Summary: God intervenes in the midst of despair and offers hope.
JEREMIAH 33: 1-16
DECEMBER 3, 2000/ 1ST SUNDAY IN ADVENT
INTRODUCTION: South Mountain: Really, there is nothing there: A gravel road (Big Deal), a half completed picnic shelter (Bathrooms don’t work), a Bridge [I don’t know about you, but bridges are just there.]. There are two signs(for what that’s worth)? And speaking of two’s, there are two Teepees(with holes in the top and hardwood floors to sleep on). And last but not least, an old house that will take more time and energy than building a new house would take, that might one day be restored, to be and OLD HOUSE. What’s the point? There’s really not much there. 125 acres of rolling hills, trees, grass, and a river runs through it. What’s the point? Yesterday some 200 people gathered in the cold to eat cold hot dogs and drink cold hot chocolate. The Bon fire was warm, but small. We dedicated a not yet complete picnic shelter and we went to light a Christmas tree. Now, about this tree, one person in the van called it Homely. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. The lights ere pretty; I believe there were 5000. Still, what’s the point? There’s really not much there. 200 out of the 5000 Wesleyans in our district and no DS, just us common folks and Esther!
Christmas: What’s it all about? Spending money I don’t have. Dealing with the stress of what to buy and who to buy for. Dealing with the crowds and the traffic. Where will we go for Christmas, who will we stay with, and when will we see who? Oh, Yeah, when are we getting a tree and when will we find time to decorate it and where is that Christmas tree stand? What’s it really all about? What’s the Point? Family and friends, children lighting up brighter than Christmas lights on the tree, people being slightly kinder than usual, lots of parties and lot of food and gaining weight. Could we have a new president for Christmas? What’s the point?
People mourn this time of the year, missing loved one now gone. Families separated and not being a family during the one major time of the year family seems to mater the most. Kids not spending Christmas with mom and dad. Husbands and wives waking Christmas morn all alone because they are no longer husband and wife. Families separated by distance no longer able to be together because of job situation or just life. People out of work the one major time of the year you need all the cash you can get your hands on. Reality. What’s the point?
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text tells us of a branch, not a tree, not a full grown limb, but a branch sprouting once more out of a felled tree. In the midst of the reality of life, in the midst of what ever it is Judah and Israel must experience, God sprouts life. God intervenes. In the midst of despair, God comes, not overwhelmingly, but simply. Not loud and boastful, but quiet and sure.
THESIS SENTENCE: God intervenes in the midst of despair and offers hope.
IT’S GONNA HAPPEN, IT’S GONNA BE DIFFERENT, AND IT’S GONNA BE A GOD THING!
CONTEXT: Verses 6-9 point to the future with Verse 10 being the reality.
THE EXODUS REVISITED: Once more, God people will be delivered, God will intervene in the life of His people.
CONTRAST OF GOD’S DESIRE TO INTERVENE: From insignificant to significant! From shame to respectability. From despair to hope. From failure to accomplishment. From rebellion to obedience. From disbelief to faith.
VERSES 14-16 TELL THE STORY:
IT WILL HAPPEN (VV. 14)
This is not the day of doom reported by Amos and Zephaniah
IT WILL BE DIFFERENT (VV. 15)
A Sprout is born.
Margie Adam’s tree. Blown down. Sawed down. The stump is sprouting! From death to life! From despair to hope. Chapter 34: 2-5 Illustration!
IT WILL BE A GOD THING (VV. 16)
A new name is given!
A new Character is Given!
South Mountain Revisited: IT’S GONNA HAPPEN! IT’S GONNA BE DIFFERENT! IT’S GONNA BE A GOD THING! There may not be much there now, but it is coming. It will not be like in days of old at Colafax. It will be accomplished be what God does, not by what we do!
Christmas Revisited: IT’S GONNA HAPPEN! IT’S GONNA BE DIFFERENT! IT’S GONNA BE A GOD THING! The insanity of it all. But the Reality of it all is the REMINDER! Christ has come, Christ will come again. Hope is out there. The power of it all is that Jesus, the promise, changed all of reality. He can change us too! God intervenes and offers hope!
CONCLUSION: Where do you find yourself in the holiday season? Today is the first Sunday in Advent. This is the time of year we start preparing for Christmas day. This is not about shopping and cooking and sending cards. This is about preparing for Jesus to come once more to our hearts and lives, to remember Jesus is the reason for the season.