Cheatham Memorial’s Sermon series for Advent is “Christmas is a family Story” with first Sunday of Advent being the Sunday of Hope. Our message for Sunday, November 27, 2016 came from Matthew 1:18-25 and was titled “A Family of Hope”. Please read this before you finish this post.
The Blble’s focus is on the Holy Family and lifts them up as an example of how our families need faith to be healthy and thriving. Mary and Joseph are struggling here but HOPE KEPT THEM GOING. If your family, whatever it looks like, is struggling, there is hope for you in Christ.
Hope is born at home when our home is in Christ. Hope is born in a family, hope is learned in our families, and hope is a key element in our life of salvation. Family is where God created the space for your faith to be formed. This is why family is so important to God
The beautiful young ladies are our hope and remind us what hope looks like. They beam with the life of Grace. We owe them the gift of Hope that Jesus brings to our family and share the story.
The Bible’s word for hope is elpis (el-pees) and is defined as a trust, confidence, expectation and anticipation of welcome and security. It is the sweet sister of the word faith and is the fruit of good character which is founded on faith in Christ. Hope is how faith carries on when times get tough. We can do anything as long as we don’t lose hope. Hope as a family value is multiplied as our family grow in both number and spiritual maturity.
Teresa and I married. That makes a family of two. We have three married children, two grand’s and three more grand children on the way. Our family is now 15 which means our influence has gone up over seven fold.
Hope is more than a numerical change though, also we have all grown in faith. Our family is not perfect. We have all had times of darkness and doubt but draw on the foundation of Jesus Christ and His living hope that we will outlast our troubles. Our relationship with Jesus is eternal, our trials are temporary, and our life of salvation is always growing stronger. THE FAMILY IS THE PLACE WHERE THE SEEDS OF HOPE ARE PLANTED AND NURTURED AND TOLD IN OUR FAMILY STORY.
Matthew chapter 1 begins Jesus’ genealogy and lists the super heroes of faith. If Fred the donkey thief was in there somewhere but somehow became forgotten. The family story of hope has a healing amnesia that conquers the darkness. It shows up in Jesus family just as it does in ours. There are two lessons here. One, that the Holy family is called of God and two-family MATTERS!
Joseph was not superman, he was a working guy-a carpenter- and he knew without a doubt that Jesus wasn’t his child. He also knew the living God and was a spiritually sensitive soul. When the angel of God spoke he obeyed, knowing the cost to his reputation, his family relationships, knowing he was losing his home town, and his business. Joseph chose to cling to the hope of the future and the direction of God rather than divorce.
Mary knew her lord, knew without a doubt that God is the source of hope for her family, that hope wouldn’t come from the neighbors, She and her husband would cling to their faith and live the promise growing within her body. This family is not so different from yours and mine. They could have doubted and split. Instead they clung to God’s hand and their unique calling as a family and overcame.
Here are my observations and some questions for myself that I found in the text-
- First, The center of everything in this text is HOPE from Christ. That hope is caught by faith, taught in the hard lessons of life, and transmitted to the next generation.
- Hope begins with a praying parent, preferably TWO, but God will use what you have
- No family is perfect but faith perfects life and forges hope
- The Christian life is real life and God meets you where you are.
- If any member of the family grows in faith, the whole family grows in faith.
Here is the interactive part-Add your comments below and share the overcoming hope that you either have or need. We are all better if we share
- If you aren’t a Christian or are but don’t go to church, would you be willing to try worship during the Christmas season? What would encourage you to go?
- What is God calling your family to do?
- How do you plant or communicate hope during a hard time to your family?
- How are you growing personally as a disciple of Jesus Christ?
- How do you pray for your family members?