Audio and Text for Advent 1, 2016 (Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 21:1-11)


Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep.  For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  The night is far gone, the day is at hand.  So then, let us cast off the works for darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.  

You know the time.  It’s a New Year and with that new year you are re-introduced to Jesus.  Allow Him to re-introduce Himself.  He is your King.  He is riding into Jerusalem so He right rule you in peace and righteousness by receiving the wrath that your sins deserve on the cross in the holy city.  Other kings rule by anger and fear and paranoia and control, but this King rules by love and trust in Him, though there is always room for holy fear.

Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble…

Your King is no wimp.  He is a giant, but a gentle, loving giant.  You don’t want to make Him angry.  He is not tame, but He is good.  And He is coming – soon.  Salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed. 

As introductions are happening, perhaps you should re-introduce yourself to Him, as well.  As things around you look like they’re dying, like trees, grass and bushes – introduce yourself as one who is dying as well.  Advent is a time that we increase our “Lord, have mercy’s” and consider all that much more, that as the days get shorter and the nights get longer, as darkness increases and light decreases, how much darkness we have still left in our hearts.

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery.  (How is your sexual purity in what you say and do?  How is the love you have for the spouse God has given you?)  You shall not murder.  (Do you have anger?)  You shall not steal.  (Are you generous with what God has given you?)  You shall not covet.  (Are you happy?)  or any another commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no wrong a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 

A final word about introductions: Scripture does something rather surprising.  God introduces Himself – not too surprising there.  God helps us properly introduces ourselves to Him and to others – not too surprising there, either.  The shock?  Scripture also introduces you to you.

Jesus it not only King, He is your King.  Your believe in Him.  He is in you and you are in Him.  You are a child of day, a child of the light.  You have woken from sleep – Jesus has raised you from the dead already.  You are baptized.  You have been freed.  He has cast off the works of darkness for you to walk Him properly as in the daytime.  Not covering your sins, but confessing them and living in the His light of love and humility to each other.

One of the oldest terms for Christians is word “enlightened.”

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel and enlightened me with His true gifts.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim that praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not obtained mercy but now you have obtained mercy.  (1 Peter 2:9)

“So, old sinful, fearful, angry, lustful, worry-filled self,” God says, “Let me re-introduce you to the new you.  The baptized you.  The you that Christ has put on you.”

As a child, I used to put on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask.  It did something to me.  It made me jump higher, kick harder, and be more brave.

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is present in many ways to be put on.  Your baptism.  His absolution.  Your prayers to Him.  The Lord be with you.   His rescue from the perils that threaten you.  His body and blood given and shed in Jerusalem and present here at this Mount Calvary.  Once He came in blessing, now He comes, the Lord, our righteousness is His name.  His Word put on you– these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ – He does something to you.  You’re a little more brave, a little less fearful.  More forgiving.  Less angry knowing that He is the King.  Seeing a little more clearer with sober minds.

Salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed – salvation is present here.  You know the time.  He as re-introduced Himself to you in a new way and has re-introduced you to you.  Amen.

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