November 29, 2015 Faith, Beaufort, SC
First Sunday in Advent 1812 Boundary St.
“He Comes to Us Today”
(Jeremiah 33:14–16; I Thessalonians 3:9–13; Luke 19:28–40)
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!
TEXT: Luke 19:38 ~ “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” This is our text.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.
Introduction: And so, it’s Advent and another Church Year begins! The King is coming to us, to save us! Hosanna! He came as a babe in Bethlehem to die for the sins of the world; He is coming again in all his glory to judge the living and the dead… And our focus for today: The King comes to us even today, through the Word and Sacraments.
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Not only is the King blessed, but so are we! We have peace with God – we have God’s Word on it!
This Word of God informs our hearts and leads to joy, true joy, based on the certainty we have in knowing that we have been saved, we will be saved, and we are saved, because God Almighty Himself says so. We can say with certainty:
“I just know in my heart…” “The Lord laid it on my heart…”
There’s a good reason those phrases may seem foreign and strange to us – we don’t usually speak that way. We know better than to trust our hearts – apart from the Word of God. We know what lurks in our hearts – apart from Christ.
I. Even though we know full well what often comes out of our hearts, we still insist on having too high an opinion of our own little hearts – apart from Christ.
A. “I used to be a poor miserable sinner.”
1. Chief of Sinners… though I used to be!
2. Paul called himself chief of sinners. He also grieved over his heart, which listened to both the Word of God and to the whispering temptations of the evil one: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing… I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
B. “We deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
1. The Truth: We are New Creations who delight in doing God’s will.
2. The Other Truth: “The rest of the story” is the Old Adam still clings to us to our dying day.
But that is not the full story! Oh, we wrestle with good and evil all our days and we long for the day when we’ll be set free from temptation, but we don’t wallow in self-pity and misery and fear – because we know we’re as good as saved already! Jesus already came to pay for our sins and set us free! He comes to us today in His Word to strengthen us for the journey! And we know with full certainty that He will come again to finally drown that Old Adam, never to rise again! We have God’s Word on it! We KNOW that He will present us:
II. “Blameless and holy” in your heart – in Christ!
A. “The Lord Is Our Righteousness.”
1. “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
2. Jesus did this through the great exchange on the cross:
Our sinfulness for His righteousness!
3. That’s why He came: He was born to die – and rise again! – to save us by dying for you, for the forgiveness of your sins!
B. He came to save us; He will come again to save us; He comes to us today, in His Word, to save us.
III. Stop trusting your fickle heart – apart from Christ, and know with certainty that Christ has saved you, is saving you, and will save you! God’s Word is much more trustworthy than your fickle heart.
A. Trust God by remembering what He did when He came to you in your Baptism, when God Himself washed you clean of all your sin and made you “blameless and holy.”
B. God comes to you in the Word, so be in the Word! Hear from God again and again His sacred promise to save you.
1. “I will remember your sin no more.”
2. “You are precious and holy in my sight.”
3. “I will wipe away every tear.”
C. God comes to you today in the Lord’s Supper, so drink deeply! Cling to God’s sweet promise, “Given for you, for the forgiveness of your sins.”
1. Feel the coolness on your lips and the warmth in your belly.
2. Smell the sweet aroma of forgiveness.
3. See and hear what God has done for you, for the forgiveness of your sins…
Conclusion: It’s all here in Advent: God’s full plan of salvation in Jesus Christ, Who comes to save us! Hosanna: “Save us now!”
It’s all here in our hymns today, too. Did you notice the hymns today are from the sections for Advent, and Christmas, and Lent, and Palm Sunday? No, I did not have a stroke while selecting the hymns for today! It’s all here in Advent:
We began by singing, “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”: The little children sang praises as Jesus arrives in Jerusalem – to take our place on the cross! We will likewise sing His praises when He arrives in all His glory. His death and resurrection for us is such good news that, if these disciples were silent, the stones would cry Hosanna! He comes to save us! This is Advent!
Then we sang, “Savior of the Nations, Come” and had to marvel at how “God of God, yet fully man… Who in flesh the victory won!” He comes to save us!
During Holy Communion we’ll sing, “My Song Is Love Unknown.” One moment we sing Hosannas to our King and the next minute… Well, listen to this:
“Sometimes they strew His way And His sweet praises sing,
Resounding all the day Hosannas to their King,
Then ‘Crucify’ is all their breath,
And for his death they thirst and cry.”
Why? Why would God give His only Son for that fickle heart? We certainly don’t deserve it… Well, thank God He comes to save us because He loves us, not because we’re worth it.
God came to save us, not because our little hearts are so precious, but because His is, His heart is love: “Love to the loveless shown that they might lovely be.”
Finally, we’ll sing, “Joy to the World.” Isaac Watts wrote this hymn with the Second Coming in mind and it still celebrates the joy of both the coming of God Incarnate in the manger of Bethlehem and in His full glory, when He soon returns:
“He comes to make his blessing flow…” through the glories of His righteousness and the wonders of His love. “And wonders of His love…”
He came as the sacrificial Lamb to save us;
He will come again in glory to finally save us;
He comes to us today to save us through His Word of forgiveness.
May the Lord lay on your heart… to be in that saving Word of God! As Jesus Himself said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”
Through that Word, Jesus will keep us covered with His righteousness until we shout for joy at His glorious return, when He comes to save us! Amen.
The peace of God, which is beyond understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen!