S-1218 1SIA/3A 11/28/10 Hymns (O) #55 vv 1-3; (S)#239; LS #60; #62; #457(C) #55 vv 4
Text: Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 21:1-11
Theme: “This is NOT A Game!” (Romans 13:11)
Question: “Do you enjoy playing game?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our 1st Sunday in Advent is from the Epistle lesson: “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” (Romans 13:11).
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
People of God, chosen and beloved perhaps you are like me and many others. Whenever we get together, we play games to pass the time. Many of us enjoy playing games such as cards, monopoly, patience, cranium, cribbage and the like. These games challenge us to be sharp and do the best that we can, so we can be declared the winner.
However, there are certain places and times when it is not wise to play a game. You would be very foolish if you were in the middle of an airport and hollered I have a bomb. You would be even more stupid, if you screamed as loud as you can on an airplane, I have a gun. If you did, you would be ushered to jail.
As we begin our Advent time, the Apostle Paul tells us that Christ’s second coming is not a game. Indeed, He is coming again. We know that He is coming, we just don’t know when. Therefore, we ought to be prepared for His Second coming. We shouldn’t take it lightly and dismiss it as many do, saying: “It will not happen soon! He has been raised from the grave for over 2 millennia, and He still hasn’t come. We have plenty of time. We can do what we want, live the way we want and not worry about it”.
But Christ’s Second coming is not a game. We know this as we continue in our march towards the closing of one season and opening of another season of the Church year. The Advent Season begins the new Church Year by calling our attention to the arrival of Jesus in past, present and future. He came once as the incarnate Son of Mary, who would grow up to be the promised Messiah through the cross and resurrection. He comes now to His Church in Word and Sacrament. He will come on the Last Day in glory, majesty and power. The tension in this season is between now and not yet. PAUSE.
Living between now and not yet is the challenge for the believer. Pastor Paul states: “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” Indeed, the time has come to wake up from sleep because we are drawing closer to the Second coming. The signs are all around us—wars and rumors of wars, famine, earthquakes and hatred galore. Hatred fills many homes. Families are divided, children against parents and parents against children. Siblings fight and bicker over estates and trusts. Pastor and people don’t see eye to eye as far as ministry is concerned.
It seems as the years pass, people are less attentive to the Word of God, His Mission and ministry. People live in their own worlds oblivious to the danger that is approaching. Many are asleep not knowing how imminent that danger is (even though there are many signs) like the iceberg that hit the Titanic and caused it to sink to the bottom with catastrophic results.
Paul in his letter to the church at Rome wants to shake the saints then and us today in realizing that the day of our salvation is nearer now that when we first believed. The time for us to awaken is now, not later. Now is the day of salvation. Now is the time for us to be awake and preparing for His Second coming.
I’m always amazed how people prepare for so many things in their lives, but not for their final day when they meet the Lord or when He returns. This past Friday was the biggest shopping day of the year. Many people prepared ahead of schedule to awaken early and head to the stores to get the item they want. Others spent the day preparing their home or business for the upcoming Christmas season by placing decorations. Still others began to write their Christmas cards and prepare to send them out.
Yet, many fail to prepare for the most important day of their lives—the day when they will stand in the Presence of the Incarnate Son of God and the Son of Mary Jesus. Many ignore all of the signs and don’t prepare for their departures from this earth. All know that death will come, but they don’t prepare for it. PAUSE.
Many times I have sat with family at a crucial time in their lives when one of their loved ones has gone to be with the Lord. Even though the family member had been ill for sometimes, not a word was mentioned as to the request of that day or what they wanted done for their funeral. How sad that is. How ill prepared they are to face the events that will alter their lives forever. It is foolish to ignore the fact that the end is coming and Christ will return soon.
Living on this earth is not a game. We are here for a short time. By God’s grace 70-80 years, but the time will come when the bell will toll, the music will stop. Then what? Will we be prepared to spend our eternity with Jesus? Are we busy carrying out the ministry of the Gospel? Are we making investment in things that will not be stolen, rotted out or rusted?
Beloved in the Lord, our lives as Christians are not a game. We are still on this earth for one reason to live all of our lives to bring glory and honor to the Lord of the Universe. We live to look back at His first coming in the manger as the Savior of the World, and His Second coming as the Judge Eternal; so that we might be with Him forever.
Indeed, it was not a game for Jesus to come to earth to be the Savior of the world. It was not a game for Him to humble Himself and lay on the straw of a manger. It was not a game for Him to grow up in the village of Nazareth being obedient to His parents. It was not a game when He spent three years of His life equipping the 12 and others to carry on His ministry of forgiveness of sin and peace. It was not a game for Him to suffer and be beaten. It was not a game for Him to go to the Hill and give up His crown for a cross. It was not a game for Him to die and be buried. It was not a game for Him to endure all of this for your sake and mine.
Our salvation is not a game. It cost Jesus His crown, His heart, His blood, and His all—His life, so that you may have a crown, a heart like His and to dine with Him at His table eating His body and drinking His blood so that you may have life and have it abundantly.
Saints in Christ, the life of the Christian is not a game. The time is getting closer and closer for us to depart. Time is getting critical! The Two minute warning has begun!. When was the last time you thought about His return? When was the last time you paid attention that the day is approaching? Know this faithful friends our salvation is closer now than when we first believed and by God’s grace alone we will be prepared because the Holy Spirit will make us aware that our salvation wasn’t a game and neither is the salvation of others.
God grant us the joy and privilege to continue to live for Him as we prepare our hearts and heads for His Second coming. And when He returns may He find us sweeping the sky with the radar of faith watching and waiting. Amen.
Now the peace of God…