+ Second Sunday in Advent+
December 5, 2010
Speaking the truth has ever been and will always be a liability. And yet those whose hearts have been captured by the wonderful story of the Word made flesh cannot help themselves. John’s heart was captured – filled with the Spirit – even while in his mother’s womb. He who came in the spirit and power of Elijah still turns the hearts of children (you and me) to their fathers (the apostles, prophets and martyrs) by directing us to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. As we pay attention to John’s preaching on this Second Sunday in Advent, we too will be prepared to welcome aright the long-expected Savior, God with us. We hear again:
John the Baptist: Do the things that show you really have changed your hearts and lives. Mt.3:8
Apostle Paul: I began telling people that they should change their hearts and lives and turn to God and do things to show they really had changed. Acts 26:20
Martin Luther: Q. What is the meaning of such a water Baptism?
A. It means that the old Adam in us should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, in turn, a new person daily come forth and rise from death again. He will live forever before God in righteousness and purity.
Q. Where is this written?
A. St. Paul says to the Romans in chapter six:
``We are buried with Christ through Baptism into death, so that, in the same way Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, thus also must we walk in a new life.''
Having devoted his entire life to the Advent of the long-expected Lamb of God, the message of John the Baptist clearly reveals what things need to be done in order to welcome Christ Jesus every moment until the Last Day.
1. Recognize the seriousness of my old Adam, my selfish sinful nature
a. It all begins with confessing our sins
b. The chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire
2. Renounce daily the devil and all his ways and works
a. Yesterday’s renunciation won’t help you today
b. Disguised as an angel of light = not so obvious
3. Receive with humility the Word and Spirit of God
a. Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!
b. As often as you do this – how often do you need to receive His gifts?
4. Reorganize our priorities to reflect sacrificial love
a. The Kingdom of God revealed by teaching and healing
b. A bruised reed he will not break; a smoldering wick he will not quench. Therefore I exhort that you listen eagerly and lovingly to this Word, receive it with deep gratitude, and beseech the Lord God from the bottom of your heart for a firm faith to cling to this teaching. You may be certain that this will bear fruit day by day, as you become more humble, obedient, loving, chaste, and godly, for it is in the nature and art of this teaching to create godly, decent, obedient and pious people.
Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent