RAP SHEET 12/4/22
Sermon: O Come O Come Emmanuel
ICE BREAKER: What is your most fond Christmas memory growing up?
This week, Pastor Lee Wong took us on an adventure through the Jewish Scriptures to demonstrate and highlight the world's angst during that first Christmas.
The nation of Israel was in Constricted Captivity. Foreign powers squeezed them on all sides! First, the greeks conquered the country under Alexander the Great - then, Rome conquered them and forced them to assimilate into Roman life.
The people had lost their destiny, a sense of purpose, financial mobility, freedom, and, most significantly - HOPE.
Has there been a time in your life recently when you felt "Constricted?" (lack of purpose, hopeless, captured?)
Have you ever experienced heartache or hopelessness during the Christmas season?
If things were not bad enough in Israel, the people also disobeyed God over and over and over again. They ran after false gods and material idols, longed for other nations' things, and ignored worship of the one true God! Eventually, God gave them over to their desires, and for 400 years, the people did not hear from Him. No scripture, no prophets, no judges... JUST SILENCE.
The song "O Come O Come Emmanuel" is set in this silence. It is the people's longing to return to the true God. They were captive, not just by foreign powers, but by their sin!
It was into this devastating silence that God spoke, not with a prophet or proclamation, but by coming to earth as a baby. Jesus became God With Us– Immanuel– to eventually pour out His Spirit and become God Within Us.
The heart-wrenching song, crying in desperation for God to show up in their lives, is a reminder that God sees you in your distress. He knows what you are going through and struggling with, and Jesus WILL show up for you!
The question is: When Jesus shows up in your life, will you be ready to receive what he offers? Most Israelites missed it when Jesus came, and it was the very people he went to that hung Him on the cross.
What situation in your life are you desperate to see Jesus work?
What will you do THIS WEEK to ensure you are paying attention to how God might be moving in your life?
Spend time thanking God for sending Jesus into our silence and desperation. Express your gratitude to Jesus for all He has done in your life and seek the Holy Spirit's help in being aware of how He may be seeking to move in your circumstances.