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THE LIGHT OF HOPE

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The Light of Hope - Isaiah 9: 2,6
Semon Discussion

This week began our yearly tradition of Advent, looking forward to the celebration of Jesus' birth on Christmas. Our theme for Advent this year is light, and in our first week Pastor Duane takes us Isaiah 9 to talk about "The Prophecy Candle of Hope."

Advent is one of our Church's big Christmas traditions during the Christmas season. What personal or family tradition are you most looking forward to this upcoming season?

Let's read the passage and discuss:


The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

[Isaiah 9:2,6 ESV]

Was there anything that you really enjoyed about the passage? Anything that was interesting? Confusing?

Pastor Duane arranged the discussion of Hope into 3 points from the passage:

The Dark
The Day
The Dawn

THE DARK

At the time of this prophecy from Isaiah the people were in a dark time. In Chapter 1 of Isaiah we see they have just endured a massacre with thousands of their people being killed. God gives Isaiah a prophecy, a peek at God's plan allowing them a sure hope that they will be delivered from the darkness.

Duane mentioned that there is a spiritual darkness in our land, San Diego, the US, what are some ways you've seen that darkness?

We went into even greater detail here about what darkness is, and Duane brought in some ideas from Thomas Aquinas about 3 types of darkness that God's light helps us overcome: ignorance, sin, and condemnation.

Ignorance is our inability to know God and be friends with Him though we're surrounded by Him and his creation.

How have you seen this form of darkness in the world?

Sin is our inability to think about God correctly, twisting His word and truth.

How can we know when we're twisting God's word and truth?

Condemnation is the guilt spiral we find ourselves as we camp in the shame resulting from our own failures and feelings of being unwanted and unloved.

What are some things you find yourself doing when you are "camping in your condemnation?" What are some things that bring you out of that?

THE DAY

God's light saves us from the darkness, and brings us into day. We see throughout the Bible the theme of light from God casting out the darkness in many ways, beginning all the way back in the beginning.

How would you explain "light" to someone?

Why do you think light is so often used as an illustration of God's attributes and actions?

THE DAWN

The Prophet Isaiah promises the people that as dark as it seems now, a great dawn is coming and in verse 6 he reveals the light of that dawn to be God's own Son.

Duane took us to Matthew 4:13-17 to show Jesus coming back the same spot where Isaiah originally delivered the prophecy about the Savior and pronounces that the He, the light of the world has come.

What are some things that Jesus' light allow you to hope for?
(hope meaning assurance of realization)

PRAYER

Pray as a group, thanking God for sending us light and hope in the form of His son. That we would be brave enough to expose the darkness in our lives so that light can shine in those places. That God would allow us to take His light to rest of San Diego.