“Stay Awake!” (Mark 13:24-37)

Last Sunday of the Church Year
November 25, 2018

“Stay Awake!” (Mark 13:24-37)

“Stay awake!” No, this is not just the plea of a preacher for his parishioners to keep their eyes open for the next fifteen minutes, while they’re still recovering from their tryptophan food coma from turkey on Thursday. Well, actually, I do want you to stay awake and listen to this sermon, not because it’s Henrickson speaking, but because it’s Christ’s servant delivering God’s word to you, as he is charged to do. Therefore you ought to listen and take God’s word to heart.

“Stay awake!” And not just for the next fifteen minutes, but really for the rest of your life. For that’s how Jesus would have us live, awake and alert and looking eagerly and expectantly for his coming. For Christ is coming again, and we need to be ready, because we don’t know when that will be. We do know that it will be. We just don’t know when. So our Lord tells us today, “Stay Awake!”

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Published in: on November 23, 2018 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Sheep and the Goats” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Last Sunday of the Church Year
November 26, 2017

“The Sheep and the Goats” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Are you a sheep or a goat? You will be one or the other, you know. When? When Christ comes again. Listen again to today’s Gospel reading: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.” Dear friends, you and I will be there when this happens, either among the sheep or among the goats. So it’s important that we listen today and learn about “The Sheep and the Goats.”

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Published in: on November 25, 2017 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Separating the Sheep from the Goats” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Last Sunday of the Church Year
November 23, 2014

“Separating the Sheep from the Goats” (Matthew 25:31-46)

Judgment Day is coming! Are you ready? This is an important question, because the Day of Judgment is indeed coming, and you will be judged. Now that judgment could be positive or it could be negative, but you will be judged.

In fact, everybody will be judged, all the people who have ever lived. Many people don’t want to hear this, but it is the truth. The Holy Scriptures throughout teach that there will be a final judgment, that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming again from heaven to do the judging, and that everyone will be included. Likewise, then, the Christian creeds confess the reality of this coming judgment. We just said it a few moments ago in the Apostles’ Creed: “From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead.” The Nicene Creed, same thing: “And he will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead.” And also in the Athanasian Creed: “From whence he will come to judge the living and the dead.”

So there is no question about it: Judgment Day is coming. We don’t know when it will come, that is, the day or hour. It could come tomorrow. It could come next week or next year. It could come a hundred years from now. We don’t know. But we do know that it is coming–or, better yet, that Christ is coming, he is coming to judge the living and the dead.

This is what the Holy Gospel for today is telling us. Indeed, this is what Christ himself telling us, in his own words: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” Jesus here is telling us about Judgment Day, the day when he returns, in glory, as king, to judge. So we will be wise to listen up, as Jesus now tells us about “Separating the Sheep from the Goats.”

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Published in: on November 22, 2014 at 11:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Transferred to the Kingdom of His Son” (Colossians 1:13-20)

Last Sunday of the Church Year
November 24, 2013

“Transferred to the Kingdom of His Son” (Colossians 1:13-20)

Have you ever been transferred? People get transferred or relocated due to their work from time to time. The transfer can be a good thing or a bad thing; sometimes it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Just this past Friday, the third baseman for the Cardinals got transferred from St. Louis to “Los Angeles of Anaheim.” There will be plusses and minuses in this for Mr. Freese. On the downside, he won’t be a hometown hero out there, and the team he’ll be playing on is not as good as the one he left. On the upside, the climate will definitely be better–it’s going to be close to 70 degrees today in Anaheim–and the pizza has got to be better than the provel-laden “Square Beyond Repair” that you get in St. Louis. So this transfer will be a mixed bag.

That is not the case with the transfer that you and I experience as Christians. This kind of a transfer is all good. Even the stuff that seems to be bad at the time turns out to be for our ultimate good. The transfer I’m talking about is the one described in our reading today from Colossians, namely, that God has “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.”

“Transferred to the Kingdom of His Son.” This morning, then, we’ll look at, first, the domain we’ve been delivered from; second, the kingdom we’ve been transferred to; and third, the Son whose kingdom it is.

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Published in: on November 23, 2013 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The End of the World’s Coming” (Mark 13:24-37)

Last Sunday of the Church Year
November 25, 2012

“The End of the World’s Coming” (Mark 13:24-37)

“In those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” Mark 13:24-25.

Sunday, April 14, 1935. Palm Sunday. Across the Great Plains of America–in Kansas, Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, Colorado, New Mexico–people awoke that day to a bright and clear morning. It looked like it would be a fine, sunny day. This came as a welcome relief. For several years, that part of the country had been suffering from a severe drought, and dust storms–“black dusters,” they called them–were a frequent occurrence. Most every day was gray and hazy now. The dust carried in the air made it hard to breathe. People–children and old people, especially–got “dust pneumonia,” which killed many. But this day, Palm Sunday, 1935, looked like it would be a clear and sunny day.

But before the day was over, the biggest dust storm of them all–a mile high and 200 miles wide–would sweep down the plains and turn the day to night. Palm Sunday, 1935, would forever be known as “Black Sunday.”

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Published in: on November 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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