December 25 – 31, 2016
Advent Week 5
The Glorious Return
Advent Guide 2016
Season: Advent Article by Athens Church
Excerpt taken from “Athens Church Advent Guide”
As humans, the normal demands of the day can leave us feeling exhausted. Everyday life circum- stances pile more and more weight on our shoulders. After months of the everyday grind we long for some kind of rest. A time to shut the emails off, leave the children with the grandparents, or to forget about the stress of a loved one dealing with a disease — we long for a vacation. Whether that vacation be a few nights at home without the kids, a week long camping trip, or a stay at an extravagant hotel on a beach — our bodies, minds, and soul need rest. Then, as soon as we return home from our vacation we realize that we need another vacation from our vacation. This is because vacations can only provide a temporary rest and we long for something so much more.
In this text we see that God has promised believers a rest far better than we could ever hope — Christ is going to return again! Romans eight tells us that one day creation will be completely free from its bondage to corruption and we will experience true freedom as children of God. All of our earthy groans will be turned to heavenly glories. As believers we are heirs of God and coheirs with Christ. We, being sinful humans, do not obtain the title “Heir of God” by any merit of our own but solely because of what Christ has done for us. God has chosen us believers to be His and because of that we get to experience true rest in Jesus and one day when He returns again we will experience complete restoration.
Our God is a promise keeping God. Not once has God not been able to not keep his promise. We can be assured that Christ is coming back because God promises us He will return. To us, time seems to y by quickly, or creep on too slowly, but for God one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. Much like the Israelites, we may feel God is being too slow in ful lling his promise, but we can rest in knowing that God is Good and knows the exact day Christ will return. He is coming quickly like a thief in the night and will rid the world of all wickedness and creation will finally experience complete restoration.
In knowing that Christ is going to return one day, how then should the Church wait? What are we to do in our waiting? As Peter says, truly believing that Christ is coming again changes the way we live in such a way that would cause us to purify ourselves. Also, we can look to Anna as an example in Luke 2:36-38 we see her fasting and praying for the rst arrival of Christ. In the same way, believers today should be fasting and praying for the second coming. These few passag- es show us that we are not left to wonder what we are to do in our waiting, but we see over and over in the word of God that we are to spend our time knowing Him, enjoying Him, proclaiming Him, living the life we were created to live as we wait and anticipate the Lord’s return.
Today we feel the tension of living in a time when Christ has already come and is coming back again. We have been given the Holy Spirit but are not yet perfect, nor have we experienced ultimate restoration. This tension is good because it reminds us that we are not yet home and the best is still to come.
2 Peter 3:8-14
What stands out to you in this passage and why?
How does the second coming of Christ change the way you live?
What promises do you have a hard time believing God will fulfill? What verses in the Bible speak to those specific promises?
Reflect on the season of advent, thinking of all that God has revealed in the last several weeks. Ask that God would help you remember all of these things, and that you would continue to anxiously await Christ’s return throughout the rest of the year.
The Advent Season
Advent is from the Latin word for “coming” or “arrival,” and it refers to the coming of Christ. It is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s first advent, and our anticipation of His second. Our waiting isn’t simply a moment in between moments, but it is a time that God uses to grow and shape us into the people He has created us to be. We have provided a Advent page full of resources as we consider this Advent season.