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Humble yourself

pexels-photo-963486Intro: Don’t pray for humility, or better yet, do.

Text:   [Luk 14:1-14 NIV] 1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way. 5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.

7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Thesis: Any place you go, pause to put yourself in the mindset of the Lord and of the people you are with. Do this not out of anxiety, but out of love.

Trans:  There is no parallel to this passage in the other gospels. These details from Journey to Jerusalem are unique to Luke.

Trust the Lord for discernment

  1. Trust the Lord when going into difficulty. This takes a humility of mind, a lack of presumptuousness.
    1. Jesus is being watched, and he knows it. Willfully chooses to go to the home of a leader of the Pharisees.
    2. The man with dropsy was probably brought in by the Pharisees in order to test Jesus.
  2. Discern the true need of the moment – healing was the need, not a tradition. Jesus discerned the intent of his hosts and addressed it.
    1. This takes the Holy Spirit. Are we in prayer and submission to Him?
  3. Discern between your own habits and the commands of God
    1. David Guzik: “When Jesus healed the man, His accusers believed that He workedon the Sabbath, and violated God’s command, but that wasn’t true. With this question, Jesus reminded them that there was no command against healing on the Sabbath. Jesus never broke the commandments of God, but He often offended man’s traditions that surrounded and extended the commandments of God. The commandments of God are enough, and we should never make the traditions of man – even good traditions – equal to the commandments of God (Mark 7:8-9).”

Trans:  Tell my own chair story

Don’t take the nice chair

  1. [Phl 2:5-11 NIV] 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
  2. What is a mindset of humility?
    1. Others-focused
    2. Not false-humility (narcissism)
    3. Joy/gratitude-based

Trans:  When we are grateful, we are generous. When have we given to someone who could not repay us?

Invite the poor

  1. An evidence of humility in our lives is an eagerness to honor those of humble position
  2. [Pro 19:17 NIV] 17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.
    1. This is very much what v. 14 says, the Lord who sees what is done in secret will honor and repay us
  3. [Pro 16:19 NIV] 19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
    1. To act justly bears greater reward than to seek financial gain as the first order of our lives.
  4. [Rom 12:16 NIV] 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
    1. Why do we have conflict? Pride, ego, a need to defend our own rights.
    2. Defend the rights of others, not our own.

Trans:  Jesus was having a table set before him in the presence of his enemies. Despite this, he knew exactly what to say.

Conclusion: Jesus faces the deep challenge of those who hate him by listening to their hearts, caring for those in need, and teaching on the need for humility.

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Fire and swords (Luke 12:49-53)

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Intro: I’m glad Jesus was self-employed, because he definitely would have been referred to HR.

Text:    [Luk 12:49-53 NIV] 49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Thesis: Jesus was unafraid to face the challenges this world would present to him and his followers. He knows his actions and truth will bring division and hardship, and he dives in head-first with a full knowledge of the consequences.

Trans: F.F. Bruce’s The Hard Sayings of Jesus devotes three chapters to the first two verses of this passage. The beginning of this section is wrapped in a mystery we get to push through to find the application to our hearts.

Fire and baptism

  1. Context points to preparedness for his “coming” (1st and 2nd)
    1. [Luk 12:40, 56 NIV] 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” … 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
    2. If this is the interpretation of this passage, then Jesus is anticipating the moment of his glorification (Ascension? Second coming?)
    3. However, he admits that it is not yet to be (already…not yet)
  2. Wider biblical lens points to his crucifixion as a possibility
    1. The Jews acceptance or rejection of Jesus was an eternally divisive issue
    2. Jesus’ claim to be the messiah who would die was a bitter pill to swallow, and itself would set people apart, which also being his fiery baptism
  3. Ultimately, we know:
    1. Jesus was bringing salvation now in preparation for a promised judgement later
      1. a) [Jhn 3:17 NIV] 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
      2. b) [Jhn 5:22 NIV] 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
    2. Jesus was inaugurating the fire of the Holy Spirit, which could only come once he left
    3. Jesus was already baptized in water, and is almost definitely prophesying his death here, and how that death would cause division among his people

Trans:  Jesus pulls no punches here. While he usually spoke in parables, and this section is no exception, the intensity of what he and he and his disciples would face was not for hiding.

Division? (In Matthew:) A sword?! – let me start by making it worse

  1. Consider the violent statements already in this chapter: [Luk 12:4-5, 10, 20, 47 NIV] 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. … 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. … 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ … 47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.
  2. Look at Jesus in Revelation: [Rev 19:11-16, 21 NIV] 11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords. … 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
  3. We need to remember that our Lord is the king of heavens armies, the Lord of hosts. He has authority and the might to enforce it. Sometimes, we need a mighty conqueror to be on our side!
  4. That is why it is so much more amazing that he is the price of peace. Hear him:
    1. [Luk 10:5-6 NIV] 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.
    2. [Luk 19:42 NIV] 42 “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.
    3. [Luk 24:36 NIV] 36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
    4. [Jhn 14:27 NIV] 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid
    5. [Jhn 16:33 NIV] 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
    6. [Jhn 20:19, 21, 26 NIV] 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” … 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” … 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
  5. What is Jesus’ view when violence comes his way?
    1. [Heb 12:2 NIV] 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    2. The world seeks to put us to shame. Scorn this shame! You are hidden with Christ in God, seated in heavenly places!

Trans:  If this is who you are, children of the mighty king, how should we face the challenges of this life?

Where is our loyalty?

  1. Persecution is to be expected
    1. Matthew gives some of the answer: [Mat 10:38-39 NIV] 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
    2. [Jhn 16:2 NIV] 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.
  2. This is not about seeking out division and conflict
    1. [Mic 7:4, 6-7 NIV] 4 The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge. The day God visits you has come, the day your watchmen sound the alarm. Now is the time of your confusion. … 6 For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies are the members of his own household. 7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
    2. Consider this direction: [1Co 7:13 NIV] 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him
    3. [Rom 12:18, 21 NIV] 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. … 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
  3. Are you prepared to be a fool for Christ?
    1. [1Co 4:10-13 NIV] 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world–right up to this moment.
    2. [1Co 3:18-19, 23 NIV] 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; … 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
    3. [1Co 1:18-20, 25, 27 NIV] 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. … 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Trans:  Are you already a fool for Christ? Are you ready to pursue this calling?

Conclusion:

  • Do you feel foolish for expressing your faith? Then you’re probably doing something right.
    • There is a difference between criticism from “outside” vs. “inside”
  • Do you feel the condemnation of Jesus’ fiery judgment? Then, remember that you are called to be “in” him.
  • Are you concerned with violence and intolerance? Remember that the truth is intolerant but leads to life.

 


Be Good Dirt (Luke 8:4-15)

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“And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:4-15 ESV)

“As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:23 ESV)

“But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:20 ESV)

  1. Hear the word – Jesus himself is the word. His words reveal the Father.
    1. Be around it
    2. Be open to it
    3. Be attentive to it
  2. Accept, understand, and hold fast to it
    1. Accept – the appropriate response to “are these your kids?”, identify as your own
    2. Understand – put it together in your mind, common word of Jesus
    3. Hold fast – anchor on
  3. Prepare yourself with an honest and good heart
    1. (ESV) Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
    2. (ESV) Psalms 51:6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
    3. Honesty about transgression and a willingness to be benevolent
  4. Bear fruit with patience
    1. Fruit of godly character, fruit = works, “fruit of righteousness”, peacemaking, Jesus loves to talk about
    2. (ESV) Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness
    3. (ESV) John 15:8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
    4. Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:7, 8 ESV)
    5. He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
      Grace be with you all. (Titus 3:5, 8-15 ESV)
  5. The good soil is prepared by being open and available to receive the seed. It holds on tight to and claims the seed it is given. It has already been filled with nutrients and made prime for growth. It is willing to bear fruit despite the work and self sacrifice necessary.

Don’t miss Jesus at the door (Luke 7:36-50)

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I will be posting a series of sermon notes on selected passages from Luke over the next few weeks.


Luke 7:36-50 ESV

36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Intro: When we have a guest of honor, we put on our very best. What if you knew a celebrity would be coming to eat at a house on your street?

Thesis: Jesus, through Luke, uses a sinful woman to show his followers what they should really be like. Luke has no shortage of irony.

Trans:  [Luk 7:35 ESV] 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” – Wisdom can be seen by its fruits. Who is wise, the pharisee or the sinner?

Seek the presence of the Lord

  1. Simon the Pharisee is a rude host
    • Some context: [Luk 7:29-30 ESV] 29 (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)
  2. Discuss Pharisees as the standard of righteousness, see Matthew 5:20.
    • [Mat 5:16, 20 ESV] 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. … 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
    • [Jhn 13:3-5, 12-15 ESV] 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. … 12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
  3. The Pharisee has invited Jesus into the house, but he is not seeking the presence of the Messiah. The woman is far more prepared to hear out the Savior.

Trans:  Have you ever met someone famous and not realized it?

Always be ready for worship

  1. C.H. Spurgeon – “Not a word, I say, came from her; and, brethren, we would prefer a single speechless lover of Jesus, who acted as she did, to ten thousand noisy talkers who have no gifts, no heart, no tears.”
  2. She does not come with a towel but brings what she has – perfume, tears, and hair
  3. Worship is shown in loving action and is the manifestation of faith (even Job worshiped in his sorrow)

Trans:  Helping a pregnant wife. There’s never enough I can do to compensate for all she is doing.

Remember the debt you’ve been forgiven – be repentant

  1. Sin is debt – God is the gracious giver of all that we have and sin is pride and selfishness in essence
  2. CHS – “First trust Christ for the pardon of thy sin: when thou hast done this, thy sins are forgiven, and then love shall flash to thy heart as the result of gratitude for what the Redeemer has done for thee. Grace is the source of love, but faith is the agent by which love is brought to us. “
  3. Compare this story to Luke 18:9 – the Pharisee and the tax collector
    • [Luk 18:9-14 ESV] 9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
  4. The impact of grace – this woman before grace and after grace. The tears of repentance.
  5. “Your faith has made you whole” (2 more times after this in Luke, both physical healings)

Trans:  We see true wisdom in the heart of the sinful woman. wisdom is justified by all her children.

Conclusion:   communion – repentance, worship

Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.


The Joy of Christ’s Advent

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Here are my notes from an Advent message on Joy/Shepherd Sunday.


Intro: The Advent season is a time to remember when Jesus came to earth. It is also a season to celebrate the future coming of Jesus. When God became a man in Jesus, there was great joy in the hearts of all who knew him. The greatest joy always comes after a time of great sadness and expectation. Man’s experience waiting for a savior is one of great sadness. Yet his experience when the savior comes is one of great joy.

Reading:

Today we will be lighting the third candle. This candle is different because of its color. Long ago, and in some parts of the world today, the season of advent was a time of fasting and confession of sin. This was based on the idea of preparing ourselves for the return of Christ by eliminating sin from our lives. On the third week, to remember with joy the fact that Christmas (and Christ!) is almost here, they used a lighter candle. This was to be a more joyful week, because the time of fasting was almost over. This week we remember the joy of Jesus’ coming. We also wait with expectation for the joy we will experience when Jesus returns for his church.

Luke 2:8-12 says, And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great JOY for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Text:

[Luk 2:4-7 ESV] 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place [room] for them in the inn [room]. . . .

Title:    Joy of Christ’s Advent

Thesis: Advent reminds us of the backwards-forwards way we live our lives. We remember that our salvation has some, and our salvation will come. You have been saved. You are being saved. You will be saved.

Trans:  What in your life is a foregone conclusion? Death and taxes? What can you count on with certainty? We have faith in many things that have been reliable for us so far, even if they fail us. Your car? Your job? We know what faith is because we misplace it all the time! The faithfulness of Christ surpasses these all.

Joy reflects on the salvation Christ brought to us

[Luk 2:13-20 ESV] 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

  1. Jesus is our ultimate rescuer
    1. In the announcement by the angels, Jesus is called 4 things:
      1. Savior – rescuer, deliverer
      2. Messiah – anointed one, king
      3. Lord – master, even YHVH
      4. Baby – you need a definition?
    2. “The life of Christ is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered the world through a door marked No Entrance. And He left through a door marked No Exit. And because Jesus exited that empty tomb, the Bible says one day those of us who are related to Him by faith are going to exit going to exit the tomb as well—because Jesus is our rescuer from death.” – Dr Robert Jeffress
  2. Jesus came to do for Israel, and the Gentiles, what they could not do for themselves.
    1. When Israel could not follow the law, God came as the righteous Israelite to fulfill their end of the covenant.
    2. God would not leave his people stranded, nor will he leave you.
    3. [Gal 1:3b-4 ESV] 3 the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
  3. We’re reminded of what Simeon said of him:
    1. [Luk 2:26, 28-32 ESV] 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. … 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
    2. Jesus in Hebrew is Yehoshuʿa – The salvation of YHVH or YHVH is salvation
      1. Matthew reminds us of this meaning. It was given by Gabriel to declare Jesus’ mission, “he will save his people from their sins.”

Trans:  Just as Advent points us backwards to Christs’ first coming, it points us forward to his second. Consider the anticipation with which Israel awaited its messiah. The King from the line of David would once again deliver them from their enemies and sit on his eternal throne. They misunderstood…

Joy looks forward to Christ’s future coming

[Luk 14:16-18,22-24 ESV] 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. … 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'”

  1. There is a banquet prepared for us. You are invited! As with the weddings of Israel, there is no knowing the day nor the hour that the invitation will be enacted. When the feast is ready, the groom is ready, and the time is just right, he will come.
  2. At Jesus’ first coming, many were not ready and made excuses. There will not be such an opportunity the second time around.
    1. [Luk 18:8b ESV] 8 … when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
  3. Do we likewise make excuses away from holiness in preparation for his second coming?
    1. He has taken this long…
    2. [2Pe 3:4-7, 10 ESV] 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. … 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
    3. [Joe 2:13 ESV] 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.

Trans:  We’ve taken this same principle to apply to our children at this time of year. Santa Claus is coming to town after all. In case he’s not as omniscient as our Lord, maybe the Elf on the Shelf will advise him of our behavior. Do we forget that our omnipresent omniscient Lord sees every day and act?

Joy comes from repentance and preparation for his coming

[Col 3:4-11 ESV] 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

  1. You will appear with Christ in his coming!
  2. God knows no distinction among his people. There are those whom he will save and those who will “save” themselves. There is no other distinction
  3. How now shall we live? If eternity is legitimately at hand, what effect will it have on our lives?
    1. [2Pe 3:11-12, 14-15 ESV] 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! … 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
  4. Before we become overly-anxious remember:
    1. Those who fear the Lord have nothing to fear. It is those that do not fear Him that have every reason to be afraid.
    2. [Psa 40:12 ESV] 12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.
    3. [Mat 10:30 ESV] 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.
    4. Jesus’ knowledge of the hairs on our head is not mere trivia
      1. [Psa 40:13 ESV] 13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
      2. [Mat 10:31 ESV] 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Trans:  Fear not. The angels say to the shepherds…

  • [Luk 2:10 ESV] 10 “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
  • [Luk 12:32 ESV] 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
  • [Rev 1:17 ESV] 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,

Conclusion:   Advent means arrival. Your salvation has arrived. Your salvation is arriving. Your salvation will arrive.

  • Have you accepted the salvation he already offers?
  • Are you living by faith in the grace that his salvation now brings?
  • Are you preparing your heart and life to participate in the salvation of his future coming?

Our Father, may we trust the salvation that you bring us, acknowledging the death that we have walked into. May we thank you for the salvation we now live. May we repent and prepare for the salvation that is to come. May we not fear. May we “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

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