Lesson #4 – What are the implications of advent?
Hopefully, if done right, this lesson will be delivered around (or on) Christmas day and will be good for discussion. Please feel free to go over what has been taught and learned in the previous four weeks and discuss any revelations that have occurred amongst the students during this focused time.
ILLUSTRATION: What we are going to emphasize today is the biggest component of Advent: Waiting. What I want you to do is to introduce the class that we are going to talk about the implications of advent. Then what I want you to do next is wait. Don’t say anything, don’t do anything but just sit there. You can do it for one minute or three minutes. Inevitably teenagers are going to give you weird looks because they can’t stand 15 seconds of silence let alone a full-blown minute.
WAS IT HARD FOR YOU TO WAIT? WHY OR WHY NOT?
WHAT IS IT ABOUT US THAT DRIVES US INSANE WHEN IT COMES TO WAITING?
[You can use your own personal story that emphasizes our impatience] I can’t stand to wait! If a web page on my iPhone does not come up in less than four seconds I become angry. If I don’t get my Wendy’s Baconator in less than three minutes then I get irate. I mean how long does it take to throw half a pig on half a cow and throw some cheese in there? Come on people!!! We all struggle with waiting because of the digitized, fast-food mindset of Western Culture where we have to experience things right now.
This lesson is to allow us to focus on being ready for Jesus to come with patience but also with anticipation. This lesson is short, but simple. Here is the bare outline.
Waiting means we must be ready!
“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matt. 24:44).
“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak” (Luke 12:38).
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thess. 5:4-11).
IN WHAT WAYS DO WE NEED TO BE READY FOR THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD?
When Jesus came John the Baptist prepared the way for the people compelling them to repent for the “kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mark 1:1-8). In like manner we are compelled to be ready no matter what the cost may be and that means we are to “bring-in” the kingdom of God by being disciples and making disciples. You hear of people talking about “Christmas cheer” and what they mean is giving gifts and such but the Christmas cheer is that we need to be ready for the coming of the Lord.
IN WHAT WAYS ARE PEOPLE NOT GOING TO BE READY FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD?
In the first century they thought that Jesus was going to come soon (you could make an argument that Paul even thought that). Paul was very upset at people who stood around “idle”. Paul said, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us” (2 Thess. 3:6). In other words we have no clue when Christ will come (see 1 Thess. 5:4 above) so we should not give up our labors of spreading good news to the world.
Waiting means we must be drunk with anticipation!
“The LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel, that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream, with a vision in the night— as when a hungry person dreams of eating, but awakens hungry still; as when a thirsty person dreams of drinking, but awakens faint and thirsty still. So will it be with the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion. Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer” (Isa. 29:6-9).
The verse in Isaiah is given to talk about a time when the Messiah will reign from Zion and the people will be drawn towards his reign. The kicker for the Christian is that Jesus now reigns (i.e. his “kingdom”) and Jesus will always reign. We need to be intoxicated with anticipation at what we can participate in and what God has called us to do. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14).
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD “ANTICIPATION”? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
I remember the birth of my first son (Kaleb) and the weeks felt like years until he finally came into this world. There was excitement, fear, desire, longing, responsibility and humility all wrapped-up in a box known as anticipation. It means we become ready for something and eagerly long for it.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU/ARE YOU ANTICIPATE(ING) THE LORD’S RETURN?
To anticipate for something you must have some sort of desire to fuel that anticipation. Anticipating the Lord’s return gets me excited because of a single group of verses:
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 22:1-5).
This is the final moment when the Lord returns and the new heavens and new earth form and all things become completely new. It is when the curse of Adam is ultimately lifted and mankind is allowed to enter Eden again. It is where we participate in complete union with God and with his risen saints and we join in the eschaton at the table (see Isaiah 25:6-9) and feast forever. No tears, no sorrows, no pain, no suffering…peace, perfect peace.
Enjoy this video and I hope you enjoyed this series. We all can join the early Christians in a popular saying called Maranatha. It simple means, “Come, Lord” (see Rev. 22:20). So, “Come, Lord Jesus…Come!”