oh what a change in the history of the world that Baby born in Bethlehem has made. Oh what a change in my life He has made.