Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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PENTECOST 25 – November 11, 2018 – Mark 12:38-44 “KNOW THE TIME”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel Lesson just read, from Mark 12.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • You likely remember that Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”  Obviously excluded from this “everything” are any and all manner of sinning.  There is to be no “open season” for such sinning, but rather we are to put our sinful nature and its impulses under subjection.
  • In our text we see a comparison of two groups of people. First there is the scribes, and other “rich” people.  These tend to be self-indulgent, greedy, uncompassionate, pretentious, and hypocritical.  The other group is represented by the poor widow and her offering. 
  • We are in the same time of life as these people were who are described in our text. We are making a living.  We have opportunity to put in our offerings.  We have to manage our priorities, what is most important to us.  We can be accumulating, devouring from others, or we can be focused on what we can do for others, what we can do for the kingdom of God.
  • This is our time, the only life-time that we will have. And as Christians, followers of Christ, we are called and encouraged to truly follow Him, to pursue goodness, kindness, love, generosity, and self-sacrifice.  And so it is clear that:

 

I.  This Is No Time For Greed, Pretense, Or Arrogance

 

Text:  “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers.  They will receive the greater condemnation.”

 

1 Peter 4:3-5  “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

 

Statement:  Of course, these sinful activities, along with selfishness, greed, and pride are precisely what our sinful flesh thinks we should be doing at this time, and throughout the course of our lifetime.  It is our “auto-pilot.”  We are called to repent of these things, and to rejoice that our sins are all forgiven in Christ, and we are urged to put this sinful nature to death and to live to God. 

 

Application:  And indeed, Peter wrote that whatever time we spent “living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry” is time enough for such destructive and evil nonsense!  We have been called to faith in Christ, and to newness of life.  And this is a great privilege and blessing!

 

Transition:  And as Jesus warned of riches and commended the poor widow, we can see that He wants all of His disciples to understand that:

 

II.  Now Is A Time For Faith And Sacrifice

 

A.  Jesus, Our Lord And Master, Sacrificed Himself For Us

 

Epistle:  “Christ has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

 

B.  He Has Put Away Our Sins

 

Epistle:  “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of the many.”

 

C.  He Now Intercedes For Us In Heaven

 

Epistle:  “Christ has entered . . . into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”

 

Statement:   We could follow in the footsteps of the scribes and the other rich people.  In fact, in many churches this seems to be the predominant focus, to be “successful” and prestigious people.  Some churches even teach that such success and wealth is a sure sign of one’s godliness and piety.  Alas, this is not the truth.  Wealth is often gained in ungodly ways, and when gained legitimately it is still the gracious gift and blessing of God, and nothing to boast about.  Within the church wealth should never gain one “the place of honor” or deferential treatment in public. 

 

Application:  Rather, whether we are rich or poor, we are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus – out of gratitude for what He has given us in His “self-sacrifice for our sins and for our salvation!  This means patterning our life on the example of the poor widow – who had greater love for the Lord and His kingdom than for herself.  She understood the time, the short time we have in this world, and so she made her sacrificial offering.

 

Transition:  But there is another “time” coming, and this is what we are encouraged to look forward to even as we live godly lives here and now.  For:

 

III.  At The End We Will Not Receive Condemnation, But Salvation And Glory

 

Epistle:  “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.”

 

Statement:  If we do everything in life with this focus – on the glorious return of Jesus, then likely our decisions as to how we live here and now will be wise, and we will seek to more closely emulate the poor widow.  We too will put all of our life resources into things that matter, actions of love, care, and compassion for others, and toward the advancement of God’s kingdom in the world. 

 

Application:  We will do so because we know the time, and we know the time which is coming.  Now is the time to work, to sacrifice, to love, to give generously, to do all we can to support and extend the church, the kingdom of God.  The time is coming when Christ returns – and then the fullness and magnificence of God’s love and salvation will be ours.

 

Conclusion:  So let us continue confessing our sins in true repentance, and turning to God for forgiveness.  The Word of God constantly assures us that He will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   Then, as we continuously contemplate His sacrificial love, we too will be moved to greater love, generosity, and sacrifice.

 

This is a wise use of our time here and now, in this world.  And as Scripture promises, we are surely storing up treasures in heaven. 

 

So let us beware of the temptations of idolizing and loving wealth.  And let us be aware of the opportunities we have to serve Christ and honor God with our offerings.  This is the time we have to make our choices.  May God grant each of us grace to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, so that all blessings will be added to us.  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.