Today we will start a new series I am just simply entitling Advent.
The Word advent is used throughout Western Christianity to speak of the season of Christmas, as especially the commemoration of the birth of Jesus.
Baptist churches do not traditionally use the term advent in their worship, due to its association with a more liturgical worship style.
Baptists have historically had more informal unscripted worship style.
The word Advent means the arrival of a notable person, thing or event.
So by this title, Advent, I want to draw the attention to the arrival of Jesus both past, present and future.
this four week series will focus on how the arrival of Jesus answers our deepest longings in life: Our longing for Jesus to come anew into our lives; his arrival in Bethlehem answering our longing for God to move in our lives; Our longing for a Saviour, and finally the return of Jesus to make all things new.
We will see that the longings themselves are actually God’s gifts to us.
I hope that this series will call us to celebrate Jesus’s arrival and eventual return by considering the many ways he has fulfilled our deepest needs of Peace, Joy, Hope, and Love.
Today in this first week of this series on Advent, we are looking at Hope.
Hope is vital to human life.
Charles Spurgeon said, “Hope itself is like a star - not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.”
Today we are in this dark night of sin, so we hope.
In our passage this morning Jesus offers words of hope.
They were meant to encourage, even if at first it doesn’t seem that way.
But the truth of hope is boiled down in verse 27
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
At Christmas time, or Advent, we often focus on the birth of Jesus, but we do ourselves an injustice if we do not also speak of His return.
God is a God of hope and He calls us to look beyond the circumstances and trust again in His promises.
In this passage this morning I want us to see Five Glorious Aspects of Hope in these verses today.
I. Hope in the Midst of Chaos
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
We have a great privilege as Christians - We do not have to fret in the midst of the chaos of the world around us.
The Lord’s Second coming is foretold in these verses first by cosmic chaos.
The heavens, sun, moon and stars will be affected somehow.
I have heard others attribute this passage to the rapture, but I believe this is a confusion of the timeline of Prophecy.
This is speaking of the Tribulation leading to the Second coming of Christ.
People say, already we see changes in the atmosphere, but we have seen monumental changes in the weather before.
The idea of Climate Change causes many to run around in fear, but we know that there is Hope in God’s timeline!
He speaks of distress of nations - we have many wars and rumors of wars already.
But nothing compared to that in the end of the seven year tribulation.
With perplexity - uncertain disquiet - Anyone see that in the world today?
The sea and the waves roaring, if the signs in the sun and moon and stars happen, this could very well affect the waves and the sea.
We have seen a slight increase of tsunamis, however, I don’t think this is what it is talking about.
Although these verses do not speak of waiting for our Rapture, it is applicable.
I do not believe there are any signs we are waiting to see before Christ comes to gather us into the sky with those who have gone before us.
But in the Midst of the Chaos that is already around us, we can keep our Hope on the Lord Jesus Christ!
Which leads us to verse 27, and the application for us in this sermon...
Hope in the Person of Jesus
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
We can hope in the Person of Jesus Christ Himself!
We know who is coming…Yes there is chaos, yes there are signs of the times everywhere - but it is THEN that we shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory!
In the far fulfillment of this prophecy, they will see him coming to conquer and rule and reign for a thousand years.
In the soon coming —the application for us is this, we place our hope in the Person of Jesus Christ coming in the clouds and changing this vile body.
Verse 51 is the theme verse for our nursery - We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.
Our hope of that change is Jesus Christ!
We shall be like Christ!
And This thought leads us directly to the third glorious aspect of Hope in this passage is seen in verse 28: We
Hope in the Promise of Redemption
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Jesus told us when these signs come to pass, those who on earth at this time should keep their eyes on the sky above!
Because their Redemption draweth nigh.
During this time we will be redeemed already - we will be changed and with Christ during the Tribulation period.
But the redemption that draweth nigh speaks to the Redemption of those who believed during the tribulation.
As well as the redemption of the world leadership to Christ himself.
The redemption a world under terrible tribulation for the last 3 and a half years of the Tribulation period.
Now Jesus is come and He will rule and reign on earth for a thousand years.
For us, this verse has often been applied to the coming of the Lord in the sky, the Rapture.
Although it is not the correct interpretation, we can definitely apply it to our hope in the Promise of Our Redemption.
Jesus can come at any moment…what are you doing to be ready?
We have hope even in the midst of Chaos, because we have hope in the Person of Jesus Christ, Therefore we have hope in the Promise of the Redemption that He brings.
Now Jesus continues by giving the disciples a a parable of the fig trees.
In this we see that we...
Hope in the Realization of Signs
Let’s see the parable and the application now...
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
The parable is that just as we see the signs of the changing seasons, we ought also see the signs of the coming Kingdom of God.
There are clear signs that will be available to those who are on the earth before Jesus comes to establish His Kingdom.
For us, As we mentioned before I do not believe there are any signs that need to be fulfilled before the Rapture comes.
The Rapture is imminent.
It can happen at any time.
The Rapture of the church can happen at any moment!
So we live in this Hope of the realization of other signs.
We realize that the rapture is at the end of the church age, and the Bible warns that the condition, or even characteristics of of the church at the end of the church age.
The Bible says that there will be growth, but also a growing apostasy as the church increasingly departs from the faith.
We see evidences of this, and must be cautious not to allow this in our own church!
There are many signs relating to the end time program for Israel, but we need to be careful about relating them to us during the church age.
Rather the signs relating to Israel is God setting the stage to fulfill His plans for Israel.
However news of events or preparations in Israel are exciting when we realize it is all part of the over all plan of God for the end times.
When we see these signs of summer coming, realize Jesus is coming soon!
This brings me hope!
Hope that this life of trials and tribulation, of sickness and pain, of fear and doubt will soon be over!
We have so much to hope for!
And we have so much to hope in.
And then lastly I want us to see today, the fifth and final Glorious Aspect of Hope in these verses before us:
V. Hope in the Spirit of Watchfulness
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
The caution from Jesus Himself - is Take Heed to Yourself.