1st Sunday in Advent: "KtTime: The Day of the Lord"
2nd Sunday in Advent: "KtT: The Day of His Coming"
3rd Sunday in Advent: "KtT: The Present Joy"
4th Sunday in Advent: "KtT: The Time of Fulfillment"
Today's Scripture readings:
One of the appointed times of Our Lord is the Day of His coming. But whenever the Holy Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit talk of His coming His two days of coming bleed together. The first great Day of His coming is the Day of His coming on the cross and the second is His coming at the End of time to judge the world. Those two days are really part of same event.
On the Last Day the living and the dead will be judged not according to their works, but according to their faith. Now faith is God’s work in you. We can not cooperate with it. He converts our hearts. He blesses us with faith. We were lost and dead in sin. We were enemies of God till He found us, gave us life, and made us His children. We were blind to our lost state till He opened our eyes and gave us sight. You who are saved must blame Him for it! If we are damned we must blame ourselves for rejecting Him. It is unbelief in Christ your saviour that damns, not your individual sins.
The appointed time for God’s judgement for sin is twofold. He judged it on the cross. That day there were signs in the heavens, when darkness covered the earth for 3 hours. There signs on the earth, when the earth quaked the as rocks cried out at the death of her Maker and King. That generation the Lord was speaking to saw all of it. It was fulfilled. Now we live in time between God’s judgement of Sin, where His righteousness has been declared to all who will hear it and believe, and the time when His righteousness will be physically given to those who believe in it.
So He said to that generation who would witness the Day of Lord, “See the signs in the heavens and on the earth. Don’t get weighed down by the cares of everyday life. Don’t get caught up by the coping mechanisms of so many: drink, drugs, and the regret over the stupid things you did while drunk on liquor or lust. The fulfillment of the Day of Judgement is coming! You know it. You are aware that the signs of our Lord’s coming have always been upon the earth: wars, rumours of wars, earthquakes, famines, Christians being persecuted for confessing or declaring the faith that saves out loud (Luke 21:10-19). These things have always been happening. But they are growing in magnitude and frequency, just like labour pains do, just like Jesus said (Matthew 24:8). You are aware of that. You are not ignorant to it.
We didn’t see the beginning of the Day of Judgement—the Day sin was judged in Jesus’ own flesh. But we’ve heard about it. We’ve been warned that what has been begun and declared to us—our salvation—will come to fulfillment on that Last Day. We know it. We have the eyes of faith to see it.
That means certain things for us. It means life is not business as usual for the Christian. Though we may partake in the pleasures and joys of life, though we must go to work and live day in and day out in order to take care of our families, our lives are marked by watchfulness. We are ready for the Lord to return. So we partake of the joys of life—good food, good drink, good friends—but we do not live for those things. Rather, we give thanks for those things because they are gifts from the Father. But we don’t drown ourselves in them nor lose ourselves in them. We don’t worship them. We don’t live for them. We aren’t like everyone else, just working for the weekend when can party it up. We work for our families. We work for love of the people God places in our lives. And we take the break the weekend affords to receive with thanks the refreshment that God gives us in His Word and Sacraments which ready us for His coming again!
Trust in those promises. Look for that Day. Be eager for it. For faith in what He promises us is what makes us able to stand in the Last Judgement when He comes again. Your saviour has done it. He will bring it to fulfillment in you on that Day.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON