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Once He Came In Blessing

December 19, 2013

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Wednesday of Advent Three                       Trinity Lutheran Church

18 December 2013                                            Murdock, NE

 

+Jesu Juva +

“Once He Came In Blessing” (TLH #74)

 

Tonight we another great Advent hymn.  It comes from the pen of Johann Roh, a Czech pastor who supported the Lutheran Reformation.  In the hymn “Once He Came In Blessing” Roh emphasizes the three tenses of the season of Advent:  past, present and future.  Past – that’s Jesus coming at Bethlehem, Good Friday and Easter Sunday to win your salvation.  Present – that’s Jesus coming to you in His Word of the gospel, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper to give you the forgiveness He won for on Good Friday.  Future – that’s when Jesus reveals Himself to you and the world in glory to judge the living and the dead on the Last Day.

 

WE SING STANZA 1

Christian preaching and high pastoral care does not begin at the top, as all other religions do, as if God is stuck way up there and you’ve got to make the trek to get to Him.  Instead, Christian preaching and pastoral care begins at the bottom, way down here on the earth in Jesus who is Emmanuel – GOD WITH US!

 

Where is God for you and for your salvation?  Way up there?  No!  Way down here!  All the way down here on the earth!  In the Virgin Mary’s womb.  Laying the manger.  Born at Bethlehem.  Nursed at Mary’s breast.  Diaper changed by Mary’s hands.  Growing up in Nazareth.  Preaching for three years.  Suffering and being put to death by Pontius Pilate.  Coming out the grave victorious on the Third Day!  Ascending to the Father’s right hand to reign as King among His redeemed sinners.

 

The hymn began way down here:  THE PAST of Bethlehem’s birth and Calvary’s cross.

 

Once He came in blessing

All our sins addressing;

Came in likeness lowly,

Son of God most holy;

Bore the cross to save us,

Hope and freedom gave us.

 

Jesus does the incredible.  The impossible.  He becomes a man.  Lowers Himself into our humanity in order to address the carnage your sin has wrought.  He dies with all your sin in His Body.  He takes your sin.  It doesn’t belong to you anymore.  It belongs to Him.  Therefore, Jesus doesn’t count you sin against you.  He bore the cross to save you.  To give you hope and freedom as His forgiven people.

 

WE SING STANZAS 2-3

Now the hymns speaks of the Lord’s coming to you now IN THE PRESENT.  And He’s still a way down here on the earth God for you.

 

Still He comes within us,

Still His voice would win us

From the sins that hurt us;

Would to truth convert us

From our foolish errors

Ere He comes in terrors.

 

Brothers and sisters, the New Testament categorically declares that “now is the time of God’s favor; behold now is the day of salvation,” (2 Corinthians 6:2)!  This is Advent’s present tense.  We not only recall that Jesus was born over 2,000 years ago.  But He also comes today with the “truth” of the Gospel to “convert” you.  He comes to you with His divine Name and giving you His divine name in the water of Holy Baptism to wash away the sins “that hurt” you.  Jesus Himself promises:  “He who believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mark 16:16)!  Speaking of your Baptism in Jesus’ Name, Titus 3 promises that God “saved you through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit!”  If you are not baptized, the present tense of Advent is:  receive Holy Baptism and be saved.  Now is the time.  Don’t put it off.

 

The present tense of Advent is also revealed in the preaching of the Gospel.  In the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins Jesus is physically present reigning among sinners and you’re actually hearing His living voice.  In the spoken absolution Jesus is telling you:  “Be of good cheer folks, your sin is forgiven.”  And it is!  Because He died bearing the damnation of all your in on cross.  With all the authority given to Him in heaven and on earth Jesus gives exactly what He says.  “You are forgiven,” is what He promises now.  And you are!  Believe it.  That’s all what He wants from you.  So too in the Lord’s Supper.  Believe what He promises – NOW – “given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of your sin.”  And I’m here to tell you categorically:  where there is forgiveness of sins there is life AND SALVATION.

 

So, the hymn correctly strikes a not of urgency.  No dilly dallying.  Today is the Day of God’s favor – God’s grace.  Do not put off believing in Jesus.  Do not put off being baptized.  Do not purposely live outside your Baptism.  Do not neglect the divine gifts of Holy Communion.  Do not blow off the preaching of the Holy Gospel.  Why not?  Because there will be a Last Day.  And when that day comes you won’t have any time to repent and believe.  Baptism will be no more.  No more preaching of the Gospel.  No more absolution.  No more Lord’s Supper.  The New Testament teaches:  “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9).

 

So I ask you tonight and I’m very serious about it.  What kind of reception is Jesus Christ getting in your life?  He comes in Word and Sacraments to heal you with His mercy and to forgive you by His grace NOW in this present hour of your life.  I warn you.  Do not blow off Jesus’ coming to you physically in His Word and Sacraments.  His people Israel, for the most part, in the New Testament did blow off God in the flesh Jesus.  And it did not go well for them.  What about you?  Do you really believe you can do the same with different consequences?  Good luck with that!  No wonder you fear the Last Day and try to avoid it with all your might.  But you can’t put Him off forever.  He will come in glory on the Last Day  Only those who know Jesus through faith will be prepared to greet Him with joy on Judgment Day.

 

WE SING STANZA 4

 

“Come Lord Jesus” is the sustained cry of the waiting church as she suffers for confessing Jesus in a hostile world.  The church must endure.  And she does so from Christ’s promise of salvation and salvation’s bestowal already now in the Word and Sacraments where Christ actually reigns on the earth.

 

Advent teaches you how to wait patiently and hopefully for the Last Day when Jesus will comes in power and great might.  Until then you live by faith in His promises and not by sight.  Until then the misery of your sin still plagues you.  You still sin even though you don’t want to.  Until then your eyes see change, decay and death in the world and in your lives.  You groan with all of creation as you wait to be delivered from this bondage of corruption.

 

But your patient waiting is not a waste.  It is a waiting that is full of life and hope because Jesus does not lie.  He is trustworthy and true.  Advent teaches you how to wait on Jesus who keeps His promises and in that waiting to pray:  “Come, then, O Lord Jesus, from our sins release us; let us here confess Thee till in heaven we bless Thee.” 

 

On the Last Day faith will give way to sight.  We will see with our eyes that everything Jesus promised is true.  What joy!

 

In the Name of Jesus.

 

 

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