Weekly audio recordings of sermons presented at Grace Lutheran and Bethel Lutheran churches Seward and York NE. Justin Wilkens, Pastor.
2 Peter 3:8-14 Prepare To Meet Him
Scriptures teach that King Jesus is the Son of God in flesh and the only hope for salvation. Jesus himself claimed that he is the only way into the glorious kingdom of heaven. You do not approach meeting someone like that casually or carelessly. You prepare meticulously. What does that mean? What does a life of readiness—ready to meet such a King—look like? In one word: repentance. If we insist on hanging onto our sins, how can we receive the One who came for the very purpose of taking those sins away? Throughout history, God has raised up called servants—like John the Baptist—to preach a message of repentance. This repentance is central to our preparation for the Lord’s coming. Without repentance, the King’s coming only terrifies. But all those who believe and repent look forward to the coming of the King and the consummation of his everlasting kingdom.
Mark 11:1-10 He Is Coming To Save Us
Rulers plan, administrate, and govern. They typically do not save. If your house is on fire, it will not be the mayor who shows up to save you from the flames. If America were attacked, the President would serve as the commander in chief of the armed forces. The President would not pick up a weapon, go to the front lines, and fight to save you from the enemy. Jesus is different. He is both infinitely greater than all other rulers, yet also infinitely humbler. He does not consider it beneath his rank as King to risk his life for his subjects. He is willing to fight for us. He is willing to die for us. For King Jesus came into our world for one reason—to save us.
Matthew 25:31-46 A Time to Yearn for the End
Consider the Christian man whose body aches from both the cancer and the chemo. Look at that faithful old woman, back arched by time, fingers twisted by arthritis, eyes close to blindness. These believers may pray for death, precisely because they know that for the children of God, death is not the end of life. Death is the end of sorrow and pain. They yearn for the end of those things, and the beginning of their perfect eternity with Jesus. We have come to the end of the Church Year. It is time to talk about the end of this world on Judgment Day. That day does not scare the believer. The first time Christ came he saved us from our sins and the accusations of the devil. The second time Christ comes, he will save us from everything else. On that day, disease, gone. Abuse, gone. Heartache, gone. Even death is ended. None of those things will exist ever again. But we will exist forever with our Lord Jesus. Until then we live in the time in between. As we look at all Christ did at his first coming, we yearn for him to come again to end this broken world and to usher all the saints into everlasting glory.
2 Samuel 7:18-22 Give Thanks to God
On Thanksgiving Day people love to talk about being thankful for the wealth and possessions they have. Yet people are often thankful with the mindset, “I’m thankful for everything that I have done and for all of the things I have earned through the work of my hands.” Our readings this morning remind us that every good and perfect gift has been given to us by our heavenly Father. Since God is the one who blesses us with everything we need for body and soul, let’s give thanks to the God who has blessed us so richly.
Isaiah 1:10-18 A Time for Faithful Service
As we wait for Christ to return, we are not to be sedentary. The reason Christ has not yet returned is that there is still work to be done. And Christ carries out his good work through us, his Church. So, until Christ comes again and says, “Stop!” believers will be busy with faithful service. Christ has given every believer gifts and talents. And when Christ entrusts us with those gifts and talents, he calls us to use them all for his glory. In the time between Christ’s first and second coming, we use everything the master has given us to live according to his will and to carry out his mission.
Matthew 25:1-13 A Time for Watchfulness
Imagine you are planning to take the family out to dinner. You all have to wait for someone to get ready. Minute after minute passes. What can happen in that situation? It is easy to focus on something else and completely forget the original goal. When that family member is finally ready, you’ve become immersed in a movie. Or perhaps, as you were waiting, you grew drowsy and fell asleep. As we wait for Christ to return, as day after day passes, it can be easy to get distracted, to lose vigilance, to become spiritually drowsy. God forbid that Christ should return and find us spiritually asleep. Today we are reminded that the time in between Christ’s first and second coming is a time for watchfulness. The Church prayers, “Lord God, keep us ever watchful for the coming of your Son that we may sit with him and all your holy ones at the marriage feast in heaven.”