December 06th, 2015 Scriptures for the Second Sunday in Advent
Scriptures: Malachi 3:1-7b; Philippians 1:2–11; Luke 3:1-20
Everyone knows that eating fruits are good for you. They contain not only fibre that aides in digestion, but also vitamins and minerals that promote good health. Beyond this, they often contain antioxidants that can help slow or even prevent some cancers. If you want to see what your favourite fruit does for you a search of the internet for healthy living will make it plain.
God’s word often calls us to be fruitful and today’s lessons are no exception. Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi prays that his hearers will increase in love with knowledge and discernment, being ‘filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ.’ In the gospel lesson, John the Baptist, while fulfilling the prophecy of the Old Testament prophet Malachi, commands his hearers to ‘bear fruits (consisting of acts that are done) in keeping with repentance (in keeping with a true change of heart).’ John continues speaking giving concrete acts that different people who find themselves in different situations can do to ‘produce fruit.’
Keeping in mind Paul’s words that this ‘fruit of righteousness’, this intentional blameless living, is done only through Christ and His finished work of saving us, of what benefit is it? Why ‘live the good life’ to the glory of God? To understand this there are two other texts to consider. In reading the first Psalm, the Psalm that sets the tone for the book, we find a picture of what true life with God is like. Being planted by streams of living water (read finding delight in the law of the Lord and living in it day and night) a person produces ‘fruit in its season’, never withers, and prosper in all he does. In fact, this fruitfulness spills over in other people’s lives in soul saving ways. The writer of the book of Proverbs says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30) In other words, our ‘fruit of righteousness’ not only gives glory to God, but it saves others to the cause of Christ.
As you move through the days leading up to Christmas, live with the peace and joy of the season. Share the love of God as you speak kind words, offer a hand to those in need, and in every way, preach the Love of God in actions that speak louder than words. To God alone be the glory!