Series A Third Sunday in Advent TEXT: James 5:7-11, "Living In the Land of Not Yet"
THEME: As we await resolution to life's difficult situation or as we await Christ's return and the resolution to our world's history, Christ will sustain us in our times of "not yet".
I. AS WE AWAIT THE COMING OF CHRIST, WE ARE ENJOINED TO BE PATIENT.
A. Frankly, I'm not very good at being patient.
1. In grocery stores I really hate it when the lines are long.
2. When the highway was under construction this summer, I would often refuse to wait in line and would drive around through back roads...even though I knew it could well take longer than if I had waited in line.
3. Are you like me? If you could fast-forward through all the commercials, would you?
4. For children in this Christmas season, wouldn't you like to fast-forward to Christmas Eve or Christmas when presents are to be opened?
B. Since the Day of Pentecost, the Church has been living
in the land of "Almost, but not yet."
1. While other denominations look at it differently Lutherans have always maintained that since the Day of Pentecost, we are in the end times.
a. We expect Christ to come at any time...momentarily.
b. We pray again and again, "Thy Kingdom come".
2. Yet, it has not.
C. Many of us are living in a personal land of , "Not
1. "Why doesn't God heal my disease?"...It's not the right time yet.
2. "Why doesn't God send me a husband or wife?"...It's not the right time yet.
3. "Why doesn't God take care of my financial troubles?"...Its not time.
4. "Why doesn't God make the answers my spiritual questions clear?" ...It's not time yet.
5. ILLUS: When Jesus send the twelve across the Sea of Galilee only to encounter a storm, He waited until the ninth hour to come to them on the water.
a. Why not the third hour or the fifth?...I can't tell you.
b. Though we can't see, God is acting on our behalf.
c. Though we can't hear God, but God is speaking.
d. God speaks to us through everything that comes our way so that we will be drawn inexorably closer to Him...No coincidences.
6. ILLUS: It takes about eleven days to walk from Egypt to Palestine, but God took the people of Moses on the scenic route...40 years worth...Why?
a. Listen to the Lord's reasoning: (Deut. 8:2-5)
b. Did God want them to arrive in the Promised Land? Of course!
c. But He was more concerned that they arrive prepared than soon.
7. What is God trying to teach us through His delay in coming?
II. LIVING IN THE LAND OF NOT YET, IS AN ADVENTURE OF LEARNING WHO GOD IS AND WHAT HE WANTS.
A. First know that God is not indifferent to our
plight...Whatever it may be.
1. God is not far off, not aloof, not removed from our pain nor our problems.
a. He has always been a God of eminence and of involvement.
b. God is no "wall flower" to the dance of life.
2. When we were lost in sin, God did not sit on the sidelines.
a. He became one of us...God, the human.
b. He stood at graves of loved one and wept.
c. He lost relatives to disease.
d. He experienced injustice and oppression.
e. He knew of betrayal and abandonment.
3. No, God is not indifferent, he know precisely what we are experiencing and moves to help us...While we wait, God is here.
B. Second, remember who is in charge of molding us into
the image of Himself.
1. As God goes about the business of shaping our character, who would you rather have in charge?
a. While we may want maturity now, God will give it to us as we can handle it.
b. While we may demand answers to personal situations, God knows best what perfect timing is for us.
c. While we may scream in frustration for different solutions, It is the wisdom of God that will be exercised for our benefit.
2. Here, in life's waiting room, the artists is creating, loving, encouraging, and molding His people for His glory and His purposes.
a. Would you want it any other way?
b. Is there someone else who would be better qualified for the job?
C. Third, remember that is it God's love for us that
prompts every action of God.
1. Nothing and no one would keep our God away from us.
a. Our sin would not keep Him at arms length.
b. Our resistance would not stop Him from embracing the cross and death.
c. Satan and his legions, as powerful as they are were no match for the determination of God to save us.
2. How can the Creator not create?...How can love, not love?...How can God, not be God? How can life's sustainer, not sustain?
Yes, we do live in the land of "not yet". We want Christ to come and call the question on this world's history so that we may be with Him in heaven. Yes, we do live in the land of "Not Yet" in our daily lives waiting for resolution to the many issues of life that face us from day-to-day. Let us know that God is acting on our behalf...that He let's no event pass by our lives except by His nod and that He uses every "Not Yet" in our lives for the purpose of helping us to know of His love.
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