This being the First Sunday in Advent, here again is a passage from Augustine of Hippo, on the Two Comings of Christ. This comes from the book Faith and Life: readings compiled from ancient writers, by W. Bright, that I have mentioned before.
I. THE TWO COMINGS OF CHRIST.
Our Lord Jesus has been prophesied of in this Psalm, wherein we have heard and sung, “God will come manifested, our God, and will not keep silence’.” For the Lord Christ Himself, our God, the Son of God, in His first Advent came hidden, in His second will come manifested. When He came hidden, He was known only to His own servants; when He will come manifested, He will be known both to good and bad. When He came hidden, He came to be judged; when He will come manifested, He will come to judge. Lastly, when at that time He was judged, He kept silence; and of His silence the prophet had foretold, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer, so He opened not His mouth.” But He will not be silent when He is to judge, as He was when He was to be judged. Even now, if there is any one to listen, He is not silent; but, it is said, then “He will not keep silence,” when even those who now contemn His voice shall recognize it. But even now every one ought to observe that God, when He pleases, looks on things and judges them, and does not delay judgment for an hour; and, again, when He pleases, He does delay it. Why is this? Because if He were to judge nothing now, He would not be believed to be God; if He were to judge every thing now, He would reserve nothing for the judgment. For to this end are many things reserved for the judgment and some things judged at present, that they whose cases are deferred may fear, and be converted. For God does not love to condemn, but to save; and the reason why He is patient with bad men is that He may change them into good ones.
–St. Augustine, Sermon xviii.
This Advent, let us thank Him for His long-suffering patience towards us – exemplified in the coming of His Son, which we remember in this season.
Courtesy of The Gospel Coalition, here is a message titled Aromatic Confidence by the Rev. David Short of St. John’s Vancouver Anglican Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. This message is based on 2 Corinthians 2:12–3:6 and if you read the passage, you will see what the Rev. Short is talking about when he speaks of “aromatic confidence”. (If you like this message, you might try subscribing to The Gospel Coalition’s TGC Word of the Week in iTunes or through other devices.)
Continuing with his series on the Book of Acts, here is another message from Phillip Jensen, titled “How to Know God”. It is based on Acts 17, which passage tells about the ministry and evangelism of Paul and Silas in Thessalonica and Berea, and of Paul in Athens.
For Thanksgiving Day in the USA, here is an appropriate message titled Giving Thanks from Dr. Richard Trucks of Third Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. He is preaching on Psalm 103:1-5, and as he points out, Psalm 103 shows us what the attitude of our hearts should be as we are giving thanks.
Next in the series of sermons on the Book of Revelation by Dr. John Woodhouse is a message titled The New Heaven and the New Earth. This is the final message in that series, and it is based on Revelation 21. As usual with Dr. Woodhouse, these messages are very much worth hearing.
Here is another interview on the Eric Metaxas Show: Joni Eareckson Tada, author, radio host, and founder of Joni and Friends, is talking with Eric. I have always found Joni to be an inspiring example for us all.
Here, from RZIM Canada, is another in their video series on “Short Answers to Big Questions”, where they plan to address fifty of the most common questions and objections about Christianity and attempt to give short, succinct answers to each of them. In this one, Nathan Betts answers the question “Does the Trinity even make sense?”
This is actually a repost, from 2011, of a sermon from Fr. Bill Klock of Living Word REC in British Columbia – because today is the Sunday Next Before Advent. It is hard to believe we have completed another church year, but here is a Sermon for the Sunday Next Before Advent from Fr. Bill, which is based on Jeremiah 23:5-8 and John 6:5-14. Fr. Bill, in this one, does an exemplary job of showing us that these readings point us to His coming, and that the First Advent points to the Second Advent. I also like what he has to say about “Stir Up Sunday”:
But, brothers and sisters, the First Advent of Jesus always points us to his Second Advent. Jeremiah and the Old Testament prophets prophesied the first coming of the King to establish his kingdom—bringing righteousness, gathering his elect from the nations, and bringing them together as his Church—his true Israel—as he makes them a temple for himself. But the King himself prophesied that he would come back. The kingdom life we have now is only the down payment of the life we will have with him when his kingdom is fully consummated at his return—when his spiritual kingdom will become a physical reality. In the meantime we have work to do. In the collect we asked God to “stir up” the wills of his faithful people, that we may produce abundantly the fruit of good works, and receive his abundant reward. We often call this last Sunday of Trinitytide “Stir Up Sunday”. Would that God might stir us up out of our complacency and remind us of the blessings he has poured out on us. Would that he might stir us up out of our complacency and remind us of the kingdom life he’s called us to live. Would that he might stir us up out of our complacency that we each might consider the gifting for ministry that he’s given us and do the work of the kingdom. Would that he might stir us up out of our complacency and remind us how important and how urgent it is that we share his Gospel—his Good News of hope for sinners—with those who are in darkness. How much of our time and our gifts do we squander? As the disciples did with the left over bread, gather up the fragments and consider again the call to ministry and service that God continues to give us as we move into the new year and come another step closer to his Second Advent. Yes, we do live in this world, but our real home, our real citizenship, and our real future is in God’s kingdom! Live fully in the grace he has given; use the gifts he has given you to advance his kingdom—don’t let them become leftovers; and take advantage of every opportunity he gives you to serve his kingdom.
Indeed, may the Spirit of God stir us to using our gifts for His glory and the spread of the Gospel, and may we – each of us – draw closer to Him this Advent. If you would like to listen to the message, you can do so here.
Here is another speech from Bill Whittle on “How to Stop the Civilizational Collapse”. He tells his audience that “I think everybody in this room is fully aware of the fact that the wheels are coming off of Western civilization. The wheels are coming off. And I think everybody knows it. I don’t think you have to be a genius to see it.” If you want to see his prescription for this, you can watch the video, or read the transcript here.