2nd Sunday in Advent – Sermon 168

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



Telling the truth is not always easy – but God commands that we do it –

Today we don’t often speak about lies – we use words like spin – or politics – to describe what we might consider an exaggeration of the truth –

But as we’ve seen in the news recently – when someone’s lies are found out – people or society can come down – very heavy –

When confronted with difficult questions or situations – how do we recognize the truth? There’s lots of voices around – but not all are truthful – who should we believe or trust? – What should we read? What or who should we be looking to for help?

In this second week of Advent we look especially at the part played by the prophets – and in Our OT readings we have an incident involving both true and false prophets or prophecies –we are going to look at what happened to see if it helps us decide who or what we should put our faith in?

Point 1       OT reading –

The happenings in our OT describe events leading up to the death of king Ahab – which was foretold by Isaiah –

Throughout his reign – Ahab had been held accountable for his evil – by God’s prophets who dared to stand up to him –

In this chapter of Kings we are told that – Ahab’s heart was set on war – he wanted to regain some lost territory – Ramoth–Gilead from the king of Aram which was taken some years earlier

He appealed to King Jehoshaphat of Judah the father of his son-in law to join him – in an expedition against Syria – Jehoshaphat agreed but wanted to consult the Lord first –

Ahab asked 400 of his own prophets (400 was probably not an exaggeration) for their opinion and they all agreed it was a good venture – no doubt knowing that was what Ahab wanted them to say – but their unity must have aroused suspicion –

Jehoshaphat was not a Baal worshiper and he wanted to know if there was a prophet of the Lord he could consult.

Ahab knew only of Michaiah – who he said ‘never prophesied good for me’ – but to accommodate the king – he sent one of his servants to fetch him

Michaiah was a prophet who speaks only what God says – and when he arrived – even though he was pressed to go along with the other prophets – he gave a truthful response to Ahab

He repeated the false prophecy first time round – probably to test Ahab’s sincerity – but when asked a second time – which was the usual practice – when seeking assurance in battles- Michaiah foretold Ahab’s death – and the breakup of his army – who he said would become ‘sheep without a shepherd’ – their lack of leadership would result in division and ruin – for his people.

As he continued Michaiah described a second vision – in which the Lord asked who would entice Ahab to go into battle – Eventually a spirit came forward – and said he would entice Ahab by being ‘a lying spirit’ in the mouths of Ahab’s prophets –

This second vision was to show the king that God has power over– both truth and lies – and that even though God had given him up – He was still offering him an opportunity to use his freewill and repent

But the king was not listening – He didn’t want to hear about the unpleasant side of his life – and he put Michaiah in jail until his return – little – realizing that in fact he never would –

Selective hearing is something – we are all guilty of – Ahab didn’t want to hear the truth – he only wanted to hear things – that agreed with his point of view –

The outcome would prove Michaiah to be the true prophet – and bearer of God’s truth – and in fact this meeting with Michaiah would be Ahab’s last opportunity to repent and change his ways –

God has fully revealed the truth to us – that we are created and loved by Him – and that despite our past we all have a future with Him – Jesus has already died on the cross for our sins – and if we are willing to repent – and accept His word – we will be set free to live in His light – and experience His blessings –

God has given us freewill to choose – to listen to and to follow His word – and like Ahab – its up to us – if we accept to do it or not –

and as Paul reminds us – in the NT lesson – just as Jesus put His faith and trust in us – so we are to put our faith and trust in others


Point 2             Paul’s letter to Romans

We often find God in places we least expect Him – like Mother Teresa – among the poor in Calcutta – or parents coping with a handicapped child – finding reserves and resources of love – they never knew they had-

The Christians in Rome – were having difficulty getting on with each other – the strong in the faith were having difficulty relating to those who were weak –

Being an apostle to the gentiles – is especially eager for them to fulfill their calling – and
urges them to maintain their hope and perseverance in Christ –

He reminds us of the importance of the early scriptures and the prophets – and holds up Jesus Christ as the true example for us all –

Jesus’ coming has set up a new order – which has overcome and dissolved divisions – broken down barriers – and embraces everyone –

Jesus brings the real life giving power – the Holy Spirit – to help those who follow Him – to live a new life in God –

Paul pictures us as a vessel – (like a drinking glass) in to which God pours out joy and peace – in abundance – such that we are all overflowing with hope –

We are all one with Christ – despite our differences – and we should show this unity in our fellowship and worship –

Paul urges us all to overcome our pride and stubbornness – and recognize our own shortcomings – trust in God’s way of doing things – as Paul puts it “follow the manner of Jesus Christ” – “accept one another as Jesus accepted us, to the Glory of God”


So when confronted with falsehood or difficult questions or situations – we need to remember that its God through Jesus Christ that we should turn – and to no other –

Whenever and where ever the gospel message is preached and spread – there will be mixed messages – and some of them will be false –

we need to be careful and prayerful – use our bibles – and seek the help and support of the Holy Spirit before deciding or acting –

Only those who actively make the decision to believe in and prepare for God’s Kingdom – will ever be part of it.

So – If we want to be prepared for Jesus this Christmas – like the prophets – We have to take notice of what God is telling us – take action to change and make a new beginning

we must be willing to take Jesus into our lives to receive the full power of the Spirit – only through Jesus – will we be kept on the right path – and there can be no greater truth than that –

Closing prayer