Advent proves God’s promise is a reality

“The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.” (Ps 132:11)

Our God is a promise keeping God. He made a covenant with Abraham and reaffirmed that same covenant with his sons. He also made a covenant with the nation of Israel when Moses led them. Then again with David, promising that He would always have a son on his throne.

The covenants were unconditional and conditional at the same time. The next verse says,

“If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne.” (Ps 132:12)

Many of us know the story of the kings. Incase you have forgotten or are reading about them for the first time, they did not obey the Lord. They didn’t keep His laws. Sure, some of them led the nation to repentance. But one good apple among a sea of bad ones will not do. The overall trajectory of the nation was bent toward’s idolatry and injustice.

The Lord, however, had made a covenant with His people. He promised to be their God. He promised one of David’s sons would sit on the throne. God fulfilled that promise Himself.

During Advent we are anticipating Jesus’ coming. He is the Son of God who did what Israel and the kings could not. He perfectly fulfilled God’s law, living for the Father’s glory and according to His will. He never sinned against the Father. As a result, He was granted the right to sit on the throne of David forever.

Advent anticipates His first coming and it points to His second coming where He will bring the kingdom in all its glory. To be sure, Jesus reigns and rules now. But in the future His reign and rule will be consummated. His kingdom will come and those who oppose Him will be cast out of the city gates, so that those who align themselves with God’s will can live securely inside the city of God for all eternity.

Will you be a citizen of the kingdom to come? Do you hope in Jesus’ second Advent? Will you celebrate His first Advent this year, worshipping and praising Him as the shepherds in the field did that glorious night? Would you travel half-way around the world like the wise men to lay gifts at His feet? Do you know the Savior? Do you have a love for Him? Do you bow to your King, recognizing that Jesus indeed is Lord?

How Should We Respond to the Good News of Jesus During Advent?

Sycamore Baptist Church Snow

Advent is the season leading up to Jesus’ birth. During this time of year we will exchange greetings of Merry Christmas, send Christmas cards to friends and family, and post many sayings on Facebook and Twitter such as: ”Jesus is the reason for the season” or “Let’s keep Christ in Christmas.”

These things are good. They not only cause us to think about Jesus, but they cause others who may never consider Jesus to do so.

While it is good and right for us to do these things, what I’m afraid of is that even though we speak about Jesus, write about Him, and celebrate His birth this time of year, we may not really know how the Bible calls us to respond to the good news of Jesus Christ.

How should we respond to the good news of Jesus Christ? In other words, what should we do after hearing the message of the gospel? The shepherds’ response in Luke chapter two acts as a model.

The Shepherds’ Response

The First Way They Respond is Immediately

In verses 15-16, Luke writes,

“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.”

Our response should be identical. When we hear the good news of Jesus – that He has come to save us, to restore our relationship with God, and make peace for us – we should respond immediately by seeking to confirm the truth of the message.

If we are apathetic and lackadaisical, it means we have not yet grasped the magnitude of the message, or our need for a Savior. As well as it means we don’t understand that this world cannot offer us the peace that only Christ can offer.

The Second and Third Way They Respond is by Believing and Telling Others the Good News.

In verses 17-18, Luke writes,

“And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.”

We should not only believe the gospel message, but we should also respond as the shepherds did by telling others. That is the proper response, and it should be our response.

The Last Way They Respond is by Glorifying and Praising God. 

“And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (Luke 2:20)

We too should respond by glorifying and praising God. In other words, God’s beauty, splendor, and majesty should capture our imaginations and thought, as well as we should obey His commandments, submitting to His rule over our life, and telling others about Him.

Why should we respond in this way?

Because God Himself has come to this earth to rescue us from death and destruction.

He planned out His rescue mission before the foundations of the world. Directed history to fulfill His plan. A plan He Himself fulfilled by leaving His throne in heaven, being born as a man in a manger, and going to the cross to die the death we should die, so that we might have life.

Isn’t that amazing? The King, the Creator of this world has come to rescue us from death and destruction while we were His enemies.

That is why we should glorify and praise God. That is why the message the Angel brought to the shepherds was good news. That is why we should respond to the good news of Jesus Christ.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Have you responded to the good news by searching out the truth?
  2. Have you responded to the good news by believing in Jesus?
  3. Have you responded to the good news by telling others the gospel?
  4. Have you responded to the good news by glorifying and praising God?

Free eBook for Advent 2012

Advent is here! For four weeks leading up to Christmas in December, we remember the thousand’s of years God’s people were anticipating and longing for the Messiah.

1 Peter 1:10-12 provides a description of what we look back to during Advent.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

To assist you this Advent season in reflecting back on God’s promise of a coming Messiah, I recommend John Piper’s book Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent. You can download a free ebook here.