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First Sunday in Advent

November 28, 2010

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Click here to listen to this sermon.

First Sunday in Advent

28 November 2010

 

Romans 13:(8-10) 11-14

 

We heard from the Holy Gospel how the Lord Jesus rides into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  It is the last week of His life.  In order to give it into death – death upon the cross.  For you and for your salvation.  The Palm Sunday crowds that shout “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!” will soon shout, “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”   

 

On the Last Day this same Lord Jesus will ride on the clouds with great power and might to judge the living and the dead.  He will separate the sheep from the goats — the wheat from the chaff.

 

And the Last Day is very near.  St. Paul writes:  “our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.”

 

In the meantime, what are you given to do as His redeemed people?  Quit your job?  Abandon your family?  Sell all that you have?  Go out into the wilderness and wait for the Lord’s return in glory? 

 

No.  Thankfully, no!  Although lots of people have done just that over time. 

 

So what about you?  You know that the Lord will return in glory on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead.  You know that your salvation is nearer now than when you first believed.  You know that the night is over and the day is almost here.  So what are you given to do? 

 

Well, quite simply, it’s time to wake up.  Really, it’s time to be awake.  St. Paul says, “The hour has come to wake up from your slumber.”    

 

We in the church have been asleep at the wheel, if you will.  We’ve been sleepwalking.  Inattentive.  Oblivious.  We’ve been “gratifying the desires of our sinful nature.”  Doing whatever feels right regardless of what is God pleasing.  We’ve been careless.  Negligent.  To our “debt.”  No, not money!  But to the “continuing debt to love one another.”  Yes, that’s right, we have been given the responsibility as Christians to live for others. “To love your neighbor as yourself,”  the Epistle says. Love that flows from faith in Christ fulfills the Ten Commandments.  “Love is the fulfillment of the law.”

 

So, it’s time to “wake up.”  Why?  Because the hour when the night of this age of sin and death is far-gone.  The great day of God’s new world of righteousness and life is at hand.  So it is time to repent.  It’s time to use the day, hours, weeks, months, and years that the Lord has given us before He returns in glory differently:  in service of love to our neighbor.

 

In addition, we are given to use our bodies differently.  As witnesses to that coming day of glory in very concrete ways.  In very ordinary ways.  In our attitude toward sexual relationships, the use alcohol and the peaceful preservation of society.  The text says:  “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently as in the daytime.  No orgies or drunkenness.  No sexuality immorality of any kind.  No debauchery.  No dissension and jealousy.”   All that is living for oneself.  Selfish.  Self-indulgent.  It is dark and destructive.  Of your life as well as others. 

 

So, again, it’s time to “wake up from your slumber.”   From indifference and apathy to sin and sinning.  And for that there’s Jesus.  Who rode into Jerusalem.  Who gave His life into death for you.  Who rose from the dead for you.  With whom you are clothed in Holy Baptism.  Clothed with all His perfection, holiness, and purity.  Jesus is your daily garment.  Your suit.  Your dress. 

 

Jesus is your Lord.  He lords His death and resurrection over you.  You are redeemed.  You are clothed in His righteousness.  All is forgiven.  Now He has good use for you until He comes in glory on the Last Day.  Through faith in Him He frees you to live for others.  To love your neighbor as yourself.  To turn your backs on the old selfish concerns of your sinful flesh.  And to turn your attention to your neighbor who needs your love. 

 

And for that the Lord Jesus gives you His Body and Blood in the Sacrament.  To strengthen your faith in Him.  And to enliven your love for others.  Until the Last Day, go ahead.  Eat this bread of His Body.  Drink the wine of His Blood.  And proclaim His death for you and for all until He comes. 

 

In the name of Jesus.           

 

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