Advent means Arrival, and in this season of Christmas we celebrate Christmas and the arrival of the Christ child.
Yet as Christians we really celebrate three advents: The arrival of the messiah, the Holy Spirit, and the glorified King.
Today we’re taking a look at the incredible joy, hope, and reverence that should accompany our celebration of Christmas this year. That there are really three advents at hand, and they each matter very much for how we live out our daily, and tech, lives.
Purposely. Your life. God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com.
Hello everyone and welcome to the Gospel Tech podcast. My name is Nathan Sutherland, and this podcast is dedicated to helping families love God and use tech. Today as we prepare for Christmas, coming up here shortly, we are talking about the three advents.
This is a conversation I love to have this time of year because we are looking at Christmas in the face. We hear a lot about Advent, and I just like to take a step back and help myself. I love doing the study for this and help you keep Christmas in perspective, in the United States, we are definitely a group who love ourselves some Christmas, specifically on the shopping side.
I kid you not, it’s October when Christmas stuff comes out here and then November, we like hang on and try to hold it at bay. But generally, the week before Thanksgiving, like Christmas music is playing and stuff is going on, and then the entire month of December, now this is new. I know it’s new because if you watch or read anything more than like 20 years old, it was always the week or two before Christmas that decorations would go up.
I mean talking read your Snoopy, watch your Christmas Vacation. Like whatever it is that is like trying to resemble real life. They’re talking, the 15th of December before people start putting up Christmas lights. And its definitely Thanksgiving weekend when that happens here now. So, when we get all excited for Christmas, that’s cool.
There’s this idea of advent. We don’t really know what that means, but there’s a calendar involved and sometimes some candles. But what are we looking for? And today we’re actually talking about three advents because the advent of Christmas really only matters in light of the other two. That’s where we’re headed today.
There certainly is a gospel tech connection here. But the big picture is keeping our eyes on advent because that’s the gospel part of the tech, and that’s what drives our tech youth. With no further ado today, let’s get this conversation started.
Welcome to the Gospel Tech Podcast, a resource for parents who feel overwhelmed and outpaced as they raise healthy youth in a tech world. As an educator, parent and tech user, I want to equip parents with the tools, resources, and confidence they need to raise kids who love God and use tech.
Thank you to everyone who’s helped make this podcast possible. Thank you for liking. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for rating and reviewing. That’s where you can scroll down. Give us five outta five stars, and I am asking for five, outta five because I want this to be five-star content. If it’s not five stars, please send me a note, email@example.com, or on Facebook and Instagram @loveGodusetech. And then you can leave a little one to two sentence review where you’re telling people how it helps you, why is it encouraging to you? What is worthwhile about this? Cuz there’s a lot of content out there that people could listen to. So, thank you for helping us do that. It is super fun to watch more people joining and listening and sharing. So that’s amazing.
Quick work update. I haven’t done many of these, but over the last, oh my goodness, two months. I’ve septupled, the amount of talks we’ve been doing, which is great. We definitely found that like upper limit where I it might have been back in September, maybe October I think I did 17 or 19 talks that was too many. So, we know that’s our upper limit for how to stay sane and married and like faithful with this ministry. And so we’re trying to, we’re trying to balance that out. But if you want me to come out, I do wanna let you know about the newest talk I’ve been doing is the Hope Talk, which I’ve mentioned here before, but it’s for public schools.
I’ve actually had some churches who are partnering with groups like either the Y M C A that are reaching a pre believing audience, or they’re just teaming up with school districts. So, there’s a group here locally where they’ve now teamed up with the local school district to provide church members for doing things like, para reading with young people for like elementary school or running the reading test or stuff that you don’t need a certified teacher to be able to do.
You just need a body who cares about kids and can get a background check. And they’re actually bringing me in 2023, beginning of the year to work with the district to start talking specifically about hope. And then from that hope conversation, having some basic tech conversations, again, the gospel has to be the foundation of what we’re doing.
Being safe and happy isn’t all that bad. If there isn’t something better for you. In light of the gospel. We find that our time isn’t our own right. But in light of a broken world, a kind of a good friend of mine and mentor of mine called it pre-evangelism, where you just bring hope into a situation.
You bring truth into a situation. I’m not saying that is all they need. I’m saying there are some broken hurting people and Truth and Hope can show up and meet ’em in that. If you’re one of those people who has resources and access like that, I would love to be able to get in front of both believers for Gospel Tech and those who are pre believing those, I believe God is calling and this message can help bring that out.
There’s a message of hope and then there’s also two conversations I do about technology. That are gospel found gospel rooted gospel foundation, but I don’t get to bring up Bible verses in it. It’s basically what I did when I was a public school teacher. . There’s a lot of truth you can share in those short one-hour conversations.
So, I wanted to leave that here. If you are interested in that, go to gospeltech.net and you can go to speaking, type in your info, kicks me an email, and we will immediately begin a email or phone conversation or just sit in direct message at @loveGodusetech on Facebook or Instagram, and we can get the conversation rolling that way.
Would love to do that in this next year. Weekends, like churches and stuff, we’re looking, April, May we’re fully booked out through January, February, March. But public schools, they operate during my workday, and so I have some more flexibility there. At the end of the day, I can only do three weekends a month because I do want to attend my church and be faithful there too. So, there’s that.
All right. That’s just a little update. I haven’t given one in a while. We’ve been blessed by just your guys’ outpouring and you guys reaching out to hear Gospel Tech present to your churches and I love that. I speak once and people are walking away sharing this content with others.
Oh, okay. Final story. This wasn’t written down, but this happened in this last month. Someone came to a talk and then added me on social media in a conversation about kind of technology and people being afraid of it, and it’s this beautiful response. I actually screenshot it because it was like all of the Gospel Tech talking points.
It was tool and drill tech. It was reset, it was why the gospel matters when we’re talking about technology, and it was just listed out and then it was like @gospeltech at the bottom. I didn’t have to like, I didn’t even have to respond. I just liked it. There was nothing else for me to say. And this person heard me once.
And the reason I say that here is these are not talks where you’re gonna come away and impressed at Nathan and how amazing and smart he is. You’re gonna come away and go, wow, that was actually so straightforward and simple. Why didn’t I come up with that first?
Because this isn’t groundbreaking information I’m sharing. It’s biblical encouragement and reminders of what you already know, but really, it’s just hearing it again is what I found. It’s stuff people have thought and when they hear it, it clicks and God is using it, and I’m so grateful for that. If you would like this continent at your church, at your school your private school at your co-op, please reach out.
I’d love to make that happen. All right, today we’re talking three advents the first advent. So, advent in general the word means arrival and this idea that we are looking towards the arrival of something. So, in this season, we’re expecting the advent of Christ, but we want to actually take a step back, look biblically.
When we say advent and there’s three of them, what are these three advents? So, our first advent comes outta Genesis 3:15, the Promise of a Savior to defeat Satan. Genesis 3:15, I’ll just read it for you here. And so, this is after Adam and Eve have eaten the fruit of the tree, the knowledge of good and evil, which means they picked their will over God’s will.
Eve looked at it and she saw that it was pleasant to the eyes, that it was useful for knowledge, that it was good for eating. And she said, yeah, I choose that cuz God’s good and all, but I’m a little better and I want this plus one.
And God comes up and says, the Lord God said to the serpent, because you’ve done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field. On your belly, you shall go and dust, you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and her offspring. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. So that’s the very first promise.
It’s God’s initial response to sin. A redemptive promise judgment, certainly death enters the scene. Death actually in this case being a blessing because living apart from God forever is the definition of hell. So, death enters as really a supplement to God’s original plan, but it enters the world as a way to stop this from becoming an eternal health for us and then promises the solution from himself.
It continues in Genesis 15, as God has chosen Abraham and tells him, Hey, your people, one is going to be an example of my love, but then from your people is going to come the seed, the singular child who is going to fix all of this. And it’s repeated again and again throughout the Old Testament, the whole prophet’s thing.
We call them prophets because there’s talking about stuff that hasn’t happened yet. Then we see fulfilled that’s what makes someone a prophet. It has to come true, right to be a prophet. And so we see that then as we progress through the Bible.
You can go to Isaiah 61:1 where Isaiah says, the spirit of Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken heart, to proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of the prison, to those who are bound to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Which in his season, he’s certainly speaking to the people of Israel who have been taken into slavery and he is proclaiming there will be a physical redemption which we see like in Nehemiah, for example.
But this is also then taken later to be very clearly the Messiah. We also see it in Isaiah 9:1-7. This is one many of us think in this time of advent of expecting the birth of the Christ. And I’m gonna read the whole thing cuz it’s one of my favorite passages.
Isaiah 9:1-7. But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time, He brought to contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. But in the latter time, he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. And I wanna pause there. It was pointed out a couple Sundays ago by our pastor a great point that when Assyria came and basically took over Israel, Naphtali and Zebulun were the first two areas to go.
So when he’s speaking this, it certainly is still to the people of his time that this was a message of hope of, Hey, you guys got it the worst, right? You were the first to go, and yet there’s going to be hope, certainly a return of people physically, but it’s not just that.
Continuing to then verse two, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwell in a land of deep darkness on them has light shown. You’ve multiplied the nation; you’ve increased its joy. They rejoice before you, as with joy at the harvest. And they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden and the staff from his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.
So, if I pause right there, we have this picture of people are gonna be so joyful. It’s as though they’ve won a great war. It’s as though it’s harvest time and we’ve done all the work and now we get to celebrate the fruit God’s given us.
And the yoke, the staff, the rod, these objects of oppression, they’re broken like they were on Midian, calling back to Gideon’s victory when he had, thousands of men and gets whittled down to 300. And God wins an incredible victory for the people of Israel. So this is what it’s like continuing on for every. Of the tramping warrior in battle tumult, and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
It’s not gonna have any use anymore. That it’s now just used for staying warm. And then it comes into verse six, For to us, a child is born. To us, a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end. On the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time fourth and forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. This is Isaiah 9, speaking absolutely to the people of Israel saying, God hasn’t forgotten you.
Repent and expect to come home. Certainly. And then there’s this child. For unto us, a child is born unto us a son is given and another part of Isaiah talking about, and the child will lead the lion and the lamb, and they will be at peace. And talking about the restoration of creation. So, we have this coming up a lot in the Old Testament, but it’s not just an Old Testament concept.
And it’s not just holding to the events they were speaking to. And we see this in Matthew 4:12. We have Jesus returning from his time in the desert. And then he comes in and he hears that John gets arrested and this happens. Now, when he heard that John had been arrested, John the Baptist had been arrested.
He withdrew into Galilee and leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. So that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled. The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea beyond the Jordan Galilee of the Gentiles, the people dwelling and darkness have seen a great light. And for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death on them, a light has dawned.
From that time, Jesus began to preach saying, repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, Matthew 4:12. I love it because it doesn’t leave us and just trying to connect the dots. I don’t know about you. When I grew up in the season of the Left Behind book series and I grew up in piercing the darkness and lots of books that made a lot of biblical conjecture, which was entertaining fiction.
But it was often overlapped with biblical teaching, and it was really confusing. And sometimes you’re trying to connect dots, especially if you’ve ever had the book of Revelation. We connect dots and sometimes they’re not exactly biblical dots. They’re really intellectual dots. They make a lot of sense, but maybe they’re not exactly what the Bible intended.
And this is awesome because you have a New Testament author saying, and this is what he meant. This is fulfilling a prophecy, a capital S sign that the Messiah is gonna come. And this is one of those things. So that’s for me at least, always encouraging. We see this first advent, the promise of a Messiah going all the way back to the very first book, the first three chapters of the Bible now being fulfilled in Matthew 4:12 saying, Jesus did this so that the land of Zein, the land of Naftali could have a great light in it.
He wasn’t born there, but he went there in ministry. Jesus himself actually makes this claim. This is, comes outta Luke 4:17. I love this. He goes to a Saturday service, and he shows up and says actually is invited. Would you like to speak?
Cuz he’s a known teacher. And so, the scroll of the prophet Isaiah is given to him here in Luke 4:17 and he unrolled the scroll, and found the place where it was written, and then this is what he reads. The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind to set at liberty those who were oppressed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
And he rolled up the scroll and he gave it to the attendant and sat down in the eyes of all in the synagogue, were fixed on him, and he began to say to them, today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. What he’s actually reading from is that Isaiah 61:1. It’s that promise that Isaiah made.
By the way, the very next 61:2 talks about the Lord’s wrath. But Jesus apparently cuts it off and says, this is the Lord’s favor right now. Wrath is coming. This is the Lord’s favor that’s a coming right now. And I love this. So, our application, when we think about the first advent. What should that mean to us?
It means Jesus has come first of all, that baby Jesus, the man that we’re gonna celebrate on December 25th, which is incredible. Wherever you’re at in the world. Take a moment, thank God, and reflect on what He’s done in your heart and in your life. And if you don’t love Jesus, may this season be a time of you reflecting what does it look like to have God actively intervening in human history?
Jesus has come. He defeated sin, Satan, and death. Christ proclaims good news to the poor. Bringing liberty to the captives in sight to the blind. God’s always saved. He’s been saving since the beginning of time. He saved Abraham. He saved Rahab.
He has saved through the word still absolutely the pre-incarnate word of Jesus, existing at the creation of all, of humanity and all of the world that we know. But he doesn’t just send Jesus as a baby and Messiah. That promise isn’t just for eternal salvation. It certainly includes eternal salvation, but it includes victory. That’s what he promises in 3:15 when he is talking to the serpent.
That’s what he promises when he is talking through David or through to Abraham or through the prophets of Jeremiah or Isaiah. It’s more than just, and you can live forever if you believe in me. That’s always the promise. There’s an entire court for gentiles to come and worship God, even though they’re not Jewish.
God is saving. And yet right here, this goes beyond saving. This is victory. He wants to destroy sin, Satan and death and does so by sending his only son to die, a death that we deserve. But he’s perfect. So, sin has no purchase on him. The deal is broken, and he rises again to new life and then offers it freely to us.
And that brings us the second advent, because we aren’t just saved from the world. We’re not just saved for our own good so that we can go party with Jesus as our good buddy. That’s not the premise here. That’s not the deal. The second advent is the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament, we see this in places like Joel 2:28 and 29, and it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. Your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions even on the male and female servants, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
And that’s an incredible promise that the people of Israel were looking forward to with the Messiah. But it’s not just Old Testament prophets who say this. Jesus actually says in John 16 What is that? Okay, it’s John actually 14:15 through 18. Excuse me. If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments, and I will ask the father and he will give you another helper to be with you forever.
Even the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you again, John 14:15 through 18. Please keep in mind, up until this point, the spirit of God had rested on people.
The spirit of God was on Saul and then on David. He actually removed it from Saul when Saul was deliberately disobedient. This is not that. This is a new thing that God is doing. This is the new covenant. Yes. God was saving and continues to save through Jesus. He wins an eternal victory over sin, Satan, and death.
That’s the already, but not yet that we’re now living in, that the prophets promised that Jesus fulfilled that sin. Satan and death have lost. The victory is won. A major part of that, as Jesus says here, is giving us the Holy Spirit. In fact, he goes on in John 16 to say, nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away for if I do not go away, the Helper, capital H will not come to you.
But if I go, I will send him to you. That’s John 16:7. Jesus, as JD Greer points out, is telling us that it is better to have the Holy Spirit inside us than it is to have Jesus beside us. If it was best for Jesus to stay an earthly rein at that time, he would’ve done it.
The guy who was raised to to life from death, by God the father would have stayed and reigned if that had been plan a best option, but it wouldn’t have been. He says no, it’s better for you. Why? Because it’s not just gonna be Jesus doing awesome stuff. It’s gonna be every one of us now indwelled as jars of clay, as imperfect vessels, indwelled with the richness of God’s Holy Spirit and then empowered to do the good works that he calls us to do.
This is what Paul says, when he says Ephesians 2:10, that we’re not just saved from the world. We’re saved for good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to do. But if you’re still confused about this, or if I have not been clear, allow me to point to Peter. So that first promise was God says, I’m gonna send a Messiah and he’s going to redeem my people, redeem them from sin, redeem them from death and redeem creation in the process. I’m gonna make all things new.
And that’s in 2 Corinthians 5:17. When we are new creations, we’re saying this creation process doesn’t just stop with our sin, and it doesn’t just stop with forgiveness. Instead, there’s a second advent that Jesus speaks specifically here. It’s promised by Prophets like Joel saying no the spirit of God is now gonna dwell in people, not in a temple with an intermediary as a human, but in you as an indwelled temple with an intermediary of the Holy Spirit and a high priest that never dies.
Now you have one high priest, his name is Jesus. Read the book of Hebrews. It’s made very clear there. Jesus is our eternal high priest, and he’s earned that status to be the one as the sacrifice as the priest as the propitiation as the one who takes our place and our sin and becomes righteousness for us. That is what’s happened now.
And in light of that here’s what Peter says. This is coming out of Acts chapter two, but Peter’s standing with the 11. Everyone has by the way been indwelled by the Holy Spirit. This is the arrival of Pentecost or the arrival of Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They’ve been in dwelled by the Holy Spirit.
They’re speaking in tongues and people are like, oh, these guys are losing their mind. And Peter. With the 11, here it goes, lifted up his voice and address them. The crowd of people who were milling about. Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you and give ears to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only the third hour of the day.
But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel. And he goes on to quote that exact same prophet, and it has come to pass that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. Your old men shall dream dreams. Your young men shall see visions even on your male and female servants. In those days, I will pour out my spirit.
So, there’s a hundred people at this point speaking in tongues, prophetically, proclaiming the gospel to a crowd of onlookers. And everyone’s hearing this in their own language and they’re like what’s, what is happening here? He doesn’t actually just end there though.
He goes on to quote David and he says, for David did not ascend into heaven, but he Himself says, the Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool Acts 2:34 and 35. What’s his point here saying Jesus didn’t die for fun? When we think about the second advent, we are not thinking about, man, that was super cool for like Jesus to be my buddy and pay that off.
High fives. Thanks Jesus. Instead, he’s looking towards what John will eventually tell us from Revelation 12, that there is a, there’s an enemy of God who’s kicked out of heaven with what appears to be a third of the angels and has this unholy rebellion, comes to earth, and this is working out of God’s glorious righteousness, that God is right and is good.
We are somehow wrapped up into this as an opportunity to love and follow God. And when we don’t, God doesn’t just give up. Same way. He didn’t just give up with this initial rebellion. Instead, he goes, no I’m still going to prove my righteousness, my goodness, my holiness, my love, my long suffering.
And despite our mistakes, and despite the rebellion of Satan, he continues to work out goodness, in spite of active rebellion and working against him. This second advent is the promise of his Holy Spirit coming to make all things new, coming to undo all the bad things in the world as Sam Gamgee so nicely says in Lord of the Rings.
So, when Jesus says it is better that I go away. John 16:7, he’s reminding us that just being near Jesus is not enough. So when we think about what’s the application here of the arrival of the Holy Spirit of the second advent in this Christmas season, it’s we do not want to just be comfortable being near Jesus.
Think about Judas. He followed Jesus for years. And yet Jesus himself says it would’ve been better if he had never been born. Because the Spirit, he ended up having indwell his heart, was one of pure evil. In fact, the Bible says that Satan entered him. By the way, that’s an invitation only thing you don’t get there on accident.
So that was not don’t, yeah. Don’t think of some movie in a rendition of this. This wasn’t an accident. This was Judas’ intentional decision, and he welcomed that because he hated Jesus. It’s a longer story than we have for today, but he hated Jesus. He knew what Jesus stood for. He had seen it for years and he had realized this wasn’t the king he wanted.
He wanted a king who was gonna be awesome and win stuff, and he wanted to rule with that king wit, money, that he apparently was stealing. And he hated Jesus’s conversation about dying as a suffering messiah. So, when we talk about our conversation of advent, number two, the Holy Spirit, we recognize that Jesus died on purpose, that was plan A.
Yes, it was to defeat sin, Satan, and death. And it was to win us the Holy Spirit. He says, if I don’t leave you don’t get the helper, and you need the helper. Now we’re indwelled. Now, every one of us is part of the body of Christ and is a temple of the Holy Spirit. And God moves in and through us. The second advent takes the salvation promise by God from his Messiah, his only son, and makes us sons of God, makes us full inheritors of the kingdom of God, children equipped with the very Holy Spirit of God, just as Jesus was to do his will and see his kingdom come.
So, for you and I, it means that our time’s no longer our own. It means that when we trust and follow Jesus, we no longer get to call to shots. Instead, we die to ourselves. We pick up our crosses daily and we follow where Jesus leads. As Paul says in Ephesians, we do good works that God prepared beforehand for us to do.
Let’s take this time, this season, this next week and a half, two weeks. And let’s reflect in prayer on, Lord, is my heart following you? Let’s repent when it’s not. Let’s make sure that we’re connected to the vine of Christ. Let’s look at the fruit we’re producing when we go and interact with our family over this Christmas
Is our fruit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control? Awesome! If it’s not, if it maybe is envy and dissension, anger and malice, if it’s strife and sexual immorality, if it’s jealousy and enmity, then we don’t simply go and I’m a lost cause. No, Jesus died for you. What are you going to do with his free gift?
Are you gonna repent, confess your sins, and be made new again? Then let’s do that. Or are you going to claim your own mantle and run the way of Adam and Eve and Judas and anyone else who’s been intentionally rebellious? Because this brings us to our third advent. If our first advent is the promise of a Messiah, and the second is the promise, arrival of the Holy Spirit, both of those have happened, but they only matter in light of the third one, which is that we’re living in the already, but not yet.
Cuz Jesus is coming back. Jesus tells us he’s coming back. He says so. And we live in the expectation that sin Satan and death have been defeated. But they’re not gone yet. Jesus explains this clearly that the reason for that is God is very gracious and loving. Think about this. If 500 years after Jesus rose again and ascended into heaven, Jesus came back victorious.
Where would you and I be? What if he did it? 1500 years later, what if he did it 2000 for some of us, right? For me, 19, 190 years later before I had bent my knee and confessed my need and been renewed as an individual following and loving God. What would have happened then? And Jesus says, that’s what I’m waiting for.
I’m letting the weeds grow with the wheat and I’m gonna let ’em come to full broom, excuse me, full bloom, and I will come back, and I will harvest them. Then we will sift the wheat and the chaff. But I don’t wanna pull up anyone that’s not ready yet. He’s gonna let every knee bend, he’s gonna let every tongue confess.
Eventually it’ll be done in horror and anger and fear. Just like demons do it, demons can say you’re the son of God. They’re not happy about that. They’re not acknowledging that with a repentant heart. They are angry about it. They are mad about it. They’re saying, don’t throw us in the pit of hell. It’s not our time yet.
We have more time to do bad stuff. You know the rules. So, they’re not, it’s, we can confess. But there are gonna be two different kinds of confession. And when Jesus comes back, we need to recognize that this is the already but not yet that we’re currently living in, which needs to change how we live.
This third promise, I wanna go into it a little bit more. I can picture sometimes Jesus as like my buddy. I see him with his 12 buddies and I’m like, yeah, I’m a disciple of Christ. So, like I get to hang out with Buddy Jesus, which man, there certainly is a humanity and an approachability to Jesus that we need to recognize as our high priest.
He is the exact character and nature of God. So, God is loving and long suffering and slow to anger and gracious, and all of those things true about God the Father, and they’re true about Jesus. And yet sometimes I picture Jesus like that little bobblehead on the dash with like his hands open and he’s got that smile and his head’s just bopping around.
And I can go to Jesus and be like, Hey Jesus, you think you could talk God the father into helping me with this thing? And Jesus sure thing, dude. And that’s sometimes our vision of Jesus and I think it comes because he’s so meek and approachable and incredibly gracious and he doesn’t snuff out the smoldering wick and he just, He is so meek and mild
And he’s incredible at that. And that’s the picture we see. But I need to just draw our eyes to something that I miss a lot, John the Apostle. This is one of the 12 disciples of Jesus; one of the three that Jesus took into smaller group settings. So, he goes up the mountain when Jesus is transfigured and he witnesses Jesus talking with Elijah and with Moses.
He is at the last supper. This is Jesus’s buddy. Apparently scooched over to Jesus, and as they’re all leaning on one arm, eating on these low tables at this formal Passover meal, he gets close enough to where he can lean his head back against Jesus’ chest to ask Jesus a question. That’s the proximity they have to one another.
They’re very much in one another’s bubbles. When you talk about a tight earthly friend, this is about as tight as you can get. This is the same apostle who in writing a gospel, the Gospel of John references himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Think about that. There were still other surviving apostles.
They would have read this letter. They would’ve had the chance to be like, no. Dude, you can’t write that. It’s not true, right? There were lots of arguments happening about spiritual and doctrinal truth at this point in history that scripture was not canonized formally as we know it now.
They were meeting insane. No, you can’t require people to follow the old Judaic law. That doesn’t bring salvation, grace, and faith brings salvation like they were clearing stuff up. If John was not the disciple Jesus loved, they would’ve said something. We would have an edit a redaction somewhere. We don’t. So, I bring all of that up because after a failed martyrdom attempt, John lives through it.
He’s exiled to the island of Patmos. At that point, he has a revelation that we now literally call Revelation. He sees heaven. And in that this happens, and I want to read this to you because it’s really important. It says, I John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom, and the patient endurance that are in Jesus was on the island called Patmos, on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a aloud voice like a trumpet saying, write what in a book and send it to the seven churches; to Ephesus, and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and Thyatira, and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea. Then I turned, to see the voice that was speaking to me.
And on turning, I saw seven gold lampstands. And in the midst of the lampstands one, like a son of man clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest, the hairs of his head were white, like white wool like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
All right, I wanna pause right there. John turns around, he sees Jesus. But not Buddy Jesus, not lean my head back on Jesus. Not the dude that he like learned from and loved and wept when Jesus physically died and celebrated when Jesus rose again, and he saw the renewed resurrected body of Christ. And that was amazing, but it was not yet glorified.
Jesus himself says that I’ve not yet been back to the Father. Don’t like, don’t hold on to me now cuz I haven’t been back to the Father. I’m going, you’re gonna get your helper. I’m gonna get my glorified body. That’s what he’s seeing here. Okay? This dude who glows like hot bronze and it just came out of a furnace.
He just looked absolutely eyes scalding bright, right? That’s what’s happening here. And then verse 17, when I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Verse 17, John sees his best friend. But it’s the resurrected Jesus, not just resurrected, but glorified. And when we think about this third advent, the impact on John’s consciousness trying to take in this information was completely overwhelming.
He just passes out. He just absolutely collapses. This is key for us to remember. This is someone who knew Jesus well personally and spiritually. He’s operating in the spirit when this occurs. So, he converses regularly with God. He has a regular relationship. He’s been spared a martyrdom. He did not die.
He continued to live and is now living in exile, spending his time living with the Lord. God is not a stranger to him. Jesus is not a stranger to him, and when he sees glorified Jesus, he passes out. We have to try to prayerfully wrap our brains around this because the third advent Christmas is awesome.
Jesus is coming. He has now. He has now come Easter. He has died and rose again. Woo. We have been given a Holy Spirit. We’re living in light of both those truths. This third truth will happen. A glorified Jesus will return. The part that I didn’t read is in his right hand, he held seven stars and from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword.
And his face was like the sun shining in full strength. Jesus will come and he will come as righteous. Judge. He will come and he will win victory with the words of his mouth. He will throw down Satan. He will fully crush death for all eternity, and he will rule and reign forever. That’s gonna be amazing.
In light of this promise, what should we do? Because of this third advent, we need to remember that this world is not our home. We are sojourners, we’re travelers here, and we must not forget that. All the best, most wonderful things we run into from our family to our gifts, to a functioning society if we happen to live in one.
That’s amazing. That’s a gift from God. And it’s a reflection of God’s goodness that will come in its fullness when all the bad things of this world are made untrue. That will happen at some point when Jesus returns. And yet we’re not there yet. So what are we called to? We were called to repent.
We’re called to believe, and we’re called to help others repent and believe. It’s called making disciples not converts. We’re not called to make converts. That’s unfortunately a major part of human or church history has been our call to make converts. And we’ve done it at the sword, and we’ve done it with policy and we’ve done it in a lot of coercive ways.
And instead, we’re called to make disciples. People who know how to trust and follow Jesus, which means confessing and repenting, which means operating in the Holy Spirit, which you can only do with a humble heart that wants to see God’s will be done over our own, which is what humans were called to way back in the garden when the first advent was promised.
So, our conversation today to just remind us is that there’s three advents. There’s a promised Messiah where God says, man, you guys have messed up and I’m gonna fix this. I’m still gonna save people. I’m still working in human lives, hearts, and history, but I’m gonna bring salvation to everyone and I’m going to fully defeat sin, Satan, and death. I’m gonna break his will over this world. And when we repent and confess, Christ as our Savior, and we ask God to indwell us, we are actually not just made better versions of ourselves, we’re made new creations. Our hearts are removed as God promises through the prophet Ezekiel.
That Ezekiel 26 says that he will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. That’s what he does. We’re new creations. That then means when we’re indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit, advent number two, the arrival of the Holy Spirit, when you believe new creation and indwelled by God, you now are no longer your own.
You live for Christ. Your actions, your job, your treatment of others need to reflect Christ. The fruit that comes out of you needs to come out of you because you’re connected to the vine, which is the only way you get your life. You don’t get life by straining really hard to try to produce good fruit.
Good fruit comes because you’re connected to a good vine, and then if you’re disconnected, it’s bad fruit. The Galatians 5:19 part of that conversation, and then finally, we’re doing this because we recognize that we’re already but. God has won and he’s graciously delaying the final victory because there are people today, right now, some people you’re gonna work with, some people you’re gonna deal with at church, some people you’re gonna serve.
Your own kids. These are individuals who need to come trust and follow Jesus. And God is graciously allowing that to happen, allowing even the brokenness of this world to point us back to him. Cuz one day we won’t need the brokenness of this world. We’ll see him right now, we see a dim reflection, then we’ll see him face to face.
And like John, we’ll be overwhelmed. And our opportunity right now is to recognize that God’s at work. This isn’t our home, and we are not simply called to survive it. We’re not called to just deal with it. We’re called to love the people of this world, like Christ loved them and gave his life up for them.
And so that’s our spouses, that’s our children, that’s strangers and our enemies. So that’s in light of the three advents, what we’re celebrating at Christmas. And my hope and prayer is that this conversation, wherever that finds you in the world, whether it’s in the United States, whether it’s in Australia or England, or India, my prayer is that the, that God will use this conversation to challenge you, to convict you and to encourage you to trust and follow him and to help others do the same.
If this was encouraging and man, exciting to you, would you share it with someone? Would you send him a text, click a link, put it on social media, let people hear this conversation of three advents because it’s from this, that we use our technology and it’s for this, that our technology can be good.
We can actually use a lot of technology around us to help share the gospel in meaningful ways. And would you join us next week as we continue this conversation about how we can love God and use tech.