by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
Keynote Speaker, CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries
Week 2 of Advent: Hope
It’s all Adam and Eve’s Fault!
Adam and Eve really gets a lot of accusations from us. I mean, after all, its their fault that we sin – right? Not at all. Sin entered the world with their first sin, but we have just as much choice as they did and if we had been in the Garden, we would have done the same thing. But have you ever thought about the fact that we celebrate Christmas because they sinned? Think about it for a moment. All the twinkling lights, the Christmas trees, the gifts, the ornaments, Christmas dinner, time with family – all because Adam and Even sinned. In that moment of the first sin, fellowship with God was broken. And then you can throw in every human since then and the world’s sin problem just keeps growing. But God promised the coming of hope for redemption and restoration.
Since that moment in history of the very first sin, our world waited and longed for redemption – until the night angels sang and shepherds heard the good news. Until the night that a young virgin girl gave birth to a son – THE Son of God. When Jesus was born – hope was born.
What if Adam and Eve had not sinned?
But, what if Adam and Eve had not sinned? If Eve had not given in to temptation and refused to eat of the tree God commanded them not to eat, then there wouldn’t be a need for a Savior. Jesus wouldn’t have had to come to earth to redeem us out of our brokenness and sin. December 25th would just be another day on the calendar. So, the beauty of “most wonderful time of the year” came out of the ugly, darkness of sin.
Not left without hope
Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden, they now had to work to be able to eat, and children would be born in pain. But God didn’t leave Adam and Eve without hope. He gave them a promise of a coming hope that would redeem their sin and all the sins of every person. He repeated that promise through the prophets. And He sent Gabriel to tell a young virgin girl that she would give birth to the promised hope. He sent an angel to give the first birth announcement to some lowly shepherds. He set a star in the sky to guide the wise men to that hope. And today, through the Scriptures, God tells us of that hope through the story of Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection. Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us about our hope:
Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Why we celebrate Christmas
The very reason we celebrate Christmas is because when sin became a “thing,” God in His love toward us promised a way to restore humanity’s fellowship with their Creator – He promised that He would send a Savior – One who would take our place and receive our punishment for sin and restore what we broke. Jesus. Redeemer. The Savior of the World. Christmas is a celebration of the hope we have because Jesus left the radiance and splendor of heaven to be born as baby, live among us, took our sin on himself and died in our place. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. He conquered death when He rose again and when we place our faith in who He is and what He did for us, we can have eternal life in heaven with Him. Now that’s hope!
Satan has not retired!
But just as Satan was at work in the Garden of Eden, he is at work today. He still roams the earth seeking whom he may devour. But he doesn’t pounce and say, “Hey There! I’m Satan and I’m here to get you to sin.” He doesn’t go around handing out invitations to join him at his eternal get-together in hell. No, he’s very cunning and sly. Let’s face it, if Satan appeared to us in his true form, our natural “fight or flight” instincts would kick in and we’d run the other way. Instead, he studies us and knows our weakest area and he subtly tempts us just like he did Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Over the centuries since that first Christmas night where our Savior slept on a bed of hay in an animal’s feeding trough, Satan has worked to turn the miracle and hope of the Christmas story into commercialized fiasco that creates such a financial burden on most families that the joyful celebration of Christmas becomes a season of burdens and stress.
Satan tried to silence the message of hope
If Satan had his way, he’d silence the story of Jesus’ birth and make it all about Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, and the Grinch. He’d work to get people “offended” by the words “Merry Christmas” and make it “politically correct” to say “Season Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” instead. Why would he want to silence such a glorious story? Because without Christ’s birth, there wouldn’t be a Savior. Without a Savior, there wouldn’t be any hope. Without the virgin birth of the Son of God, there would be no Christmas celebration. We’d all be doomed to eternity in hell right along with Satan.
Do not make Jesus the silent reason for the season
No matter where you look this time of year, you will see Christmas decorations, hear Christmas music, attend Christmas parties, and shop for Christmas gifts. Whether people choose to believe that Jesus is the Son of God or not, they all scurry around celebrating the most wonderful time of the year while the Jesus becomes more and more a silent reason for the season. On the night of His birth, the angels couldn’t contain their joy. They broke open the heavens and told the good news to the shepherds on the hillside. Then they burst into song, singing, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.” Today our Christmas singing is about a snowman, hoping for two front teeth, roasting chestnuts, sleigh rides, reindeer, and Santa.
Now, I’m not an “anti-Santa” person. But we cannot allow the secular, commercialized version of Christmas become so loud that it drowns out the real meaning of Christmas: hope. That’s what Christmas exists for. Our hope in a restored fellowship with God that our sin broke. So to keep our focus on the Hope of our salvation, let’s look at eight messages from God that we can find in Hebrews 1:1-3.
Hope began when God spoke
Before we look at the eight messages, we first need to see that God spoke. Do you ever long to hear from God? Recently as I was contemplating God’s will for a decision I needed to make, I said to my mom, “Where’s a talking, burning bush when you need one?” Would that be great if we could all get a talking, burning bush like Moses did?
The writer of Hebrews says that God spoke to the fathers by the prophets. But even before that, God came in the cool of the evening to the Garden of Eden everyday to talk with and visit Adam and Eve. He spoke directly to Moses, and Abraham. He communicated with Joseph through dreams. And then He sent the prophets to speak to the people the words He gave to them. Have you ever longed for a prophet to knock on your door and say, “Thus says the Lord.” Then you’d know exactly what God wanted and it would so much easier than the still small voice. As God’s child, we have a need to hear from God. His voice is our compass and without it, we wonder around aimlessly making a big mess of everything. God still speaks to us today – we just have to listen.
God still speaks hope today
The writer of Hebrews also says that in these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son. With the first “Let there be,” God has been speaking and still He speaks. His message hasn’t changed. It’s the same today as it was with the first Word God speaks in creating the universe. That message is to say that He Is God and we are his Children. He loves us with an everlasting love. He’s ready to forgive no matter how bad we mess up. He is in control. He has a plan for each one of us. And He had a plan for restoring our fellowship with Him through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His own Son.
Jesus is the answer to our brokenness. He’s the answer to our sin problem. He’s the answer to our marriage problems. Jesus is the answer to the problems we have with our children, job, finances. No matter what we face in life – Jesus is the answer. He’s the answer to every question. He’s the end of every thought. And He’s the period to every sentence. He is the complete and total message of the only God for the complete and total human race. Through every page in the Bible, God speaks to us. But in these three verses in Hebrews 1, God is showing us that Jesus is all the Savior we’ll ever need because Jesus is both fully God and fully man.
Eight messages of Hope from Hebrews 1:1-3
Message 1: Jesus isn’t just from God: He IS God.
His birth didn’t cause Him to lose any part of His divinity. God merely added humanity to Jesus’ deity. So while Jesus lived on earth, He was both 100% God and 100% man. If Jesus had been only human, he would have sinned just like the rest of us. Had he been 100% God He could not have taken our place and paid for our sin. He had to be both for us to have the hope of redemption.
Message 2: Proof of Jesus’ deity
We can find proof of Jesus’ deity in verse 2 where Paul tells us that God speaks to us through His Son who is heir of all things. We can also find in other verses that Jesus is God. John 1:1-3 tell us He created the world: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. And in verse 14, He is the only Son of God: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In Colossians 2:9 Paul tells us that within the body of Jesus dwelt the whole fullness of deity.
Message 3: Jesus radiates the glory of God
We also saw this on the Mountain at the transfiguration of Jesus. Where the radiance of His glory could be seen. Matthew 17:2 says, He was transformed in front of them, and His face shone like the sun. Even His clothes became as white as the light. We can also see it when Moses went up the mountain to speak to God. When he came down the radiance of God was so bright on him, the people had to cover Him up. The more we hang out with God, the more of His glory will radiate onto us.
Message 4: Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature
Jesus said that if we have seen him, then we’ve seen the father: “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.” “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”
Because the Bible says, “God is Love” then we know that Jesus is love too. Whatever characteristic we place on God, we place on Jesus too because he is an exact imprint of God’s nature. Because of that imprint, we don’t have to wonder what God is like. Jesus showed us the Father everyday while He walked on this earth.
Message 5: Jesus upholds the universe simply by the power of His word.
Whether its the sun, stars, moon, Jupiter, the galaxy, Mars, a comet or the cells and atoms that make up your body. Jesus holds them all in the palm of His hands and He keeps them all in order. In Jeremiah 5:22, God says, “Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it.”
In Colossians 1:15-17, we read that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities [these words in Greek refer to the hierarchical angelic powers]-all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
“One of the key words in the Colossians passage above (“…and in Christ all things hold together”) is the Greek word sunistemi which means “to stand-together,” “to be compacted together,” “to cohere,” “to be constituted with.” This passage can be applied to the structure of the atom, for example. The nucleus of every atom is held together by what physicists call “weak” and “strong” forces.
The nucleus of the atom contains positively charged and neutral particles-to use a simplistic model. Mutual electrostatic repulsion between the like-positive protons would drive the nucleus apart if it were not for the “strong force” which binds the nucleus together. There is thus an active force imposed on the universe, which actively holds the very atoms of the material world together moment by moment, day by day, century by century. Similarly, accelerated electrons circling the nucleus should quickly radiate all their energy away and fall into the nucleus unless there exists an invisible energy source to counteract this.
If God “sustains the universe by His mighty word of power,” moment by moment, were He to merely relax His grasp on the universe, every atom would come apart “by fire” (that is, by nuclear fire). It is inescapable that the Bible claims that God dynamically sustains the universe, including the very atoms themselves. Atoms, it would seem, are “stable” only because force and energy are being supplied into their physical nuclear binding fields from “outside” the system.Read the full article here: https://www.khouse.org/articles/1997/60/
Message 6: Jesus is the heir of all things
The Bible also tells us that we are joint heirs with Him (Romans 8:17). Everything the father has, the Son has. In Psalm 2, God says, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” Jesus is the heir to the entire world and everything in it. Because we are co-heirs with Jesus we also inheriting something of God when we become His child. Lastly, when you place your faith and trust in Jesus as your Savior, Jesus inherits you.
Message 7: Jesus is Purifier
Because sin makes us dirty and unclean, we need to be made clean. Jesus does exactly that. He takes the putrid, sinful person that we are and washes our sins away with his blood so that when God looks at us, he sees us through the filter of his only Son and instead of seeing our sin, He sees us cleansed, righteous before Him.
Message 8: Jesus is Ruler
After Jesus accomplished his mission on earth – His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus sat down in the presence of God which is significant. In the Old Testament, the priests was continuously making sacrifices for the sins of the people They never stopped. But with Jesus, the work of the cross is done. The shedding of blood is done. The grave is done. Jesus died on the cross in the place of every single human that has ever lived or will live. His work on earth is done – finished. So he returned to heaven and sat down at the right hand of His Father. It’s done. The right hand is the place of exaltation and from there, Jesus rules the universe.
So in just three verses of Hebrews we learn 8 things about Jesus. And through Jesus, God has spoken finally and fully in his Son. He is both fully God and He is fully man and yet fully sinless. He is the perfect sacrifice and our complete Savior. He’s our hope to restoring fellowship with God that was broken because of sin.
Jesus is our hope.
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
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