Preaching A Gospel Of Love
3rd Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 35:1-10
James 5: 7-10
We are given directions from Christ on this 3rd Sunday of Advent so that we would be guided to live our lives with a hope and confidence and security in Him.
Jesus trained the 12 apostles and gave them instructions on what to do to minister to the people. And then He went out to preach. There are two parts of ministry work; the healing of physical bodies and the saving of souls. Both are needed. We should be aware that upon conception, a life has been created. John the Baptist had a strong personality. He meant what he said. To him, right is right and wrong is wrong. He was put in prison because of his being confrontational and straightforward to people who were guilty. John’s message is very strong, which was why he thought that the Messiah would come and punish all evil. But Jesus was coming to restore sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf. John was the preparer who told people to repent. Jesus taught about the love of God. He came to restore man. Many churches today still teach a harsh gospel- that God is an angry God, a God of destruction. A God who will kill all the evil people. This is sowing fear. We are not supposed to be in fear. Isaiah 35: 1-10 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Today, we look with anxiety as things appear to be getting worse. But could it be that in the midst of all the chaos, people will be drawn back to the Lord? John was seeing things in judgment. He was preparing the way because repentance is required. Jesus was showing God’s love and compassion. There are greater things to come. These things can be corrected by goodness. When people get healed, the spirit will be willing. Like farmers, we need to be patient and know that good things will come in major proportions. A great revival will come before the coming of the Lord. This should give us hope and not anxiety. Do not complain. We should conquer and overcome. We should not give in. Christ faced the evil by turning it into good. He wasn’t burning the chaff. He was healing. God is a God of hope, of love, of mercy, of compassion. He is not a God of judgment and condemnation.
Our task is to prepare the way. How? By turning evil into good. We are being prepared for the Lord’s coming. It is not what we say. It is what we do. It is a ministry performing the work of God. Living a life that makes us living witnesses. God is a God of unity, forgiveness and love. We need to live out the life He gave us.