Strength in Faith Because of His Spirit
2nd Sunday of Advent
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
December 8, 2019
Readings: Isaiah 2: 1-5
Romans 13: 8-14
Matthew 24: 37-44
Today’s gospel foretold of the principles of God and the necessity of preparation for the coming of Christ. It was foretold that John the Baptist was to go forth and share these principles, challenge the people to repent and be baptized so that they would be ready to receive Christ. John was preaching in the wilderness, not in the temple or Jerusalem. The wilderness was symbolic of darkness. The world was in darkness and he was ministering directly to the people, facing the issues. He wasn’t running away but addressing the many problems being encountered by the people at this time.
John was spending his time in preparation. He wasn’t living in luxury and feasting. He had locusts and honey for sustenance. Just like John, our job as the church is to prepare for Christ’s coming and not wait for Christ to do the work He has already done. The church should be the Preparer of the way – to bring people to Christ and prepare them for the 2nd coming of Christ. The world today is getting more evil and evil is being revealed now, and this shows us the time we are in.
Isaiah 11: 2 – the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him. The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
The Spirit of the Lord came upon Christ. He was strengthened by the Spirit. Everything God does has a reason and a purpose.
Ezekiel 36:26 – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
God has put His very Spirit within us. He has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness.
2 Corinthians 5: 17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.
We are not just flesh because the Spirit is within us, and therefore we should be aware of this truth.
John the Baptist’ ministry in the wilderness is likened to our ministry to the world in the present times. All the corruption, the billions and trillions of money being taken by corrupt leaders and government officials, leaving the people poor and in need is happening everywhere. The evil is being exposed now. This should challenge us to realize we must do our part and do the task God has given us to perform, and that is to prepare the people for the coming of Christ.
When we pray, we should pray from the heart and not out of emotions. God will answer the cry of the heart. If His very Spirit is within us, would he not answer if we cry out to Him from the heart? Out of our inner most being will flow out rivers of living water. We should see things from the eyes of the heart and not thru our feelings and emotions.
God has confidence in us to do His task, and we’re waiting for Christ to come and clean up the mess for us when we have already been given the ability? He has prepared us to be His representation. This is what John was trying to show us in the old testament. He had the strength of faith and the people knew that what he was talking about was from the heart. We repent for our weaknesses and our failures to really seek Him. To seek means to “work,” seek or work and we will find. We have to search and find out what God wants from us. The strength of the Spirit makes us stable, faithful, loyal and steadfast. We need to awaken to this so that we can prepare not only for ourselves but for others. This should give us hope instead of despair.
In the midst of the darkness, the light will shine out brightest. Our light should shine bright in faith as part of our lives. God has empowered us with gifts that are to be used for the common good. We should reach out to people with these gifts and not just sit down in glory. We say we have faith but are we using it? If we put our confidence in God then we can rise up in the midst of darkness and be great witnesses to the world.
God will judge us not by what He sees in the external but what the intentions of our heart are. He sees beyond. He sees the real person. If we have His heart and His Spirit, there is no reason for us to fail. We should rise with hope in our lives. We have been created in His image and likeness. Man was made from dust but God breathed life into man so that man became a living being. No one can live without his Spirit. So when we pray, we should pray out of the heart, because it’s like Him praying, and we will get the answer.