Saturday, December 8, 2012

Advent 2

Philippians 1:3-11
Christians are prepared for Christ’s return

Two realities hit us from our text for today. First, Christ will in fact return to this earth and second, He has already prepared us and continues to sustain us as we anticipate His coming. Christians are well prepared therefore we wait for Him confidently.
I.        Christ prepares us for the day of Christ by giving us the Gospel.
A.     God alone is responsible for the creation of my faith. He has done it all. Signed, sealed and delivered by the Savior.
1.      This is good news because I’m too sinful to create faith or to co-operate with God.
2.      The idea of grace excludes any effort on my part. Not grace plus my good intentions. Not grace plus my efforts. Not grace plus my co-operation. It’s all based on the grace of God alone.
3.      This creation of faith comes through the Gospel. It is the Gospel preached, taught, read from the Scriptures and shared. Whenever the Gospel is present there faith is being produced and increased.
B.     God also preserves and prefects my faith.
1.      He does so by the Gospel. We are sealed by the Savior’s grace through the Gospel so that we will be able to stand on the last great day.
2.      He does so alone – He doesn't need our help - He accomplish it all on the cross on Good Friday and confirmed it on Easter Sunday.
C.     God’s work in me enables me to stand confidently on the last day.
1.      I am standing in Jesus and His completed work! Because of the cross and empty tomb I am able to stand!
2.      My standing depends not on me but on God’s grace alone.
Transition: While God prepares us for the day of Christ by the giving of the Gospel, this Gospel also produces something in us.
II.     God prepares us for the last day of Christ by bringing forth in us the fruit of faith.
A.      These fruits spring from our righteousness in Christ.
1.        They only have value because we are in Christ. For example, look what is printed in fine print on a dollar bill. “This note is legal tender for all debts public and private.”  It is more then a piece of paper. The dollar bill has value because the treasury has placed its mark on it. The cross and empty tomb has value to forgive sins because God has placed His mark on them. The righteousness of Christ has real intrinsic value as it is lived out in our lives. Living out the cross and tomb is what we often call the fruit of faith.
2.        And so living our faith in our daily lives, we glorify God.
B.      These fruits are produced gradually – like a tomato, which takes all summer to ripen.
1.      They develop as we grow in our relationship to Christ and in knowledge.
2.      They develop as we grow in moral experience and insight.
C.      The works done in us will stand, when Christ comes again in glory.
1.      They will be pointed out publicly Matt 25:34-36 -"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me {something} to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
2.      But our sins, being forgiven - will not be mentioned. They have lost their power and effect! Satan cannot accuse us any longer!
Christ is preparing us for His return in glory by giving us the gospel and by bringing forth in us the fruit of faith. Take comfort in the promises of the Gospel – Cling to Christ’s sure and certain words – For in Christ you are being prepared, perfected and made ready.

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