1st Sunday of Advent!
A. I have here in my hand a tract that I printed off from online, AJudgement Day! May 21, 2011; The End of the World, Oct. 21, 2011!@
B. Read highlighted portions from the tract.
1. This date has come and gone!
2. But there are other predictions out there today, although they might be a little more controversial, so I stayed with this one!
3. Predictions are there, so surely the End is near!!
C. Advent is first and foremost about getting ready for the second coming of Christ! The term means Acoming@ or Aarrival.@ Are you ready for the End?
D. I think we are ready for our invitational hymn!
E. Oh, but wait, maybe I should read our scripture!
Matt. 24:36-44 & I Thess. 4:16-17
I. Nobody knows when!
ABut about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.@ Vs. 36 NRSV
A. Anybody holding a KJV Bible and have it opened to the scripture? What do you notice different?
ABut of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my father only.@
B. There is a reason that the KJV omits Anor the Son.@ During the time that the text was written, from which the KJV was translated from, there was a controversy going on within the Christian church; this had to do with Gnosticism and the docetist heresy.
1. Derived from the greek work Agnosis@ which means knowledge.
2. Gnostics believed they possessed a special mystical knowledge, reserved for those with true understanding. That knowledge was the secret key to salvation.
3. They believed all matter is evil.
4. A human being is somehow an eternal spirit that has been imprisoned in a body, so there final goal was to escape from the body.
5. The supreme being had no intention of creating a material world but only a spiritual one. The creation of the world was the result of an error caused by one of the spiritual beings who were created by the supreme being, so the world was a mistake and is evil.
6. But there are still Asparks@ of the spirit in it
7. There has to be a spiritual messenger to come and awaken the spirit within our bodies. For the Christian gnostics, this was Jesus Christ.
(The Story of Christianity, Vol 1, Gonzalez)
Deriving from this came the Docetist Heresy.
1. If Jesus is the Spiritual Messenger, he couldn=t have a real body; he couldn=t be really human because that would be evil.
2. His body must just be a ghost or in some way just look like a body! Or maybe it is just an appearance of a body!
3. They also denied the birth of Christ which would make him human and would give him a human body!
All of this was settled and the Gnostics and Docetist were declared heretics at the Council of Nicea and the Nicean Creed was formed that clearly states that Christ was fully God and fully human!
Read Nicean Creed. P. 880 UMH
C. The exclusion of the words Anor the Son@ from the KJV text is one evidence of this controversy. For the docetist to include the words Anor the Son@ here would be to admit the humanity of Christ! The texts the KJV were translated from were affected by this controversy and are therefore less accurate!
D. The texts that we have that were written at other times in history include the words, Anor the Son.@
1. This is significant!
2. If Jesus didn=t even know when the Son of man would return, it is foolishness for us to ever think that we can pin point the day and hour when Christ will Return!!!! The Big Secret is, We Just Don=t Know!
II. But we know, It will be sudden!
A. It will be as in the days of Noah!
1. Eating and drinking
2, Marrying and giving in Marriage
3. Life as usual!
B. There will be two in the field, one will be taken and the other left!
C. There will be two women grinding, one will be taken and the other left!
D. It will be like a thief in the night! Sudden and unexpected!
III. And we know, it will be a Good Thing!
A. One day, the Lord will descend from heaven, with the sound of God=s trumpet, and the dead in Christ will rise first, then those who are alive will be called up to meet him! I Thess 4:16-17
B. Aand so we will be with the Lord forever.@
1. The Early Christians, the ones to whom this was written, fully expected that Christ would return in their lifetimes!
2. They didn=t plan for an Earthly future because they didn=t expect one.
3. They didn=t plan for retirement. They didn=t save for one because they didn=t expect to live that long.
4. They didn=t invest in Earthly goods!
5. They just did the things that would prepare them for eternity and lived one day at a time.
6. They took this scripture to heart, be ready!
7. They didn=t understand there to be anything that had to happen before Christ came back! They expected it to be sudden and at any time!
8. They would have seen this as a positive thing, for Jesus to come back for them, they were ready!
C. Today, much of the preaching I hear about this is very negative.
1. When I was a teenager, our church took us to hear a movie entitled, AA Thief in the Night.@ It was about the end times, and it concentrated largely on what would happen to those who were left.
If I hadn=t already been a Christian, it would have probably scared
me to the altar, which is what it was designed for!
2. The Christian fictional series, ALeft Behind,@ is much the same in more recent years, and the track I shared with you earlier!.
3. They concentrate on the terrors of those who are left behind.
4. They are designed to scare someone into a commitment.
5. This isn=t a good way to move someone to serve the Lord!
D. But this is more about those who will be taken; they will be with the Lord forever!
1. This is like, is the glass half full or half empty?
2. One will be taken and get to go to be with the Lord forever! It doesn=t even mention here what will happen to those who are left, but they won=t go on to be with the Lord!
3. The Early Christians would have wanted to be with their Lord! They knew what it was like to be around Jesus!
4. Do you know what it is like to be around Jesus? Don=t you want to be ready when he comes again? It will be a good thing!
A. Remember, Advent is first and foremost about getting ready for the second coming of Christ! The term means Acoming@ or Aarrival.@
- We don=t know when, but it will be when things are going on just like usual. It will be at a time when we least expect it, but he will come back! Just as he came the first time, he will return!
C. Are you ready to be one who will be taken?
1. Have you excepted Christ as your personal Savior? God has made a way for you!
2. Christians, are you living for Christ every day like Christ could come tomorrow? Are you letting Christ reign in you?
a. We know today that maybe we should plan for a future here on Earth, just in case Christ doesn=t return in our lifetime.
b. But, with that realization, have we lost some of the urgency of living our lives so that we are ready for Christ=s second coming?
1) Do we read our Bible?
2) Do we serve the Lord with all we are and have?
3) Do we live honest lives, just like Christ could return before we get home?
4) Do we live our lives just like Christ is watching us every moment and could come at any time?
5) Are we really making Christ Lord?
c. Have we experienced what it is like to be around Jesus?
1) Have we gotten close enough to God to experience this?
2) If we live close enough to Christ we can!
3) Then we will be excited about the thoughts of Christ coming again, of being face to face with our Lord and Savior!
4) We won=t have to fear what will happen to those who are left, if we are ready!
D. That is what it means to be ready for the second coming! Then and only then will we be ready for the Second Coming.
1. Then and only then can we get excited about the thoughts of Christ coming again!
2. Do you need to come as we have our Invitational Hymn this morning? Do you need to get ready?