Summary: Advent begins our journey towards Christmas. It is also a vital part of our holiness journey. Do we understand the true nature of a holiness journey? Let's see what the Holy Spirit has to share about our holiness journey!
Title: Holiness and Advent
Proposition: Advent begins our annual journey towards Christmas. It is also a part of our holiness journey.
Grace and Peace to you this morning from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ!
This Lord's Day, we begin our annual Advent journey towards Christmas Day. 27 days from now we will all be celebrating the miracle and mystery of the Incarnation, the first advent our Christ our Redeemer, Savior and LORD! We shall rejoice with billions of our brothers and sisters in Christ along with those in Heaven and as we join in that wonderful old Song - Joy to the World, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King!
Advent season is immersed in journeys. It is during Advent and Christmas season that we focus on some of the great journeys of those who have gone before us. We remember the journey of Zacharias as he traveled to the Temple to burn incense only to be greeted by the Angel Gabriel who told him of the coming of John the Baptist. We remember the journey of Mary and Joseph as they travel to Bethlehem. We remember the journey of the Wise Men as they come from the east to bow down at the feet of the child who has been born King of the Jews. We remember the journey of the shepherds as they travel that starry night and give praise and adoration for Jesus, the Savior who is Christ the LORD.
This morning, we too are on a journey. As our scripture readings remind us, we are all on a journey called Christian discipleship and transformation. We are invited to be on a journey that will ultimately lead us to our everlasting home. We are invited to be drawn into Christ, to become renewed and restored into the image of Christ.
We are all invited to join that same journey that Father Abraham was called by God to travel. It is the journey of holiness or as the Hebrew language puts it in Genesis 17 - "walk before me and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you and may multiply you greatly." God invited Abraham and invites us to walk with Him in holiness. God does that so that we may experience a relationship with us that will bless us and our families beyond anything we can think of imagine.
It is this same journey that Paul passionately invites his congregation in Thessalonica to experience.
"Now, may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the LORD make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our LORD Jesus with all his saints."
THAT HE MAY ESTABLISH YOUR HEARTS BLAMELESS IN HOLINESS"
So, this morning, as we journey towards Advent and as we journey towards everlasting life what exactly does it mean to walk blameless before the LORD? What Paul mean when he prays for his congregation that their hearts will be blameless in holiness? What exactly does it mean to walk in holiness with the LORD?
This morning, I would like to share with you two wonderful truths about holiness and then I would like to share with you what a walk of holiness looks like in everyday living.
1. The first truth is: Holiness is not salvation but Holiness is essential for our Christian walk.
We are saved by grace through faith alone.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We are not saved by our walk or by our works. We cannot earn our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith alone. Salvation is God's amazing gift to us sinful humans.
To receive this gift, all we have to do is repent of our sins, be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38). All we have to do is truly believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and LORD (John 3:16). All we have to do is to surrender all our heart, mind and soul to Jesus. Jesus will then redeem us, renew us and restore us into His image. Salvation has been and always will be a gift from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.