Advent - God's Peace to Men

Advent is usually the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas. A time to reflect and anticipate God’s arrival through his son Jesus Christ. With Eccl. finishing early November, I thought this may be an opportunity to start our preparations early. It gives us time to set the scene and explain the context. It allows us to show that Jesus was the promised Messiah by looking at some of the OT prophesy. It also allows us to taste and see the goodness of God who as soon as sin entered into the world planned and promised to save it.

Genesis 3 - The Problem and the Promise - David Knowles
Morning Service, Sunday, November 8, 2020
God did not take thousands of years to come up with Christmas as his answer to the sinful behaviour of man. In the red hot moment of sin and rebellion God addresses sin, sinners and his creation and before the punishment of banishment from the garden takes effect, He promises us that all will be restored through the seed of a woman. That promise was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus. Lets not jump too quickly to Bethlehem lets understand God's plan from the perspective of Eden
Micah 5: 1-5 - God's Shepherd King - Athole Rennie
Morning Service, Sunday, November 15, 2020
Matthew 1: 1-16 - By the Grace of God - Christiaan Hofstra
Morning Service, Sunday, November 22, 2020
To convince his readers that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of David and the Son of Abraham, Matthew starts his Gospel with a genealogy. As Son of Abraham Jesus would fulfill the promise God made to Abraham that 'in his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed and be a blessing to the nations. As Son of David Jesus' throne and his kingdom would be established for ever before the Lord. Matthew doesn't just show us Jesus truly existed. By revealing from the outside his identity, Matthew sets Jesus in the context of what God had been doing for His people from the earliest days. This list then reveals to us some of the character of God.  In the length of time 'generations' we see God's patient faithfulness. In the inclusion of 5 women some of scandalous reputation we see God's gracious forgiving love. The Gospel is for sinners.
Matthew 1: 18-25 - Born of a Virgin - Jonny Gilmour
Morning Service, Sunday, November 29, 2020
Psalm 24 - Prepare for the King - Christiaan Hofstra
Morning Service, Sunday, December 6, 2020
Many believe this Psalm to have been written in response or to commemorate the return of the Ark of the Covenant under king David. The Psalm praises the one who arrives as Elohim and Yhwh, the supreme deity as well as the personal God of Israel. This King of Glory, of surpassing beauty and importance once again dwells through the ark amongst His people. If that is not astonishing enough the Psalm also proclaims that those with clean hands and a pure heart may ascend and enjoy the presence of this awesome God. And with the blessing to be found in His presence who wouldn't want to ascend. Of course this Psalm foreshadows the events of Christmas when God once again arrived as the King of Glory into our world. This time though without any crowds or dancing. Instead only a few shepherds and some foreign magi were witnesses of the Saviour's birth. This King Jesus would one day ascend the hill, not of the Lord but of Calvary to make it possible for us to receive the pure heart and clean hand necessary to enter into God's presence and receive all His blessings to us in Christ.
Isaiah 11: 1-9 - The Servant King is Here - David Knowles
Morning Service, Sunday, December 13, 2020
The Servant King is here In the troubling times of 7th Century BC Judah, with a King who was evil, and enemies at the borders, Isaiah proclaimed a coming King, one who would be like no other, whsoe rule would be with justice and righteousness and whose Kingdom would restore God's Kingdom to his people. The message tells us not just of the first advent but looks ahead to the second coming of the Lord Jesus.
John 1: 1-14 - God with us - Alan Paterson
Morning Service, Sunday, December 20, 2020
John doesn’t start his gospel at Bethlehem.  He starts ‘in the beginning’.  When we consider the greatness of the one John describes as ‘The Word’ , we can only be amazed when we read in John 1 v 14 that ‘The Word became flesh’.  'God with us' is a remarkable display of God’s love towards us.  In the Old Testament, people could say God for us.  When Jesus came, we could say God with us.  When the Holy Spirit was given, the Christian can say God in us, and as we meet together, we claim the promise of God among us.
Luke 2: 22-35 - My eyes have seen salvation - Alex Warren
Morning Service, Sunday, December 27, 2020
When Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple to carry out several important Jewish ceremonies, they are met by Simeon. God has promised to Simeon that he will not die before he has seen the promised Messiah and he rejoices to see Jesus. Whilst we might be tempted to read this passage simply as a happy human interest story at the end of Luke’s account of the nativity, it is actually much more than that. We see that Jesus is God’s true sacrifice for sin and that he is the promised saviour for the whole word. We also see that he brings division between those who trust him as saviour and those who reject him. What is our response to him? And if we have trusted him, will we take the good news of God’s saviour out to our communities in the coming year?