Advent 2 (2013) - Populus Zion
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
December 8, 2013
Central Passage
Luke 21:25-26

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Here is the truth: your redemption is drawing near. It’s nearer to you now than when you first believed. (Romans 13:11) The fig tree has sprouted leaves, and the fruit will soon follow. That is to say, the proclamation of life in Christ – the preaching of the gospel – has gone out and has entered your ears and has been planted in your hearts – in your will and devotion. It has taken root and the fruit will soon follow. And the fruit, as the apostle tells us, leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

The redemption you are waiting for is the redemption from sin and shame. You have sinned and are a sinner. And your sin brings you shame. It’s not just that you do things called “sins” and that these are embarrassing. Or that you refrain from doing things and so commit so-called sins of omission. It is that you are a sinner. You are one that misses the mark. And the covering of a sinner is the garment of shame. It’s not that you are aiming at the mark and you sin by missing it, as though you are the archer and your goodness or righteousness is the arrow. Rather, God is the archer and you are the arrow. And you have missed the mark He intended for you. That’s what it means to be a sinner. An arrow that misses its mark is shamed and brings shame on the archer. So you are shameful and have shamed God.

Now we can say that arrows don’t really feel shame and that it’s the archer’s fault that the arrow misses. And we wouldn’t be wrong if we were speaking of the sport of archery. But we would only point that out to try and defend ourselves. We only take parables apart to defend ourselves, that our shame is hidden. But changing the parable to defend ourselves only shows how far a field we are from the target. You are children of the light and you know the truth. It does not become you to pretend that this sin and shame business is not your fault. For even if it were not your fault in terms of cause and effect, you are not thereby acquitted, for you are born sinful and unclean. You can blame Adam and Eve or whomever, but in the end, the piper pipes for you and calls you to account for what you have and have not done and for what you have and have not said. For by your words you are justified and by your words you are condemned. (Matthew 12:37) Let the shame of your sin drive you to Christ because as the skin of a goat covered the shame of Adam and Eve, so He wants to cover your shame with His flesh. Blood must be shed to cover sin and shame, and it was shed on the cross and covers you in holy baptism.

That is why Jesus came the first time: to take away sin and shame. He became sin for us and the reproaches meant for us fell on Him. (Psalm 69:19-20) The Son of God became for us the chief of sinners so that we would be free from condemnation; that our sin would no longer shame us but that we would be set free from guilt and shame. By His blood He redeemed us from sin and its shame. The redemption you wait for is the redemption won on the cross, that it would be made manifest. You are waiting for the redemption Jesus won to be shown to the devil and his angels as well as to all those that do not believe, those that would point out your sin and call you to account. As one on death row longs for and expects the pardon promised, you long for and are expecting the pardon from sin and death in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Your redemption is drawing near.

But this redemption you wait for is also the redemption of your body. It is the redemption from sin and shame and the redemption of your body. For your body has suffered for your sin and is itself sinful. For you are not a soul with a body, but you are a spiritual being of both body and soul. And you don’t go to heaven in spirit only, but your body will be raised from the dead and translated to be as Jesus is: immortal and incorruptible. And thus shall you rise, body and soul, to be with the Lord forever.

So just as you strive against the temptations and sins of the mind and heart, so you should strive against the temptations and sins of the body. For sin belongs not only to the mind and heart but in the members of the body sin wages war against the will of God. And sins of the body are sins against the temple of God for His Spirit dwells in you. And His will is that His temple be a house of prayer for all nations, and not a den of thieves and robbers. So let your body be a house of prayer; bring it into submission by daily prayer and meditation; by conforming your will to the words of sound instruction; by not despising preaching or His word but holding it sacred and gladly hearing and learning it.

For you know the times. The days are drawing short. Your redemption is drawing near. By these things – by disciplining your body and mind in the ways of the Lord – you stay awake and through His word He gives you the strength to withstand temptation and the shame of sin. So that you wait patiently as with the prophets of long ago, waiting for God to send His Christ to redeem you, body and soul, not by the cross, which is the price of redemption, but by the resurrection, which is the redemption made manifest before all creation.

You have been redeemed. In fact, the whole creation has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. He makes all things new. He makes you new. This heaven and earth shall pass away, as shall this body of sin. But His word will never pass away. And His word is that He is coming again to raise you from the dead and give you life and immortality. He will return as a king from a far and foreign country returning to His own people to bless them with the riches and wealth he has gained while on campaign. For right now the Lord is campaigning for you before the Father, holding you in Himself while He gathers all the elect from every tribe and nation, preparing to present His whole Church, His Body, to the Father, a people not of shame but of the glory of God.

+ In Nomine Iesu +