Immanuel Lutheran Church

Sermon

Pentecost 22

"Is This the Beginning of the End?"

Matthew 25:13

November 9, 2014

This has been quite a year. It was the election cycle we thought would never end. We have Ebola and Isis terrorism outbreaks. There is a sense of disquiet and anxiety. Life as we know it is far from being "all right." Along with the human caused disasters, nature continues to us her version of natural disasters. Some are beginning to wonder if the end is coming. Our Lord forewarned us about all these things. His words are us are simple: Matthew 25:13, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."

What are we supposed to think? What are we going to do? You have a couple of choices. You can run around like Chicken Little upset and worried that the sky is falling or you can live your life. After all, what good does it do to fret and worry about those things over which you have no control? Apparently, statistics show that over 90% of things you worry about don't happen anyway.

Luther once said even if the world would end tomorrow, he would plant his apple tree today. Why? Because today is all we have. We are not promised tomorrow. We simply assume that tomorrow is ours. None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. Why should worry about tomorrow spoil the joy of today?

First, make the most of today. Celebrate today. Enjoy the moment. Don't worry about tomorrow for each day has trouble of its own. Take the moment to enjoy those the Lord has put into your lives. Laugh a little. Share your good fortune with others. Thank God for the gifts and blessings that are yours.

Secondly, do your random acts of kindness today. Make that phone call. Send that card. Pay the visit. Follow through on those good intentions. Join us this afternoon at the County Home for food and fellowship as we play bingo with the residents.

Thirdly, think about the things of faith and how they impact your life. Our Lord once asked, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" [Luke 18:8] Look around. Where is the evidence of faith, especially in the organization we call "the church?" There's more truth than you want to admit in today's Gospel of the 10 virgins. This is a parable about the church. It's NOT a comparison of believers and nonbelievers.

An article written by columnist Cal Thomas. Cal suggested that over the past 30 years the evangelical wing of the church has been trying to change culture and society through the political process. Guess what. It hasn't worked. The people of the early church turned the Roman Empire on its head.

How did they do that? Did they do it by becoming politically active? Did they actively work to have members elected to the Roman senate? Did they push for new government programs? No. They did what Jesus tells us to do. They preached the Gospel. They fed the hungry, clothed the poor, sheltered the needy, visited the sick and rescued the babies. They lived the faith. Unfortunately, the American church has not been the fore front in doing what it should be doing.

If you look at society and life in this country, one of the conclusions you can make is that a lot of Christians don't seem to take the things of faith very seriously. This takes place on both an individual and congregational level. We have lost the art of contemplation and meditation. We don't think. Any more people talk about how they feel or what they feel or why they feel about things. Feelings are emotions and certainly part of our human make-up but God gave you a brain and expects you to use it! We don't always feel the teachings of Jesus apply to us. Think again.

Too many Christians look at the 10 Commandments as 10 Suggestions. A lot of people who call themselves Christians are indistinguishable from the world. Our Lord said we are to be in the world but not of it. Casual observers would guess that much of the church is fully immersed in the world.

In the parable the lamps without oil are the people who have the outward forms of the Christian life but lack substance. There is no inner light. How much of the American church falls into this category? There's a lot of talk about social justice but the Lord's call to repentance is nowhere to be found. The parable of the virgins is a picture of the church. You can spend a lot of time talking about doing good, being moral and taking on the quest for a just world but without Christ none of this is the Church. Civic goodness without Christ is simply worldly morality.

The oil for the lamps is God's grace and the power of Christ in His Word. The flame of the lamp is faith and the heat its works. God's grace and faith fill us. The power of the Holy Spirit helps us to "hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest" the Word. God helps us to meditate, contemplate and think about His Word. He helps us grow as Christians, as people called by His name.

The Lord helps us to take the Christian life seriously. Only the Lord transforms the hearts and lives of His people to live their faith. He helps us to actively practice what we preach. We become both hearers and doers of the Word. He gives us a heart for missions and gives the joy of doing our "random acts of kindness." He gives us the joy of telling the Good News of Jesus to the world.

From early on, we learn that God takes care of us. We know that the Lord is with us each day. This is important because we also know that life is change. After change, not matter how drastic or catastrophic, life goes on. When we see all the natural disasters, acts of terrorism, loss of life and destruction of property, we may ask, "Is this the end of the world as we know it?" In a sense, the answer is yes. Life for many has changed in dramatic and tragic ways. Yet, life also goes on.

We live as people of hope. The Psalmist asked, "where does my help come from?" The answer is "my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." [Psalm 121] We can enjoy the gift of today. We can enjoy the blessings of faith, life and health today. We enjoy the family and friends the Lord has placed into our lives. When we live the Christian life, no matter how few we may be, the Lord will find faith on the earth when He returns. Amen.


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December
12/28/2014
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12/07/2014
November
11/23/2014
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11/02/2014
October
10/12/2014
10/05/2014
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09/28/2014
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August
08/31/2014
08/24/2014
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08/03/2014
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07/27/2014
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June
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05/11/2014
April
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04/20/2014
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04/06/2014
March
03/30/2014
03/23/2014
03/16/2014
03/02/2014
February
02/02/2014
January
01/26/2014
01/19/2014
01/12/2014
01/05/2014