Monday, December 26, 2016, Advent Devotion Closing Note

Dear Friends,

Thank you for taking this Journey to the Manger with me.  It is one of my greatest joys to share in the excitement and anticipation of Christ coming to our world on that night in Bethlehem.  It is the beginning of another journey through the earthly life of Jesus that culminates in his death, burial, and resurrection which is our hope.

Christ remained on earth a short time making appearances to his disciples and even as many as 500 people at once confirming his resurrection.  Jesus then ascends to be with the Father.

We are a people living in a time where we remember his coming, his sacrifice, his resurrection, and we look forward to his coming again.  We see it in the symbols of our faith like baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  This we do in remembrance of him.  In remembering we also anticipate another coming of Christ in all his glory.  May we be the community of faith in the world today, until he comes.

Blessings to each of you in the year ahead!

Pastor Greg Soult

Antioch Baptist Church

Advent 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016, Christmas Evening

Week 4 Love

1 John 4:7-16

We coming to the end of this Advent journey and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We have a longer journey as we await the return of Jesus to the world.  We looking longingly and expectantly for his return.  The question remains what then do we do as we wait?  The answer is tied to our identity as the people of God formed in the identity of Christ.

I leave you with these words from John’s letter.  He says it well.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and him in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Sunday, December 25, 2016 Christmas Morning

Week 4 Love

John 1:14

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

In the shadow of the light of our trees and the glow in our children’s eyes this morning may we remember the true celebration.  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  The Word who was at creation, the Word that was in the fires of the furnace, the Word that was reveal and spoken through the Prophets, that Word that was promised and that Word that brings salvation.  The Word is now here in the flesh and came to us in a manger not able to speak a word yet, only coos and cries.

Through the glowing lights and faces of the morning are you able to see his glory, his glory is the glory of the one and only Son?  There is not another Son coming from God.  There is not another who will be sent from the Father.  Have you not only heard the word, but have you seen the Word who is dwelling among us, in the faces of our families, and in the nameless faces in the world.  Shopping mall faces, gas station faces, and street corner faces.  Until we can see Christ dwelling among us in the faces of those around us, we perhaps haven’t seen the fullness of grace and truth.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, so that we can see the glory of the only Son of the Father.  He is full of grace and truth.  May we see his glory, experience his grace, and live out his truth.  Merry Christmas!