Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church

2021 Last Sunday of the Church Year

Woke to Christ

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

November 21, 2021 anno Domini

Are you woke? Ten years ago, that would have been a meaningless question and bad grammar, but now woke is the measure of worth in the United States. Being woke is the opposite of being asleep, but not asleep on your Stearns and Foster mattress. Being woke is to have your eyes open to see that America was founded on slavery, that every person is either an oppressor or oppressed. Men are oppressors. Women are oppressed. Heterosexuals oppress.  LGBTQ etc. are their victims. Whites oppress all nonwhites. Rich people made their wealth oppressing poor people. If I was woke, I would have to see myself as a white, male, husband, father, and Christian as the most oppressive human being in the United States and I would need to be sorry for who I am. I would repent of who God made me and what He has given me. He made me white. He made me male. He brought me to faith. He gave me a wife and blessed me with children. Being woke, according to the common definition is sinful. It denies sin, the creation of humans in God’s image, and the redeeming work of Christ. The Biblical faith is “a no woke zone.”

We, as God’s children are woke to a completely different reality. You are woke to Christ. You should live your whole life and especially these last days in view of Christ. Your view of the world, your approach to life, to your work, to being you and doing what you have been given to do – all of that should be done aware of, woke to Christ.

This is what Saint Paul tells the Thessalonians. (Read vs 2) Paul warns you not to be caught unaware. (Read vs. 5-6). Awakened to faith in Christ we see the true problem not in oppressors and victims, but in our hearts. We also see the real solution – not in human schemes but in God’s Savior.

You and every other human are sinful. Do you want to know why sometimes you are disgusted with yourself? You are a sinner. Do you want to know why you get angry, why you want vengeance, why you complain, why you are unhappy? You get sinned against by other sinners. Do you want to know why politicians lie? Why the government says one thing and does another? Why the Democrats and Republicans fail to deliver on their promises and always spend more money? They are selfish sinners.

Those who are woke in the United States believe that if everyone woke to their reality there would be heaven on earth. It’s nothing new. The ancient Greeks had the great philosophers. The Romans gave peace to the world for hundreds of years. The great Ottoman empire lasted 600 years. Marx, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao all had their plans for making heaven on earth. They all used wisdom or force to fix this failing world.

Where are those kingdoms now? God’s Word tells us why they are no more and why they failed. Kingdoms run by sinners are corrupt and decay. Wake up to this reality. There is one Kingdom that endures – it outlasted the Greeks, the Romans, the Turks, and it will outlast and is far better than the United States of America. It is the Kingdom of God that is revealed in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God in human flesh.

Jesus did one significant thing, but it is only significant if you are awakened by faith. He died on a cross on a Friday outside Jerusalem. The eyes of the world are closed to Jesus. They see His death as failure and folly. If you are woke to Christ then His cross is the greatest wisdom ever revealed, for His death is the end of your sin. His death is the end of death. His death is the beginning not only of a better world, but a better you.

Once you were darkness. Now you are light. Once you were sinner. Now you are saint. Once you were an orphan, now you are a child. Once you were slave. Now you are son. Once you were no one, now you are the beloved of God, the forgiven of Christ, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. You are light on a hill and salt to season this world by speaking the truth in love.

We live in this light, this knowledge, this “wokeness.” That is why we still call sin sin because sin is dangerous. It will kill you. Gossiping is sin. Prejudice is sin. Wishing harm on President Biden or President Trump is sin. Always wanting more is sin. We still call sin sin because there is still time for forgiveness. Christ has not returned. The Bridegroom has yet not come for us. We’re still waiting and while we wait, we invite people to the feast, to turn from their sins and receive forgiveness, to repent and believe that Christ died for sinners.

Wake up to reality. Democrats aren’t going to save America. Neither are Republicans. Your president will not usher in heaven on earth. Lowering the price of turkey and gasoline won’t save anyone anything, neither will “free” money from the government or your best year ever in the stock market. The Untied States will not be fixed if all of us oppressive white Christians confess our supposed sins and give everything we have to those who believe they are our victims.

The problem is not your oppressor. The problem is your sin. Jesus Christ and He alone saves you. By His death on the cross He won for you the only thing that makes a difference in in your life and in the world – forgiveness for your sins. By His resurrection He showed you the future of all who believe in Him. Only forgiveness makes for peace between sinners. In Christ alone “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28) Once you have Christ, He becomes your identity. You are a Christian.

So keep your eyes out for Christ, like the wise virgins in the Gospel reading. Before they went to the reception they went to Costco and bought the three-gallon jug of extra virgin olive oil so they would be ready when Christ came. It clashed with their tiny Coach purses and ruined the wedding pictures, but they didn’t care. Whatever it took they would be ready. If He delayed His coming, they would still have oil. Their lamps would still be burning. He would see them because they had one goal – to see Him. You can never have too much Jesus as you wait for Jesus. Like the virgins He will cramp your style and make you look out of place in the world, but you’re not waiting for the world’s approval. You’re waiting for Jesus because He alone can carry you over the threshold to the new heavens and new earth. I’m not sure we should use the word “woke” in any way to describe our faith. Let’s just stick to God’s Word, (read 1 Thess 5:6). In the name of Jesus. Amen.