That’s Christmas! That’s Church! Patiently Working

Isaiah 35:1-10            Luke 1:47-55  James 5:7-10

Matthew 11:2-11      December 15, 2013

It’s going to snow!  Oh, isn’t that terrible!  Oh, what will we do? We will go to the store and get bread and milk!  Then, on the way to the store, we will see nothing but a flood of red taillights!

Like the snow coming, we really don’t like when certain times come around.  We didn’t like having to pay our personal property taxes earlier this month.  We don’t like having to pay the credit card bills when they come due in January!  But there is one event in which we can like waiting for. 

For what event can we like waiting?  Why, it is the return of God’s Messiah, Jesus the Christ!  He is returning.  Until he comes, we can be patiently working.  Yet, we know that until Jesus returns, there will be sorrow and suffering in this world.  What are we to do in the time until Jesus arrives?

 

  1. We depend upon God to save us (Isaiah 35)
    1. There will be great rejoicing (nature & humanity)
    2. Yet, suffering happens until then
    3. We don’t let the suffering get in the way
      1. Strength for tired hands
      2. Courage for weak knees
      3. Hearts without fear
  2. The “Holy Way” will take us to the Lord – a way through deserted places so we may reach God
  3. We become redeemed & ransomed
    1. Redeemed – buy someone back from slavery
    2. Ransomed – to buy back a person/animal from an obligation
  4. Until those days of the Lord’s coming are upon us, this world will continue to be cruel.  But we need not despair!  God will save us.  And we can rejoice we realize this fact.

 

  1. We realize that God is our Savior (Luke 1)
    1. He knows our situation
    2. He does great things for us
    3. Fear him? Yes, he delivers us
    4. The one who made promises to Abraham, has mercy
    5. Despite all the grief that Mary would face for being a young, unwed mother, she trusted God.  She kept on trusting God through her pregnancy.  Mary participated in God’s plan of salvation for the world.  Can we participate in God’s plan for salvation for the world?  If we do plan to participate, then we would want to desire to not fall away.

 

  1. We desire to not fall away (Matthew 11)
    1. John the Baptizer questioned if we are to have another kind of savior
    2. Jesus said – what was talked about in Isaiah 11 was happening now
      1. Blind see
      2. Lame walk
      3. Lepers cured
      4. Deaf hear
      5. Dead live
      6. Good news for the poor (materially & those suffering)
  2. People were looking for the Lord’s return when they went out to see John (a prophet)
  3. So, we don’t turn away/fall away
  4. With the promise of the Lord coming true in our presence, then we have every reason to stay true to God.  At least that was true for John the Baptist.  It can also be true for the rest of us.  We would to need to get through our suffering.  How do we do that?

 

  1. We are patient in our suffering (James 5)
    1. Patient until the Lord returns
    2. We continue to work, like the farmer who is waiting for the harvest
    3. CAUTION – Don’t grumble about each other!

–          “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” –  C. S. Lewis

  1. We endure through the end – God’s mercy will last even that long
  2. Life is hard.  But we keep on keeping on.  That is we have long-suffering until Jesus returns.  It won’t be long until Jesus returns.  We want to be found ready for the promises God has given to be fulfilled.  And he will do so.  Will we be found to be patient until that time?

Yes, troubles are found in our lives.  Our hearts will be battered.  Our faith will quake.  Our spirits will be on edge.  But we can endure until Jesus Christ returns.

An easy way out of our trouble might be to make trouble for other people.  What this does is show that we are not ready for the Jesus’ return.  What this does is show that will be found to have fallen away.  We have become bad eggs when we cause trouble for other believers.

We don’t want the snow to come our way.  It will cause more aggravation for us.  We think it will add to our suffering in this world.

Yet, Jesus is coming.  He is standing near the door.  When he comes, will he find us grumbling?  Or when Jesus arrives, will he find that have been trusting in him?

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