Gospel

Unto us… hope!

In Isaiah 9, God is promising hope to a nation that had been walking in darkness. Their struggles would soon end and a new era of peace and prosperity would ensue.

This new era would be ushered in by the Christ, whom Isaiah 9:6 said would be born, and would rule and reign. Such news was welcome for a nation divided and degraded by sin and evil.

Unto us would be born a child, meaning the Christ would be human like the rest of us. But, He would also be the Son given, that is, the Son of God given for the redemption and deliverance of the nation. This verse speaks to the divinity and the humanity of Christ.

The humanity of Christ allows Him to relate to our struggles, and qualifies Him to take our punishment upon Himself, thus delivering us from condemnation. The divinity of Christ marks Him as sinless, perfect, and righteous. Further, the divinity of Christ gives Him the power and authority to endure the wrath of God before rising from the grave and conquering death.

Therefore, this verse taught Israel that all of their hope, that is, confident expectation of redemption, is completely accessed through Christ. And we know that 2,000 years ago, that Child was born, and God’s Son was given for our redemption.

It’s easy to forget this during our day to day lives, but the season of Advent gives us the opportunity to remember the hope we have in Jesus Christ, and to renew our faith in Him and recenter our lives on Him.

Like Israel during Isaiah’s day, our nation is deeply divided and has been degraded by sin and evil. However, we can experience national healing and revival if we remember our hope, our confident expectation is in Him. Therefore Advent reminds us not only that Christ came, but that He’s coming again. Therefore we should be eagerly looking forward to His return, knowing that His return brings the deliverance, peace and prosperity of His Kingdom, if we know Him as Savior. If we believe.

May the Lord give you peace this season as you remember Him and look forward to His return.

The People that Walked in Darkness Have Seen a Great Light

When Isaiah prophesied the words, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined,” Israel was in a state of continual decline morally, spiritually and nationally as a result of their idolatry and rebellion against God.

God’s people had turned their backs on God, and thus were walking in darkness. This darkness bred evil and cruelty, and the nation was suffering. However, Isaiah prophesied that the people who walked in darkness had seen a great light.

This light, bright and shining with a divine origin, would be the salvation of Israel. This Light is later identified in John 1:4-9 and John 8:12 as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (and Isaiah would go on to prophesy about Him in Isaiah 9:6-7).

Today, many Christians walk in darkness as they have turned away from God and look to their possessions, bank accounts, careers and families to bring them fulfillment. Many Christians have begun living for the best life in this world, and have discarded the idea of Heaven altogether.

This has led to many Christians unwittingly walking in darkness, and suffering as a result.

However, this situation can be remedied through simple repentance and faith in the Lord. If the Christian church will once again place Jesus at the center of its existence, and more importantly the Gospel at the center of its belief system, then we will not only see a revival, but we will also see our hope and peace restored as we look forward to the Lord’s Kingdom.

For more, check out Pastor Leland Acker’s message here:

For John, It Was Personal

Later in his life, the Apostle John continued to minister, serving as pastor of the church at Ephesus, proclaiming the Gospel, and even being imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos, where he penned Revelation. John, one of the closes friends to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preached His gospel, not only out of duty and faith, but from a deep abiding love for our Lord.

So, when new theories and doctrines began to arise concerning Jesus, John was moved by his passion for the Lord, and more importantly by the Holy Spirit, to confront these new theories. From this passion, we got the The Gospel According to John, and The First Epistle of John, more commonly known as 1 John.

In these books, John noted how he personally knew Jesus Christ, thus giving him the expert authority to declare who Jesus really is. He then boldly proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the incarnation of God, yet, was fully human. He proclaimed how Christ paid for our sins on the cross and the forgiveness that is freely available to those who believe.

In modern times, we again face new theories about Christ, and new doctrines that seek to redefine Christianity. We also face old traditions that de-emphasize Who He is. To re-center on the Lord, we began a new sermon series back in July called “The Real Jesus Christ.”

“The Real Jesus Christ” seeks to set aside the religious politics of our day, and get back to the core beliefs that make us Christian. This series seeks to truly teach Who Jesus is, and by doing so cultivate the faith of all who hear. As of the writing of this post, we are in the middle of John 6, as Jesus feeds the multitudes. You can catch up with our series by listening to the playlist here: