Summary: There are three different ways people have chosen to live between the two Advents of Christ. We are not called to be clock watchers or to put our safety in Glocks and locks. We are called to be Cross bearers and Cross Walkers this Advent Season
Theme: Clocks, Glocks and the Christian Cross Walk
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world!
Welcome to the first Sunday of the Advent Season. Advent proclaims the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the time of the year we put center stage both the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and His Second Coming. This is the time of year that we focus intently on how much our LORD loves to interact intimately with His world and its inhabitants. This is Advent Season, Praise His Holy Name!
This morning, we serve a God who enjoys getting messy. Who willingly left the splendor of Heaven to come to earth to be carried in the womb of a teenage virgin, to be born among livestock and to be raised in the home of a common laborer. We serve a God who wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives and who seeks to save us and infill us with His Holy Spirit.
This morning, all of us live in between the two Advents. The first Advent, the Incarnation of Christ is in the rear view mirror of history. The Second Advent or the Second Coming of Christ is waiting for us up ahead in the future. We are presently somewhere in between. Some believe that we are actually close to the end while others are not so sure.
Bible Scholars tell us that we are living in the now but not yet fulfilled time of history. So, how are we to live during this period of time? What are we to focus on? How does Jesus want us to live as the Body of Christ?
Our passages share with us three different ways that people have chosen to live during this in-between time. Two of those ways the LORD warns us against accepting as our lifestyle. The 3rd one has the Lord's fullest approval. Let's look at them very quickly this morning:
I. We are not to live as calendar and clock watchers.
Our Gospel writer, St. Matthew loved to gather together large blocks of Jesus' teaching and present them in one general setting. We see that in the way he shares the Sermon on the Mount and the way he presents the parables of Jesus. We also see it here in chapter 24, as Matthew has gathered together almost all the things that Jesus has to say about the different aspects of the future. Matthew presents all this material together and if we are not careful it is easy to read this chapter and be confused about what Jesus is truly saying. We have to untangle all the various strands that Matthew gives us.
One thing that that we can be clear about is what Jesus tells us concerning being a spiritual calendar and clock watcher. Jesus was clear in his message that he did not want his disciples to overly spend their time being concerned about watching the calendar and the clock concerning the time of the Lord's coming and the end of the age.
Jesus had a definitive mission for his disciples to accomplish and that could not be done if they were over busy spending their time looking at the spiritual calendar and clock. Jesus didn't want his disciples getting all tied up in spiritual knots trying to figure out something that he knew couldn't be figured out.
To punctuate His warning, Jesus reminded his disciples that no one except the Father knows when He is coming back. The angels in heaven don't have that information. The people of the earth do not have that information. Even the Son of God doesn't know that information. The only one who knows the exact time that the Lord is coming back is God the Father Himself.
Over the years many have read this passage and pushed to the side. It's like they read the words, dismiss them and then began doing all they can to find the eschatological clock and end time calendar. They spend hundreds of hours meditating and examining the scriptures doing their best to find some new way to uncover the mystery of the Lord's coming. They focus on all the Old Testament passages that they believe can help them discern the times. They then compile all the New Testament passages that they believe will reveal to them the signs and wonders that must happen before the advent of the LORD. They are determined and passionate about finding something that Jesus tells us we can't find.
You have to respect their determination and commitment. But in reality, it is misuse of time. It's like a farmer spending all his time trying to figure out when harvest time is going to happen while at the same time he is not preparing the soil or putting any seed in the ground. We would call that farmer a foolish man. We would say that he is misusing his time. So too, are we when we spend more time trying to figure out when the LORD is coming back again than we do in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Too many people study end time things while at the same time they are not doing enough to help people be ready for end time things.