Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday December 8
- Come Now Is The Time To Worship
- Here I Am To Worship
- O Come O Come Emmanuel (Veni Emmanuel)
- Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
- Mighty To Save
- Advent - it means to “come to” or “to arrive.” The underlying concept of Advent is that Yahweh, the God who is above all gods, Yahweh the Creator consistently initiates relationship and reconciliation - He consistently “comes to” His creation. We see the concept of Advent throughout Scripture - God taking the first steps toward people. God came to Adam and Eve. He came to Noah, Abram, to Moses, to Jacob, to Gideon, to Samuel, to Jeremiah, to Jonah, to Mary … and He came to the world through His Son Jesus the Christ. That’s what Advent is all about - God coming to us.When we think of Advent, we mostly think of the birth of Christ - Immanuel, God with us. We should, but that’s only part of it. We should also think of the Second Advent - the day when Christ comes again to establish His Kingdom forever. So Christmas is about remembering but also anticipating. So, somewhere in your Christmas celebrations and traditions, make room for thoughts and discussions about both “Advents.”But there is another element that needs to be incorporated into the Advent season - and that is the idea of bearing the image of God. In Genesis 1, God created man (adam - humanity) with the intent that humans would bear or carry His image. That wherever we go, we would portray, reflect, embody the character of Yahweh - His character of truth, love, mercy, forgiveness ….Sin and rebellion and self-centeredness is the antithesis of God’s character - it mars His image. And so throughout Scripture, we see God constantly “Adventing” - approaching individuals to redirect humanity back to His image. Ultimately, He did that in His Son Jesus, the Christ. But Advent didn’t end with Jesus. Jesus said it very well, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you (John 20:21). In other words, as God came to us through Jesus, Jesus now goes to others through us. He sends us to do what? Tell everyone how despicable and despised they are? How disgusting and filthy …? Or are we commanded to tell the good news of hope, love, peace and salvation!Listen closely …We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.”“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Salvation is found in no one else. Salvation - the rescue from sin and the consequences of sin and the eternal consequences of hell. Salvation - the deliverance from a dark spiritual authority who desires nothing less than the destruction of humanity. Salvation - is the rescue from death and the restoration of new life. There is no other salvation - there is no other name, no other means, no other method, no other effort … by which humanity is capable of being saved, other than Jesus Christ, God in the flesh. Remember, Immanuel, the God who is with us is Jesus, the God who saves us.Advent - to come to -“We are saved and redeemed not because we have successfully made the effort to come to him, but because he has made the surprising effort to come to us.” ~ Richard C. Hoefler.Because God made the effort to come to us, to welcome us in our sinful condition,Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.How did Christ welcome you - to me? What was your condition before Christ? What was the “Advent” in your life - that moment when He welcomed you?Use this Advent season as a means to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.And we pray that as you and I welcome one other as Christ welcomed us,but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
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