15 November 2015
“It is necessary that this good message be preached to all the nation’s first." - Mark 13:10
The daylight hours are even shorter now that daylight savings time in Indiana has finally ended. When we fell back one hour on the first Sunday of November. We come now to the last two Sundays of the Church year. As we count down the days before the last Sunday of the Church year – Christ the King Sunday, we remember that the time is short. We are living in the latter days.
The times in which we live. Remind us of the Lord’s sure promise – Before the Lord’s return this Gospel must be proclaimed to the nations. As we anticipate, Christ’s sure and certain return. We must be about the Father’s business. Living and sharing the faith.
I. First – The Gospel message of Jesus Christ must be preached before the end of the age.
Jesus says in Matthew 24:14, “This Good News about the Kingdom will be spread throughout the whole world, as My followers tell the people of all the nations what they have seen and heard and know. And then the end will come.” – Matthew 24:14 (Julian Anderson)
A. This Gospel must first be preached to all the nations before the end of the age.
1. It will be proclaimed as a testimony to the nations.
a. A testimony that Jesus Christ alone is Lord. Of all the religious figures to every walk this earth. Many claimed to have a new directive. Many claimed to have a different insight. What makes Jesus Christ different is He alone claimed to be God. He says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
b. A testimony that He has won for us salvation and life. Jesus Christ won for you salvation and life by going to the cross to suffer and die there. Then He victoriously rose from the dead. This, again, is what gives Jesus distinction. Even if there were one who claimed to be God. Jesus proves to be God alone by rising from the dead. If you want to destroy Christianity. You will have to explain away two realities. You will have to explain away the resurrection of Jesus Christ bodily from the tomb. And also, explain away the changed lives of those who witnessed His resurrection. The early followers of Jesus Christ after the resurrection even simply stated, “We are witnesses of these things.”
2. Only after this message has been proclaimed will the end come.
a. When the gospel message has been proclaimed in all the earth the end will come. Already the Gospel has proclaimed on every continent. What then will be the signal that the end will come?
b. When the last person is converted. Then the end will come. The probability of Christ returning in your lifetime is higher now then every before. This could very well be the Last Generation!
c. In a strong and significant sense, these words of Jesus have been fulfilled. The expression, which has come to define my children's generation is the word “terrorism.” We all know where we were on that Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001. People still recall the weather that day. It was clear blue sky and a beautiful day. But where were you three days later? On that day, the National Cathedral hosted the service three days after the terrorist attacks. The Rev. Billy Graham spoke. News outlets from virtually every corner of the world were present. Airing the event live. And on that day, September 14, 2001 the gospel of Jesus Christ was literally preached around the world as a testimony to the nations. In one moment, the world heard that saving gospel of Christ.
B. If we want to hasten the time of Christ’s return we will want to be mission minded.
1. So even more may hear this most valued message.
2. So even more might be converted. St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans, How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
II. This Gospel will be preached – it is a specific message – it is the message of the cross – St. Paul reminds us, “I desire to know nothing among you save Jesus and Him crucified.”
A. The message we proclaim is a message of the cross.
1. For it was on the bloody cruel cross of Calvary where Jesus bore the sins of all.
2. It was at the cross where Jesus was winning for the world salvation, life, an eternal victory.
B. This is what must give you a clear distinction.
1. Where Christ and Him crucified permeates all you do.
2. Where Christ is the center of our entire work in this parish. In our school. In our homes. In our lives. So we live blessed and forgiven lives- in sacramental living.
III. To all the nations – Every tribe, clan, nation – In the book of Revelation, John gives us a picture of what heaven will look like. “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:9-12)
A. America continues to be the melting pot.
1. 177 years ago, immigrants looked a lot like us.
2. Not so today – consider immigration trends in America today.
ü When a White person dies in America today only one will take his place due to birth or immigration. 1/1 There is no growth amongst Caucasians in America today;
ü When a Black person dies in America today three will take his place due to birth or immigration. 3/1;
ü When a Hispanic dies in America today eight will take his place due to birth or immigration. 8/1 As of the 2000 census there were more Hispanics in the US then African-Americans. And that number continues to climb.
ü When an Asian dies in America today 15 will take his place due to birth or immigration. 15/1
B. We no longer have to go to foreign lands to be engaged in mission work. There are people living within the shadows of this church who have yet to hear of the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. America today is the third largest mission field in the world. The largest Burmese population outside the country of Myanmar happens to live in Allen County and its environs. The state department brought them here because of persecution. Not imagined persecution. Of the Starbucks verity. This was severe and significant persecution. Catholic charities took care of them for a while. Now it's the Lutherans. Specifically your brothers and sisters at New Life Lutheran Church, which started as a mission to Gypsies, and then refocused on African immigrants is now concentrated on this significant people group.
And there are people living in this community “without a prayer.” They didn’t wake up this morning thinking of the destiny of their immortal soul. They have no concept of God except for what is played in the imagination of their own heart. They are living their lives “without a prayer” of “being numbered with the saints in glory everlasting.”
1. Consider Lutheran Hour Ministry’s theme, “Bringing Christ to the Nations and the nations to the church.” These are our marching orders. Reaching out into the world. With the saving message of Jesus Christ.
2. Where is your mission field? Its where you live and flourish. This text is for each of us – to share Christ with whomever we meet. “It is necessary that this good message be preached to all the nation’s first."
May God use you to be His feet and hands. Gossip the gospel where you work and live. By word and deed, become a sermon in shoes. Become a blessing others. And in all things remember to be thankful.
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