12092018 Advent 2 Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

"We prepare our hearts for the Kings coming! We prepare for the King of Kings!"

12092018 Advent 2 Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

December 9, 2018

"We prepare our hearts for the Kings coming!
We prepare for the King of Kings!"

Sermon Audio

Have you ever wondered how the hymns we sing connect to the Bible?  During this Advent season, we will be making these and other connections so as our celebration of Christmas approaches, our hearts can be more full and see and understand the connection with how our hymns have a deep connection with not only the tune, but the words and how God’s message of salvation is clearly and definitively proclaimed in our joyful songs and how this connects with all of us gathered here during advent.  This morning we begin with “Prepare the Royal Highway”! So let us begin with the first stanza of ELW 264:

Prepare the royal highway; The King of kings is near!  Let every hill and valley A level road appear!  Then greet the King of glory, Foretold in sacred story: Hosanna to the Lord, For he fulfills God’s Word!

From the Old Testament it is clear that they were looking for the coming of the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”, for Jesus birth had been ‘foretold in sacred story’.  The King Who would come would ‘fulfill(s) God’s Word’. Jesus Christ would clearly make all things right and this promise is made to them and for each and every one of us today as well.  In our looking back with perfect vision of the events that unfolded, we can see the plan of salvation and how it unfolded in the beauty that only God was able to fulfill.

Unlike the Jewish people, we can see how God clearly fulfilled a ‘path and road’, a ‘royal highway’ for us to receive the blessing that God gives as one prepares for the coming of the ‘King of Kings’.  When Frans Mikael Franzén penned this hymn it was a time of uncertainty in Sweden, but Frans with a faith that had a depth beyond years persevered during this time and became a history professor and Swedish and Finnish poet.  Though the composer Frans is not as well known, this hymn shows his belief in the need for preparation during the Advent season so that “we can prepare and make ready our hearts”. Let’s join together singing the second stanza and see what can occur in each of us if we prepare.

God’s peeple, see him coming: Your own eternal king!  Palm branches strew before him! Spread Garments! Shout and sing!  God’s promise will not fail you! No more shall doubt assail you!  Hosanna to the Lord, For he fulfills God’s Word!

Last week we began our Advent season singing about Jesus Triumphal Entry and just as we prepare for Advent, our hymn this morning connects back to Jesus entrance into Jerusalem.  What is so clear is that Frans wanted to connect the concept of preparation to the idea that we do ‘humanly doubt’. It is natural for doubt to ‘assail’ us, but with Jesus entrance into Jerusalem and what occurred, Jesus Christ, God’s Son overcomes ‘doubt’, hence why he wrote, “No more shall doubt assail you”.  This is God’s promise fulfilled of and for us in the plan of salvation and why and how we can fully rely upon God.

Some who yearly collect palm branches on Palm Sunday place them in doorways in order to daily remind them when they see them of the promises from God and this connects with us today and encourages us when we face doubt to firmly and faithfully believe God’s promises when we see the palm branches.  For the devil wants us to doubt, but God through the palm branches wants us to believe so that when we look, “We see Him, Jesus Christ coming and should prepare to see our doubt melt away”. Let’s continue with the next stanza to see the opportunity we have as the Body of Christ.

Then fling the gates wide open To greet your promised king!  Your king, yet every nation Its tribute to may bring. All lands will bow before him; Their voices join you singing: Hosanna to the Lord, For he fulfills God’s Word!

When King David penned Psalm 24, he by divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit saw into the future the time when the King of Kings would arrive in Jerusalem.  So clear was the prophecy that David inspired the Jewish people and still inspires us today to ‘fling the gates wide’ make our doors ‘wide open To greet your promised king’.  For it is with anticipation and pure joy that we look to celebrate Jesus entrance into our midst, but also for the entrance of Jesus Christ into what is closest unto each of us, our hearts.

For this third stanza inspires us to ‘greet’ our King Jesus Christ.  And in our greeting Him we understand ‘All lands will bow before him’ so that our ‘voices join’ in singing, ‘Hosanna to the Lord, For he fulfills God’s Word.’  Jesus Christ will set things right and fulfill the covenant made by God in the garden of Eden, completed on the Cross of Calvary and offered unto each and every one of us today.

And this leads us into the last stanza where we encounter the reality that Jesus Christ kingdom, “His is no earthly kingdom; it comes from heav’n above’.  Jesus kingdom is not of this world, but the offer Jesus makes to and for each of us today is for we His children, His disciples and His followers to trust Him, follow Him and to share with one another and everyone we meet the ‘kindness’ and forgiveness modeled for us by Him.  And we then can prepare our hearts during this Advent season so when Jesus comes again, “We prepare today for God’s peaceful rule”.

It is certainly true for all of us today that we who come this morning come to hear more of God’s love and forgiveness of and for all of mankind.  We also come to prepare our hearts for the coming of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus Christ as we heard today encountered a ‘brood of vipers’ who did not have preparation, but destruction in mind.  We have the opportunity to prepare ourselves this Advent season by proclaiming together the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and as Paul did praying that ‘love will abound’ and ‘grace will overcome’ desires that do not have God’s will at heart.  For this is our opportunity to prepare our hearts and be the messenger of God and how God can help us to “Prepare our hearts for the Kings coming!” And in so doing help us to see Jesus Christ not only as our Savior, but enable us to see Advent as the season when “We prepare for the King of Kings!”  Let’s prepare for this reality in our midst today by singing the last stanza from “Prepare the Royal Highway!”

His is no earthly kingdom; It comes from heav’n above.  His rule is peace and freedom And justice, truth, and love.  So let your praise be sounding For kindness so abounding:  Hosanna to the Lord, For he fulfills God’s Word!  AMEN!