Thursday, December 08, 2016

Sermon for 12/4/16: Second Sunday in Advent

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Stirred Hearts, Lifted Heads

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

My brothers and sisters in Christ, take heed! The fig tree is thick with buds. The nations are perplexed. Men’s hearts are failing. False preachers scratch the itchy ears of men: those vain liars who hide behind their wicked vocabulary, calling debauchery and vice “victimless,” naming babies “fetuses” and the slaughter houses “clinics;” who pretend as though sodomy is wholesome, who attempt to use the Church for their own gain. They will be exposed. All will be exposed. Repent. The Kingdom draws near. Your salvation is coming. Beware. And rejoice.
Last week we begged our Lord Jesus Christ to stir up His power and come. We asked this because of His enduring promise; because He has said that He will be Our God. He will save us. We want Him to fulfill His Word. We do not merely ask for a little something to get us by until we are on our feet again. We are asking for rescue. We are in mortal danger because of our sins. We are surrounded by demonic forces. We are cold, tired, and afraid. Left on our own, we’d have no hope. Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come. Do not leave us alone, for you are our Hope and your Word is true.
Stir up our hearts, O Lord. That is our prayer this week. We pray that the Power of God in the Flesh, the Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son, would stir us up. Stir up our hearts, O Lord…for we are in danger of growing bored and cold. Our flesh is weak. We are tempted to neglect the watch, to indulge our baser desires, to forget who we are and what we are waiting for. We need the Lord to stir up our hearts, to rouse us from selfish slumber, to prepare and make us ready for His coming: now in Word and in Sacrament and soon in glory.
The Spirit stirs us to repentance. It is like being awakened too early on a dreary December day. We’d rather roll over and bury ourselves in the covers than repent. When they were frozen, our hearts were numb. But as they thaw at the Spirit’s stirring, they shoots needles of pain into our souls. Turning from our sin and towards God is difficult, painful. Nonetheless we pray that He would stir us up, for if He doesn’t, we die an eternal death. The Word of God is a sword. It is meant for killing. It cuts us off from our old life. It exposes our shameful weaknesses. We may have fooled men, but we never fooled God. He saw the things we did in secret. He heard the black thoughts and depraved fantasies that played out in the backs of our minds. Repent. God knows what you’ve done, what you’ve dreamed, what you’ve thought. And yet, despite that, He loves you.
He became a servant. He suffered under the Law you failed to keep. He did all that it demands. He abstained from all that it forbids. He then allowed the Law to do to Him all it should have done to you. He has fulfilled the Law; it can ask no more. There is no one to accuse you. He has gone to the sacrifice willingly, as the Lamb to the slaughter. He has counted you worthy of that price. He gladly paid for you. He does not regret it. He loves you. The promise made to the fathers is that this mercy endures forever. He is your hope and your salvation.
Look up. Lift up your heads. Your redemption draws near! His Word will not pass away. It is true. It is valid. It is certain. All will happen just as He said it would. This enduring and gracious Word made flesh was placed into you in the waters of Holy Baptism. He made you His. He cannot forget you. You are His Bride. God has joined you together. No man can put you asunder. You have left your father the devil and become one flesh with the crucified and risen God of Abraham. Heaven and earth will fail, but His Word will not pass away…and because of that, you will not pass away. You will live forever. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always.  Amen.

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