hands_2727cPentecost 24, 2017 Proper 28
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
November 19, 2017
Zephaniah 1:7-16, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Matthew 25:14-30

Sermons online:
Text:                            pastorjud.org
Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com
itunes:                         bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:    bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

Have you ever been channel surfing through the religion channels and come across a television preacher who keeps warning that Jesus is coming back?  Over and over the warning is there.  Judgment day is coming.  Jesus is returning.  Be prepared.  It can sound like some sort of crazy idea; all this talk about Jesus coming back.

What kind of people are always thinking about Jesus coming back; what kind of people get caught up living life always thinking about Jesus returning.  What kind of people would do that?

I’m looking at some of them right now…if I take you at your word.  You are those people.  Every time you confess the Nicene Creed you say, “I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”

“I look for the resurrection of the dead.”  You look for judgment day to come.  You look for the judgment day to come when there will be no more sin, no more temptation, no more evil, no more hatred, no more sickness, no more mourning, no more death.  That is really something to look forward to.  Those in Christ we have buried will rise from the dead to eternal life with the Lord.  For those in Christ, the judgment day will be a day of relief and comfort and restoration.

You look for Jesus to return, but you don’t know when.  Paul says this in our Epistle reading today, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 (ESV) 1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.[1]

So, unlike the TV preachers, we do not try to figure out the day when Jesus is coming back, but we still look for Jesus to return.  We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.

But judgment day will not be good for everyone.  So many people go through life believing they don’t need Jesus.  They think all is well.  Everything is great.  There is peace.  There is security.  But they don’t realize Jesus is coming back.  And when Jesus returns it will be terrible for those who have rejected Jesus.  There will be sudden destruction like labor pains coming on a pregnant woman.  Destruction will come upon them and there will be no escape.  For those outside of Christ; those living in the darkness, the judgment day will be a terrible day.  It will be the first day of an eternity of suffering for those in the darkness.

1 Thessalonians 5:4 (ESV) 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.[2]

You are all children of the light, children of the day.  You live in the light of Christ.  You live with the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus flowing into your life and forgiveness flowing out of you to others mingled with love and service.

You are children of the day waiting for the day of the Lord to come.  You are children of the day that has already happened on that hill called Calvary outside Jerusalem.  You are a child of the day when Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, suffered, died and rose again from the dead.  And you are children of the day looking forward to the day when Jesus returns.

1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 (ESV) 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.[3]

Keep spiritually awake.  Remember, you are baptized.  Remember who you are in Christ.  Read your Bible.  Pray always.  Come to church to be refreshed with the Lord’s blessed forgiveness in His Word and in His Body and Blood.  And be sober.  Spiritual and physical drunkenness are dangerous.

To be clear, drunkenness is not having a couple of drinks.  Drunkenness is being a fool and everyone else realizes it except you.  They mock you and you are unaware.  Drunkenness is stumbling and falling and being unable to get up. Drunkenness is being defenseless; helpless and vulnerable.  You can’t see danger coming.  Physical drunkenness is dangerous.  Spiritual drunkenness is even more dangerous as you are blown about by every wind and new idea; defenseless against false teaching.  To be drunk; to be a child of the darkness; to begin to forget you are baptized; to forget who you are in Christ, is a terrible, shameful, deadly thing.

You are a child of the light.  Be awake and sober.  When you are awake and sober physically and spiritually you can see things clearly.  You can see beauty in the world around you.  When you are awake and sober you can see truth.  You are strong and you can love and serve your neighbor with resolve.  When you are awake and sober you can follow the master.  You are wise and can live well.  When you are awake and sober you are open to real and lasting joy, truth and beauty.  You have your wits about you and can see to avoid danger.  When you are awake and sober you are dressed well.  You are protected by the breastplate of faith and love; faith in Christ and love from God to you, and love from you to your neighbor.

You are one of those people who are always looking forward to Jesus coming back.

When you are awake and sober you have a helmet; the helmet of hope.  You know Jesus is coming.  You are protected by the hope of salvation through Jesus Christ.  To be sober is good, waiting for the Lord to return.

And since you are waiting for Jesus to return, be your baptized self.  Since you are waiting, remember who you are; live out who you are.  Who are you?  You are a child of the light; a child of the day.  Live in the light.  And one more thing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)  11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.[4]  What an amazing thing to be able to gather together each week with other children of the light; to gather with all these here and countless millions around the world; children of the light who are looking forward to Jesus’ return.  How wonderful to be able to encourage one another through the trials of this life and the struggles against sin.  How incredible to build one another up so you know you are not alone when things are going badly.

Life is messy and full of crud.  But we have a God who entered into this messy, cruddy world, in a messy, humble way as that baby born to His virgin mother and laid in a manger in Bethlehem.  You have a God who took on Himself all of your messy, filth and paid the price for your sin so He could give you the pure, white robe of His righteousness.

You have been ransomed and cleansed by the blood of God in flesh; Jesus Christ.  You are a child of light; a child of the day.  You are one of those people who are always looking forward to Jesus coming back.

Open your bulletin to page 15.  Let’s say it together.  Open your bulletin to page 15 and let’s speak together the last two lines of the Nicene Creed.

“and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

You are children of the day.  Encourage one another and build one another up as you look for the resurrection of the dead.  Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.  Amen.

[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[2]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[3]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[4]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s