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Advent I  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Reliance upon God or upon others. Dependence on God for help with spiritual and physical needs arises out of an awareness of human helplessness, though dependence may be wrongly directed. People may look to others for encouragement and support, but over-dependence is not commended.

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Dependence arising from a sense of helplessness

Physical helplessness

Psalm 18:6 NRSV
In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
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Spiritual helplessness

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Dependence on God encouraged

God is to be trusted

Hebrews 4:16 NRSV
Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
See also ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

God is a refuge

Psalm 46:1 NRSV
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
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God can help those who depend on him

Hebrews 13:6 NRSV
So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”
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God will help those who depend on him

Luke 11:13 NRSV
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
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Examples of failure to depend on God

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Dependence on God for physical help

Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah.
See also Hezekiah; the men of Judah


David; two blind men; Mary; Paul

Dependence on God for spiritual needs

Childlike dependence is necessary for those who would enter God’s kingdom;
See also ; ; ;

Dependence on God expressed in prayer

Psalm 5:2 NRSV
Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
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Examples of those crying out in dependence on God

the Israelites in Egypt; Job in his suffering; the people of Jerusalem; Jeremiah; Jonah from within the fish; the tax collector in the temple; the church praying for Peter; the Corinthians praying for Paul

Misplaced dependence

Dependence on surrounding nations

Jeremiah 2:18 NRSV
What then do you gain by going to Egypt, to drink the waters of the Nile? Or what do you gain by going to Assyria, to drink the waters of the Euphrates?
See also ;

Dependence on false gods and religions

Psalm 40:4 NRSV
Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.
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Dependence on human strength and resources

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Dependence on sinful behaviour


The futility of misplaced dependence

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A proper dependence on others is commended

Human help can strengthen

Galatians 6:2 NRSV
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
See also

Examples of a right dependence on others

a priest’s support for an unmarried sister

Support for the poor and needy:

Achish found David to be a reliable soldier; Uriah and Zechariah were reliable witnesses; Reliable teachers are a blessing to the church.
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