GOD RESTORES US THROUGH CHRIST MODBURY
PSALM 80:1-7, 17-19, 1 COR 1:3-9 A.M. 30.11.08
Would you believe it‟s only 25 sleeps until Christmas? That‟s scary! That is especially scary
for all those who are yet to do any of their Christmas shopping or preparations. Twenty five more
sleeps. That‟s all. Twenty five sleeps and then, its all over for another year. My, how Christmas Day
just flies past so quickly. Before we know it we will be celebrating the New Year and then Easter. I
wonder how quickly the shops will get their Easter eggs and stuff out on show? Don‟t you just hate the
way these wonderful and very meaningful events in the Christian calendar have become so
Today is the first Sunday in Advent and we have just lit the first of the candles; the candle of
Hope. For me, this is the real start to the Christmas season, not the pageant. These next fours weeks
will be focused on the coming of the Messiah. Next week the children will bring a very special
presentation and so I hope you will enjoy how they present their Christmas story. But these four weeks
leading up to Christmas Day are for us to prepare our hearts for the big celebration of Christ‟s birth.
I guess the question we need to ask at this time, is, “Why did God send his only son to this earth
in the manner in which he did?” I would also guess that most of us would immediately say that it was
because Adam and Eve stuffed up, or similar words like, they sinned. However you like to think about
it, they rebelled against God and caused this huge gap or chasm to be formed between God and us that
only God‟s sinless Son could bridge.
God wanted a close and loving relationship with his creation. He wanted to be worshipped and
adored. But in all his creation nothing could do that to his satisfaction and so he created man. Out of
man he created woman, and they were not only created in God‟s image, but they were created perfect.
They not only had perfect bodies, but they had a perfect relationship with each other and with God.
There was no chasm. There was no sin. There was no sickness or disease, or anything that could
separate them from God.
Did you know that if Adam and Eve hadn‟t stuffed up, that mankind would live forever? We
would never have died if things had continued the way God created them to be. We could have been
like Adam and Eve and walked and talked with God in perfect harmony. But because sin did enter our
world and because that gap or chasm was formed between God and us, God had to make a way in
which we could get back into that right relationship with Him so we could worship him and spend
eternity with him. That meant the sending of the second part of the deity or Godhead, Jesus, God‟s son,
the one who we are told created the world and all that‟s in it, to this earth. Jesus came in a very specific
way to do a very specific job.
In order for Jesus to do that very specific job he had to be born as a human child and grow up in
the way all children do, and then become a young man where he was then to begin his ministry. Along
the way he had some wonderful experiences of being blessed by Simeon and Anna in the Temple as
they had been waiting for the coming Messiah and the moment they saw him they knew he was the
one. He also spoke boldly to much more learned men at the early age of twelve and amazed them with
his knowledge. He gathered around him an unlikely bunch of blokes he called his Disciples and taught
them about living the Christian life and what that meant. He sent them out so that the Good News
would be spread throughout the whole world. And then, as we remember at Easter, he died on a cruel
cross to give us the way back to God.
We often talk about the restoration movement as being part of the Christian heritage of the late
18th Century and early 19th century, out of which Churches of Christ was formed, but I think that
restoration movement began with the birth of Jesus Christ. But God has been working in and for
mankind right from the time of Adam and Eve to bring us back into that relationship he so desired.
Right throughout the Old Testament, God has used the prophets to speak into the kings and the
people even though I„m sure the prophets didn‟t know what it all meant at the time. Our reading from
Psalm 80 talks about the restoration that would come. It may be talking about being restored back to
what they were before being taken into exile, but this passage has the implication that it is more than
that. It might have talked about David and how as King he would restore the nation of Israel, but it still
has a much wider application.
Psalm 80 is a prayer to God for restoration and the writer repeats some key phrases that are
calling out to God. In verses 1-3 it says, “Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a
flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and
Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us. Restore us, Oh God; make your face shine upon
us, that we may be saved.” In verse 7, “Restore us, O God almighty; make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.” And again verse 19, “Restore us, O God almighty; make your face shine upon
us, that we may be saved.” This is a real plea for God to rescue the nation of Israel from their enemies
and bring them back to Himself. Of course, time and time again they kept on turning away from God
even when he did bring them back and restore them.
But in verses 17-18 we have this. “Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of
man you have raised up for yourself. Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call
on your name.” This is asking God to show his favour to the one whom God has set aside for himself.
This can be seen as David, because as the king he is seen as the Lord‟s anointed, seated in the place of
honour in God‟s presence. The other meaning could be that it is talking about the nation as a man. But
if we think about the wording, using the „son of man‟ and being at God‟s right hand, I believe it can
also be seen as a prophetic indication of Christ and his role in the lives of God‟s people. It‟s when we
call out to Christ, God revives us and restores us back into a right place with him and hopefully we
won‟t turn from him, as the Israelites so often did.
But as we know, that only happens when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour and
LORD. I just hope and pray that we won‟t be like the Israelites who kept on turning away from God. I
just hope and pray that when we turn to God we will stick at it and stay firm in our faith so that when
Christ comes again we will be ready. I just hope and pray that we will make sure that chasm between
God and us is bridged by our faith in Jesus Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 we see the usual greeting from Paul and then he commends the
Christians in the Corinthian church for the way they have lived for God, grown in their faith,
knowledge and godly lifestyle, and encouraged each other. He says, “Grace and peace to you from
God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank God for you because of his grace given you
in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your
knowledge — because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack
any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong
to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you
into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”
Jesus Christ came to this earth for the specific job of restoring us to God. He has done
everything he ever needed to for this to happen. But like the Israelites, and many Christians before us,
there are times when we forget what God has done for us and the victory we have in Christ and we can
turn away from God, we can ignore his call on our lives, and we can forget that being a Christian is a
lifestyle, not just a thing we do from time to time.
It‟s only in Christ that we can be enriched in the things of God. It‟s only when we have Christ
as Lord and have the Holy Spirit within that we can understand God‟s word as the Spirit is our
counselor. It‟s only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can grow in our speaking and
knowledge of the things of God. And it‟s only in Christ that we do not lack any spiritual gift as we
wait for Christ to return.
God has been working on his rescue plan since Adam and Eve, and His Son, Jesus Christ, is the
ultimate sacrifice and trump card that defeated Satan and his hold over mankind that was introduced
because of Adam and Eve‟s sin and rebellion against God. Jesus Christ has bridged that chasm that sin
created and our faith in Jesus Christ will keep us strong to the end, so that we will be blameless on the
day of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we want to be ready for Christ to come again and finally complete that
rescue plan, then we need to stay close to Christ and stay faithful just as God is faithful to us. It‟s when
we compromise and when we are wishy washy in our faith that we may not be ready for that time. This
is when we can easily turn away from God and do our own thing. We need to stay strong and faithful
so we are ready.
The birth of Jesus shows us that God‟s plan to restore us is successful. Jesus Christ has bridged
that chasm. But we need to make sure we take hold of that plan for ourselves and live in that plan and
freedom Christ gives every day.
If you are yet to make sure this rescue plan and chance of being restored into a right relationship
with God has taken place in your life, then why not talk to someone this morning and find out what you
have to do to be sure. Take this as an invitation from God to be rescued and restored into God‟s
kingdom. It really is the only way to know what it‟s like and to know the blessing of being one of
God‟s children. Bridge that gap between God and yourself now by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus as
being for you and make these next four weeks the best Christmas present you could ever give yourself.