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December 9, 2019

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Second Sunday in Advent             Trinity Lutheran Church

8 December 2019                          Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


St. Matthew 3:1-12


“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Some might say: There he goes again! The camel hair suit Advent preacher urges the forbidden “R” verb and “R” noun! Why won’t someone do something about this preacher? He’s such a downer! Someone needs to call, email, text or instagram the church authorities PDQ! It’s time to finally remove John the Baptist from the preaching roster. After all, it is an outrage for him to tell us to REPENT! How dare he!


He dares! Just like all the OT prophets. He urges! He must preach repentance. You and I are to be repented. It is precisely why the Lord sent John the Baptist to preach and baptize. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In other words, the Messiah is here! The Christ has come! Lord Jesus reigns! So when you come into the Lord’s presence – or when He comes into your life – your world — it’s time to REPENT!


Or be REPENTED! By Him! The Lord would repent you today just as he repented the folks in the wilderness of Judea – using preacher John’s voice to get the repenting job done. Yes, repent or turn to the Lord not in order to get Him to turn to you but because HE HAS IN JESUS CHRIST HIS SON TURNED GRACIOUSLY TO YOU IN ORDER TO SAVE YOU. “Repent, FOR the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”


Don’t reject the Lord’s repenting you today. Seriously. If you do like many of the Sadducees and Pharisees in John’s day, it will be hellacious! Literally! If you stubbornly brood-of-viper-ly refuse to be repented by the Lord, then you’re buying yourself a one-way ticket straight to hell. The Baptist spoke of the unrepentant’s end: wrath to come; like a tree cut down with an axe and thrown into the fire; like chaff burned with unquenchable fire. And that will be all your fault. Your fault. Your own most grievous fault!


Check it out. Behold how the Lord repents in the wilderness of Judea. The folks “were going out to him [John the Baptist], and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.”


“Confessing their sins!” What a gift of the Holy Spirit this first part of repentance – confession — is! These folks are telling the truth. That they’re sinners and that they have sinned! God be praised! No justification of the self. No excuses. No blame games. Just flat out cut to the heart: “Lord we are sinners and we have sinned.”   No doubt their confession sounded like King David’s in Psalm 51:4, “Against you [Lord], you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Absolutely true! Bingo!


How about you? Yes, you? Did you come here today expecting that you’d be Holy Spirit-gifted and led by the Holy Spirit to CONFESS YOUR SINS? To die to your sin? Like the crowds that heard John preaching along the banks of the Jordan? Oh, yes! Thanks be to God! Right out of the chute you did! Page 184 from the hymnal that is faithful to what the Bible says. “Poor miserable sinner.” “Confess unto You all my sins.” “Justly deserved Your temporal and eternal punishment.” “Heartily sorry.” “Sincerely repent of them.” Incredible!


That you said this and believed it to be true about yourself truly is the Holy Spirit at work in you! You are being repented as you confess your sins. It’s what the baptized people of God do! Confessing your sin is what it means to live in and from your baptism into Christ! Just like it was in John’s day: “I baptize you with water for repentance.” See the connection of the two: baptism and repentance? As it was then so it is today! You’re baptized and you are repented.


But there’s more to being repented by the Lord through the preaching of John the Baptist. What could that be? I’m so glad you asked. Advently living in and from your baptism into Christ is trusting Jesus, the Christ, to forgive you of all your sin! That’s spelled F-A-I-T-H! The new creation in Christ! Faith trusts that Jesus the Messiah who reigns on the cross atones or answers for your sin. All of it! Leaves none of it out of His atoning Good Friday death! The Blood of Jesus purifies from all sin! And yours qualifies!


When you’re a faith-er or truster in Jesus, the Mightier One for the forgiveness of all your sins, then you are children of Abraham. Abraham trusted God’s promise to send Jesus to suffer, die and rise again for him. You trust that Jesus did all that FOR YOU and you are totally forgiven because of what Jesus did on the cross FOR YOU.


“The kingdom of heaven is at hand!” No kidding! Jesus has come. John the Baptist prepared folks for Jesus. The King of heaven reigns! On the earth! In Jesus! Bethlehem-ly. Good Friday-ly. Easter Sunday-ly. Ascension-ly. And today the kingdom of heaven is at hand in your very midst. Jesus reigns lording His Good Friday forgiveness and salvation over you. To repent you. And to faith you.


If you’re not baptized, you really should be. Confess your sins and receive baptism. Baptism the way Jesus instituted it: in the Triune Name. Matthew 28:19. Baptism is the Lord’s kingdom of heaven at hand gift whereby each person of the Holy Trinity gives you His divine and saving Name. And with the divine Name each Person of the Trinity gives Himself to you.


For those of you that are baptized — live in and from your baptism every day. That is to say: be repented. Confess you sins to Jesus. “Rend your hearts not your garments,” (Joel 2:13). And the biggest part of repentance: trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of all your sins. After all, He died to atone for them. He took them in His body and buried them in the black hole of His tomb. Your sin doesn’t belong to you anymore. Jesus forgives it.


And today and every opportunity that you get – be faith-ed all the more in Jesus by being served by Jesus Himself in the Lord’s Supper. His Body with the bread. His blood with the wine. He promises that it is all FOR YOU and that all your sin is forgiven. In the Lord’s Supper the KING and the kingdom of heaven is at hand! For you! For your salvation!


Happy Advently being repented! What joy! Even in heaven over one sinner or even an entire congregation and her pastor at Murdock Nebraska that repents. It’s what the Lord does with His Christians and His church. Especially in Advent.


In the Name of Jesus.



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