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Summary: An Advent Sermon

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3rd Sunday of Advent

Luke 3:7-18

"God Works in the World!!"

God works in our world in wonderful ways when we least expect or as it goes unnoticed by the majority of people. with signs of God’s love but most go unnoticed. As Christmas approaches we excited about this dramatic sign which shows us God’s love. Yet, baby Jesus or way world, the Christmas sign is not the only way God reveals himself to us. His signs of love are all around us, in the in the people who touch our lives, in or encouragement we receive eve from in all sorts of subtle and yes even dramatic ways revealing his love for us today.

Let me demonstrate with the following: "The mall was shoppers. They were it seemed racing every which way in the halls and stores. Cashiers struggled to stay ahead of the growing lines of impatient customers. Amid the havoc, nobody noticed that on elderly woman hod dropped her packages near an exit door and was having a rough time getting then together. Nobody, that is except a plain looking teenage boy who came over, wordlessly reassembled her purchases, and then lifted the packages in his lanky arms saying, ’I can get them to your car.’

’Thanks’ she answered in a loud voice and winked. The boy smiled. Nobody saw them as they headed out the exit, but in a crowded shopping mall something very good had happened."

That teenage boy was a ’Christ-figure’ to that elderly woman. That teenage boy was a sign of God’s love for that elderly woman amid all the rush of shopping. That teenage boy was salvation for that woman in that circumstance of dropped packages. That teenage boy was for that woman a very dramatic sign of God’s love for her as the Christmas event is a very dramatic sign of God’s ’s love for the entire world. That is what I mean by God’s love present in signs today. Only we don’t see those events as signs of God’s love, but we should. This morning we are going to look at God’s signs of love in our world, how God keeps repeating the Christmas event even today with his signs of love.

In our first lesson, Zephaniah is telling the people of Israel that God is in her midst. God has driven out the enemies, he has given strength to Israel’s hands, has brought love into the land, God has ruled and will continue to rule over the land. Yes, God was with that nation of Israel. God had come, God was in her midst. In the same way as God was with Israel, God is with His people today. "God is with us because we are his people, his children through the event of Baptism. Zephaniah tells the nation to rejoice to sing songs, to be exceedingly happy with all of their heart that God is in her midst. God coming into our midst is a joyous time a time to celebrate, to make merry. The Christmas event is a reminder in a very dramatic way that God came into this world as one of us, and that He continues to come into this world on a daily basis. This is good news or is it?? Is it good news that God is coming or does that news frighten you?? Do you fear God because you know His presence while bringing good news also brings a judgment, a time of accounting into our lives??

In our gospel lesson, John the Baptist shows us very clearly the judgment side of God’s presence in our midst. The Christmas event is a sign of good news, but at the same time it can be a sign of judgment for us. It all depends where you are in your relationship with Jesus. Are you playing games with him trying to pretend you are really righteous and good, saying you don’t need his saving grace because you haven’t been that bad?? Are you. playing the game of being good on the outside, but inside there is a well of hostility toward God and others?? Or, Or are you honest with God saying that the only way you can come into His presences is through the forgiving love of His Son Jesus Christ?? God’s presence in our lives can either be the bad news of judgment or good news of grace, it all depends on where you are in your relationship with Jesus.

Two different examples, the first the bad news of judgment, then the presence of God as good news as grace.

" A mine worker was trapped in a cave-in. When he was rescued, he was brought to the hospital where the doctors informed him he didn’t have much time left. He was dying. A pastor who had been visiting with the man in hopes to enlighten him with the good news of Christ was called to the hospital. He addressed the dying man saying, ’ I know and you know that you are dying. Do you want to repent now and ask God for his forgiveness? Do you want to be honest with God now??" The man answered, "Pastor, I have told you many times that I am not afraid to die." The pastor answered," You are not afraid of standing in front of God’s presence as you are, alone, without the benefit of Christ’s cleansing and forgiveness? You mean you can stand in front of God and have him look into your heart, your life without the redemption of the cross of Calvary?" The man looked at the pastor and said softly, I didn’t realized what it really meant to be in the presence of God. God’s presence for me will be a time of judgment n time of revealing all the events of my life." At that time, he began to cry and turned to the pastor and asked for Christ’s forgiveness in hi s life.

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