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The foundation of true hope

Luke 21:25-36

Pastor David Ernst

Second Sunday of Advent
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Dec 9, 2018 

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

When the unbelieving world thinks about Christmas, it thinks of a celebration of a beautiful story that happened many centuries before. This story encourages us to enjoy our families and friends for a day, with feelings of peace and harmony in a world where there is not much peace and harmony. But, only for one day of the year. However, these thoughts of peace, harmony and joy do not have a secure base.

For those who believe, this is not just a season to remember that it happened 2,000 years ago, also to anticipate the second coming of Christ. We are going to touch on this theme again, because the second coming is the culmination of the first coming.

In this season of Advent, we focus on the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. All these promises were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Not only in His birth, but also in His suffering and death on the cross, His resurrection and His ascension to be seated at the right hand of God Almighty Father. In this way, He won for us the promise of eternal life.

Furthermore, our text says for today, one day the whole world "will see the Son of Man, coming in a cloud with power and great glory." He will come again to judge the living and the dead, as we confess in the creed. That day will be the end of the world, and this is our true hope.

The text reads: "Then there will be signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars, and in the earth, anguish of nations in confusion, the sea and the waves roar, men failing because of fear and expectation of the things that will come on earth, because the powers of the heavens will be shaken." Many people today think of the future with fear and worry. For example, many of them are concerned about climate change. Venezuela is one of five countries at risk of losing its last glacier, the Humboldt Glacier on top of Humboldt Peak. It is one of the things that will come upon earth to frighten the unbelievers.

We have a different perspective. "And when these things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near."

We live in a time of uncertainty in Venezuela, not only because of the Humboldt Glacier, but because of the scarcity of food and medicine and the violence in the streets. What is the future of Venzuela? But, there is not only uncertainty in Venezuela. In the last two weeks, Luz Maria and I visited Ecuador and Peru. The Venezuelans who left Venezuela to look for a better future in those countries still have fears and anxieties. They suffer from lack of work and hostility as foreigners.

So, many cry, where is the hope, where is the joy? But, for us, there is always hope and joy because we have a secure foundation for them. Christ will come soon and when He comes, all tears and pain will be over. Because of Christ's predetermined victory, we can face the future with true hope. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the Word of God will not pass away.

We do not care about the date of our Lord's return. Jesus told his disciples that only the Father knows the day and the hour. What is important is everything is under God's control and the signs that disturb unbelievers for us are the evidence that the days of this world are not unlimited and the Lord's day is near.

This is the meaning of the parable. "Look at the fig tree and all the trees: When they are already sprouting, seeing it, for yourselves you know that summer is near, so you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near."

The authors of the Bible also like the illustration of a woman's pregnancy. We do not know exactly the date and time when the baby will come, but there is evidence that it will come soon.

In the Old Testament, the Lord gave his people many signs of the first coming of Christ. And all were fulfilled. Therefore, we trust in the Word of God, that the signs in heaven and on earth are evidence of the fulfillment of the last prophecy, that of the second coming. The things that frighten the unbelievers do not frighten us, because we are sure that the day of the Lord will surpass all earthquakes, hurricanes and meteors. He will not come as the first time and humility and servitude, but in all his power and glory. In this is our reward and the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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