BE ON GUARD (CC)
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SERMON TEXT: MARK 13:5-11 SERMON TEXT: MARK 13:5-11 Let us rise and join together in the responsive "Prayer Before the Sermon" printed in your worship folder: P: Eternal God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, give us Your Holy Spirit who writes the preached Word into our hearts. May we receive and believe it and be cheered and comforted by it in eternity. C: Glorify Your Word in our hearts and make it so bright and warm that we may find pleasure in it, through Your Holy Spirit think what is right, and by Your power fulfill the Word, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our our Lord. Amen. [Prayer text by Martin Luther] Our Sermon for this morning is based on Mark's Gospel where we read from Chapter 13, beginning with Verse 5: JESUS SAID TO THEM: "WATCH OUT THAT NO ONE DECEIVES YOU. MANY WILL COME IN MY NAME, CLAIMING , 'I AM HE,' AND WILL DECEIVE MANY. WHEN YOU HEAR OF WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS, DO NOT BE ALARMED. SUCH THINGS MUST HAPPEN, BUT THE END IS STILL TO COME. NATION WILL RISE AGAINST NATION, AND KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM. THERE WILL BE EARTHQUAKES IN VARIOUS PLACES, AND FAMINES. THESE ARE THE BEGINNING OF BIRTH PAINS. YOU MUST BE ON YOUR GUARD. YOU WILL BE HANDED OVER TO THE LOCAL COUNCILS AND FLOGGED IN THE SYNAGOGUES. ON ACCOUNT OF ME YOU WILL STAND BEFORE GOVERNORS AND KINGS AS WITNESSES TO THEM. AND THE GOSPEL MUST FIRST BE PREACHED TO ALL NATIONS. WHENEVER YOU ARE ARRESTED AND BROUGHT TO TRIAL, DO NOT WORRY BEFOREHAND ABOUT WHAT TO SAY. JUST SAY WHATEVER IS GIVEN YOU AT THE TIME, FOR IT IS NOT YOU SPEAKING, BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT." [MARK 13:5-11] The congregation may be seated. [Text taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers] Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: I can't imagine what the disciples were thinking as Jesus was sharing this message with them. Sharing with them about what their future would be. Sharing with them about how the world was going to become a more vile and more evil place. And it's so easy sometimes to get caught up in all of those things that were alarming in what Jesus said. Nations would rise against nations. And kingdoms against kingdoms. There were going to be earthquakes. There were going to be famines. The Church was going to be persecuted. Those people were going to be hauled before governors to testify. And yet, to still hear the love of Christ in the message that He had for His disciples. That message that He wanted them to remain faithful. To remain with Him. To be with Him. To be on their guard! To be very careful, because their life in the world was not going to be easy. Their struggle to keep their faith was going to be a contentious war. A war for the truth! A war to remain grounded and faithful to God and the Word that had been proclaimed. To do that by the power and the strength of the Holy Spirit in the midst of falsehood. In the midst of attack on what the Word is truly all about. And what the Church is to accomplish. It has been the difficulty of the Church through the ages to remain focused on Christ. On the Christ of Scripture. Not the Christ of our minds or our rational being. Not the Christ of our heart and what we hope and think and want Him to be. But how Jesus Christ is portrayed in Scripture. How He is the One who revealed in the exact representation what God the Father was like. Because He CAME from God the Father to reveal who God is ... and what God has done! And that God is still active in the lives of His people. Still active in this world. Still sending out that eternal Gospel that we are reminded of in our reading from Revelation this morning. That eternal Gospel to be preached to the ends of the earth to all people, nations, languages, and tribes ... so that all people could come to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and be saved. Saved from the condemnation that sin had brought upon them. And that is not even today a popular preaching theme. People don't wanna hear that there is nothing good that is in us of ourselves. That from the moment of conception, we have inherited sin from our mothers and fathers. Sin that condemns us! Sin that lives in us, that works in us, that continues to do things through us. That we have that inherited sin that becomes actual sin by the ways in which we live that is against God. And against His will. And we are reminded today, on this day of Reformation, how important it is to realize that there is only one solution to that problem of sin. That condemnation of God and that solution is Jesus Christ who came into this world sinless, holy, perfect. Who lived in that life of perfection. Who fought against every temptation. Who fought against Satan himself and remained true to God and pure ... and holy. And then God took that holy, pure spotless Lamb and killed it; sacrificed it; so that His blood would wash away our sins. He took our punishment upon Himself so that we could be His own and live with Him in His kingdom and serve Him in His kingdom. And there is the grace of God shining so clearly from the cross and radiating from that empty tomb on Easter Sunday; that He rose physically ... bodily ... from the dead to remind us that we in faith will also rise to the glories of heaven to that eternal kingdom that He has prepared for us. And that is the Gospel message that we proclaim. That is the Gospel message that someone shared with us and it's changed our lives, taking us from people who were held captive to sin and death and the devil's grip and freeing us to live in the grace and the love of God Himself. We hear Jesus' words to us this morning as well, just as He told those disciples: Be on your guard! Be careful, because there are going to come people who will say: I'm the Messiah! And they are going to deceive many. There are going to be people who proclaim God's Word NOT in its truth and purity, for their own advancement and their own glorification. And how necessary it is for us to KNOW those Scriptures. To have that knowledge to be able to understand what is the truth, so that we are not led astray. To be careful in and of ourselves in the way in which we live. To say: What is important in my life? And what am I willing to give up for the pure true Gospel that I have and the glories of heaven that are mine? Each and every day you and I face opportunities that say: Today as a child of God, will I serve Him, or will I NOT? Today will I live in thanks for what God has done? Or will I NOT live in thanks to God? We miss those opportunities; have those opportunities every day before us. And it seems sometimes we just ignore them. Everyone hear about the earthquake today? The one that sent the tsunami warning to Hawaii? You heard that and in your mind you should have thought: The end is near. You hear about the wars and rumors of wars across this globe and you think in your head: The end is coming. Christ is going to return. Sometimes we can just go through our entire day without reflecting on what God has done for us. And that He wants us to be close to Him ... remain with Him. But too often we just don't even want to be bothered. We can't even find time for daily devotions. We can't find time to pray before meals. But they're reminders for us to be careful. To be careful ... as Jesus told His own children in the Old Testament through the Prophet Jeremiah: Look what you're doing. And don't think that I can't take you and form you into something else. Just like the potter at the wheel who messes up that vase and picks it up and slams it down and starts over. Reform your ways. Go back to the Word. Be IN THE WORD. Working with the Holy Spirit in your life. To remain watchful for the coming Messiah. To remain living in Him. To do the thing that you have been taught and that you know God wants from you without excuse ... without complaint ... without offering anything in replacing it. To be careful to be on your guard. Because this is truly serious. The battle rages. But the Victor is with us. Christ has defeated every attack on the Church and He is going to bring that Church to be with Him triumphant in glory for all eternity. And THAT is what we look forward to. That is the culmination of our faith - and each and every day while we wait and look for Him to return - we're in the Word! Studying the Word and living it in our lives. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God which goes beyond all of our understanding keep your hearts and your minds, and especially your lives in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.
Duration: 13 minutes and 59 seconds
Country: United States
Producer: R & M
Posted by: hischild on Oct 29, 2012
God takes His Word seriously whether we do or not. The verses in Mark 13 alert us to "watch" carefully and live our lives according to His Word. www.ziontorrance.info
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