Come Again? 1st Sunday of Advent - Hope

Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Matthew 10:16-22 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. [17] Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, [18] and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. [19] When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. [20] For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. [21] Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, [22] and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Advent Reading – The Advent Reality by Dr. Stephen Isaac There is perhaps nothing we modern American Christian people needed more than to have our misdirected and comfortable faith genuinely shaken up. In 2021, many of our worst fears indeed happened. Where life is difficult, we truly sensed and felt its difficulty; where life is uncertain and unstable offering no logical answers and challenging our biblical foundations we walked through it. Though we did not want the adversity and sorrow - it still came our way and our world at Reunion shook and trembled. The loss and grief for loved ones among us was at times all that we could bare, and even more.

As a result some stepped forward in their faith and became more trusting and committed to God and to His Church - while others stepped back from faith and became fearfully and angrily invisible - we grieved losing them as well. Even still… we needed to know and experience this too, we needed to endure it to whatever the end. We asked why God sent us into this time, why He sent this whirlwind of suffering and loss over the earth, why He seemingly kept us in this chaos where all appears hopeless and dark, and why there seems to be no end in sight. The answer to this question of course has many layers, but starts with the fact that we are living on earth in an utterly false premise and delusive security. Did God do this? Did God allow this? Or, has the destructive and evil devices of man continually struck the earth and its inhabitants until we once again became aware of God’s existence and His sovereignty. Faith and belief have both been shaken and shattered; not to beat us into submission with fear, but to teach us one thing – the moving and being moved by the innermost presence of God’s Spirit is still what gives new life and hope to His Creation.

With the evidence all around us, can we not acknowledge that we have stood arrogantly on this earth in false pathos (emotions and feelings), in false security; in our spiritual

delusion we really believed we could with the power of our own hand and mind bring the stars down from heaven and light the flames of eternity into a world set with it’s own expiration date. That people of true faith have followed the man-made delusion is a certain heresy. We foolishly believed that with our own will and human force that we could and should be immune and undeserving of the dangers of suffering, and that by our own authority and entitlement we could banish the darkness of night. We believed we could harness and control everything in and around us and then fit it into a final order that would stand permanently because we told it to.

Here then is the hopeful message of Advent Reality: face to face with Him who is both First and the Last, the world will continue to shake. Only when we do not grasp tightly to false securities and spiritual delusion will we clearly see the truth about all things. The times and seasons persuade us to say, “It has been night, a long and dark night; but before us is the light that is the evidence that the darkness is now over - it is time to make preparations for the day.” People of God, resolved to a spiritual readiness for a real Advent, requiring real faith. A people who have been shaken and tested by the onslaught of darkness and grieving the loss of loved ones gone before us, emerging from the brink with the knowledge and awareness that those who did not abandon their trust in the Lord will be preserved by the Lord, even if they are relentlessly tempted and tried from the prince of darkness here on earth.

The Advent reality comes out of an encounter of mankind with the absolute, unmovable, the eternal gospel of the coming Christ. It becomes the absolute, unmovable, and eternal Word that shakes a world of rebellion, rejection, and apathy so that in the end the world can be saved by its profound impact. Then the great question to us is whether we are still capable of being truly shaken or whether we have just become hardened and dead to that which we know should not be and must not be.

How many things have we become tolerable to in the course of the years, of the weeks and months, so that we stand un- responsive, uninspired, inwardly unmoved.

Advent is a time when we ought to be shaken and brought to the reality of ourselves. The necessary condition for the fulfillment of Advent is the renunciation of the pretentious attitudes and self-serving dreams in which we always build ourselves imaginary and virtual worlds. This awestruck awakening is most certainly part of experiencing Advent reality. But at the same time there is much more that belongs to it.

Advent is blessed with God’s promises, which constitute the hidden joy and happiness of this time. These promises illuminate our hearts and dispel the darkness. As I sit in my library and close my eyes I see the faces, hear the voices, feel the presence of those I love who have now experienced the peace and glory of the eternal Christ this past year. It has caused me to see the Advent this year with greater intensity and reality than ever before. Even after all these years of celebrating Advent season, I have a new and different understanding of God’s promise of redemption and release.

The sorrow and grief of these times would be unendurable unless we were continually encouraged and set upright again by the eternal promises that are spoken to us and for us. The ministering angels speak their message of hope into the anguish, reflecting the One and True Light that will one day end this present darkness once and for all. Quietly they bring His peace and proclaim to us the Advent promise of God, for whom nothing is impossible.

Let’s live then in today’s Advent, for it is the time of promise. Those who are spiritually awakened sense the working of the other powers and can await the coming of their hour.

Surely there is still shaking to come - our dark-world is still filled with the noise of social deception and racial hostility, political corruption, greed, destruction, disease, sickness, and annihilation, the sinful shouts of self-assured narcissism and arrogance, the weeping of despair, and helplessness.

But just beyond the horizon there shines on us the first glimpses of light of the radiant fulfillment to come. In the distance there are increasing sounds of what seems to children singing and communities of faith worshipping but not yet discernible as a song or melody. It is still a ways off but getting closer, only just announced and foretold. But it is happening. This is today. And tomorrow the angels will tell what has happened with loud rejoicing voices, and we will know it and be glad, because we have believed and trusted in the Advent of Christ.

Advent Candle – (Light the first purple candle to your right and invite all to read together)

We light the candle of Hope because we believe in the Advent of our Savior and deliverer Jesus Christ! Thought the world be shaken we will not be moved. Until He comes we diligently seek Him for He is the light of the world – Christ our Redeemer is coming again!

About Reunion Community Church

We are a Bible teaching Christian church in Peoria, AZ. We love God and teach His Truth. We invite you, your family and friends to join us on the faith journey, growing closer to one another, the Christian community of believers at Reunion, and most importantly with God. Read more about the timeless Truth we build our lives and faith in Christ on HERE.

We are conveniently located just off the 101 on 83rd Ave and Cactus Rd. Join us on Sunday mornings, Weds. evenings, and throughout the week at our small groups, meeting in homes around the Valley, including Surprise, Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, Goodyear, Litchfield, and more. Connect with us on Facebook and watch our live streaming service on YouTube.

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