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Preaching During Advent

Christmas_shipWe are well in the season of Advent. It is here that we look at the Coming Kingdom from three angles. First we look at it from the angle of Christ’s first coming. It is here that God became human to take back from the evil one what was stolen in Eden. It is here that we contemplate the great God of heaven beginning the work of redemption in this world.

The next angle however is Christ’s second Advent. We look forward with great anticipation to God coming again. As the scripture says, the same Jesus who ascended will come again in like manner. (Acts 1:11). We look forward with anticipation for Jesus to set right all that is wrong in the world. We look forward to Jesus glorious return.

In addition, we must talk about Christ’s coming today. Christ empowering us to live better lives than we could have lived otherwise. Christ forgiving and cleansing us. Christ working through human agencies to demonstrate in small and not so small ways that God has not just left this world on its own. We look to a real Christ making real differences in even this present evil world.

As we preach during this season, let us keep all three of these angles in mind. Then our messages will not become irrelevant by becoming totally about the past (dwelling only on the first advent) or totally about the future (only looking at the sweet by and by). In addition, you will not lose the anchor of the future hope by only emphasizing the present work of Christ in us and for us.

I also must add, that keeping all three of these in mind will help us refocus the season back from the rampant misunderstandings of consumerism to the solid foundation of a God who became human, lives and works presently, and will come again.

Preaching God’s Dangerous Truth

Vision Of John The Preacher Of Revelation
Vision Of John from Revelation A Picture for Preaching

*****Art used by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992*****

I was thinking about preaching when I came across Rev. Zach Mills facebook entry which says:

“Dream dangerously! We currently live among a generation of people whose dreams are too realistic to do the world any good!”

Dream dangerously. That is a powerful thought. I began to think immediately of our vocation as those who are preaching the Gospel. Preaching is to give a vision of a different world. A world where God is come in and to humanity.

Preaching Birthright Stealers

Today, we are tempted to sell our birthright. Some of us are tempted by a Republican Elephant while others are tempted to give up the vision to a Democratic Donkey. These other vision theifs want to make us think that their vision of reality is what is “proper” or “believable” or “possible.” But the impossible truth of Advent, that God is come is our message. We should be preaching that powerful truth. Not the “possible,” not which is “believable,” not that which is “proper,” but let us preach that crazy truth that God is come.

Some of us are tempted to sell our birthright of preaching a message where all are blessed for proclamation that the rich are blessed and the poor are getting what they deserve. That is not the dangerous truth that Advent pushes us to teach. That is not the dangerous truth that is good news for all people (Luke 2:10).

Some of us are selling our birthright. We are selling our birthright when we attempt to make people shout without preaching something to shout about. Advent reminds us that our joy is not based in our possessions neither what we will get, but in the fact that God is come.

Some of us are selling our birthright. We are selling it when we forget that the God given vision of the coming kingdom is greater than even our conception of it.

Let Us Preach Again

In Revelation 10:10 the prophet John was called to come eat a book. The book was sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the belly. Yes, many of us have been preaching a message that seemed sweet in the mouth. We liked to equate the gospel of God with a political agenda. Yes it was sweet in our mouth, but it became bitter in our belly.

Yes, we have allowed our vision to be distorted by what we thought was “possible,” and that message was sweet in our mouth, but it became bitter in our belly. But thank God, in Revelation 10:11, just like John we are called to preach again to the world. God is calling us to preach again.

We ain’t done all that we should, but let us preach rightly this weekend. Perhaps we have not dared to dream and preach that dream that the “Kingdom of God is Come.” (Matthew 10:7). We may not have done it, but guess what, you are called to “preach again. I dare you to preach it like God has called you to preach it this coming week. Dream Dangerously and let God find you preaching the truth and changing the world!

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