ADVENT 2023: Make some noise!

series preview


Scott Bullock

TPW’s 2023 Advent sermon series, “Make Some Noise!” draws from the joyfully noisy preparation for the promised Messiah recorded in the scripture. In a digitally connected culture in which many of us can tune out the world on our Beats while riding our e-bikes aimlessly down the road, a little bit of focused noisy preparation for Christ’s coming today, yesterday, and tomorrow seems quite appropriate. We get distracted from what is important and we need a shout out to look, listen, and learn. Like the loud and energetic introductory build up to a professional sports team’s arrival, we should take this period to become aware of the One who is on his way.

So, this Advent, let’s “Make Some Noise!” for the coming King.

All Weeks Include: AIM commentary, call to worship, prayer of confession, assurance of pardon, benediction, key quote, key illustration, more quotes, more illustrations, and discussion questions.

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summary of each week

December 3: 1st Sunday of Advent | Mark 13:24-37

Advent is not just about the arrival of the baby Jesus born in Bethlehem. It also encompasses his daily arrival within our hearts and homes through spirit and sacrament, and his triumphant return.

Our passage from Mark indicates that this return isn’t something we can schedule on our calendars. Jesus won’t send us a Calendly with convenient times for us, so what do we do?

Verses 32-37 are a call to action, “Be on guard, stay awake!” But staying awake is not easy. Many have given up. Staying on guard and awake isn’t as simple as turning up the radio, mainlining some caffeine, and rolling down the window. We need to point people to the vision of the coming victory that is promised us, when God makes his home among mortals.

December 10: 2nd Sunday of Advent | Mark 1:1-8

What do Don King and John the Baptist have in common? They are both crazy-hair-wardrobe-out-there-larger-than-life personas who exist to make some noise for the main event. Unlike modern day promoters, though, John was not in it for himself. As he says, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”

Our text from Mark 1 tells us that God’s messenger prepares the way of the Lord and makes straight his paths. He promotes the Lord’s coming and that promotion becomes something of a spiritual spectacle. A wardrobe made from camel’s hair and a diet of locusts and honey in the wilderness is the perfect promotional tactic: dress, eat, and live like an old school prophet and drum up some attention for God’s coming.

John isn’t the main event. Jesus is. A promoter and a prophet know that at the end of the day if people fawn over them and not the coming of the one they promote, they’ve failed. John the Baptist makes a lot of noise, but he does so to point the people to Jesus.

December 3: 3rd Sunday of Advent | Psalm 126

Like modern music festivals (think Coachella and Stagecoach) that draw hundreds of thousands every year, ancient Israel had its share of festivals, with its own crowds of noisy pilgrims bustling in to Jerusalem.

Psalm 126 is a part of the “Songs of Ascent” (Psalms 120-134), the marching music of a people on pilgrimage. These anthems were sung as the people travelled towards Zion for one of the three major festivals at the temple. This song, in particular, is a song of joy in God’s work of restoration of Zion proper and his renewal of the people who sing the song anew, making a “joyful” noise in anticipation of entering God’s presence.

But it also speaks of tears and weeping. James Luther Mays says that this Psalm, “speaks of the great change that occurs in the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it teaches that only those who move toward Christmas and Easter with the ‘tears’ of repentance and need may enter the joy of ‘the great thing God does for us.’”

It is God’s transformative presence with and for them that turns that weeping into joy as it does for us, the people of Advent. 

December 24: 4th Sunday of Advent | Luke 1:26-38

“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” These are the shocking words of the angel Gabriel to Mary. Out-of-the-blue, unexpected and unsolicited, God, in his mercy, announces this mind-blowing news to Mary.

Of course, this message from God is unique. Mary will carry the son of God. This “noisy” announcement troubles Mary. She is an unwed, engaged maiden and now she will have to explain this miracle to her soon-to-be husband, but the angel assuages her fear and she embraces this mysterious blessing of God.

During this Advent Season, could it be that God has sent us some cues to his coming presence? Certainly not in the way that Mary experienced it, but God has favored us with the presence of his Spirit to lead and to guide, to quicken and to remind us of his coming redemption, sanctification, and glory.

So with this joyfully noisy announcement of God’s advent, let us relish God’s favor upon us and with Mary declare, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”

Now, let us, “Make Some Noise” in preparation for the coming of our King!

Scott Bullock

Scott Bullock is a Board Member and Contributor with The Pastors Workshop. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister who has served churches in Illinois, New Jersey, and California. He holds an MA in New Testament Studies from Wheaton College, an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a ThM in New Testament from Princeton Theological Seminary. Scott is married with three teen-aged children.


What is AIM Commentary?

AIM stands for Ancient context, the text through the lens of Jesus (ησοῦς), and our Modern application. 

Understanding the Ancient or original context of the passage is necessary to inform and guide our interpretation. We also believe along with the Reformers that the interpretation of the Ancient context of the Hebrew scripture for the church necessarily flows through its Lord, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we affirm that the role of the preacher to bring the congregation from the Ancient context through Christ and to the Modern context, making the message real in our hearts and lives.