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Ho, Ho, Ho!

November 29, 2006

I’m continuing on into Romans 7 for a couple more weeks, so no traditional Advent sermons are happening at church.  So I’d thought I’d make this the Advent blog for a while and post some Advent sermon excerpts.  Here’s the first part of one from 1 Thessalonians on the Second Advent…

 

 

I have for some time observed that the second coming of Christ has considerably more prominence in the New Testament than it seems to have in our thinking.   But this week I read a statistic that drove this point home more powerfully than ever before.  Commentator Leon Morris records that the second coming of Christ is mentioned once every 13 verses from Matthew to Revelation.  

 

So during this year’s Advent and Christmas season we are seeking to grow in this spirit of longing for his appearing.  And this morning I’ve chosen to look at the doctrine of the second coming in a book where it is particularly emphasized, the book of 1 Thessalonians.  Every one of this epistle’s five chapters closes with a reference to the second coming of Christ.  And so those five references will be the outline of my sermon this morning.  

 

Let’s look first at chapter 1 where Paul gives thanks to God for the faith of the Thessalonians for, he says in verses 9-10, that the report has gone forth everywhere of  how they “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,  and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.   

 

Now I spoke last week of the wrath to come and how we must understand this if we are to understand the gospel.  This is what Jesus saves us from.   So I won’t say anymore about that now, but instead will call your attention to this word “wait”.  We see again that waiting, expectant and persistent waiting upon God is a synonym for saving faith.  The conversion of the Thessalonians is described as them becoming those who wait upon God.  Waiting for the return of Christ is here the opposite of serving idols.   Instead of pursuing the idols of our hearts, whether they be worldly riches or the pleasures they can buy, whether the praise or the respect of men, or security or control or perfectionism… instead of pursuing these things, we place our hope in Christ and we are content with him as our portion in this life and we wait upon Him to satisfy fully the desires of our hearts when he returns.  He is the only hope that will not disappoint, and the more we become convinced of that, the more we lose interest in worldly hopes and dreams, and the more excited joyful anticipation we feel for his return. 

 

Wayne Grudem writes this in Systematic Theology, “Do Christians in fact eagerly long for Christ’s return?  The more Christians are caught up in enjoying the good things of this life, the more they neglect genuine Christian fellowship and their personal relationship with Christ, the less they will long for his return.  On the other hand, many Christians who are experiencing suffering or persecution, or who are more elderly or infirm, and those whose daily walk with Christ is vital and deep, will have a more intense longing for his return.  To some extent, then, the degree to which we actually long for Christ’s return is a measure of the spiritual condition of our own lives at the moment.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 29, 2006 11:38 am

    Leon Morris records that the second coming of Christ is mentioned once every 13 verses from Matthew to Revelation.

    Wow.

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