Matthew 4:16 ‘The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.’
This Scripture talks about people in three different conditions;
- Sitting in darkness
- Sitting in the region of death
- Sitting in the shadow of death
The first thing to notice is they are sitting, not standing, not walking, not running – sitting. When we’re in the dark we stop, we can’t see where we are going. Darkness is more than just the absence of light. It’s when we can’t see a way through a problem, when we aren’t aware of what we should do, when we don’t know what’s going on. It’s when we don’t learn new ways of living. Paul said he had learned how to be happy under any circumstance. It’s something he didn’t have before, but he made himself change. This way he didn’t just have the information, but had the character to be able to be joyful no matter what he was facing.
Dread is another form of darkness. It’s no accident that our church here is on Dreadnought Road. This is a fear not church. A lot of us avoid things in our lives because we dread what will happen if we see that person, or meet that circumstance. Dread is when you’re not looking forward to your future. This Scripture is telling us that Christ has risen for you who are in this circumstance. Now it is simply a matter of whether you will look to him or keep looking at the circumstances you dread so much.
Hope is when I can see a future, a way through. Here are two aspects of hope, that resonate with us this Christmas;
- Hope is a Person – His name is Jesus
Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
All of us need some guidance to know how we get into our future. A great light rising is not just about guidance. It’s also about a vision, something that is in your heart. It’s something that makes your heart beat faster. Something you’re excited about. It’s something worth living for. It’s something worth dying for. It’s something worth making Sacrifices for because it’s a cause, it’s a vision that has captured you. This is what hope is. It’s seeing a future that excites you. A vision is not just a goal. A vision is an excitement about doing something great for people, for God!
I’m praying that today this Christmas, NOW, that the God of Hope will fill you with joy and peace in believing, so that you abound in hope.
- Hope is encouragement.
Hope is a positive emotional and mental attitude about your past present and future. How do I get that mindset? You thank God for your past, no matter how bad it has been. Rewrite your history. Instead of blaming people and being a victim, thank God for everything that has happened in your past. Thank God for everything in your present. Thank God for everything that is about to happen to you in your future.
Be positive about your life, not negative, cynical, fearful. The church should be the most positive moment in anyone’s life every week. People are generally negative by default. The world lies in darkness, negativity, complaining, despair, fear, anxiety. We are meant to be offering people a pathway out of the dark into the light. When people see hope, they receive energy, vision, faith. Everything starts to work better for them.
Let me say it again, Hope is a person and that Person is Jesus.
Colossians 1:27 …Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Christ in you is;
the hope of health when you are sick,
the hope of heaven when you feel like you’re in hell,
the hope of financial well-being when you are poor,
the hope of justice when you’ve been wronged,
the hope of honor when you have been humiliated,
the hope of progress when you have been set back;
the hope of friends when you have been betrayed and forsaken,
the hope of fullness when you have been emptied,
the hope of life when you’ve been dead,
the hope of recovery when you’ve lost everything,
the hope of a child when you are barren,
the hope of a job when you’re unemployed,
the hope of a house when you’re homeless
the hope of joy when you’re sad,
the hope of laughter when you’re angry
the hope of friends when you’re alone
the hope of a future when you have no hope!
Christ is the Hope of the World. Christ is the hope of you and I personally.
Merry Christmas, Church. We are believing with you that this Christmas will be full of hope and joy as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour.
To find a C3 Location near you this Christmas, check out our Locations section at c3churchglobal.com.