Pastor Greg shares a four-part message series on Advent.
Week One: Planning
Week Two: Preparing
Week Three: Proclaiming
Week Four: Producing
All the planning and preparing and proclaiming in the world doesn’t matter if you can’t actually produce the results you want. With the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, God began producing everything He planned, ultimately providing for the redemption of sinful humanity.
Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. – John 1:12-13
This was the Big Idea of God’s plan. This was God’s ultimate goal! This is what God ultimately wanted to PRODUCE — His family!
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. ~ Luke 2:25-26
Simeon knew all about God’s Planning, Preparing, Proclaiming and now he was about to see what God ultimately Produced.
Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” – Luke 2:27-32
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” – Luke 2:33-35
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem [ANNA CARRIES ON THE WORK OF PROCLAMATION] When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him. – Luke 2:25-40
HOW DID SIMEON AND ANNA PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE FIRST ADVENT?
- They were FAITHFUL!
They were faithful. God had made a promise to them that they would see Jesus and they believed Him. They had faith. They acted upon that faith with positive expectations. They had confidence that God was exactly who He said He was and that He would always do exactly what He promised to do. They continued to serve God faithfully while they waited and trusted.
2) They were HOPEFUL!
They were hopeful. They fully expected, anticipated and trusted that the Messiah would actually come before they died. It gave them great hope to know this was something they could still look forward to in their old age. Even though times were very tough for them and for their people, they were under Roman occupation after all, they never gave up hope that the Savior was coming soon.
3) They were WATCHFUL!
They stayed focused on what was ultimately important in life. They made sure they were at the right place at the right time. They were at the Temple, worshiping God, listening to God, watching for the signs, watching for the arrival of Messiah. They weren’t going to be distracted, looking at the wrong things in the wrongs places. They weren’t going to misplace their priorities on other things. They didn’t want to miss this fantastic, prophetic event. So they watched intently and they waited patiently.
Are you ready for Christ’s SECOND ADVENT?
… so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. – Hebrews 9:28
And now the prize awaits me–the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. – 2 Timothy 4:8
Appearing. It occurs six times in the New Testament. Five of those times refer to the Second Advent of Christ and one time Paul uses it to refer to His First Advent. Epipháneia is where we get our English word Epiphany from. It can be understood as a conspicuous manifestation or a glorious appearing rather than just someone arriving at your home in a vehicle or walking down the street. When Jesus returns it is going to be a glorious unfolding of the rest of God’s plan of redemption.
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” – Acts 1:11
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. – Mark 13:26
That is a pretty conspicuous arrival! That is a pretty glorious unfolding of God’s next stage in His plan! Are you looking for His APPEARING? You can’t miss something like that! Unlike the quiet, private nature of the First Advent in a Bethlehem stable, the entire world will see The Second Advent at the same time. Though not everyone will be watching for it, expecting it eagerly looking forward to it, and therefore they won’t be ready for it. Be ready! Prepare the way! Jesus, the Messiah IS coming again. Be ready! Prepare the Way for the epiphany of Jesus!
God’s plan to redeem humanity is all because of His great love for YOU! Specifically, for YOU! YOU matter deeply to God! This is all for YOU!
Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song called “Glorious Unfolding” that talks a little about how we can trust God’s full plan for us even when times seem dark and uncertain around us. I’d like to close by singing part of it this morning.