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Summary: The Advent wreath teaches us to bring the two advents (the one that has already happened 2,000 years ago) to the one that is coming quickly, Jesus’ second advent. This part is about Bethlehem; it's history, and how it plays an important role in Advent.

Advent 2011 1 of 5

November 27, 2011 Chester FBC, Chester, IL Dr. Mike Fogerson, Speaker

Introduction

A The advent wreath is a teaching tool that has been traditionally apart of Catholic as well as Christian tradition for hundreds of years.

1 Advent means “coming or arriving or appearing.”

a Our Lord’s advent/coming to earth was a history-changing, life-changing event.

aa Had baby Jesus not been born in a manger in Bethlehem we would not have had the man Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.

bb He’s not done yet!

b Advent has historically tied the Jesus first coming (manger at Bethlehem) to the Jesus’ second coming.

aa The snatching away His bride 1 Thess. 4. 13-18 in the Rapture and the coming of Christ to earth to rule and reign in Rev. 1.7, 19:11-16.

bb The first advent of Jesus Christ set up the hope of believers in the promised second advent.

2 We find ourselves in the “between times.” He has come and is coming again, but what do we do until He gets here? BETWEEN TIMES!

a We long for the time when “ the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:6-7 (NASB)

b We believers and the creation itself is waiting for Jesus to come again!

aa Rom. 8.18-25

bb In between we will follow Mark 12.29-31.

cc We long for the day when the long-expected Jesus comes for His bride, brings peace and justice and righteousness to the world.

3 The Advent wreath teaches us to bring the two advents (the one that has already happened 2,000 years ago) to the one that is coming quickly, Jesus’ second advent.

a The basic advent wreath consists of a circle, usually surrounded by green evergreen with four candles (3 purple/1 red or pink) and white candle in the center.

aa The circle of the wreath reminds us of God Himself, His eternity/endless mercy which has not beginning & no end.

bb The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that we have in God (newness, renewal, revival, eternal life)

b The candles remind us that Christ, the light of the world, has come into our sin darkened world to bring newness, life, and hope.

aa The four outer candles represent the period of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

bb Three purple/or blue candles (symbolize royalty), used during the Easter (or lenten) season to symbolize the suffering of the holy week. (Matt.27.27-31.)

cc The red (or pink) candle is traditionally seen as the candle of rejoicing, Rose of Sharon, encouraged to wear red to church, we are going to use it as a candle to remember the blood atonement paid by Jesus at Calvary.

c Each Sunday we’ll light a new candle plus the candles we’ve lit in prior weeks.

aa Symbolizes our waiting experience as we anticipate the coming of the Lord.

bb As more and more light is given off the more the darkness flees.

cc Each new candle reminds us that something is happening and that more is yet to come.

dd The center candle is the “Christ Candle” which we will light at our Christmas Eve service at 6:00 PM. God keeps His promises! Faithful & true. All of his promises are “yes” and “Amen.”

B We will spend our Advent season looking at how God’s promises are progressive.

1 Today, Bethlehem and how God had promised His people in the Old Testament that He would not leave them w/o a shepherd to guide them.

a Draw attention to the expectation of a coming Messiah, Anointed One.

aa Suffer abuse from kings, governments, half-hearted religiosity but God would raise up a righteous King, Good Shepherd.

bb This golden thread is woven through out the pages of the OT & NT.

b The King is Coming and we shall see the King when He comes!

2 The other candles will represent Jesus’ healing ministry in Galilee (Purple), His shedding of blood on Calvary’s Cross (Red), The Second Coming (Purple), and the white candle is the “Christ Candle.”

a The “Christ Candle” is located at the center of the wreath because His coming is at the center, heart of the season, reason for the season.

b Before we start talking about Ground Zero of Advent let’s pray.

I Finally, the Messiah has come (Mal. 4.1-2).

A Between the promise of Malachi 4 and Matthew 1, were 400 years where the prophets were silent, almost as if God went silent.

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