Summary: Sermon on the prophecy candle and angel candle, 1st and 2nd candle of advent

“Advent ‘07!”

December 2, 2007

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Micah 5:2

“Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" John 7:40-42

Julie has been teaching us a little bit about advent. By now you know that advent means “coming”. This Christmas season you will see and hear that word many times. Now you know what it means. Julie also told you that the first candle in advent is the prophecy candle. This morning I want to talk about that a little bit about prophecy then go into the angel candle.

In our Scripture in Micah, Micah prophecies that the Christ, or the Messiah, would come out of Bethlehem. Ephrathah is just the ancient name for Bethlehem. Bethlehem was the least likely place that the King of kings would come. Bethlehem was small and old and not very significant. But I think that is the first lesson we can learn from this Scripture. God delights in using the least likely! If you are too small or too large; too young or too old, too uneducated or from the wrong side of the tracks – you are just the one Jesus is looking for. The Bible says,

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

God wants to use YOU to carry out His work. The weaker or least likely you are – the more He wants to use you. Why? So people will realize that it is God working THROUGH you that is accomplishing the great things you will do. God just needs you to love Him and believe in Him and be available to Him. God delights in taking the castaways of the world and using them to do great things. The Bible says,

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people.” Psalm 113:7-8

What the world considers worthless and useless and of no value, God considers as prime material for accomplishing His Work. Are you available to Him this Christmas season? He wants to use you. Will you let Him?

When Micah prophesied that the Messiah would come, God’s people had been through a lot. Because of their sin and rebellion, they had been enslaved and abused and misused. It seems like they swallowed every lie that came down the pike. Every false god appealed to them. They sinned greatly. They forgot about God and did their own thing and went their own way. And God let them. God doesn’t force anyone to live the way He wants them to. We have to be willing. When we do our own thing and go our own way slavery always results. Israel was enslaved by Egypt, then Babylon, and then Rome. Self rule will always lead to slavery. Forgetting God will always lead to slavery.

Today we are not enslaved by another people, or another country, but by our own willing addictions. We become slaves of things like: alcohol, drugs, porn, entertainment, wealth, a life of ease, food, and many more things. There are so many things that hold us captive today. The Bible says,

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?”

Romans 6:16

“... count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness”

Romans 6:11-13

Israel turned from God and their desire for self pleasure and self-rule resulted in them doing horrible things, from deviate sexual activity, to sacrificing their own children. But are we any different. Look at the news just about any day and you will find news of homosexuality, we used to call them perverts, now in some places that life style is being promoted in grade schools. I was reading about the exploding sex trade in Israel when I was researching for this message. A mother, this week, killed her little daughter because she was in the way. How many millions of innocent babies have we killed through abortion? When we turn from God we become a sick people. We become sinners. If God were to turn the spotlight on each one of us and some of the horrible things we have done as sinners – it wouldn’t be very pretty.

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