Free Advent Ebook

The season of Advent begins November 27 this year, leading up to Christmas. 1

I love Advent because it helps us remember how long humanity waited for a Savior.

It emphasizes the glorious miracle of Jesus’ coming into the world that He created.

This ebook collects together the devotional thoughts that I posted during Advent last year, revised and edited.

I’ve hoped to provide a brief sweep through the entire Bible’s storyline, showing how the crucial the Advent of Christ is. Thus, the first devotion begins in Genesis 3, and the final one ends in Revelation 22.

Click here or on the book cover to download the ebook.

Come, Lord Jesus | Jan 2

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.  (Revelation 22:20-21 ESV)

We now close our season of Advent with the final words of the Bible. Though being created good, the world was devastated by the sin of humanity, but even from the beginning, God promised to fix everything. He promised to send the Messiah, the serpent-crushing descendant of Abraham and David.

We have seen that Jesus was the perfect fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies, decisively defeating sin by His death and resurrection. Then before ascending to heaven, Jesus promised to return, ushering in our eternal lives with Him.

This may be an obvious statement, but it’s worth saying: things are not perfect. The world is broken, fallen, and still in sin. We only need to watch the news to be reminded that things are not as they should be.

It is, therefore, important for us to understand that while Jesus’ saving work was entirely accomplished by His death and resurrection, His renewing and remaking work will not be fully seen until His return.

In many ways, we hopefully wait for Jesus’ second coming to make our faith sight. Though the decisive battle was won, we are still longing for the final battle against sin and death to be fought.

Yet our waiting is not to be spent staring up at the sky (Acts 1:11); instead, we are to faithfully live out the Jesus’ Great Commission to us.

Thus, we expectantly pray along with John: “Come, Lord Jesus!”


Since Christ will return without warning, do you live in such an obedient and faithful way that you can expectantly pray alongside John: “Come, Lord Jesus!”?


 

Death Shall Be No More | Jan 1

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4 ESV)

The final three chapters of the Bible are absolutely beautiful. They provide for us a description of our eternal life with God. Following Christ’ return and the day of judgment, God establishes a new heaven and new earth where we will dwell with Him in our new and resurrected bodies.

Too often, we think of heaven as being an ethereal and spiritual place where we live like angels; however, such thoughts are not founded upon Scripture. Instead, we are told that our eternity will be spent upon the new earth that God formed.

We will also have renewed bodies that are without sin. God created us to have physical bodies, and He will give to us sinless, resurrected bodies for all eternity.

All of this is a return to Eden, a testament that our sin did not have the final word.

Revelation 20-22 is the reverse ordering of Genesis 1-3. Death enters the world in Genesis 3, and it is utterly removed in Revelation 20. And just as the Bible began with two chapters of sinless and deathless life with God, so the Bible also ends with two chapters of sinless and deathless life with God. This is the substance of our hope in Christ’s return: that He will finally, visibly, and completely remake the world and us, forever undoing the effects of sin, evil, and death.


Reading Revelation 21:3-4, what will make our eternal life full of joy and peace? What makes heaven heavenly?


 

Our Blessed Hope | Dec 31

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:11-13 ESV)

Paul, writing to Titus, gives here a wondrous summation of Jesus’ first and second advent. He first states that in Christ the grace of God has come into the world, “bringing salvation for all people.” By His death and resurrection, Jesus redeemed “us from all lawlessness” and purified us for Himself as “a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (v. 14).” Indeed, Jesus saved us, redeemed us, purified us, and equips us to live godly lives.

But Paul also claims that in the midst of all of this, we are waiting for our blessed hope. He describes this hope as “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” This is the second coming of Christ. In His first advent, Jesus came as a servant, operating in a behind-enemy-lines manner that left most of the Jews doubting that He was really the Messiah.

Not so with the second advent. Revelation 19:11-21 gives us a clearer picture of Jesus’ appearing in glory. Splitting the sky in two, Christ will come back to earth upon a white horse with the armies of heaven behind Him. The Suffering Servant will establish His throne as Eternal King in the clear view of everyone. With His second coming Jesus will consummate the kingdom that He inaugurated with His first coming.


Considering also 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, in what ways is the second coming of Christ your blessed hope?


 

Jesus’ Continued Ministry | Dec 30

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. (Acts 1:1-2 ESV)

Prior to His ascension, Jesus gave to His disciples clear commands for what they were supposed to do until He returned. They were to be His witnesses to all the earth (Acts 1:8), to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Christ to all nations (Luke 24:47), and to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). Though these texts are well-known (for good reason), these first verses of Acts are often overlooked.

Acts is written by Luke as the sequel to his Gospel, and he begins it by explicitly saying that the Gospel of Luke was about “all that Jesus began to do and teach”. The word ‘began’ is interesting because Luke’s Gospel covers Jesus’ birth to His ascension, so it would appear to be the most complete account of Jesus’ ministry, not the beginning of it. However, Luke is expressing a deeply important thought for us to understand: as the body of Christ, His church, we are the continuation of Jesus’ ministry on earth.

We saw last week that Jesus’ ministry was about expanding the kingdom of heaven on earth. By making disciples and proclaiming repentance and forgiveness in Christ, we are growing the kingdom of God. Just as Jesus kept His focus upon proclaiming the good news of the kingdom (Luke 4:42-44), so must we understand that our purpose is to preach the gospel and make disciples.


Knowing that Jesus has called each of us to make disciples until He returns, does your life reflect this command? If not, what are some specific reasons that keep you from obeying Jesus?


 

The Ascension | Dec 29

While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up to heaven. (Luke 24:51 ESV)

Especially for the disciples, Jesus’ life on earth must have been quite a bumpy ride. At Jesus’ call to follow Him, each left his previous way of living to follow Jesus around the country side, hoping that He was the promised Messiah. Christ’ crucifixion seemed like a total defeat since even the Messianic King could not reign from the dead. The resurrection then was a miracle of the highest order and led to a renewed belief that Jesus is the Serpent-Crusher. But after being with them awhile longer, Jesus ascended into heaven, promising them that He would one day return.

When compared to the cross and resurrection, Jesus’ ascension is often overlooked; however, great theological significance lies therein. In John 14, Jesus tells us much about life after His ascension. Having told His disciples that He would be leaving, He proceeds to tell them that He is going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house (John 14:2-3). Jesus’ imagery would have recalled in the disciples’ minds a fiancé leaving to prepare his home for his bride-to-be and promising to return for her when he finished.

Obviously the imagery only goes so far. For example, it would be ridiculous for us to conclude that Jesus has yet to return because He isn’t finished preparing heaven yet. Instead, Jesus is assuring us, as His bride, that He will return to us and that by His ascension to heaven He prepared the way for us also to be with the Father for eternity.


Read Luke 12:13-21, and consider whether you live in light of Christ’s eternal provision or for the hope of earthly treasure.


 

My Lord & My God | Dec 28

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28 ESV)

The account of “doubting Thomas” is a Sunday School classic. Though being one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, Thomas wrestled to believe the truth of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. In fact, he boldly declared that unless he could touch Christ’s wounds with his own hands he would not believe that Jesus was really alive.

Jesus, of course, shows up eight days later to give Thomas the proof that he sought.

Just as the birth of Christ is meaningless without understanding the cross, Jesus’ death is pointless without His resurrection. If on the cross Jesus was bruised, the serpent’s head is crushed during Christ’s resurrection.

By conquering death, Jesus gave us reason to hope in His conquering of death for us as well.

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  // 1 Corinthians 15:17

Thomas immediately realizes implications of Jesus’ resurrection by calling Jesus his Lord and God.

By calling Jesus Lord, Thomas declares that Jesus is his ruler (or master) and that he is Jesus’ servant (or slave).

Thomas then explicitly calls Jesus his God. For a Jew to proclaim divinity to a man was absolutely unthinkable, so for Thomas to risk such blaspheme can only mean that he became thoroughly convinced that Jesus is God.


Take time to reflect upon the words of Thomas. Is Jesus your Lord and God as well? If so, what implications does that thought have upon how we understand 1 Corinthians 6:19-20?