Advent Study – DAY 4
a “Forever Family”
HOPE is all about
Only Humans have HOPE: In a recent sermon, our pastor said, “Cabbages and Puppies do not hope, only people do; that’s what makes them human.” He went on to share that the only true and lasting HOPE you can ever find for your life is a relationship with your Creator - but this can be difficult and always requires discipline. You have to want that relationship!
Try and “wrap your mind around” this TRUTH: You have an invitation to join a “perfect family” in the heavenly home of your Creator! You have been invited to live with someone more powerful than any earthly royalty. How can you survive life in the presence of an Omniscient, Almighty, and Holy God? Actually, you can’t without help. No one can. Yet God designed us to know and fellowship with him as we live our lives. Knowing you was the purpose of creation. He wants a personal and intimate fellowship with you and every soul He creates. Read Jesus’ Forever Family Messages of HOPE Expanded in John chapter 15 below to see how this can be possible for you or anyone to accomplish.
“Hooking-Up” to an Intimate God: To complicate matters, from birth we experience many failed or fearful relationships that taint our success with intimacy, even with ourselves, let alone a loving Creator. Yet, your life will ultimately be measured by your success in making and maintaining healthy relationships over all your accomplishments – to yourself, to others, and most importantly, to your Creator. At Christmas, Jesus came to show us just how we can “Hook-Up” to this HOPE-filled relationship for our lives, both NOW and forever. He wants you to join His “Forever-Family”.
Jesus’ “Forever Family”
Message of HOPE:
- “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NLT
The HOPE of Connection –
“Hooking-Up” with your Creator:
You really can belong to a “Forever Family”. Jesus wants you to be connected with your Heavenly Father. He wants you to know Him personally. William Barclay, in his volume “The Letter to The Hebrews”, captured this message of Jesus about our “HOPE in Hooking-Up” to an exciting relationship with the Father. He likens our “HOPE” to “peace”, and our “Heavenly Father” to “God”. It is a bit long and older text, but his observations are powerful and worth reading.
“God is the God [Father] of peace [HOPE]. Even in the most troublous and distressing situations, God can bring peace to men’s souls. In any fellowship [where] there is a division, it is because men have forgotten God, and only the memory of God’s presence can bring back the lost peace. When a man’s heart and mind are distracted, when he is torn in two between the two sides of his own nature, it is only by giving his life into the control of God that he can know peace. It is only God who can put a man into a right relationship with himself, with his fellow men, and with eternity.
“It is only the God of peace who can make us at peace with ourselves, at peace with each other, and at peace with Himself. God is the God of life. It was God who brought Jesus again from the dead. The love of God, and the power of God, are the only things which bring a man peace in life and triumph in death.
“It was to obey the will of God that Jesus died, and that same will of God brought Him again from the dead. For the man who obeys the will of God there is no such thing as final disaster, and even death itself is conquered. God is the God who both shows us His will and equips us to do it. God never gives us a task without also giving us the power to do it. With the vision, He also sends the power. We are never asked to go into a task with only that which we can bring to it; if that were so we might well be daunted at the height of the demand of the Christian life. When God sends us out, He sends us out armed and equipped with everything we need. Jesus is the one who established the new covenant. That is to say, Jesus is the only one who made possible the new relationship between God and man.
“He took away the terror and showed us the love of God. Jesus is the one who died to establish that new relationship, to show men what God was like. He died to bring us to God and to life.” [Underlines Mine]
Take 5 Minutes: On the Advent Card, to notice that the bottom row of numbered lights denotes the TRUTHS of Jesus’ message on “Hooking-Up” to our Creator. Each shows a step in realizing genuine HOPE for our lives. Light/bulb “4” reinforces the importance of this relationship NOW. Bulb “5” shares the importance of Repentance. Bulb “6” shares the Gift of Forgiveness. Bulb “7” shares the Gift of Freedom. Bulb “8” shares the Gift of Fulfillment. Bulb “9” shares the Promise of Resurrection. Take a few minutes to read these messages of Jesus recorded by the apostle John.
Jesus’ “Forever Family”
Messages of HOPE
Expanded – John Chapter 15:
- Jesus, the True Vine –Secrets to Hooking-Up to HOPE - 1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me." John 15:1–4 NLT
- 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father." John 15:5–8 NLT
- 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other." John 15:9–17 NLT
- The World’s Hatred of Godly HOPE - 18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. 22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures* : ‘They hated me without cause.’" John 15:18–25 NLT
- The Ultimate Relationship Builder for HOPE - 26 “But I will send you the Advocate* —the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry." John 15:26–27 NLT
Love Breaking Through
Bethel Music Kids
Walking With Jesus (Plus)
(23 sing-along songs for kids) 41 MINUTES
Family of God
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