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Learning To Tell Advent Time

December 1, 2013

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First Sunday in Advent                                   Trinity Lutheran Church

1 December 2013                                              Murdock, NE

+Jesu Juva +

Romans 13:11-14


Guess what day it is.  Guess what day it is!  Eh?  Anybody?  What day is it?

It’s hump day in the week of salvation, if you will.  It is the day or the “hour” for you to “wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.”

Yes, “the day is almost here.”  What day?  The day of the Lord’s Last Day revealing of Himself in glory.  The day when Jesus will judge the living and the dead.

So it’s time to wake up and learn how to tell time.  Why?

Because we have been asleep at the wheel.  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.”  Love that flows from faith in Christ fulfills the Ten Commandments.  “Love is the fulfillment of the law,” (Romans 13:8-10).

Yes it’s time to “wake up” and learn how to tell time.  It is time to live in and from your Baptism.  The text puts it this way:  “put on the armor of light – clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.”  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 you before He returns in glory differently:  in service of love to your neighbor.

Waking up and learning how to tell time means that you, the baptized, the died-for, the Good Friday-ed forgiven, are given to use your bodies and lives differently.  Since Jesus is the Lord over your sin, death, and hell through the shedding of His divine Blood on cross, you are set free to live for others.  You are given to live your life sacrificially as a little Christ.  You are the Lord’s instruments, His hands and mouth in this world not to be served BUT TO SERVE and to give your life in service to others.

You, the baptized wear “the armor of light.”  You have “clothed yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” So, now, what do you want to do?  You want to live God-pleasing lives.  You want to use your bodies and lives as witnesses to that coming day of glory in very concrete ways.  In very ordinary ways.  In your attitude toward sexual relationships, booze, and the peaceful preservation of society.

I’ll expand a little on how you, as a Christian, are to use your body with regard to sex.  You, as a baptized believer, do not want to do anything that adulterates holy marriage.  You want to remain faithful to your spouse.  Once you’re married you remain one-fleshed only and exclusively with your spouse.  Holy marriage is a closed communion!  No one else – no matter who they are – no matter what the courts or legislatures dictate – can be one-fleshed with you once you’re married.  You, the Christian, want to enjoy the gift of a sexual relationship BUT only after you get married.  Sex before or outside of the marriage bed adulterates the in-the-beginning and very good divine gift of marriage.  So you will avoid that out of faithful obedience to God’s will and out of love for the neighbor.

When you’re wide-awake and have learned how to tell time, you want to, “put aside the deeds of darkness … 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 of the above is living for yourself.  It’s selfish and self-indulgent.  It is the worship of the self – IDOLATRY!  It is dark and destructive.  Of your life before God as well as before others.  Really it is!

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 on the back of a donkey.  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 and the sleep of your sin.  You are redeemed.  You are clothed in His righteousness.  All is forgiven.

So now what?   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.  This is what it means to make a difference in the world.

And for that the Lord Jesus gives you His Body and Blood today in the Sacrament.  To strengthen your faith in Him.  And to enliven your love for others.  Do you want to strengthen your faith in Jesus and learn how to freely love others?  Do you?  Sure you do.

Then receive the unselfish, faithful and self-giving love of Jesus in the Sacrament.  Without any merit or worthiness in you He concretely and truly donates to you His Good Friday Body and Blood to eat and drink.  His Body and Blood are not nothings!  They are divine and life giving.    And incredibly – amazingly — His promise is:  “You’re forgiven.”

Talk about waking up.  Talk about learning how to tell time.  Come, put, “on the armor of light” and “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Go ahead.  Eat this bread of His Body.  Drink the wine of His Blood.  And proclaim His death that counts for you and for all until He comes in glory on the Last Day.

In the Name of Jesus.

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