The First Sunday in Advent

November 28, 2021

I Corinthians 1:3-9

As the Advent Children of God—

We Eagerly Wait for Our Lord

Jesus Christ to be Revealed!

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.  For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you.  Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.  (NIV1984)

 

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

You and I are now in that time of the year when many people have shifted into their “eagerly waiting mode.”  For example, children are eagerly waiting for Christmas to arrive.  They may have already given their parents and their grandparents a Wish List of all the toys or all the electronics they hope to find wrapped under the Christmas tree.  Many stores are so eager for the Christmas sales to start that they usually don’t even wait, do they.  They put up their Christmas decorations and put out their Christmas merchandise even earlier than ever before.  And yes, sadly there are usually a few people who are eagerly waiting for Christmas to be over.  They allow themselves to get all tangled up in all the hoopla surrounding Christmas, they allow themselves to get distracted by parties and pressures, by gift exchanges and holiday expectations and they end up losing sight of what Christmas is all about!

 

As Christians you and I are also entering into a special season of the year.  It is indeed a season of waiting.  It is the season of Advent.  Over the course of the next four weeks we are going to follow a sermon series that enables us to look at four different aspects of what we are waiting for as the Advent children of God.  Today, as we begin this sermon series, let’s see how these words of the apostle Paul remind us that:  As the Advent Children of God— We Eagerly Wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be Revealed!

 

As you may recall, the season of Advent gives us the opportunity to focus on both Jesus’ first Advent into this world, namely Christmas, as well as His second Advent into this world, namely Judgment Day.  Therefore as we study these inspired words of Scripture this morning let’s look at them from those two different perspectives.  First, let’s see how these words of our text remind us that as the Advent children of God we eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed once again at Christmas.  Then let’s see how these words of our text remind us that as the Advent children of God we eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed on Judgment Day.

 

As the Advent children of God we already know what Christmas is all about, don’t we!  Christmas is all about the virgin birth of the Christ-Child!  Christmas is all about the birth of the One who is both the true Son of God and the true Son of Man!  Christmas is all about the fulfillment of God’s promise to send this world a Savior from sin!  And so yes, my friends, as the Advent children of God we eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed at Christmas-time no matter whether we are celebrating Christmas for the very first time or for the hundredth time!

 

But why?  Why do we eagerly wait to celebrate Christmas each and every year?  The Holy Spirit answers that question when He has the apostle Paul say to us in the opening verse of our text, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

We eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed in our celebration of Christmas because Christmas reminds us of how the “grace” and the “peace” of God became our personal possession!  “Grace” is the “undeserved love” that the God of heaven has for each and every one of us.  When the Lord Jesus Christ was “revealed” to this earth on that first Christmas Eve, all of God’s grace, all of God’s “undeserved love” for all of mankind was embodied right there in the little Child of Bethlehem.  Paul brings out this aspect of God’s amazing grace when he reminds us of why the Lord Jesus Christ was “revealed” to this world at Christmas.  In 2 Corinthians 8:9 Paul writes, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”  No matter how many times we celebrate Christmas, my friends, when we stop to remember that through faith in what the Christ-Child has done for us we inherit the eternal riches of our heavenly Father’s Home, when we stop to remember the “grace,” the “undeserved love” that Christmas brings to us, as the Advent children of God how can we not “eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” each and every Christmas!

 

At the very same time, we “eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” at Christmas because each and every Christmas proclaims to us that glorious message first announced to the shepherds by the Christmas angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)  Christmas reminds us that the Lord Jesus Christ was “revealed” to this world for one singular purpose— to re-establish “peace” between God and mankind, to re-establish “peace” between heaven and earth.  How did the Christ-Child re-establish “peace” between God and us?  You know the answer to that question— through His perfect life, through His innocent suffering and death on the cross and through His physical resurrection from the dead!  That is why the very first words that the risen Christ spoke to His fear-filled disciples in that locked room on Easter Sunday were, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19-23)  Because the Christ-Child came into this world to bring us true lasting “peace”— “peace” that is based upon the complete forgiveness of all of our sins, “peace” that guarantees to us a glorious eternity, as the Advent children of God how can we not “eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” each and every Christmas!

 

While the middle portion of our text does indeed contain some very important truths, in keeping with our sermon theme for today I would like to direct your attention to the closing two verses of our text.  Paul writes, “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”

 

Because the season of Advent gives us the opportunity to remember that we are waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ to be “revealed” to this world on Judgment Day, these words of our text remind us of three reasons as to why we “eagerly wait” for that glorious event to take place.

 

First, as the Advent children of God we “eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” on Judgment Day trusting that no matter how long we have to “wait” our Lord will “keep us strong to the end.”  How does the Lord keep us “strong to the end”— no matter whether we are talking about “the end” of our lives or “the end” of the world as we know it?  There are two ways in which the Lord keeps us “strong.”  The Lord keeps us “strong to the end” through His holy Word and His holy Supper.  As we read and study God’s holy inspired Word, here in church, in Bible class, in Sunday school and in our homes, the Lord Jesus Christ is not only “revealed” to us in greater and greater clarity, but the Lord Jesus Christ also uses His Word to “strengthen” our faith.  The same holds true in the celebration of the Lord’s holy Supper.  Not only is the Lord Jesus Christ “revealed” to us in a unique miraculous way every time we receive His true body and blood in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, but this is the spiritual “food” that our faith needs to remain “strong to the end.”  That is why it is so very important for us to come to church, to receive Holy Communion, to come to Bible class and to bring our children to Sunday school as often as we possibly can.

 

Secondly, we eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” on Judgment Day because we know that on that day we will stand before the Living God Himself — “blameless”!  The Greek word which is translated here as “blameless” very literally means, “beyond reproach” or “without fault.” Take a moment to digest what the Holy Spirit is saying to you here, my friends.  Humanly speaking, how many of us can be described as “blameless” or “beyond reproach” or “without fault”?  Humanly speaking I certainly do not fit that description— and neither do you!  Then how can we eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” on Judgment Day?  It all comes down to— the cross!  (Pointing to the cross)  Through faith in what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross of Calvary’s hill we are “blameless”!  We are “beyond reproach”!  We are “without fault” — because we are “justified”!  We have been “Declared:  Not Guilty!” by God Himself!  That’s why we can eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” on Judgment Day!  Purely by the grace of God we know that the One who declared from the cross “It is finished!” is indeed the One who will “keep you (us) strong to the end, so that you (we) will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

And finally, as the Advent children of God we can “eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” on Judgment Day because as Paul assures us in the closing verse of our text, “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”  If we had to depend on ourselves for our own salvation— our own strength, our own intellect, our own abilities, our own works— then we would certainly not be able to “eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” on Judgment Day.  Praise the Lord that as the Advent children of God we don’t depend on ourselves for our salvation!  Praise the Lord that as the Advent children of God we depend on Him and on what He has done for us!  (Pointing to the cross)  Praise the Lord that as the Advent children of God we depend on the fact that He is “faithful”!  Because we can and do depend on our Lord and on what He has done for us, because we can and do depend on the fact that our God is and always will be “faithful,” then as the Advent children of God we do indeed eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” on Judgment Day!

 

Advent.  The season of Advent is indeed a time of waiting, my friends.  My prayer this morning is that we will take to heart how these inspired words of our text assure us that as the Advent children of God we eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  We eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed at Christmas because Christmas reminds us of the “grace” and the “peace” that we have received from our God through the Child of Bethlehem.  We eagerly wait for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed on Judgment Day trusting that He will use His holy Word and His holy Supper to keep us “strong to the end,” trusting that through faith in what He has done for us we will be found “blameless,” “beyond reproach” and “without fault,” trusting that because our God is “faithful” we can eagerly wait for Him to be revealed!

 

To God be the glory!

 

Amen