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Midweek Advent 1

December 5, 2018 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Advent

Passage: Luke 21:25–21:28

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Ezekiel 39:21-29; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 21:25-28
Date: December 5th, 2018; Midweek Advent 1
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • The word “Advent” is from the Latin adventus, which means “coming” or “appearing”.
  • During the season of Advent we prepare for, and focus on, the coming of Christ by his being born of a Virgin, the coming of Christ through his Word and Sacraments today, and the second coming of Christ when he will return to judge the living and the dead.
  • While Christmas is certainly part of our preparation and focus in this season of Advent, we don’t want to ignore these two other important aspects.
  • The liturgy can help us with this.
  • The liturgy is a wonderful gift that has been passed down to us that assists us in our preparation for Advent and for all of the seasons of the Church Year.
  • The liturgy is made up of two main parts: 1) the Service of the Word; 2) the Service of the Sacrament.
  • At the beginning of the Service of the Sacrament we have what is likely the oldest part of the liturgy - the Preface.  
  • It’s an ancient conversation between the pastor and the congregation: “The Lord be with you…And also with you”; “Lift up your hearts…We lift them to the Lord.”; “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God…It is right to give him thanks and praise.”
  • The Preface serves an introduction to the Proper Preface, which changes with each season or festival day of the Church Year.  
  • During our midweek Advent Services this year, we are going to be taking a closer look at the Proper Prefaces used for the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.
  • At the close of the Preface, the pastor says, “Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven…” reminding us that our worship is not limited by time or by space.  
  • We truly join with the heavenly beings and the saints of every age when we gather at the Lord’s Table for Holy Communion (this includes our loved ones who have departed in the faith).  For a time, the division between heaven and earth is gone. 
  • We begin our series tonight by taking a look at the Proper Preface for the season of Advent:  
It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, whose way John the Baptist prepared, proclaiming Him the promised Messiah, the very Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and calling sinners to repentance that they might escape from the wrath to be revealed when He comes again in glory.
  • These words in the Proper Preface for Advent speak of Jesus’ first coming as John the Baptist prepared the way by proclaiming Jesus of Nazareth, born of the Virgin Mary - to be the promised Messiah.
  • But we also hear words of Jesus’ second coming.
  • John the Baptist called sinners to repentance that we might escape from the wrath to be revealed when Jesus comes again in glory.
  • So, contained in the Proper Preface for Advent are words on Jesus’ first coming, and his second, when he will return to judge the living and the dead.
  • Our Gospel lesson for this evening helps us to prepare for when Jesus comes again in glory as it provides us with a glimpse of what to expect.
  • And it’s a terrifying scene.
  • There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars.
  • Nations will be distressed in perplexity because of the roaring sea and the waves. 
  • People will be fainting with fear and foreboding of what is coming into the world.
  • This definitely sounds like it’s something that we want to be prepared for.
  • It’s interesting to hear Jesus’ words at the end of our Gospel lesson.  
  • He said, “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads…” (Luke 21:28).
  • This is the opposite of what we are usually told to do when danger is near.
  • We are usually told to duck and take cover!
  • But Jesus said “…straighten up and raise your heads…”  (Luke 21:28). 
  • And the reason he is able to say this is because we will be prepared for our Lord’s return. 
  • We have nothing to be afraid of. 
  • We will be able to straighten up and raise our heads because the Last Day is going to be a day of joy for God’ people.
  • We have heard God’s call to repentance and the Holy Spirit has worked in us to bring us to recognize our sin, to feel sorrow for our sin, and to deeply desire God’s forgiveness.
  • We have heard the Good News that God took on our flesh, he became our brother, to save us.  
  • The Holy Spirit has worked through that Good News to bring us to believe and receive the salvation that Christ Jesus has won for us. 
  • The season of Advent is part of our journey that prepares us for the Last Day.
  • Just as John the Baptist helped the people of his day prepare the way for the arrival of the promised Messiah born in Bethlehem, so his words help to prepare us today - leading us to repent of our sins and to rejoice in the forgiveness won for us by the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
  • Because of all that Christ has accomplished for us - we will escape the wrath to be revealed when our Lord comes in glory - and he will lead us to everlasting life.
  • So until that day, get ready. Be prepared. 
  • Repent.  Be baptized.  Continue to hear the Good News of God’s grace and mercy for you.  Receive his faith nourishing and life giving true body and blood.  
  • Receive the forgiveness of the One who came for you in Bethlehem, who comes to you now through his Word and Sacraments, and who has promised to come one last time to gather us all for eternity.
  • When that Last Day comes you will be ready.  
  • “For the grace of God has appeared, brining salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
  • My brothers and sisters in Christ, “straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).  Amen.
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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.

More in Advent

December 12, 2018

Midweek Advent 2

December 9, 2018

Second Sunday in Advent

December 2, 2018

First Sunday in Advent