Advent- the hour not known
The hour not known
Doxology Hymn no 329: “Be still and know that I am God”
Call to worship
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah (Psalm 46:10-11)
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, (Galatians 1:3)
Hymn No 330: “God Himself is present”
Invocation and the Lord’s Prayer
The Lord, the LORD Almighty, He who touches the earth and it melts, and all who live in it mourn— the whole land rises like the Nile, then sinks like the river of Egypt— He who builds his lofty palace in the heavens and sets its foundation on the earth, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land— the LORD is his name. (Amos 9:5-6)
The Lord’s Prayer
Scripture Reading: Genesis 6:9-22
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
Declaration of pardoning
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)
Hymn No 389: “I hear your welcome voice”
Offering and Dedication
Prayer for others
Scripture Reading: Matthew 24:36-51
Dear Brother and sister in the Lord, beloved,
The prophet Amos was sent by God to warn his people of immanent destruction as a result of their sins and rebellion. In his message he points to the mercy of God who constantly shows his mercies by letting the people know what his plans are. He says:
Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared— who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken— who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:7-8)
The actions of God therefore do not come as a surprise. We can only be grateful that God deals with us in such a way.
8 2 Peter 2:5 refers to Noah as the preacher of righteousness. We don't have the sermons of Noah recorded in the Bible. We can only say this: In the one hundred and twenty years of building the ark, the years God waited patiently according to 1 Peter 3:20, every new piece of timber added to the ark, every beat of the hammer and every sound of the saws cutting the timber was a message in itself. People would most probably ask this humble and righteous man. “What are you doing Noah? His reply would be, "I am building an ark because God going to destroy this generation by a flood because of their sin and unrighteousness.'' The people would laugh and scoff Noah. "Don’t be silly, Noah, how is it possible that God would do such a thing. We have watched the 50 year flood lines, and even the hundred year flood levels, no such a thing is recorded in history."
Noah, in his perfect and blameless walking with the Lord, would carry on building the ark. The people would see the progress on the ark, they would keep on asking the silly old man what he was doing, but they would not take heed. Life is too precious to waste your time on fabrications of an old man of nearly 6OO hundred years old.
Matthew 24:38 tells us that:
For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark. (Matthew 24:38)
8 There is nothing sinful about eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. However, the people do these things without any thought of God or the coming judgment.
Indeed the very next verse speaks about it:
“... they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:39)
8 They knew nothing? After all those years of preaching of Noah? No, they did want to know. they were too busy paying attention to their own affairs. That’s why they were taken by surprise.
8 Noah was a man of righteousness: his walk before the Lord was in accordance with God’s revealed will. He was a man mature in his walk with the Lord: he was morally blameless, not lacking moral quality. 8 He walked with God. He dwelled with God and God dwelled with him. He pleased God and God was pleased with him.
8 Those to whom he preached were, on the other hand, corrupt. They were depraved and perverse. They were in a state of ruin and destruction. They deserved God’s punishment. 8 But in his mercy and grace, God sent them a prophet: Noah, the righteous man. He prepared them for the judgement of God upon their depravity and corruption. They didn’t listen and kept on living as if nothing was going to happen.
8 His sermon was from the mouth of God who referred to “flesh” (Gen 9:13). The word used describes the frailty of man. He is but man who is perishable and bound to decay. They, the immoral, corrupt and depraved were nothing against the judgement of God.
8 When God’s hour is full and time has run out, there are no second chances. Nothing flesh can come up with can stand against the fury of God’s judgment and wrath. And the hardest of all: time is against you. The door is shut. God has the right to shut and to open. Not even the righteous Noah, who probably heard the cry of those overcame by the flood, and probably heard the knocking of those who wanted a second chance, could do anything to rescue them. It was just too late. The righteous God, who loves and gives life, is also the One who is the God of judgement. He desires the salvation of many, but He is not bound by their unrepentant hearts to wait until they feel like turning to Him. He is indeed a sovereign God who hates sin.
8 Then on a day (even Noah had not known the date at first, God however added another 7 days of grace) God commanded him to go into the ark. God locked the ark from the outside. Perhaps as the water level began to rise and the people realized what was happening and that the message of the silly old man was indeed from God, they pleaded with Noah to let them in into the ark of safety. But God had locked it. Time has run out.
Then the rain started coming down. The fountains of the earth burst open and water covered the face of the earth. It was a world-wide flood. But God was faithful and the Bible tells us that God remembered Noah. It stopped raining and as God opened the ark again Noah was greeted with a new earth. Everything looked different. But the scoffing people were gone. They drowned in the flood of God's anger. They did not heed the message of Noah and time of grace ran out for them.
A real danger we may look at what happened to Noah as a tale. This is what evolutionists want us to believe. With that, we don’t believe that the flood was a historical event that took place in a specific year on God's earth. We don’t believe that God realty sent a flood that killed all the people, apart from Noah and his family. We believe evolutionists rather than the Word and because of that we don’t find it necessary to prepare ourselves for the day of the coming of our Lord. Fact is: if we don’t regard God's past judgment on the word to be real, we will not regard God's future judgment as real.
Further, if we don’t take Noah for real, we will not take the birth of Jesus for real. How many people will sing the Christmas carols once again this year, even know it by heart, hear it in the shops, and participate in Christmas celebrations and the lot, without believing one single word of the birth of Christ and what it means!
Today is the first Sunday on the church calendar referred to as Advent. Advent is the time of preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus to this world.
8 Traditionally, we hear the message of Christmas during this time. However, advent has more to it than just the stories of the birth of Christ. We know the story of the birth of Christ in the manger in Bethlehem. Everyone can tell the story; we know it. The question is, “What difference does the message of Christmas make to our preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ at the end of times?” Further, the prophets announced his birth as the King:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Do I worship Him as King?
Yes, the birth of Christ and the story of Christmas is not a fable or a fairy tale. Therefore, it is a time for this world to prepare itself for the coming of the Lord. We cannot remain at the manger without moving on to the cross. And we cannot remain at the cross without moving on to the open grave and the ascension of our Lord. And then, logically, we need to move on to the return of Christ.
This world has an end. And that will be with the coming of Jesus Christ on the clouds of Judgment.
As we will celebrate the Lord Supper next week, we do it with our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus. We, in the Lord's Supper, proclaim the return of the Lord. We sit at the table and with wine and bread we think of the blood and body of our Lord who died for us. But we also celebrate the coming of the Lord when we will be guests of the victorious Lord when we will sit at the table of the Lamb, dressed in white - a feast that will last for ever.
That's advent: to take heed from warnings of the past, to evaluate the present and to prepare for the future - to believe that Christ is corning again.
Point is: we don't know the hour. So, we must prepare, and we must be prepared.
8 Are you prepared? Do you know Jesus Christ as Saviour? Are you ready to meet your Saviour? He is coming back. That's a fact.
It is only possible to meet Him if we are ready accepting Him and acknowledging Him as the One who met God's righteousness. Do you believe that? Then, give your life to the Lord.