Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Lift Up Your Heads!

Pastor Weise's Sermon - Remember the Sabbath, to Keep it Holy
Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Lift Up Your Heads!

Malachi 4.1-6/St. Luke 21.25-36
Advent II/December 9, 2018

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN
Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain


Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


1          If you’ve ever had physical therapy

and they were helping you to walk—

you’ve likely heard the therapist say—

Lift up your head!

                                                Look up!


            Why do they always say that?


when you look up

                                                it makes you less likely to fall down.

you can see what’s coming.

you can keep standing up.


II         Much like those physical therapists

today Jesus tell us—

Look up!

                                    Lift up your head!


Now, Jesus isn’t talking about physical therapy.

He’s not talking about

keeping your balance

seeing who’s down the hall


falling down on the floor.

When Jesus says, Look up!

he’s talking about keeping your eyes

fixed in faith (!)

on things above.

he’s talking about

keeping your soul focused on

the thing of God

while you live in the midst of this sinful, fallen, dying world.

When Jesus says, Look up!

especially during these holy days of Advent—

he’s calling on us

to look up and lift up our heads spiritually

so that we will be truly prepared

to welcome Him when he comes.          //////////

III       So

what do we see when we do that?

what do we see when we lift up our heads in faith?


We see

signs in the heavens—

in the sun and the moon and the stars.

we see

signs here on the earth—

distress of nations

the sea raging and at war with itself.

we see

signs of fear among people—

people fainting—

even dying—

because of the dangerous state of the affairs of this world.

IV        And all these signs

in the heavens and here on earth—

all these signs

point to a great and glorious sign

which all men will one day see—

These signs point

to the End of the age.

to the destruction of this world

and the ushering in of

the New Heavens


the New Earth


the Life of the World to Come!

to the coming of the Son of Man.


V         When we lift up our heads

and look up in faith

we can see THE END must be near.

And not just in some spiritual—oh, I feel it in my heart—kind of way.

When we lift up our heads

and look up with vision formed by faith in Christ—

we truly see—

with our own eyes—

the signs God is giving us

in his creation.

Astronomers and scientists

find new stars and planets all the time—

These are the signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars!

Nations fight one another

and countless wars are raging even as we speak—

This is the distress of nations with all perplexity

of which Jesus speaks.

Hurricanes and terrible storms

happen on the sea

This is the sea and the waves roaring

just like Jesus says.

Men and women—

even some of us—

tremble in fear

at what might happen next.

In our very midst, our hearts are failing us from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth—



(St. Luke 21.25-26)

VI        But Jesus doesn’t say—

Keep your head down

lay low

and try to avoid it all.

He does NOT say—

If you don’t look—you won’t see—

                                    and nothing will happen to you.


Jesus does NOT say—

Play it safe. 

                        Keep your head down low.


                                    everything will be just fine.


VII      No—Jesus says

                        Take heed to yourselves.

                        Know what’s going on—and act accordingly

                        Don’t get caught up in





                                    obsessing over the things of this world.


            If you do that, Jesus says—

THE END will catch you by surprise—

                                    and you won’t be ready!



                        Lift up your heads!

                        Look up.

                                    Look up in faith.


                        Look up—

                                    even when you know

                                                that what you see may shake you down to your bones.


                        Look up—

                                    because all these signs

                                                in the heavens and on the earth

                                                            point to one great and glorious truth—

                                                                        The Lord is on his way back—


                                                                        YOUR REDEMPTION IS DRAWING NEAR!

(St. Luke 21.27-28, 34-36)



VII      Christ is coming!

The promised Messiah whose birth we will soon celebrate

will soon come

on the clouds

with the angels of God ascending and descending upon Him.

The Savior born in Bethlehem

will soon come

to judge

the living

the dead


the whole creation over which he reigns.

The true Son of God—

born of the Blessed Virgin in all humility—

will soon come

in all his glory

to send the evil into everlasting fire


to welcome His holy ones into the incomparable bliss of

everlasting life with God.

That’s something you don’t want to miss.

And you don’t want it to catch you by surprise.



IX       You could refuse to do that.

You could bury your head in the sand

and ignore all these signs God is giving us.

You could indulge your own desires

and tend to your own affairs

and go about your own business

like nothing is happening


like nothing will happen.


            You could go on—

acting like if you don’t see the signs

they’re not really there

and things will always go on

just like they are right now.

You could do that—


You’d be guilty of denying the truth of Jesus’ holy word.

If you do that

You will be guilty

of ignoring the signs

that God is placing

right in front of your face

right now.

You will put

your soul

in jeopardy of eternal damnation


your body

in jeopardy of everlasting fire—

because you’d be willfully engaging in sin.

X         So take heed to yourself.

Put your life—and your heart—in order—TODAY!

Repent of Your Sins.

Repent of NOT looking for the coming of the Lord.

Repent of living as though Jesus is NOT ever really coming back.

Repent of acting as though God is NOT giving you signs

in his Word


in his Creation

that say—

Jesus is on his way!



Cherish Jesus’ Word

of forgiveness, life, and salvation for you.

of promise to come and take you out of this vale of tears

and set you up in the mansions of the Lord.


and take heed to

your LIFE



your FAITH—

by watching and praying every moment of every day—

So the great and glorious Day of the Lord

does not come upon you

when you’re not ready for it.


XI       One way to do all that

is to lift up your head.

Lift up your head—

and lift up your soul

in repentant faith

in expectant hope


in fervent love

for God


for your neighbors.

Lift up your head in faith

so you can truly see Jesus

born in Bethlehem and laid in the manger

as we celebrate Christmas in the coming days.

Lift up your head

so you can really see Jesus

as he comes to you here and now

in his Word

in his forgiveness


in his Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar.

Lift up your head

so you will really see Jesus

coming in all his glory

to deliver you

from sin/death/the devil/and hell

and plant you firmly in the promised land of heaven above.

Lift your head


as he welcomes you into the New Jerusalem

and the life of the world to come.


                        LOOK UP!


XII      Turns out the physical therapists have it right.

What’s true during therapy

is also true in your Christian Faith.

Lift up your head—

Look up—

and you won’t fall down in your life of faith.

Lift up your head—

Look up—

and you will see Jesus when he comes

Lift up your head—

Look up—

and you will keep standing up

even when the Savior of your body/soul appears again in glory.

Look up!

Lift up your head!

Your redemption draweth nigh.

Come, Lord Jesus.  Come quickly.  Amen.

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Hymn of Response:  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

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