Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of December 2, 2018

Sermon: “The Character of Advent: Service”
Text: Luke 1

Before you read any more of this Bullet, pull up or pull out your December calendar and look it over.  

For many of us December is our most hectic and scheduled month.  In certain seasons of life it might even seem as if the character of Advent is busy-ness.

The first chapter of the Gospel of Luke presents an alternative pattern; a character not of things like scheduling, stressing and surviving but rather of actions like supporting, surrendering and serving. 

Advent means arrival. Gabriel, we hear, foretells Mary of the Lord's plan for His Son to arrive in this world as her child. Advent, thus, so to speak, begins in Mary’s womb. Ages of promise upon promise to generation after generation, comes down to a nine month gestation.  The greatest pregnant pause in history takes place after Gabriel’s declaration to Mary and Jesus’ delivery by Mary; when God Himself enters the world He created as its servant in Jesus Christ.  

As the hymnist reminds us, “To this world of fears he came, servant, healer, mender; through his death we heaven claim, there to reign in splendor.”  As the Lord Himself has assured us He came, "NOT TO BE SERVED BUT TO SERVE and to give my life as a ransom for many."

Like his boss, Gabriel goes to serve, to serve as prophetic messenger to the woman pledged to marry Joseph, and to serve as personal assurer to Mary that God is at work in her; and for her part Mary. . . Mary, like her babe, willingly, humbly, faithfully offers herself in service to heaven’s purpose . . . “I am the Lord’s servant may it be to me as You have said.”  

On the one hand, Mary learned about humble, willing, faithful service when the Creator of the universe (who made everything from nothing in just six days) would himself develop in her womb for about 270 days (give or take).  On the other hand, the baby to whom she gave birth and the man who she helped to raise - learned about humble, willing, faithful service every time He saw His mother and remembered the day she said, “I am Your servant, may it be to me as You have said."   Words spoken at the outset of His earthly ministry by His mother; and spoken toward the end of His earthly ministry to His Father, "Thy will be done."

While the season of Advent will end at the celebration of Jesus' birth; the culmination of Advent is when He comes again.  Hence, the Advent begun in Mary's womb is now carried in Christ's body, the church, as we, until He returns, mirror our Lord, His mother and the angelic messenger in offering ourselves to the purpose of heaven as a servant.

An Advent prayer to emulate the character of service:  
Lord I am YOUR SERVANT, use me, even for that which seems most unlikely, whatever it is, use me and accomplish what You conceive as good and needed and right.   Amen.  
-Pr. Kevin Kritzer

The Bethany Bullet will go dark for the weeks of December 23 and December 30. The Bullet will resume the week of January 6, 2019.


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