Summary: This is the first of our 2019 Advent sermons. In this sermon we look at how sin has been a constant, and universal problem from the fall until the birth of Christ that first Christmas morning, and how Christ's coming, drives out that darkness and brings life and light
Advent 2019 (Pt. 1)
Text: Isaiah 9:2-7
Well it’s that time of year once again… the time when we do our Advent sermons. And I love how Advent comes right after Thanksgiving, because over the last week there have been a lot of things we can surely be thankful for… but also… that attitude of Thanksgiving helps us celebrate and be glad, and give thanks for the birth of Christ. If there’s one thing we should be thankful for it’s that God sent His Son to become a man. That Jesus – God the Son, became a man, and was born a little over 2000 years ago. That He came to us in time and space… in history. In-fact; that’s what the word “Advent” means… “Coming”.
So during Advent we remember Jesus coming into the world… but also… we are reminded that He is coming again; maybe soon. So we look back at His first coming, and we’re looking forward to His second coming. With that in mind, I want you to turn in your Bible’s to Isaiah chapter 9 verses 2 through 7, and we’re going to keep coming back to this text throughout our Advent series, but today I’m going to specifically focus on verse 2 for the most part.
So let’s go ahead and read from verses 2 to 7 (READ Isaiah 9:2-7).
Now it’s interesting how Isaiah starts this prophesy out… There in verse two he says, “The people who walked in darkness…” And then he says, “Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness…”
Now if we’re going to rightly understand and appreciate what Advent is all about, we’ve got to understand that this world is in darkness. It was in darkness during the time of Isaiah, and it was in darkness during the time of Jesus birth… and it’s in darkness today as well. And the reason this world is in darkness is because of sin. More on that in just a second. But that’s the setting for what Isaiah is about to say, and it’s going to set up everything he’s going to say, he wants us to understand that the world, and everyone in it, are in darkness. The world was plunged into darkness after the fall of man. Adam and Eve sinned against God, rebelled against Him, and opened the door for sin to come flooding into this world. We read that way back in Genesis… so by the time we get to Isaiah chapter 9, there’s been over 3000 years of spiritual darkness in the world. Over 3000 years of sin and sorrow and sadness dominating the history of mankind. More than 3000 years of man stumbling around in darkness, trying to find his way, but continually failing.
Now again; we need to understand… Isaiah has been called by God to be a prophet to the people of Israel. And he’s been called to prophesy during a time of rebellion by the people against God, and God is about to bring judgment. God is going to bring the Assyrians to conquer them. If you go back to Isaiah chapter 1 you’ll see it. Let’s just look at Isaiah 1:1-4 (READ). So they’re in a predicament… they’re in bad shape… they’re in darkness. And then; if you jump ahead to the Gospels… to the time when Jesus would be born. Again, we see that the people are still in darkness. So from the fall of Adam to Isaiah it’s around 3000 years, but when we get to the birth of Jesus, we’re looking at nearly 4000 years. And during that time, God has sent His prophets, He’s given His Word, and His Law… He’s given little glimmers of light here and there, but the darkness of sin has remained on the earth. The people of Israel are in darkness, it’s been over 400 years of silence from God. God’s last words to His people were in the Book of Malachi and He hasn’t sent a prophet or spoken to them in over 400 years. And from Isaiah’s time, all the way to the birth of Jesus, the land of Israel has been under occupation. First it was the Assyrians, then the Babylonians, then the Persians, and then the Greeks… Now, The Roman Empire was ruling over the land, and they were oppressive rulers, and they were pagans. And in Israel itself, Herod had been appointed king of the land. He was a wicked man, an evil, corrupt, perverse man. He was cruel murderous man, and just a vile human being. In-fact; it’s reported that Caesar Augustus once said, “I would rather be Herod’s pig, than his son.” Because the man had a reputation for murdering his own family members…
If you crossed him, or ended up on his bad side, he’d just have you killed… I mean; the list of people he had killed rivals the Clinton body count… Herod of course was the man responsible for the murder of all the infant boys in Bethlehem after Jesus was born. So not only was there just this generalized sin in the world, there were these specific leaders who seemed to exude their own darkness… the leadership was in darkness, and the land itself was darkened by sin and sinful people. The people themselves were more interested in their own things, than they were with God and God’s will. They were selfish, self-centered, hedonistic, and entitled. And their religious leaders were in darkness… Their religion was just a process of going through the motions, and not from the heart, so to speak. Legalistic, man-centered, not rooted in the truth, or in love…