Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mid-week Advent 2

December 07, 2016
Characters of the Nativity-Shepherds

INTRODUCTION: Out in the fields a group of shepherds stood guard over their flock that night. Such flocks were always needed for the sacrifices of the Temple at Jerusalem, a mere six miles away. Informed of the birth by an angel, the shepherds went to Bethlehem, found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, and excitedly repeated the message they had received. For others, the shepherds’ words were a passing wonder, “but Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).*

By faith we journey with them to Bethlehem. For this good news of Jesus’ birth was given by the angel to shepherds who went to see the new born king.

  1. With the shepherds we visit the new born king. The shepherds were keeping watch to guard the flock against thieves and marauders. Into the night of the world Jesus came as the true Light. A symbol of this truth was the heavenly light.
A question. Why is it that so few experience the true joy of Christmas? The answer quite frankly is that they have not heard the good news told by the angel to these shepherds. It is told to us this night. The source of our joy is found in verse 11 of our text: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”   Luke 2:11

Who is born? “To you is born this day a Savior” This is good news to those in need of a Savior. And when is He born? “This day” Christmas is a contemporary experience, not an historical observance of an ancient event. Today is the day of salvation. This is the day the Lord has made. Now He is making all things new.

Transition: “To you is born a Savior”. We now tell His story with joy.

  1. Like the shepherds we share His story with others. The shepherds were afraid in the face of the divine glory and holiness but they had no need to fear because the angel’s message was not of judgment but of salvation, not only to the shepherds but to all people.
To whom is He born? He is born “to you”. “To you is born this day a Savior.” It is not Christmas for you unless Christ is re-born in you. Thus we can say with the hymn writer: “Cans out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.”

CONCLUSION: The Christmas story is for real. It was to real live humans that the story of the Christ child was delivered. The first announcement of this birth came to a despised people. It came not to the rulers, the educated, the scribes or the pious Pharisees. This news came not to aristocratic elite but to shepherds – the despised, unlearned, crude, rough people listed with publicans and sinners. For He is a real Savior who has come to save real sinners and in His birth, suffering, passion, death and resurrection there is forgiveness, salvation and life.  

* Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Birth and Infancy Narratives Grand Rapids MI D. G. Stewart editor 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Time in the Word - Advent 3

Tim3 in the Word
Advent 3 
December 5-10, 2016
When Messiah Comes

Advent three deals with the identity of the Messiah. The Gospel lesson (Matthew 11:2-11) assures us that Jesus is the Messiah promised of old and that John the Baptizer is the greatest of the prophets because he prepared the way for the Messiah. The Old Testament lesson (Isaiah 35:1-10) shows what kind of world we will have when the Lord comes to save us; utopia, paradise, healing and joy. The Epistle lesson (James 5:7-10) takes us to the post-Easter experience when followers of the Messiah are urged to patiently wait for his Second Coming. At this Second Coming, the promised paradise in the Old Testament lesson will become a reality. Since Jesus is the Coming One, He is worth waiting for with patience. In the Prayer for the Day we ask for “the wisdom to see Your purpose” the purpose of Christ is seen in the works of Jesus.

In the Gospel we come to the conviction that Jesus is the Messiah. In the Old Testament we are given a description of the conditions resulting from the messiah’s coming to earth. Here we see the fulfillment of these conditions in Jesus’ ministry.
But, the question may be asked, “Why do these conditions not exist on earth since Jesus came about 2000 years ago?”

The answer is given by James in the Epistle lesson who exhorts us to patiently wait for the Messiah’s Second Coming when these conditions will become a reality for all of God’s people.

Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent: Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming, give us strength in our conflicts and shed light on our path through the darkness of this world.

God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share His wisdom and become one with Him when He comes in glory, for He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen

Lord, free us from our sins and make us whole. Hear our prayer, and prepare us to celebrate the incarnation of Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen

Collect for Psalm 85God of love and faithfulness, You so loved the world that You gave Your only Son to be our Savior. Help us to receive Him as both Lord and brother and freely celebrate Him as our gracious Redeemer now and forever.

Collect for Psalm 146God of glory and power, happy indeed are those who have put their trust in You. shine the brightness of Your light upon us that w may love You always with a pure heart and praise Your forever. Through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds;

Monday, 5 December  2016 Psalm 85 - The Antiphon for this coming week’s Introit comes from verse 7, Show us Your unfailing love, O Lord; and grant us Your salvation. God’s sure mercies to His people spring from His covenant of live, to which in His faithfulness and righteousness He remains true, and that assures His people will receive His abiding peace.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016— Psalm 146, key verse, 1b – “Praise the lord, O my soul!” The Psalm appointed for this coming Sunday is an exhortation to trust in the Lord and is the first of five Hallelujah psalms with which the Psalter closes. This, and the remaining four psalms, are all framed with Hallelujahs.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016 Isaiah 35:1-10 – When God comes to save His people, they will enjoy paradise.  The Old Testament lesson speaks of the conditions resulting from God’s coming to His people. When God comes to save His people, they will enjoy paradise. Advent 3 deals with the identity of the Messiah. At the second coming, the promised paradise will become a reality. Our lesson shows us what kind of world we will have when the Lord comes to save us:  paradise, healing and joy.

Thursday, 8 December 2016 James 5:7-11 – Be patient in waiting for the Lord’s return. In our Epistle lesson, James expresses patience in waiting for the Lord’s return.
He exhorts us to patiently wait for the Messiah’s Second Coming. Since Jesus is the Messiah, He is worth waiting for with patience.

Friday, 9 December 2016- Matthew 11:2-15 – John the Baptizer sends a delegation to learn if Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus says John is the greatest of the prophets.  In the Gospel lesson, we are given evidence that Jesus is the Messiah. John the Baptist sends a delegation to learn if Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus says John is the greatest of the prophets. We come to the conviction that Jesus is the Messiah.

The ultimate confession to be a Christian is to say Jesus is Lord, or the Messiah (Christ). How does one come to such a conclusion? We dare not take anybody’s word.
Rather, we find out for ourselves by studying the evidence. This wi what Jesus told the disciples of John the Baptizer to do and then to go back and let John know what has been said and done. We do not take our faith on hearsay. Rather, we base our faith grounded in fact.

Saturday, 10 December 2016 Romans 13:11 – This verse is the inspiration for the hymn, “Hark, a Thrilling Voice is Sounding”. Paul reminds us that the certain coming of the end of this present age is used to provide motivation for godly living. {See Matthew 25:31-46; Mark 13:33-37; 2 Peter 3:11-14} The time of salvation, the closing period of the present age, before the consummation of the kingdom remind us that now is the hour. The time for action is now. The full realization of salvation at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is nearer now then it was before. Every day brings us closer to the second advent of Christ. Our prayer is simple, “Come; come Lord Jesus, come even today!”

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Pentecost 24 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY  
The Story of 50 Hymns © 1934 By General Mills, Inc Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Advent 2

Advent 2
December 4 2016            
Divine Service Setting 1
Hymn of the Day: LSB #344 “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”
Matthew 3:1-12 “Announcing the New Reign

By the Preaching of Repentance, We Are Prepared for the Coming of the Lord

“John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent’” (Matt. 3:1–2). His preaching of repentance for the forgiveness of sins prepared people for the coming of Christ into the world. John’s work was historically complete with the incarnate advent of Jesus, but his vital ministry continues in preaching Law and Gospel. The Son of God has come in the flesh, “a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots” (Is. 11:1), and continues to bear the fruits of righteousness. His good tree of the cross is “a signal for the peoples” (Is. 11:10), by which He calls the nations to repentance. “With the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips” (Is. 11:4), He slays the wicked and brings the dead to life, making sons of Abraham out of lifeless stones. So also the “root of Jesse” comes to us, “even he who arises to rule the Gentiles” (Rom. 15:12), that “we might have hope” and be filled “with all joy and peace in believing” (Rom. 15:4, 13).

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

When a presidential visit is anticipated in a local town, the word spreads. People gather. Everyone is straining to catch the first glimpse of a helicopter or motorcade. An advance speaker addresses the crowd. The people wait. How long they ask. John the Baptist appears at the Jordan River. He is the advance man. With a timely message. Will the people listen? And his message? A new day has downed. He announces the new reign of God.
Announcing the New Reign of God -
1.       The new reign of God stirs up interest!
2.       The new reign of God calls for repentance.
3.       The new reign of God changes hearts!

1.       The New reign of God stirs up interest!
A.      Israel responds to John’s appearance. His message was something they had not heard.
1.       The people were dissatisfied. Dissatisfied with world conditions. Dissatisfied with Israel’s plight. They felt hopeless. They longed for deliverance.
2.       John’s person and message place him in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets. There is a rise of Messianic hopes of a new reign of God in the Davidic line. A Savior is coming.

B.      But, you also, respond to John’s message.
1.       We too can experience a general dissatisfaction with world conditions, of possible war clouds gathering, and national economic difficulties. We’ve just completed an important election cycle in our country. Now what?     
2.       John’s message about a new reign of God to solve our problems sounds exciting. A Walt Disney World church sounds pleasant and enjoyable. Yet this is not the message of John. He has only one word to give, “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

2         This New reign of God calls for repentance.
A.      John shocks Israel from the Pharisees to King Herod with a radical exposure of sin. He calls for the baptism of repentance. Pharisees and Sadducees were coming to be baptized. They were coming to do what we can’t help but read. They were doing the right thing and yet, John tells them to re-orient themselves. Don’t count on your status; God can and is rising up a new people for Himself.

B.      John exposes our sin. He summons us to the same kind of radical repentance that exposes our desire to reign over our own lives. Turn around. Repent. See yourself, your community, and your place in it differently. Don’t walk out of this water the same way you came in. It’s one thing to ask Jesus to come and change the world. It is a much more difficult thing to ask Jesus to come and change ME. With this message of repentance, John challenges us - To see ourselves differently. To frame our relationship with God and our neighbor in new ways, and then, to bear fruit worthy of conversion.

3         The new reign of God changes hearts!
A.      John’s message leads many to conversations as they are prepared to embrace the Messiah’s reign in their hearts.

B.      John’s message points to the One who dies and rises again for the world’s sin. Our hearts are rekindled through Word and Sacrament in this Advent season to embrace Christ’s new reign in our lives.

Getting to Christmas, as John tells us every year, is not an easy thing. John’s repentance begins with an acknowledgement that God does not need you. But you need God; who insists on joining us together as brothers and sisters. Yes each of us, and all the despised people in this world.

As John announces the new reign of God. We respond with more that superficial interest. Led to repentance, we find ourselves transformed by the Spirit to announce God’s new reign in Christ to ourselves, to others, to the world.  

Words –1,000
Passive Sentences –2%
Readability – 75.8%
Reading level –5.0
Image: Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for private and congregational use
The Young John the Baptist; Leonardo daVinci, 1513-1517. Web Gallery of Art.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


December  4      Advent 2 Divine Service Setting 1
                                Matthew 3:1-12 “Announcing the New Reign”

December 7       Mid-week Advent 2
                                Characters of the Nativity -Shepherds

December 11     Advent 3 Choir Service
                                Matthew 11:2-11 “What do you expect this Christmas?”

December 14     Mid-week Advent 3
                                Characters of the Nativity –Mary the Mother of our Lord

December 18     Advent 4 Divine Service Setting 2
                                Matthew 1:18-25 “God is with us”

December 24     Sunday School Christmas Eve

December 25     Christmas Day with Communion – A Service of readings and carols
Isaiah 9:2 Jesus came to be a light to the people who walk in darkness.

January 1 2017   1st Sunday after Christmas Divine Service Setting 3
                                Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 God’s Promises fulfilled”                            

Jesus is the light of the world - The prophet Isaiah reminds us: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shines."
Christ has removed the darkness of sin. As He spoke the universe into existence with His Word saying "Let there be light" so He came into this world to shine His light upon a dark and sinful world to take away our sin and misery. 

He is the eternal light and has come to save us from our sin. He does not overlook our sin He eliminates it. He does not blink at sin, but He has entered time and space to be our substitute. He takes unto Himself all of the world's misery and sin and He will carry it to the cross where He will suffer, die and rise again to be victorious.  The miracle of Christmas is that God has made it clear that He is in the business of redeeming and saving His people. As light eliminates the darkness so the coming of Christ bring the dawn of a new day; full of light and life. Upon us the light of Christ has shown brightly eliminating all darkness of sin and error.

The miracle of Christmas finds its basis in the truth that Christ has come to eliminate sin. As He began the world's creation by producing light on the first day. He has shown brightly on this earth once again. In glory there is no need of sun, moon or stars for He will be the eternal light that lights up the entire city.  As He draws us toward His light once more during this  Advent and Christmas season may the brightness of Christ burn in your hearts ever more until we are each ushered into His glory. A Blessed Christmas! 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mid-Week Advent 1

Mid-week Advent 1
November 30, 2016
Characters of the Nativity-Joseph
Matthew 1:18-25

INTRODUCTIONJoseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The gospels of Matthew and Luke assert that Jesus was born to Mary at a time when she was betrothed to Joseph, before their marriage was consummated (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:27, 35).

Joseph was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55), and was known as a “just” man (Matthew 1:19). When he learned that Mary was bearing a child, he was understandably disturbed. When he learned that she was to become the mother of Israel’s Messiah through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, he proceeded with his plans which brought him, with Mary, to Bethlehem where the child Jesus was born.*

Through circumstances and influences beyond his control Joseph was given his place in history. What lessons can be gleaned from his life’s story? Our text answers these questions this evening.

1.        Joseph is a man of profound conviction tempered with compassion. He knew of two realities. First, Mary to whom he was engaged was expecting a child. He also knows he is not the Father. Our text reminds us “…Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.” (v.18)

Joseph, being a just man, tried to conform his life to the Jewish law. “Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” (v.19) Here we see Joseph’s dilemma. Whose reputation, he pondered, should be tarnished Mary’s or his own? That was the issue with which he was wrestling. Joseph felt betrayed, he loved Mary, yet he didn’t want to “expose her to public disgrace.”

If he were to continue in the relationship most people would simply conclude that after they were engaged but before they were married - she was expecting their first child. There would be some embarrassment. It would be awkward. But hopefully, in time the humiliation would subside.  But could he trust her? What guarantee would he have that she would disappoint him again?

If unfaithfulness was a part of her character what would be the consequences in the future? If word got out that he had married her, knowing full well that the child was not his, what sort of aspersions would be cast in his direction!

What he planned to do was to use the most private form of a legal divorce, handing a letter to Mary in the presence of only two witnesses to whom he needed not give his reasons.

When we must choose – choose wisely. Often we are forced to make decisions in life in which the outcome will not necessarily be pleasant.  When we have to choose “the lesser of two evils” as Joseph, we need to wrestle and pray. Actions do have their consequences. Joseph did not act rashly. Decisions reached hastily are often ill advised. Patience is needed when the situation is serious.

2.        Joseph also learned that we are placed in these challenging circumstances for God to do His best work. Divine intervention was necessary in Joseph’s situation. “But after he had considered this an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” - Matthew 1:20

The angel reminded Joseph of the greatness of his ancestry to assure him that his resolution was right insofar as Joseph knew the circumstances. Joseph knew of only outward circumstances. The Lord sees beyond these things. It is His responsibility to act.

It was Joseph would name this child. He would be given the name “Jesus” which means literally - ‘God saves!’ - For this Jesus is the Christ and He will save His people from their sins. The salvation from sin through this child Jesus is what Joseph and his family had hoped for so many generations. God was about to act and Joseph would see it. Not only would this child be called ‘Jesus’ but also “Emmanuel” – ‘God who is with us’ – the manifestation of God who is in our midst.

3.        We see that Joseph is a man of profound faith.  Joseph’s faith is seen and demonstrated in his immediate obedience to the commands the angel gives him. “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” Matthew 1:24 

Joseph came to know a profound truth. God is with us. So often we may live our lives with little awareness of how close God really is to us. The reality of our Christian existence is this: God is with us. It took a life changing moment in Joseph’s life to come to this conclusion.

CONCLUSION: Tonight God is saying to you - in all of life’s circumstances and in all of life’s decisions “I am with you” for this Jesus whose birth we celebrate this season is ‘Emmanuel’ – “the God who is with us” –He is ‘Jesus’ - “the God who saves”

+ Sola Deo Gloria +

* Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Grand Rapids MI D. G. Stewart editor   

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Time in the Word - Advent 2

Time in the Word
November 28 – December 3, 2016
Preparation for Advent 2

The Day of the Lord
The theme of hope, explicitly and implicitly, seems to unite the readings this coming week. In Old Testament lesson we hope for the righteous government and world peace. In the Epistle hope comes from the scriptures and the Spirit. John the Baptist in the gospel gives us hope through Christ’s baptism of the Spirit. If we have this hope, we are in need of preparation. Today’s gospel calls for repentance as preparation. The Prayer of the Day asks God “to prepare the way for your only Son.” The Hymn refers to John’s ministry calling for moral preparation, through repentance. On Advent 1 we considered the Second Coming. On Advent 2 we deal with Christ’s coming anew this Christmas by rebirth into our personal lives. If this is to be a real experience, preparation by repentance is necessary. In recent years blue has been introduced as the liturgical color for Advent because it is the color of hope.

Collect for the Second Sunday in AdventStir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming, give us strength in our conflicts and shed light on our path through the darkness of this world.

God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share His wisdom and become one with Him when He comes in glory, for He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen

Lord, free us from our sins and make us whole. Hear our prayer, and prepare us to celebrate the incarnation of Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen

Collect for Psalm 72Almighty God, You gave the kingdom of justice and peace to David and his descendant, our Lord Jesus Christ. Extend this kingdom to every nation, so that through Your Son the poor may receive justice, the destitute relief, and the people of the earth peace in the name of Him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Monday, 28 November 2016Psalm 105:4-8; antiphon, Isaiah 40:3b —In the Introit for Sunday, we pray In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Yet another prophecy is fulfilled! John the Baptist becomes that agent who will prepare the way for Christ to enter and begin His earthly ministry. The words of the Baptist are still needed for today’s ears “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!”

Tuesday, 29 November 2016Psalm 72:1-7 — Key verse “Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the king’s Son” (v. 1). Psalm 72 is a prayer for the king. This last psalm of book 2 is a fitting one for king Solomon’s reign. [See the title] Israel’s golden age of peace, prosperity and power come under the rule of King Solomon. But it also looks beyond it to the perfect idea; an endless reign (5) over the entire world (8, 11) and the rule of God-like justice and righteousness (7, 12-14) a time of unequalled fruitfulness (16). V.8 “The River” is the Euphrates. V.10 “Tarshish, Sheba”, means the remotest outpost of the empire. Sheba may be a region of Arabia. Tarshish is probably Tarshish in Spain. V. 16 “Like Lebanon” For a small country Lebanon produced an amazing abundance and variety of fruit and vegetables.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016Isaiah 11:1-11— Can anything come out of a “stump”? Can life come out of death? The Messiah is rooted in the past, which is apparently as dead as a stump. Yet, out of death comes the life of Christ as the son of Jesse, the son of David. Our roots are vital. We go back to the life that comes out of our dead ancestors. Eternal life came out of Jesus’ grave. The butterfly comes out of a cocoon. Hope comes out of despair.

Thursday, 01 December 2016Romans 15:4-13— The “scripture” in Paul’s day was the Old Testament. How can the Old Testament provide hope to Christians? Hope deals with the future and the Old Testament contains thousands of promises by God for the future. The greatest of these promises is the coming of the Messiah. In Jesus He has come. Hope has been realized. Yet, He is coming again for the consummation of history. We hope for His return.

Friday, 02 December 2016Matthew 3:1-12 — We are to prepare a highway for God to come to us. Christmas is a receiving time of life when God comes to us in Christ. The world thinks of Christmas as a giving time and so we go through a mad rush to buy gifts. If Christ is to come to us this Christmas, we need to prepare to properly receive him. Thus, Advent is a preparatory season of repentance as the only way to be receptive.

A tree with bad fruit is to be burned, as millions of orange trees diseased with canker were destroyed in Florida. At the end of time, the chaff is to be burned with “unquenchable fire.” John the Baptist promised that Jesus would baptize with the Spirit and with “fire.” Fire symbolizes judgment. Christ comes as both Savior and Judge. The latter we like to forget. Evil is to be exterminated. In 2 Peter we are told that “the elements will be dissolved with fire.”

Saturday, 03 December 2016Isaiah 40:3; Mathew 3:1-6- Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s Cry. (LSB #344). This great Advent hymn is in harmony with the Gospel lesson. When the Baptist started preaching a message of repentance his words often were not heeded. As you sing this great hymn let the words speak to you. May the Lord prepare you to receive Christ joyfully this Advent/Christmas season and expect to see Him soon as we anticipate His return in glory.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Advent 1

Advent 1
27 November 2016
Matthew 24:36–44

The Lord Comes in Meekness and Humility to Save Us Now

The Lord Jesus enters Jerusalem “humble, and mounted on a donkey,” riding on “a beast of burden” (Matt. 21:5), as He Himself bears the sins of the world in His body. Now He comes by the ministry of the Gospel to save us from sin, death, the devil and hell. Therefore, we sing, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matt. 21:9). 

For we are called “to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob,” His holy Church, “that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths” (Is. 2:3). By His Word, we “walk in the light of the Lord” (Is. 2:5). That is to live in love, which “does no wrong to a neighbor” (Rom. 13:10). We “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,” for “salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11, 12). Hence, the entire Christian life is a time to wake and watch, “for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matt. 24:42).

Lord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, that he may lead home His bride, the Church, that we will all the redeemed may enter into Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

As we turn our sights toward Bethlehem’s manger we focus on our celebration of Christ’s coming into this world and at the same time we wait in anticipation of His sure and certain return in glory. This is what the season of Advent is all about. The question is when. When shall these things be? The message from our Gospel lesson for this morning is simple yet profound – watch and wait.

I. No one knows when Christ will return.
A. The Son, as a human being did not know when the end would come.
                                1. This proves His human nature. As a human, He was limited in knowledge.
2. For your comfort Jesus was completely human in every way except, of course without sinning. Jesus was completely human. He identifies with you in every conceivable way. He know and understands everything.

                B. Neither do the angels know the time of the end.
1. They are created beings sent to serve God and His children. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” [Hebrews 1:14]
2. Even though they “continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 18:10] As lower beings, they are limited in knowledge. They too do not known when the end will come.

                C. Only the Father knows. He has set a time, fixed for this world to end.
1. He is the Creator and Lord of all.
2. He alone will end this world.
3. In between (Creation and the end of all time) He will order your days and direct your path. In His sure hands, we are secure.

Transition: We do not know when the end will come. This does not mean we must stand by idly. There is much work for us to do. The Lord says to us today, “Get busy!”

II. We must therefore be prepared to meet the Lord when He comes in glory.
                 A. He will return at a time when people least expect.
                                1. Many think Christ’s return will come when things are going badly.
a. Wars and rumors of wars.
b. Harsh economic times.
c. Stresses within and without the church or family.
2. When will the end come?
a. When the last pagan is converted.
b. When the full number of believers in Christ has been reached.

                B. We must make use of the time that we have “keeping busy!”
1. Serve where God had planted you.
a. Called to be Christ’s servants.
b. Called to be His witnesses in this generation.
2. Use the gifts God has given you.
a. Serve where God has planted you.
b. Use the tools of salvation, which God has given you.
1. Love God.
2. Help and serve your neighbor.

Now we are in Advent. In the words of that old spiritual, “Soon and very soon we are going to see the King.” With joy, we can meet Him now in those places He can be found – His Word, His Sacraments, His promise of forgiveness. Praise God!

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House

Words – 858
Passive Sentences –4%
Reading Ease –84%

Reading Level -4.6