Advent 3 – “He Will Come…”
December 15th, 2019
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Last week, keeping with the Advent Scripture readings, we talked about repentance. In Advent we slowly reflect on God coming to earth as a baby and coming back to earth on the last day. We reflect on how we, in and of ourselves, are not ready for Him to come and judge us and how we need to prepare our hearts for His coming. Last week we saw how repentance physically looks with one of our children at the children’s message. How he walks guiltily in the wrong direction. Is called out to “Stop!” forgiven, and then called the right way. We heard about how God works the fruit of repentance in us.
How are you doing repenting since then?
How often do you hold a grudge? Are you holding one now? Is there someone you’re not forgiving because they don’t deserve it? Is there something you are still doing that you know is wrong? Are you still willingly sinning? Are you still speeding, even though you know it is wrong and falling short of the glory of God? Did you speed here this morning?
Are you still talking behind someone’s back instead of confronting them about an issue? Are you being dishonest, underhanded, unloving, and untrusting of people in the pews beside you or of others here in (Dryden/Vermillion Bay?)
How much are you living in your unrepentance?
You might be sitting there chuckling to yourself saying “oh, it doesn’t really matter. It’s my own business who I talk crap about. If I want to hate someone I can. How fast I go in my car is no concern of yours, Pastor. It’s not like this stuff I’m doing is actually that big of a deal.”
Unrepentance is rejecting the Holy Spirit Himself who is at work brining about fruit of repentance in you. Willingly sinning is rejecting God. Unrepentance is rejecting Jesus, it’s rejecting forgiveness, it’s rejecting your very salvation, It is rejecting heaven and embracing your place in hell.
This is serious. True repentance demands God will work fruit through it. True repentance demands change in your life. True repentance does not continue to willingly sin in the same old way over and over knowing it is wrong but doing it anyway.
This is serious. This is life and eternal suffering we are talking about here.
Living in unrepentance leaves us living with unclean, unforgiven, hearts.
Isaiah Ch. 34, which comes before our reading for today, speaks to us the message of our unrepentance from God’s perspective. Isaiah 34 says The LORD is enraged against all nations. He is furious against you. He has devoted you to destruction. He has given you over to slaughter.
We suffer, we get old (if we’re lucky), and we die justly because of our unrepentance.
What is this hate? What is this unforgiveness in your hearts? What is this talking poorly about others behind their backs? This nattering, picking on each other, always finding each other’s faults?
If you’re sitting there thinking to yourself “this is not me Pastor’s talking about” “I can ignore this” there is a much bigger chance this is you… And you are too scared to admit it. If you are thinking “Ahh.. I know exactly who Pastor is talking about here. It is about time he said something about them” This in and of itself is evidence that you are the one slamming other people’s reputations and thinking poorly of them.
This is hell you are earning by living like this. This is serious.
Has it sunken in yet?
The end is coming. Jesus is on His way as the perfectly just judge. Do you know how you act on the highway when a cop car is around? All of a sudden everybody triple checks their speedometer to make sure they are not going too fast or giving a reason to be pulled over? Take that slight bit of fear that you have in the presence of the cops because you know you’re not a perfect driver and amp it up to a thousand realizing Jesus is coming as judge. It is not just when Jesus is on His way that you must put on “Your Sunday best” and be ready to greet Him because He has seen and knows EVERYTHING you’ve done wrong in your life and will do wrong and continue to do wrong. Jesus is coming. Make amends. Put to bed those old grudges. I’m dead serious. Forgive! Repent!
Feeling anxious yet? Hands weak? Knees weak? Heart heavy?
Forgive as you have been forgiven in Christ.
God does not revel in devoting you to destruction. Unlike us, He takes no pleasure in just revenge against us (Ezek. 18:23). But He will justly make us suffer.
Yet, God’s message for me to preach to you this morning is this…
“Strengthen the weak hands. Make firm the feeble knees.” I am to say to you who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Look, your God will come with vengeance. With the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
How fair is that?
Because of Jesus, instead of preaching that “you are going to hell and God hates you. The End.” I am preaching that Jesus has paid the price and you are forgiven.
You deserve hell. I deserve hell.
Yet, here we are.
In the mercy of God.
The rest of our Isaiah 35 passage describes the reward we are going to get for being forgiven.
Blind eyes will be opened. Deaf ears will be unstopped. Lame men will be leaping like a deer. Mute tongues will sing for joy. In other words, a complete reversal of the suffering and dying we deserve.
More than that, God describes the place we will live where, Waters will spring up in the desert. Burning sand will become a pool. A Highway to God will be there which only the clean of heart can walk on. We will be able to walk on it because Jesus’ blood has made us clean.
No wild beast will be there. No danger. Everlasting joy on our heads. We shall obtain gladness + joy.
Sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Not because we deserve it, but because God has gifted it to us in faith.
Our reputations will be spotless because we are a part of Christs’ family and have his reputation. We will not fear or hate one another or talk evil about each other because God will take away all hate from our hearts. We are a part of His family now through our baptism into God’s name.
We will live in paradise with God. Where previously there was desert and wilderness God now has beautiful flowers blooming, lush meadows, and great and beautiful trees. We shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. And we shall not be destroyed for our sin, but we will live in His presence forever. Because we have been washed clean in the waters of our baptism.
We will receive what we do not deserve and obtain what we have not worked for; all because of God’s great love for you through forgiveness in His son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. For these gifts we do not deserve, to Him be all thanks and praise this morning and forever in His presence.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come.