The Scripture lessons for November 27 were Isaiah 2:1-5; Romans 13:8-14 and Matthew 24:36-44. The theme for the day was “Walking in the Light of the Lord.” Pastor Krause began by presenting us with two scenarios of people being woken up from a deep sleep. The first person was being woken up because s/he was going to be late for work. The second person was being woken up so s/he could leave on a dream vacation. While neither person probably enjoyed being woken up, the second person probably didn’t mind it as much. Pastor Krause’s point was when we are anticipating great things it is easier to accept the unpleasant things that might necessarily lead up to it.
In our Gospel lesson Jesus instructs us:
Matthew 24:42-44 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Jesus desires that we be awake, and, if we are asleep, He desires to waken us for something far better than a dream vacation. He seeks to awaken us and that we be awake in anticipation and readiness for Paradise – for something which is perfect, for something for which there is no better.
As I listened to Pastor Krause I was reminded of John 14:1-3 where Jesus tells His disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Jesus following His suffering, death and resurrection for us ascended to His heavenly Father to prepare a place, a place in which there is nothing better for each of us. Through His death He purchased a heavenly place for you and for me. In fact He purchased a place for everyone who ever has lived, who is living and for everyone who ever will live. 1 John 2:2 tells us:
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
The Apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:18-20:
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
What I find sad is that some of the places Jesus has purchased through His suffering, death, and resurrection, and that have been paid for in FULL, are going to be empty because people were not awake or alert to His redemptive work on their behalf. Unfortunately, many have been, are, and will be caught sleeping in unbelief and pursuing the ways of earthly, fleshly indulgence or in the ways of self-righteousness.
Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Romans 10:1-3 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
Galatians 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
In our Epistle lesson St Paul tells us “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).
Pastor Krause called our attention to the fact that while we wait for Jesus’ return we have a tendency to wander and how our wandering interferes with our readiness for Jesus’ return, which will come when we least expect it (Matthew 24:44).
Paul in the Epistle lesson lists some of the things to which we might wander, things we ought not do:
“Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy” (Romans 13:13).
I am sure without too much effort each of us could come up with our own list of things to which we have a tendency to wander, things we ought not to do.
Paul also gives us some instruction as to what we should do to be ready. He instructs us to “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). He also instructs us to “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another….” (Romans 13:8).
As we are clothed in Jesus, love is what we will be about because it is what Jesus is all about. May we all ready ourselves this Advent by clothing ourselves in Jesus and in being intend on loving one another.
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1 John 4:7-8 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
- How awake are you?
- To what do you have a tendency to wander keeping you half-asleep?
- How will your clothing in Jesus reflect itself in loving others this Advent?
(All passages are taken from the NIV unless otherwise noted – emphasis added)
Chime in with your thoughts and questions in the comment section!