Preaching to the saints of the Lutheran Church at Christ-Elkhart and Faith-Hugoton in Kansas since February 8, 2015. All sermons prior to that date were preached either at Trinity Lutheran Church-Layton or First Lutheran Church-Tooele, Utah.
Dearly beloved of God, our Father,
Your redemption is near.
If you would like to hear the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah for Populus Zion, the Second Sunday in Advent, click on the MP3 link provided above.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Rev. Kurt Hering, Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church
Here is the preaching manuscript:
TEXT: [Jesus said:] "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Luke 21:25-28
Dearly beloved of God, our Father,
Your redemption is near.
The redemption of your soul took place on Calvary.
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won [delivered] me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, in order that I may be [wholly] His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true. [Small Catechism. Explanation of the Second Article of the Creed]
This redemption was applied to you and made yours as it was poured over you in Holy Baptism
What does Baptism give or profit?--It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. [Small Catechism Explanation of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism]
And even as you continue to hear the Word that is attached to Holy Baptism and, as our Lord says must and will accompany it to keep you with Him always even to the end of the age.
" . . . baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
This baptizing and baptism "signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever." [Small Catechism Explanation of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism]
But there remains the redemption of your body, indeed the redemption of the whole physical world.
". . . the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." Romans 8:21-23
It is this redemption of which our Lord Jesus speaks in today's Gospel text.
From God's perspective, redemption is the buy back. From the sinner's perspective, redemption is the cash in. What the Son of God is telling us is that we all are going to have to cash it in someday. For the sinner this is a scary thing. And we are all still sinners.
"And on that day," declares the Lord GOD,"I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day. "Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD." Amos 8:8-11
This is what our Lord means by the signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth. There will certainly be the wars and rumors of wars, and famines and earthquakes and such in increasing numbers and intensity in the last days. But the real threat to the believer, to the baptized saints of God is not in these physical things, but in their fear of these things, and their love of this world that will lead to
• a darkening of the sun -- the Word of Christ that is the light of the world
• the moon will no longer shine - the church will not reflect Christ
• the stars will fall from the skies - Christians, especially pastors will lose their faith and cease to speak of Christ
34"But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
This, dear baptized of God, is precisely why we have Advent--because the sinner in us always gravitates to the earthly, to the tangible, to the things we can see, taste, touch, and feel. Especially at times like Christmas, we become "weighed down" by our
• "dissipation," -- amusement, entertainment
• "drunkenness," -- surrendering control
• "cares of this life" - worry and preoccupation with needs as if God will not provide
These are the things that will actually darken the Word of God that is our Sun of righteousness; obscure the shining of our moon, the church; and cause the stars to fall from their heavenly home.
"But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." Luke 21:34-36
In other words, remember, through Baptism you have been made a saint, you have been adopted as sons. And the adopted son and saint can actually look forward to that day.
"For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings." Malachi 4:1-2
And he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Luke 21:29-33
These are the words of Holy Baptism, the words of our Lord that keep us in that "daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever."
Dearly beloved of God, where do you want to be when your redemption draws near? Caught up in the things and the cares of this world—of the heaven and earth that will pass away? Or sheltered in the safety of Christ and His church through His words that will not pass away?
Enjoy the things of this creation and know that God will provide your every need. Have a very merry Christmas. But remember that which lasts and makes you endure forever.
Your redemption is near—as near as the word of God, as near as Holy Baptism, as near as the Lord's Supper—hear it, live in it, and receive it often. For in these things you have forgiveness of sins, and with His words, you will not pass way but have eternal life--in the name of the Father, and of the Son, +and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Insofar as this sermon is a true proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, it belongs to Him and His Church. Therefore its use is free to all who deem it worthy and beneficial.
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