On the second Sunday of Advent as we light the candle of love on the advent wreath circle, we remember the “Royal Law” and commit ourselves to the greatest commandment that Jesus taught: “Love others as yourselves.” The measure of our spiritual maturity is how much we love others. Jesus set the example of loving others by dying on the cross. Our claim of loving others is not enough, Jesus calls us to take a deeper step and show that love by putting into practice.
In the beginning of the advent season, Rev. Nadeem talks about the wonders of hope. He shares that the “Hope” that we receive from Jesus Christ has the power to bring Healing, Optimism, Purpose, & Encouragement. These four are the wonders of this everlasting Hope that Jesus offers us today.
God gave Joseph dreams when he was a child. It was God’s way of showing Joseph how God was going to use him to bless his family and the nation of Israel. This however in no way was made Joseph’s life easier. Rather, he had to endure many hardships before the fulfillment of what he had dreamed. The scripture tells us over and again in this story that the Lord was with Joseph. It’s very true for our lives as Christians. There are times in our lives when we struggle with many kinds of fears. And one of those fears is the fear of giving or tithing. Statistics show only 5% Christians in America tithe. And those who do they tithe only 2.5%. Could this be out of fear of not having enough for our family needs if we gave more. It works quite to the opposite. Statics also show that 80% givers have no credit card debt. God Loves Cheerful Givers. In this sermon Rev. Nadeem talks about overcoming the fear of giving.
Jacob, who’s been running from God most of his life finally surrenders after a night-long struggle. Many Christians get this wrong when they conclude that Jacob wrestled with God and won. On the contrary this text speaks about Jacob’s surrender. After running from God for many years Jacob finally surrenders, and God changes Jacob’s name from Jacob which means “heel catcher” to Israel, means “ruled or governed by God.” Jacob did not prevail through overcoming God, but he prevailed through prayer, weeping and through brokenness.
Many times, we complain that someone has mistreated or betrayed us, or gossiped about us. It feels awful. In this story Jacob feels that his father-in-law took advantage of him and betrayed him. Something that Jacob is forgetting is that he cheated his older brother to take his father’s blessing. He reminds us of an important life lesson that we reap what we sow.
Esau traded his birth right, something of great importance in ancient Jewish culture, with his younger brother just for a momentary gain. This wrong trade had long term consequences. Sometimes we act like Esau and just for a momentary gain in this life, we trade eternal life. What’s in our life that we have gained that may cost us everlasting life with God and we need to get rid of.
Abraham left to his children the legacy of obedience to God. When God spoke to Isaac, he mentioned how Abraham, his father, was obedient to God and did everything that God required of him. God promised Isaac that if he followed and obeyed God as his father Abraham did, God would bless him. Most of us desire for our children to follow and obey God, but we need to set example through our lives.
Our faith is incomplete without a complete obedience. Scripture tells that Abraham’s faith was made complete when he obeyed God and didn’t even withhold his only son. We can’t enter the kingdom of God unless our faith is complete. What is in our life that we love so much and are unwilling to surrender before God so that our faith may be made complete?
Sometimes Christians become so deeply focused on Grace and Mercy of God that they miss the judgment part of God’s character. Many preachers don’t feel comfortable even talking about judgment. This is one stream. The other stream is of those who so narrow their focus to judgment and fail to see and experience God’s Grace and Mercy.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the biblical stories that troubles many Christians because the story speaks about God’s judgment and wrath. Pastor Nadeem continues through the book of Genesis talks about the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Chapter 19 of Genesis says that their sin was so grave that God destroyed the cities completely. Could the people of Sodom and Gomorrah have avoided God’s judgment? They could, through repentance, but they chose not to. No doubt this is a story of God’s judgment and wrath, but in a way, it is also a story of God’s Grace and Mercy. Pastor Nadeem teaches the “Divine Model of Grace.”
Tower of babel is a story of human pride. Human wanted to reach to God and God frustrated their plan and scatter them to the ends of the earth. It’s also our story, our pride destroys our relationships with others and others draw away from us. On the contrary humility strengthens our relationships and draws others near us. Pride is one of the seven deadliest sins, according to the Bible. In this sermon Rev. Nadeem invites us to examine our lives to see if we have this evil in our lives that we need to work on to grow in the likeness of Jesus who set for us an example of ultimate humility.
A few generations down from Adam, sin was ruling the human race and the magnitude of sin was so great it made God regret that he created human being. And because of the sin God decided to sweep the entire human race. But God spared Noah and his family because he was a righteous man. God made a covenant with human beings, and this was a new beginning. This is a story of God’s justice and mercy. Justice, because he punished human for sin, and mercy because there was a new beginning. How would God feel if he looked at your life today?
Genesis Chapter 4 tells that Cain, the first child ever born on earth became a murderer and killed his younger brother Abel. This murder was out of jealousy and anger that Cain had toward Abel. God warned Cain about sin that was crouching at the door, but he wouldn’t listen and let the sin rule over him.
What was the result? God desires for us, as he desired for Cain, to rule over sin, and not let the sin rule over us. Pastor Nadeem continues the sermon series on the Book of Genesis and in his sermon this week he challenges to set aside jealousy, anger and hatred that we might have towards someone and reconcile. It’s another way that we can rule over sin.