December 2019 Sermons
December 1, 2019: Last week's lessons focused on the end of Jesus' human life. This week's lesson's focus on the end of time. It's important to remember how somber and serious this time of year is. Jesus tells us that God is coming and it's not as a tiny baby with a weak cry in a cold cradle. It's with all of the majesty and power we forget with Black Friday shopping and making the Christmas of our dreams.
Isaiah's Old Testament prophecy is not the stuff that dreams are made of. When he talks about the Lord's house on the high mountain, we remember previous stories. You remember what happens on the Lord's high holy mountain. It's where Moses went to talk to God and his shining face scared the people when they saw it. It's where Jesus took his dream team of James, John and Peter and Peter wanted to set up tents and stay there. It's where the disciples witnessed the conversation between Moses, Elijah and Jesus and then returned to the plain to do the work they were sent to do. Some serious things happen high on God's holy mountain as Isaiah tell us.
The prophet Isaiah was a resident living in Jerusalem, even as he predicted that the city would be destroyed. But as he lived and worked in the city, he saw the hope that God offered God's people far out on the horizon of time. We need to pay attention to the same hope that lies on God's horizon for us. You can't reach out in hope to God's future if you're wringing your hands in despair about the present times. Isaiah's prophecy transcends the world in front of him. Isaiah can see far into the future that God has promised God's scattered and displaced people.
Now listen carefully to the word that Isaiah saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. When we see a word, it's written in a book. But when Isaiah sees God's word, it's a vision of the future. This word will teach on God's high holy mountain and the people and nations will stream there to hear it.
The mountain of God's presence will call people and nations to itself. There will be judgments, decisions and the word of God will stand for all eternity. The weapons of war will be melted down and become implements of peace on God's mountain as God's people learn to live God's way.
Jesus came to teach us how to live God's way, but his message was distorted by the past. Jesus had good reason to argue against current Jewish law. Jewish law seemed to divide God's people into social classes and separate them from each other. God's law would benefit all of God's people, even the widows, children and aliens the world forgot.
Jesus' teaching at the temple continued as he argued what was most important. Don't be distracted, amazed or impressed by whatever had been created with human hands. None of those things will outlast the power of God, they are here today and gone tomorrow.
Don't be distracted or drawn to the false prophets of the times. They aren't the first and they won't be the last to set a day or time or season or year for God to return and reclaim God's broken world. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. So chose to live the life God has given you to live.
Live your life in obedience to God, as Noah did. Before the flood, people laughed at Noah, but Noah did as God told him and the day they entered the ark, the people died with no warning that the end had come.
Live your life in the love and trust of God, because one day two women will be working and one will be gone and the other remain. Such is the way of death, you don't know when the end is coming or when you will meet the Son of Man. Keep awake, be alert, be always on watch for you don't know the day or the hour. If the house owner knew when the thief was coming, he would have protected his property. But he left his guard down and he was robbed. Always hold God's love in your heart;follow God's ways in your life.
Most of the time, we're given advice to follow what God instructs, but we're not very good at following those directions. When we look at what God wants from us, we find simple rules-commandments, directions, even the simple words from the prophet Micah. What does God require of us? The simple answer is to be fair, be kind and walk humbly with your God.
And yet we're distracted by formulas, by movies like Left Behind or books like the Davinci Code or the Holy Grail. We're distracted away from God's simple requirement to be fair, be kind and to walk humbly with God. It can't be that simple, we reason, it's got to be harder than we think. And we continue the complicated treasure hunt that will ultimately lead to God, but will first have us turning in circles until one day God's voice speaks clearly to us, saying listen to Jesus. He was sent to bring you my message.
My question to your questions about the end times is this. Why would a loving God, who reaches down to us in the simplicity of love, make it impossible for us to connect to each other? The answer is God wouldn't. Knowing us and our failure, God always reaches toward us in forgiveness and love and that's as simple as our relationship should be. Amen.