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We live in hope

Matthew 25:1-13

Pastor David Ernst

Christ the King Sunday
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Nov 25, 2018 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Many times the films do not end in "The End", but in "To be continued" or "He will return". The story of the life of Jesus Christ ends like this and today we remember this part of His story. This night we conclude the annual cycle of remembering the life of Jesus, beginning with the preparation for Christmas, four Sundays before December 25 and following to Holy Week, and in the last three Sundays of the ecclesiastical year, reflecting on the second coming of Christ. Now we anticipate the return of Christ in glory, while recognizing that He reigns as King of kings at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

The end of the world is a popular subject in books and movies. We know that as human beings, we do not have unlimited time in this world, but only a short stay. But what is the destiny of the world? The Scriptures say, this world had its beginning and will have its end. But, as the creation of the world was not by chance, by clash of molecules and development without design, the destiny of the world is under the will of God as well.

In the Introit, we hear the words of Jesus in the book of Revelation, "I am the alpha and the omega, beginning and end." Because He was present in creation, as St. John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. This same Word was made flesh in Christ Jesus. He will be with us until the end of the world and afterwards.

This world created by Christ and for Christ will not end in a collision with a meteor or plague or extinction of species, but in the final judgment by Jesus Christ, the judgment of the living and the dead, and a new heaven and new earth.

For those who believe in Christ, the end of the world is not a threat. For non-believers, speculation about the end of the world is based on fear, not on the hope of eternal life. What is the purpose of our earthly life? To be born, hopefully, marry and beget children and die? This is the fear of many people. They do not have the hope of eternal life, so, they seek immortality in their children, or in establishing a kingdom of heaven on earth.

However, everything in this world changes. Nothing remains forever, neither the mountains nor the stars. But, the Word of God does not change, nor will it pass away. In this is our hope among the trials and challenges of this world. We have the promise of eternal life, so, we do not worry about the end of the world, nor do we think only of the present moment. We always anticipate the second coming of the Lord who has a purpose for the whole world and we seek to fulfill the purpose He has for each one of us in this world.

This is important for you Venezuelans in exile to understand. You are in a new country and it seems that everything in your life has changed. But, the Word of God has not changed. Everything is under the control of God and for those who believe in Him, He is always with us and we have the promise of eternity with Him, a longer eternity than these problems, and in this knowledge we can overcome them.

This is the difference between us and the unbelievers, the hope of eternal life with Christ. But, let's look at our text for today, the parable of the 10 virgins. According to the custom of that time, the wedding took place in the house of the bride. Before the wedding, the bridegroom and his friends stayed at his house until, all of a sudden, they came out and all the guests gathered in a parade to the bride's house. In our text, the maidens of the bride had the task of preparing a lamp to illuminate the path of the parade. Its type of lamp does not have capacity to burn all night, without vessels with more oil.

"And five of them were prudent, and five foolish: the foolish took their lamps, and did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels, and their lamps.  And the bridegroom tarried, and all of them slept and fell asleep. At midnight a cry was heard: Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go forth to meet him: then all those virgins arose, and prepared their lamps: and the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil: for our lamps are extinguished But the prudent answered, saying, No, lest there be not enough for us and you, go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves, and while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came; they came with him to the wedding, and the door was shut, and then the other virgins also came, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us! But he answered and said, Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you. "

This parable is a warning to the faithful. All the virgins had the invitation and the expectation to enter the wedding, that is, eternal life. But, the foolish ones were not ready for the coming of the groom. They received the promise, but they did not take it seriously, they did not trust it. Well, Christ has done everything for us, so we are going to live in whatever way we want until He comes. Their lamps did not shine, nor illuminate the path of anyone.

We do not have salvation by our works, but good works are the fruits of living faith. And living faith does not live by our strength, but by the work of the Holy Spirit. How do we receive the Holy Spirit to keep our lamps until the coming of the bride? By the Word and the sacraments.

In baptism, God called us each by name, and the Spirit created faith in our hearts. Baptism is the seal of our adoption as children of God. To stay in the faith, we must read and listen to the written Word of God, the Scriptures. In public worship, we listen to this Word, confess our sins and receive absolution, also the body and blood of Christ. These are the gifts of God for the nourishment of our faith.

We must look for a church where the Word is preached in its purity and the sacraments administered according to the command of our Lord. If we do not find in our place, we should pray and read the Bible in our homes, until God presented us with the opportunity to confess our faith publicly with others of the same confession.

Everything is under the control of God and our God is almighty. His promises never change and his Word will never pass. This is our hope and the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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