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Looking Back Looking Forward Luke 2;22-40 123106

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Looking Back, Looking Forward (Luke 2:22-40)

 

Intro: At the beginning of a new year, we often both look back and look forward. ILL: Year in review shows. Read Luke 2:22-40 and Give Background (vv. 21-24).

1.       Waiting on the Lord (vv. 25-33, 36-37)

a.        Simeon and Anna were waiting on the Lord. Their waiting was very long. Israel had waited in 400 years of silence. Simeon appears to be one who is near death or awaiting death probably for many years. Anna was very old and had waited many years for the Messiah.

ILL: Time spent sitting at stoplights:  6 months.    Time spent opening junk mail:  8 months. Time spent searching for misplaced objects:  1 year. Time spent trying to return phone calls:  2 years. Time spent doing housework:  4 years. Time spent standing in line:  5 years.

b.       The Word of God is the cause of our waiting on Him. Looking back to the Word.

              i.      God had already revealed the importance of the child to Simeon and Anna, but now they would testify to many that Jesus was the Lord’s Christ.

APP: How did God reveal Himself to you this last year? I have heard it said that in five years, the only thing that will change us are the books we read, the people we meet, the places we go, and the risks we take. God often reveals Himself to us in these ways.

c.        In the life of the believer, we see a pattern. God reveals something to us, then we are to wait for God to bring it to pass.

ILL:  A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, Ryan, 3.  The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake.  Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson.  "If Jesus were sitting here, he would say, 'Let my brother have the first pancake.  I can wait.'"

Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, "Ryan, you be Jesus!"

d.       What do we do while we wait? Look back to the promise and live in the present for God. How?

                                      i.      Obedience to God’s Commands

                                    ii.      Faithfulness in Prayer

                                   iii.      Faithfulness in Public Worship – Word of God is central.

Psalms 27:14  Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Ps. 37:34 Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land;

Psalms 62:5  My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.

Psalms 130:5-6  I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning

Proverbs 20:22  Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.

Is. 40:31  But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Is. 64:4  For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.

Lam. 3:25-26  The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. 26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.

 

APP: It may be difficult to wait on the Lord, but it is worse to wish you had. Wait on the Lord. Rest in His promises. Daily walk with Him.

2.       Looking for the Lord (vv. 34-35, 38)

a.        They Looked for the Lord. Simeon (v. 27 Led by the H.S.) and Anna (v. 38) and others were looking forward to the fulfillment of God’s promise to send a Deliverer, a Messiah.

APP: We see, in Simeon and Anna, the anticipation and the expectation that is to be found in those who follow God. Our lives and our church should have an atmosphere of anticipation. Do we really expect God to do anything? Are we hungry for the work of God in our lives? Do we really want to see lives changed by the gospel? Do we really want God to move in our hearts?

b.       When they were looking for Christ, Christ came to them.

                                      i.      Jesus = Salvation (v. 30) SHARE THE GOSPEL

                                    ii.      This was always God’s plan (v. 31)

                                   iii.      The salvation Jesus brings is for all kinds of people. (v. 32)

1.        Here Ethnic distinctions are highlighted.

2.        But, all through Luke we see men and women, rich and poor, religious and pagan, well and sick, etc. come to Jesus.

                                  iv.      The salvation Jesus brings will force people to receive or reject Him. (vv. 34-35)

APP: Christ has come. Salvation is now offered to all. Have you received Christ? Are you aware of you need for a savior? Will you admit your sinfulness before a holy God? Would you trust in the work of Christ on the Cross to satisfy the wrath of God for your sins? To not trust Him, is to reject Him. To reject Christ, is to leave yourself in your own sins. Apart from Christ, there is no salvation. If you leave this world without Christ, you will spend eternity without Christ in hell.

c.        They were ready to do what God wanted them to do. They spoke to others about Christ. 

APP: We should be asking God, “What would you have me to do? As God fulfills His promises, are we ready to join in with God in what He is doing?” We are to be READY. LOOKING FOR THE LORD!

Philippians 3:20  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Thessalonians 1:10  and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Hebrews 9:28  so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

James 5:7-8  7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

ILL: It is said that two kinds of birds fly over the California deserts: the hummingbird and the vulture.

All the vulture can see is rotting meat because that is all he looks for.  He thrives on that diet.  But the hummingbird ignores the carcasses and the smelly flesh of dead animals.  Instead, he looks for the tiny blossoms of the cactus flowers.  He buzzes around until he finds the colorful blooms almost hidden from view by the rocks.  Each bird finds what it is looking for.

Conclusion: We need to be waiting on the Lord. He has promised so much, but we often try to make it happen. We need to learn to wait on Him. Faith waits on God because it trusts God. We need to be looking with anticipation for God to fulfill His promises. We need to look for Christ because He is coming again! Are we ready?

Invitation: Waiting? Looking for God? Ready to do? Ready to meet Christ?

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