SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT – DEC. 7, 2014
TEXT: LUKE 21:25-36; ROMANS 15:4-13; MALACHI 4:1-6
THY KINGDOM COME
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all those at Luther Memorial Chapel who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


You pray for this everyday as you pray Our Father who art in heaven – Thy Kingdom come! In part you are praying for Judgment Day – for the return of the Son of Man – for the end of this troubled world. That day is coming – burning like an oven – when all evildoers will be stubble. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.


You pray for this everyday as you pray Father - Your Kingdom come! That day is coming – suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Jesus shifted from speaking of the temple and its destruction to the Day of Judgment and the world’s destruction. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.

 

You pray for this everyday as you pray Our Father who art in heaven – Thy Kingdom come! That day is coming and before it does, “There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
 

SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT – DEC. 7, 2014
TEXT: LUKE 21:25-36ROMANS 15:4-13MALACHI 4:1-6
THY KINGDOM COME
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all those at Luther Memorial Chapel who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


You pray for this everyday as you pray Our Father who art in heaven – Thy Kingdom come! In part you are praying for Judgment Day – for the return of the Son of Man – for the end of this troubled world. That day is coming – burning like an oven – when all evildoers will be stubble. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.


You pray for this everyday as you pray Father - Your Kingdom come! That day is coming – suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Jesus shifted from speaking of the temple and its destruction to the Day of Judgment and the world’s destruction. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.


You pray for this everyday as you pray Our Father who art in heaven – Thy Kingdom come! That day is coming and before it does, “There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.


Fellow Redeemed – a daily miracle to which we give too little thought and thanksgiving is God’s preservation of the world and life in it. Life for mankind is His gift not some accident of mindless matter that just blew itself into existence. Earthly life is the gift of the Holy Trinity and He sustains it at just the right distance from the sun with just the right depth of atmosphere with just the right rotation of this earth. He has sustained your heartbeat to the very start of this new Church Year –Advent 2014. The steady work of your heart is His gift to you this very moment. It may be His will to sustain it all the way through this Divine Service and for days and months and perhaps decades to come. Scripture testifies that all things were created through Jesus and for Jesus and then adds: And he is before all things and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17) All things including you – your body – and me – my body – are held together by Jesus.


The Day is coming when He will no longer hold all things together on this earth and in this cosmos. Our text describes apocalyptic, catastrophic changes – storms and tidal waves - upheaval affecting the sun and moon and stars. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. God informs us that the universe will not last forever. God’s designed and ordered creation will revert toward chaos. The Creator will withdraw His benevolence. The world becomes unglued!


We have been accustomed to think that the world is moving forward and upward – getting better and better. But the battle of evil against Christ and His kingdom becomes more embittered. Wars become more brutal. False teachers become more prevalent. World stability becomes less attainable. The book of Revelation is a cyclical book that alternatingly holds our feet over the fires of hell and lifts our eyes to the joys of heaven. But as one follows the cycles to Christ’s return – the graph is going down – not up! Change and decay in all around I see. That Day is coming – suddenly like a trap.


Yet you pray Our Father who art in heaven – Thy Kingdom come! Why do you voice this petition? The reason is not that you desire chaos and destruction. The reason is the great “And then.” For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. The coming of the Son of Man is the supreme matter of importance in this text. That title “Son of Man” is Jesus’ self-designation. It is a title that portrays Jesus as the servant who suffers but also as the exalted King whose reign is everlasting.


The Son of Man, who will return with power and great glory, then told them a parable. “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Jesus is speaking of a springtime view – heralding the nearness of a pleasant season of life and growth and beauty – all the trees in leaf.


Dear Christians – that which alone can stir up and gladden our hearts at the thought of end time (eschatological) destruction is the counterbalancing word of Jesus. All of the distressing and fear-producing signs that occur in these last days – Jesus pictures as a sign of the pleasant season coming. As soon as they come out in leaf, you…know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. He then adds, Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.


The phrase “this generation” is used nine times in the Gospel of Luke. It always describes the unbelieving portion of humanity. Jesus had repeatedly warned against false teachers (12:1; 17:23; 20:46). Now he warns against those things that obscure awareness of Jesus’ imminent return. As He does so, he makes clear that those who rejected the prophets and those rejecting Jesus during His earthly ministry – would have heirs and descendants who were still rejecting Him when the Last Day came.


Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. As heaven and earth pass away, fear and foreboding for “this generation” – for those who reject the saving gift of God in Christ – is indeed proper. However, amid all the chaos – as society and the world become unglued – Jesus gives to you a different perspective of heart.


Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. It’s like the introit from Psalm 80 – Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes.” The Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard, and you shall have gladness of heart. It’s like Malachi’s prophecy – You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Dear Christians, don’t be bent over in fear. Why? Because the perplexity and distress and fainting and shaking and quaking – discloses the comforting nearness of your redemption in full. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. The ultimate goal is to stand at last in the presence of the Son of Man (v. 36). The strength to stand comes from the words of the Lord which will not pass away. His words keep you prepared for the transition to the Eschaton – to the end of this troubled world. You and all believers will stand unharmed in Christ’s judgment greeting it with heads held high. That day will come soon – but it is not yet.


So, watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation (gorging) and drunkenness (guzzling) and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. Beloved you have strength to escape and to stand because the Son of Man did not escape. He did not stand but was laid low in death under God’s damning wrath. The strong Man of God’s right hand was the weakest of men on Calvary.


His voice didn’t sound majestic to those raising up their heads to view Him on that Day of Judgment a day on which there were also signs in the heavens. From the sixth to the ninth hour there was darkness over the whole land – while the sun’s light failed (Luke 23:44). Nature bore witness to that day when He who holds all things together – was himself torn asunder in death and Judgment.


But the Son of Man, made strong by the fullness of God, had more words to speak beyond the grip of the last enemy. Oh, death where is your sting? If trees in leaf bear witness to summer – the corpse on the tree of the cross bears witness to the most pleasant season of gracious redemption. On Easter morning He spoke words of peace – of absolution – to fearful, hiding, heads-bent-down disciples. Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold your salvation comes.” He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). Then, in the flesh, the Son of Man was taken up into heaven – a cloud taking them from sight


The ascended Christ comes to you today – still fresh from the grave – still speaking words of peace! The Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard,” “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and you shall have gladness of heart. How majestic are His words to you on this day “Take and eat – Take and drink – for the forgiveness of your sins.” 


How then do you stay awake (in the faith) at all times? How do you watch yourself so that your heart is not weighed down with gorging and gobbling and with endless worries about the things of this life. How do you and I stay awake when we don’t always understand what we pray for – even when we pray “Thy kingdom come?” When all is said and done, how are you able to stand before the Son of Man?


Only through the Word made flesh! His promise is sure. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. It is His word – that you should straighten up and raise your heads. It is His word that your redemption is drawing near even as all things come apart. He is your reason to stand tall. He is your reason to leap like a calf from the stall. St. Paul trumpets this hope repeatedly. For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.


Hope – hope – hope – hope! Not wishy-washy “I hope so.” But sure and certain hope based upon the word of the Son of Man. He is in the flesh because you need hope! He is in the flesh because he is the certain ground of all our hope. His speaks His eternal word to secure your hope. Your longing to be totally rescued – to attain complete freedom – to be free of anxieties and exhaustion and self-pity and pain is proper. That day is coming soon! So watch and stay awake – not depending on your own powers but on His word. “Stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”


He bids you regard the coming of Judgment Day as an occasion of great joy! And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. His crucifixion wounds are visible in His risen and glorified body. The powers of heavens will be shaken – but not the love of Your Father in heaven for you. Not even death – nor anything else in all creation can separate you from God’s love in Christ Jesus. When these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Jesus wants you to be confident in expectation of this blessed event. He came in Mary’s womb to deliver you from all the forces of sin and evil. Your strength to stand before the Son of Man comes from His words alone – which do not pass away. 


In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a