|Create Date||January 2, 2019|
|Last Updated||January 2, 2019|
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ADVENT 2ND WEEK – ANTICIPATION
CHRIS KHOURY - SERMON SUMMARY - 9/12/2018
ANTICIPATION! Something we all experience. Good or bad. 2000 Years ago the people of God were anticipating the coming of the Messiah. None of OT prophets had provided the full picture. Enter John the Baptist. Son of Jechariah, a priest in the temple. His ministry about the coming of the Messiah was unique and detailed.
Today on this 2nd Sunday of Advent we will focus on the important ministry of John the Baptist in preparing the way of the Lord. We will also see the parallel of how God has invited us to participate in preparing for the coming of the Lord.
MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST: God sends an angel, Gabriel to tell Zechariah the priest about the birth of a son who was to be named John. LUKE 1:16-17 After the baby was born - inspired by the Holy Spirit Zachariah spoke these words. LUKE 1: 76-77 It was also prophesied in MALACHI 3:1. What a special ministry was predicted for John.
LUKE 3:1-3 John the Baptist prepares the way.
Luke is being very specific about the time that this happened. It was only after Christ that we started counting years in BC and AD. John began his ministry around about AD 27/28. He was about 30 years old.
THE TIME HAD ARRIVED: LUKE 3:3-6 After years of Roman domination for the Jews in those days, personal survival was their highest priority. Although the Jews had routine religious activities - the Word of God was not guiding their daily living. John called on them to repent, to turn back to God- he followed up with a rite of baptism. This baptism in water pictured their cleansing through God’s gracious forgiveness. John knew his role was to point the people to Jesus who was soon to appear - not to himself. John was to participate in the baptism of Jesus. He did not need to be baptised, he had no sin, but it was necessary for all of us.
Today believers continue to participate in that baptism as a sign of their repentance and faith. As quickly as his ministry began it ended when John was arrested by Herod and locked in prison. His ministry had lasted no more than a year or two. (John 3:19-20) No greater prophetic work had ever been done yet he did not get to see the fruits of his ministry. At the whim of Herods wife John was unceremoniously beheaded.
MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH: Just as John participated in Jesus Christ’s ministry preparing people to receive Jesus - the church today and for the last 2000 years also has a ministry to announce the coming of the Saviour. But we too along with the rest of the people in South Africa are in many ways in survival mode. Everywhere we look, things seem to be breaking down. Because of corruption and misappropriation of funds and resources by greedy and unscrupulous people. It is estimated that as much as R1.3 trillion rands was missing from the Eskom utility. There are still some 4600 schools is SA that do not have running toilets. A small portion of those missing billions could have sorted out the problem.
POVERTY AND OPPRESSION OF THE POOR: An elite few are enriching themselves at the expense of the poor. It is morally wrong. The church needs to set the moral standard. To be the conscious of the nation.
It is not just SA that is suffering but globally - this world needs a Messiah!
SUFFERING CHILDREN IN YEMEN: 85,000 children under five years old have starved to death in Yemen. They’re the innocent victims of a famine caused by a senseless Saudi-led war. Another Yemeni child dies every TEN minutes.
ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHY: The world’s leading climate scientists have warned, we have only 12 years left to avoid climate catastrophe - 12 years!! We all feel it - wildfires, floods, heat waves. Climate change isn’t something for the future -- it’s happening. And it is going to get much worse.
This whole world is in survival mode. I don’t want to leave you all depressed and dejected. This is a message of HOPE! Of anticipation of something better. Of a future when their will be no more tears, pain, suffering. When Jesus will return and establish his Kingdom. As we count down the weeks to Christmas, to the celebration of the incarnation we, as the people of God do have a message of hope.
THE PEOPLE OF SA NEED THE GOSPEL: Sometimes we can wonder if our small congregation can make a difference. We never know what seeds are being planted. Just like the ministry of John, perhaps we will not see the fruits of our labors. Let us never forget this is the work of God.
EXAMPLE OF THE CHURCH AT PHILIPPI:
PHIL 1:3-6 The Oxford Companion Bible Commentary says this about the church at Phillipi. “ It was first housed in Lydia’s home. Despite small beginnings it grew and became an active Christian community, evangelizing, sharing possessions even out of deep poverty and generously sending one of its own members to assist Paul in his work and to aid him when he was in prison.” They were not apostles or preachers but together they participated in the way that they were gifted by the Holy Spirit. They faithfully fulfilled their calling and mission to make disciples.
Their emissary, Epaphroditus almost died in carrying out his appointed task to visit Paul.
The congregation experienced both joy and sorrow as they joined Jesus in ministry.
MANY PARALLES BETWEEN THEM AND US: They were also a small church. But they partnered with Jesus, their efforts made a difference. Let us not become wary in well doing. PHIL 1:7-11
CONCLUSION: As we proceed through this Season of Advent ours is a ministry of participation with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist prepared the Jewish people for the coming of Jesus. We (the church) have the task of preparing the whole world for the 2nd coming of the Savior. It all started with the incarnation.