Monthly Archives: December 2019

ADVENT

Can you imagine?
There was a time before cell phones?
There was a time before flat screen TVs
There was a time before laptops computers
There was a time before people even had computers in their homes
There was a time before microwaves
And a time before itunes…
A time when music was played on record players
And popcorn was cooked on top of a stove
100 years ago most people didn’t have a car
And many didn’t have electricity
10 years ago were the 1st iphones
10 years ago we didn’t have ipads
Just now are 3-d printers becoming affordable
Driverless cars
Babelfish earbuds? Have you heard? They translate in almost real time into your language…

We live in between the times, in between what has been and what will be. There was a time where the people of Israel waited and waited for the messiah to come.

The Prophets Foretold:

Genesis 12:3 specifically states that God intended to bless all on the earth through Abraham’s family. Specifically,the messiah would come through this family (Israel).

2 Samuel 7:11-16 the prophet states that God would, through the line of King David, raise up a king established forever; Christ the Lord.

Isaiah 9:2-7 is a favorite Advent passage and speaks of light coming to the people in darkness, joy, an end to wars, at the coming of the prince of peace.

He heals the blind and sets prisoners free. He says this redeemer, though despised by the rulers of nations, shall ultimately be honored, and his salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 speaks of a new covenant made, to write His law on their hearts, to fulfill salvation, and to remember sin no more.

Micah 5:2 clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem.

Malachi 3:1 specifically speaks of the coming of John the Baptist to prepare the way for the Messiah.

Moses even prophesied almost 1300 years before Christ was born-

Looking for the prophet
“The Lord your God will raise up for you
a prophet like me from among your
fellow Israelites, and you must listen to
that prophet.” 
-Deuteronomy 18:15 – 1260 B.C

So from this time on, this is one of the principles the Jewish people were looking for, The Coming Prophet. For hundreds and hundreds of years…. Then something very peculiar happened one night as a group of shepherds watched their flocks…

Luke says:
Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people:  Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”

An army!
That’s really one of the best words to use here. and this army was announcing something amazing! Yes- they were announcing the birth of Jesus, a baby. But they were announcing what was the fulfillment of all those old testament prophesies…
Up until that time the shepherds had lived in the WHAT HAD BEEN
They were about to enter the WHAT WOULD BE

The gospels say Jesus came preaching The Kingdom of God. The Angels, that ARMY, was announcing a KING & a KINGDOM.

What does that mean?
It would be a different kind of Kingdom and HE would be a different kind of King…

Well what did Jesus do?
Blind see
People walk
Sick healed
Raised Lazarus from the dead
Fed thousands of people
Was kind…
He forgave people
He gave people hope…

The interesting thing is that we also live in between the times; in between what has been and what will be. The Kingdom has been initiated, but it has not fully come yet. That’s why things aren’t quite right, why things aren’t quite the way they are suppose to be, but he left his disciples, then the early church, throughout the centuries, and now us, to carry on the Kingdom of God in big and small ways…

But when Christ returns- all that is wrong will finally be dealt with and made right. Till then he has left us here to do the job. He told his disciples:
This is how you bring my Kingdom:
feed the hungry, clothe the cold, help the sick, visit the lonely,
show kindness to the stranger, we live a life of prayer,
humility, and generosity towards others.
And now it’s our time.

Revelation: The Church Who’d Forgotten Where They’d Come From

To Laodicea,

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation:

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!

You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’

And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.”

What you see with Laodicea is — when we forget where we’ve come from, when we forget our relationship with Jesus first, then we substitute something, anything in it’s place.

See what had happened here, They viewed themselves one way, but Jesus saw them differently. Sometimes we substitute our relationship with Jesus- with something else, anything else; Here they’d substituted prestige, power and wealth for a relationship with God.

When you’re going for prestige, power and wealth, you want to put forward this image, right?

  •  the black power suit
  • the power handshake
  • the successful ceo

Religion without relationship= indifference

When we forget where we’ve come from then friendships are reduced to business hierarchy and success is reduced to measurable results. When THE CHURCH forgets where she came from then the CHURCH is reduced to religion and not a relationship with Christ. Religion without relationship is an ugly thing indeed…

Take the relationship out of it and reduce it to a corporate model, a country club, or anything else that the church really is not, and all you are left with is indifference. Look at verse 19

“I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. “

Relationship = Friendship with God

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”

Friends?

  • not some image you want to project
  • not a power trip or authority trip
  • not a self dillusion

…A relationship with him, nothing else will do…

Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”

Laodicea had forgotten what real power looks like, it looks like Jesus who’d come in humility, taking on the form of a servant. We, individually and as the church must emulate him. They’d forgotten Thanksgiving, the doxology says “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”. We individually, and as the church are to be a doxology of thanksgiving before God. They’d forgotten where they’d come from, the state of every man: poor, wretched, naked, & blind. They’d forgotten the significance of Christ’s first advent, and also had lost sight of his second coming.

The message of the church today is the message that John the Baptist preached long ago “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight a path for him! Every valley will be built up and every mountain will be brought low… and all people will see the salvation of God…”

To the wretched he gives hope!

To the the poor he sustains!

To the naked he clothes!

To the blind he heals and gives sight!