Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sermon Dec. 10, 2014 Mid-week Advent Service

Title: The Son’s love redeems us.
Luther’s Small Catechism the Apostles Creed Second article w/ explanation
Text: Psalm 85

2 You forgave the iniquity of your people;
    you covered all their sin.

4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation,

7 Show us your steadfast love, O LORD,
    and grant us your salvation.

13 Righteousness will go before him
    and make his footsteps a way.

The Creed


The Second Article


And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.

This is most certainly true.

The Son’s love redeems us.

The redeemed are dependent of God for all. All that we have-- wisdom, the pardon of sin, deliverance, acceptance in God's favor, grace, holiness, true comfort and happiness, eternal life and glory--we have from God by a Mediator; and this Mediator is God. God not only gives us the Mediator, and accepts His mediation, and of His power and grace bestows the things purchased by the Mediator, but He is the Mediator. Our blessings are what we have by purchase; and the purchase is made of God; the blessings are purchased of Him; and not only so, but God is the purchaser. Yes, God is both the purchaser and the price; for Christ, who is God, purchased these blessings by offering Himself as the price of our salvation.

Jonathan Edwards, Closer Walk, July, 1988, p. 15.

So these words of preacher Jonathan Edwards remind us that it is the Son who redeems us. It is Jesus who saves and it is this salvation that we – during this Advent season - wait for.

2 You forgave the iniquity of your people;
    you covered all their sin, the psalmist says.

Temple sacrifices had atoned for the sins of the people and had appeased God’s wrath for the people as the priest made satisfaction for the sins of the people.

Our pastor’s circuit meeting in November had a bible study that looked at the word and meaning of propitiation, which is a big word that means to appease or to make favorable and this brings about a change in God. The sacrifice for sin in the temple, atoned for the sins of the people and God was appeased and the people were forgiven.

This brought about a change in God because the animal was a substitute in the sacrifice for sin.
20 Thus shall he do with the bull. As he did with the bull of the sin offering, so shall he do with this. And the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven. Lev. 4:20

These sacrifices in the Old Testament paid the price for sin and this atonement, appeased God. But sin continued both by the acts of the people and also because of the nature of the people. We are sinners in thought, word and deed both by what we have done and by what we have left undone.

4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation,

The call of the psalmist to be restored back to God continued throughout the temple sacrifices as these sacrifices covered the sins of the people. For this restoration, God himself was an integral part.

As Luther writes in his Commentary on Galatians in 1535:

"I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who suffered, was crucified, and died for us." This is the most joyous of all doctrines and the one that contains the most comfort. It teaches that we have the indescribable [joy], mercy and love of God.

When the merciful Father saw that we were being oppressed through the Law, that we were being held under a curse, and that we could not be liberated from it by anything, He sent His Son into the world, heaped all the sins of all men upon Him, and said to Him "Be Peter the denier; Paul the persecutor, blasphemer, and assaulter; David the adulterer; the sinner who ate the apple in Paradise; the thief on the cross. In short, be the person of all men, the one who has committed the sins of all men. And see to it that You … pay and make satisfaction for them."

Now the Law comes and says: "I find Him a sinner, who takes upon Himself the sins of all men. I do not see any other sins than those in Him. Therefore let Him die on the cross!" And so it attacks Him and kills Him. By this deed the whole world is purged and expiated [which is to be forgiven and to have all guilt removed] from our sins, and thus [you are] set free from death and from every evil.'
We, you and I stand in the blessed joy of what God has done for us in Christ. God became what we are. At the coming of the Christ child he took on human flesh, was born of the Virgin Mary and became man.  It is this union of God and man in Christ that makes your reconciliation possible.

Dr. Kenneth Hagen writes that if you look up atonement in the American Edition of Luther’s Works:
“The words that are indexed to atonement include sacrifice, mediate forgiveness, satisfaction, reconciliation, ransom, forgiveness, merit of His blood, and reconciled.”

This is what the Christ child came to do. This is what he did. This is why we are saved and this is why we wait and celebrate his coming and birth.

The Son’s love redeems us because by his coming, by his life and by his death he makes right what had been broken and restores God and man.

7 Show us your steadfast love, O LORD,
    and grant us your salvation.

In the Christ child we see the steadfast love of the Father and through Jesus we are given salvation.

The Lutheran Hymnal in Savior of the Nations Come puts it this way:

Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child; Of the Virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned, Still to be in heaven enthroned.
From the Father forth He came; And returneth to the same,
Captive leading death and hell; High the song of triumph swell!
Thou, the Father’s only Son; Hast over sin the victory won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be; When shall we all its glories see?

This advent season, may the coming of the Christ bring peace to you as you wait upon his glorious birth.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!


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