HOPE CHAPEL - Sunday, November 28, 2021
Teaching Series - “Our Family Tree–Through the Bible in 2021"
Weekly Topic - “The Need for a Messiah”
Texts – various – Genesis 6:5, Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9-10,13, Romans 12:2, Isaiah 52:13-13:12
When God first created the world and placed Adam and Eve in the Garden, He declared the finished product ‘very good.’ Unfortunately, people couldn’t resist the temptation to misuse His gift of freewill and chose to disobey the one ‘thou shalt not’ He had given to them as their means of having choice. They were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but with a little persuasion from the serpent, they fell hard. Their disobedience unleashed a most deadly virus—every single person, and the whole of creation in fact, is now hopelessly corrupted. God’s ‘very good’ was no more. And in Genesis 3, we find the first of God’s interventions on our behalf—promising the demise of the serpent, evicting the first people from their home thereby cutting off their access to the tree of life…yet also promising a coming Messiah who would bring the cure for sin. At just the right time, the Messiah—God’s promised Rescuer—would come.
But time passed and it appeared that God had forgotten about His promise. Humanity proceeded along doing what came naturally for a creation infected with a spiritual disease. By the time of Noah, God knew that again, the time had come for Him to intervene. “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil…right from childhood!” (Genesis 6:5, 8:21). So He sent the flood and began again.
A few short generations later, the people banded together to make a name for themselves in defiance to God and began construction on the tower of Babel. But again, God knew that this course would lead to no good and intervened, causing the people to speak in different languages. Their inability to communicate caused them to spread out and by doing so, they obeyed the plan of God to fill and take care of the whole of the planet (Genesis 11).
In Genesis 12, we read how God chose to intervene in humanity’s story by identifying the man through whom He would bring about His promised Messiah. Abram heard God’s call and obeyed; then twenty-five years later God performed a miracle for this man, now 100 years old with a ninety-year-old wife, by giving them a baby boy named Isaac. Theirs was a far from perfect family, yet we have read how God watched over this particular family—from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—leading them to the land of Egypt where they grew into a large nation over the course of 400 years. A great nation, but a growing threat to the mind of the Egyptian pharaoh.
The people are enslaved and God intervenes for them…identifying them as His chosen people…and releasing them from their human slave masters. They then wander in the wilderness for forty years until the people are ready to receive the land God had been promising to help them secure—the land of Canaan. But again, their relationship with God was anything but a straight line of obedience and time after time, God intervenes to bring them back onto the track that will lead to the fulfillment of His plan for the Messiah.
In order to bring about some semblance of order to this unruly nation, God first sets judges then kings over His people to guide them as a nation. But obedience to Him is always short-lived…the people, though an organized nation, cannot order the chaos created in their lives by the virus of sin. He again intervenes and provides messages to men and women as His prophets to share with the nation. The people cannot claim to be unaware of God’s expectations. The prophets, though sharing messages from God, do not generally fare well in the arena of human opinion; while some are listened to, most are ignored or even silenced.
God’s next intervention makes it clear that the Jewish nation’s status as God’s chosen people, does not come with any sort of favouritism. God raises up first the Assyrians and then the Babylonians…and the people are carted off into captivity. They are allowed to return under Cyrus, but the years plod on, the Messiah is nowhere to be found…and the virus of sin remains very much alive.
From the time in the Garden of Eden to the time of the Roman empire, humanity had found itself set firmly on a self-destruct course; God’s interventions throughout the years are the only thing that have kept us from being successful in achieving our own demise. But God wasn’t done. What was taking so long for the Messiah to come? I believe, in part, that God wanted us to recognize our own inability to bring about a solution to the virus of sin.
“HOPELESS ON OUR OWN”
Romans 3:10 – “No one is righteous…not even one!”
Romans 3:23 – “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
Romans 6:23a – “For the wages of sin is death…”
Paul, who wrote the book of Romans, had trained as a Pharisee and knew the requirements of the Law better than most. He understood that there was no hope for man apart from God’s intervention. There was not a single human on the planet who could ever achieve ‘righteousness’ on their own; everyone has sinned, we cannot ever achieve the standard required by God to live in unimpeded communion with Him; the cost of our disobedience was our eternal souls…unless God intervened again!
Today is the first Sunday of Advent, but our Christmas celebrations of Jesus coming to earth are incomplete if we ignore the reason for His coming…to be made a substitutionary sacrifice for each one of us! It is only because of this that we can have any hope at all.
“HOPE EXTENDED BY GOD”
Romans 6:23b – “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
John 3:16 – “God loved the world so much, He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Romans 5:8 – “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
God’s gift to us, this gift of hope, came with an almost unspeakable price tag. His intervention of providing a Messiah—not to rescue the Jewish nation from servitude to others, but the rescue of all peoples from the virus of sin responsible for our eternal deaths—required God to become human, to live the life of a helpless person amongst His creation, to die a most gruesome death on our behalf all the while having His sacrifice spat upon. Who but God could have? No one!
And the ease by which we are permitted to access this sacrifice is almost unfathomable.
Romans 10:9-10,13 – “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved… For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Make a declaration of Jesus’ Lordship, believe with all your heart that He is once again alive, then openly share your faith. That’s it! The gift is free, but it was not cheap. Neither is it to be taken lightly. Unfortunately, there are people who misuse this scripture and live as though a one-time confession is all that God requires from us. But the price was too dear for us to defile it in such a way. God demands more of us who choose to believe in His Son.
Romans 12:2 – “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
We are expected to become new, to love our enemies, to do the good work God has planned for us…not to simply bask in our ‘get out of hell’ free status while we wait for the final journey that will permit us to enter into the pearly gates like some gated community reserved for the elite. Jesus’ followers are to live lives of obedience to God—serving both Him and others, demonstrating God’s love to all.
So, on this first Advent Sunday of hope, what are our takeaways?
· Sin has thoroughly corrupted us, and there is no good thing in any of us or in the world around us apart from God.
· God loved us, but justice had to be served; to simply ‘let it slide’ would have corrupted the justice of God.
· The only sufficient payment for disobedience to our Creator, our Sovereign God, was capital punishment—the death penalty. God Himself paid the required price for all sin through the death of Jesus.
· It is then up to us whether or not we will choose the gift of hope offered. Salvation through the forgiveness of sins is absolutely free, but don’t think that means there is no cost to being a disciple of Jesus. He Himself told us, “You cannot be my disciple without giving up everything you own” (Luke 14:33). He wasn’t merely talking about money and possessions, but also allegiances, desires, your reputation, your rights…all of it! He will not allow anything or anyone to shove Him out of His rightful place in the lives of those who accept His gift. To do so would be foolish—we need the Messiah!
For further study…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dEh25pduQ8 (The Bible Project – Messiah)
Sunday, December 5, 2021- “The Birth of the Messiah” 2nd Sunday of Advent - Bethlehem - In-person and Online – Communion Sunday
Pastor Jane Peck, Hope Chapel
(Collingwood EMCC Church)
"Learning and Living the Way of Jesus!"
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!