Summary: Judgment paves the way for the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“WHEN JESUS COMES: JUDGMENT”
(Advent 2010, Week #2)
Sermon Objective: When Jesus comes – judgment follows. But, as we will see, judgment paves the way for the Good News of Christ’s salvation.
The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King at his second.
It is that hope that once anticipated, and now anticipates anew, the reign of an Anointed One, a Messiah, who will bring peace and justice and righteousness to the world.
Part of that expectation also anticipates a judgment on sin and a calling of the world to accountability before God. We long for God to come and set the world right! Yet, as the prophet Amos warned, the expectation of a coming judgment at the "Day of the Lord" may not be the day of light that some might want, because the penetrating light of God’s judgment on sin will shine just as brightly on God’s people.
The exposure of our sin is intended and designed to prepare us to receive God’s pardon, mercy and grace. In turn we are prepared to worship and be in His presence. Advent, you see, brings us full circle.
Last week we discovered that an impact of Christ’s coming (whenever and wherever) is justice. This week we will discover that God’ s righteous judgment flows out His justice. Unger’s Bible Dictionary says, Justice “reveals the triumph of the righteous kingdom culminating in the final judgment.”
When Jesus comes – judgment follows. But, as we will see judgment paves the way for the Good News … the Gospel.
Rev 11:18The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great—and for destroying those who destroy the earth."
19Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
I) THERE IS JUDGMENT IN THE INCARNATION
To begin with, there was judgment in the incarnation. The incarnation is a theological word that simply means “God in flesh.”
Why did God become a human being? As our Advent meditation suggested, any understanding of Christmas that does not revolve around Jesus death, burial and resurrection is mere sentimental drivel. Jesus became a human being … Jesus was born … to die.
Why was his death so important? Because death is the penalty for sin. From the very beginning God told humankind that violating His law (think: the apple in the garden) would mean “Ye shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Our rebellion places us in a position of hostility (ill-will or enmity) with God. And in order for us to be reconciled (our friendship restored) the sin must be paid for.
Again, Jesus was born to die.
In Jesus’ death sin – all human sin – was judged; restoration and pardon were secured.
There is a sense in which sin can no longer keep humankind away from God. It cannot send us to hell. How can I say that? Because Jesus paid for all of humanity’s sin. What keeps us under condemnation is our unbelief … our refusal to come to Christ and receive his pardon; our refusal to turn our hearts to him while, at the same time, insisting that we will be lord of our lives.
Herein is the Good News – your , regardless of how heinous or many, has been atoned for through Jesus Christ.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus BECAME sin! When God looked at his son on the cross he saw all the heinous, corrupt, deceptive, and evil activity that man cumulatively can do.
Take some time and page through a hymnal and look at how many hymns celebrate this truth. Some that immediately come to my mind are: “It is Well With My Soul,” “Jesus Paid it All”, “At Calvary”, “Wonderful Grace of Jesus.” They are all testimonies by Christ’s saints who discovered the overwhelming Good News of Christ’s complete victory on the cross.
When Jesus came – judgment. God judged sin (in Christ) at His first advent.
II) THERE IS JUDGMENT AT PENTECOST
In Jesus’ intermediate coming (Pentecost – the indwelling of the Spirit) sin was defeated. As believers we can (and will) live lives that are pleasing to God. We may not be sinless but we will sin less and less as we grow in grace.