Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Sermon Dec. 19, 2018 Advent Midweek 3

Title: In Christ you are raised up!
Text: Luke 7:18-28

22 And [Jesus] answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

Back a few months ago Trudy Berousek took a fall at her home that required surgery, a stay at the hospital and rehab at the Neighborhoods of White Lake. You might remember that I had made an unannounced call to her home where she called for help as I knocked on the door. I saw her last week and she is doing great and we had a great visit and she received the Lord’s Supper.

I also say Marilynn Wendt this past week. Her car accident was in July and she is still in rehab but the good news is she has been cleared for full weight bearing on her leg and if all goes well she might be home on Christmas Day for a visit as she prepares to move home on a permanent basis and make a full recovery!

God is good!

The work of John the Baptist was talked about this past weekend. He was the one who would prepare the way, for another … but who?

The disciples of John had been reporting all these things to him and many of the healings. You might remember Jesus’ healing the Centurion’s servant. It is recorded earlier in Luke chapter 7 where the Centurion says:
“Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof … But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; … 9 When Jesus heard these things, … and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” (Luke 7:7-9)

Or, the funeral procession of the widow’s son from the town of Nain that Jesus came upon. And Jesus said to her also in Luke 7:

“Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched, the man and he said, “Young man … I say to you, arise.” And he gave him back to his mother. (Luke 7:14-15)

So this is the question that John wanted his disciples to answer …
“Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”

John knew that his own calling was to prepare the way … to be the one crying out in the wilderness … to point his followers to the messiah, the Christ, the one who was to come. The question that they asked of Jesus, “Is it you? Are you the one? What should we tell John?”

Jesus, answering them said:

22 … “Go … tell John what you have seen and what you've heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

Christ is the one to come, and we can rejoice in this Good News!

Ill.

It is been a busy time of year. Many of our members are on my mind as they with health concerns. Christmas Caroling to some of our shut-ins was a joy but seems after just three weeks, so long ago. Our mid-week services conclude today and then it is on to the weekend services and then on to Christmas Eve and Day services.

This past Saturday as I sat at my dining table having some breakfast when my phone rang. It was Ginny McDonald calling to tell me she was in the hospital. I was able to go see her in the afternoon and bring her communion, prayer, and a visit before coming to church.

Some years ago Pastor Tom Fisher from Rochester did a sermon at one of our Pastor Circuit Meetings about God interrupting lives through the preaching of John the Baptist. My life was certainly interrupted by Ginny’s call, Marilynn Wendy car accident and long rehab, Trudy Berousek’s fall at home and hospital and rehab stay as well.

Pastor Fisher’s message said, "We must always be prepared for being interrupted by God". This interrupting opens us all up to God’s will and is one of the core objectives of the Advent's message; … prepare ye the way of the Lord!"

My life, like yours, is interrupted by both joy and sadness. As we wrestled with the illnesses of those in the Hospital and rehab – Kim and Maddie Deckard, Pastor Merrell, Monica and I were also blessed by the joyful faces of God’s older children as we sang Christmas Carols to them.

… rejoice in this Good News!

“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Jesus asks and wants to know a very important thing from these disciples who were following Him.

“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts. 26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’

28 I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John.
Is there no one greater than John? This prophet who would prepare the way for the Lord? When you think of some of the prophets; Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and on and on and John … is the greatest of all of these …

Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.

Rejoice in this Good News!

You, who are the least in the Kingdom, are greater than John! Think about that! Christ has lifted you up. He has redeemed you. He has made you His own. He has called you to be his child. He has washed you clean in the blood of the Lamb. He will feed you on His very body and blood given and shed for you.

You who deserve death have been given new life in Him. Rejoice in Him!
Martin Luther who was not only a great theologian and defender of the faith but quite a good hymn writer as well wrote this little hymn that it a great comfort for all who live this Christian life of faith:

“Feelings come and feelings go, and feelings are deceiving;

My warrant is the Word of God—[nothing] else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned, for want of some sweet token,

There is One greater than my heart, whose Word cannot be broken.

I'll trust in God's unchanging Word, till soul and body sever,

For, though all things shall pass away ... HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”

― Martin Luther

This Advent as we watch and wait, know that there is one who knows you and has known you from the foundation of the world and has called you to be His own child.

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

Amen

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