November 27, 2022 Jesus Is Coming – People Get Ready (Advent 1)

Image by Arun Kuchibhotla via Unsplash

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, please click on the link below to watch the entire worship service as a video on your home computer, tablet or smartphone:

Link to Video:

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/775374762

Screencast-o-matic: https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c3XO0JVUpdv

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If you would prefer not to view the video, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just right click on the link to “open link in a new tab” to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

CALL TO WORSHIP: Psalm 122, page 845; Song of Praise and Prayer for Jerusalem. A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
2 Our feet were standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built as a city and is bound firmly together. 4 To which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, to give thanks to the name of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel.
5 Thrones for judgment were set there, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls and security within your towers.”
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

HYMN Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus – Red Mountain Music
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRAFQCOkjgE

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer − The Centering Prayer:
Lord Jesus, today I am far less than the person I want to be or can be with your help.
I ask today that you would be more and more the center of my life.
Guide me to all that is good, cleanse me from all that is not.
Teach me Your ways and form in me Your nature.
Help me to serve you as I am gifted.
Help me to notice my neighbor and work through me to redeem my neighborhood.
I am a sinner; please be my Shepherd, my Savior and my Lord. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN People Get Ready
People Get Ready – Golden Gospel Singers – Lyrics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC6G3KqBdL8

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: Title: Jesus Is Coming – People Get Ready
Text: Romans 13:10-14, Matthew 24:36-51
Series: People Get Ready

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Saturday Video AudioWesley Sermon Audio

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SERMON NOTES

Romans 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; 12 the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man.
38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

43 But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, 51 and will punish him, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

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HYMN O Come, O Come Emmanuel, 211
Chris Tomlin – O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Lyric Video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH7asSGxAxA
or
O Come, Emmanuel – Epic Version! by Simon Khorolskiy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHd2zQQsHUw

BENEDICTION The Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

“Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel …” Advent is the yearning for Jesus Christ to come. Now, we understand that Jesus Christ already came, but until the world is better, until the world is perfect, there will still be within God’s people a yearning for Jesus to come to change our world.

There’s a beautiful song about this. It’s called People Get Ready. The first verse goes like this:

“People, get ready. There’s a train coming.
You don’t need no baggage. You just get on board.
All you need is faith to hear the diesel’s humming.
You don’t need no ticket. You just thank the Lord.”

See, part of this yearning is the yearning for Jesus to come to right the wrongs of the world, and Thanksgiving points us to that understanding of Christmas, to the greatest gift of all, that Jesus Christ has come to be with us. What we are waiting for is Emmanuel, and in some ways, Jesus is with us today, but we yearn for him to be more present. We yearn for him to be more powerful. We yearn for the world to change according to good, as Jesus defines it because you see, friends, Jesus is coming. Are you ready? Jesus is coming.

We need to get ready, and I’d like to ask you to keep in mind this getting ready applies to four Christmases. The first Christmas, we understand that happened in the year zero. It was so significant that they literally measure the years of history before and after the coming of Jesus because the coming of Jesus changed the world for the good better than any other event in history.

I was born in 1955, and, along with my family, I celebrated the meaning of Christmas as best I could, as best I knew, but in 1972, as a 17-year-old junior in high school, I gave my life to Christ, and I felt that Christ was God with me. I felt, as people say – it’s a symbol, but this is how they describe it – that Jesus came into my heart, and I noticed, as it went from February around to December, all of a sudden, Christmas had a deeper meaning than ever before. Because, just as Jesus Christ had come to me, now in December I was celebrating how Jesus Christ came to all of us. If Jesus as Christ lives in your hearts, Christmas will be more than a cultural celebration.

The third Christmas, of course – I already mentioned this – is a cultural focus on Christmas. The cultural focus on Christmas is not that different than the other man-made holidays. It’s not that different than the man-made holiday of Thanksgiving. A reason for families to get together, that’s a good thing. A reason for a feast, that’s a good thing.

People in Kim’s family got together on Thanksgiving Day. Fifteen people came to her parent’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Now, if you got Thanksgiving dinner ready, you know that it’s a lot of work to get ready for Thanksgiving. Well, friends, it’s the same for Christmas. You need to get ready. That turkey doesn’t show up by accident. That cranberry sauce doesn’t drop from heaven like an answer to prayer. Somebody has to do the work. And you and I, even when it’s a cultural Christmas, nothing happens unless we get ready.

Christmas lights begin to show up on houses. Somebody goes and gets a tree and drags it up out of the basement or in from the tree lot, puts it in the living room, and starts to put decorations on it. None of that happens unless people invest the time and energy and work to get ready. What a tragedy it is if we let the culture tell us that getting ready is all about getting the tinsel just right. What a tragedy it is if we let the culture tell us that getting ready for Christmas is just about getting the right presents under the tree and getting them all wrapped up just right. Now, there’s nothing wrong with those things. It’s just that there needs to be more.

Once upon a time, two little boys went to visit their grandma’s house, and they got to exploring in the back lot behind the house. The weeds had grown up really high, and out back behind the garage, they found an old car up on blocks, and they were really excited. They came running into Grandma, and they said, “Grandma, Grandma, there’s a car behind the garage.”

“Yes, that was your grandpa’s car. When he died, we put it up on the blocks.”

“Oh, Grandma, Grandma, can we have the car?”

“Yes. When you’re old enough, I’ll be happy to give you the car, but there’s a problem with it.” And she took them out to the car, walked them through the weeds, lifted up the hood, and they saw what the problem was. Under the hood, there was no engine. She said, “It’s a nice car, but you’re going to have to get an engine if you want it to work.”

Friends, Christmas is a nice thing, but if you want it to do what Jesus intended it to do, you have to make sure the engine is installed. And the engine of Christmas is Christ coming into our world to begin to change the world. And that’s the engine that you and I need in our lives as well because something else Advent is to remind us of is that Jesus Christ is coming again to make those changes in our world. And the second coming will be the last Christmas because he’s going to stay and be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and everything that the people in the Bible thought he was going to be in the first coming. And, friends, we need to get ready. We need to get ready. We need to get ready.

Catholic bishop Robert Barron had these words about Advent this week: Advent matters because Jesus Christ is a savior, not just a teacher. Jesus Christ is a savior, not just a social worker or a counselor that encourages you and I to be kind to each other. If Jesus was only a teacher, then you can read him anytime you want like any other teacher. But if Jesus is a savior, that means that you have to feel the need for Him, that yearning for Emmanuel to come to you and help. If someone is trapped, if someone is held captive, if someone is in quicksand, they don’t need a teacher. They need a savior. And so the Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel,” is all about that helpless yearning, that desire for a savior. Our culture in a million ways tells us, “You’re fine. You’re great. Everything’s perfect. Everything’s good. Just loosen up and relax and be kind to each other.” Our culture in a million ways tries to encourage us to think positively, but all of that is a lie, and we know it deep down. Advent is a time when we get deeply in touch with our need for a savior.

So what do we need to do to get ready for Christmas? Christ is entering this world, and every year when December comes around, we’re reminded again of Him coming into the world. What do we need to do to get ready for his arrival and for revival? Here’s what Paul says in Romans: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this, you know what hour it is, how it is full-time now for you to wake from sleep for salvation.” And Paul is speaking here of that last Christmas, that second coming, for salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone. The day is at hand … In other words, the savior is coming. People, get ready.

Paul describes what it means to get ready in Romans 13:10-14: Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of Light. Let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ. That will help you to get ready for Christmas. And make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. The savior is coming. We need to get ready.

Jesus has these words about getting ready: “As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage and doing everything else that people do, until the day when Noah entered the ark and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away. So will be the coming of the Son of Man.” The savior is coming. We need to get ready.

And so Jesus says, Matthew 24:36-51, “Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” It could be today, it could be tomorrow. Verse 44, “Therefore you must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom his master has sent over his household to give them their food at the proper time? Who is the person in charge, in charge of caring for the family? Blessed is that servant whom his Master, what he comes, will find so doing, because that person has gotten ready to do the will of God.

But that’s not the goal for everybody. But if a wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed.’ And he does not do the work of God, but instead begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with the drunken. The Master of that servant will come on a day when he does not suspect him, surprise! And at an hour that he does not know, surprise! And will punish him and put him with the hypocrites. There men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

And so the common theme throughout the New Testament is this: you don’t know how much time we have left. So get ready. The savior is coming.

Our own Bishop, Bishop Beard made a point in his Advent meditation this week. The season of Advent is a reminder that Jesus Christ alone, our solid rock, provides us hope in times of darkness. Jesus is not only our rock of stability, but he is the light that overcomes any and every dark storm that we face. We not only withstand the storms, but we triumph over the storms. On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

Friends, Bishop Beard goes on to say this, “If we are not built on the proper foundation, which is Jesus Christ, we will find ourselves in peril when the storms come. There is no storm avoidance. Storms come to every Christian … Storms come to every person. Storms are a fact of life. Our best defense against the storms is a rock-solid foundation.

Now, if you will allow the engine to be installed in the car; if you will allow the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your life; if you will allow that engine to run and empower you to do what God wants, to be the kind of person God wants you to be … The interesting thing is, the power of the Lord Jesus Christ begins to repair your life, starting with the foundation, and working his way through your life to completely redeem and renew you as a person. That’s the potential of Christmas. When we let Jesus Christ come into our lives. Don’t miss it. Don’t be distracted. Let Jesus be born in you.

We sing a hymn called O Little Town of Bethlehem, and sometimes we don’t even hear the words that we’re singing, but one of the verses in that beautiful hymn is actually a prayer. Please read it with me in your hearts as I read it out loud.

“O Holy Child of Bethlehem descend to us, we pray.
Cast out our sin and enter in, Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell.
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Emmanuel.”

The question to ask yourself is this:
Is Jesus Christ your foundation in this advent season? Are you ready?

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, I know the storms come. The storms have come upon many of us from time to time, but it’s the foundation that enables our house to stand. It’s the foundation that enables our lives to work. It’s the foundation that supports everything that we are doing, that God is doing in our life. Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for being our foundation in this life. And, Lord, where there are problems in the foundation, where there are cracks in the structure, where there is weakness, I pray that you would repair us and mend all that is broken from the foundation up. Help us, Lord, to turn our hearts toward you. To not only mouth the words that Jesus is the reason for the season, but to help us in our hearts, to truly understand the potential for not only our lives, but for every human life, were we to be able to live out the presence of Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us, here and now, today. Lord, we ask that you change our viewpoint and our understanding so that we can understand what you can do if we get ready for you to come at Christmas. We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources

Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.

(If you wish, you can listen to the Prayer of St. Francis being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )
 

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