Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Sermon Dec. 25, 2018 Christmas Day

Title: The blessed hope has come in Jesus!
Text: Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Many of you like me, I’m sure, remember the day your children were born. For me there was the time of Monica’s pregnancy, the doctor’s visits, anticipation, worry, anxiety, excitement and many other feelings associated with the coming of a child.

This was especially true with our first born. What would it be, a boy or a girl? At that time, we could have been told to a relatively high degree of certainty but we chose to wait happy to accept what the Lord would bless us with.

On the day of Monica’s last doctor’s visit she was already dilated and we hurried over to the Hospital. As the time of the birth neared and the head of the baby began to emerge; Dr. Dorfman looked up and said:

“Top half’s a boy … and as the baby was born … bottom half’s a girl!”

The excitement and joy of this birth blessed our family as only God’s gift of children can, and now with the Christ child we can all celebrate today that:

The blessed hope has come in Jesus!

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

What had been anticipated during Advent has now appeared. God’s salvation for all people has come in a means most peculiar … a baby boy wrapped in cloths … lying in a manger.

This good news when proclaimed by an angel to the shepherds in the fields brought great fear.

10 [But] the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Luke 2: 10, 13, 14

God in Christ has brought peace between God and man and all who are found in Christ have God’s favor on account of this child of lowly birth.

The blessed hope who is Jesus!

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

What you and I are called to do … we can’t. We miss the mark and fall daily into the sinful desires of a sinful people. But Jesus has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. He has humbled himself to be our substitute, yours and mine, and to make a way where there is no way.

God’s child has renounced ungodliness and the passions of this world and has lived the God pleasing life according to the Law of God and fulfilling every requirement in this present evil age – for you. He has done what you and I could not and he has given this all to you. This grace of God appearing in this child for you has been made know by the power of the Holy Spirit working in you to believe.

But now it is this child, this babe, this baby King in a manger who looks to be for many who see him … not a King … not the Lord … and certainly not the savior of the world, but only a child and a baby in weakness.

13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

In weakness he came but in glory he will come again. God’s creation fallen into sin waited for this day. This day when God would come, the blessed hope of salvation in Jesus name, in this Christ child, because he is the one who will be the one to redeem his people from their sin.

We celebrate his coming today too in the joy and peace he has won for us at the cross – by his death and resurrection.

Because:

14 [He] gave himself for us, to redeem us from all lawlessness, and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous [or have great zeal and joy] for good works.

And you might ask, “What are these good works?”

Those who were following Jesus asked him:

“What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 [And he] answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6: 27-29

Jesus - this baby - is the sent one,

Begotten of his Father before all worlds,

God of God, Light of Light,

Very God of very God,

Begotten, not made,

Being of one substance with the Father,

born in a manger … for you.

This God who came in weakness lived a sinless life … for you.

This God who came in weakness was handed over, tried, convicted and nailed to a cross … for you.

This God who came in weakness was buried and three days later rose from the dead … for you.

This God who came in weakness showed himself to his disciples and to more than 500 others … for you. 

This God who came in weakness ascended to the right hand of God and he intercedes … for you.

He will come again in glory at the appointed time to take you to where he is because in Christ you are seen through the veil … which is Jesus Christ the righteous one, and in him you are forgiven, redeemed and adopted into God family!

The blessed hope has come in Jesus … for you!

An interesting map is on display in the British Museum in London. It's an old mariner's chart, drawn in 1525, outlining the North American coastline and adjacent waters. The cartographer made some intriguing notations on areas of the map that represented regions not yet explored. He wrote: "Here be giants," "Here be fiery scorpions," and "Here be dragons." Eventually, the map came into the possession of Sir John Franklin, a British explorer in the early 1800s. Scratching out the fearful inscriptions, he wrote these words across the map: "Here is God."

Unknown.

Well, as we celebrate the Christ child and the coming of Jesus and His incarnation we see in a manger, a baby boy and say: “Here is God!”

The blessed hope has come in Jesus for you! May you joy together with the church of God as we celebrate his coming and all he came to do for you and me and all who are a far off … all whom the Lord our God will call to faith.

A Merry and blessed Christmas to you!

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


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