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    Dec 15, 2019

    What are we waiting for?

    What are we waiting for?

    Passage: Isaiah 6:1-13

    Speaker: Guest Speaker

    Series: Isaiah: The Story Beneath the Story

    Keywords: advent

    What are we waiting for in advent? We are waiting for Jesus to come again to renew all things forever. However, between his once and future advent we can be prone to frustration, impatience, and even disillusionment. So, how can we have the audacity to expectantly and faithfully wait for him? Our holy and gracious God comes again here and now to give us all we need. What’s missing from too many places on earth today is missing from too many individual hearts: peace. The angels’ first words were “fear not,” and were not completed until they promised “peace...with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2). Isaiah’s words make a like promise of peace, but only for those who’ve come to grasp something. How, if at all, do these two moments converge?

    Order of Worship

    Pre-Service Text: Isaiah 6:3b
    Advent Reading: Luke 2:8-14
    Corporate Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed, 325 AD
    Sermon Title: What are we waiting for?
    Central Text: Isaiah 6:1-13
    Benediction: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
    Post-Service Text: Isaiah 6:8

    Readings & Scripture

    Pre-Service Text:  Isaiah 6:3b

    “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
    the whole earth is full of his glory!”

    Advent Reading: The third candle of the Advent wreath is the Joy Candle, Reader #1 - “This Christmas season we set aside a time called Advent to specifically prepare our hearts and lives for the birth of Jesus. The first candle was the Hope Candle, inviting us to a hopeful anticipation of the Coming King. The second candle was the Peace Candle, reminding us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, restoring our relationship with God. This third candle is the Joy, reflecting the Good News of Great Joy that the angels proclaimed.”

    Reading - Our reading this morning is from Luke 2:8-14, and describes how the angels appeared to the shepherds.

    8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

    14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

    Corporate Confession of Faith: Nicene Creed, 325 AD
    We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end. And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to the life in the world to come. Amen.​ 

    Central Text:  Isaiah 6:1-13
    6 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:

    “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
    the whole earth is full of his glory!”

    4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

    6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

    8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

    “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
    keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

    10 Make the heart of this people dull,
        and their ears heavy,
        and blind their eyes;
    lest they see with their eyes,
        and hear with their ears,
    and understand with their hearts,
        and turn and be healed.”

    11 Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
    And he said:
    “Until cities lie waste
        without inhabitant,
    and houses without people,
        and the land is a desolate waste,

    12 and the Lord removes people far away,
        and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.

    13 And though a tenth remain in it,
        it will be burned again,
    like a terebinth or an oak,
        whose stump remains
        when it is felled.”

    The holy seed is its stump.

    Benediction:  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24   “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

    Post-Service Text:   Isaiah 6:8
    8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

    Related Scriptures:

    • “Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.” Psalm 29:1-2
    • Psalm 32
    • “[God] will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great.” Psalm 115:13
    • “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31
    • “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15
    • “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ....our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction...They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven…” 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 5a, 9b-10a
    • “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” Jude 24-25
    • “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:28-29

    Discussion Questions & Applications: 

    1. Is advent a life-giving season for you? Why or why not?  
    2. Fleming Rutledge writes, “In a very real sense, the Christian community lives in advent all the time. It can well be called the Time Between, because the people of God live in the time between the first coming of Christ, incognito in the stable in Bethlehem, and his second coming, in glory, to judge the living and the dead…The disappointment, brokenness, suffering, and pain that characterize life in the present world is held in dynamic tension with the future glory that is yet to come. In that advent tension, the church lives its life.” What thoughts or feelings do you have about her statement? How could embracing this tension change the remainder of the advent for you?
    3. What’s one or two habits you could adopt in this season of waiting for Jesus to come again? For example, you could read an advent devotional each day, light a candle when you pray as a symbol of Christ’s enduring presence in the time between, and/or listen to songs that touch on advent themes. 

    Quotes: 

    • “I used to write letters
      I used to sign my name
      I used to sleep at night
      Before the flashing lights settled deep in my brain
      But by the time we met
      By the time we met
      The times had already changed
      So I never wrote a letter
      I never took my true heart
      I never wrote it down
      So when the lights cut out
      I was lost standing in the wilderness downtown
      Now our lives are changing fast
      Now our lives are changing fast
      Hope that something pure can last
      Hope that something pure can last”
      - “We Used to Wait” by The Arcade Fire
    • “In a very real sense, the Christian community lives in advent all the time. It can well be called the Time Between, because the people of God live in the time between the first coming of Christ, incognito in the stable in Bethlehem, and his second coming, in glory, to judge the living and the dead…The disappointment, brokenness, suffering, and pain that characterize life in the present world is held in dynamic tension with the future glory that is yet to come. In that advent tension, the church lives its life.” - Fleming Rutledge
    • “We must not think of God as the highest in an ascending order of beings...God is as high above a [seraphim] as above a caterpillar, for the gulf that separates [them] is but finite, while the gulf between God and the [seraphim] is infinite.” - A.W. Tozer
    • “In the end, language runs out. In the word ‘holy,’ we have sailed to the world's end in the utter silence of reverence and wonder and awe. There may yet be more to know of God, but that will be beyond words.” - John Piper
    • “What comes to mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.” - A.W. Tozer
    • “Ask God if there is there an agreeableness between your hearts and God’s word? If not, repent.” - Jonathan Edwards

    Music 

    • Sara Groves’ album, “Joy of Every Longing Heart” is a beautiful collection of fresh arrangements of Advent and Christmas hymns and songs.
    • The Arcade Fire album, “Suburbs” is an advent album without meaning to be. This alternative rock masterpiece is filled with the longing we can all feel in late modernity. 

    Books

    Related Media