Summary: This Advent sermon is proclaimed to the church as a reminder of the urgency of preparing for Christ’s return.
A PRELUDE TO MESSAIAH’S COMING
Text: Matthew 3:1-3
Many good things in life depend largely on our careful planning and preparation for them. If you don’t want anything big to happen don’t do anything. If you want to fail in any task, be passive toward it. If you want things to fall into the cracks, all you have to do is just stand there and watch. The bottom line is that there is no gain, achievement, victory or success without intense preparation for it.
Advent is a season that invites us to anticipate and prepare for Christ’s coming. It is certainly a suitable time for reflecting on this biblical promise of the coming kingdom, since it is also the time which prepares for the celebration of the birth of its Savior and King.
The Advent message last Sunday taught us how to live anticipating the fulfillment of that glorious future with God. We learned that it is urgent that we walk this pilgrimage of life with our eyes paying attention to the promised Kingdom. We learned that to walk the spiritual walk of life, we must not allow our feet to lead our eyes, but to let the eyes do the walking. Our earthly feet are acquainted only with what is temporal and often disappointing. They know all about suffering and pain, death and grief. Walking, on the other hand, anticipating and celebrating the biblical promise that there is indeed more to life than all that happens to us here, is very essential to the Christian walk. No matter how difficult the journey may be, it is a means to a greater and eternal end for which we live and whose fulfillment we anticipate.
Today’s Advent message takes the first message a step further. We are not only instructed during this most favored season of the year to anticipate the return of Christ, but also to prepare for it.
Preparing for an event or task is often the critical part in causing that event or task to be a big success.
But preparing for an event or task is not only critical but also have critical rules that must be followed. Here then are the rules which we need to continually remember as we seek to follow a healthy process of preparation:
First: There is the rule of giving of ourselves that we might successfully achieve that for which we prepare. I am not talking here about the contributing of time and effort, though that is part of it. Here I speak of a special type of giving, the giving of our total selves first to God. It is the giving of body, soul and spirit for God’s use that we may achieve, for ourselves and for others, the higher ends of God. This is not, as you can see, charity giving. This is dedication giving. It is the giving of who and what we are. It is the type of giving expressed in a an engraved picture on one of the ancient cathedrals in Europe where an apostle stands between an altar and a plough, the symbols of dieing and serving, with the inscription, ‘READY FOR EITHER.” This rule of sacrificially giving of ourselves that we might prepare the way of the Lord, is like the case in all the experiences of life. It is a common- sense rule that applies to all the situations of life: Without serving that which we need to achieve, we simply can’t achieve it. Life is a series of giving that we might gain. Only where is input can we expect an output. Only when we deposit, can we expect return. Don’t participate, don’t expect. No pain, no gain. Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.
The businessman or woman knows that; the student knows that; the investor, the athlete, everyone knows that. A good career doesn’t simply happen. Staying healthy is not an act of nature. Financial security is not the work of luck. A happy marriage is never automatic. An enjoyable overseas vacation is almost impossible without long and careful planning. “The land of the free” is never in someone’s will for someone else to inherit it. If we are to remain, the land of the free, we must to continue to defend our freedoms. Even in our natural bodies, the principle is the same, “No air breathed in, no air breathed out, and the body simply dies. The examples and illustrations for this point can go on and on as long as we permit them, but we all get the point. Giving ourselves to the tasks to our goals is the key for dreams to become realities, for hopes to become facts. Without hard work and continued sacrifices as we prepare to fulfill our goals, our goals will remain just ideas in our heads, good ideas to be sure, but nothing more.