Heinz Ketchup commercial from the 1970s… “anticipation, you’re making me wait”
Heinz Ketchup commercial from the 1980s… “good things come to those who wait”
For many, waiting is the bane of our existence… [ELABORATE]
•Wait in lines
•Wait in traffic
•Get a little money and it burns a hole… can’t wait to spend it
•We hate to wait
Advent means waiting and reminds us that we need to slow down our lives; it is an opportunity to change our focus from ourselves to Christ.
Our scripture today is all about waiting and preparation.
Story of bringing the boxes down from the attic…
Story of Mom and the old manger scene…
Like my childhood stories suggest, God has blessed us with a wonderful gift – the miracle of anticipation. We are invited live each day in anticipation of Jesus’ return. Our challenge is to accept this invitation and live out its implications in our daily lives.
The season of Advent gives us three moments of anticipation… opportunities to wait and prepare:
•The birth of Christ [ELABORATE]
oMary and Joseph
oShepherds and Wise Men
oThe wonder of birth
•The ministry of Christ [ELABORATE]
•The second coming of Christ [ELABORATE]
oInstantaneous and worldwide
oVisible to all
oAudible – trumpet will sound
oResurrection of the righteous
The Gospel today is intended to prepare us for Christ’s return. We need to watch, wait, and prepare for the second coming… but I wonder how many of us expect Christ to return anytime soon?
The significance of May 21 & Oct 21, 2011 – Harold Camping predicted the end of the world – the rapture – the kingdom of God coming…
I think Mr. Camping and many of us are looking at this all wrong… Christ is with us now. Jesus is teaching in this scripture that preparation, not calculation, is needed.
We can discuss and debate the prophecies in the Book of Revelations, but living a life of anticipation is living in the faith and trust that God is an intimate part of our lives. NOW.
Through numerous passages in the bible, we know that the Kingdom of God has more than one meaning. In one case, it is present among us (NOW) and in another it is a future state (NOT YET).
Consider the tension between the “now” and the “not yet”…
•The “now” is the kingdom established at Jesus’ first coming… [ELABORATE]
oMany believed the first coming fulfilled the prophecy
oWe are living in the “now” anticipating the “not yet”
•The “not yet” is the kingdom not fully realized until the second coming… [ELABORATE]
oThis is the future state of what God promised when Christ died on the cross
oWe are to be watchful, anticipating Christ’s return
How does the “now” kingdom of God impacts our lives today?
•We are shown how we should live by Christ’s example
•We are given spiritual gifts to serve the kingdom
•Our focus should be on serving God now
Paul provides insight into this in his first letter to the church at Corinth, “In Christ you are enriched in every way. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of Christ’s return (1:5-8)
What does Paul mean when he says we will be blameless on the day of Christ’s return?
•Christ died for our sins to make us blameless
•It is not because of our great actions or deeds, but through Christ that we are blameless
How does the “not yet” aspect of the kingdom give you hope that this sinful and broken world will one day be put right?
•Repentance of sins leads to forgiveness
•God’s unwavering grace for all of us
Luke captures this idea in a statement made to his disciples after his resurrection, “The Messiah is to suffer and rise from the dead so that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations… you are witnesses of these things (24:46-48)
What are we to do as witnesses of these things?
•Have faith in Christ
•Have hope in the salvation to come
In the book Anatomy of Hope we read that “hope gives us the courage to confront our circumstances and the capacity to surmount them… [ELABORATE]
Story of Gabby Giffords, the Congresswoman who was shot…
Where do we find hope in this scripture today?
The final dissolution of this world…it is coming shortly
The visible reappearance of Christ…we do not know when
The gathering of the elect…watch and pray
See, there is a difference between hope and faith. Hope rises in our will to achieve and our desire to change. But faith originates in our understanding.
Mark warns us to have faith as we anticipate the coming kingdom… and his warning seems clear…
oStand firm in faith and not be misled by false prophets
•Responsible to stay awake [ELABORATE]
oBe morally alert and obedient to God’s word
•Warn others of Christ’s coming judgment [ELABORATE]
oDon’t be afraid to tell others about Christ
… and we better not get caught sleeping on the job.
We can anticipate that someday the kingdom will come, on earth as it is in heaven… until that day comes, we are to watch, wait, and prepare.
If Jesus were to return tomorrow, are you prepared to meet your savior?
Close in prayer.