Advent: A Season of Preparation
November 27, 2014 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
When we think of Advent we naturally think of the birth of Christ. Historically, though, the attention of the Church during Advent has been on the second coming of Christ. By learning from the Old Testament longing for the coming of Messiah, the Church grows in its longing for the second coming. If we looked closely at the New Testament we would find that the early church was marked by a “looking” for the second coming of Christ. Paul describes Christians as those “who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). Can we be described in this way?
This Advent at Oak Hills we want to grow in our love for the appearing of Christ. What does this love look like? Let me give you a brief snapshot at what we will be considering over the next four weeks:
1. Being of Good Courage. For Paul, the hope of Christ’s return gave him strength to endure hardship (see. Rom 8:18, 2 Cor. 4:16-17, 5:6; 2 Tim. 4:6-8). Paul understood that something greater was coming with Christ… greater than anything promised in this life. This hope helped Paul see the pains of this life as “slight” and “momentary.” A Christian who loves the appearing of Christ is always of good courage, even in the midst of trial.
2. Purifying Yourself. For the apostle John, the promise of Christ’s return provided motivation to pursue holiness (see 1 John 2:28-3:3). This is not a motivation of fear, but of joy and excitement. John wants to be like Christ and celebrates the promise that we will “be like him” (1 John 3:2) when Christ appears. This longing purifies the Christian because it trains our hearts to disdain the lesser pleasures of sin. A Christian who loves the appearing of Christ strives to purify himself.
3. Rejoicing with Inexpressible Joy. For Peter, the second coming of Christ marked the consummation of our salvation (see 1 Peter 1:3-9). Having been born again to a living hope, the Christian is marked by other-worldly joy. We have tasted and seen that the Lord is good… and so much more good is coming. A Christian who loves the appearing of Christ rejoices daily.
4. Watching for the Coming of Christ. Jesus spoke a lot of his second coming. Most of his attention was on the final judgment (see, for example, Matthew 24-25) and being prepared. Underlining the urgency to be prepared is Jesus’ teaching that no one knows when he will return. Therefore a Christian who loves the appearing of Christ diligently watches in preparation for Christ.
Let us be a church which loves the appearing of Christ.