Summary: Sometimes when you try to help someone you think is in need; you are met with resentment because the person or family doesn’t think they are in need. So on this 1st Sunday of Advent, I want to address whether there was a genuine need for the advent of Ch
The Need For Advent
[Have one of the children light advent candle]
We have entered the Christmas season and one of the challenges a Christian and a church has is to keep our attention focused on the real meaning of the season. In order to help us do that I have been asked to do a series that we did about five years ago which was meaningful to many of you. And so over the next four Sundays we are going to celebrate Advent. And my desire is to attempt to help us in focusing upon the Christ of Christmas instead of the commercialization of Christmas.
Advent means "the coming" or "the arrival." We speak of the advent of spring which means the arrival or coming of spring. And so in speaking about the advent of Christ, we are speaking about the coming of Christ into this world. Historically, Advent has been a time for christians to reflect on the meaning of the coming of Christ.
But it struck me that before we can reflect on the meaning of His coming, we must first determine if there was a need for His coming. Sometimes when you try to help someone you think is in need; you are met with resentment because the person or family you think is in need doesn’t think they are in need and so they take exception to you charity. I think that is part of the problem in our world today. People don’t think they need a Savior and need to be saved from their sin. And so when we come they resent our message and us for we are stating that they have a need when they feel as if they don’t. And so on this 1st Sunday of Advent, I want to address whether there was a genuine need for the advent of Christ. Therefore the title of the message is The Need for Advent.
In attempting to answer this question, let’s start at the beginning – Genesis 1:26-31
And so by God’s own declaration, the human race is declared very good.
-2:22-25 - here again we see perfect harmony not just in creation but also in human relationships
-4:3-5,8 - something has changed. There is a totally diff. mood than in chapters 1 and 2.
-6:5-7 - note the contrast - 1:31 - "And God saw all that He had made, & behold, it was very good." "And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Something dreadful and drastic has happened. Man has become sinful. If we could have stopped the story at end of chapter 2 there would have been no need for advent, but sin forever changed the picture. Men and women are sinful by nature.
A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on its back across the river. "Are you mad?" exclaimed the turtle. "You’ll sting me while I’m swimming & I’ll drown." "My dear turtle," laughed the scorpion, "If I were to sting you, you would drown & I’d go down with you. Now where is the logic in that?" "You’re right," cried the turtle. "Hop on." The scorpion climbed aboard but halfway across the river gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle said, "Do you mind if I ask you something? You said there is no logic in your stinging me. Why did you do it?" "It has nothing to do with logic," the drowning scorpion replied. "It’s just my nature."
Men and women are sinful by nature. If we were to sit down and think about sin and the effect it will have if we choose it, we could very easily see how illogical it is to choose sin. But as the scorpion said, "It has nothing to do w/ logic. It’s our nature."
Now you’re not going to hear that from modern man for modern man likes to believe he is basically good. And of course psychologists, counselors and a great many religious leaders reinforce that belief.
And no concept is more important to the gurus of modern psychology than the concept of self-esteem. According to the self-esteem credo, there are no bad people - only people who think badly of themselves. For years, educational experts, psychologists, and a growing number of Chistian leaders have championed self-esteem as a panacea for all sorts of human miseries. According to the purveyors of this doctrine, if people feel good about themselves, they will behave better, have fewer emotional problems, and achieve more. People with high self-esteem, we are told, are less likely to commit crimes, act immorally, fail academically, or have problems in their relationship with others.