Listen. Paul wants us to know what time it is in Romans 13:11-14: ‘The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.’ The reign of sin and death is almost over, the coming of Jesus is almost here. If the night is almost over, then it is time for us to wake up! We need to get ready for Jesus’ coming. This is what the season of Advent is all about. We remember what it was like for Israel to wait for the birth of their Savior, we look forward to our Savior’s return and we get ready for him to break into our lives.
So how do we get ready? Paul tells us that we must take some things off, and we put some things on. We are to take off sin, the “deeds of darkness”, which Paul classifies into three categories: 1. wild partying, drunkenness, and addiction. 2. sexual immorality, sleeping around, sex outside of marriage. 3. jealousy, fighting and divisiveness.
We are to put on “Jesus Christ”, in that we are to live and love as Jesus did (see Romans 13:8-10).
Discussion. How awake and ready are you for the coming of Jesus? What sins do you need to take off? How will you ‘put on Jesus’? How is God specifically challenging you to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’?
Respond. Advent wreaths are a great reminder to prepare yourself this Advent season for the coming of Jesus. Advent wreaths consist of a wreath, three purple candles, a pink candle and a white candle. Set up the three purple candles and the pink candle along the edge of the wreath and place the white candle, the Christ candle in the center.
Light the purple candle that is opposite the pink candle for the first week of Advent. This is the “hope” candle. Then read Isaiah 2:1-5, which speaks of the hope of Jesus’ coming. It describes the nations of the world coming to Jesus and Jesus teaches them the ways of God.
How will you respond to the hope of Jesus’ coming? Make a plan to put off specific sins this Advent season and to put on acts of love towards your neighbor.
Share. Make a plan to share the hope of Jesus’ coming with someone in your life.