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December 11, 2013

Grace Baptist Church, 4737 W. 4100 S., West Valley City, UT 84120 www.graceutah.com grace@graceutah.com (801) 968-4843

Points to Ponder
On Advent

By Matt Johnson

Some have proposed it this way, We do not know how good the good news is until we feel how bad the bad news is. Advent is a reminder that indeed, we need some good news. We must remember that Jesus Christ came into this world from his eternally exalted place in majesty to first bear the sins of his people before he would come to pull his people out of the cursed world. The incarnation is the beginning of the solution to our sin problem and for thousands of years, Gods people longed for that redemption to come. Two such individuals in the Gospels seemed to live in constant Advent anticipation, Simeon and Anna. Both were old when Christ was born and yet both rejoiced at this birth not simply because it was a miracle, but because they had seen their salvation. We will indeed miss the point of Christmas if we do not understand the spirit of Advent. Christ Jesus was born in a manger for one intentionto save his people from their sin. Not to bring social justice, not to organize a revolution, not to impart good feelings and peaceful relationships, not to bring families together, not to give us a merry holiday in the middle of winter, but to save his people from their sin. A Christmas story that leaves out the reason for the incarnation is cute at best and depressing at least. So here is my suggestion for you who are liturgical and do all the stuff with the candles and colorsRemember that true point of Advent, expectation that God would save you from your sin. And for all of you who eschew all liturgical forms and Advent celebrations, remember that it is more than a Divine miracle of Jesus birth with the sheep, cows and donkeys. Remember that Jesus came to this earth so that God would save you from your sin. The OT prophets called the Christ, the desire of nations. Why? Because all nations need to be saved from their sins. Only Jesus does that, and only being born would begin that, and only a death on the cross would satisfy that, and only resurrection would validate that, and only ascension guarantees that.

Adventus is the Latin word derived from the Greek work parousia which means coming. Usually in the New Testament, the parousia is referring to the second coming of Jesus Christ, but around December, many Christians use the Anglicized word Advent to refer to the longing and expectation culminating on Christmas Day. In more liturgical churches, Advent is remembered with Scripture readings, special services, candles and various colors the five Sundays prior to Christmas. Generally, Baptists and other nonconformists have not celebrated much when it comes to Advent. Many have seen the increased Advent celebration as a move back toward Roman Catholicism and ecumenical agenda in much of contemporary Christianity. I share those concerns on one level, because we have indeed seen a revisiting of icons and acceptance of Catholic rites by many professing evangelicals. I am always cautious of anything that seeks to add rites to the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. Historically, however, Advent has been remembered by multiple protestant denominations, even those strongly opposing Roman Catholicism; and the case for a bornagain Christian celebrating Advent has merits. There is much to be said for a somber look back at why the Christ needed to come and an expectant looking forward to his first coming with glimpses of his second coming. Yes, there is a danger to becoming ritualistic and not separating out enough from the heretical doctrinal rites that Catholicism and other modern denominations embrace. But there is also a great danger when we consider Christmas, to only focus in on the actual incarnation of God in Jesus the Christ. The danger is not in remembering the incarnation, but in the bustle of a merry event such as the coming of Christ, we often tend to forget the longing expectation and the reason why Jesus Christ was born. We can get so caught up in the miracle of the birth of God in human flesh (which is a good thing), that we may be in danger of missing the point of his birth. Advent is a time not simply to remember Christs birth, but to turn our hearts to the sin sickness and the curse that gives us the longing expectation of a redeemer. Advent is a time to remember the darkness which comes before the Light of Glory steps into his creation.

Baptist Service! December 15 at 11:00 am Fellowship lunch to follow!

Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, Why is the bride dressed in white? The mother replied, Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life. The child thought about this for a moment then said, So why is the groom wearing black? --------------------------------------------------------------At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how Eve was created out of one of Adams ribs. Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and she said, Johnny, what is the matter? Little Johnny responded, I have pain in my side. I think Im going to have a wife.

Arise, Sons of the Kingdom


Arise, sons of the kingdom! The King is drawing nigh; Arise, and hail with gladness The ruler from on high. Ye Christians, hasten forth! Your praise and homage bring Him And glad hosannas sing Him, Naught else your love is worth. Arise, ye drooping mourners! The King is very near; Away with grief and sorrow, For lo! your help is here. Behold, in many a place We find Him, our salvation, O blessed consolation! In His pure means of grace. Arise, ye much afflicted! The King is now not far; Rejoice, ye long dejected! Here comes the Morning Star. The Lord will give you joy; Though troubles now distress you, With comfort He will bless you, Een death He will destroy. Now hear, ye bold transgressors, The King does well give heed To all that ye are doing, And to the life ye lead, Enthralled to sin and hell; Nothing in all creation Escapes His observation He marketh all things well. The King in grace remembers His loved ones here below With gifts of royal treasures, Yea, doth Himself bestow Through His blest Word and grace. O King, arrayed in splendor, To Thee all praise well render Here and there face to face. -Johann Rist1651

Dec. 13 (Fri) Teen Fellowship at 7:00 pm Contact: Jarrod Murdock Dec. 15 (Sun) Baptism Service and fellowship lunch. Dec. 19 (Thurs) Ladies fellowship and Christmas party at 7:00 pm Dec. 22 (Sun) Begin evening worship at 6:00 pm Dec. 24 (Tues) Christmas Eve Service at Trinity Baptist Church Dec. 31 (Tues) New Years Eve Worship at 8:00 pm

God demands the tithe, deserves the offerings, defends the savings and directs the expenses. Stephen Olford