Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jesus Is the Light

Isa. 9:1-2, 6-7
One of the primary themes of Christmas is the entry of light! (when Christ came)

Shepherds - "glory of the Lord shone" - Magi - the star (unusual light) Simeon - Luke 2:30-32

Therefore, John 1:1, 4-9, 8:12, 12:46

"Light" (in scripture) represents all that is good, pure, right. ie: sight, understanding, truth, wisdom, prosperity, joy, health, moral uprightness, openness, holiness, etc.
The Person, Power, Presence of God is represented by light.

"Darkness" (in scripture) always has negative connotations!!
ie: ignorance, falsehood, folly, blindness, stumbling, groping, hiding, concealing, sneaking around, rejecting truth. Synonymous with evil, wickedness, sin, corruption, Satan, evil powers.
It's tied to judgment, banishment, death, separation, etc.
the 9th. plague - Ex. 10:21-23
5th. bowl - Rev. 16:10-11
3 hours on cross - Matt. 27:45
parables of Christ - Matt. 8:11-12, 22:13, 25:30
Fate of godless - Jude 6, 13

Light is the 1st. thing created - Gen. 1:1-3
then separated from darkness - Gen. 1:4 And at odds ever since!!
BUT, darkness will be banished from the Presence of God and God's people - Rev. 21:23-25, 22:5

MEANWHILE (between times....)

I. Christ offers us light. (broad application)
But includes the knowledge of right and wrong - to help us see and know things

II. Christ offers to deliver us from darkness.
Col. 1:12-13 (also has a broad application)

Suggests our problem is more than a need for knowledge
The Gospel message says that it means release from bondage (compare to Israel in Egypt - the information Moses gave regarding the Promised Land wasn't going to change their situation)

Our Part???? (also, your part - individually)
#1. Exposure to the light - seeking, pursuing. Mostly, God does not invade or force Himself on us. Example: the Magi
A. through His Word - Psalm 19:8, 119:105, 119:130
B. with His Presence (person) - Job 29:1-5 (a) - "with me" John 16:13 (a) - "all truth"
You cannot conjure up the Presence of God, but must seek it.

#2. Receiving light given. Rom. 1:21 - Light received increases light. Light rejected increases darkness.

#3. Accepting the Source of Light - (ie: Christ)
Therefore, it's more than propositional. It is personal. John 1:11-12 - received Him. Calling Him Savior and Lord.

#4, Living according to the light received. Eph. 5:8-15
Goes beyond accepting Him as Savior and Lord.

#5. Modeling the light - (closely related to #4)
Matt. 5:14-16 Phil. 2:14-15 - lifestyle should be such that we stand out as examples of a "light follower".

#6. Spreading light. Compare Acts 26:17-18

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 2nd. Advent

Christmas Prophecies fulfilled in Christ.
examples: Matt. 1:22-23, 2:14-15, 2:17-18, 2:23

Others deal with: birth, parentage, name, character, residence, ministry, miracles, rejection, suffering, betrayal, death, crucifixion, burial, resurrection, ascension.

BUT, not all have been fulfilled!! Isa. 9:6-7 Isa. 11:1-9
Answer? Solution? - these combine the 1st. and 2nd. coming in one prophecy!!

Jews expected Messiah to come once and fulfill all.
Therefore many rejected Jesus as the Messiah because He didn't fulfill them all.

Christians slowly realized that there would be two advents of one Messiah.
Luke 24:13-32
Acts 1:3-11 - same Jesus, He will come back!

Combining the teachings of Christ (pre- and post- resurrection) - Holy Spirit, Scripture, combined wisdom, unfolding events, etc... - Heb. 9:28

Back to Isa. 9:6-7 - Why in one passage??

So... the 2nd. Coming of Christ - are many ideas/theories/explanations.

What's Clear from Scripture?? What we can know!

#1. Christ will return - bodily, visibly, in power and glory - everyone will know
Matt. 24:26-27

#2. Nobody knows exactly when or how - Mark 13:32
But different from the 1st. time - Rev. 19:11-16

#3. He'll gather His people - Mark 13:26-27
Some come with Him, some meet Him

#4. There will be a Resurrection - reuniting of soul and body -- 1 Thess. 4:14-17

#5. He'll usher in eternity - a new age, new era, new life .... Rev. 21:4

#6. He'll establish His Rule over all things - 1 Cor. 15:24 He will establish Himself as LORD. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord.

#7. There will be a final judgment. Rev. 20:11-15

Do's and Don'ts for us concerning the 2nd coming.

#1. Don't be deceived/misled - Nobody knows exactly when/how

#2. Don't be discouraged - all will be put right at the right time/in the right way

#3. Do be aware/informed - concerning His coming

#4. Do be confident - (a) "soon" - relative term meaning in His time.
- (b) He keeps His word

#5. DO BE READY!! You will meet Him/soon

#6. DO BE FAITHFUL - the parables mean - doing your job?? Faithfully living day by day. We'll answer for that!
Rev. 22:20

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lessons from the Incarnation

Last week - His Advent (coming)
Today - His Incarnation - ie: God in the flesh, took on human nature
Matt. 1:18-23

Exactly how??? We're not told. But, we are told..... A. it's so, and, B. by the Holy Spirit --- Matt. 1:18/20
Luke 1:34-35 - foundational truth of Christianity

Compare: Isa. 9:6-7 John 1:1/14 - God Incarnate Col. 1:15/19, 2:9 image of the invisible God

Summary verse: 1 Tim. 3:16

Many truths/lessons .... so, here are a few....

The Incarnation helps me see...... (perceive, understand, glimpse)

#1. God's Character. Phil. 2:5-8
THE Almighty God, creator of all, omniscient, needs nothing, all powerful, absolute, complete, etc. ,
but He gave all that up to became a man.

#2. Our Model - John 13:12-16 - this is more than foot washing. Speaks of what we should be - Christlike - not me, me, me, even people who hate us and did us wrong.

#3. My Failure. (to live up to the model)
Measure self by Christ - Rom. 3:23 - we are short of what we should be.

#4. The Remedy (solution/redemption) Rom. 3:23-25 (a)

#5. The Reconciliation - Col. 1:19-22 - God wants a relationship

#6. My Helper (advocate/mediator/console-er/counselor/comforter/encourager, etc.
Heb. 2:17-18 Heb. 4:15-16 - He knows exactly what we go through.

#7. My Ministry - John 14:12 - what are you going to do with your life? We're talking about being used of God - scope of ministry.

#8. My Hope - 1 Thess. 5:9-10 Rev. 1:17-18
Christian hope is joyous expectation of what's to come!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Praying in the Spirit of Advent

Advent (Latin Adventus) means a coming/an arrival - celebrated the 4 Sundays before Christmas

Three aspects/applications:
1. we celebrate His coming
2. we anticipate His return
3. we call upon Him to come NOW - as You have come and will come again.

The point is not presence but it means activity (active presence) Judges 6:12-13
Acts 4:29-30

Advent prayer is "as you came and will come.. So come, now, and... make yourself known and do might works among us."

This is a common theme: Exodus, Judges, Exile, Macabees, Persecuted Christians
Therefore: Psalm 5:1-5, 7:1-2, 5-9, 10:1-3,10-12

So..... what should we pray and who to pray for???

I. WHAT??? "Lord, come now and ....

1. deliver your people - from oppression, evil, injustice, persecution
2. establish justice - make things right
3. bring healing - physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, social, political, racial, etc.
4. comfort - because healing is not always available!!!
5. Shed light - knowledge, wisdom, discernment, understanding; Contrast: darkness
6. grant salvation - save souls, reconcile, grant eternal life....
7. effect transformation of individual/ of society - change things
8. expand your Kingdom - "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done .... on earth.."
9. execute judgment (now) on sin, evil, wickedness
10. make yourself known - as in Advent 1 & 2

II. Who to pray this for??
1. yourself
2. other individuals
Lord, come and deliver (sin/drugs/emotion/ heal - cancer? comfort - save

3. a group - family, church, community, nation
"Lord, bring light, effect transformation, make Yourself known."

III. How should we pray? (an advent prayer?)
On one hand, God can't be manipulated or coerced.
But, He answers prayer so......

Components of an Advent Prayer
A Recognition of need.... of His presence, power, intervention
Point being, there's no need to call if: A. all's well and B. we can handle it. Which is why these kinds of prayers are not common in the U.S. We've got it so good!!!
Our nation is not going to turn around without a mighty moving of God!!

#2. A desire of the heart. (not ritualistically) You can't fake this. Isa. 1:10-15 - all external.

#3. Serious invitation "Cry out" Ex. 3:7-10 Judges 3:7-9

#4. personal preparation. example: John the Baptist - Mark 1:2-5,7-8
Why?? Amos 5:18-20 - When He comes, you want to be ready for His arrival.
Always before the Lord came, He looked for His people to prepare for His coming.

#5. A spirit of cooperation. ie: Are you willing to work with Him to accomplish what you pray for??? Examples: Exodus, Judges, Exile, Macabees

#6. Submission to His decision(s) (timing, methods, etc.)
Example: Hab. 1:2-6,12 (b) Example: deliver from Rome took 300 years of spreading the Gospel. God didn't do it the way they wanted it done, so they rejected their Messiah.

#7. the inclusion of Christ. This is more than a call for God to act. It is a call for Him to act through His Son, the person of Jesus Christ.