Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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New Year’s Eve – Luke 12:35-40 – “Dressed For Action”

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

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

  • If we were going out somewhere after worship this evening, I suppose we would be dressed for the occasion, “dressed” for whatever action we were anticipating.  That would be a good thing.  Many people suffer nightmares where they show up somewhere inappropriately dressed.  I’ve had some of these – where I dream I’m at church in jeans and a T-shirt, and the service is about to begin. 
  • Jesus uses this common human phenomenon of being properly attired to urge us to readiness for His second coming.  As 2012 turns into 2013, we think about the passing of time, and the older we get the more we contemplate our own end, and the return of Jesus in glory.  This year we had another “prediction” of the “end of time.”  I wrote this sermon before the supposed “dreadful” date.  I suppose 2013 will see more of these predictions.  But as Jesus makes clear, He will come “at an hour you do not expect.”
  • Are you ready if He were to return tonight, or tomorrow, or shortly into 2013?  What does Jesus want for us to attend to as we “wait for our Master to come home”?  Pre-eminently He wants us to be firm in our faith and trust in His gracious mercy, forgiveness, and love – for “he that believes the Son has everlasting life,” and “God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  Secondly, He wants us to be ready and prepared to serve Him – to be conducting our lives in such a way as is pleasing to Him and fulfilling our calling to bear witness to His love, and to be loving one another and all people.  
  • In order for this to happen, He wills for us to be ready and eagerly expectant of receiving His blessings!  So we consider this evening how we can be “DRESSED FOR ACTION” as our dear Savior bids us.


I.  Faith, Which Is The Most Important Thing To Be Dressed With, Is To A Large Degree Passive


A.  It Is The Gift Of God, Received By His Grace


Eph. 2:8,9  “By grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”


B.  Faith Comes By Hearing The Word Of God – And This Hearing Is Also Somewhat Passive


Rom. 10:17  “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”


C.  Faith Simply Trusts God’s Love And His Promises


OT Lesson:  “Thus says the Lord God, the Holy One Of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”


Epistle:  “If God be for us, who can be against us?  . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  . . . I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Statement:   We might think that merely having “faith” and “trust” doesn’t really prepare us for much, but actually it is the most critical preparation anyone can have!  God asserts that such “quietness and trust” IS our “strength.”  It is hard to properly estimate the strength of knowing that nothing can separate us from God’s love, knowing that “God is for us” and that therefore no one can effectively be “against us.”  This is a great deal more than merely “The Power Of Positive Thinking,” the advantage of having confidence.  No, this is God’s power and strength promised to all who believe and trust in Him – and remember, when God speaks a Word it is reality!


Application:  This “faith” and trust in God is the most important “clothing” we are to put on – or rather, to allow God to put on us – if we are to be properly “DRESSED FOR ACTION.”  This clothing prepares us to face anything and everything that we may be confronted with in this fallen world of sin – all of the tribulations that we must pass through as we enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whether it is tragedies that befall others, or evils that touch our own lives, whether it is suffering or death itself, or even “the end of the world,” knowing and believing that “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” prepares us for whatever “action” comes our way.  Even the loss of all personal strength, of our ability to think clearly, to relate to others, or even to control ourselves – faith asserts that God’s grace will always be sufficient for us, that He will always keep us as His own dear children in Christ Jesus! 


Transition:  While being clothed with such faith and trust is to a large degree passive for us, God is actually making sure that we are “DRESSED FOR ACTION” – we are blessed and privileged to be involved in critically important “actions” as we go through life in this world.  But we must remember that:


II.  Serving Christ In Faith Is Always Dependent Upon Our Trusting In His Love And Blessings


A.  Our Stewardship Is Given By His Grace And Love


Text:  We have a “Master” who has placed us in service in “His home” – and Who has given us our various tasks in life in His world – as husband or wife, as parent, as obedient child, as neighbor, as witness of His love to others around us, as supporters of the faith of others within the church, as workers in our profession or occupation, and supporters of the mission of the Gospel in our local area and throughout the world.  All of this is “given” to us – as a gift of His grace!


B.  He Alone Can Empower Faithfulness In Us – And How Better To Do So Than With His Word Of Love, His Gospel Of Grace, Mercy, And Forgiveness In Christ Jesus


So He invites us in the OT Lesson to “return and rest” in His salvation, allowing His quietness and trust to be our strength.


So He give us His assurances that nothing can separate us from His love, that His blood cleanses us from all sin, that through faith in Him we have eternal life, that He Who began this good work in us will bring it to completion on the Last Day, the Day of Christ’s return!


Statement:  So there is plenty of “action” that we are being “dressed” for – all of the blessed activities that we engage in in this life on earth.  Remembering that it is God’s gift to us, and that only He can empower us to faithfully fulfill our “duties,” insures that our focus will always be upon Him and His Word, His love, grace, goodness, and promised blessing! 


Application:  So we allow Him to “dress” us for “action” – strengthening us with faith and trust in His love, through His Word and Sacrament! 


Transition:  And remarkably:


III.  Even Though Our Being Dressed For Action And Being Found Faithful And Ready Is The Gift Of God, The Lord Jesus Promises That He Is The One Who Will Serve Us At His Return


Text:  “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes.  Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.”


Rev. 14:13  “Write this: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”


Rev. 2:10  “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”


Statement:  When we put our faith and trust in God, the promises of His love, we will never be put to shame or embarrassed – but rather exalted by the Lord Himself!  He actually promises reward and blessing for remaining faithful in the things He Himself gives us and empowers us to do.  It is all rather amazing – the amazing grace and love of God our Savior!


Application:  So we rest ourselves in His love, His promises, His goodness – and this is our strength, a strength that nothing can overcome, for when our strength fails, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness!   


Conclusion:   So, contrary to any fearful dreams we may have about being inappropriately “dressed” for some occasion, God has promised and made sure that we are always appropriately “DRESSED FOR ACTION” for our lives within His kingdom of grace.  The Lord simply encourages us – “STAY DRESSED FOR ACTION,” which is to a large degree passive.  We let God keep us dressed for action – through His Word! 


He will do so – in 2013 and beyond, all the way until the day He returns.  We do not know that day; it comes “at an hour you do not expect” – but we “must be ready!”  God grant it to us all by His grace and power!  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.