MISSION WOODS CHURCH
Worship. Sunday November 28, 2021
- Bible Trivia
- Bible Trivia
- Candles Glowing, Promise Showing
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel
- Arise Shine
- HopeAs I begin our sermon this morning, I want to begin with Scripture. As we’ve entered the Advent season, it serves as a reminder for all of us to realign our priorities and to turn once again back to our Lord. So I will invite our Reader in Residence, Drew, up here to read our scripture:“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”This is the Word of our Lord. Thanks be to God.HOPEAs we enter Advent, we enter a time of waiting.Wait. Think about that word for a moment. Is there ever a time in your life when you look forward to hearing it?One summer day as I was driving out towards Ballard in Seattle I got a glimpse of what hearing, “wait” feels like. I was on Aurora Avenue, I had my windows down, the T-top of my car was off, the music blaring and I was enjoying the day as I drove to an appointment. Behind me a car approached at a high rate of speed, jerked to the right and roared passed me charging on to the light which had just turned yellow, then red. His brake lights came on as he screeched to a halt.As I approached, the light turned green and I didn’t have to slow down, I just cruised right on by him holding my speed. His engine roared as he sped past me again accelerating the whole time, and once again slamming on his brakes at the next light which of course turned red…for him.Just as I was approaching it turned green and once again I cruised past him as he slammed on his accelerator and roared toward the next light. Once again he slammed on his brakes as by the time he got to the light it had turned red. And once again it turned green as I approached and once again I cruised right by. This time I could hear the man shouting as I drove by, he was furious!I have to admit I laughed out loud.Red lights are the “Wait” of the adult world. We don’t like to wait. When I was young, the cross walk lights said, “WAIT” or “WALK”. We didn’t like the wait then, and we still don’t.And yet, here we are in a season of waiting.When I read the Scripture we have for today, I see the words, “signs” and think prophecy.“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.Prophecy, Jesus is coming!In Matthew we read:For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.WAITWe stand in that great gap in time.You see as we enter the Advent Season and we look forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior, we are at the same time looking forward to our Savior’s return.And so we are called to wait.Think of all the times in Scripture we read of having to wait.Moses is running from Pharaoh in the great Exodus. He’s leading all of Israel out of captivity, following a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. These are exciting times! God is leading, and then they come up to the Red Sea.You can imagine Moses’ thoughts:“Great! Now we’ll have to go around.”“Um…God, perhaps we should’ve asked for directions.”Israel’s people are crying out to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?”But what does Moses do? He turns to the Lord! And God tells him to turn towards the sea and raise his staff. And Moses leads the people of Israel through the Red Sea!We just learned a few weeks ago, that Samuel was on his way to offer a sacrifice for Israel, but their king, Saul, was getting anxious. Saul worries of what the people will think of him, and after waiting “long enough” in his mind, Saul takes it upon himself to offer the sacrifice. The result ends up that God removes his spirit from him and places it on David.Even in the Gospels, Jesus sends his disciples on ahead of him to the feast of Booths saying, “My time has not yet come...” or in other words. Wait.Some scholars have pondered that perhaps Judas was trying to force Jesus hand to step up as Messiah, and that’s why he betrayed him. They say he never thought it would bring about the mockery trial and crucifixion.So, lets return to our Scripture:Jesus speaks of the world being in turmoil, and the people, Lk 21:26 “people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.” and he tells us in verse 28,Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”Is that our mindset?Looking around the world today, I would have to say “no.” Our mindset is to chase after the thing that makes the most noise, to actually pursue our fears. Yet Jesus is clear, we are to straighten up and raise our heads.In other words, look up!He warns us:“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.Don’t get bogged down in the what is temporary, focus on what is eternal.This doesn’t mean we are not to continue to care for those around us, to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the in-firmed and in prison. No! Those are commands of what it means to love others.I do believe though, it is a warning about getting focused on the horizontal and forgetting about the vertical.Jesus was asked the greatest commandment, and he said:And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.And he went on to sayAnd a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.As we enter this season of Advent, a season of waiting for Christ’s return how sad it would be if we missed the reason for the season. How sad it would be if you and I focused on all the festivities surrounding our remembering of all the prophecies of the first coming of Jesus, and the celebration of his birth as an infant in that lowly manger would miss the fact of his promise to return.Our Scriptures remind us:so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.And so we wait, not bogged down in all the business of this time of year, but raising our heads for our redemption is drawing nigh!But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”Yes, we are waiting. And as we wait, we say, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come!”To Glory of God. AMEN
- What Can I Give Him
- Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
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