Summary: In this first message of Advent, Pastor Terry will share what the anticipation is all about. Do we have to wait to experience the Splendor of Christ? Strick the match and light the candle, it’s time to find out!
Text: Hosea 13:14
It’s the first Sunday of Advent!! Today opens the celebration of the Christmas season here at Christ Fellowship. The house is decorated, the wreath is in place, but what’s it all about? Tonight we will gather for a great time of fellowship and worship as we light the first candle of Advent together, but what does it all mean?
The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming". In the Church Advent is the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the coming of Jesus. The Latin word finds its roots in the original Greek word “parousia” (PAR-oozia) which referred to, in the ancient world, the official visit by royalty.
7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah
So Advent has a dual meaning for us. It serves as a reminder of God’s divine plan of redemption made possible through the first coming of Christ as a baby in a manger and it serves as a reminder that, as He promised, Christ will come again, in all of His glory, as the King of Kings to once and for all destroy the works of the evil one and establish His throne on the earth with us, the Church, by His side.
Advent further reminds you and I of four key gifts Christ has given every believer through the power of His resurrection life; Gifts that speak of the very heart of God the Father, Love, Joy, Peace and Hope.
The first coming of Christ put an end of our fear of death and His second coming will put an eternal end to death itself!
From Israel’s earliest bondage in Egypt, God’s people had lamented for a deliverer. One who would liberate them from the tyranny of slavery. Their wait for a redeemer was met by promise after promise from Holy God that He would send a Messiah. Their outcry of “O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel” was silenced by the Chorus of the Heavenly Host who declared to lowly shepherds tidings of great joy, that in the city of David the Savior had been born.
Advent reminds us that the long awaited Messiah has indeed come. That through Him the light of Love, Joy, Peace and Love can dispel the darkest of despair.
It reminds us that we no longer have to look for Him, for now, He seeks us.
He came to save us from humanities sinful self destruction.
Since the fall we have been clearly reminded that the wages of sin is death and mankind, through the millennia, has been spending those wages with no regard for tomorrow.
In our text this morning Hosea tells us of God’s plan for redemption and deliverance.
1. “I will ransom them from the power of the grave”
Ransom = to redeem or rescue by paying a price
= transfer ownership by means of purchase
= to sever the terms of an old account
Power of the Grave “Strong hand of Hell”
The Grace of God has broken hells stronghold on your life!
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
2. God will defeat death with a vengeance.
“Death, I will be your plague”
“Grace, I will be your destruction”
Eden had no hospital and no cemetery. The very nature of God is contrary to the concepts of Death and burial.
Advent reminds us of God’s ultimate plan to utterly destroy death and the grave.
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sin is what makes death so terrifying and when the truth of Grace answers the sin question in your heart, there remains no fear in death.
The first Advent dealt with our fear of death and the Second Advent will deal with death itself – one and for all!
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." 6 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.