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Advent The hour not known

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The hour not known

Advent

Morning Worship 14th December 2008, 9.30am

© Rev D Rudi Schwartz[1]

Bible Readings

Old Testament:                     Genesis 6:9-22

New Testament:                   Matthew 24:36-51

Hymns/Songs

                1.  Approach:                        “God Himself is present”

                2.  Forgiveness of sins:        “Joy to the world”

                3.  Thanksgiving:                   “Come, O Long expected Jesus”

                4.  Response:                        “Once in Royal David’s city”

Main Points

1.       Introduction

2.       Noah, the preacher of righteousness

a.        A Sermon of 120 years

b.       No one paid attention

c.        A corrupt people

d.       Mercy and grace

e.       Prepare yourself

f.         The hour not known

3.       Christ is coming again – really!

4.       Conclusion

 

1.     Introduction

Dear Brother and sister in the Lord, beloved,

Today is one of the Sundays on the church calendar referred to as Advent. Advent is the time of preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus to this world.

The prophet Amos was sent by God to warn his people of immanent destruction as a result of their sins and rebellion.  In his message he points to the compassion of God who constantly shows his mercies by letting the people know what his plans are.  He says:

Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared— who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken— who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:7-8)

The judgements of God therefore do not come as a surprise.  We can only be grateful that God deals with us in such a way.

2.     Noah, the preacher of righteousness

2 Peter 2:5 refers to Noah as the preacher of righteousness.


…if He did not spare the ancient world when He brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others… (2 Pet 2:5)

·         A Sermon of 120 years

We don't have the sermons of Noah recorded in the Bible. We can only say this:  in the one hundred and twenty years of building the ark, the years God waited patiently according to 1 Peter 3:20, every new piece of timber added to the ark, every beat of the hammer and every sound of the saws cutting the timber was a message in itself.

People would most probably ask this humble and righteous man. “What are you doing Noah?”  His reply would be, "I am building an ark because God going to destroy this generation by a flood because of their sin and unrighteousness.'' The people would laugh and scoff Noah. "Don’t be silly, Noah, how is it possible that God would do such a thing. We have watched the 50 year flood lines, and even the hundred year flood levels, no such a thing is recorded in history."

·         No one paid attention

Noah was a man of righteousness:  his walk before the Lord was in accordance with God’s revealed will.  He was a man mature in his walk with the Lord:  he was morally blameless, not lacking moral quality.   He walked with God. He dwelled with God and God dwelled with him.  He pleased God and God was pleased with him.

Noah, in his perfect and blameless walking with the Lord, would carry on building the ark. The people would see the progress on the ark, they would keep on asking “the silly old man” what he was doing, but they would not take heed. Life is too precious to waste your time on fabrications of an old man of nearly 6OO hundred years old.

Matthew 24:38 tells us that:

For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark.  (Matthew 24:38)

 There is nothing sinful about eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. However, the people do these things without any thought of God or the coming judgment.  The expression here in verse 38 refers to a lifestyle of hedonism and worldly enjoyment, without bringing into consideration the source from which eating and drinking and marriage come from.  It tells of a world living in total ignorance of God and rebellion against Him.

Indeed the very next verse speaks about it: 

“... they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:39)

·         A corrupt people

Those to whom Noah preached were corrupt.  They were depraved and perverse.  They were in a state of ruin and destruction.  They deserved God’s punishment. 

They knew nothing?  After all those years of preaching of Noah?  No, they did want to know.  They were too busy paying attention to their own affairs, pushing God out on the back burner of everyday life.  That’s why they were taken by surprise.

Are we any better in our present day western civilisation than the people in the time of Noah?  Can we be less godless and worldly?  Rev David Palmer, our church’s Convener of the Church and Nation Committee recently put forward the Bible’s position on abortion on a discussion webpage.  The attack was severe:

David, no-one is asking you to have an abortion. Kindly mind you own damned business and get your nose out of other peoples. Someone writes:

David seems determined to mind everyone's business as well as his own, and further, to enforce his morals on everyone else. You may well deny it, David, but you are an unfeeling, bigoted, bully who has decided what is right for the world, and everyone else can go to ….”

Another replied:     

David does appear to be a busybody.

How much of each woman's stress is due, if she decides an abortion is the best choice for her, to the ridiculous indoctrination during her childhood that we are all sinners and that what she has chosen is a sin. It should be her choice which of those should produce a child, if any, particularly on an overcrowded planet.

As defined in John Ralston Saul's book, The Doubter's Companion, "Moral crusades are public activities undertaken by middle aged men who are cheating on their wives or didling little boys. Moral crusades are particularly popular among those seeking power for their own pleasure, politicians who can't think of anything useful to do with their mandates and religious professional suffering from a personal inability to communicate with their god."

Question is, what then can be said about those who are part of the so-called majority who cannot care a hoot about morality?  Noah was one, add to that his family of 7; the rest was the majority – and the majority was not right!  They probably did not think anything of it when it started raining as the Lord had announced.  They could not make the link between their rebellion and moral corruptness and the flooding that occurred. 

Then there were the earthquakes and on one day God commanded the springs of the great deep to burst forth, together with the floodgates of the heavens which also were opened in the same time.  It was probably not before thousands drowned before someone thought about the righteousness of Noah and his family.  But they were now safe in the ark. Noah’s voice was silent.  The hammer blows could not be heard.  Just the hollow sound of buildings being pulled away in the floodwaters and people screaming for help.

·         Mercy and grace

But in his mercy and grace, God had sent the people a prophet: Noah, the righteous man.  He had prepared them for the judgement of God upon their depravity and corruption.   They hadn’t listen and did keep on living as if nothing was going to happen. 

·         Prepare yourself for the coming of God

Noah’s sermon was from the mouth of God who referred to “flesh” (Gen 6:13).  The word used describes the frailty of man.  He is but man who is perishable and bound to decay. They, the immoral, corrupt and depraved were nothing against the judgement of God.

·         The hour has come

When God’s hour is full and time has run out, there are no second chances.  Nothing flesh can come up with can stand against the fury of God’s judgment and wrath.  And the hardest of all:  time is against you.  The door is shut.  God has the right to shut and to open.  Not even the righteous Noah, who probably heard the cry of those overcame by the flood, and probably heard the knocking of those who wanted a second chance, could do anything to rescue them.  It was just too late. 

The righteous God, who loves and gives life, is also the One who is the God of judgement.  He desires the salvation of many, but He is not bound by their unrepentant hearts to wait until they feel like turning to Him.  He is indeed a sovereign God who hates sin.

·         Destruction on the hour not known

Then on a day (even Noah had not known the date at first, God however added another 7 days of grace) God commanded him to go into the ark. God locked the ark from the outside. Perhaps as the water level began to rise and the people realized what was happening and that the message of the silly old man was indeed from God, they pleaded with Noah to let them in into the ark of safety.  But God had locked it.  Time has run out.

3.     Not prepared!

Then the rain started coming down. The fountains of the earth burst open and water covered the face of the earth.  But God was faithful and the Bible tells us that God remembered Noah. It stopped raining and as God opened the ark again Noah was greeted with a new earth. Everything looked different. But the scoffing people were gone. They drowned in the flood of God's anger. They did not heed the message of Noah and time of grace ran out for them. 

It was a world-wide flood. A real danger we may look at what happened to Noah as a tale. This is what evolutionists want us to believe. With this, we don’t believe that the flood was a historical event that took place in a specific year on God's earth. We don’t believe that God really sent a flood that killed all the people, apart from Noah and his family. It is worthy to note that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself here speaking to the disciples, believed in the flood in the time of Noah. 

Today we believe evolutionists rather than the Word and because of that we don’t find it necessary to prepare ourselves for the day of the coming of our Lord. Fact is: if we don’t regard God's past judgment on the word to be real, we will not regard God's future judgment as real!

4.     Christ is coming – really!

Further, if we don’t take Noah for real, we will not take the birth of Jesus for real. How many people will sing the Christmas carols once again this year, even know it by heart, hear it in the shops, and participate in Christmas celebrations and the lot, without believing one single word about the birth of Christ and what it means!

Traditionally, we hear the message of Christmas during this time. However, advent has more to it than just the stories of the birth of Christ. We know the story of the birth of Christ in the manger in Bethlehem. Everyone can tell the story; we know it. The question is, “What difference does the message of Christmas make to our preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ at the end of times?”  Further, the prophets announced his birth as the King:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Do I worship Him as King?  Yes, the birth of Christ and the story of Christmas is not a fable, myth or a fairy tale. Therefore, it is a time for this world to prepare itself for the coming of the Lord. We cannot remain at the manger without moving on to the cross. And we cannot remain at the cross without moving on to the open grave and the ascension of our Lord. And then, logically, we need to move on to the return of Christ.

This world has an end. And that will be with the coming of Jesus Christ on the clouds of Judgment.

As we celebrated the Lord Supper last week, we did it with our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus. We, in the Lord's Supper, proclaimed the return of the Lord. We sat at the table and with wine and bread we thought of the blood and body of our Lord who died for us. But we also celebrated the coming of the Lord when we will be guests of the victorious Lord when we will sit at the table of the Lamb, dressed in white - a feast that will last forever.

5.     Conclusion

That's advent: to take heed from warnings of the past, to evaluate the present and to prepare for the future - to believe that Christ is corning again.

Point is: we don't know the hour. So, we must prepare, and we must be prepared.

 Are you prepared? Do you know Jesus Christ as Saviour? Are you ready to meet your Saviour? He is coming back. That's a fact.

It is only possible to meet Him if we are ready accepting Him and acknowledging Him as the One who met God's righteousness. Do you believe that? Then, give your life to the Lord.

Amen.


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[1]  Feel free to duplicate this file or quote from it.  The Name of the Lord be glorified!

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