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Stir Up Your Power O Lord and Come! Advent 1C

December 2, 2012

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First Sunday in Advent                                  Trinity Lutheran Church

2 December 2012                                         Murdock, NE

 

+Jesu Juva +

 

Collect of the Day / St. Luke 19:28-40

Let us pray.  “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 reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

What a prayer!  “Stir up your power, O Lord, and come!”  Who wouldn’t pray it?  Did you give your “Amen” to it?  I’ll bet hardly anyone would object to you praying like that!  Begging the Lord to rev up His almighty strength!  Imploring Him to rouse up His omnipotent authority!  Pleading that He will roll up His sleeves and flex His muscles! 

 

Yes, Lord!  Stir up your power!  Come!  Don’t wait any longer!  We about to go off the fiscal cliff!  My family is a mess! My personal life is not what it should be!  My marriage is ready to go off the divorce cliff!  I’m overworked! I’m bored!  I’m short-tempered and anxious!  My investments are beginning to tank!  The disease I have won’t go away! I can’t sleep at night! 

 

Shall I go on?  Might as well!   

 

We’re in a detrimental drought!  As bad or worse than the dirty thirties!  Greece could disintegrate in debt!  And take the entire European Union down with it!  The Middle East is a powder keg!  If someone just dares to light a match . . .!  Will Israel go to war with Hamas?  Will Israel try to take out the Iranians?  Or will the Iranians make good on their pledge to pull another Jewish holocaust?  And then there’s the Muslim Brotherhood!  It is well on its way to set up a utopian global Islamist state in that part of the world in order to implement its tyrannical and oppressive Sharia law! In addition, this radical organization is waging a “grand jihad” to eliminate and destroy Western civilization from within!

 

So what are you waiting for Lord?  Let’s get with it!  Shift your power into fifth gear!  Get your power fired up!  Swing it into full gear!  And pull off an advent of advents!   Advent Yourself into my dysfunctional and disastrous life as well as this wreck of a work and set it all right again!

 

He answers your prayer!  He comes!  He does an advent!  As the King of all kings!  As the Lord of all lords!  How? 

 

In a way you never expected!  Never ever could have imagined!  It’s mindboggling!  He stirs up His power – as He mounts a lowly donkey!  Rides a beast like that!  As the triumphant King!  Into the capital city!  A royal procession into Jerusalem! 

 

King!  King Jesus!  Eternal Messianic King Jesus!   King Jesus stirs up His power and comes among us with great might!  How?  By riding in regal parade to do . . . a Holy Week, a Good Friday, and an Easter Sunday!  Or as the Collect of the Day put it so well: that we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance.”

 

Jesus takes on your flesh, does a born of the Virgin Mary advent and then travels pell-mell for Jerusalem!   

 

He comes to do a Bethlehem!  To willingly suffer a vicious and gory Holy Week!  To endure an excruciating Good Friday!  But then to rise royally and victoriously on Easter morning!  For you!  Not for Himself!  But totally FOR YOU!

 

This goes to heart of what Christianity is all about!  Jesus stirs up His power and does an Advent in the flesh to save you and me:  sinners! 

 

Let’s not sugarcoat it.  Let’s not spin it.  Let’s admit it.  Confess it.  Tell the truth.

 

Sinners sin!  In the way we think, speak and act.  By what we do!  By what we don’t do!  Sinners do not fear, love, and trust in God above all things.  Sinners do not love their neighbor as themselves.  Sinners enthrone themselves as God!  And ignore His Word!  Replacing God’s Word with their own preaching!  And all that sin – from original to actual — earns an ominous, perilous paycheck: DEATH!  ETERNAL DEATH!  DAMNATION! 

 

I beg you not to deny what I just said!  I beseech you to not spin what I just said!  I implore you to avoid being like the Pharisees in the text who don’t want God’s Word preached.  I hope you will never replace God’s Word with your own preaching and proclaim:  “Reverend Kuhlman has gone off the deep end.  He is too mean and extreme!  Too judgmental!  Too accusatory!  Don’t get me wrong!  I’m not saying I’m perfect but I’m certainly not as bad as he thinks I am!  And I’m definitely not as bad as Joe Blow over there in the other pew!  I’ve lived a good life!  I’ve done my best!  I’ll bet that if we brought another pastor to preach he’d never bring up this so-called sin problem and its supposed perils!  He’d tickle our ears and tell us what good boys and girls we actually are!” 

 

I pray that you don’t believe any of that!  But if you do — how sad!    

 

Why?  Here’s why.  Sinners who deny the truth that they are sinners and who won’t admit the temporal and eternal consequences of their sin before God don’t need who and don’t want who?

 

Yes, that’s right – they don’t need or want that “controversial” and “divisive” Preacher who rides into Jerusalem as the King in the only way that He is King!  Namely, the King who will suffer, die, and be raised from the dead FOR SINNERS and FOR THEIR SALVATION!  Or again, as the Collect of the Day puts it: “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.”

 

So it is time to repent!  It is time to stop denying that you are a sinner.  It is time to put an end to all the spin, all the excuses, and playing the endless 24-7-365 blame games.  It is time to confess your sin and admit in humility that you are a sinner.

 

But most of all it is about time that you believe that King Jesus did an Advent of all advents for you – to rescue you from the threatening perils of your sin!  That His coming into Jerusalem is for you!  That your sin (all of it) belongs to Jesus!  He didn’t leave any of it out of His Good Friday dying for you!  And that He answered for it!  Atoned for it!  Not with gold or silver!  But with His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death!  That you may be His own and live under Him as His forgiven and redeemed people. 

 

Today Jesus pulls off another advent!  He comes!  Behold your King comes to you now!  Hidden in the bread and wine!  He stirs up His power and comes in the Sacrament of the Altar!  To give you His eternal death defeating Good Friday and Easter Sunday body and blood!  With the promise that His death and resurrection truly were done for you!  And that your sin (all of it) is forgiven and truly forgotten as far as He is concerned!  He holds none of your sin against you!  Because He died for you!

 

Jesus wants you to believe this!  His desire is that you truly believe that He is King FOR YOU in these mighty works that you see before you every Sunday!  That by Him you are truly rescued from the threatening peril of your sin!            

 

So now it’s time for all of us to gather with all the disciples just like that Palm Sunday long ago but this time to hear His preached Word from the pulpit, to have Jesus poke His forgiveness into our ears with the absolution, and to have Him fill our mouths with His most holy body and blood in the Sacrament!  And to believe His promise:  “given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of your sins.” 

 

Yes, it is time for all of us to bow before the King and to join in the chorus of the Palm Sunday praise:  “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”   

 

In the Name of Jesus. 

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