Summary: Advent 2(B) - See the glory of the coming Lord. I. Hear God’s gracious comfort. II. Prepare the desert highway. III. Believe his everlasting word.
SEE THE GLORY OF THE COMING LORD (Outline)
December 9, 2007 -
ADVENT 2 -
INTRO: Another week has quickly passed. We draw ever quicker and closer to the blessed celebration of the baby Jesus born in Bethlehem. In the midst of Jesus’ humble birth we look and see the glory of the coming Lord. This is the opposite of what the world wants. Our world wants us to see the sales and feel the pressure to find the perfect gift. The world would want to direct our attention away from the perfect gift of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ in the manger. We gather in our sanctuary insulated from the cares and pressures of this hectic earthly life. We turn away from the shallowness of mankind. We turn to hear and see the glory of the Lord. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things"(PHILIPPIANS 4:8). In this short time may we prayerfully contemplate and concentrate on that wonderful list in Philippians.
SEE THE GLORY OF THE COMING LORD.
I. Hear God’s gracious comfort.
II. Prepare the desert highway.
III. Believe his everlasting word.
I. HEAR GOD’S GRACIOUS COMFORT
A. Isaiah finally arrives at chapter 40. This is the beginning of God’s great gospel proclamation.
1. Israel had been given mostly God’s law and judgment for 39 chapters. Now, now – comfort.
2. Verse 1 declares the comfort of the Lord for Israel. Isaiah speaks so that they may hear.
B. Verse 2 begins with “speak tenderly”. The original Hebrew says: “speak to the heart”.
1. The Lord God Almighty is having a heart-to-heart visit with his people through Isaiah.
2. The sins of the people are paid for and their hard service is over, verse 2b.
3. God has provided double blessing in place of disobedience: forgiveness and a Savior.
C. In his word the Lord God Almighty speaks to our heart still today. It is the world and it’s attractions that speak to our emotions. The world tries to trap our emotions with a net of sinful desire, lust, and greed. These can be the desires that fill our Christmas shopping and thoughts during this time of the year. We still have a sinful nature as long as we live and breathe on this earth. "But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe"(GALATIANS 3:22). Our desires try to imprison us – daily.
D. The Lord says to us, “Comfort”. Our heavenly Father speaks to our hearts. He speaks with the kind of love that only a parent can have for their child. We disobey and God forgives. We sin and God sends his Son to pay the price. Last week we read from Psalm 103:11, 12. This week we have more of God’s gracious comfort from the same Psalm. "He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities"(PSALM 103:9,10).
WE SEE THE GLORY OF THE COMING LORD as we hear God’s gracious words of comfort.
II. PREPARE THE DESERT HIGHWAY (OUR CROOKED HEARTS)
A. Isaiah now moves to the New Testament future in his words of prophecy in verses 3-5.
B. Verse 3 is a beautiful description of John the Baptist. John was the “way-preparer” for Jesus.
1. John pointed straight to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
2. Jesus came straight to the people and preached to their hearts.
C. Verse 4 reminds us that the people of the Bible walked, walked, and walked some more.
1. The road was to be made level. The rough places were to be made smooth.
2. People would need to prepare their hearts, minds, and lives as the Savior comes.
D. Then the people would see the glory of the Lord at Bethlehem, at the Last Day. Verse 5.
E. Our hearts are the desert highways that need to be straightened out. A desert highway is windblown and dusty and dry and parched. Most highways in the Bible were not direct routes. They had to follow where there was water available. The roads were often crooked. The Lord reminds us of the evil of our own crooked, dry, and parched hearts. "For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly"(MARK 7:21,22). Not a very pleasant list. This list reminds us of the work needed to prepare.
F. Thankfully and joyfully the Lord gives us reason to prepare. Thankfully and joyfully the Lord gives us his grace, power, and strength to straighten out our crooked hearts (highways). "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed"(1 PETER 1:13). No longer do we have to live according that list of wickedness Jesus describes in Mark. Our gracious God has given us his water of life to quench our dry and dusty hearts.