Summary: This is the first in a series of messages leading through the advent story. It examines the message of hope that the prophets bring to mankind.
The Stories of Advent Pt 1
A Prophets Message
We come again to our celebration of Advent. Advent literally means coming. We celebrate this season celebrating the coming of Christ to us. The coming of a Savior to a desperately lost world. As we light the candles of the Advent wreath ¡V Again this year I want to share with you from scripture the stories that the candles represent. Each Sunday this year I want you to look with me at the stories of Advent. These stories are the stories of Christmas ¡V the stories of Messiah ¡V the stories of freedom, hope, joy, and salvation to a lost world. These are our stories.
We begin this morning with the prophets. The prophets play an integral role in our understanding of Messiah.
1) The Prophets told the world that a Messiah (a Savior) was coming. You see throughout the history of man several things have been clear to us. None more clear than our need for hope. Hope is what keeps us through times of trouble and difficulty, through pain and fear, through good times and through bad times. Remember that the world of the prophets is a very different world from ours. Not so different in the manner of living or in the attitudes and behavior of people but different in the matter of hope. To understand this we have to go back to the beginning. And it starts with Adam and Eve. God created man and placed him in the Garden of Eden so that His creation could be in intimate relation with Him. During that time in the garden God walked in intimate fellowship with His creation until the day that sin entered the world. From the moment of Adam¡¦s sin death and separation ruled among men. This is the world of the Prophets. A world ruled by law and sacrifice, blood and death. From Adam to today we find ¡K
„Y There is no hope in our human nature. We are by nature a sinful people. Mankind has always looked inside itself to find basic goodness some hope that we are really by nature good. Eastern mystics, humanists, intellectuals, and atheists all still look for this promise. Here¡¦s the rub ¡V we are not good by nature ¡V we are sinful. Since Adam man has been born with sin and self at his core. Look at our children ¡V they don¡¦t have to be taught to be selfish, covetous, or materialistic ¡V it comes natural. We must train them to be selfless, giving, generous, and helpful.
„Y There is no hope in our history ¡V We look at ourselves and find a history (even among those who are striving) of war, violence, unfaithfulness, and sinful disobedience to God.
„Y There is no hope in our experience ¡V the truth is that we don¡¦t have to look far to find out that life is hard. This is no cakewalk that we are in. Living is hard ¡V living rightly is even harder.
„Y There is no hope in our own strength. ¡V What starts as youthful arrogance ¡V that feeling of invincibility. That inner feeling of immortality and vitality ¡V soon gives way to the aches and pains, wear and tear, weariness and frustration of age. At 10 all we want is to grow up and be older, at 20 we know we will live forever we look forward to the future, at 30 we begin to feel human, at 40 we begin to feel the decline, at 50 we begin to look back with longing at the past, at 60 we begin to settle into reality, at 70 we begin to anticipate the end, at 80 we are thankful for each day, at 90 we begin to long for heaven. But through the journey of life we find that our strength is insufficient to promise more than this ¡V a life full of hardship and pain. We live ¡V we die that is the final conclusion.
Yet the message of the prophets tell of a bright new hope. A hope that goes beyond our own strength, experience, history and human nature.
„« Genesis describes Him as the seed of a woman who will crush the head of the serpent Satan
„« Numbers describes Him as a King who will come to deliver
„« Deuteronomy tells of one who will teach the very words of God.
„« Psalms tells of a chief cornerstone on which life will be built
„« Isaiah describes one coming who will be the final sacrifice for the sins of man. One who will bear our sorrows and griefs ¡V one who will be scourged for our healing and who will die so we can live.
„« Jeremiah and Ezekiel describe Him as the one who will be our righteousness