Summary: What is the real hope of Christmas? Where is the peace on earth? Where is the good will towards men?
What is the real hope of Christmas? Where is the peace on earth? Where is the good will towards men?
Purpose: Let’s look at the hope of Christ’s coming.
Plan: Let’s look at Mark 13:24-37 and why it is really good news.
Mark 13:26-27 Christ is Coming
Advent is a time of hope. In Mark 13:26 we read that, “everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory.” All human governments will eventually end. A world ruler is coming who will bring ultimate justice for the downtrodden. He is coming as he left, in the clouds. It is not a secret rapture, but a very visible rapture, because “everyone will see Him” (Revelation 1:7). Who is He coming for? Mark 13:27 reveals the answer. “he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.”
Mark 13:28-32 You Can Know
In Mark 13:28 Jesus teaches what we can and cannot know about the end of all things, “you can know that his return is very near, right at the door… However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen.” Christmas is about stress, gift-giving, sentimental moments, family time, a holiday with pagan origins, materialism, Santa Claus, retail sales but most importantly, the coming of Christ. In the midst of Christmas frivolity is a serious message. We need world peace. Christmas reminds us that He who came once will also come again to finally bring what He promised, peace at last! It’s nearer this year than last!
Mark 13:33-37 Watch
Mark 13:33-37 tells us, “since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! … I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!” What should we watch? Jesus wants us to avoid religious hypocrisy (Matthew 16:6), to watch and pray lest we fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41; Mark 13:33; Mark 14:38), to sit with Him while He prays for us (Mark 14:34), to take heed to ourselves, that we don’t let our hearts be dulled by games, substance abuse, and the worries of this life (Luke 21:34), and keep our wedding clothing ready (Revelation 16:15).
Isaiah 2:2-4 The Most Important Place on Earth
In Isaiah 2:2 we read, “In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth.” In modern thought we separate church and state, but in God’s kingdom church and state are one. God’s Church is subject to God’s kingdom. Mountains were the earliest places of worship. Zion was a small hill in Jerusalem where worship took place. Spiritually speaking, the Christian Church will become a great mountain in the world, towering above all mountains, and all nations will seek it. It will become the Lord’s mountain house “and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.”
Isaiah 2:3 Teach us His Ways
In Isaiah 2:3 we read that, “People from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.” What are the primary reasons for going to church? Worship is a spiritual experience whereby we go up to God’s heavenly mountain, to heavenly Jerusalem, to hear the Lord’s teaching from heavenly Zion, to hear His Word preached. We go up weekly to the height of holiness and peace.
Isaiah 2:4 Settle International Disputes
In Isaiah 2:4 we read, “The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.” The exception of justifiable warfare in the Old Testament does not negate God’s overall will in regard to war. Nor did historic atrocities of the Church represent God’s will. God’s undeniable will is mediation, and turning weapons of war into instruments of peace. The Church’s role is to be a force for peace. When Christ returns in triumph, He will demand international peace, and prosperity will result for all.
Micah 4:1-3 The Last Days
In Micah 4:1-3 we read, “In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.” The expression “the last days” is defined at Pentecost as that time beginning with the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:17). We have been in the last days for almost 2000 years. The mountain of the Lord’s house has become the highest, the most important place on earth today. People from all over the world are streaming into churches to worship God.