Worship Service – November 27, 2022

God fills our hearts with HOPE while we wait for Jesus to arrive.  Let the steady flame of HOPE keep glowing in our hearts and lives.   We worship and praise you, Lord. Let the day of your arrival come soon!  Welcome to this morning’s worship.
Scriptures: Isaiah 2:1-5, Romans 13:11-14 and Matthew 24:36-44
Message; “Prophecies“
Isaiah 2:1-5
. The Mountain of the Lord
(Isaiah prophesying to the people of Judah revealing the vision that God had given him about the last days.)
(1) This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
(2) In the last days the mountain of the Lord ‘s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.
(3) Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
(4) He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
(5) Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord. The Day of the Lord.
Romans 13:11-14
(Paul, writing to the believers in Rome, prophesies to them saying:)
(11) And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (12) The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (13) Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. (14) Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Matthew 24:36-44
(Jesus prophesying to his disciples, sitting on the Mount of Olives answering the question; “when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming in the end of the age?”) (Matt.24:3)
The Day and Hour Unknown
(36) “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (37) As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (38) For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; (39) and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (40) Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. (41) Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
(42) “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (43) But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. (44) So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
This, the first Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of Prophecy, many times called the candle of Hope. So today I’ve titled the message ”Prophecies”. Because in our scriptures today we find that these prophecies give us hope for the future.
What is your definition of a prophecy? According to Webster’s dictionary it’s (1) an inspired utterance of a prophet. (2) the function or vocation of a prophet specifically : the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose and (3) a prediction of something to come.
Let me start my message today by telling you the story of two pastors prophesying, and their inspired utterances.
A couple of pastors from local churches, who had just attended a communications seminar, were standing by the side of the road holding up signs. The Baptist pastor’s sign read, “The End is Near!”
The presbyterian pastor, on the other side of the road, held up a sign which read, “Turn before it’s too late!” They planned to hold up their signs to each passing car.
“Get a job,” The first driver yelled at them when he saw the sign.
The second driver, immediately behind the first, yelled, “Leave us alone you religious freaks!” Shortly, from around the curve, the two pastors heard screeching tires and a splash followed by more screeching tires and another splash. The Baptist pastor looked over to the other and said, “Do you think we should try a different sign?”
The presbyterian pastor responded thoughtfully, “Perhaps our signs ought to say simply ‘Bridge Out.’
Well seeing that today marks the beginning of the season of Advent, a time of preparation, a time of great expectation and great anticipation. Exactly what is it that we anticipate? What are we getting ready for and how do we prepare? What do we expect to happen in the days to come?
If you were in our Worship Service today, we started our celebration in preparation for Advent by reading the words prophesied by Isaiah.
In Isaiah 9 verses 2and 6 we read: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This first Sunday of Advent I pray, finds us not dreaming of the perfect Christmas or searching for a gift for the person who has everything, but rather looking to the future to the second coming of Christ.
In our scripture readings today we read the prophecies, the inspired utterances, the prediction of what is to come. The prophecies of Isaiah, of Paul and from Jesus.
Isaiah prophesied to us to, “WALK IN HIS PATHS” and to “WALK IN THE LIGHT.” Paul wrote in Romans 13:11. Prophesying to you and me about the days to come, when he writes, “do this, ’Understanding the Present Time”. The hour has come for you to “WAKE UP” from your slumber. Then in our gospel reading Jesus instructs his disciples to, “KEEP WATCH to BE READY.”
Like the pastors in my opening story, all three were holding up signs from God telling us to prepare ourselves for what is to come. They we’re prophesying to answer the questions; “What is it that we anticipate? What are we getting ready for and how do we prepare? And what do we expect to happen in the days to come? All too often we ignore these prophecies. So, let’s take a closer look at them.
When the prophet Isaiah prophesied about the advent of God, he envisioned a world unified in worship of God and committed to peace. Isaiah prophesied of a time when the nations and people of the world would join together in recognizing the sovereignty of God and declare, “Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that God may teach us his ways, and that we may walk in his paths.” In the world of Isaiah’s vision, war was a thing of the past, and the nations of the earth lived together in peace. Walking in the light of the Lord. Isaiah prophesied, giving us hope for the future.
The apostle Paul along with first-century Christians believed hopefully, that Jesus would return during their own lifetime. Expecting and anticipating that Jesus would return any day. Expecting Christ’s return any day would certainly alter the way you live your life and what you view as important. Wouldn’t it?
We don’t have that same sense of urgency today as Paul and the early believers. Advent should remind us that our faith is future oriented, propelling us to the future. Too often our focus is on the past, which makes it difficult to ponder what tomorrow will bring. While it may not always seem to be the case, we believe that with Jesus the best is always yet to come.
Paul encourages us, prophesies to us to: “understanding the present time”. “To wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Know what time it is, Paul tells us. It is time for us to focus on Jesus, refraining from all other distractions commonly associated with Christmas.
Too often we simply go through the motions, expecting nothing out of the ordinary to happen. That’s why Paul commands us “to wake up”. Pay attention! : “our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” God is at work in our lives and in our world. We will not want to miss anything due to our inattention.
In the Gospel reading for today from Matthew, the disciples are talking to Jesus about the Second Coming. They want to know when that’s going to happen, so they can be ready for it.
Jesus recalls the familiar story of Noah. He reminds the disciples that in the days of Noah, people were living their lives with little concern for God. They were eating and drinking and marrying and celebrating. And suddenly, in those days, the rains came. Only Noah and his family were wise enough to listen to God’s warning and seek salvation.
When Jesus comes again, he tells his disciples, it’s going to be like that. Life will be going on as usual, with people doing what they normally do, buying and selling, working and playing, just doing ordinary things. And suddenly, without warning, the Lord will return. When that happens, some will be ready, and some will not. Some will remember as Jesus’ prophesied to be ready for the coming of the kingdom, but some will not remember, because other things will have become more important to them. Those folks who have forgotten or disbelieved will be greatly disappointed on that day.
“Keep Watch”, Jesus tells His disciples in, Matt. 24:42. This is not an easy task. I know this because when I joined the Navy, they sent me to Boot Camp. There I spent 9 weeks learning how to “Keep Watch”.
I was taught to, “Get Rest”. To “Wear the Right Gear”. “To Follow the Skipper’s SOP” (Standard operating procedures). “To Scan the Horizon”. “To Check Your Course” and to “Pass on Your Knowledge”.
The same teachings apply for us as we “Keep Watch” this advent season. This time of preparation, of great expectation and great anticipation.
So, first on the list is, Get Rest! Advent season seems to be one of the busiest times of the year. All that planning and shopping finding the right gift. Sending cards and season greeting, present wrapping and the list goes on and on. it all put us on edge, and we need to remember to get rest!
Seeing that deer season is here, I will use this example, to help you better relate to this.
Four guys were at a deer camp. No one wanted to room with Rocky because he snored so badly. They decided it wasn’t fair to make one of them stay with him the whole time, so they voted to take turns.
The first guy slept with Rocky and comes to breakfast the next morning with his hair a mess and his eyes all bloodshot and said, “Man, what happened to you?” He said, “Rocky snored so loudly, I just sat up and watched him all night.”
The next night it was a different guy’s turn. In the morning, same thing, hair all standing up, eyes all bloodshot. They said, “Man, what happened to you? You look awful!” He said, “Man, that Rocky shakes the roof with his snoring. I watched him all night.”
The third night was Fred’s turn. Fred was a tanned, older cowboy… a man’s man. The next morning, he came to breakfast bright-eyed and bushy tailed. “Good morning!” he said. They couldn’t believe it. They said, “Man, what happened?” He said, “Well, we got ready for bed. I went and tucked Rocky into bed, patted him on the butt, and kissed him good night. Rocky sat up and watched me all night.”
We laugh at this story, but do you get the point. It’s not easy to get rest when so many things are happening around us, in our world today. Especially as we prepare for the Christmas season, a time of great expectation and great anticipation.
Keeping Watch also requires us to, “Wear the Right Gear”. There’s a saying that I heard one time that goes something like this: “There’s no such thing as bad weather…only bad clothes”. Indeed, I believe that hits it right on the head.
Paul prophesies to us saying “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ”(Romans 13:14). In other words, wear the right gear. Because if we clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, the “armor of light”. Then we can “Walk in the Light of the Lord” with hope for the future. Less tempted do, “think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature”. So, clothe yourself with the “Armor of Light” while “Keeping Watch”. Remembering the words of Isaiah’s prophecy. “He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths”(Isa.2:3).
Walking in His path, clothed in the “Armor of Light “we need to follow Jesus’ SOP, while keeping watch. As my naval training would put it, follow the Skipper’s SOP.
Most skippers have standard operating procedures that tell you when to keep the log (once an hour or once per watch), when to wake him or her, and safety procedures on watch. Alert the skipper if you are in doubt or have a question that affects the safety of the crew.
Jesus left us with the SOP ‘s. His Standard operating procedures, and they were quite simple. He told his disciples to: “keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So, you also must “Be Ready”, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matt. 24:42-44) Jesus standard operating procedure is to, “Be Ready”, “Keep Watch”, clothe with the “Armor of Light “and “Walk in His Paths”, doing His will.
I’m reminded of the story of the pastor who was out sitting on his porch and thinking about the unpredictability of life. At any moment one’s life could change, and so one should live every moment looking to God. As the preacher sat there, his neighbor passed by leading his horse.
The preacher called out, “What are you doing with your horse?”
The man answered, “I’m going into town to sell it.”
The pastor said, “You ought to say that you are going to sell it if it be the Lord’s will.”
The man said, “What does this have to do with the Lord’s will? This is a good, healthy horse and it’ll be sold before you know it.”
The pastor said, “Have you forgotten that God is watching you? You need to put everything in God’s hands in order for it to work out. You should say, ‘If it be the Lord’s will.””
The man said, “This is my horse and I have raised it specifically to be sold. I’ve even gotten a buyer for it. The Lord’s will won’t change anything.”
Later that day the neighbor passed by the preacher’s house again. He was covered in dirt, his clothes were ripped to pieces, and he was sore from one end to the other. The astonished preacher asked what had happened.
The man said, “Well, I talked to you for so long that I was late for my appointment with my buyer. To get there on time, I took a short cut across a corn field owned by a cross old buzzard. Well, he saw me tramping through his field and he started shooting at my horse. The horse panicked and fell over on top of me, then it kicked me in the eye. Trying to get out from under the horse, I tore my clothes all to pieces. I ran from that old man and his gun and ran smack dab into a barbed wire fence. That’s what happened to me.”
The pastor asked, “Well, where are you going now?”
The man answered, “Well, I’m going home now if it be the Lord’s will.”
Follow Jesus’ SOP‘s, do the Lord’s will! Keep watch. Be ready. Alert the skipper if you are in doubt or have a question that affects the safety of the crew. Scan the Horizon look to the future possibilities. Anticipate and expect that things are not always going to plan. But hold onto the hope of the prophecy of Jesus return.
And don’t forget to “Check your Course, “while keeping watch. It’s easy to forget about the course your on when your focus is on day to day activities. We all have a tendency to daydream and miss the opportunity to do His will.
Recently Bonne and I were traveling, and I set the navigation system and the cruise control in her car. And without realizing the audio was turned off on the navigation system. I was daydreaming and passed the exit which we needed to take. Miles later I realized that I was off course. The same thing happens to us when we don’t check our course. When we don’t pay attention to the prophecies of Jesus. Keep watch! Be ready! Anticipate and expect His return.
And Pass on Your Knowledge. Like those in Isaiah‘s prophecy. “Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” Keep watch! Be ready! Clothe yourself with the “armor of light”. For we have the inspired utterances of the prophets. The inspired declarations of God’s divine will for all Believers. And the hope given to us in the prophecies of Christ return.
Keeping Watch.
In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20221127
Listen To Audio: Service 11272022

Prayer of Confession:       Lord of all times, we come into your presence asking your forgiveness.  We have failed to live as people of the present.  We have wasted our moments, wanting the future now, seeing our dreams as the answer to today’s problems.  Rather than seeing your blessing in each day, we have looked backward to glory days that seem glorious only in their passing.  Open our eyes to our mission at hand.  Open our ears to your message to us today, that we might share in bringing the good news of your salvation to the world.  In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen.




Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday morning from 11 to 1.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to General Fund

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Choir practice will be on Thursday at 1:00! 

Social Hour after church next week.

Ladies Tea is on December 13th at 11:00.   Today is the last day to sign up.

Our mission for the Children’s Home in Binghamton (Bill’s Kids) ends next week.  Monetary gifts only.  The staff will buy presents.

Presbyterian Women will meet on Thursday, December 8th at 10.   Secret Sister reveal.  All women invited.

Men’s Breakfast, Wednesday December 21st at 8:00 A.M.

Ladies are reminded of the Meadow View donations of any of the following:   Shampoo, body sprays, body wash, nail polish remover…..they have plenty of polish.  Items can be brought to the church or community building   Remember, men live there too!

The Madrigal Choir of Binghamton – Lessons and Carols – Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4:00, First Presbyterian, Owego, NY.   Same concert on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 4:00, Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church, Main St. Binghamton.  Find more info on Line – Madrigal Choir of Binghamton.

Vestal Community Band, Christian Alliance Church 7:00 on Dec. 8, and in front of J.C. Penney’s in the Oakdale Commons (Oakdale Mall) on Dec. 15 at 7:00.  

Sunday, Dec. 4, Locally, at First Pres. in Montrose, the Christmas Chorale at 3:00


Comments are closed.