Don’t Settle for the Shadow

advent 2016

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Advent 2016 | Part 1

Don’t Settle for the Shadow

Colossians 2:16-17

 

Introduction

So we’re starting our first week of Advent.

  • The word advent means coming or arrival.
  • It’s far more than a celebration of an historic moment 2,000 years ago.
  • In Advent we LOOK BEHIND us,

BUT ALSO we LOOK FORWARD to who is coming for us.

Advent Family Devotion Book

Now I know you are locked in for the next 30-40 minutes, but I also know that time only represents about ½ of one percent of your waking hours each week.

We want to resource you and your family for Advent worship at home.

Next week, we’re going to supply every household a daily devotion, The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent

  • Brief, manageable daily devotions with conversation guide through December 25.
  • They’re structured around the promises of God, so that we can “keep in mind the whole picture of who Jesus is, worshipping Him as the fulfillment of all God’s promises to us, ‘For everyone of God’s promises is Yes in Him.’ (2 Cor 1:20, HCSB)”

 

So if you use it, we think it will help you and your family to turn your heart toward something better than the shadows of the Christmas season.

 

Shadows are not the SUBSTANCE

 

>>> Col 2:16-17<<<

Shadows reveal something, but they are not the something. THEY ARE NOT THE SUBSTANCE.

So it is with the Christmas season.

In the Christmas season we see all of these shadows of the reality that Christ came:

  • manger scenes,
  • kneeling Santa book,
  • special season of generosity,
  • even fantastic glimpses of peace and goodwill (WWI, Western Front, Germany vs. Allied Forces, Christmas Truce of 1914)

 

But where we have to be careful is not to fall into the snare of substituting the shadows of the Christmas season for the substance –XJ

 

Ultimately our hope is not in the season of Christmas.

The reason we are PRONE TO THE CHRISTMAS BLUES is because this season, more than any other season in our culture, carries with it UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.

Sometimes you don’t get everything you want OR you do get everything you want but still find it not all that satisfying (kids and their toys)

 

In every commercial and every purchase almost everywhere you look you are BEING SOLD PROMISES OF UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS that will not match up to reality.

 

The Christmas season is being marketed as the hope of humanity. But the Christmas season is only a shadow of the Hope of Humanity.

 

Our hope is in the substance that is casting that shadow.

 

Don’t settle for the shadow, there is SOMEONE better: JESUS

 

The substance belongs to Christ Jesus.

 

 

Don’t settle for the shadow, there is someone better: JESUS CHRIST

Together I hope over the next few weeks we turn our attention to someone better.

  • Better Savior, Better King, Son of God
  • Better Praise, Merciful Savior
  • Better Redemption, Promised Rescuer
  • Better Joy, Immanuel: God with Us
  • Better Future: Lion of Judah: Our Soon Coming King

 

So we turn our attention from the shadow to the substance  —  Jesus Christ  —  God in the flesh  —  His coming and His soon return

 

Don’t settle for the shadow, there is someone better: JX

 

If God has something better for us, we have to prepare our heart to receive it.

We have to prepare our heart to receive God’s BETTER

 

Because God’s better doesn’t come on our timeline

 

God delivers on time… in His time… but that’s not often our time

 

We have been so culturally programmed not to wait

Illustration: I’m not old but I was around before the internet and cellular phones.

  • rotary phone
  • photos
  • access to information (encyclopedias/newspaper vs. web)
  • speed of the internet

 

We’re programmed not to wait.

 

God is Faithful to His Promises

So when I tell you that God is faithful to His promises.

 

That He promised the Messiah – and for thousands of years God was preparing the world for His coming.

 

And there was generation after generation that were waiting.

 

You would probably say, “I don’t think I could wait.”

 

And then I tell you that Christ did come, just as He promised. And now God has promised to return again. And that promise was 2000 years ago.

 

Because your hearts have been programmed not to wait, you say, “2000 years is too long to wait. I can’t wait that long.”

 

AND AS A RESULT you try to grab on to a shadow, but the shadow cannot hold you and you fall.. it can not sustain you and you are left empty.

 

God’s better doesn’t come on our timeline.

 

BUT GOD’S BETTER DOES COME.

 

We have to prepare our heart to receive God’s better.

 

And so we go to the Word of God.

To receive God’s better, we must get to know God… a God-sized perspective

 

Illustration: Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, wrote that to be finite, to be small and here for a second is LIKE HAVING YOUR FACE PINNED UP AGAINST A STAINED GLASS WINDOW. You can see some colors and jagged edges, but you have no idea how beautiful the picture is. So for you, it’s red, it’s blue and jagged, but you don’t get to see all that God is doing all and all that God
is accomplishing.

 

But when we go to the Scriptures, we see the promises God has made.

 

Look at how God followed through with each one. No gaps. No second best. Nothing left undone.

 

And here we are again waiting like our brothers were waiting the first time.

 

But our hearts are now prepared.

  • God is good.
  • He is true.
  • He is faithful to keep His word.
  • He operates on His timeline, not ours,
  • But because we know He will not fail to follow through with His promises,
  • We can wait with joy, fullness, and faith

 

 

In the Beginning: Gen 1-2

God created everything

 

He created everything as good, but nothing was created by God to terminate on itself, but rather to

 

Rather, all of creation was created by God to lead us to us to worship God because God brings a greater joy than that created thing ever could.

 

The Bible shows us two chapters of this shalom —  this rhythm of all things working as God designed them to work. (Like an orchestra)

 

 

The Fracturing of the Cosmos by the Fall: Genesis 3

We see sin fracturing the world.

  • by the rebellion of man,
  • The cosmos itself was fractured, the human soul was fractured and every aspect of God’s good, right and beautiful creation was fractured.
  • Now instead of being drawn to the Creator, we are drawn to creation
  • Sin unbalances our worship.
    • We will put the weight of our joy on creation, which can’t bear it.
    • We lean on a shadow of the Creator that cannot hold us up.

 

Illustration: Food. God created food. Not only does He create food, but He actually creates the flavors of food. Food is good. Now it’s not meant to create the worship of food, but worship of the God who granted, designed and gave the food.

But when sin unbalances our worship and we look to the shadow instead of the substance, food does not lead us to greater worship of our gracious, giving God. Instead it just becomes a matter of indifferent entitlement. “It’s just food. It’s mine.” Or it becomes our god… gluttony. When we get stressed, angry or frustrated, we don’t want God; we want a quart of ice cream and a dozen or two of donuts.

 

Why? Because you have taken what was created to lead you to God and you have made it into an god that at best can only provide a fleeting joy and a guilty feeling.

 

It’s not that there is something wrong with food; it’s that your usage of food is wrong.

 

 

When Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God’s loving authority, they substituted the shadow for the substance.

 

 

Gen 3:15: Condemnation that comes with a Promise of Restoration

In the middle of this rebellion against God’s goodness and grace, God condemns Adam and condemns Eve, and He lists for them what that condemnation looks like.

 

And he turns to the serpent (the personification of Satan himself: the picture of evil, death, sin, suffering) and God condemns the serpent

 

God is making a promise (Gen 3:15). He is telling evil personified, “Your reign and rule will come to an end. I am going to crush your head through a man born of woman.”

 

The Rescuer – the Messiah – who is going to crush sin and death and be wounded will be a man born of a woman

 

 

Gen 12:3

God is putting together His chosen people. He is speaking to a man named Abram, who will soon be Abraham. He is beginning to tell Abram what’s coming for him, that He’s going to make him a great nation.

 

The picture of who the Messiah narrows

 

The Messiah who is going to crush sin and death and be wounded will be a man born of a woman through the line of Abraham.

 

Now we know He’s going to be a Jew.

 

Gen 17:6

 

So now we’ve moved from a man born of woman to a Jewish man to a man in the line of the Jewish kings.

  • Even though Israel doesn’t have any kings yet
  • The kingship of Israel is hundreds of years away at this moment. They’re going to spend 500 years in exile in Egypt before they even head towards the Promise Land, which is an additional 40 years before they get their king.

 

But God knows the beginning, he end, and every detail in between

 

The Messiah who is going to crush sin and death and be wounded will be a man born of a woman through the line of Abraham and in the line of Jewish kings.

 

Gen 49:8ff

Jacob is calling together his 12 sons who are going to be the 12 tribes of Israel. He is prophesying or blessing over the sons.

 

Now the firstborn son in any patriarchal system is the one who gets the power, the money and the birthright. All the others pick up the scraps

 

But that’s not what happens… not Reuben… not Simeon… not Levi… but the forth born, Judah

 

>>> 49:8-10

 

The Messiah who is going to crush sin and death and be wounded will be a man born of a woman through the line of Abraham of the tribe of Judah and in the line of Jewish kings

 

2 Samuel 7:12ff

The prophets have this strange way of intertwining near events with future events, sometimes in the same paragraph.

 

So we need to look at what is occurring and then look at what happens in the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ in order to understand what is happening.

 

>>> 2 Samuel 7:12-16

 

Here we have two more promises:

1.) A promise to David about his sons and the kingdom.

  • Promises filled: Solomon absolutely builds the temple.
  • Promise filled: God does deal with his iniquity in a way that doesn’t spare him the rod but loves him throughout.

 

2.) Promise 2: that the line of David will endure forever, that his throne will endure forever

  • But the throne of David is not established forever through his sons (Judah and Israel, in just a few generations, will actually cease to be as nations.)
  • Someone else is coming… Someone Better

 

The Messiah who is going to crush sin and death and be wounded will be a man born of a woman through the line of Abraham of the tribe of Judah and in the line of king David

 

We know more about the who, but not the how.

 

We don’t know how He’s going to destroy sin and death.

 

 

Isaiah 7:13-16

 

Some will argue that Hebrew word there in Isaiah 7:14 simply means ‘young maiden.’

It does not mean that she hasn’t been with a man; it just means that she’s a young girl.”

They’re absolutely right. That’s what that Hebrew word means. It simply means “young maiden,”

BUT here’s where you’ve got to look at the context of the text itself.

 

In Isaiah 7, Isaiah is telling the people that God is going to give them a miraculous, epic, cosmic sign so that they would know that they have not been abandoned and they have not been forgotten.

 

When a virgin gives birth to Emmanuel, God with us – that’s cosmic shaking miraculous

 

Now the second part of this verse is just as important as the first part.

 

The second part says, “He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.”

Curds and honey are the diet of a peasant, not a king

He will be intimately acquainted with the plight of the poor.

It should have been no surprise that Jesus was laid in a manger.

It should have been no surprise that Jesus was the son of a carpenter.

It shouldn’t have taken anybody off guard that Christ was homeless as He walked around on earth.

 

The Messiah who is going to crush sin and death and be wounded will be a man born of a woman through the line of Abraham of the tribe of Judah and in the line of king David, but He will not come like a king.

 

Therefore His Kingdom will be different

 

He will be born of a virgin

 

Isaiah 9:1

Vv1 – Galilee was a horrible place, so much so that Isaiah says that it had historically been such a place of contempt that even the Jews looked at it as though God had contempt for that part of the country.

But then he says, “No longer.” And then he begins to mention a place called Galilee, and if you’ve read the Gospels at all, then you know Jesus primary place of ministry was Galilee.

 

The Messiah who is going to crush sin and death and be wounded will be a man born of a woman through the line of Abraham of the tribe of Judah and in the line of king David, but He will not come like a king.

 

Therefore His Kingdom will be different

 

He will be born of a virgin. He will come out of Galilee

 

Vv2 – The promise is a simple one.

 

The promise is that, with the coming Messiah, peace will reign and rule where war, death and loss once did.

 

The Messiah who is going to crush sin and death and be wounded will be a man born of a woman through the line of Abraham of the tribe of Judah and in the line of king David, but He will not come like a king.

 

He will be born of a virgin. He will come out of Galilee

 

Therefore His Kingdom will be different – it will be one of peace

 

Vv6-

The Messiah who is going to crush sin and death and be wounded will be a man born of a woman through the line of Abraham of the tribe of Judah and in the line of king David, but He will not come like a king.

 

He will be born of a virgin. He will come out of Galilee

Therefore His Kingdom will be different – it will be one of peace

He is a man born of woman, but He’s also God, God in the flesh.

 

Isaiah 53:5-9

 

So there’s the great exchange that we talk about week in and week out.

How is the head of sin and death going to be crushed by the Messiah? He is going to take on to Himself our iniquity, our sin, our rebellion and our hate, and He’s going to extend to us His righteousness.

So we look like Him, He takes on God’s wrath towards us and we are holy and blameless in His sight.

 

 

Now this is the substance that is sitting behind the shadow.

A shadow that goes back to the substance of this promise that was made before Eden was closed, the promise that God would repair and right all that has gone wrong and that He would do it through a son, a man who would crush the head of the enemy in our hearts.

 

APP

Sex

Relationships

Food

The Substance

 

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