Sunday, November 08, 2020

Sermon for 11/8/2020: Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year

RIGHT-CLICK HERE to save the sermon audio.

I'm sorry. I thought I had the video issue fixed, but I cannot find the video file on the camera's memory card.


The End Is Near

Matthew 24:15-28


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


The end is near. And it sure seems like the end times right now, doesn’t it? We have a virus that has sent us scurrying into the dark recesses of our homes for over six months, crippling our economy, sending us into hospitals, and turning us into hermits. Over thirty named tropical storms have sprung up this year, including numerous hurricanes that have landed on United States soil. We have Asian murder hornets making their way to our country. We have a crisis of addiction to painkillers. Cases of depression and anxiety, sometimes leading to suicide, have risen at an alarming rate. And of course, one can’t forget all the drama of this election cycle. This year has been a collection of disasters and nightmares.

And then there are the false teachers and messiahs Jesus warns about, with their shiny teeth and their private jets. Self-proclaimed Christian preachers are leading people to hell with false teachings. Perhaps you’ve heard the preacher who claimed that Jesus took His own life on the cross, which means to him that it is okay to commit suicide. Perhaps you’ve heard that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Perhaps you’ve heard the Pope himself proclaim that you don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven. They all sound terribly convincing, and they all claim the authority of the Word of God, even when what they say is against what the Lord has revealed to us in His Word.

Disasters, diseases, and false prophets: all of these things cry out to us that the end is near. The fact of the matter is, Satan didn’t give up on you the day you were baptized. Baptism painted a huge target on your back, as far as the devil is concerned. Jesus wouldn’t remind you of these flashy false teachers if there was no chance that they would make any progress with you. Their words are seductive and tempting. If there was no way they could lead you away from Him, He would have ignored them completely. If the signs had no chance of leading you astray, He wouldn’t mention them to you. The world around you is intriguing. You want to look a little more closely; you want to listen a little bit longer.

But what is a Christian supposed to do in the face of these flashy, seductive teachers? Run to your Baptism! You already have the truth. It is right there on your forehead and over your heart: the mark of one redeemed by Christ the crucified. Nothing the world has to offer is more powerful than what those bloody baptismal waters did to you. Nothing those false teachers can promise you can be better than what Jesus has already delivered to you. Even so, you will be tempted. You will look at what the world uses to distract you. When that happens, return to the font. Remember what that water and Word has done for you. You have already been rescued from Satan. You have been taken up in God’s strong arms and put in His kingdom. Rest in the arms of your Lord and listen when He speaks to you, because He will never lie to you. He will never deceive you.

                   The end is near. The signs are evident, and they are all around us. The false messiahs, the false teachers, they will try to mislead you, even from within the visible Church on earth. But you do not face these things alone, and their siren song is not the only voice you hear. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.” As we wait for that wonderful Last Day, look to Christ, for He will never let you be ashamed. Do not be afraid, for our Lord Jesus is returning soon. “Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” 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.

No comments: