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Advent of the King's Arrival

Sermon Series:

Fit for a King

Ryan Kimmel
Ryan Kimmel

Lead Pastor

Peace Church

Main Passage:
Jeremiah 33:14-18


Today is the day that the Lord has made. So let us rejoice and be glad in it. And everyone everywhere said, Amen.

So I'll be honest with you. I feel like we're kind of caught in the middle to an extent like Thanksgiving was last week, but it's not actually December yet. I feel like we're kind of like caught in the middle. So let me just kind of ask real quick, who does have their Christmas tree up already? Okay, okay. Now, maybe I may ask you a different way. For those of you who plan to put one up, who's planning to but hasn't yet? Let me see those hands. Okay. Well, as you can tell here at Peace Church, we just said, you know what? It's Christmas. Let's just move forward with it. Are you guys okay with that? Me too. I will say though, that it is a little bit kind of like the pregame, like again, like it's, it's after Thanksgiving. It's not December yet. This is like the Christmas pregame. This is a time where we're gonna kinda look forward to Christmas. But let me ask another question about Christmas. Let me ask this one. I don't think I'll get as good of a response, but we'll see. Who here already has all of their Christmas shopping done? Raise your hand. See, I'm convinced that people, I'm convinced it's because you people are actually aren't giving gifts. Is that what? No? You know, let me ask another question.

And this one I want you to share with your neighbor. When you buy a gift, and you buy a gift for somebody, do you think about that person, like, do you think about this gift being right for this person, or do you generally just find something that's on sale? Turn to your neighbor, tell them which way you typically go with you buy it for someone or just get a gift. Okay, I'm willing to bet, I'm just gonna make a bet here. I'm willing to bet most of you, you think about the person that you're buying the gift for and you wanna make sure it's right for them. I'm willing to bet for most of you, for the most of time, that's the way it goes. Is that fair to say? Okay, well here's what I'd say to you. That's what this series is all about, in a sense. Christmas, Christmas is the celebration of Jesus. It's the celebration of Jesus, our King.

Christmas is the celebration of Jesus, our King.

Christmas is the birth of our King. And so we wanna have a celebration and we wanna give Him things that are fit for Him, fit for a King. This series is about our proclamation and the presents we give Christ, making sure that they are indeed fit for a King because He is our King. And so I think part of the reason why Christmas is so stressful for people, I think part of the reason why so many people dread it is because we truly have forgotten what Christmas really means. We've forgotten all of it in all of its fullness, all the factors, all the prophecy, you know, the promise that's been fulfilled in Christmas. And from this, all of the hope that it brings, I really think if you're feeling like a stress and a weight around Christmas, I don't think God's given, that's not what God's given you. I think something else is placing that on you. Jesus came and he said that his burden was easy.

And so if you're feeling an extra burden around Christmas time, I don't think it's from the Lord. I think maybe it's because you're feeling a weight you're not meant to feel. I think it's because what we do is we take secondary things around Christmas and we make those primary things. And when we get those things out of sorts, that's going to wreak havoc for us and our families. We'll talk more about that in a second. But as we are going to kind of today with kind of like the pregame, we're going to look forward to Christmas. And so to do that, we kind of have to take a step back. So would you in your Bibles turn back to the Old Testament, Jeremiah chapter 33, would you turn your Bibles to Jeremiah chapter 33? Yes, we are going to the Old Testament today We're not going to look at the birth of Christ. We're gonna look at the promise of the birth of Christ So no, we're not going back 2,000 years to old little town of Bethlehem. We're going back even farther than that We're going back another 600 years beyond that To the prophecy that God gives through Jeremiah to his own people Now as you're turning there, let me lay the context because this is really key.

So what's going on in the world at this time is that Babylon is the world's superpower. And I guarantee you've probably heard the name of the king of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar. So King Nebuchadnezzar is leading the world's superpower at this time, and they are knocking on the doors of Judah and Jerusalem. Jerusalem was in Judah. And God brings this prophecy to his people in Jerusalem. And he's telling them, return to me. Turn back from your wicked ways and turn to me. If you don't do this, Babylon's going to come in and destroy you. See, what had happened was God's people had given their hearts over to the ways of the world. And this is a huge lesson we've talked about before from the Old Testament. It's a huge lesson that we see. When you give your heart to the world, the world you shall have, and the world will have you, and the world will destroy you.

Our hearts are meant to belong to God. The world will take our hearts and break them, and break us. And God is calling his people, return to me, bring your hearts back to me.

See, the people had given their hearts to the world, to the ways of the world, to the culture, to the thinking of the world, and the world, embodied by a Babylon, it will come in and take what they think is theirs. And so, this is exactly what happens. Despite the warning that God gives through Jeremiah, that people don't turn to God. And in 586 BC, this is a world event, Babylon does invade Jerusalem and destroys it, utterly destroys it. Babylon takes the people, men, women, and children, and brings them into captivity and decimates Jerusalem. And even in the midst of Jerusalem and God's people, even in the midst of their own wickedness and their unwillingness to repent, God still, in His goodness, He still gives them a promise to hold on to, even when judgment and destruction comes. And so with that, would you hear this promise of hope that God gives to His people, even when they don't deserve it? This is what God says, Jeremiah chapter 33, we'll read verses 14 to 18.

Jeremiah 33:14-18

14 Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

17 “For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.

This is God's Word. Let's pray and we'll continue. Let's pray. Father God in heaven above, I do pray that everyone had a great Thanksgiving. And Lord, as we increasingly turn our attention to Christmas, Father, I pray that we are not misled by how commercialized this holiday has become but let us be a people who do not become distraught by details that really don't matter But let us hold Christmas for the holy day that it is father let us hold fast to the promises and proclamation of Christmas and Lead us into a celebration that is truly fit for our King Would you please send the Holy Spirit to be with us now as we look at your word in Jesus name and everyone said, Amen. Amen. Okay, I'll be honest with you, I love Christmas, love me some Christmas, I'm excited that it's Christmas time. Anyone else excited that it's Christmas time? Let me hear you. Yes.

You know, and as I thought about this passage today, one of the things that we often do is we'll take a passage and we'll try to like, you know, kind of boil it down to a main point to give to you to take home and think about. And as I thought about this timeless passage, I thought about what's a main point that I could bring to in a real timely way to my church family here. And so, I kind of go through these, and I come up with some, and I decide on one. And I wanna share with you some of the almost main points I had for today's message, the ones that I had thought about, but then decided not to give you today. So here's your almost main points here this morning. Here's the first one. Christmas is the reason for anxiety for those who should know better. You know, I thought, I just don't know if that hits the mark for this one. So I shelved that one. I thought, you know, we'll come back to that one later. Then I thought about this one. That Christmas is the season of the annoying commercialization of one of the central tenants of the Christian faith. And I thought, you know, that's probably a little too wordy for our context. You know, as I thought about what's the best way to summarize this passage for this church at this time, I think this is what we need to hear as we are about to enter the Christmas season. I think it's this.

Christmas is a royal event.

I know we don't think that when we think about this little baby born in a dusty barn amongst farm animals to parents who barely made it. But this is the birth of our king. And even though he was born in a manger in a stable, that was the birth of our king. That makes Christmas a royal event. And so for the sons and daughters of the king, we raise our heads because our king has been born. And that's what we get to celebrate here at Christmas, a royal event. It's not a commercial and even more than a reason to get together, even more than a holiday, it's a holy day. It's the birth of our King.

And so, when we look at this passage, I tell you now, there's a lot here. And rather than just try to like summarize or glaze over it, I thought, let's walk through this and really try to analyze everything that's going on here. So we'll go back and we'll do this line by line, but I want to let you know where we're going ahead of time. Here's what we're looking at here.

The birth of Christ is...

1. A promise fulfilled

2. A prophecy fulfilled

3. The birth of our Humble King

4. The birth of our High Priest

5. The birth of our Holy Savior

And if that feels like a lot to you, good, because Christmas should feel like a lot. Not a lot of stress, but a lot of reason for joy. And so that's what I hope that you take away here this morning. So the first thing, when all the craziness starts, I hope you have a peace that surpasses understanding because you know what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. The birth of Christ is a promise fulfilled.

1. The birth of Christ is a promise fulfilled

Look at your Bibles here. Look at verse 14 here. It says this. Verse 14 says, Alright, so this begs the question, what promise did God actually make? Now, collectively, when the Bible says the house of Israel and the house of Judah, that's just like a banner, collective way to say all of God's people. So what promise did God make to all of his people? What promise are we talking about? All of them. All of them. All of the promises of God find their fulfillment in Christ. Either in his first coming or his second coming at the end of age. See, Christmas is the birth of Christ. It's the fulfilling of God's promises because God keeps his promises. Christmas should remind you that God keeps his promises. Let me say it a third time. No matter what you're going through, no matter what marks your life right now, God keeps his promises. So give yourself to Him. God keeps His promises, but listen here, it just may not be on your timeline. It's according to His timeline. Look at verse 14. Keep your Bibles open here. It says, Behold, the days are coming. Okay, this was 600 years later that this promise was fulfilled when Christ was born. 600 years.

Listen people, God's timing is not your timing. God's timeline works on a generational scale. God's timeline works more in terms of lifetimes, in terms of centuries. How small we must think God is and how small his promises must be if we think he's going to work everything out in 70 to 90 years.

He gives us on this planet This past week I did the math this may sound morbid to some of you, but I did the math My grandparents God rest their soul all of them are with the Lord now My grandparents lived to an average age of 81 The youngest died at 69 and the oldest died at 93 So averaged out, if I kind of follow their genetics, averaged out, that means I'm looking to about the year 2060 for the Lord to take me home. 37 years and counting I got left, maybe, on this planet. 37 years I have left. Now, am I to expect that all of God's promises, all of the prophecy, are gonna come to reality in these next 37 years? God's promises are much bigger than my lifetime. And you know what? I want them to be. I want God's promises to be bigger than my own lifetime. But even if God's promises don't all come to fruition in these next 37 years, they still apply to me. And they still apply to you. Even if you don't live to see them. Why? Because our faith is bigger than our mortal lives. Our faith is not in our life, our faith is in God and in Him. I want God's promises to be bigger than my lifetime and to last longer than my lifetime. This is what makes Him and His promises better.

This is why I love Christmas. It reminds me of how big of a picture it is that God is painting. My life is one brushstroke in God's huge eternal painting that he's making, which is lifetimes and centuries in the making. And we should here now stand thankful that we get to live in a time of history where we look back on Christmas. For 600 years and even longer than that, people look forward to Christmas. We get to look back and we get to see that Christ has come, that God's promises ring true. And this is why we can trust Him. See, God's picture is bigger than me. And if God's picture is bigger than me, then God's picture is bigger than my problems, which means I can trust Him with my problems. That's why I can trust Him fully. First thing we see in this passage is the birth of Christ is a promise fulfilled, but it's also a prophecy fulfilled.

2. The birth of Christ is a prophecy fulfilled

Now, similar to the first, here's what I'd say the difference is. The first one, the first promise, deals with what God is going to do, but prophecy deals with what's going to happen. So look at verses 15 and 16 here. It says, In those days, and at that time I will cause a righteous branch to spring up for David, and he, he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. Remember, this is a city that's about to be destroyed on a scale that Americans just can't comprehend. We don't have to deal with fear like that. We've never really seen this in our lifetime. Jerusalem is about to be utterly destroyed, and yet God's given them a promise to hold on to when this happens. Babylon's gonna come in and decimate everything, but here's what I'd say to you, while the kingdom is about to be destroyed by Babylon, the kingship will not be.

The righteous branch of David is meaning, you know how this works, just how a plant, the shoot of a plant can come up from a stump and grow into a whole new tree, even though Jerusalem's going to be destroyed, even though Jerusalem is going to be destroyed, the King will rise up from the line of David. Yes, yes, that David, King David, David who killed Goliath. Jesus is a descendant of him. And it says that this ruler will be a righteous ruler, meaning a good king who will be just and fair, the type of king that we all long for, the type of ruler that we all want. And this is what happened at the birth of Christ. And while Jesus Christ most certainly did come, and he's a physical ruler, he was born that child, he is also our spiritual ruler for all time. This is what Christmas is all about. And this is what Christmas means. So what does it mean for you, right here, right now, as we enter this Christmas season here in 2023.

Let me give you something. Here you go. I'm going to use whatever power and influence I have, hopefully to help out some people here today. So whatever this means for you, here you go. I hereby declare, as the lead pastor of Peace Church, it's okay if family is a little late to the Christmas party. Some of you are, thank you. Some of you are really mad at me right now. It's alright, I can take it. Take a deep breath. Parents, people, grandparents, wouldn't you rather your loved ones, friends, and family arrive full of joy and a few minutes late, then come in on time, hustling and bustling with everyone mad at each other because they rushed to make it there on time. Let's make Christmas what it's really about. Listen here, Christmas is about God's promise and prophecy fulfilled. But remember, it took God 600 years to fulfill what he said in Jeremiah 33. It's okay if the family is 20 minutes late. You follow me? Christmas is many things and of the many things that Christmas gives us it gives us time with family but there's no guarantee that family will be on time. Christmas is a prophecy fulfilled, it's a promise fulfilled. Let's keep that first and foremost in our hearts.

3. The birth of Christ is the birth of our Humble King

It's also the birth of our, it's the birth of Christ, which means it's the birth of our humble King. Go to verse 17 here. Keep, keep verse 17 open. Verse 17, verse 17 says this, for thus says the Lord, David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel. So there it is, whether Israel knows it or not, whether we know it or not, the King has been born and all of God's people said, amen. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. David shall never lack, meaning this descendant of David is forever. His ruling reign shall last for all time. Church, why do you fret? Why do you get filled with anxiety during this time? Why do you worry? The king has been He's ruling, He's reigning, He's always on time. And I'm not saying things are always going to go well. Certainly not saying things are always going to go the way that you want. But for those of us who are in Christ, I promise you, eternally speaking, it's all going to turn out. It's all going to be okay in the end. So trust in Him now.

The peace that we are meant to feel is a peace from Christ. If you are feeling a stress, again, it's not from God and it's certainly not from the true meaning of Christmas. Christ is born and because of that we get to celebrate Christmas, which is the birth of our King. But I hear you, I tell you now, I'm gonna tell you now, he's not a haughty king. He's not an angry king. He's not dispassionate. He's not selfish. He is our humble King. I mean, look at how he was born. Our King could have been born to the wealth of the world, but he was born in a humble manger amongst farm animals to a set of parents who barely made it. Jesus and his life. He is exactly the type of King you should want to have. He's exactly the type of King that we do have. He's a King who not just rules and reigns, but he's also our perfect pastor, or as the Bible says, our high priest.

4. The birth of Christ is the birth of our High Priest

So the next thing we look at, the birth of Jesus is the birth of our high priest. We'll go to verse 18. Verse 18 says this, And the Levitical priest shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings. Okay, so remember, remember the context here. This city is about to be invaded and utterly destroyed. It's people taken into captivity. It's house of worship decimated. This is about to happen. This means that Jerusalem is going to lose their king, they're going to lose their temple, they're going to lose their priests, they're going to lose their pastors, they're going to lose their place and time to gather for worship, they're facing utter destruction, they're about to lose their entire way of life, and yet God is pointing them to something even greater and more eternal to come.

But I wonder, I wonder if those people had the faith to believe and the vision to see it. I wonder if you do. I wonder if you do. You know, it's like kids opening presents on Christmas. I don't know about you guys, but my kids cannot open their presents fast enough. My wife and I, we like to pace it out, go one at a time, we like to enjoy the moment, but our kids are like, get out the way Santa, these are my presents, I want to open them now, and God forbid that there's a toy in there that I have to put together, because making them wait for that toy to be put together, well, I might as well be waterboarding them. You know what I mean? They see presents that are theirs and they want them now.

And adults, I think we see promises that God has made and we want them now. When God says, they're my promises to give, they are yours, but you'll get them in due time. Church, we need to have the faith and the vision that oftentimes the previous generations lacked. The vision and the faith to believe that God will work things out. He is working things out. He's just doing it according to his timeline. And one of the greatest promises we see fulfilled is that Jesus is our final and great High Priest. And what does a high priest do? A high priest offers sacrifices on behalf of themselves and on behalf of the people for their sins.

That's what a high priest does. See, in that time, people paid for their sins by slaughtering animals, placing their sins on the backs of animals, and then high priests would slaughter those animals as a sacrifice for their sins, except no animal could ever pay fully for human sin. So this had to constantly happen, constantly be done. And so when Babylon takes away their right to worship and takes away their sacrifice, where are they to atone for their sins? How are they to atone for their sins? And yet this looks forward to a time where the priest, the Levite, Levitical priest, they will no longer lack a person to offer sacrifices. Why? Because Jesus will come as the final and great high priest to offer the final sacrifice that will last for all time. And do you know what that sacrifice was? Himself.

That's what Jesus came to do, to offer himself, to be our final high priest that did not put a goat or a lamb or a ram on an altar. He put himself on a cross to die in our place for our sins as our final and complete sacrifice. This is the power when the Bible says that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him shall have eternal life. That's the power of that phrase in Jesus being the final high priest who gave himself as the final sacrifice. This is such an important part of who Jesus is. Hebrews 7 speaks so clearly about this. Here's what it says in Hebrews 7, starting at verse... Hebrews 7, starting in verse 26. It says, For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sin, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those other high priests, to offer sacrifices daily for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. Because Jesus is our great high priest, offering himself as our final sacrifice.

5. The birth of Christ is the birth of our Holy Savior

This also makes him our holy savior. Go back to verse 18. It says this, and the Levitical priest shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings. But then key in on this last part. It says, and to make sacrifices forever. Because Christ sacrificed when he gave himself up on the cross. When he gave himself up on the cross, that's a sacrifice that lasts for all time. This prophecy points to the final and complete sacrifice Jesus came to do. See, the former priest would have to constantly, over and over, make sacrifices. But Jesus offers himself, which is the perfect sacrifice, which would last forever, to cover everyone's sin who would ever come to Him in faith. In Christ, being both the Son of Mary and the Son of God, this makes Him worthy. Worthy for the sacrifice to last for eternity. This makes Him our Holy Savior. We say holy, that means there's none like Him. He's not like the other religious leaders. He's greater than all of them. His salvation covers us for all time. His sacrifice covers us for all time. That's the Christmas child.

And your little nativity set that many of you have set up or will set up. That little child, that's what this represents. The God who stepped into his creation to be the one to offer himself on our behalf listen in this one prophecy from 600 bc Gives us five verses about five profound things about christmas time Do not forget them when the holiday celebrations come Do not forget them I mean, we're the ones saying that we're living in the end times. We're the ones saying that Jesus is coming back at any time. Well, the world's looking at us on how to respond. How are we supposed to live if we think Jesus is returning? And if they see us just as stressed as anyone else around the holidays, why would they believe us? Why would they believe us? So, I want to give you one action item here to think about as we look to the start of Advent next week. And it's this as We start Advent next week.

Let the arrival and the birth of our King remind you that God's promises and prophecies prove true.

Now, let's just clarify what Advent is here now advents a word that we don't hear very often We normally only hear around Christmastime Advent is a word that ultimately simply just means the arrival or the coming of a person. But we really only use this word to talk about one person, Jesus Christ. But did you know? Did you know that Jesus actually has two Advents? See, His first Advent or His first arrival is of course what we are celebrating here now at Christmas. This is Jesus' birth. This is His first Advent. And Advent and in that sense, formally speaking, Advent is the four Sundays leading up to Christmas culminating on Christmas Day. So that means Advent in the Christian sense starts next week on December 3rd.

But we also talk about Jesus' second Advent. And that's His second coming when He comes again at some point in the future at the renewal of all things. And here's what I'll tell you. Christmas being the first Advent is the proof of His second Advent. Woe to those people who lived during that 600 period time who heard about the coming Savior but did not believe He was going to come. And woe to us who live in this time, who know that Christ has come, but do not believe he's gonna come a second time. Our lives are to be lived right now in anticipation for his second coming. And every day draws us closer to this second advent. So we need to use this advent in preparation for his second. The way that we celebrate this advent shows the world our anticipation for his second advent.

A number of years ago, before I came to Peace Church, I was serving at another church and I remember I had this conversation around Christmas time with this person. Christmas time had come upon us and this person over the previous summer had gone through a very, very traumatic and very broken divorce and just utterly decimated their family, divided their family, kids were split, and this person went into the Christmas season just at the lowest of lows, dreading the Christmas holiday that was coming. And this person in the lowest of lows said, they were telling me this afterwards, they said, you know, I was in the lowest of lows, so I thought, why not? Might as well give this God thing a chance. So they said they went to church. Not the church I was serving at, but a different church. And I said, how did it go?

And they said to me, before I answer that, let me ask you a question. What is Christmas all about? And I'll tell you right now, like pastors, we long for that wide of an open door to be given. I'll tell you what Christmas is all about. I said Christmas is when the Son of God steps into creation. He left his throne in heaven to be born a child, a human baby boy, that he would live a righteously perfect life so that he could be the righteously perfect sacrifice to take away my sins and the sins of anyone who would place their faith in Him. Christmas is when God gave His Son to this world out of love in order to save us. And not just save us to give us eternal life, and not just to give us eternal life, but to reconcile us back to God so that we could have true and lasting relationship with God marked by love again. This is what we get to celebrate at Christmas.

This person goes, that's amazing. I said, well, what was your church service like? And they go, well, I went to this church service at Christmas time and for 45 minutes the pastor told me how awesome I am. And I said, don't you think you're awesome? And I'll never forget what this person said. He said, I came to church looking for something bigger than myself. Now listen, I don't want to judge this other church. I don't know what actually was said. But I'm here to tell you that at Christmas we get to celebrate something that is so unbelievably grand. It's eternal. It's amazing. It's not a weight that crushes us. It's a weight that fills us and lifts us up. And if you are not celebrating that at Christmas, my friends, let me invite you to something better. Let me invite you to celebrate the birth of our King.

Because here's what I want to say to you when it comes to the first Advent, don't get so caught up in the holiday that you forget what we are celebrating. We're celebrating the birth of our King, which means that Christmas is a royal event. But here's also what I tell you when it comes to Jesus second Advent, don't get so caught up in life that you forget to anticipate his return. Right here, right now, among these people is a chance for us to show each other and the world what we are truly longing for. That while we celebrate this first advent, our hearts long for the second advent. When the world looks at us, especially in a moment faces of people who believe in what they're doing. I saw a lot of faces who really believed in U of M yesterday. But I wonder, if Jesus was to walk in into any old American church in the month of December, would he see a people longing for his return? Would he see a people who are truly celebrating what Christmas means. So here's what I'm gonna tell you. Here's your little bit of hope for right now. There's still time. There's still time to make Christmas about what it's truly all about.

And one of the ways we get to start is right now through worship. Amen? Amen, would you please stand? I'm gonna ask you to bow your heads, prepare our hearts for worship. And with your heads bowed, Father, I know, Lord, there are people who walked into this room who are bearing the weight of the world, for one reason or another, and I pray, God, that the Christmas season does not add a stressful weight, but Lord, that the celebration of Christmas releases people from that, because we are celebrating the birth of our King who has come to save us and who has. And so, Father, I pray here and now that as we lift up our voices in the precious name of Jesus, we are people who are celebrating the fact that He has come and we are longing for the time where He returns again. So, Father, I pray that Your Spirit would descend on this place, lifting up the voices of Your people as we cry out the precious name of Jesus. Fill us now with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Father, we love You. We pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.

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