Summary: This sermon shares with us the message of Jesus for this day - a Message of Hope as 1. We Stand (Take a Stand for Jesus) 2. We Raise Our Heads - message for Advent 2018
Theme: First Sunday of Advent
Title: Prepare the Way - STAND UP!
This sermon shares with us the message of Jesus for this day - a Message of Hope as 1. We Stand 2. We Raise Our Heads - message for Advent 2018
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ our King, Savior and LORD!
Welcome to the First Sunday of the 2018 Advent Season.
You may be asking - What in the world is Advent?
Well it is:
“The season of the year that specifically proclaims the comings (First and Last) of the LORD JESUS Christ—whose birth we will prepare to celebrate once again, who comes continually through the Word and the Holy Spirit, and whose Second Coming we await in full glory and honor!”
Over the next few Sundays we will be looking at passages that will help us enjoy this time of year, grow deeper spiritually and assist us to radically celebrate both Jesus' birth and His Second Coming.
This morning our Gospel passage takes us into a period of time around 30 - 35 years after Jesus' death and resurrection ( ca. 60 - 65 AD). A great deal has been and is going on:
-Philip, Lydia, Barnabas, Priscilla, Silas and Timothy and hundreds of others are sharing the message of Jesus all around the world.
-The Apostle Paul has been sent to Rome to await his trial with the real possibility that he will be executed for his faith proclaiming Jesus as Messiah and LORD.
-The Apostle Peter has been traveling all over the Middle East and only on the rare occasion does he make it back to the Promise Land.
-The Church of Jesus Christ is growing everywhere both in the Jewish world and especially in the Gentile world.
Luke's passage contains a prophesy. A prophesy that came from the lips of Jesus to his disciples and the people of Israel. A prophesy that looked like it was beginning to be fulfilled in their lifetime. And while Luke does write more to a Gentile audience than a Jewish one he is very concerned that Jesus' words be heard and heeded by everyone.
All around were signs that Jesus' words of warning were coming to pass. Jesus had foretold that if Jerusalem and God's People did not repent, accept His invitation to be rescued and redeemed that a day of destruction would come up the both of them. Jesus had furthermore sent His Holy Spirit to guide and lead the Church so that such a disaster could be averted.
Now, Israel and the Roman Empire were in a great state of uncertainty and anxiety. Over the past 30+ years one leader after another had taken the throne with each one pulling the People of Israel and the Roman Empire into all kinds of different directions. For one brief period of time it looked like a time of peace and prosperity was just on the horizon. However, over the last few years that horizon had been filling with the clouds of war. It appeared very soon that God's People and Rome would be at war with one another.
It is in the mix of all this mess that Luke shares our passage. He wants the Jews to understand that what Jesus prophesied some 30 -35 years ago was right around the corner. If God's People did not heed the salvation message of Jesus then they would end up losing their Temple, their nation and perhaps their very existence (Sadly, that is exactly what happened in less than 10 years - AD 70).
Luke was telling His Gentile believers to hang on because not only did it look like the land of Israel was in for a big shake up but that the whole Empire would soon be quaking and quivering. If things did not change everything and everyone all over the world would be in mortal danger.
But in the midst of all of this Luke shares this amazing message of hope. Luke is a believer and he knows that the LORD GOD always has a message of hope. In many ways it is a message that is very similar to the message of hope that the Prophet Jeremiah shared from the LORD hundreds of years ago when the Babylonian nation fell leaving God's People uncertain about their future as well. It is a message of hope, of expectation and a message of how God is and will be stepping into History once again.
It is a message that reminds us of two important things that we all can do whether we find ourselves in a time of peace or uncertainty. We find these two important things in verse 28. There are two very little words or phrases that can help us a great deal today.