Summary: Today I would like to wrap this study up on Advent by asking the question - how can we respond to these truths we have studied together? And in trying to think of what would be an appropriate response I have gone not to the Bible but instead to a hymn, a
We have been taking the diff. Sundays in December to reflect on Advent - the coming, the arrival of Jesus Christ into this world. And we have much to be thankful for concerning Advent for as we have seen we had a great, great need, a desperate need for Advent. And Advent was something that every single human being needed. It makes no diff. what your family background is, what kind of upbringing you’ve had or what part of the world you were raised in, what your educational level is, what your talents are. None of the things we think are important to a person’s status matters because the Bible says that there is 1 level where every single human being stands on common ground w/ each other & that is that we have all sinned & fallen short of the glory of God. That is true of everyone.
In preparation for a meeting in a large city, evangelist Billy Sunday wrote a letter to the mayor in which he asked for the names of individuals he knew who had a spiritual problem & needed help & prayer. How surprised he was when he received from the mayor a city directory. We all have a need for Advent because we’re all sinners. We have & we do break God’s law & therefore we are under the judgment of God.
The 2nd Sunday of Advent we were reminded that when God decided to create us, He also knew that we would rebel against Him & there would be no way to make right that rebellion even if we wanted to. So before the creation of anything, God decided to create us but in doing that also decided & promised to Himself that He would come & die for us, pay the penalty that His law demanded for our sin. And so way back before the creation of the 1st molecule, you were in His mind & He made the commitment to come & die for you so that you might know Him & have a relationship w/ Him forever.
Webster’s dictionary tells us that a promise is a declaration that 1 will do the thing specified & also a declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of that specified act.
Before the foundation of the world, God made a declaration. He made a declaration that He wanted you to have an intimate rel. w/ Him & that He would come & die in order to make that rel. possible. He repeated that declaration in more & more specifics beginning in Genesis 3:15. And those who lived before the advent of Christ had the right to expect or to claim the performance & forbearance of that promise. We, who are on this side of the cross lk back & rejoice in the performance & forbearance of God in keeping His promise.
But as we saw last week, humanly speaking it was not an easy promise to keep. For since the beginning of this world, the arch enemy of God, Satan has waged an all out war w/ every conceivable wickedness & scheme & perversion that he could muster to try to thwart God from keeping His promise to send Christ. And yet at every turn, God who is the supreme, unchallengeable ruler of the universe brushed aside Satan’s attempts to derail His promise & as we observe tomorrow - brought into this world, the Promised One, the Savior, the Godman, the Messiah - just as He promised & declared He would before the foundations of the world.
That is what we have covered so far. And I trust this has been a rewarding study for you. Today I would like to wrap this study up by asking the question - how can we respond to these truths we have studied together? And in trying to think of what would be an appropriate response I have gone not to the Bible but instead to a hymn, a hymn that we sing at this time of the year. It is a hymn that is played & sung in thousands of churches & homes each Christmas. This particular hymn is popular not just here in America but all across the world. There are more than 40 English renderings of the original Latin lyrics, which have also been translated into more than 120 languages & dialects. It has been the favorite of generations & of such noted Americans as Robert E. Lee & Theodore Roosevelt. The hymn is "O Come, All Ye Faithful."
The message of the song is clear. It invites us to respond to Bethlehem’s tiny baby. We are not told to bring something tangible or costly & expensive. Instead this 18th century Latin hymn holds out a 3-fold invitation that anyone (rich or poor) can fulfill.