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Last Sunday of the Church Year

November 25, 2018 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Mark 13:24–13:37

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Mark 13:24-37
Date: November 25th, 2018; Last Sunday; Series B
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • “We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
  • Those words were the antiphon (the first and last verses) of the Introit we sang today. 
  • These words are very fitting for this Last Sunday of the Church Year. 
  • This Sunday when our focus is looking forward to the day when Jesus returns and everything is made new.  A new heaven and a new earth.  A new you. 
  • We look forward to that day when sin and death will be no more. 
  • That sin that causes such trouble, pain, and sorrow, that sin that leads to our death - will be no more. 
  • Instead, it will be the home of righteousness.
  • It will be the home of health and vitality, of love and light, of life.
  • We are looking forward to this and we cling to God’s promises that this is our future.
  • But before that home of righteousness comes - this home, this old sinful world, must first die. 
  • That is the way it is with God.  That’s the way he makes all things new - through death and resurrection. 
  • That’s how he makes us new - by joining us to the death and resurrection of Jesus in Holy Baptism. 
  • Through water and the Word, he drowns and kills the old sinner in us - and then raises us to new life. 
  • And every time that old sinner reappears and resurfaces - we drown him again in repentance, remembering our Baptism and the promises of forgiveness and life that God gives to us through that blessed sacrament.
  • Remembering the promise we received through those washing waters that our tombs will be as empty as Jesus’ tomb, and his home will be our home - the home of righteousness.
  • The world must die to be made new. 
  • We heard that in the readings today.  Isaiah said that the heavens will vanish like smoke, and the earth will wear out like a garment. 
  • Jesus said that heaven and earth will pass away, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
  • But with Jesus, death is not the end.  His victory over death is our victory over death.
  • His victory is our victory now - but we don’t experience it fully yet.
  • Now we sit at the bedsides of dying family and friends, and we watch our world passing away. 
  • But in the midst of death, we have God’s Word that comforts us and gives us hope. 
  • As we heard in our reading from Isaiah, the heavens and the earth are vanishing and wearing out - but God’s salvation is forever.  His righteousness will never be dismayed.
  • Or as Jesus put it, “Truly, I say to you…Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mark 13:30).
  • And so we cling to Jesus’ eternal words of promise.
  • We cling to Jesus’ words of promise that we have heard throughout this Church Year that is now ending.
  • The words of forgiveness spoken to sinners, prostitutes, paralytics, and even the criminal hanging on the cross next to him. 
  • His powerful words that healed lepers, drove out demons, and raised the dead. 
  • His words also give you healing and life - now and on the Last Day.
  • We heard his words that changed water into wine, his words that made five loaves of bread and two fish enough to feed over 5,000 people.
  • And we hear his words today, “This is my body, this is my blood - given and shed for you. Take and eat. Your sins are forgiven.  Eternal life is yours.”
  • We heard his words of comfort and promise, that he will be with us always and that he is coming back to take us to the place that has been prepared in eternity for us.
  • These words give us comfort, peace, and hope.  
  • These are words of promise that will never pass away.
  • Heaven and earth will pass away, but these words will not.
  • We need not fear the signs we see happening in the news and even in our lives.
  • When we’re tired and everything seems to be falling apart, we need not fear that  Christ has abandoned us. 
  • Rather, every sign of the end is a quiet reinforcement of the sureness of Jesus’ victory and his Word, which will never pass away. 
  • In Isaiah, the Lord says, “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever.” 
  • We are free from the fear and anxiety that the world can cause. 
  • The chaos and trouble of this world are signs that serve as a reminder that Jesus will return to gather us and all of his faithful.
  • As summer follows spring, so will eternal life follow the tribulations we face today.
  • “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24–25).
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The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.