Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The 4 Advents of Christ

Advent = a coming;  a (notable) arrival

Advent Season = weeks leading up to Christmas
Today = the 4 Advents of Christ.

#1.  His First Coming = the coming of Messiah (Christ), not of God!
Messias (Hebrew) --> Christos (Greek) --> Christ (English) - (The Anointed One) - the One that God would send, would call, would enable to save all mankind, (not to deliver from Rome)

He came - AS predicted (prophesied/foretold)
But NOT as expected!!!
Matt. 1:22-23 - incarnation - He came as a man (God in the flesh)
Matt. 1:21 - save from sin(s) - called Immanuel = God with us in the flesh

#2.  His Second Coming = His Return ... bodily, visibly (we'll be able to see Him),  in glory
(to establish His Kingdom/ to Rule/ to usher in Eternity)

Christians been waiting 2000 years for His 2nd. coming!!!
But --- Jews waited that for the 1st. Coming!!! - But, eventually He came --- in God's timing!!

Meanwhile we live in the " 'tween time"
So, a look at 2 less celebrated Advents....

#3.  His Visitations - John 14:18 (I will be with you)  Matt. 28:20 (I am with you always),  Heb. 13:5  ( will never leave you or forsake you)

From time to time He chooses to visit His people.
These tend to be:  (1)  occasional  (though He is "with your always!")
                            (2)  Personal - (rather than to the whole church)
                            (3)  Under-whelming   (simple/subtle/quite/easy)

Question:  Have you ever sensed His Presence?  His touch?  Activity?  Involvement?

Have you ever longed for the above?  Asked for the above?

This = "Spirit of Advent" - examples:  lyrics to "O Come, O come Immanuel", "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus"

Examples of Visitation Prayers:  Come, Lord, and.........
         #1.  deliver from oppression, from harassment, from bondage, from enslavement
maybe for 'self, maybe for another.
         #2.  (closely related) - heal - physical, emotional, relational!!  Most suicides due to emotional issues.
         #3.  Establish justice - which = "make things right!!"  (like they ought to be)

*we don't always get what we pray for/prefer.
So.... additional prayers........
"Lord, in the absence of delivery, healing, justice...
(1)  Grant Strength  ( to continue, endure) IN SPITE OF.....)  ie:  be faithful
(2)  Grant Comfort - in MIDST of....
(3)  Grant Assurance - in the absence of the sense of Your presence...

Along with that..........
(4)  Grant Wisdom   (that I might know)
(5)  Grant Light   (that I might see)
(6)  Transform  (me/those I love)
(7)  Establish Your Kingdom as far as is possible in a  (a) fallen world  (b) with free will 
(8)  Judge which = "respond to evil/Right wrongs!"
(9)  Make Yourself Known

NOTE:  Not necessary to experience His Presence to be Aware of His Visitation!!

Sometimes  (a) you Know He's at work .... regardless of sensation
                   (b)  You see it in retrospect!!
                   (c)  You may not see it at all!!!  BUT ... you know it's so!!!

4th. Advent???

(4)  HIS ENTRY - ie:  to your heart's throne!!

Illustration:  Rev. 3:20 - this = a coming to His Own!   ie:  your HEART .... but HIS THRONE!!  - He created it!  He designed it!  He died for it!

This may precede visitations.....
this may be result of visitations...

No matter... because question is:  (1)  will you hear the call?
                                                   (2)  will you open the door?   (invite Him in?)
                                                   (3)  will you relinquish the throne

As we approach Christmas, consider the 4 Advents....
Pre-Christian?  especially note #4 --- His Entry!!!!

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