Advent Sunday: 29th November 2015
Text from 2 Peter 3 verses 8 - 14
The season of Advent is, for us as Christians, a time of looking forward. Looking forward to the Celebration of our Lord's nativity at Christmas and, beyond that, to His coming again in glory at the end of time. The second letter of Peter echoes the teaching of the Lord Jesus on "The Day of the Lord" which "will come like a thief" (see Matthew 24 verses 36 - 44). More than this Peter adds some specific teaching which we need to take on board if we are to live effective Christian lives while "we wait for new heavens and a new earth". Let us then look at the teaching and learn "what sort of persons you (we) ought to be". -2 Peter 3 v.11.
1) Living a life of holiness (v.11) In the present age of "selfies", "self-expression" and "self- fulfillment", personal holiness is not a popular theme to say the least! However it is the calling of the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. From the words of the Benedictus (Luke 1v. 75) to the Holy City, New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb (Revelation 21 - 22), the holiness of the people of God is a given throughout the New Testament. However the Old Testament as well has the same emphasis. The words of Peter "you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation . . . . " (1 Peter 2 v.9) is a repeat of Exodus 19 v.6. Both refer to the calling of the people of God, and both refer to the same characteristics in both the Old and New Testaments. Leviticus 11, 45 and 19, v.2 "You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am Holy". Quoted in 1 Peter 1, v.16 "You shall be holy for I am holy".
2) Living a life of Godliness (v.11) The word "Godliness" is taken from the Greek word meaning "religion". It is used a number of times by Paul in the Pastoral Epistles where it always has a reference to belief, worship and conduct. e.g. 1 Timothy 6, v.11 and 2 Timothy 3, v.5. A life dedicated to the worship of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit will find its outworking in the conduct of the believer.
3) Living a life of expectancy (v.12) The Mataco Amerindian language of Northern Argentina has two distinct words meaning "to wait". One of them "O taye tat" means "I am waiting" patiently or otherwise but just twiddling my thumbs! The other word "O telojchoya" means "I wait expectantly for" with the sense of bouncing up and down like a child waiting for a birthday present! I suggest that the meaning here is the second one! A sense of longing for and bouncing up and down, looking for the signs of the coming King.
4) Living a life hastening the coming of the day of God
The best way of describing this is to quote from the prophet Isaiah,
chapter 62, verses 6 - 7. "Upon your walls O Jerusalem, I have set
watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You
who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest and give him no rest
until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the
Advent is a time of waiting, yes! But that time needs to be used to
further the coming Kingdom of God. Can I encourage you to pray the
Lord's Prayer every day in Advent. Thinking carefully about that for
which you are praying!
|©TWB Rural Matters 2015