Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Advent Sermon Series: A Thrill of Hope
Week 1: Mistaken Identity
PDF file for printing: 12-02-17
- Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas, when we seek to open our hearts to Jesus’ coming into our lives. The Advent Candle we are lighting today stands for “Expectation”. We want to have a heart and a spirit of expectation that God will work in our lives through Jesus’ coming to earth.
Tell your group about one of your favorite Advent traditions.
2. When you hear the sermon series title – “A Thrill of Hope” – what comes to your mind?
3. Think of a time when you received news that was not good, but then it turned out well in the end. The feeling we have at those times is what this sermon series is all about. Tell about a time you experienced something like that and describe to the group how you felt when the situation turned better.
4. Many of our Christmas songs and TV shows give us unrealistic expectations of what the Christmas season will be like. Name some examples of that. What’s the potential danger in that?
5. Read Luke 2:10: “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Seek to memorize this verse over the coming weeks before Christmas.
Two things to note in this verse:
The Gospel is Good News, Not Good Advice
Before we can seek to follow any of the good ethical advice in Scripture, we must first receive and accept the good news of the Gospel. All other religions tell people what they have to do to be good enough, but the good news of the Christian faith is that it has been done for us.
6. Vaclav Havel was a Czech statesman, writer and former dissident, who served as the 1st President of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. Prior to that he also served as the last president of Czechoslovakia from 1989 until its dissolution in 1992. He said, “As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it.” And he said that people need to seek God, because the human race often tends to forget that it’s not God. What do you think he meant by that?
7. Read Luke 2:8-12:
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
What do these surrounding verses add to your understanding of the angel’s message to the shepherds?
Hope Comes To Us, Not From Within Us
We can’t manufacture hope, it must come from outside of us. When 18-month-old Jessica McClure fell into a well in Texas, it seemed like a hopeless situation. She gained hope during the 58 hours that she was trapped in the well through singing Christian songs and some children’s songs.
8. What helps give you hope when you’re in a situation that seems hopeless?