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The Arrival of Our Lord Print E-mail
Advent 2005
Monday, 26 December 2005
Note:   In 2005 we celebrated Advent for the first time in the history of our church.  It was a great experience.  Many of the families in our church participated in unique ways, both in the services and in our homes.  Some of the resources we used with our individual families can be found in this document.  The following is an outline of the message Brother William preached on Christmas morning, marking the culmination of our Advent celebration.

Luke 2:1-38

 I. Introduction:

 We have spent the four Sundays leading up to Christmas celebrating advent together as a Church. I must say, the Lord has used these services in my own life to help focus my thoughts and attention on the birth and return of Christ. I can only pray that these services have blessed you as much as they have blessed me. In keeping with the tradition of lighting a candle each Sunday, this morning we are going to light our four candles and conclude with the center candle which represents Christ. As we light each one, I want to say a word about what they have represented to us as a community this season, while looking at our passage from Luke 2 as well.

II. The Lighting of the candles

A. The candle of expectation (-38)

a. Even as Israel was expecting the promised King, we read in our passage this morning of Simeon and Anna who were both expecting the coming redemption by the Lord. Look at verse 25 and 38. 

b. It may seem odd to us that Luke would include the story of these two, but they make it clear that there were those who were faithfully waiting on the coming redemption of Israel.

c. We have noted this season that as the Church we are called to live in expectation for the coming of the King. We are waiting for our future and final redemption. We are waiting for the return of Christ.

d. So, then, with Simeon and Anna and all those who have longed for the return of Christ, we light the candle of expectation this morning, hoping in the return of our Lord.  [Lighting of the first candle]

B. The candle of preparation (2:1-5)

a. We have looked at John the Baptist this season and discussed how he prepared for the coming of Christ. He, as Christ did after him and as we should even today, preached repentance and faith in Christ as the means of preparing for the coming of the Lord. Only those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ will be prepared for His return. All of those outside of Christ will face His judgment on that Day. 

b. Yet, with our text this morning, I want us to note the preparations of the Father for the birth of the Son. Look at Luke 2:1-5 with me. The prophet Micah spoke of the Christ being born in Bethlehem. But how would the Lord get Joseph from the city of Nazareth to Bethlehem. Simple, use a wicked King to have a census. 

c. Thus, we see the Lord in His sovereignty bringing all the details together to send His Son at the appointed time to redeem His people. Look at Galations 4:4 with me. Nothing is by mistake, nothing is by chance. Everything happens under the plan and purpose of our God.

d. Even now, He is preparing His Bride for the return of Christ. From every world event to every flat tire to every passing thought, the Lord is orchestrating history for the consumation. (Driving through the fog) Even as we prepare for His return, may we entrust ourselves to the Lord who is faithfully preparing the whole world to bow the knee to Christ. Thus, may we light the candle of preparation.  [Lighting of the second candle]

C. The candle of proclamation (-18).

a. We have also noted this season the importance of proclaiming the birth of Christ to those who have not heard or have not believed so that they too may be prepared for Christís return.

b. We see in our passage the example of the Shepherds making known to others what has been revealed to them concerning the child. Look at verses 17-18. The Shepherds made it known to all what they had been told about the child.

c. Over and over I have challenged you to share your faith this Christmas with your friends and family members who do not know the Lord. You may be overwhelmed at the task, but may we learn the joy of spreading the good news that a Savior has been born in Bethlehem.

d. We know that so many need to hear the good news, whether it be the first time or the one-hundredth time. Thus, this morning we light the candle of proclaimation with the Shepherds.  [Lighting of the third candle]

D. The candle of rejoicing (2:8-20).

a. The angels tell us why we should rejoice at the birth of Christ. Look at verses 8-11. The news the angels bring is good because a Savior has been born to set people free from their sin and restore them to the Father. 

b. If you, by faith in Christ, have been set free from your sins then you have every reason in the world to rejoice this morning. Yes, there may be much that is difficult in your life, much that is troubling, much that is sorrowful, but if you sins have been paid for by the blood of Christ then all else pales in comparison, all else is light and momentary. I am not trying to mininmize your problems or struggles, I am simply trying to maximize the overwhelming goodness of the news that a Savior has been born.

c. Even with the angels this morning we light the candle of rejoicing. Oh how sweet it is to rest in the arms of Christ. [Lighting of the fourth candle]

E. The candle of Christ (2:6-7).

a. The only candle left is the candle of Christ. And of course it is appropriately in the center, appropriately our focus, appropriately what everything has been building up to.

b. Yet, look at verses 6-7 with me. Just two quick verses and God is flesh. Just two quick verses and the Savior is born. One of the most amazing moments in all of history is covered over with the humility of Christ, who humbled himself by becoming a man, taking the form of a servant. Indeed as Paul tells us in Philippians 2 His humility should astound us and challenge us.

c. Yet, His return will not be so quiet. Do not be fooled, the child laying in that manger, although filled with humility and filled with frailty, is none other than the Lion of Judah, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the master and ruler of everything that is.

d. As one of my favorite group sings:

Last time He came down in a stable

Last time He slept in the hay

But one thing I can tell you right now,

Next time it ainít gonna be that way

Next time there wonít be no stable

Next time their wonít be no hay

Next time Heís coming down on a cloud with a shout

And no one is going to get in His way!!

e. Thus, in light of the Great King Jesus, may we humble ourselves this morning. May we live lives of expectation, preparation, proclamation, and rejoicing in the coming of Christ. May we live lives that bring honor to the Light of the World.  [Lighting of the fifth candle]

~ William Marshall ~


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