Summary: The troubles in this world are the signs of a 2nd Advent
Without a doubt Summer has well and truly arrived.
The hot weather is a sure sign that Summer is here.
The headers are out which tell us that the harvest is ready and Summer has arrived.
Even if you didn’t have a calendar, the signs will tell you that Summer is either here or at least approaching.
And if there were any doubts about whether or not it was Summer – you could simply turn on the TV and there would be no doubt about it.
The cricket is on.
The tennis will soon start.
But not only that – the TV ratings have finished which means you get all those wonderful shows that have been gathering dust on the shelves during the year.
The re-runs of Gilligan’s Island.
The shows that were flops and need to be shown.
We even get repeats of Wheel of Fortune for some unknown reason.
Summer TV really shows us what the networks think of us as they give us their second rate shows.
What a difference we find when we compare that with God at this time of the year and what he thinks of us.
Because Summer also means Advent – the beginning of a new Church year.
In advent we are preparing not for a second rate gift from God – but the greatest gift God could ever give us – the gift of his Son Jesus at Christmas.
But what is even more amazing is that we did not deserve this gift in any way.
The bible tells us that it was while we were sinners and enemies of God that God showed his love by sending his Son Jesus at Christmas – even though he knew that Jesus would suffer and die.
That’s how much God thinks of you.
That’s the love that God has for you.
But not everybody sees God as kind and loving.
Many people see God as the one who sends tragedy and sadness.
God is the one who sent the rains that flooded the crops in NSW.
God is the one who took away my loved one too soon.
God is the one who sends cancer.
God is the one who never answers my prayers – or who is never there when I need him.
As such it is easy to forget the love God has shown us.
Where is this God who loves me when I am hurting?
It’s true isn’t it?
It’s easy at times for us to believe in an absent and unloving God.
It’s easy at times to put our trust in ourselves:
In our possessions.
In our careers.
In our sports.
It’s the way of the world – building up your own empire around your own achievements.
Pretty soon it becomes easy to push God right out of our lives.
After all we have a growing population but a shrinking church membership.
People are becoming more affluent.
People are becoming busier.
The Sunday which used to be a day of rest, even for non Christians is now a day when shops have to open because of our busy lives – it’s when sport has to be played – the church has had to give way.
Even today a reconciliation walk is going on in Melbourne at a time usually reserved for church.
And many church leaders encouraged their members to skip church and attend the walk because it is important.
Jesus warns strongly in our text about losing our focus on God.
Jesus reminds us that this world is passing away.
Jesus warns strongly against setting up false gods in our lives.
What you need to understand from our text is that in Jesus’ day many people worshipped the Sun and Moon and Stars – similar to the way we read horoscopes and astrology.
But Jesus says all these things are passing away.
The world as we know it is coming to an end.
And so to put our trust in these false gods – whatever they may be - is crazy.
Jesus says to you – keep your focus on God and don’t let anything take it away – no matter how wonderful it sounds.
Advent is a perfect time to remember the love of God as we focus on Christmas.
As Christians you live a life of Advent - not just the 4 weeks before Christmas.
But the Advent you live is a 2nd Advent looking and waiting for the 2nd coming of Christ.
The first advent was the coming of Christ at Christmas.
A coming that has already happened.
The Second Advent waits for the Second Coming of Christ - the day you will stand before God in judgment.
On that day you will stand before God and it will be Jesus himself who will stand with you and show God the Father the scars which he suffered for you.