Skip to content
Nov 27 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Advent Sunday 11/27/2022–Hope



Welcome and Prayer: Nancy Lopez

Welcome Friends!              May the Hope of the Lord be with you!

We begin our Advent journey today; Advent is traditionally a time of preparation for Christmas.  It is remembered on the four Sundays preceding Christmas; and—if you didn’t realize it yet—Christmas falls on a Sunday this year.  We will not be having a service on that day.

Preparing for Christmas – what comes to your mind?  It probably does include garland, cards, and presents; but most especially, we want to allow a time of preparing the Way for the Christ.  Today we will be entering Advent with the theme of Hope.  What other way would we enter?  Those who were waiting for Jesus’ birth had been waiting in Hope for a very long time. Matthew gives us the timeline of about 700 years when he points to the prophesy of Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.”  Immanuel means “God is with us,” and that’s what they were waiting for.  It wasn’t just waiting, but waiting in Hope. We still wait for the fulfillment of all the prophecies, but let’s be pre-occupied with waiting in Hope.

Another prophet, Zechariah, calls us to be “prisoners of hope.”  Let’s long to be that, unable to quit hoping in Jesus and His Kingdom come.

Remember how Mary visited Elizabeth who was still carrying John the Baptist, and how John, still in the womb, leapt in anticipation and recognition of the coming of the Lord Jesus.  We hope for the Second Coming of Christ, and also a visitation, a revelation, an engagement with Christ along the way, ones that will make our hearts leap.

Pray with me:

Lord, as we will light the candle of Hope today, may we realize the significance of the Hope that does not disappoint, poured out into our heart by the Holy Spirit.  This is the candle that will remain lit in the coming weeks, just as Hope must sustain us and carry us forward.  May our Hope be as a feather, drawn upward by the breath of the Spirit.  Thank you for this beautiful day to remember our Hope in Jesus, the Christ.  Amen

Morning Talk: chuck smith, jr.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” Acts 17:1-3

Intro: When St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he told them,

He was impressed by three qualities that they demonstrated:
your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thes. 1:3)
– faith, love, and hope – essential building blocks of a Christian life
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13)
• Paul may have looked for evidence of these traits in the churches he visited
• do they walk by faith, hang onto hope, and do everything in love?
– “Hope” is the Advent theme for this Sunday

I’m going to begin with three observations regarding hope

First, hope is an attitude that is oriented to the future
– it may be the near future or a distant future
• but it looks forward to an ultimate outcome that is good
• that outcome is not yet within our grasp, but its believable
I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me (2 Tim. 1:12)
we wait eagerly for…the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience (Ro. 8:23-25)
Second, hope anchors the soul (Heb. 6:19)
– the soul in scripture is our natural self – our needy self
• it is both mind and emotions; drives and desires; physical and psychological needs
• the soul needs to be anchored, otherwise, it will drift with every current moving through culture
Third, the Christian hope for the future rests in Jesus Christ our Lord
if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also (Jn. 14:3)
– the birth of Jesus brought an eternal hope into our world — that is in the past
• Paul refers to the return of Jesus as the blessed hope (Titus 2:13) — that is in our future
– Advent is the celebration of both arrivals of Jesus
• when he first came to us in Bethlehem and when he will revisit the world in glory

In Acts 17, Paul is introducing a Jewish community to Jesus

He makes an argument that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy
– it amazes me, how quickly the disciples found Jesus in the Hebrew Scriptures
• in Acts chapter 8, Philip was led to a man who was an official in the court of the Ethiopian Queen
◦ Philip found the official sitting in his chariot, reading Isaiah 53
◦ the official asked Philip,
“About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus (Acts 8:34-35)
◦ Isaiah 53 may be the most explicit message prefiguring the gospel in entire Old Testament
• when Paul presented his argument regarding the Messiah, his closing statement was:
“This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ” (Messiah)

Israel had held onto a hope for centuries
– that the dynasty of King David would rise from the ashes
• that a descendant of David’s would become Israel’s ultimate king
• that God would anoint him to rule Israel
◦ and through Israel, God would rule the world
(“anointed one” is the meaning of the Hebrew word Messiah and the Greek word Christ)
◦ Isaiah prophesied that in the golden age
[The LORD] shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more (Isa. 2:4)
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them. . . .
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea (Isa. 11:6-9)
– Paul was telling them, We now know who that king is:
This Jesus [who went through Judah and Galilee, healing the sick, casting out demons, and proclaiming the kingdom of God] is the Messiah

Now we’re going to move backwards in the book of Acts

In chapter 2, we find the first sermon preached by an apostle after Jesus’ resurrection
– Peter presented the same argument as Paul (only Peter’s message was longer and included more scripture)
• when he gets to the end, he says,
“Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36)
– wouldn’t you assume that the crucifixion of its leader would end a movement?
• that was, in fact, the objective
Caiaphas . . . said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish” “So from that day on the made plans to put him to death (Jn. 11:50 and 53)
◦ but despite what he had in mind, Jesus’ death did not end the movement
◦ instead, it fulfilled a criteria that qualified Jesus as the Messiah
He [Caiaphas] did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who were scattered abroad (Jn. 11:51-52)
• with another small step backwards, we come to this verse:
This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses (Acts 2:32)
◦ so in “this Jesus” there rests a hope that even death cannot extinguish

One more time we’re going to move backwards in Acts

Jesus had spent his very last moments on earth with the disciples
– they asked their most pressing question and he answered them
• he also told them what would happen in their immediate future
◦ and while they were watching,
he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight
• no telling how long they would have stood there gawking skyward
◦ but we’re told,
two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11)
– now we have an idea of Advent hope
this Jesus who was sent from God into the world is the Messiah
this Jesus suffered as we suffer – he died and was buried
this Jesus broke the chains of death, freeing himself and us
this Jesus will return, and bring heaven to earth
• Christmas is anticipation, expectation, and celebration
◦ it ties together past, present, and future
◦ and during Advent, it is possible to experience moments of the eternal now, if during this season we make time for quiet reflection
– after all, there is no Christmas apart from this Jesus

Listen to a couple lines of a prayer Paul prayed for believers

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you . . . . (Ep. 1:16-18)
– this inspires me as much as anything in the Scriptures
• it is the reason I take time to read, reflect, and sit in silence
• it is not as if I receive a revelation every day,
◦ but if God’s Spirit has something to say to me, I want to be there to hear it
– today God has something to say to us about
this Jesus who looked at the crowds and felt compassion for them
this Jesus who touched blind eyes and deaf ears and healed them
this Jesus who lifted children into his arms and blessed them
this Jesus who rebuked hypocrites and forgave sinners
this Jesus who loved the unlovable and forgave the unforgivable
this Jesus whose birth is Christmas and resurrection is Easter
• and through these he procured our new birth and eternal life

Conclusion: One more word about Advent

It is not four weeks of Sunday celebrations
– Advent is a season
So with everything else that goes on during this hectic time of year,
let’s try to remember that this is a season of HOPE
No matter what,
let’s hang onto the hope that hangs on to us


Leave a comment
  1. Carrie (Wennberg) Bryant / Oct 6 2023

    10/06/2023: Taking time to read each week a current service and finding another one in the past to read as well (i.e., I’m one of those contemplative types; I need extra time to understand)!
    I added my email, yet I am not currently able to read or respond using this email. No longer on FB nor social media. I’ll reach out again to your church family in the near future. Thankful we can pray for one another, however!

  2. Chuck Smith, Jr. / Oct 6 2023

    Thank you for contacting us. If you would like to get in touch with me, my email is

Leave a comment