Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Advent 1- Sermon Notes

Luke 1:5-25
Advent 1- Sermon Notes
Take Away My Reproach
November 29, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

         Today is the first Sunday in the new Church Year. It is the time of year again where we recount the life of Jesus. This makes good sense since He is our life. The cycles of the year should revolve around the events of the life of Jesus and subsequently, the important events in our lives.
         For the last several years, we have made note of the days of the Church Year on our church bulletins. We want you to be aware of these important cycles as you structure your lives. This is especially important as the culture around us either ignores the Church Year altogether or trivializes it in a dramatic fashion. We live in an age in which the commercialization of everything makes everything seem like just another excuse to have a party.
         Well, we like to party. We are looking for a good excuse, too! But where is our heart? Our desire is to glorify God in all that we do. The Church Year gives us many reasons for celebration and rejoicing in the goodness of God through Christ. It is not just a reason to party but it is the best reason to party in the right way and for the right reason.
         Advent is the four Sundays before Christmas and marks our preparation for the coming of the Christ. In the Roman Catholic Church this is a penitential season of confession and repentance. We have not practiced Advent in this way and we have our reasons why we are opposed to penitential seasons in the church year.  
Regular repentance? Yes. We do this every week in our Covenant Renewal Worship service. Repenting for weeks or doing penance, as such?  No. But I do think it is appropriate to examine ourselves regularly asking the Lord to reveal sins, so that we are eager to see and receive Jesus when He comes in power.
         The arrival of John Baptist in a miraculous way was the precursor to the arrival of Jesus. His arrival as well as the arrival of the Christ were prophesied in the last Old Testament book, Malachi. In that book, we get a sense of the sorts of sins we should be aware of that brought both judgment and silence from God. These are the sins that brought reproach on Israel.
         The four weeks of Advent are said to represent the four thousand years from Adam to Christ. But there is another way to look at the four weeks. Thinking of Malachi, we see that the Lord had been silent among the prophets for four hundred years. John Baptist arises as an Old Testament prophet, the one spoken of in Malachi that will be the forerunner of the Christ. We can take each week as a reminder of one hundred years of silence from God due to Israel’s sin. This gives us an intense craving for the coming of the forerunner of Christ and the Messiah, Himself as God once again speaks to and redeems His people.

What were the sins of Israel that caused the Lord to go silent?

1.   The priests made profane sacrifices. They were supposed to bring animals without blemish but they did not do so. They brought the blind and lame and the sick without any concern about the holiness of God. This also shows a great neglect of God’s Word. They figured that whatever they offered was good enough. However, God had already spoken and they refused to hear and heed His Word.
Mal. 1:12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.  13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the LORD.  14 But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.

2.   The priests were tired of serving the Lord, causing many to stumble by their instruction.
Mal. 2:8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.  9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.

3.   Robbing of Tithes and offerings- The whole nation of them were robbing God.
Malachi 3:8 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.  9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

4.   Divorce and Unlawful marriages- putting away the wife of their covenant before God and marrying the daughter of a foreign god.
Mal. 2:11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.  12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts.  13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.  14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.  15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.  16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

5.   Slandering the Lord- by saying that the evil are good and that God does not do justice since the wicked prosper and God does not hold them accountable.

Mal. 2: 17 Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

No comments: