Living With Anticipation Lesson #4 Luke 2:25-38 December 27, 2020

Lesson Resources:

Download Lesson here

 

Subject:  Anticipation

Central Theme: Living with Anticipation

Objective Sentence:  We should live with anticipation of Christ’s coming by imitating 5 aspects of the lives of Simeon and Anna.

Keyword:  Aspects

Aspect #1- Their Walk. (V.25, 36-37)

Aspect #2- Their Waiting. (V.25-26)

Aspect #3- Their Wisdom. (V.26-27)
Aspect #4- Their Worship. (V.28-32, 38)
Aspect #5- Their Witness. (V.33-35, 38)

 

INTRODUCTION:

CONNECTION:

  • It’s the last Sunday of the year, and no year has probably ever been hoped for to end than 2020.
  • So many people anticipate 2021 and long for it.
  • Mostly people just want 2020 to be over.
  • At the church I was at last year we set a theme for the year called “Come Grow with Us”.
  • By March of this year my thought was this. I longed that our church could just “Be together with us”.
  • We went from having all kinds of plans to having those plans be changed in major ways.

TENSION:

  • We all long for and anticipate something.
  • As believers in Christ we should live in anticipation of Christ’s return.
  • This was true of people in His first coming.
  • In the Old Testament you find God revealing Himself to mankind specifically through this nation of Israel.
    • God wasn’t always revealing himself to everyone, but He was consistently revealing Himself and His will to this nation.
    • God had spoken abundantly and consistently for some time.
  • When you come to the close of the Old Testament there is a pause in God’s revelation.
  • Some call this the intertestamental period, while you may have heard it commonly called “the 400 silent years”.
  • There had been no new revelation from God for 400 years.
  • The people of Israel had the Word of God in the law and the prophets.  They knew about a coming messiah.  They knew about a coming kingdom.  They knew about a future resurrection.
  • What they did not know was God’s timing.  They were experiencing a season of God’s silence.
  • As we can see with the mention of Caesar Augustus in Luke 2:1-2, Israel was under foreign occupation.  Rome was in charge.  Although the temple was still operational, the Jews had to live with the oppressive hand of the gentile emperors in their affairs.  When would God take care of this problem?  Had God abandoned His people?  These are the kinds of questions that they many could have been asking.
  • I want you to listen to this song which I believe would be a good representation of how many would have felt before Jesus came, in those moments of silence
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EehRDNE3HJc – Deliver Us by Andrew Peterson
  • God had a plan, and yet for so many it seemed like this plan would never come.
  • We can feel the same way, can’t we?
  • As people who believe in Christ, we know that the Bible says that Jesus will come back.
  • Yet in this time, especially when seasons of life are difficult, we may say “God deliver us!” When are you going to do what you promise!
  • Some may even begin to scoff!

2Pe 3:3-4  Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,  (4)  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

  • We may be tempted to be discouraged or even to get in with the scoffers!
  • The good news is that God is not slack concerning His promise.
  • In Jesus first coming He did what He said He would do.
  • It was into this silence that God spoke through the angel appearances to Zecharias, Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds.  God was working, and now He was revealing.
  • In this passage we are going to be introduced to two people who substantiated the identity of Jesus as the Messiah, and confirmed the true purpose of His incarnation.
  • These people serve as great examples of what it is like to live a life that honors God in anticipation of what He is going to do.
  • We should live with anticipation by imitating five aspects of the lives of Simeon and Anna.

WE SHOULD LIVE WITH ANTICIPATION OF CHRIST’S COMING BY IMITATING 5 ASPECTS OF THE LIVES OF SIMEON AND ANNA.

ASPECT #1- THEIR WALK. V.25-26, 36-37

  • We should imitate their walk.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  (26)  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  Luke 2:25-26

 

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;  (37)  And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.  Luke 2:36-37

 

Explanation:

  • In verse 25, A man named Simeon is described a s a man of Jerusalem.  This man is found nowhere else in scripture, which means that this account of his interaction with Mary and Joseph was the major way that God would use Him.  Notice that he is described as “just and devout”.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout,

  • The word for just describes his standing before God.  He was justified by God.  Here in this scripture, Luke, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is declaring this man righteous before God.
  • The word devout describes his reputation among men.  He was someone who took his worship and his service to God very seriously.
  • His reputation was as one that had served the Lord for a lifetime, and that had a close walk with the Lord.
  • We know that He was a man that knew the old testament by what we will see as we continue in this passage.  He was obedient to the revelation that he had.
  • The same was true with Anna.  This woman was quite old.  It is said of her that for years she had “departed not from the temple” and “served God with fastings and prayers night and day”.
  • Like Simeon, this is the only place where she is mentioned in scripture.
  • Her life and walk with the Lord were going to be used to validate her testimony as she testified to the person of Christ in this moment.
  • In a very real way, their walk with the Lord was their ministry.
  • They showed that they anticipated what God was going to do by living for Him daily through the course of their whole lives.

Application:

  • They were responding to the revelation they had in obedience as they were looking for the coming Messiah the first time.
  • We have Christ in our history and look forward to his soon return.
  • As we do, this ought to lead us to being just and devout.  Saved and sanctified.
  • God calls us not to just talk the talk, but to walk the walk.  Paul said it this way in his epistles:

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,  (2)  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;  (3)  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:1-3

 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  (2)  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:1-2

 

Response:

  • How’s your walk?  Can people tell by the way that you live that you are looking forward to meeting God?  Do you live like someone who is going to give an account to God?

WE SHOULD LIVE WITH ANTICIPATION OF CHRIST’S COMING BY IMITATING 5 ASPECTS OF THE LIVES OF SIMEON AND ANNA.

ASPECT #1- THEIR WALK.

ASPECT #2- THEIR WAITING. V. 25-26, 37

  • We should imitate their waiting.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  (26)  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Luke 2:25-26

 

And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.   Luke 2:37

Explanation:

  • Notice what the scripture said about Simeon.
  • He was “waiting for the consolation of Israel.”
  • There was a sense of expectation.
  • He wasn’t just hoping for it, like he was unsure that it would happen.  He was looking for it because he believed that it would happen.
  • What was the consolation of Israel?
    • The word for consolation here is the word also used for comfort.  God had promised to bring comfort to His people.

Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.  Isaiah 49:13

  • According to verse 26, God had told him that he would not die until he saw the Messiah.
  • So, Simeon, a kind of representation of the faithful remnant people in Israel, believed and waited for what God had promised.
  • For Simeon, this was not just a general hope that Israel would be comforted and restored, but a hope for the messiah.
  • God had revealed to him that he would see this long-awaited Savior.
  • This was also true of Anna.
  • She had been married for 7 years, and then after her husband died, remained a widow for eighty four years.
  • What had she done with her life?
    • She had basically stayed in the temple, serving God through fasting and praying.
    • She had obviously been waiting during that whole time.
    • The text tells us that she knew many who “looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” (v.38).

Application: 

  • The idea here is that there was an expectation.
  • They were looking forward to what God had promised because they believed that God would keep His promises.
  • Do you look forward to heaven?  Are you hoping for Christ?
  • Does it enter into your daily life?

 

Response:

  • What is a way you can “wait” for the Lord this week?

 

WE SHOULD LIVE WITH ANTICIPATION OF CHRIST’S COMING BY IMITATING 5 ASPECTS OF THE LIVES OF SIMEON AND ANNA.

ASPECT #1- THEIR WALK.

ASPECT #2- THEIR WAITING. V. 25-26, 37

ASPECT #3- THEIR WISDOM- V.26-27

 

And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  (27)  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,

Luke 2:26-27

 

Explanation:

  • Notice the wisdom that was accessible to Simeon at this moment.
    • “And it was revealed to him by the Holy Ghost” describes the kind of relationship that this man had with the Lord.
    • In his faithfulness to God, and in God’s graciousness to Him, God revealed that He would be able to see the Messiah.
    • What He had been waiting for, God was allowing Him to be able to see.
    • He knew about this coming Messiah because of what had been written in the scripture by the Holy Spirit.
    • Specifically, in Isaiah, the Servant, who we know is Messiah, is described.
    • Simeon would have been highly aware of this scripture.
    • Remember, He was waiting for the consolation of Israel.
    • In being a person of the Word of God, the Spirit of God was revealing Himself to Simeon.
  • We even see this impacting his moment by moment decision in this narrative.
    • It says in verse 27, “And he came by the Spirit into the temple”.
    • God was directing Him in that moment to be there when Joseph and Mary were bringing the child, Jesus, into the temple.
    • Joseph and Mary were being directed by the Lord through the Word of God by following the law in raising Jesus, and He was being directed by the Lord through the Spirit of God.
  • Charles Spurgeon said about this verse,

“Men who have the Spirit will be led by the Spirit. Simeon came into the temple at the right moment. Just when a young man was entering, with his wife and new-born child, “He came by the Spirit into the temple.” He came in, I say, at the right time. Did ever anybody, who was not led by the Spirit, find Christ? Somebody has come in here tonight, and he does not know why he has come; but he has been led here by the Spirit that he may see Jesus, and may have such a sight of him as shall be his salvation. God grant that it may be proved that many an aged Simeon has traveled here this Sabbath night, led by the Spirit for this purpose, to find the Saviour in his own house!

 

Application:

  • The only way to consistently live with anticipation of Christ’s return is to be led by the Spirit.
  • We must be inundated with God’s Word in our lives.
  • The only way to have true wisdom is to think the way God thinks.
  • The scripture is the written expression of the Wisdom of the Spirit of God.  To be “filled with the Spirit” is to let the “word of Christ dwell in you richly with all wisdom”.

Eph 5:18-20  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  (19)  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;  (20)  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

  • When you study these passages, you will see that to be “filled with the Spirit” and to “let the word of Christ dwell with you richly in all wisdom” produce the same results.
  • To live a life that is controlled by the Spirit is to know what the will of the Spirit is, and He has written it in His Word.

Response:

  • Are you being led by the Spirit?  Are you living a life of wisdom?  What’s your relationship with the Word of God daily?

 

WE SHOULD LIVE WITH ANTICIPATION OF CHRIST’S COMING BY IMITATING 5 ASPECTS OF THE LIVES OF SIMEON AND ANNA.

ASPECT #1- THEIR WALK.

ASPECT #2- THEIR WAITING. V. 25-26, 37

ASPECT #3- THEIR WISDOM- V.26-27

ASPECT #4- THEIR WORSHIP- 28-32, 38

Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,  (29)  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  (30)  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  (31)  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  (32)  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.  Luke 2:28-32

 

And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Luke 2:38

 

Explanation:

Notice what it says about Simeon’s response to seeing Jesus.

  • He took Jesus up in His arms, and as he held him, he “blessed God”.
    • What an incredible thing to be said about you!  I want to be a blessing to God.  I know there have been times where I have been a burden to Him.
  • He asks God to be able to “depart in peace”, an expression describing the way a believer passes away.
    • It is not a “ceasing to be”.  It is a departure to another place.
    • He believed God’s Spirit that told Him he would be able to see the Messiah before he died.
    • This expression is saying that He believes this child, Jesus, to be the promised Messiah.  This is confirmed by what He says about Jesus.
  • Notice also that He calls Jesus “thy salvation”.
  • He says that Jesus was “prepared before the face of all people”.
    • The word for “people” here is a word for a kind of people.
    • The idea is that Jesus is salvation for Simeon’s people, the nation of Israel, but also for the Gentiles.
    • Verse 32 confirms this idea.

(32)  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel

  • He is saying that Jesus, the Messiah, is the prepared salvation for every nation, tribe, tongue, and ethnicity.
  • Jesus isn’t just salvation for Israel, though He certainly is that.
  • He is salvation for the whole earth!

 

  • Anna had a similar response in verse 38.

“And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord”

 

  • Luke’s inclusion of their response is instructive for us.
  • It is confirming the identity of Jesus and giving us insight into His true mission.
  • Yet, for these people, in this moment, it was an expression of praise and worship.
  • It was for them a resolution to the consolation and redemption of Israel for which they had been waiting.
  • They were anticipating God’s work and His salvation, and now they had seen it in the person of Jesus.  This led them to worship!

 

Application: 

  • Our worship should have an anticipatory flavor.
  • Paul said that when we observe the Lord’s Supper that we remember his death “until he comes”.

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

1 Corinthians 11:26

  • It is an obedient expression of worship in anticipation of Christ’s imminent return.
  • And Christ will return.

And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.  (7)  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Revalation 22:6-7

 

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.  (13)  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Revalation 22:12-13

 

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Revalation 22:20

 

Response:

  • Are you worshipping in a way that anticipates Christ’s return?

 

WE SHOULD LIVE WITH ANTICIPATION OF CHRIST’S COMING BY IMITATING 5 ASPECTS OF THE LIVES OF SIMEON AND ANNA.

ASPECT #1- THEIR WALK.

ASPECT #2- THEIR WAITING. V. 25-26, 37

ASPECT #3- THEIR WISDOM- V.26-27

ASPECT #4- THEIR WORSHIP- 28-32, 38

ASPECT #5- THEIR WITNESS- V.33-35, 38

And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.  (34)  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;  (35)  (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.  Luke 2:33-35

And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.  Luke 2:38

Explanation:

  • When Joseph and Mary heard this declaration and affirmation of who Jesus was, and why he came they marveled.
  • This was another indication of their inclusion in God’s incredible plan of redemption, not just for the Jews, but for the whole world.  They must have been in total shock.
  • He goes on to give a word specifically to Mary.
  • He says that Jesus will be both accepted and rejected in verse 34.
  • He says that Mary would be impacted when he said, “the sword will pierce thy own soul also”.
    • This alludes to Mary seeing Jesus tortured and killed.
  • As a result of Jesus ministry, says Simeon, “the thoughts of many hearts” will be revealed.
  • Anna gave testimony to the identity of Jesus as well.
    • It says in verse 38 that she “spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem”.

 

  • Both Simeon and Anna are used of God to declare who Jesus is to the world.
  • They witness in this moment about Jesus to Mary and Joseph, and those that were in the temple and beyond.
  • God uses them, through the Gospel of Luke, to witness to all who will read that Jesus wasn’t just identified as Messiah once he was an adult.
  • He was identified before His birth by Gabriel. He was identified as Messiah and Savior at his birth by the angels and the shepherds.
  • He was being identified before His ministry by the forerunner John. Now he was being identified by Spirit filled servants of God who were anticipating God’s messiah to come.

 

Application: 

  • Like Simeon and Anna, we can identify Jesus.
  • We should share Jesus with everyone we can.
  • Some will believe, and some will reject.
  • Some will marvel.  Others will walk away.
  • The only thing we can do here that we can’t do in heaven is be a witness of Christ and for Christ.
  • Christ could come back today.  Our life is a vapor.  Those who know that our time is short and believe that Jesus is coming back should witness for Him while we can.

 

Response:

  • Who do you need to talk to about Jesus today?

 

CONCLUSION:

  • I want you to know that what God promises He will do.
  • I started out the message by reading from scripture about how some will scoff about Christ’s coming in these last days.
  • Let me read you Peter’s response to those scoffers.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  (10)  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  (11)  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,  (12)  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

2Pe 3:9-12

 

  • Jesus is coming back. Is your life filled with anticipation about that moment?   How should we live lives of anticipation.
  • We should be faithful to God in our:
    • Walk
    • Waiting
    • Wisdom
    • Worship
    • Witness