Home Resources Sermons Recent TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – NOV. 13, 2016
TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – NOV. 13, 2016 PDF Print E-mail

TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – NOV. 13, 2016
TEXT: MATT. 24:15-28; 1 THESS. 4:13-18; EX. 32:1-20
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the Church at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. Amen.


In American politics these past weeks the major parties made incredible promises if elected. The major parties also foretold titanic threats if others were elected. Dear Christians, none of the threats identified by either party correctly reveal the greatest threat facing you. It is something the politics of our land simply does not understand.


Jesus does understand. Greater than any external enemy He names the supreme threat to you His church as false teachers. In this real sense, the Church is more dangerous to you than the world is. False teachers saturate this discourse of Jesus. Amid wars and rumors of wars with famines and earthquakes in various places – Jesus does not counsel you to stockpile and strategize a plan to run for the hills.  Jesus does say, “see that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying ‘I am the Christ…’”  False Messiahs, secular and spiritual will abound. In this messianic soup Jesus warns that many will fall away, betraying and hating one another. He adds, Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. The lawlessness He speaks of has to do with God’s law and doctrinal corruption – not primarily lawlessness on the streets. Such doctrinal lawlessness rewrites the Ten Commandments to speak and live as one wants and it therefore also despises God’s loving forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Dr. Luther said of what Jesus reveals here – “Those who have the teaching office will become the devil’s tools (LW, Vol 68, p. 275).


Greater than any external enemy Jesus names the supreme threat to you His church as false teachers. It was holy week (Matt. 26:2). Jesus had earlier wept over the holy city seeking to gather her like a hen gathers her chicks (Matt. 23:37). In these last days of temple teaching His disciples had pointed to the impressive temple buildings. Jesus had prophesied that not one stone would be left on another (24:1). Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives in private with His disciples, they asked Him – “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”  That’s when Jesus poured forth the great threat of false teachers and warned of the love of many growing cold. He added - But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. That was Jesus’ preface to today’s Gospel. His answer here to “when these things will be” commences with the abomination of desolation spoken of the by the prophet Daniel and concludes with Jesus’ words - Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures (also translated as the eagles) will gather.


Notice that these false end-time teachers are those who find Christ in un-promised places. These false messianic figures are winners in this world - not wimps. Like Joel Osteen, they seem to be prospering spiritually and materially. Beloved, you should not believe everyone who speaks with glowing certainty and enthusiasm about Jesus. Jesus warns against their powerful displays. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible even the elect. See I have told you beforehand. In great tribulation, when pain is prolonged, when suffering is severe, when disappointment is deep, our hearts long to be warmed by immediate and measurable signs and wonders and success.


But notice again that the effect of the alluring attraction is to pull you away from where Jesus has promised to be. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. The wilderness or desert is often viewed as the place of solitude and spiritual revelation and inner rooms as the places zealous gatherings and secret wisdom. Look – look – here’s the answer!  Look – look this is the one!  Look – look this impressive sign surely seals the deal!  But don’t you believe it!


Jesus was warning His generation of their immediate future. In 70 AD when the standards of the Roman Eagle drew near time was of the essence. Searching for food or for clothing meant deadly delay. Running for the hills was the order of the day. The historian Josephus recounts that great tribulation. He notes over a million killed in the Jewish War – culminating in the crushing destruction of Jerusalem – preceded by cannibalism - followed by captivity.


Between Jesus’ words of immediate impending destruction and the end of the world - also stretches a period of great tribulation. The world’s final calamity is signified by the fall of Jerusalem. As the world ambles toward its end, Jesus does not promise His own a pre-tribulation rapture. He does not promise salvation from tribulation but in the midst of tribulation (Matt. 24:9). He does not promise His Church freedom from trouble but He does promise to be an ever-present help in trouble. In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.


Finding refuge in Him will be essential in order to endure to the end - because false teachers will also remain until the last day. None of the threats trumpeted by political posturing reveal this greatest threat facing you. Conversely none of the promises of political posturing approach the certain and abiding salvation and security Jesus conveys to you in just one word. That word is Elect.   For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.  But it is not possible. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.  In the rise and fall of nations – in the events of history – in leveling His city of Jerusalem or bringing His people back from captivity - God acts for His elect.


But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. God’s eternal election of you is found in the Word which leads you to Christ. God’s eternal election is the cause of your salvation. The…Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace…(Eph. 1:3-6).


You cannot make judgments regarding your election based on your reason or on the law or on outward appearance. God does not want you to brood about this matter – nor let it cause you to despair nor let it lead you to find false comfort in yourself. The foundational truth is that He is utterly serious in His desire that all should come to him (Ezek. 33:11; 18:232; Matt. 1:28; Rom. 11:32; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). He is utterly serious in His desire to give you all things in His revealed Word and Holy Sacraments in Christ and to never thrust you away. False prophets will act so to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.  But it isn’t possible. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28). Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom. 8:35).  Nothing - in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39). In God’s steadfast love for you in Jesus, He never thrusts you away and Jesus exhorts you never to thrust His words away.


As you look back and wonder how it is you have come to be His, - baptized into His name as were Hongrui and Audrey Grace today – knowing the disfiguring leprosy of sin that clings to you and the severity of God’s judgment it deserves – hungering for the righteousness of that only Christ’s cleansing blood gives you – how is it that you are His?  God gives you the answer!  He did it!  He chose you!  You have been made righteous apart from you own works and merit purely on the basis of grace for Christ’s sake. He speaks this beautiful comfort of His personal action for your salvation.  Nothing in these last days will lead astray God’s elect. Therefore - Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!


For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures (the eagles) will gather. The Lord you wait for is the one around whose corpse the Roman eagles gathered on Calvary. It was an abomination – the desolating sacrilege – that the holy temple of His person – His body - was made to be both curse (Gal 3:13) and sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Let the reader understand – the crucifixion of Jesus - the destruction in the holy place – is the center of human history. It emphasizes the totality of the coming destruction. It proclaims the totality of our salvation.  The people of Jesus’ day were to flee to the hills because salvation was no longer found in Jerusalem. From that time it is found in His flesh – His corpse around which the standards of the Roman eagle gathered.


Now it is we who gather around His body and His blood. The risen Christ no longer bids you to flee to the hills. He does, however bid you to come to Him in your weariness – to eat His body – to drink His blood – to receive His forgiveness. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh (John 6:51). The life-giving fruits of His saving death are at work – presenting you holy and blameless before Him – to the praise of his glorious grace. Look, look here He is – in the water with His Word. Here He is – at His table – just as He promises – for you!  Here He is in His word which does exactly what He says.


You mean His election of you – His choosing of you still stands?  You mean He still lavishes His love upon you – love that doesn’t grow cold?  You mean He still comes after you and to you with His glorious undeserved grace?  You mean that even though you falter and flicker and grow faint He is totally faithful in His service to you and intercession for you in His Son?  You mean He will bring to completion what he has begun in you?  You mean even in the grip of death – even when the earth is crumbling – even against the hellish flood – he holds you in His hand and will not let you go? 


YES!  For the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.


Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.


In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

 

Recent Sermons


Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c11/h07/mnt/202949/domains/lmcusc.org/html/modules/mod_latestnews/helper.php on line 109

Worship with Us!

Divine Service
Sundays @ 9:00am
Mondays @ 7:00pm

Bible Study
& Sunday School
Sundays @ 10:30am
 
Morning Prayer (Matins)
Wednesdays @ 8:30am