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.
Greetings dear children of God!
If you would like to hear the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church in Layton, Utah for Ad Te Levavi, the First Sunday in Advent, click on the MP3 link provided above.
The audio includes the last two stanzas of the Hymn of the Day, "O Lord, How Shall I Meet You." The sermon begins at the 1:30 mark.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Your servant in Christ,
Here is the preaching manuscript.
TEXT: 1When they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will send them at once." 4This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 "Say to the daughter of Zion,
'Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'"
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" Matthew 21:1-9
Dear children of God,
We don't do humble well, do we?
If you think about it, we spend much of our lives trying to avoid and overcome humility.
Everybody wants, even demands attention from the time of their infancy.
Tattoos, piercings, clothes, music, the cars we drive all cry out that we want to be noticed.
Our public education system is based upon self esteem.
Politics is largely about asserting rights and getting what we deserve.
Even the church and her members are preoccupied with showing God and each other how pious and holy they are—striving to make themselves and their church appealing to the eyes and the emotions.
In short, this a world not too different at all from the Jerusalem into which our Lord rode some 2000 years ago.
The people shouting "Hosanna," that is, "save us now!" were looking for "he who comes in the name of the Lord" to be a champion for their rights. They were showing themselves to be the pious and holy descendents of Abraham who deserved to be delivered from Roman dominance. Finally the time had come for them to be recognized and take their rightful place in the world.
The fact that Luke tells us Jesus wept "when he drew near and saw the city [that day], . . . because [they] did not know the time of [their] visitation." Luke 19:41-44 tells us that, like us, the people of Jerusalem had a hard time with humility.
Back in the day, there was a song about being humble.
Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
when you're perfect in every way.
I can't wait to look in the mirror
'cuz I get better looking each day
to know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man.
O Lord it's hard to be humble
but I'm doing the best that I can.
Any guy that has ever heard this song has probably sung it to his wife or girlfriend at some point. It's funny. But it's not.
I dare say that no one here would claim to be perfect in every way, get better looking each day, or to be totally lovable.
Yet we all act that way much of the time. We take offense at the smallest things, even look to be offended, as if any wrong we have ever done pales in comparison to the wrong that is done to us. We demand people accept us as we are, good looking warts and all, while expecting others to match our ideas of good grooming and manners. It should be obvious to everybody else that we are doing the best that we can, that we have good intentions and mean well, even though it is obvious to us that others have bad intentions toward us and like nothing better than to give us grief.
"O Lord it's hard to be humble, but I'm doing the best that I can."
Well sinner, it is true enough. You are doing the best that you can. But being humble is not a matter of trying hard enough. You either are humble or you are not. And as a sinner, the fact of the matter is just this, you are not humble. You are anything but humble. You are self centered and self occupied. Life is all about you. What you can get. Whom you can beat. What you can prove about yourself.
Into this kind of world, amongst this sort of people rides our Lord--coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'"
It is not hard for Christ to be humble, because He is perfect in every way. His coming is anything but good looking—then on a donkey or in a stable, or now in water, Word, bread and wine. But even so, to know Him IS to love Him. He is the man who suffered and conquered hell for us. No, it is not hard for our Lord to be humble. He IS humble.
For, you see, Christ is the Son of God and He exists to make the Father known to us. Everything He does is about the love of His father for YOU, dear sinner.
He did not come to see what He could get from the world or from you. He did not come to show His superiority to everybody else. He did not come to prove Himself to you.
Jesus came to give His life to the world. Jesus came to serve out of His superiority to provide for what people lack. Jesus came to sacrifice Himself for you.
That is Advent. Jesus, the Son of God, coming humble—to do His Father's will and be here for you.
God grant you the faith to sing "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"—coming humble before your Lord, not to claim what you deserve, but for the forgiveness of sins and 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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