2019 12 01 Gordon Green ADVENT-TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS
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ADVENT: TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS (Handout)

Hebrews 12:1-3

Redhill. 1 December  2019. Presented by Gordon Green

Today brings the beginning of a new season on the Christian calendar – the season of Advent. Advent lasts until Christmas. Advent means coming, arrival. Advent focuses on the three comings of Jesus—his coming to the world as a child, his coming to live in us, and his final coming as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. This first week of Advent looks to the future return of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  The color purple (or royal blue) symbolizes royalty—fitting as we begin Advent focusing on Jesus returning as King of kings and Lord of Lords.

Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour, but He is coming. “This is why you must be waiting, watching and praying, because no one knows when that season of time will come” (Mark 13:33). Advent is also about waiting but we don’t like waiting. And because we don’t like waiting we get impatient and easily distracted. When we get tired of waiting other things catch our eyes. As we wait for Christ what is our priority? Focus on Jesus.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in his wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His glory and grace.

 

The centre candle is white and is called the Christ candle. It reminds us throughout Advent that Christ is the light of the world and being in the center reminds us that Jesus is the center of the center.He should be our focus.

Why focus on Jesus? One major reason: Because that’s what the whole Bible teaches us to do.

 

Did you know the Father, the Holy spirit and the angels have their eyes fixed on Jesus. There are only a few places in the gospels where we find God the Father speaking audibly. And guess what?  Every time he points to his Son (Matthew 17:5). But not only the Father reveals Christ. The Holy Spirit does as well – in fact Jesus Christ is the only “thing” that the Spirit reveals (John 15:26, John 16:13-15). The Holy Spirit has come to reveal, to glorify, to magnify, to unveil, to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ. He takes what is true of  Jesus and makes it real and alive in our lives. That’s what he is focused on. You could say that’s what he does for a living.

But wait there is more.Did you know that the Father has placed all the divine fullness into Jesus? (Col 2:9)”In Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” And the angels set their eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 1:6). But there is more. Christ created the entire universe “ by him all things were created that are in heaven….” “And because of God’s unfailing purpose, this detailed plan will reign supreme through every period of time until the fulfillment of all the ages finally reaches its climax—when God makes all things new in all of heaven and earth through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:10).Wherever you look you see Jesus Christ – if you look carefully, you see his imprint.

“Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

Tertullian the North African theologian (ca. 160-ca. 220) said that Christ pervades the world in the same way as honey in the comb. Ie Christ saturates, infiltrates, permeates, infuses, fills  everywhere. Ephesians 4:10 “ he who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.”

And still there is more. The scriptures also focus on him. Jesus said “You have your heads in your bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.”

 

The New Testament writers often quoted from the Old Testament but they were reading the Old Testament scriptures through the lens of Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17). “We ought to read the scriptures with the express design of finding Christ in them.” John Calvin

Charles Spurgeon: “From every town, village, and little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London… and so from every text in scripture there is a road to the metropolis of the scriptures, that is Christ. Your business is, when you get to a text, to say, ‘Now, what is the road to Christ?’” “I have never yet found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it.”

But there is more. The New Testament focuses on Jesus Christ. In acts we read that Luke wrote that his gospel was all about what Jesus Christ began both to do and teach. Acts is the continuation of what Jesus did and taught thru his church – his body. After the day of Pentecost the church in Jerusalem continued steadfastly in its teaching. But what was it’s teaching? Imagine the scene. 3000 people have just been baptised. Tomorrow the apostles will start teaching the new converts. What will they teach them? How to live a good life? The mark of the beast? End times prophecy? The 7 Laws of Success? Divine healing? Creation versus evolution? Leadership principles? Spiritual warfare? Health and Wealth? How to have a happy marriage? Child rearing principles? Listen to what the apostles actually taught the early Christians in Acts 5:42 “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. They were teaching and preaching Christ Jesus.”

The New Testament writers were completely focused, concentrated, absorbed, consumed with Christ. He was their message, their teaching, their proclamation, their very life. And everything else flowed out of intimate fellowship with him. There are many other scriptures.

What is your main focus in life?  Whatever you are spending most of your time focusing on you will find yourself talking about most of the time. Out of the heart the mouth speaks. We focus on things – on “its”. Some are good things, religious things. But Jesus Christ is pushed into a corner. We have just got a taste today that Jesus is everywhere. Scriptures testify of him. The Father exalts him, the Holy Spirit magnifies Him. The early church knew Him as her passion, her message, her focus of her life.

As we wait for His coming and His Kingdom in its fullness it is easy to become so distracted, and enthralled by things. Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians because they had become distracted from Jesus. They were focusing on other things, even religious things. But he implored them to “Set their heart on things above where Christ is….Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” In Colossians 3:11 he wrote “It is Christ that means everything as he lives in every one of us!” “Christ is all and is in all.” JC Ryle wrote; “Christ is all. These 3 words are the essence and substance of Christianity. If our hearts can really go along with them, it is well with our souls. If not we may be sure we have yet much to learn.

Ask God to open your spiritual eyes so you may see Jesus like you never have before. We need to see with spiritual eyes. Once our eyes are opened to see the incredible richness and captivating beauty of Jesus Christ our other interests will take a backseat or we will see them differently (Don’t expect lightning and don’t put a time to it, but the Holy Spirit will sneak up on you and there will be sudden realisation….”)

Prayer: Father strengthen me to live a full life; enable me to not take my eyes off your road. Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders. Guide me, lead me. My soul is starved and hungry— insatiable for your nourishing commands. I’m absorbed in pondering your wise counsel. Holy Spirit give us an ever widening, deepening insight and revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ and upon receiving such revelation I prayer that we will fall in love with Jesus so that he becomes our complete focus.

 



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