nullPentecost 26
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
November 18, 2018
Daniel 12:1-3, Hebrews 10:11-25, Mark 13:1-13

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The sand slowly, steadily, falls through the narrow opening in the middle of the hourglass and drops onto the large pile of sand below the neck.  As you watch, the sand never speeds up, never slows down, it just continues to fall and the sand pile at the bottom continues to grow…ever so slowly.

You look up to see how much sand is left, but the top of the hourglass is painted black.  There is no way to know how much sand remains.  This is the way it is with time.  Time for us is not so much hands on a clock going round and round but more like an hourglass with a blackened top.

This applies to the time of your life.  You can count how much time has passed, how many birthdays you have had, but you don’t know how much more time there is to go.  You know that you will die one day, but you do not know if it will be soon, or after a while.  How much sand remains in the top of your hourglass?  It also applies to the time of this world.  There is a very large pile of sand that has already passed through the narrow neck but you do not know how much more sand there is to come.  How long until the last day?  There may be only a few more grains, or there may be a tremendous pile of sand still to go.  You don’t know when the end will come for you individually or for the world, but you do know the end is coming.  You do not know when, but you know it will happen.   How much sand is left in the top of the glass?

In our Old Testament reading Daniel writes about the time when the sand runs out, Daniel 12:1 (ESV) 1 “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.[1]     At this time the multitudes that sleep in the dust of the earth will awaken from the dead.  Some will awake to everlasting life.  Some awake to shame and everlasting contempt.  We see here clearly that the Old Testament teaches a resurrection of the dead.

The time is coming when the sand will run out.  The thought of this can cause you to be downcast and frightened.  But, on that day, the Archangel Michael will arise and we also find Michael also in Revelation, Chapter 12.

Revelation 12:7-9 (ESV) 7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him [2]

Michael cast the devil down from heaven.  The devil has been cast down, so do not be downcast.  Jesus has conquered sin for you.  Jesus has conquered death for you.  Jesus has conquered the devil for you.  Jesus, the Lamb of God dying on the cross and rising from the dead destroyed the power of the devil to deceive you; Jesus destroyed the power of Satan to accuse you.  Do not be downcast.  The devil has been cast down.

As a baptized child of God you have God’s name watered onto you.  God has declared you to be His own.  He promises to save you.  The suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus have been credited to you.  All the sacrifices of birds, and lambs, and bulls at the temple did not take away sins.  Jesus takes away sins.  Jesus is the once-for-all sacrifice; the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

            When the sand runs out and the last day has come, it will be a great day for those in Christ.  It is truly something to look forward to with great expectation.  Something for which to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Hebrews 10:11-14 (ESV) 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.[3]

Jesus, the Lamb of God, has saved you and is sanctifying you; making you holy.  Your name has been written in the book of life and on the last day you will be delivered to eternal life.  You receive the Body and Blood of Christ to strengthen and preserve you in true faith to life everlasting.  In Jesus you have the promise that on the last day you will shine like the brightness of the sky and live forever with Jesus.  On that day when the sand runs out, there will be no more sin, no more evil, no more cancer, no more heart disease, no more addiction, no more grief, no more trouble, no more tears.

When the sand runs out and the last day has come, it will be a great day for those in Christ.  It is truly something to look forward to with great expectation.  Something for which to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

You expectantly pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!” but in the meantime you wait and watch the sand fall slowly through the hourglass of time and you endure the difficulties of this life.  Jesus warns about many troubles.  There will be arrests and trials and executions.  People will hate you because you have the name of Jesus on you.  Those who put their faith in the things of this world will hate those who have faith in Jesus.  The things of this world will pass away, but you who have faith in Jesus will endure.

The disciples spend most of their time in the humble areas around the Sea of Galilee.  So these country boys are quite impressed by the magnificent temple in Jerusalem.  One of them exclaims, “Mark 13:1 (ESV) 1 … “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”[4]  The disciple is awe-struck by the temple which Herod the Great rebuilt and overhauled to become a grand architectural marvel.

Mark 13:2 (ESV) 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” [5]  In 70 AD the Romans do just that and destroy the temple and leave it a flattened field of smoldering debris.

The magnificent things of this world will pass away.  That shiny new car will so soon be a rusty bucket of bolts.  That new phone, new computer, new clothes, soon are obsolete and out of style.  Beauty and strength will fade.  The things of the world pass away.  Endure to the end clinging to eternal truth.  In the California wildfires over a thousand homes have been destroyed.  With horrifying speed the flames transform wonderful houses into piles of smoldering rubble.  The things of this life; even our lives themselves, will pass away.  There will be trouble.  Jesus teaches, Mark 13:6-8 (ESV) 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.[6]

Life is full of trouble.  The things that people want to cling to will not endure; but the truth of Jesus Christ will endure.  Stand firm through these troubled times with the confidence that comes from the blood of Jesus.  Hebrews 10:22-23 (ESV)
22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.[7]  The devil has been thrown out of heaven, but he is still actively pursuing those who follow Jesus.  He was thrown out of heaven and could not destroy the woman or her child.  Revelation 12:17 (ESV) 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus…. [8]

The devil is angry and is at war against you with his lies and accusations.  Hold fast to the confession of our hope in Jesus Christ.  Do it together.  It is dangerous to try to be a solo Christian because you do not go to war alone.  You put on the armor of God and together stand firm against the assaults of the devil because you know Jesus has already defeated him.  Endurance through difficult times is done together, as the Church, the Body of Christ on earth.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.[9]

Times are tough.  People will hate you and worse.  Do not be downcast.  The devil has been cast down.  He has been defeated.  His war against us is only a last gasp of desperation.  Stand firm.  Keep meeting together, keep watch, endure.  The sand is running out and the end is coming.  Come, Lord Jesus.  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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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