Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent 2

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only begotten Son that at His second coming we may worship Him in purity; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Preparation is an important ingredient in the whole process of getting ready for Christmas. It just doesn’t happen by itself, it takes time and effort. There are lists to be made, items to be purchased, food to be prepared, cards that need to be sent. Will everything be set and ready in less then a month? It can be, at times, overwhelming!

How do we make ourselves ready for Christmas spiritually? The words of the prophet John help as he says in our Gospel for today – “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” (vs.2) Our preparation for the festival of Christmas involves a life of repentance. As we humble ourselves before the Lord we will be ready to meet Him.

1. Our preparation must include confession (v.6) All who were baptized came confessing their sin.

A. As the people were baptized they came confessing their sins.

1. This is what baptism signifies. It signifies that the Old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins an devil lusts and again, a new man daily come forth and arise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

2. St. Paul explains it this way, We were buried with Christ by Baptism into death, that, like as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6)

B. The Old Adam must be addressed daily. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires. (Ephesians 4:22)

1. The Old Adam is our sinful nature, which has come upon us by the fall of Adam. It is ours by birth. It’s the one thing we have inherited by our parents.

2. The Old Adam is our original sin which manifests itself in all manner of sins and manners of living. In Baptism original sin itself is not removed from our nature, but its guilt is forgiven. Even Christians still have the Old Adam as long as they live. Your Old Adam is not a bit better than that of a pagan or an unbeliever.

3. But while unbelievers are in their lives ruled altogether by their Old Adam, Christians seeks to suppress their, they “put off the old man”.

2. Our preparation involves bearing fruit worthy of repentance.

A. Every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Vs.8)

1. The Old Man is drowned in us by daily contrition and repentance.

a. Contrition means sorrow for sin. Contrition is to feel sincere sorrow in your heart as did Peter. This sorrow must refer to that particular sin we wish to suppress. We also avoid those things of which we are truly sorry. Contrition helps us keep down the Old Adam.

b. Repentance promises forgiveness, but the Holy Spirit also sanctifies us in our living by urging us and prompting us to do good works.

B. But you are a good tree. By Baptism you were made partakers of Christ. Now you who are baptized daily repent of all sins, shun every thing that is evil and walk in newness of life.

3. Our preparation looks to Jesus Christ the coming one. (Vs.10)

A. He baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

B. He is the one who has worked faith in you and creates in you a new spiritual life.

As we prepare for the celebration of Christmas there is much for us to do. But we are spiritually prepared when we realize that the one who is born for us has given us His Spirit which brings us to a right relationship to the Father as we come humbly in contrition, repentance and a true faith. May the Savior’s words give you comfort this day. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden light. – Matthew 11:29-30

Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

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