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Advent 2019: Day 1

Today, as we are focusing on hope, we are going to look at Adam.  Adam and Jesus were the only men born without sin.  However, Adam and Jesus had two very different experiences.  Adam, being the first human, had not experienced sin.  However, his choices would determine whether or not he would have that experience.  Jesus was God on earth in human form.  God has no sin.  However, Jesus still faced the same choices that Adam did. Through Adam's disobedience, God still gave humans hope.  That hope was fulfilled in Jesus, God's son. Jesus continues to give believers hope.

Adam was born with no sin.  As he was the first human, he had yet to experience sin. However, we have a God who wants us to choose to have a relationship with him.  So God gave Adam the choice to obey.  He instructed that all in the garden was available except the fruit of one tree.  Then God allowed him to be tempted.  This was the moment that Adam had the choice to obey and follow God, or go his own way.

Adam was tempted. Adam chose not to obey and sinned.  Through his actions, he brought sin in to the world for all generations to follow.  His one act brought condemnation to all.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

 

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

 

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

 

Genesis 3:1-7 NIV

These actions brought a series of curses upon each of the participants.  These curses would last through all generations.  However, it would be through the curse upon the serpent that we would receive some hope of restoration.  God never leaves his people without hope.

So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

 

“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

 

Genesis 3:14-15 NIV

This curse is generational, just like the other two are.  "Enmity" refers to a generational feud.  It is understood that Satan did not have offspring, but that this refers to those who would follow him.  However, when God cursed the serpent, he also gave his people hope in a man to come. This man, Jesus, would crush Satan's head even as Satan would strike his heel.  This is the first gift of hope given to humanity.

That hope that God gave to humanity came to us through Jesus.  It is through Jesus that we have hope in a future after death.  It is through Jesus that we will see Godly justice enacted on earth in the second coming.  Throughout the Bible, people yearned for restoration with God.  Jesus offers the possibility of it happening. If we believe in Jesus and follow him, we will have a restored relationship with God.  And after the second coming, that restoration will be made perfect in all believers.

Jesus was born sinless and lived a sinless life.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

 

Isaiah 53:9 NIV

 

“He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

 

1 Peter 2:22 NIV

 

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 

2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV

Jesus was tempted by the devil, just as Adam was.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

 

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

 

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

 

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

 

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

 

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

 

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

 

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

 

Matthew 4:1-11 NIV

Jesus also faced other human temptations.  He faced the temptation to give up when the road before him was hard.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

 

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

 

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

 

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

 

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

 

Matthew 26:36-46 NIV

Jesus chose to follow God. His act of obedience on the cross brought salvation to all.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

 

Hebrews 4:15 NIV

 

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

 

To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

 

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

 

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

 

The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Romans 5:12-21 NIV

 

Jesus was hope realized. He crushed Satan’s head through his death and resurrection.  He will crush it totally when he returns to bind up Satan and throw him in the pit. We have hope in Jesus that we will join him in heaven. We have hope in his second coming when he will bring justice.

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

 

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 NIV

 

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

 

1 Corinthians 15:45-49 NIV

 

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NIV

 

Throughout the Bible, we see that God never leaves us without hope.  At the first onset of sin in humanity, God offered a reason for humanity to have hope.  We will see throughout the week that God continued giving hope to his people.  When Jesus came, he fulfilled prophecies and gave believers hope to have a relationship with him.  Now, believers have hope in a bright future after death.  We have hope knowing that all things, even the bad, God will work to our good.  Believers can look to the future after death but also to the future of God's kingdom.  When Jesus returns, he will restore justice.  He will collect his believers and give them a new heaven and a new earth.  We will all reign in the new heaven and new earth as heirs to God's kingdom. What hope we have to look to!


PRAYER

Father,

Thank you for the hope that you continually give.  From the first sin to the end of time, you give us hope.  You are constantly seeking relationship with us.  Thank you for providing the hope we so desperately need.  No matter the circumstance, financial problems, physical impairments, relationship issues, family strife, political upheaval, threats, persecution, and even death... you always give us hope.  Thank you.

In the season of Advent, we come to you asking for a renewed hope.  As we study how you gave hope to those in the Bible, help the hope within us grow.  Let it grow so large and so strong that it is anchored in our soul, keeping us steadily focused on you.

In Jesus' name,

Amen


 


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Posts for Advent 2019

Advent 2019: Day 5 – Hope Realized

What is it like when our hope is fulfilled? Today we are going to take a brief look into the birth of John the Baptist, the person who prepared the way for Jesus.

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