The Second Sunday in Advent
BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The First Sunday in Advent
(to be said throughout Advent)
ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. 29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. 33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Luke 21:25-33)
In addition to being the 2nd Sunday in Advent, today is Communion Sunday – should bear even greater gravity as a feast day.
There is great power in the Communion of the saints taking the same prayers, the same bible text, the same bread, and the same cup all around the world.
Today’s COLLECT – petitions the Lord that we might:
1) Hear the Word of God written (medical science last sense to go at death); it is the means whereby our faith is enlarged: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
Later today, in the Communion, you will be invited to draw near by faith. If you have not even heard the Word of God, how shall that faith be gained?
2) Read them over again and again. A law of learning is that repetition aids recall. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)
Remember the two disciples on the sad road to Emmaus on the Sunday following the Lord’s Passion? Forlorn and despondent, they knew not that the very Lord whom they presumed to be a dead Lord, was alive eternally and walked beside them.
Are you a stranger in Jerusalem? What things? They told of the horrible events:
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27)
Remember, my friends, this afternoon in the Communion how the eyes of these two disciples were finally opened to Christ – And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. (Luke 24:30-31)
Then in verses 44 &45 of Luke 24, Christ tells His disciples:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and inthe prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
3) Mark those Words of God that are written – just as we mark off the boundary lines when we purchase a plot of land to make it our own, we mark those wonderful words of God which we read to make them our own. They constitute the boundaries of our faith as measured from that Ancient and immovable Landmark.
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. (Prove 22:28)
4) Learn them. Seek and ye shall find many hidden gems and treasures in the leaves of God’s Word. The Holy Ghost will aid the diligent heart.
The people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6
5) INWARDLY DIGEST the Word: Jesus Christ is the Word Incarnate.
He is our Bread of Life….. which His Body – the church – must consume daily in order to be of healthy and living spirits.
I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
Yes, we need Water with the Bread, and He is that also – the Samaritan Woman at Jacob’s well came for the water of the world, but left with the water of life.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Rev 21:6)
That Bread of LIFE is much like the bread that we take physically. We prepare it properly as in reverent and orderly worship.
We savor its wholesome aroma when it is piping hot.
We love the sweet aroma of God’s soothing Words of Life.
We place it in our mouths and chew it with relish – just as we meditate upon that Word whose sweet-smelling aroma has drawn us to it.
We swallow that Bread or Word.
It goes into our stomachs where various enzymes combine to break the bread down into simple nutrients that can be used by the Body.
God’s Word does the same in our hearts. Those special meanings God desires to impart to us alone are broken down and fed into our spiritual blood. It gives life to every cell of our spiritual being.
All of these things the COLLECT remind us from out of the Word itself.
It will direct our hearts and our outward walk, too.
It gives life, but not a temporary life, but that Water of Life that satisfies eternally!
The first Advent Sunday COLLECT very clearly tells us that we must put upon our countenance that great Light which is the Light of the World.
He will be our armor and our covering for sin.
We were those same who walked in darkness (Isa 9:2), who finally came to make our home there by sitting down in comfort among sinners (Matt 4:16) by sitting in darkness.
Sin is a direction as shown in the 1st verse of the 1st Psalm – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalms 1:1)
These doctrinal principles apply to nations as well as individuals.
Today’s Epistle from Romans 15 tells us: Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6)
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus
If we have put on that Mind which was in Christ Jesus, how can there be division among us for we will all think with that Mind of Christ, and Christ is not divided against Himself!
That is why we have the common Cup – the same from which Christ drank;
and the common Bread – the same which He blessed, broke, and gave to the disciples.
Today’s GOSPEL text deals with the Advent of Christ, but particularly, the Second Advent. Christ has been coming since before the earth was formed.
He visited Abraham in spirit. He spoke with Abraham, and to Abraham made a promise both to him and to US!
He came to many of the Old Testament who yearned in their hearts for the promised redemption to be made available in the finished work of Christ.
They looked forward with perhaps a greater measure of faith than we that with which we look back on the accomplished fact.
He came profoundly as an innocent baby to be falsely judged of men. But He shall come physically a second time in great power and glory – not to be judged falsely – but to judge all things with righteous judgment.
At His FIRST ADVENT, He came as a little baby, laid in a rough, manger of wood to be hung on a cross of that same wood.
His SECOND ADVENT shall be with great power and glory – so much so that the heavens themselves will be filled with His Angelic Armies.
The time and circumstances described by Christ are too stark and too profound to relate only to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. though they may secondarily relate to that great tragedy. He warns His disciples, first, of the coming ruin of Jerusalem as a warning for their own well-being, but then describes far greater events than ever seen upon the earth. Much is still a mystery until the moment that He choses to fully open our own eyes to them.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring We have gotten a glimpse of this distress already with the tremendous storms that have impacted our shores.
The cataclysmic events grow progressively severe until the time of the end. 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
I have deep concern for my children and grandchildren in view of the great evil that I see coming upon the earth.
There is a common fear among all of the patriotic and Godly Americans with whom I have spoken about our descent into the abyss of sin and licentiousness. These are those times described, at least to some extent, in these passages.
When the fear and panic is greatest among the world, it is the best of times for the return of Christ to put a final end to sin and disobedience.
The Christian is not forlorn at the appearance of these signs, but has the hope of certain redemption drawing more nigh with each increasing terror. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Do we have minds of logic and common sense?
Can we not discern the simplest signs of Christ’s Second Advent? Not just the fig tree, but all trees, show definite signs of approaching spring. They give evidence that is not observed in other seasons.
God wants us to know His Word and to discern the times in which we live – we do not have to be prophets to know His Word and to draw logical conclusions therefrom.
We do not need a special sign of His Coming, it is enough to know that He will come when all of these things begin to come to pass. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
I agree with Bishop JC Ryle in believing that this is not the compete event described in the Fall of Jerusalem by the Preterist.
That would be too insignificant and too provincial as a precursor of the return of Christ.
That generation, or race of Israel, has not yet passed away. They are one race of people that have survived every displacement. The Kingdom was taken from them and given to another bearing the fruits, but they remain a
people nonetheless. Jesus told the Jewish rulers: The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (Matt 21:43) It is so because being a child of Abraham is not by bloodline of Abraham, but by the faith of Abraham.
There is only one bloodline that will avail for us. The blood of Christ. In that blood we are more related than to a dear brother or sister in the flesh.
Finally, one of the most profound passages of all Scripture:
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. Though men disrespectfully alter God’s Word in their new and copyrighted versions of the Bible, nonetheless, His Word remains preserved and immutable. When all has turned to dust and ashes, the Word shall remain. And all who are in that WORD shall also remain inviolable.
He is our Ark of Security in the same way Noah’s Ark preserved a family of only eight to regenerate and replenish the earth. And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation (Gen 7:1)
Friends, have you found your security in the Ark of Christ?
Door of Ark! And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in. (Gen 7:16)
Christ is OUR Door which no man can open and no man can close but Christ!
Rev 3:7 (KJV) These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth
John 10:7 (KJV)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
When we partake of that Bread in communion today, let us remember His Body that was broken for us, that we may be broken for others. Let us remember the wine of His blood that was shed for us that we may be willing to do the same for our fellow brothers and sisters. He is coming among us today for He has promised – “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am among them also.”