Welcome and Announcements
Advent Candle: The blind receive their sight!
(Based on Matthew 11:2-11)
Leader: John asked Jesus, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?"
People: Jesus said, "The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear.
Leader: The dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.
People: Truly I tell you, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." We light the first Advent candle to remind us to keep awake and be ready. (Pause while the first candle is lit.) The second Advent candle reminds us to changes our ways. (Pause while the second candle is lit.) We light the third Advent candle to remind us of the good news that the blind can see and the lame can walk. (Light candle.)
Hymn # 145 Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
Hymn # 152 O Little Town of Bethlehem
Call to Confession – Ten Commandments
Prayer of Confession
Words of Assurance: John 3:16 (ESV)
For this is how God loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God's Will for our Lives—James 5:7-12
Hymn # 149 Joy to the World
Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
2 it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God. 3 Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
8 And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.a]">[a]
9 No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away
Sermon: Behold your Lord
Intro: going through the badlands out west gives you a touch of what the desert is like. The desolation of just dirt, sand and rock.
We have times in our lives that are like this, times that are hard and seem desolate. If we haven't faced it yet, at some point you will.
Verse three: "strengthen their weak hands, steady the knees that give way, say to those with fearful hearts...be strong do not fear your God will come."
God will come with a vengeance to save you. God will come and save us from this world we live in. This is who God is. All people could see is the coming judgement..and so their hearts were troubled and they felt faint....seeing all the wrongs that they do, knowing God will come to judge.
Take for instance John the Baptist in prison kept in a horrid cell with little food and less then adequate toilet facilities, he started to wonder if Jesus was indeed true. And John knew better. This is a normal thing in the Christian life.
It is at these times that we needed to strengthened. But how do we get this strengthening?
Behold your God!
Look to God and know that he is your God and is still in control.
He is coming
- with a vengeance to deal with those who have attacked his church
- justice will not be escaped
So look to God and know that he will prevail.
This is an immense comfort to know that God is coming to save his people.
Then we are given a picture of what this day will look like.
When God comes
- deaf hear, blind see,
- the desolation will be lifted
- a road built -- back in Isaiah's day roads didn't exist. This will be a safe, holy road...a road marked and made by God that is a spiritual road that God keeps his people on and no one else can go on.
When God comes all sadness and desolation will be gone.
So we can indeed behold our God.
Know that God will come to save. Jesus says look to me. Know that the salvation of God has begun. Jesus fulfills the words written here.
Jesus takes us out of the wilderness of sin and death. He has dealt with it all. He has come to redeem his people.
Jesus has faced our punishment for our sins already.
So. Behold your God! He has come! And comes again!
Look to the Lord. Live as he would have us live. Despair not. Remembers we need to just patiently wait. Knowing that he is coming! He has con me but will come again to bring justice to completion. He is our redeemer.
- Hymn # 157 It Came upon a Midnight Clear
- Hymn # 156 – 1-5 While Shepherds Watched their Flocks
Hymn # 156 – 6 All Glory Be to God on High