When I was in high school, I saw three movies more than one time in the theater: Jaws (2 x’s?)… Smoky and the Bandit (2 x’s)… the original Star Wars (3 x’s). Ever watch a movie that you really enjoyed more than one time? Like the rest of the world, watching Jaws, whenever the shark made a sudden appearance, I jumped. The 2nd time I saw it, kind of dopy. Smoky and the Bandit ~ no idea why I went a 2nd time. Star Wars. The first time I saw it, captured my attention, the amazing characters, the setting, I had never seen anything quite like it. Mesmerizing. Fascinating. As I watched the 2nd and 3rd time, in many ways, it was more amazing. I knew the end of the story, so I could take a better look at the plot, the dialogue, the special effects ~ the interplay between Princess Laya and Hans Solo, R2D2, C3PO, Chewbacha, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, the personalities, intrigue, the narrow escapes. The suspense of what happens in the end was no longer there, but what took the place of the drama of the story, was the subplots, the personalities, the details of the setting the spaceships, the other worlds, the slime in the garbage pit…
We know what’s coming in this old world ~ CORRECTION ~ we know WHO’S Coming…. We are called to live as if we’ve already seen the movie! How does the story end? The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again.
The Second Coming of Jesus is a fact! The 2nd coming saturates the Bible, especially the N.T. If I were to say to you, for the next ten minutes look for the color green, suddenly you see green everywhere. The 2nd coming of Christ is like that in the Bible ~ ~ over 300 references in the N.T. ~ 1 in 30 verses. It’s amazing how many times you can spot green/the 2nd Coming. “The Day of Christ” is a common way of saying it. I did a little experiment and found 5-6 obvious references to the 2nd Coming Philippians. “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). “…so that you may be able to discern what is pure and blameless until the day of Christ” (1:10). “…in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing” (2:16); “I want to know Christ and power of his resurrection…becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (3:10-11). “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (3:20). “The Lord is near” (4:5). The N.T. is saturated with 2nd coming references.
The Character of the Second Coming. More important than the fact of the 2nd Coming is the difference it makes in our daily lives!
We have a funny name adorning our sign outside of our building. “Sumas” is a good word, describing the place God has called us to share his message of Salvation, the place that we gather in his name. “Christian” identifies us as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Church is a common word that means the gathering together of God’s people. But there is that little word “Advent.”
I’m thinking about getting a tattoo. Don’t try this at home ~ [write SACC on arm]. When I was in school, 80 denominations were represented, people commonly asked about each others church. I got so tired of the follow up question when they heard my answer, “Advent Christian.” What’s that? Maybe I’m being defensive, but what a lot of those folks were really asking…“What’s weird about you?” Some days I longed to be a Baptist, or a Presbyterian, or a Methodist. Nobody ever asked them what was weird about them ~ apparently they already knew! When I was in the Pasadena A.C. Church they had a funny old address stamp. Every time somebody got out an ink pad and the stamp to put the name and address of the church on a letter or in a book, underneath was an explanation “Not Seventh Day Adventist.” I still laugh thinking about defining yourself to the world by what you are not. “Hi, I’m Carl Crouse, I am not an elephant.”
“Advent” according to the dictionary: “The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important: the advent of the computer.” Back in the 1890’s there used to be a little school house at the end of the Rock Road in “Nimsville.” Nobody knows the exact patterns or exactly what happened, but this is certain: preachers, most notably Elder Carman in the earliest days, would show up and proclaim a message of the Advent of Jesus Christ. Somebody extremely important is coming: Jesus Christ. Advent is a word people do not commonly use today, but it is a good word that is worth teaching people what it means. It means Jesus is coming, so there is hope. And hope is everything! It means we know the end of the story. Advent puts the problems of this old world into perspective ~ stress in life is temporary ~ the Lord is coming again.
I’m thinking about getting this tattoo, because I like the idea of people asking “What’s that?” “Sumas Advent Christian Church.” What’s weird about you? Here’s my new answer: Sumas, Christian, Church those are easy to understand. The word Advent: It means ~~~~ Something Good is About to Happen. I know the end of the movie. I know how this old world ends. Something Good is about to Happen ~ Jesus Christ will return at any moment. The Advent/coming of Christ is extremely important and the Advent of Christ is extremely good! The fact of the Advent of Christ should change the way you live your life today, effect your attitude ~ expectant, joyful, and because you know how the movie ends, you can be amazed at the way God unfolds the story of your life… Something Good is about to Happen. Live with optimism…
T or F. Most people are pessimistic by nature. i.e. They expect bad things to happen. Go ahead and disagree with me… I say it’s TRUE. The world desperately needs to hear the message of the 2nd Coming. It was true in 1913! And it’s true in 2013
Today’s scripture 2 Peter 3. Peter addresses the pessimists: READ 2 Peter 3:3-4. You know who really bugs me… for as long as I can remember in any ten year period of time at least one high profile person has predicted a date for the return of Christ. Last year it was Harold Camping. These well intentioned date setters sidetrack the truth. Maybe it’s good because the spotlight is put on the 2nd coming of Christ, but the Bible is so clear that no man knows the day or the hour. I personally think these wrong headed predictions do more to cloud the truth than they do to promote the truth: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief” it says in 2 Pet. 3:10. Unexpected. Not know the exact time is part of the living with the truth of the Advent of Christ. We always need to be ready. We need to be optimistic because that is the truth and that is what the world needs to hear: Something good is about to happen.
Most people live as if something bad is about to happen ~ turn it around…. My first job was picking berries for Daryl Ehlers up on the Halverstick. At first I dreaded the idea that at any time I might look back and see Mr. Ehlers checking my row (I was not a very good picker.) I knew I was going to get scolded, because it did not take long for Mr. Ehlers to catch up with me with his hands heaping with berries. But then the most wonderful thing would happen: he’d dump the berries in my flat. Instantly my output doubled. Something good is about to happen….the 2nd Coming is an unknown ~ when and exactly what it will look like, but put your hope in Christ, live with an expectation that something good is about to happen ~ and your world is changed.
It is easy to get impatient and discouraged. Too many people withdraw from life and don’t trust other people. Peter’s proclamation needs to be underlined: God’s Timing is always right ~ READ 1 Peter 3:8-9. I know the end of the movie, put your trust in God and his timing is always right.
We are the ones that get impatient. I had a friend that once said we either get way ahead of God or we get way behind what God is doing, and the truth is that usually we are way ahead of God: “Hurry up and catch up with me God, bless what I am doing.” We need to learn to be patient. God’s timing is always right. We need to learn to dance in time with God. That’s why Peter says to be patient. To not give up. We all have questions about the world, our government, wars, personal struggles, early death, betrayal by others, broken families, heartaches, which is why we need to be reminded over and over and over again: God’s timing is always right. Something good is about to happen. Like a thief in the night, we must always be ready.
I had a lot of fun going on a cruise in July to Alaska with the Nims and Lagerweys. Sally too. I decided early on that I was going to thoroughly enjoy it. For two months I would tell any of the other five that would listen to me: “I’m looking forward to this cruise.” And I did! Larry and I had a competition to get the best whale photo. I knew the date of the Cruise, I don’t know when Christ is returning, but I look forward with great expectation anyway! Something good is about to happen. That puts this old world in perspective. And you know what’s especially good about waiting… READ 2 Pet. 3:9 (NLT): “No, the Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.” The delay in the return of Christ is a gift of God! I personally struggle: Come quickly Lord Jesus, I’m tired… but the needs are so great and people are searching so desperately in Sumas, can we have another 100 years? No man knows when ~ be ready is all it says…
The Advent of Christ is not just a fact, but it means we are therefore to live our lives anticipating the total transformation that is coming. READ 2 Pet. 3:11-13.
Therefore, how we should live ~ Expect something good is about to happen. Godly lives. Make every effort to live a pure and blameless life. And be at peace with God (2 Pet. 3:14 NLT). Live as a person of great hope because you know the end of the movie. You don’t need to wonder about the final scene gazing up into the sky with uncertainty, appreciate the movie as it unfolds… You need to find peace with God. And the world around you needs to see the peace, the godliness, the expectancy, the hope.
100 years on this corner. I am so thankful to Linda and others for stitching together bits and pieces of the history. She knows so much more could be written, but time and lack of knowledge prevent a thorough accounting. One thing I want to add and enlarge in the records for the future church to read about us today: the Lord has literally increased the visibility of this property so we are arguably the most visible corner in the city ~ with that privilege comes responsibility! What are we most about as we go forward?
There’s a funny little word on the sign we flash to the world: Advent. Advent means HOPE. And HOPE means: something good is about to happen. In whatever form it takes whether on this property or out in the community, in everything we do, may it be about bringing Hope, the HOPE of Christ to a hurting world. The Lord is delaying his coming so that more people will have an opportunity to hear the message and respond. May the Lord use us to make the message of hope visible. You already know the end of the movie ~ live with anticipation/expectation… Something good is about to happen: Jesus is Coming Again! Amen!