Summary: 24 Days Until Christmas
Passage: Luke 3:3-6
Title: Week 2 – The Candle of Hope (Preparation)
INTRODUCTION: As we talked about last week, the Christmas season is here. The enemy’s greatest focus in this season is to distract us from focusing on what’s really important; Christ’s coming and coming again. We must fight to ready our hearts, looking forward to worshipping the righteous King who has arrived and will appear again!
ADVENT BACKGROUND: As stated last week, there are often many symbols used to represent Advent from various churches of many denominations. An evergreen wreath is a solid staple followed by four to five candles. The wreath is a symbol of Christ’s perfection (complete). The evergreen meaning eternal life and the light from the candles often times represent the light of Jesus Christ. Each of the candles has a different meaning.
• The first candle represents the anticipation of Christ coming (anticipation of Christ coming for those in OT and coming again for those living in NT).
o Note: This candle is sometimes tied in with the second candle. We learned this week…
• Jesus as the “Righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5)
• The Righteous Advents (1 & 2 Coming of Jesus – Jer. 23:6)
• Anticipation of the Righteous King (Jeremiah 23:7–8)
• The second candle is a candle of hope (preparation).
• The third candle is a candle meaning joy.
• The forth candle is a candle representing purity (or love).
• The last candle (usually white to distinguish between the other candles) is the candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day representing Christ on as the fulfillment of what is promised in the first four candles.
Depending on which circle one grew up these candles have been known to move from week to week depending on the denomination. The color of the candles often varies but most common are purple, pink and white. This week, we look to the candle of hope and prepare our hearts to fully worship Christ in this season.
Title: Week 2 – The Candle of Hope (Preparation - Luke 3:3-6)
#1: Prepare by Repenting (Luke 3:3)
• Explanation: John the Baptist (Jesus cousin) sole message (would even go as far to say life’s mission) was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins that Jesus would offer to those who believe in Him because of His death on the cross and resurrection, conquering death. The people came in anticipation of the Messiah that would come to save if they would repent. Thus, the question is, “What is repentance and why is it so important?”
o Repentance of opens the way for a relationship with God.
• “Flee from the wrath to come… bear fruit.” Luke 3:7–8
o Repentance causes the angels to rejoice.
• “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7
o Repentance is essential for the Holy Spirit to work.
• “Repent… and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
o Inability to repent produces eternal death.
• “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3–5
o God wants us to repent and believe.
• “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
• Illustration: “True repentance never exists except in conjunction with faith, while on the other hand, wherever there is true faith, there is also real repentance. The two are but different aspects of the same turning--a turning away from sin in the direction of God...The two cannot be separated; they are simply complementary parts of the same process.”
• Application: Repentance is an outward picture an inner change of heart. At this time of the season we must either first repent and accept Christ so that we can know Him or repent so that we can be restored and celebrate the season in joyful communion with our Savior.
o Repent of sin and come into the knowing the fullness of a relationship wit Christ and overcome deaths power (salvation)!
o Repent so that the can angels rejoice!
o Repent to let the Spirit work!
o Repent and believe that Christ has come!
o Repent to be fully prepared to worship for the returning of the Lord!
#2: Prepare by Clearing the Way (Luke 3:4-6)
• Explanation: Luke, like Matthew, Mark, and John quote Isaiah 40 because John the Baptist, like other Old Testament prophets, was a desert prophet who prepared the way for Jesus Christ . John, like other prophets, were “voices” from God, calling the people in their cultures to get back into a right relationship with God. So why does Luke say John is “preparing the way”?