November 22, 2015
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
INI + AMEN.
The Lord calls us to hear His Word. That’s what He tells us through Isaiah. We’re “to fear, love, and trust in Him above all things.” And this means that we won’t “despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.” And so the Lord speaks, “Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation.” He calls us to listen to His Word. It’s not just law, as it’s been translated on the back of your bulletin, but it’s His Torah, His instruction, that is, His entire Word. For that Word “will go out from Me,” He says, and His righteousness, His “justice” He’ll set, “for a light to the peoples.” He does this because His Word endures forever. “Heaven and earth may pass away,” as says Jesus today, “but My Words will by no means pass away.”
(2.) The world will pass away.
We know it’s true. It’s passing away now. It seems to be coming apart at the seams. There’s violence abroad, and not just in places we can barely pronounce or even locate. In Paris even! With threats against our nation as well. There’s demonstrations on our school campuses. There’s discontent with our own government, and, if independent polls are to be trusted, it doesn’t matter which branch of government and which party you’re talking about. It all seems messed up. The economy’s struggling. We worry and wonder about what’s going on in our world, our country, even our own communities. But “no king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.” For it’s “better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. [It’s] better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.”
As Christians our hope isn’t in this life. It’s not in the kingdoms and countries of this world. As Christ Himself said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Yet we still put our hope and trust in things of this world. Our strength. Our money. Our country. But all such things fade away. They can be destroyed and lost through moth and rust. Thieves can take them away. As Jesus tells us. The Lord not only “changes the times and the seasons,” but He also “removes kings and raises up kings.”
The world isn’t just passing away now, but it will certainly pass away in the future. Whether it’s today, tomorrow, or 100 or 1,000 years from now it will happen. As we heard Jesus say in our Gospel lesson from Mark 13: “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.” Yes, “The host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down.” “Every mountain and island” will be “moved out of its place.” As we heard today in Isaiah, “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner.”
All that’s in this world will pass away and be destroyed.
(1.) What the Lord gives won’t pass away.
That’s what He promises. “My salvation will be forever,” He says, “My righteousness will never be dismayed.” Yeah, we’ll all admit that the Lord is righteous forever, He’s holy, but what He’s saying here is for your comfort when all the scary things take place. He promises that salvation will be forever. Your salvation is forever because the Lord sent His Son. He was dismayed. He who is Life died. He won for you everlasting salvation and redemption, and that means you won’t pass away.
He makes sure salvation won’t pass away for you. He does this through His Word. It’s why He says, “Instruction, a Word, will go out from Me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples.” It comes to you. “Your eyes have seen His salvation which He has prepared in the sight of every people, a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of His people Israel.” That’s why He sends out His Word. His Word in Scripture of course. But He ties that Word to something so that you receive it. He ties it to water, baptizing you. He ties it to bread and wine, giving you His body and blood.
And in sending out this Word, along with that Word, He sends out and gives more. “My righteousness draws near, My salvation has gone out.” He gives you His righteousness and salvation. For “anyone who has been baptized into Christ has been clothed with Christ,” and He’s our “righteousness.” As Jeremiah preached in another place, “This is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” His salvation and forgiveness is sealed upon you with the body and blood given you in His Supper. His giving draws us to Him. We gather to receive what He’s giving. “The coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait.” We all gather here because we hope for His salvation, which He freely gives.
“My salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.” It can’t be otherwise for you. Christ was dismayed even unto death, but now He lives again forevermore. He is your “righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” Through His Word going out He gives us these things. In a fading and passing away world we cling to what doesn’t. The Lord wants this. We want to receive His unfading, everlasting righteousness and salvation as much as possible.
ONLY THE LORD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS AND SALVATION LAST FOREVER.
Given you in water, word, and body and blood.
INI + AMEN.