From the Text (Romans 13:11-14)
Romans 13:11- Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you(A) to wake from sleep – Happy New Year. Advent is the beginning of the Church year. This year, we want to begin by knowing the time. You, dear Christian, are the only one that really knows the time – because you know the One who created time, holds time in His hand, and knows the end of time – the end of your time and the end of this world’s time. He is your King. Your King has come, to die. What time is it, now? Your king is coming to you now – through His Word, humble, having salvation for you so in need of His coming and His salvation. What time is it? And your king will come in glory to judge the living in the dead, soon. Knowing that He came, broke into creation, God in the flesh; knowing that He is coming even now; knowing that He will come to bring an end to the old and begin anew, knowing that He is our king, we focus on this question today, “How shall we meet him?”
For our repentance
Romans 13:12 -The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us(D) cast off(E) the works of darkness and(F) put on the armor of light. – Light and darkness – Light and dark strike home this time of year as the days grow darker and it appears as if the sun is about to die. There are two problems with darkness, 1.) You cannot see where you are going, 2.) We might be tempted to think that no one can see us. We give in to the desires of the flesh because we think that in the darkness no one can see our sins. So infidelity abounds, and our unfaithfulness breeds quarreling and jealousy. Chaos ensues. The works of darkness throw us into a frenzy. But do we know what time it is? “The night is far gone; the day is at hand.” Christ has invaded our darkness and shines a light in our dark world and exposes our hidden sins. In the light we see the ugliness of our chaos. And so we put on the Lord Jesus Christ and become what he intended us to be—children of the light. We meet him as he calls us to meet him.
We are called to behave decently as in the day. Honor Christ in word and deed. You know the time. Drink deeply of his Spirit in the Holy Scriptures and at his Table today. You know the time. He comes today. Honor him with your bodies and take him wherever you go. Walk in peace with all those around you, as he himself is holding your hand. That is how we shall meet Him.
For our Comfort
We hear how He comes to meet us because we go to meet Him as He came to us – The Holy One of God, the name that is above every name, the Word that was always loving, saving, never flippant or hurtful. The Holy One who laid down his body, gave his blood to be shed, for our eternal good, never for his own pleasure. The Prince of Peace who reconciled God to man and man to each other by his sacrifice on the cross
For all the rebellion from the beginning of the world and even today, for all of your sinful desires to overthrow the King for your pleasures, He should come in anger and judgment, vengeance and wrath, reprisal and retribution. But instead he comes with salvation, to save His people from their sins. To save you from the devil and yourselves. He comes to die in your place, oh rebel, so that He could give you more than you sought to steal. He did not come to take the kingdom away from you and subject you to slavery. He came to liberate you from your sins, to give you freedom from death, to give you His kingdom forever in heaven.
We suffer in the chains and prison of our sins, our Lord comes to set us free. We come with shames of deeds done, shame enough for us to want to bury our heads in the sand, and Christ comes to honor us. He gives us his crown and treasures that moth, rust, time, sin, suffering, won’t ever destroy. Love caused His incarnation, love caused Him to embrace our lost and fallen race. Our debt can’t erase his love. Your guilt is removed. Peace and security was one and peace and security is given to you because He comes, today.
Romans 13:14 – “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” We want to celebrate with our Lord wearing our best! It is by being clothed with Christ that we are able to look forward to his return as salvation rather than judgment. He is coming, dear saints and you are clothed in Him. “All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). That has happened; it’s a done deal. Everything that Jesus accomplished by his first coming, his perfect life, sacrificial death, glorious resurrection, has been given to you in your Baptism. You are clothed with Christ by your Baptism. You are righteous, beautifully dressed for the eternal celebration. You are people of light performing deeds of light. By your Baptism, Christ is in you—and he is seen in you.
Last Sunday of the Church Year – November 23, 2014 (Matthew 25:1-13; 1 Thess. 5:1-10)
From the text
The virgins knew that the bridegroom was coming. When? They don’t know. What time? They don’t know. How long will they have to wait? They don’t know. What’s going to happen to them as they wait? They don’t know. Is there something that’s going to happen to warn them that he’s coming soon? Maybe or maybe not.
Perhaps each and every one of us know that we do not know the day or the hour of our very own death. Here today, gone tomorrow-with a freak accident or a sudden heart attack. We do not know the day or the hour. This isn’t meant to scare you. But our Lord does wish for us to wake up and to stay alert to be awake wide-awake, watchful, ready for the cry that the bridegroom has arrived at any hour, day or night
For our repentance
It is this uncertainty and what they do with this uncertainty of waiting that distinguishes the wise ones from the foolish ones. The wise ones are prepared to wait and wait and wait because they really know the bridegroom he’s coming. He is really coming! Uncertainty about these things should make us want to prepare for them even more. If a huge winter storm is coming, and we have no idea how it is going to affect us. We don’t know if the electricity is going to be out for a day or a week or a month, we don’t know how long our food is going to last, we don’t know how long our water is going to last, then we know have to prepare for it. God isn’t slow in coming; he’s patient and merciful. He doesn’t want anyone to perish; he wants all to come to repentance. But let no one say, “there’s always more time.” For you do not know the day or the hour. Repent.
But that is all before the bridegroom appears. And until the noise begins at midnight, until they wake up in the darkness and realize that they have no oil, and there are no merchants, that they cannot buy their way in, and there is no sharing, for one must say “I believe”. You cannot share faith with someone else. You can confess to them, but you can’t share your faith. The foolish see that the door is slammed and locked. No amount of pounding and pleading is going to open it. They had a place at the wedding party. Christ died for all without exception. They had a seat at the table with their name on it. And in their foolish figuring, in thinking that they knew better than the bridegroom, then the Lord who created them and redeemed them and gave them His Word to make them wise — in this foolishness, they lost out, they are unrecognized. “I don’t know you.” He invited them, but now he does not know them.
For our comfort
So, wise one – waiting ones – be wise. You come today to get your lamps filled up. To help you wait. To help you be patient. To help you repent and believe that your Jesus, your bridegroom, really is coming. Today your Jesus fills your lamps with more forgiveness then you have sin. More life than you have death. More joy than you have sorrow. Our Jesus gives us oil to keep our lamps burning, to help us wait, until he comes to be with us at last.
We are confident that the bridegroom is coming. We just don’t know when. But we do know who we wait for, and our Jesus knows you. He is the one who died on the cross for you, who rose from the grave for you, sits enthroned in majesty for you. He is the one who baptized you, who forgives you, who feeds you his body and blood, who anoint you with his Spirit through His Word. There is more oil that this Jesus gives to us that can be possibly burned in all of our lifetime. God has not destined us for wrath, God has not destined you for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
Paul says amazing words here in first Thessalonians. He says that you are not in darkness, brothers and sisters, for that day to surprise you like a thief. You are all children of light, children of the day. He doesn’t just say that you shouldn’t be in darkness. He doesn’t just say that you shouldn’t act like you are in darkness. He says you are not in darkness. You are children of the light. The Son has redeemed you and made you his brother, so that you are children of the heavenly father. You are of light. We are called to not act according to darkness, because we are not of darkness. We are called to not act in foolishness, in anger, in lust, in gossip, in despair because we have been made wise. And our Lord gave us that wisdom, continues to fill our lamps up with that wisdom, with his good Spirit.