Judgment Day (?) sermon

by libr8tr

What a beautiful tree.  It doesn’t seem to be missing anything.  Of course, if you’re a child, it’s missing the most important part, the gifts.  And, once we put the gifts under the tree, our children are expecting wonderful things.

 

Matthew 11 verses 2-6 will serve as our gospel portion for today.

 

  1. John the Baptist’s message and mission
    1. Matthew 3:11-12:

11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

  1.                                                                i.      People heard this message of impending judgment and came to be baptized to “get right before Judgment Day”
  2. This wasn’t John’s only mission, however
    1.                                                                i.      Jesus came to him to be baptized unexpectedly
      1. This was not a baptism of repentance of his sins
      2. It was the public anointing of a King, a “Christ-ing”
        1. It meant the Kingdom of God had come
        2. The Gospel of John reports that John the Baptist (a different John) saw the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus
          1. During this baptism, John proclaimed Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World.  He also said, “This is the Son of God”
    2. When John went to prison, though, it’s possible that John was wondering why the expected Judgment Day hadn’t started, “What’s the hold-up?”
  3. Jesus’ message and mission continues John’s:
    1. Matthew 5:17:

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

  1.                                                                i.      The foundation of the Law Jesus speaks of is the first commandment which states, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’
    1. Luther explains the meaning of this God’s expectation in the Small Catechism: ‘We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things’
  2. Who or what do you fear, love and trust?
    1. In other words, where do you find your identity, security and meaning in life?
      1.                                                                i.      Maybe it’s in personal morality.  Following the Law to the letter
        1. “If I behave well, I’ll be blessed”
          1. It requires a conception to crypt obedience
          2. Those who think they’re “pulling it off” become self-righteous and end up replacing Christ as Judge
      2.                                                              ii.      Maybe it’s getting power, position or prestige
        1. “If I get power, then I’ll have security in this life”
          1. Some who try to attain this see others as obstacles or opportunities to their own goals
          2. They spend their integrity as the trade for security replacing Christ as the true King who makes them secure
      3.                                                             iii.      Maybe it’s in wealth
        1. “The more I have, the more independent I am”
          1. Some who see money as the end are willing to sacrifice compassion for others
          2. They replace Christ as provider
    2. Others cannot do the same
      1.                                                                i.      Some feel morally defeated by sin which overcomes them
        1. “I can’t stop doing this, I feel guilty”
          1. Re-doubling their effort to be good, they find only despair and hopelessness
          2. They fear telling someone their dark secret
      2.                                                              ii.      Some feel like others have trampled over them to get to the top
      3.                                                             iii.      Some have an uncertain financial future
        1. due to a loss of work, injury, or unforeseen expenses
    3. None of these gods will give you the meaning, identity and security you long for
  3. Christ is the unexpected God who invades our world
    1. Christ is the wrathful Judge who became the Lamb of God
      1.                                                                i.      He is the mercy and forgiveness of God for you
      2.                                                              ii.      He forgives you all or your sin and mine over and over and over
      3.                                                             iii.      He has purified you, given you the Holy Spirit and anointed you as priests
    2. Christ is the King who has become your resurrection
      1.                                                                i.      He says to you now, “No one can snatch you out of my hand”
      2.                                                              ii.      Through your baptism, He has made you sons and daughters of the Living God
      3.                                                             iii.      One day, you will judge angels
    3. Christ is the Creator who provides for our needs
      1.                                                                i.      He feeds you His word, body and blood
      2.                                                              ii.      He owns the cattle on a thousand hills
      3.                                                             iii.      He has made us Co-heirs with Him of the Heavenly blessings even now
  4. And Jesus answers John’s disciples in an unexpected way, too
    1. Remember, John asked if He was the one who is to come or should we expect someone else
    2. Instead of telling them, “The Day of Judgment is coming, but later”, He confirms His position as the King anointed in the baptism John gave him at the Jordan.
    3. In effect, Jesus says, “I am the King.  You have heard and seen the miracles I have done”:
      1.                                                                i.      Blind men see again
      2.                                                              ii.      Lame men walk
      3.                                                             iii.      Lepers are cleansed
      4.                                                            iv.      Deaf men hear
      5.                                                              v.      Dead men are raised
      6.                                                            vi.      The poor have the gospel preached to them
  5. This is the scandalous God of good news
  6. Through His life, death and resurrection, we have been unexpectedly blessed!
    1. You and I have been forgiven all of our sin
    2. You have been set free from the bondage of idolatry
    3. You have become co-heirs with Christ of all the heavenly gifts
    4. You have been made a new creation
    5. You are the sons and daughters of the Living God through the execution of God’s Holy Son
    6. You are priests in God’s Kingdom anointed through baptism to speak the good news of the day of God’s favor
    7.   i.      All of these benefits are given because Judgment Day happened two thousand years ago on a cross outside of Jerusalem when Christ was nailed to a tree

 

  1. Perhaps you were not expecting this message today.  Consider it an early Christmas present from the King

 

 

To His Eternal Glory,

Amen

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