Archive for the ‘Luke 12:22-40’ Category

It’s Time!

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Rev. Brian Henderson, Pastor-Trinity Lutheran Church-San Diego
Pentecost 12C, August 12th, 2013

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“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes.” [Luke 12:35-37a]

Are you ready for Christ’s return?  He could come at any time.  Are you comfortable praying come Lord Jesus, come?  Do you really want Him to come now?  Some time ago, a person approached me  after Divine Service with this statement: “You know, I really wish you would quit preaching about how Jesus is coming back right soon.  And I also wish you would quit praying for Him to come  back soon.”  When I asked that person why we shouldn’t pray for His return, this is the answer I received: “Because there are a lot of things I still want to do, and now that my kids are grown and I  have the time and money to do them, every thing I planned for will be ruined, if Jesus comes back now!”

In our gospel lesson this morning (Luke 12:22-40), we are continuing our lesson from last week, when Jesus told us about the rich fool.  He was a fool, because he was rich in the things of this earth, but not rich in the things of God.  His new barns were over flowing with more than enough stuff to ensure an easy life on earth, but he had made no investment in the eternal life to come.  In other words, he was not ready for Christ’s return.  The person who was offended by my prayer, “Come Lord Jesus, come!” was also another example of someone who was not ready.  Are you ready?  Would it be alright with you if He came back right now?

Jesus calls the rich man who was not ready and the person offended by my prayer for Christ’s return a fool.  They were fools because their god was their stuff, and their own desires.  They lacked  faith in the great reward or prize that God promises to give to those who have faith.  What is faith?  Well, in our Epistle reading (Hebrews 11:1-16) we are told that “faith is the assurance of things  hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” [v. 1]  So what is it that you are hoping for?

Are you afraid of Christ’s return, or are you by faith believing that it will be as wonderful as He says it will be?  If you’re afraid, remember the Word of encouragement that God spoke to Abram in  our Old Testament reading (Genesis 15:1-6), because it is a Word for you as well: “Fear not, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” [v.1]

Jesus also speaks words of comfort to you; Words that are meant to take away your fear about His return and about the time you spend waiting and preparing for His return.  Listen: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

In those wonderful Words, we are first given courage, and then we are given instructions on how to live out courageous lives as we wait for Jesus to come back again.

You should not be afraid because you are one of Jesus little lambs; you are part of His flock, a person of faith that He loves dearly.  And because Jesus loves you, His Father, our Father in Heaven has prepared a great reward for you… a home; a place in heaven!  Now with this knowledge about Jesus return, whether it is on the last day of all creation or the day of your death; you are not given any reason for worry, because God is preparing a place for you!

Now, this information should give you great joy; peace with God’s plans for both you and the rest of creation.  And this gift of joy should be what determines how you live the rest of your life.  In other words, you should be able to see your stuff, your money and all of your possession as unimportant outside of how God wants you to use them for. You should be able to agree with God that they are His to give and take as He sees fit.  You should be willing to use them to spread the gospel and advance God’s kingdom as He leads you.  This is what Jesus means when He says that we should have purses, or bank accounts based in heaven not on earth.

If your stuff isn’t hoarded here on earth, like the stuff that belonged to the rich fool, then neither the rust of old age, the moth of disease, nor the thievery of death will have no effect on your stuff, because it is really God’s stuff being used as He determines.

Now be honest, do these Words make you feel any better about Christ’s return?  For many, I am afraid they do not.  And the reason for that lingering feeling of fear, is because you haven’t stayed dressed for action!

This morning Jesus tells us how he provides both faith to trust Him and peace in the certainty of knowing that everything will work out for your own good when He comes again.  Listen: Jesus says, “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.” [v. 35-37]

Remember the person who didn’t want me praying for Jesus to come soon?  That person saw Jesus return as the threat of the Law; as a kind of warning… “Jesus is coming soon… so beware!”  But Jesus wants you to receive these Words as assurance that He loves you and hasn’t forgotten about you.  He wants you to know that it’s “His job” to prepare you for His coming again.  He’s already dressed you for action in your baptism.  It was there that He clothed you with His own righteousness.  In those holy waters he applied to you personally, the precious fruit of the cross: righteousness and forgiveness of all sin.  In His Word, He constantly redresses you in these holy things by strengthening your faith; faith in Him and faith in the work that He is daily doing within you to recreate you into His image and prepare you for His return.   So when He comes at an unexpected hour, you will be surprised yes, but not afraid, because He will find you waiting in the strength that He has provided for you through His means of grace.

When He comes again you will really be blessed, but blessed only because He has assured that you are dressed for action; the action that is provided by a strong faith.  And when He comes again, the absurdity of the gospel will be revealed to each of you in all of its glory.  There in front of you, at His own banquet table, with all of the company of heaven gathered around, the Master becomes the servant.  As He saved you through His atoning death upon the cross, so too will He serve you at His own table; He serves you a meal of blessing and celebration.

So stay dressed for action.  Come often to His Divine Service, for it is the very means that God uses to fulfill His promise that no evil, neither spirit nor flesh can separate you from God’s love and protection.  Come often to His table of mercy here in this place to receive His very body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine where you receive more than a meal of forgiveness, but also a fore taste of the great banquet to come; a place where all the company of heaven will celebrate along with you.

It’s time dear friends.  It’s time to let Jesus change the way we see our lives here on earth, and it is time to allow Him to change the way we see our lives in eternity.  We are waiting for this great moment of Christ’s return together, not in fear or worry, but in joy.

Together we are waiting! Yes, patiently waiting! Till next steps made plain shall be; to hear, with the inner hearing, the Voice that will call for me.

Waiting! Yes, quietly waiting! No need for an anxious dread; shall He not assuredly guide me, Who gives me daily bread? Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting!  With hope that needn’t grow dim; the Master has pledged to guide me, and my eyes are fixed on Him.

Waiting! Yes, expectantly waiting! Perhaps it may be today, that the Master will quickly open the gate to my future way. Waiting! Yes, trustfully waiting! I know, though I’ve waited long, that while He withholds His purpose, His waiting cannot be wrong.

Waiting! Yes, waiting, still waiting! The Master will not be late; He knows that I am waiting for Him to unlatch the gate.  (J. D. Smith)

“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes.” [Luke 12:35-37a]

Are you ready for Christ’s return?  He could come at any time.  Are you comfortable praying come Lord Jesus, come?  Do you really want Him to come now?  Some time ago, a person approached me after Divine Service with this statement: “You know, I really wish you would quit preaching about how Jesus is coming back right soon.  And I also wish you would quit praying for Him to come back soon.”  When I asked that person why we shouldn’t pray for His return, this is the answer I received: “Because there are a lot of things I still want to do, and now that my kids are grown and I have the time and money to do them, every thing I planned for will be ruined, if Jesus comes back now!”

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus… Come!  Are you ready?  It’s time!  AMEN!