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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sermon 11252012 Christ the King Sunday

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray!  Jesus Christ our King, today we celebrate the fulfillment and the ending of the church year.  Though we do not know the day nor the hour of your coming, enable us to understand these final times are an opportunity for preparation.  For our preparation is not of our bodies, but of our soul and its preparation for our entrance into Your kingdom that You have prepared for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

Recently I heard of a family that was preparing for December 21, 2012.  If you are unaware, not only is it the Winter Solstice, where the days will begin to get longer, but it is also the day predicted by the Mayan Culture and calendar that the world would end.  The family I heard about is preparing a ‘hide-a-hole’ for when the world devolves into chaos and looting and all kinds of ‘crazy’ things happen.  This preparation seems reminiscent of the cold war years where everybody started building a ‘bomb shelter’, because the Russians had nuclear capability.  However, with this most ‘recent’ scare, we humans who live in this world seem to be more interested in preparing for Armageddon then for our Savior.

The stark reality is that we fear more what other humans can do for or against us than preparing for Jesus return.  This is what this Sunday of the ‘fulfillment’ is all about.  Where Jesus Christ, the bridegroom of the church fulfills the promise made at the Ascension of His second coming.  It is what we specifically pray for in the Nicene Creed a little later this morning when we confess with the whole Christian Church, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.”  Christ will return in glory here to earth which He helped form and shape with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus job is not complete until His return.  And we can prepare, remember in the Gospel this morning of the five wise and the five foolish virgins.  The story is simplistic in nature, but applicable for us this morning.  The foolish virgins didn’t bring oil for their lamps and when the time came were not prepared for entrance with the bridegroom.  But the five virgins who brought oil were prepared and entered with the bridegroom.  Are we no different, do we prepare for things like Birthdays, Anniversaries, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals with all of our relatives or for the midnight Black Friday sales for Christmas presents?  Yet, we lack the preparation of the most important God given gift, our souls for the return of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.  We will not have the presents for eternity, but we will have our souls for all eternity.

In Facing the Giants, Coach Taylor from the time he introduced the ‘New Philosophy’ inspired his team to give it their very best and prepare for the battle that would take place on the field every Friday night.  It wasn’t anticipating something that would last for eternity, but it was something that would inspire the team to prepare for the future, a long term goal.  Whether it was their studies, their preparation on the field for Friday or in their personal lives, the players learned to look not with the eyes of society, but with Godly eyes, hearts and spirits ready to be filled by God and His promises.  This same fact is true for us today.

We like Coach Taylor need to look to the future, the end times as what we should be preparing for.  The early Church thought that Jesus would return in their lifetime.  Hence, they always had Jesus on their minds.  This is why we say the Early Church was the fastest growing church for all time.  Not only were they persecuted by the Jews, Greeks, Hellenists and other religious organizations, they did everything in secret from worship at the catacombs or where people were buried, to house churches to having symbols and secret sayings to tell if a person was a Christian.

Today in our society, we have buildings, budgets and bulletins that tell us how much we are to spend, where we are to do certain things and when we are to sit down, stand up and what the readings are for the worship service.  The preparation that Jesus is attempting to make a point with concerning the ten virgins is that we do not know the day nor the hour of His coming, but we should be prepared.

The Boy Scouts clearly understand this concept, because their motto is ‘Be Prepared’.  When we are prepared it is not just that all the dishes are put away, the bed made, the toys picked up or the yard looks immaculate, it is deeper and more profound.  Have you placed your personal trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?  And do you trust in the forgiveness of sins offered by His death on Calvary for all of mankind?  These may seem like simplistic questions, but they are profound when we take personal application to our daily lives.

Just as the wise virgins prepared for the bridegroom, we to should prepare our hearts, souls and spirits for the coming of the Messiah and His return for ‘judging’ the living and the dead.  For when we prepare, we not only show our belief by living it out, but we clearly like the football team look not for a failure, but a fulfillment of God’s promises to and for us in our lives.  For God’s promises are crystal clear for us, that God sent His Son into this world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  The fulfillment of the plan of salvation is clear and coming.  Let us as the saints of Emmanuel prepare and be like the wise virgins and live ‘in this world’, but not be ‘of this world’.  Live as prepared disciples of our souls for eternity, not unprepared foolish virgins like our society living in the here and now.  For God prepares us today with His precious Body and Blood we are about to receive for all of us saints gathered here this morning in preparation of our entrance into eternal life with our Lord and Savior.  Thanks be to God for this gift for all the saints, including all of us gathered here this morning at Emmanuel.  AMEN.
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