On Sunday the Sunset pastor continued our Advent theme from Isaiah 40 with a message, “Advent Means Power and Love.” The text was from Isaiah 40:9-11: “See the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arm rules for him….”
Sometimes in our culture we get Christmas a little bit mixed up. We see Jesus, who came as a baby in weakness, and we may never get beyond seeing him as weak and not very consequential or important in the world and our lives. We may never see Jesus who is grown, who took on the devil and defeated him, and who is today raised to eternal life, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the ruler of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5).
The pastor made three points: (1) Lift Up your Voice; (2) Coming with Power; (3) Gentle Shepherd.
(1) Lift Up your Voice. Seven hundred years before Christ, God promised through Isaiah “good tidings to Zion” (v9), the “good news of great joy” (Luke 2) for all who receive the newborn Savior Jesus.
God says what to do with this good news in v9: “You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain…, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’”
The Good News is worth shouting about. Twice he says, “Lift it up.” It is something to be animated, earnest and zealous about. The world is dying, but Jesus brings life. The world’s wisdom is empty, but Jesus fills us with his love, joy and peace in the midst of the world’s chaos. “Do not be afraid” to proclaim the Good News about Jesus: “Here is your God!”
(2) Coming with Power. V10: “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and his arm rules for him.”
Jesus came with power, not only in his virgin birth but also in his extraordinary life. Jesus went about doing good — feeding the hungry, healing the sick and raising the dead—by miracles, wonders and signs. These acts of divine power helped people in need, but they also demonstrated beyond doubt who Jesus was — God come down to be with us, showing us the way to the kingdom of heaven.
Today Jesus has gone back into heaven, but he has not left us as orphans. He has sent us the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, direct, and give us strength and power to carry on and carry out God’s purpose in the earth.
His purpose is for his people to proclaim comfort, help and blessing to all who will turn to him in repentance and faith.
Sometimes, however, the church has a limited understanding of the power we have to have a positive impact on the world.
Sometimes preachers may say: “The world is bad and getting worse, we can’t do anything about it, just hold on till Jesus comes!”
No! It is a great deception to think that we can do nothing. We can do whatever God wants us to do with whatever God has given us to do it with, and all believers should be busy doing it.
Jesus used five loaves and two fish to feed five thousand. He can also use what we have to do his work. Start with prayer, faith and the action of stepping out for him.
(3) Gentle Shepherd. V11: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart….” Jesus leaves no one behind. If we cannot walk, he carries us. We are close to his heart. He is gentle with our failures, encouraging perseverance and faith. He knows what we face.
Sherry Whatley sang a beautiful solo, “Mary’s Boy Child,” on Sunday. Thank you Sherry.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6]
May the holy Child born to us be real, your Mighty God in your life today — our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.