Brothers and sisters in Christ, consider your own callings, your stations in life, and glorify your God and Father there. Do not seek to escape from your vocations, but know that God, the Lord, will accomplish His purposes through you (and for you) precisely where He has placed you.
Listen to the Word that He speaks to you; and though it is the Word of the Cross, know that it is eternal life. For His power is made perfect in weakness, and His wisdom is manifested in the Cross and Passion of Christ, the beloved Son.
He has not left Himself without a witness. Christ the Crucified is the Light of the world, even to the Gentiles; and the Gospel of His Cross testifies to all the nations that here is the Glory of God.
Not for His benefit, but at His own great expense, that you would be saved unto life everlasting.
If you believe this, you do not remain in darkness, but have the Life and Light of Christ in you.
But, oh, how tempting it is to think that you have been forsaken and forgotten. And especially so, it is a scary thing to buck the crowd and go against the prevailing wisdom of the world.
Do you find yourself, not only alone against the world, but persecuted and ridiculed? Does it seem as though your prayers go unheard, unanswered, or flat-out refused by your Father in heaven?
Everything about this Christian faith and life is such a contradiction!
The glorious Light of God in Christ the Crucified appears as though it were the blackest night, while the darkness of the world, which is dying in its ignorance and unbelief, has the appearance of the brightest day.
You will never be able to comprehend the truth or figure it out, except you die.
Until you are crucified, dead, and buried with Christ Jesus, your heart remains hardened; your eyes are blind; your ears are dull; your reason and all your senses are foolish.
It is the Word of the Cross — the foolishness of God — that puts you to death and buries you.
But that is not all. For it is by that same Word of the Cross that you are lifted up with Christ, and seated with Him in the heavenly places, where your life is safely hidden in God. Because the foolishness of the Cross is the Lord’s free and full forgiveness of sinners. That is where and how everything gets turned inside-out and upside-down — for the greatest good: for your salvation.
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy One, took His stand with and for sinners, and submitted Himself to the death and damnation of the entire sinful world. Thus, everything has been judged in Him.
He has borne the entire weight and burden of the Law: the pain, the sorrow, the insult, and the punishment. He has been tempted in every way that you are. He has been ridiculed and, for us all, forsaken by the Father who loves Him.
And in that utter foolishness, He glorified the Father’s Name; that your prayer may be heard and answered, and that you may walk in His Light.
That is the Glory of God for you. That is the Hour to which He has come, not to save Himself, but you and all. And that is the answer and the outcome of the Cross that you bear: not death, but life forever. For He has been vindicated of every charge, and, where He is, there shall you be, also.
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Sermon for 11/29/15: First Sunday in Advent
2 hours ago