Praying, COME, LORD JESUS, to Him Who Has Come to Defeat the Devil

Praying, COME, LORD JESUS  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  17:04
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Come, Lord Jesus

“Come, Lord Jesus be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.” So goes the common table prayer sometimes referred to as “The Come Lord Jesus” prayer. Perhaps you have been in a group at church getting ready to eat and someone says, “Ok, let’s pray ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’”
The intent is for Jesus to come and bless our food. But this Advent we will pray “Come, Lord Jesus” in another way. Advent literally means “coming,” and, of course, refers to the Lord Jesus. It is important that we focus on these words because “Come, Lord Jesus” is the final message of Scripture. This revelation reminds us that the Advent prayer for Jesus’s coming should always be on our lips. Revelation 22:20 records Jesus’s parting words in Scripture, “Yes, I am coming soon!” and then John provides our response, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
Over the next few weeks, we will pray “Come, Lord Jesus” in relation to the 3 different “comings” of Jesus—his past, present, and future comings. Today, we will focus on what Jesus accomplished in his first coming to save us. Next week, our attention will be aimed at his present coming in his word and sacrament. After that, we will look toward his future coming when he returns on the final day.

Come, Lord Jesus in Advent Devotions

Prayer for Jesus’s presence is not only for church services but is something needed every day, not only as a brief meal prayer but as a time of daily devotion.
Advent devotions are quite popular. You can find them in many places. There are Advent devotion booklets. You can even set up your email to receive an Advent devotion every day. “Come, Lord Jesus” on the internet! This is such an important practice. Especially in today’s world where we and members of our families are bombarded by so many non-Christian messages, hearing God’s word every day is critical. Therefore, in each of our Advent sermons I will be encouraging daily devotions. People who do them tell me what a blessing they are!
Consider this scenario: Members of a family, be it a household of one, two, three or more sit down every day to hear a devotion on the word of God and to enter into a time of prayer. The word they read helps shape their lives in the strength and hope of the Lord! This also leads to engaging God in personal conversation, thanking him for blessings and seeking his help and guidance for the day’s work. It is only for a brief time of perhaps no more than 15 minutes, but it is a daily practice. They don’t want to live without it!

Difficulty in Devotion

“Ok, pastor, I hear you. But have you tried to do daily devotions?” someone might say. Some people have this down pat. But for a lot of folks, this is a real struggle. Let’s be honest. It is not as easy as it sounds to dedicate time to daily devotions, even if it’s only during Advent. Logically, you might think, “It sounds like no problem. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. I don’t see anything hard about taking 15 of those minutes, about 1 percent of my day, to do a reading and say a prayer.” But more than logical calculations are required. This is a spiritual activity. When we have devotions we are praying, “Come, Lord Jesus” into our day. There are spiritual forces that do not want Jesus to come to us.
That spiritual opposition is why daily devotions, and even weekly church attendance, can be difficult. Worshipping one or two hours a week, taking 15 minutes daily for a devotion would not be so hard if not for the spiritual battle. What is sometimes called the “unholy trinity” is working against us. The devil, our sinful flesh, and the world are all bitterly opposed to our receiving the word of God and praying, “Come, Lord Jesus” into our daily lives.
Consider these comments:
“Hey, it’s time for devotions.”
“Oh, I can’t today. I have some homework to finish before school.”
Or, “I’m so tired. I just can’t pay attention for a devotion. Let’s not do that today.”
Comments like these sound innocent, but they fulfill the devil’s schemes and reveal our natural resistance to the word of God.
If we do manage to sit down and have a devotion, the evil one will scheme some more to prevent planting the word in our hearts.
“Hey honey, I’ve got a big project due at work and need to get going. Can we skip the Bible reading and just say a really short prayer?”
Or, after reading your devotion you realize, “Wow, I have no idea what I just read! My mind was elsewhere.”
Or, consider this family devotional distraction, “Can you kids please sit still while we read the Bible story!” So says the exasperated parent as a toddler runs to grab a toy.

Trouble in the Text

A place in Scripture where opposition to God’s word by evil forces is revealed is in the parable of the Sower. As Matthew records this, Jesus has been experiencing growing opposition to his own preaching and teaching. The religious sect of the Pharisees were actively resisting Jesus’s words and the crowds were showing they didn’t comprehend. Jesus uses the parable of the Sower to explain the opposition.
In it, he describes the unholy trinity as being the sources of resistance to God’s word. He says that a farmer went out to sow seeds for his crops. Some fell along the path and birds ate them. Other seed fell on rocky ground but the plants had no roots and withered in the hot sun. Other seed fell amidst thorns that grew up and choked the young plants.
Jesus explains that the seed represents his message. The images of birds, rocky ground, and choking thorns represent the devil, our sinful hearts, and the fallen world. These evil forces are opposed to God’s word.
In explaining the parable of the Sower, Jesus said that the birds who ate up the seed represent the evil one who desires to snatch the word of God away from us. The devil knows that the truth of God’s word is his undoing. The last thing that the “father of lies,” as Jesus calls him elsewhere, wants us to know is the truth that God has saved us and defeated him. So he will use every scheme possible to prevent our hearing of God’s word. Let me say that again. He will use every scheme possible to prevent us from hearing God’s word! That is why having daily devotions can be such a struggle; indeed, a spiritual battle. It is nothing less than spiritual warfare for us to daily pray “Come, Lord Jesus” in regular devotion.

Grace in God’s Word

It was in order to defeat the evil one that Jesus first came. Our focus today is: “COME, LORD JESUS,” who has overcome our arch enemy—Satan. We say this confidently because our Lord has already come and defeated him through his completed work of redemption. That was his first coming.
It was quite a battle! From the moment of Jesus’s birth, the devil was on the attack. As the so-called god of this world he was inspiring Herod to kill baby Jesus. At the beginning of his ministry he met Jesus directly in the wilderness to tempt him away from his mission. But our Lord defeated him with the word of God. During his ministry, Jesus would silence and cast out evil spirits who knew who he was. When the devil tempted his disciples, especially Peter and Judas, Jesus overcame the power of the evil one. While Jesus himself was attacked and tempted by the devil in every way, he did not sin. He did not sin and thus removed God’s judgment on our sins by dying on the cross for us and the whole world. In dying for our sins, Jesus defeated the devil. Satan, the old accuser, could no longer make a claim on us. So after he died, before rising from the dead, Jesus “descended into hell,” as we say in the Apostles’ Creed, and announced victory over the forces of the evil one.
Therefore, we can confidently pray: “COME, LORD JESUS” who has come and defeated the devil.

Grace in the World

Our Lord unmasks and exposes the devil with this parable. He defeated him with his death and resurrection. And, he has defeated him for us!
That is why we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” and desire to do so daily. In a great passage about Jesus protecting us from evil forces, St. Paul says that Christians are to put on the “armor of God.” In Ephesians, he writes that we don’t wrestle with mere flesh and blood but against “the spiritual forces of evil.” Then he says to “take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand the evil day.” This divine protection is described as a gift of Jesus’s righteousness that protects our hearts. It is our shield of faith, trusting in his blood-bought forgiveness, that extinguishes Satan’s flaming arrows of accusation. It is Jesus’s resurrection that gives us hope instead of despair as we wear a helmet of salvation. These gifts are promised by God’s word and declared to us personally in our baptisms in the name of the Triune God. Yes, because Jesus has defeated the devil, we daily desire to pray, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”
Along with all of the spiritual armor of Jesus that we wear, St. Paul also describes a specific weapon that is used against the spiritual forces of evil. It is, and I quote, “The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Jesus used it to defeat the devil in his wilderness temptations. We too are invited to use his word to defeat the devil in our lives, as well.

The Urgency of Daily Devotions To Defeat the Devil

This is why we encourage one another to practice daily devotions. As I said before, this is not easy because it is a spiritual battle. So we need to encourage one another!
Some of us may already be doing devotions. Others of us may have never done them. Still others, have tried but have not continued. We fell out of the habit, we gave up in frustration, or we simply felt too busy to take the time.
I’m simply asking you to consider doing a very SHORT daily devotion. We have provided some resources you might choose to use. But many others are available. One thought is simply to start reading the Bible and having a prayer. In the future we can discuss more about what you can choose to do.
But for now let’s focus on praying to Jesus to come and help us in this task. None of us can defeat the devil, he already has. So with his help, this Advent season, we join in praying “Come, Lord Jesus,” not just to bless our food but all of life each day. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
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