Advent week 1: Promises and Patience



Theme: The Lord makes and keeps His promises, and His people are called to wait with patient anticipation.


Isaiah 64:1-9

Psalm 80:1-7; 17-19

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Mark 13:24-37




Theme: God made a particular promise of a Messiah, and Israel longed for His coming.


Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

2 Peter 3:8-15a

Mark 1:1-8




Theme: God fulfilled the promise of a Messiah in the first advent of Jesus.


Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

Psalm 126:1-6

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Luke 1:46b-55

John 1:6-8, 19-28




Theme: After dying to redeem His people from slavery, Jesus rose from the dead and promised to come again to redeem us fully.


2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

Luke 1:47-55

Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26

Romans 16:25-27

Luke 1:26-38




Theme: As we await the second advent of Jesus, we are called to a life of prayerful and prepared patience.


Isaiah 9:2-7

Psalm 96:1-13

Titus 2:11-14

Luke 2:1-14



1. Don’t get distracted by inferior and temporal pursuits


A. What do you do daily that distracts you from eternal realities? What is the response of your     personhood to those things?


B. Consider what you place expectations on and how that affects you when they are not met.


C. If we place our hopes in finite things, which never fully meet our expectations, it seems that our  expectations are meant for something greater. What things have you trusted in for the joy of your  heart instead of Jesus?


2. Recognize you are a soul and that you must feed your soul as much as your body


A. Don’t buy the lie that what you see is all there is

B. Don’t listen to your body (The flesh is want to grumble dreadfully – Luther)


1. Pursue discipline (Scripture, silence, solitude, prayer, fasting) as a means of

listening to the Spirit’s leadership


3. Bury yourself in the pursuit of Jesus Christ

A. In his word (fill your soul with the promises of his return)

1. Isaiah 64:1-9

2. Revelation 22


B. In the Spirit

1. Romans 8:16-17

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”


C. In his mission

1. Do Gospel work


4. Chronicle / Journal your growth in the Lord and celebrate the Lord in it


Shorter University, A Different Angle

I was reading through my yearly bible reading plan and guess what? In the providence of the Lord I read across a passage that brought back a bitter / sweet memory.

Psalm 119:116 “Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope.”

Any who know me knows for sure I do not believe in the happy plunge method of bible study. Open the Scriptures with eyes closed, plop a finger down, read and know the Lord’s will for that particular situation. That is something akin to Ouija bible. Not good.

But Father is supernatural and can intervene in physical life to rescue his hurting people, no doubt.

This is what happened to me on a hard evening’s wrestling with hard questions. After having my simple and young trust in Jesus brought to the brink of annihilation with left leaning biases in every science I threw my bible against the wall, swore at Father (which I regret to this day) and yelled at him why he would give me untrustworthy counsel and lead me to a faith that is not defensible.

I went to pick up the bible to throw away and Psalm 119:116 caught my eye. It was supernatural. I can’t explain it. I don’t have words for it. It was supernatural. But that Psalm rescued me. Spirit birthed something in me. My confidence in the Lord grew instantly. My faith bolstered. Pieces of scholarship came together. I prostrated myself and gave thanks and made a vow that I would become the best scholar I could be regarding biblical things. I’m still working on keeping that vow.

Here is my thought: I was brought to the brink of walking away from Christianity because of the course content in every science, and for some reason I was rescued. Why I was rescued and others were not is a question for another blog. There were many who came to the brink and walked over it at Shorter because of the same content. Their young and vibrant trust in Jesus was crushed, not built up. There is a difference in challenging to build up and crushing for the sake of an agenda, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Do I believe professors were intentionally trying to crush faith? Not at all. They were not. However, that is what was happening. Many victims of a crushed faith. Many whose faith was severely bruised.

With all that has happened at Shorter over the past few weeks folk seem very concerned about faculty and students being alienated who have an unquestioned allegiance to things overtly non-Christian at a Christian school. But no one is asking about the students who were silent victims of having non-Christian values and left leaning teaching crush their faith. What about those students? Should not have Shorter lived up to it’s “Christian” billing rather than saying “Christian” and having young and unsuspecting students get their faith crushed with nothing to uphold it?

I get challenge. I teach Old Testament, New Testament, Systematic Theology and Apologetics at a private school. I intent to challenge my students but not challenge their faith. I intend to challenge the level of their knowing and ability to critically analyze. I then delve into the depths of bible, why we have bible, how we got it, the historical process of canonization, the spiritual reality of that process, the trustworthy and inerrant nature of Scripture, why it’s inerrant and not just infallible (which it is), what this matters, etc…..

Should Shorter have done this rather than the former? I have to, because of what I read in Scripture, have more concern about the status of a student’s soul who has walked away from Jesus because of the authority in the class (According to James teachers have a stricter judgement) than a professor who has to find another job without having his presuppositions questioned.

Those who are Shorter alumni know some of the people who walked away or nearly did. I am one that nearly did because of Shorter and no one is asking about me or my friends who were in the same boat. All seem more concerned with the temporal welfare of faculty who will need a new job rather than the eternal state of the souls who were crushed because of the content of courses. That shows me that there are more practical atheists out there than Christians operating with a Christian worldview. Think it through.

Here is Jesus on that matter, and I’ll close my thoughts with his: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:5-6


Revelation 21-22:5 The Kingdom

Revelation 21-22:5


Do not store up treasures on earth…but store up treasure in heaven…for where your treasure is there your heart will be also. – Jesus


Select your treasure well, because your heart will follow your treasure.


“Whatever you value the most is where your heart runs, your imagination goes, your daydreaming goes, your innovation goes…” – D.A. Carson


What we want is for our values to be in the new heaven and the new earth so that our heart’s desires would land there.


Revelation 21-22:5 is intended to help the churches place their hope, joy and desires in the coming reality of the Kingdom of God whose central reality is God himself.


How does John do this?


John uses Apocalypse.


Apocalypse – analogy (learn a primitive language from a primitive person and go to their people and explain electricity) (like a powerful spirit that runs from vines that run from tree to tree, we pump it into those vines and we attach those vines to your grass hut at a point so you can have this little sun in your thatched roof and also into these little square things that get very hot so that you can heat your water in your pots without any smoke going up through your roof)


They have experienced none of this so that their experience of my world is in analogy only.


“How do you talk about the throne room of God to people who have never even conceived such a thing? Our view of God is so wretchedly tiny that the best the writers can do through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is use analogy (apocalypse) to communicate it to people. That is the role of apocalyptic material.” – D.A. Carson


In this passage we will see what is new, what is inherently symbolic, what is missing and what is central through analogy or apocalypse.


1. The new v. 1-8

There are almost an uncountable number of bible themes that filter down into these two chapters.


The universe is a dying place resulting from the fall.


According to Romans 8, the entire creation groans for its renewal.


Isaiah 65 looks forward to the “new heavens and a new earth”.


A. No more chaos, but peace and order will reign

One detail John gives here is that there is no more sea.


“John is not interested in the hydrology of the new creation.” – D.A. Carson


The sea, often in apocalypse, is symbolic for chaos and devastation (for Jews the sea was just horrid, never sailors, and the sea is bound up with danger and chaos).


There is a “sea” that separates John from God in chapter 4.


The beast comes up out of the sea in chapter 12.


In this new heaven and the new earth there is no more chaos and devastation.


In Rev. 12 the beast comes out of the sea!


Here, there is no more of the sea. That is, there is no more danger and chaos in the new Kingdom.


B. The people united with God, their creator

Mixed metaphors (city is a bride) (lamb who is a lion with horns coming from the throne – king, who is slaughtered with authority that is one with God)

1. New heaven and earth – this Kingdom is real and touchable

2. City (new Jerusalem) – all nations

a. v. 3 is from Leviticus 26, Jer 31, Ezek 36, 37

1. Tabernacle to temple to second temple to

2. The most holy place is now with people


What was lost in the fall is regained in the new kingdom



2. The symbolic v. 9-21


A. God is God and there is no other

What about the stones? Jewels around a square in the order of verse 13, you have the exact opposite of the signs of the zodiac in astrology. This is the reverse of astrology. This is the throne of God himself.


B. This is place for all of the people of God


12 is attached to the tribes, the city and the apostles = connecting all the saints to the same family. There is unity in the family.


C. The most holy place is now with people

This city is some 1400 miles long and wide and high. This is a perfect cube.


Where are there cubes in the bible? Only 1.


It is the most holy place in the tabernacle, the holy of holies. Now, all of God’s people have access to the very presence of God.


3. The missing v. 22-27


A. No Temple

There is no temple. There will be no place anymore for mediation because we will have the mediator with us.


B. No Sun or Moon

Not talking about the sun or moon.


This is not speaking to the astronomical make up of the New Heaven and New Earth.


Night was dangerous and need of protection was great.


No night, only day, represented by the Lord’s presence. In other words there is only good present forever.


4. The central 22:1-5


A. God, the Father

– River of the water of life

This passage is called, “Viseo Dei”, the vision of God.


– The vision of ultimate blessing

God says in the OT that no one can see his face and live.


The bible says that when we have seen Jesus we have seen Father.


But now we have been so transformed that we see Father face to face.




The kingdom is not so much made up of death being destroyed or seeing our friends and family or even walking on streets of gold. All those things are true, but fall under the main point.


The main point is the center of all things is God and our enjoyment of him fill bore with nothing to interfere.


All this secured on a cross outside of Jerusalem.


A. Keep the Gospel front and center

B. Set your treasure up here, with Father, so you heart will be there

C. Constantly evaluate where your treasure it

D. Turn your eyes upon Jesus