Good Monday Morning To You!
On behalf of the entire Cooper family, let me wish you a Merry Christmas. As I was preparing to write this blog, I was thinking about memorable Christmases I have enjoyed. Every Christmas from my childhood was great. Mom and Dad always saw to it that we had a good Christmas. My Dad really enjoyed Christmas. Since his passing, Christmas just hasn’t been the same. Two stand out in my mind. The first happened about 1962. I decided one night we were going to catch Santa Clause in the act. We lived in Elmwood Place (Cincinnati) at that time. I was eight years old. My bedroom was right off the living room, so I decided to turn off the lights and peek through the cracked door. I had mom and dad hide in my room with me. I was not wanting to confront Santa, I just wanted to see him. We quietly hung out in my room for nearly two hours, mom and dad patiently going along with me. After a while mom said that Santa knew better. She said we would have to go to bed and go to sleep in order for him to come. I do not remember too much more about that Christmas, but as I think back, I fondly remember loving parents who were willing to indulge a little boys fantasy.
Another memorable Christmas occurred while we were living here in Florida. We had a cut tree which was decorated and looking as fine as any tree ever could. Every year someone is appointed to distribute the gifts, and that year it was my daughter Michele. She was sitting on the floor beside the tree handing out the gifts and we were beginning to open them. Suddenly the tree leaned over, stood suspended like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, then fell right into Michele’s lap. I have never seen such a bewildered look on anybody’s face like hers was that night. We all fell out in the floor laughing while all poor Michele could do was sit there with a lap full of Christmas tree. Anyone who knows me, knows my sense of humor, but I promise you I had nothing to do with that tree falling. Even I couldn’t have planned it any better.
If you are in the area, we are having our Christmas Eve service tonight at 6:00 pm. I sure hope you can come.
Yesterday at Friendship Harmony, I finished the four part series called “The Advent Contrast.” We looked at Christ’s first coming where we learned that He came for the lost, while at the rapture he will come for the found; ie the saved, the redeemed, the delivered. The notes are below. Please feel free to use them for your own personal Bible study.
The Advent Contrast ©
Advent Series 4 of 4 By Victor Cooper
Intro: Occasionally you will hear the word “advent” used as a synonym of the birth of Christ. This is known as Christ’s first advent. Likewise, His second coming is sometime called the second advent. During each, Christ’s coming is for a specific group. Christ’s first advent was for the least, the last, the lowest, and the lost. By contrast, at His second advent He is coming for the greatest, the first, the highest, and the found,
I. At His first coming Christ came for the lost sheep of the House of Israel. In Matthew 10:6 and n15:24, Jesus said He had come for the lost sheep of the House of Israel.
A. Remember, He is their prophesied Messiah.
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
1. “Spirit of the Lord“… Holy Spirit
2. …”the Lord”… God the Father
3. …”anointed”… Messiah Jesus
a. The Hebrew word for Messiah means the anointed one.
b. The Greek word for Messiah is Christ and means anointed.
B. At His second coming, the entire passage in Isaiah will be fulfilled.
Bible Knowledge Commentary When Jesus read from this passage He stopped in the middle of the sentence, after the word “favor” (Luke 4:18-19). By doing this He was showing that His work would be divided into two advents. In His First Advent He did the things mentioned in Isaiah 61:1-2a; in His Second Advent He will do the things in verses 2b-3. When He returns He will bring judgment on unbelievers (Micah 5:15; Rev. 19:15-20); this will be the day of God’s “vengeance” (cf. Isa. 34:8; 35:4; 63:4). But the Messiah will also “comfort” Israel, for she will have undergone great persecution, the Great Tribulation, in the preceding years (cf. Dan. 7:21, 24-25; Rev. 12:13-17).
II. At His first coming Jesus came for the lost. Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Lost --- fully destroyed
A. Sinners are the lost, as well as the least, the last, and the lowest..
B. All were born sinners. David said in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
C. Sinners sin! Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
D. Jesus came to save sinners. 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
II. At the second advent, the rapture, Christ is coming not for the lost, but for the found; the redeemed, the delivered, the forgiven, the saved!
A. The rapture is exclusive --- the saved only. 1 Thes. 4:16-18 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1. Key phrase --- in Christ
B. Jesus also taught exclusivity. Matthew 24:36-44 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
C. The timing of the first coming was given, the second was not.
1. This lays to rest the words of some who say they would be ready if they knew when He was coming. v.36
a. They weren’t ready at His first coming when it was announced, what makes them think they will be ready when His next coming is sudden and unannounced.
2. Right before His second advent, it will be life as usual. vv. 37-29
3. At the rapture He is not coming for all.vv 40,41
4. Not knowing the time means you need to be ready now. v42, “watch: ie be prepared
Conclusion: If you are lost, take comfort: Christmas is for you. Christ came for you. If you die lost, or are lost when He comes for His believers, you will remain lost throughout all eternity in that lake of fire. The first Christmas gift was given to you by God Himself. Will you accept His gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ?
The Video Ministry is progressing fine. Last week we were able to get a good recording, and I believe we did yesterday as well. Soon we will be uploading them into the computer, and then onto the internet. As we progress toward completion, we will keep you informed. Again have a Merry Christmas and I’ll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic.