Advent – Week 4 – “Peace” 12/23/18
Intro: In the Old Testament there was a word often used in Hebrew life “shalom”. Meaning:
- Calm in spirit
- Rest from conflict
In New Testament times (and today), it carried the connotation of “peace” and was/is used as a greeting and farewell. Zacharias prophesied about the “way of peace” that John would usher in (Luke 1:79) through the Messiah.
Today’s “present” is a rock. The Messiah was referred to in many ways as the stone or rock (I Peter 2:4-8a). Consider this:
- Newton’s first law of motion – “A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.”
- Our spirits are born restless and easily moved like a feather being blown about by the wind
- When Christ comes into our life, it’s a change that brings rest to our spirit and we become a “body at rest”. What exactly does that look like?
I. We are at Peace with God
Read Romans 5:1
A. We are justified – (like a judge in the case of a shoplifter, taking off his robe, walking down from the bench, and paying the fine of the guilty)
B. We are given grace – (like the same judge then taking the guilty person after the trial tot eh same store and purchasing the items previously stolen)
II. We are at Peace with Self
A. Receive the peace (John 14:27)
B. Be guarded by the peace against guilt (Phil. 4:7)
III. We are at Peace with Others
Read Romans 12:18-21 (acting forgiven)
A. Remember Who’s in charge – (V.19)
B. Don’t be overcome – (v.21)
- Setting aside “offendedness”
- Setting aside petty grievances to focus on the bigger picture
Question: Are you at peace? Is there “shalom” in your life? Is your spirit at rest?
Advent – Week 3 – “Joy” 12/16/18
Intro: Today’s “present” is a cluster of grapes. In John chapter 15, Jesus described the picture of the Vine, Vinedresser, branches and fruit. He later says in John 15:11, “these things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you…”. The natural question is, “What things?”
Read John 15:1-11a
I. There is Joy in the Connection
A. There is dependence on the vine – in a natural sense, the water source comes only from the vine, as is true in the spiritual sense.
B. There is sustainment from the vine – just as nutrition and refreshment comes to the branches from distant roots, so it is true for us.
C. There is confidence in the vine – confidence in the Lord should be like confidence in deep roots delivering a dependable source of life-giving water.
II. There is Joy in the Growth
Read John 15:11 again
As challenges come, we must:
A. Remember Who the Vinedresser is – The Father plans, ties up the branches for better health and prunes as needed.
B. Remember to stay connected – It’s the “abiding” factor
C. Remember to be patient – which is usually the toughest part
III. There is Joy in the Results
Read John 17:13
A. The guidance of His Word – John 17:14 and Psalm 119:14-16
B. The security of His protection – John 17:15, His prayer
C. The bearing of fruit – Joh 15:8
- Father glorified
- Bearing much fruit
- Galatians 5:22 fruit of the Spirit – Joy!
Question: Is there joy in your life from His coming? From the connection? From the growth? From the results?
Advent – Week 2 – “Love” 12/9/18
Intro: Today’s “present” is a rose. It represents love, joy and beauty. In I John, there are 25 verses referencing love.
Read I John 1:1-4
I want to look at 5 characteristics of Godly love as presented by John (the disciple whom Jesus loved!).
I. Godly Love is Proactive
Read I John 4:9
A. It’s compelled to act first – like the nervous moment of telling someone the first time “I love you”
B. It risks being misunderstood – wondering what they’re going to think
II. Godly Love is Sacrificial
Read I John 4:9-10
A. It sets aside pride – (personal story)
B. It’s freely given – (even when it costs)
III. Godly Love is Keeping His Commandments
A. A healthy respect
- “Keep” was originally a sailing term as in “keeping the stars”
- As sailors used stars to set their course, we should use His commandments to set ours
B. A joy to please the Father we love (v.3b) – His way is no burden
IV. Godly Love is Rejecting the World
Illustration of a husband or wife watching something on television that’s offensive to the other spouse but continues to watch it every day with no regard to the wishes of the other.
A. Love is to be directed toward the things of God
B. Love is to be inventoried regularly
V. Godly Love is Valuing People
Read I John 4:20-21
A. We must see people above all else
B. We must remember “why” we are to love
Read I John 4:10-11
Question: “Is there an area where “loving others” is tough for you?”
Let’s pray about that now…
Advent – Week 1 – “Hope” 12/2/18
Intro: Gift-giving is part of Christmas. From the Magi bringing gifts to Jesus in the gospels to gatherings of family and friends today, gifts are part of our Christmas tradition.
God has always been a “gift-giver”! The Advent season represents some very specific gifts that He’s given. One of them is represented here in this box (new gift revealed each week). Today’s gift is (a copy of the TANAKH, the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament). The scriptures were given to God’s people as a record book, guide book, instruction book, promise book, and prophecy book. The faithful Jews of the 1st Century lived each day on the promises made in God’s word. In the absence of new prophetic words, their hopes rested on the ancient words recorded by Prophets and Kings. One of those individuals was a man named Simeon. Let’s look:
Read Luke 2:25-32
He was looking for the “Consolation of Israel” (which means the comfort of God’s people), and he had confidence that God would deliver. Today we’re going to look at three specific hopes.
I. There was Hope for Fulfilled Promises
A. The confidence was in the Word (v.29, Isaiah 55:11) – it transcended time, circumstances, and people
B. The remnant still hung on to the promises
- Quote – “His birth was announced to the people most likely to care.” – Charles Swindoll
- No announcement to political leaders
- No announcement to the Temple leaders
- No announcement to local “celebrities”
- Announcement was made to humble, faithful people
C. Believing the promises was an act of faith
- We stand on promises, not explanations (Wiersbe)
- Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God”
- Hope is standing on promises!
II. There was Hope for Salvation
Read Isaiah 49:6
A. A recognized need for a hero – admitting insufficiency
B. A recognized origin of the hero – (Luke 2:31)
C. A recognized presence of the hero – (Luke 2:30)
III. There was Hope for Revelation
A. His presence brought illumination (Luke 2:32)
- John chapter 1 – The True Light
- “Special Revelation” versus “General Revelation”
B. His presence brought affirmation (Isaiah 28:16) – A glorious structure starting with Israel
C. His presence brought transformation (John 4:19-26)
- New life
- New worship
Question: “What does “hope” mean for you?”
Below are notes from the 2017 season
Advent – Week 4 – Peace
Intro: Like the other three subjects we’ve looked at this season, “peace” is a word with various meanings and applications. Over the centuries, mankind has struggled to find it (and keep it). Politically speaking, someone said “Peace is the brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading.” – Lloyd Cory
On an individual level, our culture often promotes an eastern, mystical concept of peace, but biblically speaking; true peace is more than an absence of conflict, it’s the abiding presence of God.
Today, I want to look at four points about the peace of God:
I. The Promise of Peace
Read: Isaiah 9:6
A. God is aware of our need for peace (Luke 2:14, Peace on Earth…)
B. God delivered on His promises (every single letter of prophecy fulfilled)
II. The Presence of Peace
Read Romans 5:1
A. There is positional peace before God (justified)
B. There is inner peace (Ephesians 2:14, Jesus IS our peace)
III. The Protection of Peace
Read Philippians 4:6-7
A. It creates healthy/proper boundaries (guards)
B. It guides our decision-making (Col. 3:15, let the peace of God “rule” like an umpire)
IV. The Power of Peace
Read John 14:27 & 16:33
A. Power against fear
B. Power to overcome with “good cheer” (not just dragging across the finish line)
Question: Do you have real, deep, lasting peace today?
- A heart filled with its promise
- A heart filled with its presence
- A heart filled with its power
- A heart filled with its power
- If not, you can…today
Advent – Week 3 – Joy
Intro: In the same way as “love” last week, the word “joy” has many uses and meanings in our culture. Often times, it’s used synonymously with happiness, but the biblical meaning of joy is different. It’s something internal (instead of circumstantial) and more connected to “gladness” than happiness. The principle of being glad is associated with joy, which I think creates a picture of a “settled gladness”. It’s a place of fulfilment which brings a deeply settled state of being glad before the Lord.
The phrase “The Joy of the Lord” is used in several passages, and today we’re looking at what that means for us.
I. The Joy of the Lord Brings Celebration
Read: Luke 2:10-20
A. For His glorious presence (glory in the highest)
- Old Testament Prophets’ vision of the throne
- New Testament presence at announcement of Jesus’ birth
B. For His glorious works (Job 38:1-7 as an example, “sang for joy”)
C. For His glorious love toward us
- v.14b and on earth peace, goodwill toward men
- John 3:16
- John 8:56 – Abraham saw my day, rejoiced, and was glad (anticipation)
II. The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength
Read Nehemiah 8:10
A. The firm and sure Cornerstone (like the wall)
B. He is truth (complete truth, not half-truth I Cor. 4:5)
C. His joy is lasting – Luke 24:32, there is strength in that fire!
III. The Joy of the Lord is Based on His Grace
Read Matthew 22:36-40 (There are expectations)
A. His joy to redeem us (Hebrews 12:1-2 – “for the joy set before Him”)
B. His joy within us (Gal. 5:22 – “love, joy…”)
C. His joy to sustain us (Romans 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy…that you may abound…”)
Question: Is there joy in your heart today?
- The enemy will try to steal it
- The enemy would love to steal it
- Let’s pray and ask the Lord for the “settled gladness” that is Christian joy!
Advent – Week 2 – Love
Intro: We live in a “search engine” world. Now-a-days, when a question comes up…someone pulls out a phone and searches for the answer on the spot.
With most searches, thousands of “answers” pop-up, maybe even millions. Unfortunately, you must often sift through the random ads, etc. to find the truth (if it’s even there). Love is the same way. If you were to type in a search on the word, thousands of answers would pop-up, so what does “love” mean?
Today, three Bible-based points about love:
I. Love Defined
A. Described in the Old Testament
- Read Jeremiah 31:3
- God’s love is faithful and durable (v.3a)
- God’s love is filled with kindness
B. Further described in the New Testament
- Read I Corinthians 13:4-8a
- Read I John 4:16
- He embodies and defines love
C. Proper Boundaries are set throughout Old and New Testament
- Read I John 2:15-17
- Biblical love…Godly love, is more than a feeling, emotion, or desire, it’s an act of the will
II. Love Demonstrated
A. God’s patience toward us – Exodus 34:6
B. God’s provision for us
- Read Romans 5:8
- The key point is the unmerited love (while we were yet sinners…)
C. Jesus’ model in everyday life
- Philippians 2:5-7
- It’s important to note that it’s not thinking low about one’s self, but highly of others
III. Love as a Directive
Read Matthew 22:36-40 (There are expectations)
A. We are to Love the Lord with our whole person
- Thoughts – what we ponder, dwell on, contemplate, believe to be true
- Core person (the throne room of our heart)
- Pursuits (as to the Lord – Col. 3:23)
B. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves
C. We are to actively teach and remind ourselves and our children of both
Read Deuteronomy 6:7-9
- Diligence (v.7)
- Specifically, according to what God defines
- Set your home as an example (v.9)
We started with the subject of search engines…
Question: In doing a search of your heart for the word “love”, what would the returns be? What would the top 5 things be that you love? Do some need to be added or need go away? Perhaps some need to be attended to get a “higher ranking”?
Advent – Week 1 – Hope
Text: Psalm 33:20-22, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 131:1-3
Intro: Hope is a basic human need. Without it, our souls descend into “hopelessness” (and many lives have suffered over the centuries because of a lack of hope).
However, Biblical hope isn’t a wish, it’s a trust based on the eternal character of God Almighty.
Today, as we begin our four-week season of Advent (leading up to Christmas), I want to look at the Biblical truth concerning “hope”.
Throughout the Old Testament, there are examples of people in need of hope (often in desperate need). From Noah looking out over a civilization that was anything but “civil”, to the various eras of the Hebrews, there are three parts to consider:
I. The Waiting
Read Psalm 33:20-22
A. Waiting can bring anxiety
- It’s like sitting on a plane ready for take-off and you wait, and wait, and wait on the tarmac to leave
- As time rocks on, our spirit can become unsettled, looking for answers
B. Waiting can allow our minds to wander – (and the places it goes are often unhealthy)
C. Waiting can test our commitment – He is our help (v.20), not our own solutions
II. The Expectation
Read Jeremiah 29:11
(The context of the passage is important. God was telling the Hebrews that they would be there awhile, but weren’t forgotten)
A. We can expect Godly good from the Lord – He isn’t looking to “zap” us or pull the rug out from under us)
B. We can expect that His priority is our inner peace – (not necessarily the outer things)
III. The Trust
Read Psalm 131:1-3
A. Trusting means remembering who is God and who is not – (there’s a vulnerability to admitting it and limitedness)
B. Trusting is knowing I can always “go home” – (like the prodigal son)
So, when our hope is properly placed:
- There is often the waiting
- There is often a need to remember the expectations
- There is always confidence when our trust is in Him