God, You’re Late

11/29/2020 at Liberty Baptist Church in Tipton, In

Message Title: God, You’re Late
Theme: Waiting on God
Season: Advent
Main Text: Isaiah 64:1-9;
Scripture Reading: Mark 13:24-37
RCL Scripture: Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37
Focus: Isaiah asks God to provide Judah’s hope of restoration. (the People are blaming God)
Function: To pick up our Gospel responsibility and leave God’s responsibilities to God.
– To wait, trust, and hope in God’s promises
Other Notes: Traditional themes each week: Hope, Peace, Joy, Lov

Scripture reading: Mark 13: 24-27 24“In those days, after the suffering of that time, the sun will become dark, and the moon won’t give its light. 25The stars will fall from the sky, and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. 26Then they will see the Human Onecoming in the clouds with great power and splendor. 27Then he will send the angels and gather together his chosen people from the four corners of the earth, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven. 28“Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. 29In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that he’s near, at the door. 30I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away. 32“But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the angels in heaven and not the Son. Only the Father knows. 33Watch out! Stay alert! You don’t know when the time is coming. 34It is as if someone took a trip, left the household behind, and put the servants in charge, giving each one a job to do, and told the doorkeeper to stay alert. 35Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know when the head of the household will come, whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows in the early morning or at daybreak. 36Don’t let him show up when you weren’t expecting and find you sleeping. 37What I say to you, I say to all: Stay alert!”

Intro to New Series: Waiting on God (an Advent Series) – This series will explore waiting for the Messiah from an Old Testament perspective. Advent is frequently misconstrued as a season of darkness. Rather, let’s picture it like dawn, the light is coming. (Photo) Dawn also coordinates with the colors of advent. Color: Blue/Purple & Pink

  1. Advent is about the building anticipation for the Birth of Jesus & getting ready for the fulfillment of God’s promises. (Standing on the promises of God *song)
    1. Decorate: get yourself a nativity- I’ve found a few printable ones with cut out figures. Set out the stable and progressively (each week) add more things. Don’t add Mary or Joseph until Christmas eve and don’t add Jesus until Christmas day.
    2. Tell the story: read the Gospel of Luke each day until Christmas. You’ll get through all of Jesus’ ministry by day 24.

TRANSITION: The broad theme for Advent is waiting with anticipation. Now, I know that as 2020 survivors, we’re sick of waiting. Perhaps, this season can be a healing salve to that wound. So, let’s focus on waiting from a joyful vantage point.

WAITING:  I want to hear your thoughts on anticipating a baby.  

  1. Engage the Audience:
    1. What do we traditionally do to prepare for a baby?
      1. Hospital bag- What did you pack? What did you wish you pack, but you didn’t?
    2. Do you feel you were fully prepared for the extent of parenthood?
  2. Expectations VS. Reality
    1. It’s common that before you became a parent, you build ideas of what you will or won’t do to be the best parent possible. How many of you broke your own rules/expectations?
    2. As a family prepares for a baby, preparations are expected to happen while waiting for the “time to come.” However, often we are surprised by the reality of life with babies. Yes, I am saying this as a woman without kids. Expectations and Reality don’t always line up.
      1. Preparation: Finances, house safety updates, supplies, medical/birth plan, etc
      2. Reality: not just about rosy cheeks, bodily fluids, pain, healing, crying, sleepless nights, nursing struggles, etc.

TRANSITION:  In our text for today, we are returning to Isaiah to hear a word on expectant waiting.

  1. Reminder of the story of Isaiah: If you remember, we were just in Isaiah in October. We looked at Isaiah 5, 25, & 45. We will get a few more glimpses into Isaiah during this series, along with another Old Testament text. (Ch 64, 40, 61).
    1. Here’s a refresher on what we know about the book of Isaiah:
      1. 2 kingdoms: Isaiah is speaking to Judah. Israel is going to get wiped out before the end of this book. Babylon will take Judah into exile.
      2. 66 chapters in this book, 150ish years covered.
      3. Scholars consider Isaiah split into 3 sections (and three authors): Pre-exile (announced coming judgement), Exile, Post Exile/Hope of return.
    2. CHART- where we are in the timeline

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 64: 1-9 If only you would tear open the heavens and come down! Mountains would quake before you 2like fire igniting brushwood or making water boil.  If you would make your name known to your enemies, the nations would tremble in your presence. 3When you accomplished wonders beyond all our expectations; when you came down, mountains quaked before you. 4From ancient times, no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any god but you who acts on behalf of those who wait for him! 5You look after those who gladly do right; they will praise you for your ways. But you were angry when we sinned; you hid yourself when we did wrong. 6We have all become like the unclean; all our righteous deeds are like a menstrual rag. All of us wither like a leaf; our sins, like the wind, carry us away. 7No one calls on your name; no one bothers to hold on to you, for you have hidden yourself from us, and have handed us overto our sin. 8But now, Lord, you are our father. We are the clay, and you are our potter. All of us are the work of your hand. 9Don’t rage so fiercely, Lord; don’t hold our sins against us forever, but gaze now on your people, all of us:

EXPLAINATION: Isaiah asks God to provide Judah’s hope of restoration. (the People are blaming God)

  1. The Text: Isaiah offers a prayer to God that sounds like an accusation, depending on the translation you read. The Jewish translation accuses God for humans’ sin by making a system impossible to follow.
    1. “if only you would….”
    2. “If you would…”
    3. “When you accomplished…”
    4. “for you have hidden yourself… handed us over”
    5. “Don’t hold our sins against us forever…”
  2. Break down: Judah is returning from an exile in a foreign land. They were away from God’s holy land as a consequence for their actions.
    1. Their sins: Basically, ignoring the 10 commandments entirely.
      1. disloyalty to others: Judah was ignoring the poor, widow, foreigner, oppressed, etc.
      2. disloyalty to God: Befriending other nations and worshipping their gods
      3. Their actions made their borders become vulnerable & Babylon oppressed them
    2. Isaiah’s words in response to God’s actions
      1. Acknowledged their sins
      2. Called out for deliverance
      3. Waiting on God to show up

INTERPRETATION: Isaiah asks God to provide Judah’s hope of restoration. (the People are blaming God)

  1. Consequences: Not following God’s commands has consequences. No, not God giving us a spanking. The consequences break up relationships between us, God, and others. We sabotage ourselves.
  2. Ownership for not living God’s Word
    1. (inspired by EBC) Are we in the cycle of sin because of our own actions or because God won’t save us?
      1. Jewish translation of Isaiah’s words: It’s all God’s fault. I’ll continue to do my thing until God rescues me. God’s people are skilled at wanting praise or rewards, not so great at ownership of actions or receiving of consequences. “Lord, have mercy! They made me do it!” or “you made me this way!”
  3. Orthodoxy vs orthopraxis: Time to stop blaming God and take ownership for our actions.
    1. Time to act the way we speak. God’s people were good at knowing the words to say but bad at living them.

APPLICATION: Act on This– To pick up our Gospel-responsibility and leave God’s responsibilities to God.

  1. We love to play God. But it’s God’s job to be God. It’s our job to be God’s people. We have joint responsibility in the Gospel story. God’s job is Gods. Our job is ours. We need to stop waiting on God to solve immediate problems.
  2. As we expectantly wait for the celebration of Christmas, we remember we are expecting Christ to return again.
  3. Our job is not to sit idly by. Our job is to tell people of the love of God.
  4. Call to action:
    1. Take ownership: Stop language that blames God for the consequences of your actions
    2. Take Action: Love God, Love People
      1. Matt 28:18-20 18Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 19Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”
        1. Acts 1:9-11 9After Jesus said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going away and as they were staring toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood next to them. 11They said, “Galileans, why are you standing here, looking toward heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you saw him go into heaven.”
      2. 1Cor 11: 26 26Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you broadcast the death of the Lord until he comes.
      3. 2 Peter 3: 8-10 8Don’t let it escape your notice, dear friends, that with the Lord a single day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a single day. 9The Lord isn’t slow to keep his promise, as some think of slowness, but he is patient toward you, not wanting anyone to perish but all to change their hearts and lives. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day the heavens will pass away with a dreadful noise, the elements will be consumed by fire, and the earth and all the works done on it will be exposed.
    3. How will your Christmas season and the end of 2020 be impacted by your commitment to God?
      1. Ways to help people in poverty:
        1. Kokomo Rescue Mission is serving & delivering meals for Christmas
        2. Jubilee with Liberty
        3. United Way buddy bags
        4. Tipton School buddy bags
        5. Jackson St Commons
        6. CAM
        7. Howard Haven
      2. Ways to help people know about Jesus
        1. Invite people to enjoy this stream.
        2. Video Chat with friends and talk about your lives—don’t just get interested in them to rack up “Saved Points” but invest in their lives.
        3. Enter a mentoring or accountability relationship with another believer. Share your lives together. Listen for God together.

CONCLUSION: Loving people gets messy. Doing our Gospel-job is not always easy, much like the expectations of having a baby don’t exactly match reality.  


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