Summary: “Watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap” Luke 21:34.
Theme: Look your Saviour comes
Text: Jer. 33:14-16; 1 Thess. 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent simply means coming or appearing and is used to refer to the first and second coming of Christ. By this time many of us are making preparations to celebrate the first Coming of Christ when He came as the Saviour of the world. We often forget that He has promised to return again. According to the writer of Hebrews in 9:28 “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him”. Christ will come again for His people and to judge those who rejected His Lordship. Are you prepared and ready for His return? Will you spend eternity with Him in perfect bliss or separated from Him in total darkness, pain and suffering? Events in the world, especially in the Middle East, are heralding the end of this age and the second coming of Christ.
God never hides from His people what He plans to do on earth. The first coming of Christ was prophesied many years before His birth. There were prophecies about the virgin birth, about His lineage to David and about His birth in a manger in Bethlehem. Bethlehem means the house of bread so is it any wonder that the Bread of Life is born there. Apart from the fulfilment of all prophecies made about His birth, His birth was heralded by signs in the skies, a special star in the heavens and angels glorifying God. The prophecies about His birth also revealed the purpose of His birth. At His first coming Jesus did not come to judge the world but to save the world (John 12:47). He came to save His people from sin by paying the penalty for sin through the shedding of His blood. Jesus Christ came for our salvation. Our salvation was so crucial to the plan of God that the forces of evil did their worse to frustrate the plan of God. The devil tried his utmost to destroy the ‘seed of the woman’ that would crush his head. One of his attempts was to make King Herod kill all males two years and under in Bethlehem but he failed, as he always did, in his attempts to kill Christ.
Prophesies and signs are designed to warn us or prepare us for what God is about to do. The flood only came after God had warned the world of the destruction that was about to take place. He did this through the preaching of Noah and the building of the ark. The deliverance of the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage happened only after Moses had delivered the Word of God and brought about the ten plagues as a sign of what God was about to do. Just as prophecies and signs preceded the first coming of Jesus, so also are they to precede His Second Coming. There are many prophecies concerning the second coming of Christ and the signs that would precede it. Jerusalem is always in the news these days. The Middle East has seen significant political upheavals in recent years - in Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria and Egypt. Egypt is now ruled by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who has just given himself sweeping powers. The fighting in Gaza may have stopped but we now know that the enemies of Israel have long range missiles to fight with. Are these not signs pointing to the second coming of Christ? Jesus will soon return. Are you ready for His return? Have you accepted Christ as Saviour and Lord? It is not too late. Today you can to Christ and accept Him as your Saviour and Lord.
The signs of the second coming of Christ according to our Lord Himself, would include signs in the heavens and on earth that will cause a lot of distress. The ozone layer problem and the green house effect leading to global warming are evident in every country. Water bodies are drying up leading to desertification and famine. Volcanoes are erupting at frequent intervals, the sea level is rising, tsunamis are increasing and the recent one in Japan even led to damage to nuclear reactors causing radioactive contamination of large areas. The Aids disease is still a problem and the world continues to suffer from this dreaded disease with no cure in sight, in spite of the explosion in knowledge that is unprecedented in the world. The most important sign however, in the time plan of Christ’s return, is the birth of Israel. When Jesus reminds us to keep our eyes on the fig tree, He was referring to the nation of Israel. Scripture portrays Israel as a fig tree and when the fig tree, Israel, begins to blossom we should know that the end of the age is near. The miraculous birth of Israel in one day fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy exactly when Israel became a nation on May 14th 1948. However, the west bank and the part of Jerusalem where the Temple Mount stood on which was built the Dome on the Rock remained under Arab control. In 1967, after the 6 days war, the Yom Kippur war, the whole of Jerusalem once more came under Israel’s rule and Jerusalem today is once again united and the capital of Israel. Another great miracle was the restoration of the Hebrew language as the medium of expression in Israel. This is the first record of the use of a language that had ceased to exist for many centuries that is again in use today.