Sunday, December 23, 2007

Advent 2007: Week 4

LEFC Family Advent Readings
Advent Week #4: Joy To the World, the Lord Has Come
“Salvation & Condemnation”
John 3:16-18
December 23, 2007

“Advent” means “coming.” Christmas is coming. Jesus has come and is coming again.

This Advent season, we are preparing our hearts for Christmas by contemplating the differences between Jesus’ first coming and His second coming.


Our first candle shines to show that Jesus came in surprising humility, but that one day, He will come with full majesty.


Our second candle highlights that when Jesus first came, very few worshiped Him, but when He comes again, every knee will bow.


Our third candle reminds us that Jesus first came to a life filled with sorrow, but that at His second advent, He will be full of glorious joy and bring amazing joy to His people.


Today, we light our last candle before Christmas Eve. At Jesus’ first advent, He came to save, not to condemn. However, when Jesus returns, He will save His people, but He will also bring judgment on those who have not believed.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 3, we read: [READ JOHN 3:16-18.]

When Jesus was here on the Earth the first time, He brought a message of free salvation through faith in His name. It’s a glorious offer, one that anyone can receive. Whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life!

But whoever does not believe will receive condemnation when Jesus returns.

May this candle remind us how serious Jesus’ coming really is. He has brought salvation to all who believe, but condemnation awaits all who do not.

Let us pray and share the Gospel this Christmas Season with those who need to know that God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son.

Advent Bible Study for Families

1. Re-read John 3:16-18. According to these famous verses, what is the Gospel? What does this passage teach about salvation and condemnation? Why is faith/belief in Jesus so important to God?

2. Read John 5:19-29. What did Jesus teach here about the time of judgment to come?

3. Application. Because Jesus will bring judgment and condemnation, how should Christians act today? How should we relate to unbelievers? What can your family do this Holiday Season to share the truth that God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son?

4. As a family, sing Joy to the World, the Christmas Carol by Isaac Watts. Joy to the World is actually more about Jesus’ second advent than His first:

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

5. [EXTRA FOR FAMIILIES WHO WANT TO DIG DEEPER.] Read Isaiah 61, an Old Testament prediction of the Messiah that Jesus applied to Himself in Luke 4. What did Isaiah prophecy about Jesus’ ministry of salvation and condemnation? In Luke, Jesus stopped reading Isaiah 61 in the middle of verse 2. Why? What does that teach about the differences between His first advent and His second? What difference does that make for us today?