Living in Light of His Coming – Luke 12:35-36

Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.

The theme of faithfully waiting and watching for Christ’s return is common in both the gospels and epistles. There are the parallel passages in Matthew 24:36-51 & Mark 13:32, as well as the parables of the virgins and minas (Matt 25:1 &Luke 19:12), just to name a few. Though the scriptures tell us that certain things need to happen before His return [i.e. destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 19:43-44), the revealing of the man of sin (2 Thes 2:3), & the preaching of the gospel to the whole world (Matt 24:14 & Rev 7:14)]; yet it exhorts us to have our hearts and minds fixed on the imminence of Christ’s return, and that for the following reasons:

1) Living in light of His coming keeps us from being anxious over the details of our lives here below.

“Let not your hearts be troubled.… In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. ..” (ff Luke 12:32 & Col 3:2)

2) It creates in us a greater anticipation for His coming.

2 Peter 3:12

“Looking for and hastening on the coming of the day of God..”

Knowing that we have no condemnation, and that our citizenship is heaven, we look forward to His coming with eagerness and great anticipation, and long for his appearing : “even so, come Lord Jesus.”

3) It enables us to maintain fervent love for Christ.

1 Peter 1: 8-9

Though you have not seen him, you love him. .”

God’s work in their lives has created a love for Christ and a longing to see Him.

4) It causes us to live Holy lives

2 Peter 3:11

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness..”

We are to live our lives in such a way that we would not be ashamed at His coming (1 John 2:28).

5) It calls us to be faithful stewards of our talents and possessions (Matt 25:21).

We are to be active and not passive in our waiting.

6) Finally, it gives us a sense of urgency about sharing the gospel with the lost. (2 Cor 5:10-11)

We will proclaim the free pardon that is available to all who believe on Christ, and the sure judgment that is to come on all who reject Him.

Take heart, dear Christian, our salvation today is closer than when we first believed.

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Luke 2:10-11 Twelve Joys of Christmas

“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

On a silent night 2000 years ago, likely in the spring time, while shepherds watched their flocks, they found themselves in the midst of an unexpected supernatural episode. Out of the calm evening sky, suddenly there appeared an angel from the realms of glory, accompanied by a shining light from the glory he radiated from being in the presence of the Holy One. Shepherds who were usually rugged men, familiar with fighting off hungry wolves, met something that evening more frightening than anything they would ever meet in nature. Theirs was the same response that every other human being has ever had upon encountering the Holy; these shepherds literally quaked at the sight of glories stream from heaven afar, to quote the popular Christmas hymn.

The only appropriate reply from the fearful angelic creature was, “Fear not.” (see also Gen 21:7, Dan 10:19). Not only did the angel tell the shepherds that they need not fear, but they gave the grounds for them to instead be joyful. ‘For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’ The long-expected Messiah had come, and rather than fearing, which was their natural reaction, these shepherds had every reason to now rejoice.

Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures the only appropriate response to anyone’s encounter with the Holy was to tremble. This was because of the inherent feeling of unworthiness that men feel in the presence of the Holy. Isaiah experienced this in his encounter with God (Is 6:1-5) as did Daniel (Dan 10:11). Augustine spoke of the Holy as causing him to be ‘a-shudder in so far as I am unlike it.’ Yet the message of this holy angel who visited the shepherd’s field was one of such great news, that fear was to be replaced by the only other appropriate response – that of joy.

When we think of joy, we often relate it to celebration and delight over certain circumstances of life. We can all think of days of our lives where we experienced great joy – the end of the school year, our graduation day, our wedding, the birth of a child – are some examples. Christian joy, however is something quite different. Christian joy is something that comes when we are hated, rejected, reviled and spurned – we are told in that day to leap for joy, for the great reward to be counted among those who are worthy of such persecution. (Lk 6:22-23). Christian joy is one that causes one to sell all he has in order seize the treasure (Mt 13:44). Christian joy will not only come in the future when we experience heaven itself, but is a present reality as we know that our names are written in heaven (Lk 10:19-20). Jesus told us that he spoke in order that our joy may be full (Jn 15:11).

On the day that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there was every reason to rejoice. The incarnation of God in human flesh gives us every reason to rejoice as well. This week meditate upon the incarnation of Christ and write down as many privileges, benefits, reasons, or purposes that the incarnation accomplished over which you can rejoice.

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[audio http://mp3.sa-media.com/filearea/122511845462/122511845462.mp3]

Luke 1:78-80 Light in the Darkness

“… Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The Old Testament ends with the prophet Malachi’s announcement of the promise of a coming prophet; yet we cannot help but notice the prophet’s final word, curse, ringing and echoing from generation to generation following Malachi, until the coming of the Messiah. For 400 years the Holy Spirit was silent; for 400 years we have no indication of any inspired word spoken by any prophet of God. The inter-testamental period or second-temple age was marked by divine silence, not unlike the nine months that Zacharias’ tongue was kept silent by God because of his unbelief (Lk 1:20). God broke His silence via the mouth of prophets when He at last loosed the tongue of Zacharias; after the birth of John, Zacharias prophesied (Lk 1:67), and so he did in the strictest sense of the word, as he foretold things to come concerning the kingdom of the Messiah, to which all the prophets bear witness.

As he prophesies about the ultimate mission that would be fulfilled by his son John, Zacharias preaches the very same gospel message that his son would go on to faithfully preach – that it is by repentance and remission of sin that one comes to the knowledge of salvation (Lk 1:77). That the kingdom of God is at hand and forgiveness and cleansing from our sins is available; that it is sin which stands in the way of salvation, and by which we are liable to ruin and condemnation. John the Baptist’s message called people to understand that, though miserable by reason of sin, their case was not hopeless, for pardon might be obtained through the tender mercy of our God (literally in the words of Zacharias – the bowels of God’s mercy, as the word is rendered in Greek). Also just as the true prophet would often do, Zacharias directs us toward the better times to come. The gospel of our salvation not only encourages us to hope that our sin shall be forgiven, but sets up a clear and true light, by which we may order our steps. But to you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings (Mal 4:2). Christmas is about light coming into the world (John 3:19). The great prophecy of Christmas from Isaiah chapter 9 begins: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined … For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. (Isaiah 9:2-7). Isaiah prophesied the incarnation of Christ in much the same way that Zacharias did in Luke 1:78 – the Dayspring from on high has visited us (v. 78).

The Gospel is made manifest by light, but that light more than just opens our eyes – it directs our paths; it guides us into the way of making peace with God – a peace we cannot know on our own (Rom 3:17). So, awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Eph 5:14).

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Luke 2:1-24 The Glory of the Lord

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

In Luke 2:19 we see the awe-stricken, pondering mother. This is a beautiful picture of a humble, trusting heart. Mary had been told that her child was of God, truly of God. Above all others she knew that the Messiah, the very Son of God, had now come. She had been through so much: pregnant, yet unmarried; the possibility of being found out and of rumors heaped upon rumors; the discussions with Joseph and with her parents; the long trip from Nazareth; the exhaustion of giving birth without help in a smelly stable; the visit of some rough looking shepherds with an amazing story of the heavenly host proclaiming the praises of God. Mary was tired, as weary and exhausted as a person could be. So much had happened, and she was at the very center of it all. No one could even begin to know the thoughts that had filled her mind for nine months, nor could anyone know the feelings and emotions of the experience. The wonder, the amazement, the astounding reality was too much to talk about. All she could do was continue in the humble sweetness that had so characterized her over the past months. She merely bowed once again in humble adoration to God and quietly entrusted all these things into God’s keeping. She said nothing, only pondered in her heart what was happening. God has also spoken to us in these last days through this very same Son Jesus Christ. Though exhausted, tired and weary we are to bow in humble submission to all that has been spoken to us from God and entrust all things to Him to the praise of His glory.

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