Compline Service for Advent – Sermon 207

9th January 2016 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Advent – 8pm Compline

All Saints Thelwall

30th November 2011

Bible References :

  • Add Text Link Here
  • Add Text Link Here
  • Add Text Link Here

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






Well – Its started – and I don’t mean Christmas –


Advent – the beginning of the New Church Year –


Have we made any New Church-Year Resolutions yet? –  well maybe we should?


Maybe we should be thinking about  – what we should be doing to help – our – Spiritual growth in the coming  year –


Lets see if our reading can help


Point 1        Be Awake to Jesus with us


The reading I’ve chosen is from St John’s Gospel – the one identified for evening prayer in the Lectionary for today – the Feast day of St. Andrew


The name Andrew comes from the greek word for ‘Manly’


St Andrew is of course the patron Saint of Scotland  – and he was the first Apostles of the 12 that Jesus called –


Although first to get involved – he was quickly overshadowed by his brother – Simon Peter who he brought to see Jesus –


Andrew went through life leading people to Jesus – both before and after the crucifixion –


He was martyred on a saltire -an X shaped Cross – and is said to have preached for two whole days from it –


The thing about Andrew was that he was open – and aware of what was going on around him –


He listened to John the Baptist when he identified Jesus from the crowds


and he responded to John’s words – by following Jesus to find out what he meant


Andrew was ‘Awake’ to what was going on –


John the Baptist himself was like a loud clanging alarm clock calling everybody to be aware of their sins – and for the need for repentance –


And his shouting and warnings – were exactly what the people of the time needed –


When the people of Israel –  came out of Egypt – they were brought through the Red Sea – which separated before them – and then through the Sinai wilderness – which took a whole generation to cross – before finally crossing the Jordan River – and reaching the promised land –


But – now they were slaves again – this time to sin – and they needed a new Exodus – to bring them to freedom –


Baptism  with water in the river Jordan – would be the sign of their new exodus – and of their repentance for the forgiveness of sins –



To many Jews  – John the Baptist was – as great a prophet as Moses and Elijah – but John knew that his true mission – was to exalt and point to Jesus – as the true word of God –


John called Jesus the ‘Lamb of God’


Identifying Him as the sacrificial lamb – used in OT times  – as an offering for the forgiveness of sins –


John the Baptist was God’s instrument – for waking up the people to what – and who was amongst them –


He certainly stirred Andrew in to action –


So for our First New Years resolution  – perhaps we should follow John’s advice  – and ‘Wake up’ to what and who  is amongst us – Jesus Christ


to be alert to God’s presence – with us  – and make sure that we and those around us – are aware of Jesus  – and who He is –


Point 2        Come & see & meet Jesus


While taking a school assembly and after lighting the first Advent Candle – the local vicar asked the children – what we call the season that comes before Christmas – one young boy – in the front row – put his hand up – and shouted – firmly –  ‘winter’


Well –  we all know the seasons –  and the reason for this season is Jesus –


Advent means ‘ to come to’ – how God comes to us – in Jesus Christ- as a child and as a man – and how we need to come to Him


When Andrew and the other disciple left John – to follow Jesus – Jesus was aware of their intentions


‘What are you looking for?’ – said Jesus


‘Where are you staying,’ came the reply


‘Come and see’ says Jesus


We all have busy lives and there are many important things we do each day –



whether its for ourselves – our families – our friends – our  work –  our community  – its all very important to us – and those around us –


But there’s something that is more important than any of these –


and that’s getting to know Jesus


Getting to know Jesus is the most important thing we can do


John the Baptist knew that when He saw Jesus –

walking towards him  –


Andrew realised Jesus was someone he should meet  – and he went to follow Him –


God never hides from His people –  often – its we who hide from Him –  He always sends us signs and signals  –  to prepare us for what He is about to do


Advent is not only about How Jesus came to us 2000 years ago but also how He comes to us today


We are entering one of the busiest times of the year – presents to be bought – friends and relatives to see – church services to attend –


But its also the time – when we need to get to know Jesus – a time when the Gospel message needs to be preached the loudest and the widest –


We all know  – that Christmas is coming  – and we all – need to be reminded of the fantastic importance of it all!


In the four weeks to Christmas  – we need to – sharpen our appetites – and not just for the Christmas turkey – but for the challenge – God presents to us – each year  – in Advent – in understanding the reasons for Jesus’ coming and in getting the Gospel message across to those we know-


So for our second New Years resolution – we should follow Jesus’ advice –


‘ to come and see’  – ‘to look and to follow’


‘to find out who Jesus really is’  – so we can  understand the reasons for His coming to us –


Andrew was told by John about Jesus –  and after His first meeting – with Jesus – His life was changed forever –


Point 3


When Andrew met Jesus and understood who He was – the first thing he did was to find his brother –  Simon – and tell him all about Jesus –


He then brought Simon to meet Jesus


What a fantastic thing to do –  and what a hard thing to do


Andrew must have been overflowing with joy –

and very persuasive


Yes there was an expectation about the Messiah’s coming –  but there had been so many false alarms – and to convince his brother – to stop what he was doing and come and meet a perfect stranger – whom Andrew believed was the Messiah –  must have taken a great effort –


But each day –  and each year – and especially in Advent –  we are called to do exactly what Andrew  did –


to go to our families and our friends – and persuade them – to come and meet the one that Christmas is all about –


Christmas is something everybody knows is coming- its also a time when we should be bringing people to meet Him –


Its is a wonderful and exciting time –


The decorations  – the party atmosphere  – the rich food – the holidays off work  – being with our family and friends? – over-indulging in a little wine or spirits?


If you ask many families what they think makes their Christmas enjoyable and exciting – they will probably answer  – the children – seeing their faces light up as they open their presents  – giving and sharing time with them –


Having children in our homes can help make things special – but having one child in particular  – can change our lives


In Jesus God shows us too – that He is prepared to experience every aspect of our lives  –


He was sent into the world as a baby – the most vulnerable time of our lives – and God chose a 14 year old girl  – from a poor family – and from one of the most oppressed peoples of the world – to bring Him up – its certainly not the start we would have chosen – for the King of kings –


Jesus will rule over Israel forever – but not like any king before Him – He will be a true example of God’s grace  –


He came to live – and experience  – our disappointments and failures – to help us to see God at work even in our most difficult times –


He came to express God’s love in the most needed places  – to heal the sick – give sight to the blind – enable the lame to walk – put His life on the line – in order to show us that He understands and cares for our individual needs –


In an act of pure love  – God sent His only Son – to die for us on the cross – so that our sins can be forgiven – and our relationship with God can be made new again –


The scars of our past sins can run deep within us – and we can’t remove them by ourselves –


Jesus came to take away those scars  – so that we can start again –


When we accept Jesus as our Saviour – because of His death –  we are brought closer to God  –  and our sins no longer separate us from Him –


A little boy was with his Father – at church looking curiously at the Nativity scene –  “Dad – look at the manger – is Father Christmas there? – “No” said his Father – it’s the Kings giving presents to Jesus – remember we told you – that Christmas is really about – a celebration of Jesus’ birth –


The boy thought for a moment – and then asked another question


Dad – “What are we giving Jesus for His birthday this year?”


Advent and Christmas are times we think about  giving and receiving


The greatest gift any one can receive is Jesus Christ –


The most important gift we can give Him – is ourselves  –


How many of us have watched in amazement as children open their presents – at Christmas  – take a quick look at what’s inside – and then start to play with the paper or the box –


Do we ever stop to wonder then – what God must think of us  – when we – spend so much time playing with our Christmas wrappings – our parties – our drinking – our present buying – only to ignore the real gift  – the real reason  – behind it all –


So for our third New Years Resolution –  lets decide to give Jesus to someone we love –


like Andrew – lets tell them all about Him – and encourage them to come and meet Him – and make Christmas this year – even more special for us and for them


God is open to all who are prepared to give themselves in love to Him –


We are all partners in the Gospel –  we must  all play our part in bringing Jesus  to others –


God is a ‘finisher’ as well as a ‘beginner’


and those who begin to live by Him and make progress in faith and love – will advance and because of His grace – are assured of the full harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ –


Conclusions                   for us this Advent


Advent – the beginning of the Church year –  like the beginning of the calendar year – calls on us all – to make a new start –


To make a new commitment to God – to repent – and to change our hearts


During Advent we have a responsibility –  like John the Baptist –  to point to the one who has been sent by God – to save the world –  Jesus Christ


through our actions – through our words – through ourselves – and through our prayers –


its something that we can all take part in –

and in which we all have an important part to play


Pointing is often considered rude – but during advent pointing to Jesus is exactly what we should be doing –


The Apostle Andrew went looking for Jesus – and found that Jesus was looking for Him –


Advent is our voyage of discovery and we need to set ourselves targets  to discover more about Jesus  – as we move closer to Christmas –


So today – lets act on our three new years resolutions –


to wake up – and say yes to Jesus –

to come and see what He is really about –

and to play our part in bringing others to Him –


making sure that this year – we and those we know and love – get to know what it means to receive the  greatest gift of all  –


Closing prayer


In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. AMEN