One of the most potent images in the traditional Christmas hymns is found in the song Joy to the World. Consider the power of the good news contained in the line “he comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found”. In our hearts, we long for blessings to flow where all that we have known in our world is the effects of the curse. We are ever aware of the far reaching, all-encompassing effects of sin, brokenness, pain, grief, injustice, and death. We see it all around us. We see it within us. We long for relief. We long for peace. We long for the blessings of God to reach into every crevice of our broken world and bring redemption and restoration as far as the curse is now found.
As we approach Christmas this year, our Advent series is an attempt to bring us into the tension of lament and longing as we mark the in-breaking of the kingdom of God in human history at Christ’s birth. Each week we will approach a theme traditionally highlighted during the time of Advent, in order to hear and understand from God’s word how the incarnation of the Son of God is God’s perfect plan to cause all the world to see his great glory through salvation (Luke 3.6).
Our hope is that in engaging these themes—themes that will feel at times counter to the sentimentality that often is expressed in the consumeristic experience of the Christmas season—our hearts will be trained as the people of God to look for, and long for the final in-breaking of the kingdom of the Son, in the day when he will return to make all things new, far as the curse is found.
We know and understand that our world is broken. We see the effects of sin’s curse reach to the farthest horizon of our world. How does God’s word teach us to understand the nature of the problem, the extent of the problem, and the true cause of the problem? In the first week of Advent we will be preaching Romans 5.12-14 to hear how God answers these questions. In doing so, we will be instructed in how to lament the brokenness of our world, and to long for the coming of Christ to bring his salvation.
Week 1 Texts:
From the beginning of the story God did not leave his people without a promise. Directly on the heels of man’s sin, God promised that he would one day crush the head of the serpent through the offspring of Adam (Gen 3.15). In the second week of Advent we will look at how God’s promise to bring salvation is the only true and lasting solution to the problem of our world. Our sermon text for this week will be Jeremiah 33.14-16 where God promises a new king who will execute perfect justice and righteousness throughout the whole world.
Week 2 Texts:
Understanding the nature of the problem and God’s promise to deal with the problem, we are called to live in a particular way as the people of God. We are called to not walk as the world around us, but rather to wait upon God and put our hope in him. This third week of Advent we will be preaching from Isaiah 8.11-22, looking at how to live in light of God’s promise.
Week 3 Texts:
In the final week of Advent, we will look at how God has fulfilled his promise in the giving of his Son. In the incarnation of the Son of God, the light of the world has dawned upon the darkness. We now rejoice and celebrate that God has fulfilled his promise, and that the Savior has come to the world. The sermon text for this final week will be Luke 2.1-21, looking to how God has demonstrated his faithfulness to his promise in the gift of Jesus. As we remember the birth of Christ in the season of Christmas, our hearts are trained to remember how God has perfectly fulfilled his promises, and trained to rejoice in the gift of salvation that is now offered in Christ.
Week 4 Texts:
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