It’s that time of year again! This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning our our celebration of God taking on man’s nature in order to deal with our sin. It seems there are a few different approaches to Advent, the Sundays being of different significance. I like the one that I first discovered that arranges the four Sundays before December 25th in this way. 1) Creation and the Fall, God’s authority and our need. 2) Prophecies of Christ, His plan to redeem is foretold. 3)The first Coming (Advent) of Christ, His earthly ministry. 4) the second Coming (Advent) of Christ, His heavenly reign. Within this we see the entire plan of Redemption so that when we celebrate Christ’s coming into the World as the Babe at Bethlehem, we are thinking of the whole plan of God. The Christ Child is now in His proper context in our minds as we see Him lying in the manger, surrounded by Shepherds and Wise Men.
This year we are looking at these four events as they are given to us in the Psalms. For the first Sunday of Advent we looked into Psalm 5 to see that all men are truly in great need of a Savior. Psalm 5 is a Psalm of contrasts as David prays to God, contrasting the evil man with the righteous.
Psalm 5:9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is destruction; Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue.
This is an important text that tells us not only about men that we might consider “wicked,” but as the Apostle Paul quotes it in Romans 3 it is about all of humanity.
Romans 3:13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN TOMB; WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY HAVE PRACTICED DECEIT”
David is aware that men are wicked and deserving of God’s judgment. The Apostle Paul spends the better part of three chapters at the beginning of his epistle to the Romans laying out this truth in great detail.
Psalm 5:4-7 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. 7 But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
We see that in his prayer, David lists several characteristics of man that God is opposed to. Therefore he does not presume to enter into God’s presence on his own merit; Psalm 5:7 “But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy…”Even the best of us require the mercy of God in order to approach Him. But then, was David, the “man after God’s own heart,” really the best of men? That man of bloodshed? That prideful man who counted his troops when he was told not to? The murderous adulterer? If not David, that prophet of God and the sweet psalmist of Israel, then who?
Romans 3:10-11 As it is written: “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE; 11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS; THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD.
You say, “Wow preacher, great message for celebrating Advent!” I reply, “Without this message of despair the beauty of the Coming of Christ into the world is not seen in all of its beauty.” It is the blackness of my sin the shows the true beauty of the Jewel of the Gospel. Like a diamond that is displayed on black velvet to show off its true beauty, the Gospel shines most brightly against the backdrop of man’s depraved state.
Romans 3:21-24 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Before we begin to look at the Babe in the manger, let us consider what compelled Him to come.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
I encourage you to listen to the audio of this message and to prepare your heart to celebrate the coming of the Second Person of the Trinity into the world. As the blackness of the sky made it possible for the Wise Men to follow the radiant star to the Christ Child, may the blackness of our sin lead us to the Jewel of the Gospel that is only found in the Person of Jesus Christ!