Formations Lesson for November 29- O Come- O Come- Emmanuel
November 17 2009 by Victor Lyons, Academic Dean, Foothills Christian College, Wilkesboro; Pastor, Union Cross Baptist Church, Elkin

Focal Passage: Isaiah 7:10-17; 8:1-4, 19; 9:2-7

Today many churches begin the celebration of Advent, preparing for Christmas and the “Coming of Christ.”  Stores are already filled with Christmas gifts, and everywhere Christmas music can be heard. Signs of Christmas preparation are all around us.

My grandmother Hazel Bryant worked at Quality Mills, a textile mill, on Franklin Street in Mount Airy.

Watching her money carefully, she would begin purchasing Christmas presents for her three children, their spouses, the eleven grandchildren, and two step-grandchildren, weeks in advance before Christmas. Her gifts were practical and appreciated — underwear and shirts.       

A month before Christmas, she would buy her stick candy and other Christmas needs.

A week before Christmas, pies and cakes would begin to appear — some we could try and some waited for Christmas (like her fruitcake that needed to age — I always felt like it was old enough just out of the oven).

If the Christmas festivities demand preparation, and they do, then certainly the richness of the message demands a thorough spiritual preparation. The incarnation of God in Christ, after all, has theological riches worthy of exploration.

This first message of Advent deals with the prophetic witness to the coming Christ.

Roger Nicole lists 224 direct citations from the Old Testament in the New Testament and cites Toy who lists an additional 613 allusions to the OT in the NT (“New Testament Use of the Old Testament,” Revelation and the Bible, Ed. Carl F. H. Henry, Baker, 1958, 137-151; an up-to-date source is the “Index of Allusions and Verbal Parallels” found in the Greek New Testament, 4th Rev. Ed. By Aland et al, UBS, 2007, 891). Many of these citations and allusions are used by NT authors who are convinced that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah of the OT prophets, including Isaiah.

In him, the echoes of a dozen prophetic voices find in his first coming and will find in his second coming ultimate fulfillment.

John Oswalt places Isaiah 7-9 within the context of the question of “Whom Shall We Trust?” (The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1-39, Eerdmans, 1986, 192).

Hebrew Kings often found themselves making decisions that ignored the reality of an ever-present-and-faithful God and seeking security through alliances with neighboring kingdoms. Prophets tried to remind the kings that faithfulness to God and dependence on His strength were the keys to a secure future.

In this Christmas season when many Americans are struggling to make financial ends meet, the future seems at best uncertain. Where can we place our confidence?  It is in Immanuel declaring, “God is with us — you and me!” He is “Wonderful Counselor.” Will you not ask him for guidance?

11/17/2009 5:23:00 AM by Victor Lyons, Academic Dean, Foothills Christian College, Wilkesboro; Pastor, Union Cross Baptist Church, Elkin | with 0 comments

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