Posted

To listen to this message, click on the audio file below:

Download Bulletin

Hymn: “Now sing we, now rejoice” In dulci iubilo c. 1300 Author unknown Tr. Arthur T. Russell

1 Now sing we, now rejoice,
Now raise to heav’n our voice;
He from whom joy streameth
Poor in a manger lies;
Not so brightly beameth
The sun in yonder skies.
Thou my Savior art!
Thou my Savior art!

2 Come from on high to me;
I cannot rise to thee.
Cheer my wearied spirit,
O pure and holy Child;
Thro’ Thy grace and merit,
Blest Jesus, Lord most mild,
Draw me unto Thee!
Draw me unto Thee!

3 Now thro’ His Son doth shine
The Father’s grace divine.
Death o’er us had reigned
Thro’ sin and vanity;
He for us obtained
Eternal joy on high.
May we praise Him there!
May we praise Him there!

Invocation
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

Confession
Beloved in the Lord! Let us draw near with a true heart, and confess our sins unto God our Father, beseeching Him, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to grant us forgiveness.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto You, that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against You by thought, word and deed. Therefore, we flee for refuge to Your infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Your grace, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Then the Minister shall say: Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, has had mercy upon us, and has given His only-begotten Son to die for us, and for His sake forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in His Name, He gives power to become the sons of God, and has promised them His Holy Spirit. He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved. Grant this, Lord, unto us all. Amen.

Psalm: Psalm 50 A Psalm of Asaph.
1 The Mighty One, God, is the Lord; He has spoken and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. 2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined. 3 Our God will come, and will not keep silent; a fire consumes before Him, and a strong tempest is around Him. 4 He calls to the heavens above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people: 5 “Gather My faithful ones together to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” 6 The heavens will declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge. Selah 7 “Hear, O My people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you; I am God, even your God. 8 I will not reprove you for your sacrifices or for your burnt offerings that are continually before Me. I will take no young bull out of your house, nor male goats out of your folds. 10 For every wild animal of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures that move in the field are Mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness. 13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? 14 Sacrifice a thank offering to God, and pay your vows to the Most High, 15 and call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will glorify Me.” 16 But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth? 17 You hate instruction, and cast My words behind you. 18 When you see a thief, you are pleased, and have a share in those who commit adultery. 19 You let loose your mouth to evil, and your tongue is bound to deceit. 20 You sit and speak against your brother; you accuse your own mother’s son. 21 These things have you done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was indeed like you; but I will reprove you and make a case before your eyes. 22 “Now consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver: 23 Whoever sacrifices a thank offering glorifies Me and makes a way; I will show him the salvation of God.”

Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.

Kyrie
Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us. Amen.

Gloria in Excelsis
Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. We praise You, we bless You, we worship You, we glorify You, we give thanks to You, for Your great glory. O Lord God, heav’nly King, God the Father Almighty. O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us. You who take away the sin of the world, receive our prayer. You who sit at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us. For You only are holy; You only are the Lord. You only, O Christ, with the Holy Spirit, are most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Collect
O God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Catechism Lesson
157. Whose own have you become by the redemption? Christ has redeemed me, purchased, and won me, so that I am now His own, and He is my Lord.
296) Rev. 5:9. You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood.
297) Isa. 53:11. He shall see of the anguish of his soul and be satisfied. By his knowledge My righteous servant shall justify the many, for he shall bear their iniquities.

Old Testament: Isaiah 60:1-6
1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 2 For the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. 3 The nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather themselves together; they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried at your side. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall thrill and rejoice because the abundance of the sea shall be converted to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 6 The multitude of camels shall cover your land, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense and shall bear good news of the praises of the Lord.

Epistle: Ephesians 3:1-12
1 For this reason I, Paul, am the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles. 2 You may have heard of the administration of the grace of God which was given me for you, 3 how by revelation He made known to me the mystery, as I have written briefly already, 4 by which, when you read it, you may understand my knowledge of the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, 6 how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, and fellow members, and partakers of the promise in Christ by the gospel. 7 Of this I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. 8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the incomprehensible riches of Christ, 9 and to reveal for all people what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things through Jesus Christ, 10 so that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He completed in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.

Gospel: Matthew 2:1-23
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are no longer least among the princes of Judah; for out of you shall come a Governor, who will shepherd My people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, carefully inquired of them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again, so that I may come and worship Him also.” 9 When they heard the king, they departed. And the star which they saw in the east went before them until it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great excitement. 11 And when they came into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary, His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 But being warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route. 13 Now when they departed, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and escape to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word. For Herod will seek the young Child to kill Him.” 14 When he rose, he took the young Child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod, to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called My Son.” 16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was utterly furious and sent forth and killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and the surrounding region, from two years old and under, based on the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet: 18 “In Ramah a voice was heard, grieving and weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because they are no more.” 19 But when Herod was dead, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus reigned in Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Nevertheless, being warned by God in a dream, he withdrew to the region of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Apostles’ Creed
I Believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; The holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body; And the Life everlasting. Amen.

Hymn: “The star proclaims the King is here” Author: Caelius Sedulius

The star proclaims the King is here;
But, Herod, why this senseless fear?
He takes no realms of earth away
Who gives the realms of heav’nly day.

The wiser Magi see from far
And follow on His guiding star;
And led by light, to light they press
And by their gifts their God confess.

Within the Jordan’s crystal flood
In meekness stands the Lamb of God
And, sinless, sanctifies the wave,
Mankind from sin to cleanse and save.

At Cana first His power is shown;
His might the blushing waters own
And, changing as He speaks the word,
Flow wine, obedient to their Lord.

All glory, Jesus, be to Thee
For this Thy glad epiphany;
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost forevermore.

Sermon
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him. …” Matthew 2:1-2 (read verses 1-23)

Once again, through the recounting of the Scriptures, we have heard of the birth of the Christ Child in Bethlehem of Judea. God the Son was made true man, born of a virgin, and laid in a manger. An angel told the shepherds in the field nearby that this Child was none other than the Savior of the world, the Messiah and Jehovah God Himself!

Wise men (and the Bible doesn’t tell us their names or how many) from a land or lands east of Judea learned of the Messiah’s birth through the appearance of a star and traveled a great distance to come and worship this newborn King and bring Him costly gifts.

In Numbers 24:17, it was prophesied through Balaam the prophet: “I will see him, but not now; I will behold him, but not near; a star will come out of Jacob, and a scepter will rise out of Israel, and will crush the borderlands of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.”

And in Isaiah 60:1-6, we heard: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For the darkness shall cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord shall rise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. The nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather themselves together; they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried at your side. Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall thrill and rejoice because the abundance of the sea shall be converted to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. The multitude of camels shall cover your land, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense and shall bear good news of the praises of the Lord.”

When they arrived in Jerusalem, King Herod was troubled at their quest and inquired of the chief priests and scribes where the Messiah was to be born. They rightly understood the Scriptures and quoted from Micah 5:2, pointing out that Bethlehem was to be the place of Messiah’s birth.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, although you are small among the tribes of Judah, from you will come forth for Me one who will be ruler over Israel. His origins are from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2).

But what happened after this? The wise men continued on their journey and were led by the star to Bethlehem and to the very house where Jesus was. There they worshiped Jesus and offered Him gifts.

Herod the king felt threatened by the birth of the Messiah and sought to kill Him and prevent Him from reigning upon the throne of David.

The chief priests and scribes knew the Scriptures and could tell Herod where the Messiah was to be born, but nowhere do we ever hear of their traveling to Bethlehem to worship their newborn Savior and King.

The question today is: “What about you?”

You have heard of His birth and know of His sufferings and death for your sins (and the sins of the world) and of His glorious resurrection. You have heard God’s offer of mercy and forgiveness to all who repent and look to Jesus in faith for pardon and life eternal. How do you respond?

• Do you reject Jesus and try to silence those who would speak to you of Him because Jesus is a threat to you and to your way of life?
• Do you know all the facts about Jesus and His redemptive work but still fail to come and bow before Him and give Him your praise and worship?
• Or, like the wise men of old, do you follow the star (hearing and believing what the Holy Scriptures say of the Christ Child) to find Messiah Jesus and worship your God and Savior, presenting Him with the costliest of gifts — even your very selves?

O dearest Jesus, You are the Almighty God and our Maker. We thank You for taking on flesh and blood and coming into this world to redeem us from sin and death. We praise You and give to you our treasures and our lives. Amen.

Votum (Philippians 4:7)
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Offertory (Psalm 51:10-12)
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your willing spirit.

General Prayer
Almighty and most merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: We give You thanks for all Your goodness and tender mercies, especially for the gift of Your dear Son, and for the revelation of Your will and grace: and we beseech You so to implant Your Word in us, that in good and honest hearts we may keep it, and bring forth fruit by patient continuance in well-doing.

Most heartily we beseech You so to rule and govern Your Church universal, with all its pastors and ministers, that it may be preserved in the pure doctrine of Your saving Word, whereby faith toward You may be strengthened, and charity increased in us toward all mankind.

Grant also health and prosperity to all that are in authority, especially to the president and congress of the United States, the governor and legislature of this state, and to all our judges and magistrates; and endue them with grace to rule after Your good pleasure, to the maintenance of righteousness, and to the hindrance and punishment of wickedness, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.

May it please You also to turn the hearts of our enemies and adversaries, that they may cease their enmity, and be inclined to walk with us in meekness and in peace.

All who are in trouble, want, sickness, anguish of labor, peril of death, or any other adversity, especially those who are in suffering for Your name and for Your truth’s sake, comfort, O God, with Your Holy Spirit, that they may receive and acknowledge their afflictions as the manifestation of Your fatherly will.

And although we have deserved Your righteous wrath and manifold punishments, yet, we entreat You, O most merciful Father, remember not the sins of our youth, nor our many transgressions; but out of Your unspeakable goodness, grace and mercy, defend us from all harm and danger of body and soul. Preserve us from false and pernicious doctrine, from war and bloodshed, from plague and pestilence, from all calamity by fire and water, from hail and tempest, from failure of harvest and from famine, from anguish of heart and despair of Your mercy, and from an evil death. And in every time of trouble, show Yourself a very present Help, the Savior of all men, and especially of them that believe.

Cause also the needful fruits of the earth to prosper, that we may enjoy them in due season. Give success to the Christian training of the young, to all lawful occupations on land and sea, and to all pure arts and useful knowledge; and crown them with Your blessing.

These, and whatsoever other things You would have us ask of You, O God, grant unto us for the sake of the bitter sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, Your only Son, our Lord and Savior, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

We join in the prayer that our Lord Jesus taught us to pray …

Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Benediction (Number 6:24-26)
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.

Hymn: “Songs of thankfulness and praise” Author: Christopher Wordsworth

Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to thee we raise,
manifested by the star
to the sages from afar;
branch of royal David’s stem
in thy birth at Bethlehem;
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in man made manifest.

Manifest at Jordan’s stream,
Prophet, Priest and King supreme;
and at Cana, wedding guest,
in thy Godhead manifest;
manifest in power divine,
changing water into wine;
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in man made manifest.

Manifest in making whole
palsied limbs and fainting soul;
manifest in valiant fight,
quelling all the devil’s might;
manifest in gracious will,
ever bringing good from ill;
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in man made manifest.

Sun and moon shall darkened be,
stars shall fall, the heavens shall flee;
Christ will then like lightning shine,
all will see his glorious sign;
all will then the trumpet hear,
all will see the Judge appear;
thou by all wilt be confessed,
God in man made manifest.

Grant us grace to see thee, Lord,
mirrored in thy holy Word;
may we imitate thee now,
and be pure, as pure art thou;
that we like to thee may be
at thy great Epiphany;
and may praise thee, ever blest,
God in man made manifest.

[Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

To listen to this message, click on the audio file below:

O come, O come, Emmanuel
1 O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear. Refrain
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel!
3 O come, O come, Thou Lord of might, Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height In ancient times didst give the Law In cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain
4 O come, Thou Branch of Jesse’s tree, Free them from Satan’s tyranny That trust Thy mighty pow’r to save, And give them vict’ry o’er the grave. Refrain
5 O come, Thou Key of David, come, And open wide our heav’nly home; Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery. Refrain
6 O come, Thou Dayspring from on high, And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh; Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death’s dark shadows put to flight. Refrain
7 O come, Desire of nations, bind In one the hearts of all mankind; Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, And be Thyself our King of Peace. Refrain

Psalm 96
1 O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth! 2 Sing unto the Lord, bless His name; declare His salvation from day to day. 3 Proclaim His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. 4 For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the nations are worthless, but the Lord made the heavens. 6 Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. 7 Give unto the Lord, O families of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. 8 Give unto the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts. 9 Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth. 10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Indeed, the world is established; it shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.” 11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 12 let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; then all the trees of the forests shall rejoice 13 before the Lord, for He comes, for He comes to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His faithfulness.

Away in a manger
1 Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. 2 The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes. I love Thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky, And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh. 3 Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.
Little Children’s Book, Philadelphia, 1885, sts. 1–2; Vineyard Songs, Louisville, 1892, st. 3, alt. Public domain

Christmas Gospel
1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire inhabited earth should be taxed. 2 This taxation was first made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone went to his own city to be taxed. 4 So Joseph also departed from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to the City of David which is called Bethlehem, in Judea, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be taxed with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So while they were there, the day came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-7

Far more than a quaint story, these verses from Luke, chapter two, describe a historical event that occurred in real-time and in a real place. It was a fulfillment of all those ancient prophecies which promised the Seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent and the one who would redeem His people from their sins (Gen. 3:15; Ps. 130:7-8).

“But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born from a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5).

It happened in the days of the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. Quirinius was the governor of Syria.

Though Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, the Prophet Micah (approximately 700 years before Christ) foretold the birthplace of Messiah to be in Bethlehem: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, although you are small among the tribes of Judah, from you will come forth for Me one who will be ruler over Israel. His origins are from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2).

And God, in His divine providence, moved Caesar Augustus to take a census at just the right time, making it necessary for Joseph and his espoused wife who lived in Nazareth (some 90 miles to the north) to be in Bethlehem when the days were fulfilled for Mary to bring forth her firstborn son “because he was of the house and lineage of David.” The genealogies of Joseph in Matthew 1 and of Mary in Luke 3 show that both were of the “house and lineage of David.”

While we often have pictures in our head of Jesus being born on that first night after Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, that’s not what the Scriptures say. Verse six, of Luke 2 says: “So while they were there, the day came for her to give birth.” They could have been there a few days, a few weeks or even a month or more — the Bible doesn’t say. But, “while they were there, the day came for her to give birth.”

“And she gave birth to her firstborn Son…” While there in the crowded city of Bethlehem — there were many descendants of David who also had to register in Bethlehem (Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, according to 1 Kings 11:1ff.) — Jesus was born.

Mary “gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

The eternal Son of God, the creator of heaven and earth and all things (cf. John 1:1-5,14), humbled Himself and was born a man of lowly birth. Instead of being born in a king’s palace and clothed in royal garments, He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger (a feeding trough).

But God sent His Son into this world not to be exalted here but to live humbly as a man — not to make full use of His divine power and glory but to live humbly like us — that He might take our place under the Law of God and fulfill it for us and that He might bear upon the cross the just punishment for the sins of the entire world.

“Let this mind be in you all, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. But He emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in the form of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:5-8).

“So then, as the children share in flesh and blood, He likewise took part in these, so that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver those who through fear of death were throughout their lives subject to bondage. For surely He does not help the angels, but He helps the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things it was necessary for Him to be made like His brothers, so that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:14-17).

And much like the night of Jesus’ birth, Jesus is still relegated to the stalls and the mangers of this world. The inn is full and there is no room for the Messiah and Savior of the World. Jesus is crowded out — even crowded out of the celebration of His birth!

“He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him” (John 1:10-11).

Therefore, if we wish to find Jesus, we are not likely to find Him in the biggest and best churches and cathedrals of this world. The place to look for and find Him is where God’s humble Means of Grace are in use, where the Word of God is preached in its simple truth and purity and people are confronted with their sins and the judgment of God upon them but also comforted with the Gospel of forgiveness through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross, where people are joined to Christ and become His covenant people through the waters of Baptism and where believers are comforted in Holy Communion through partaking of the body and blood of the Lamb of God who gave Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Indeed, the day could come when we may need to worship in barns and stables to hear of and learn of the true Christ who came into this world to redeem us because there is no room for God’s people or God’s Christ in the inn. It’s happened before. In the days of the Prussian Union (during the early 1800s), those who held to the Lutheran faith gathered in barns to worship and be served with the Means of Grace.

What’s the point in this message for you and for me?

Though the world was not awaiting the coming of Christ Jesus with open arms, and though God’s own people (the visible church in this world) were too busy to welcome Him, God kept His ancient promises to send the Savior. God’s only-begotten Son took on human flesh and blood and was born a true man of the Virgin Mary that he might pay the price for our sins and redeem us. He came humbly, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, that He might fulfill God’s plan and go to the cross as our sacrifice for sin.

And where do we find Him?

Where the Word of God is preached in its truth and purity and where the Sacraments are administered in accord with Christ’s institution. There we will find and learn of the Christ who died for our sins and redeemed us. There we will be comforted with the forgiveness of sins and eternal life He won for us. Amen.

[Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

Prayer of the Church for Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2020

Lord God Almighty, we come before You on this most holy night in awe and thanksgiving at the incarnation of Your Son to be our Savior. Let the proclamation of His birth sound forth throughout the world. Give to Your Church faithful pastors to proclaim the good tidings of His birth, and give to Your people willing ears to hear and believe.

In the birth of Your Son, You have visited and redeemed Your people. Grant to us and people everywhere penitent hearts and faith in the holy life and innocent sufferings and death of the Son that, through faith in His name, we might obtain forgiveness for all our sins and a place in His everlasting kingdom.

Continue to visit those who are lonely, sick, recovering or near death. Let Your redemption in Christ Jesus give them hope and His presence be a comfort to them, and give to them perseverance in the true faith until that time You grant healing, relief, deliverance and peace.

In the birth of Your Son, and by His death and resurrection, You have provided salvation for all mankind. Give us opportunity and move us to tell others the good news of His coming so that others, too, may join in the praise of Your holy name. Bless the pastors of our diocese, and give wisdom and strength to our bishop, that we may with one voice proclaim the truth of Your Word and the glorious salvation You have provided in the Son, Christ Jesus.

In the birth of Your Son, You have signaled the beginning of a new creation; while we still live in a world wracked by the ravages of sin, we know that the final victory is Yours. Watch over and keep safe emergency workers and all whose vocations keep them from their homes and families this night for the well-being of our families.

In the birth of Your Son, You have called people of all times and places into the Body of Christ Jesus through faith in His name. We give You thanks for all the believers who have gone before us, especially those who have been with us during Christmases past and are now with You. Give us a sure confidence in Your promise of resurrection and eternal life, and bring us at last together with them into Your presence at the full coming of Your kingdom.

Into Your hands, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Benediction
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Amen.

Silent night
1 Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy Infant, so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.
2 Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight; Glories stream from heaven afar, Heav’nly hosts sing, Alleluia! Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ, the Savior, is born!
3 Silent night, holy night! Son of God, love’s pure light Radiant beams from Thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Author
Categories ,

Posted

To listen to this message, click on the audio file below:

Download Bulletin

Hymn: “Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding!”
1 Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding! “Christ is near,” we hear it say. “Cast away the works of darkness, All you children of the day!” 2 Startled at the solemn warning, Let the earthbound soul arise; Christ, its sun, all sloth dispelling, Shines upon the morning skies. 3 See, the Lamb, so long expected, Comes with pardon down from heav’n. Let us haste, with tears of sorrow, One and all, to be forgiv’n; 4 So, when next He comes in glory And the world is wrapped in fear, He will shield us with His mercy And with words of love draw near. 5 Honor, glory, might, dominion To the Father and the Son With the ever-living Spirit While eternal ages run! The voice of John the Baptist proclaims that Christ’s coming is near—news that thrills the longing hearts of all believers.
Latin, c. 5th–10th cent.; tr. Edward Caswall, 1814–78, alt. Public domain
MERTON 87 87 Luke 1:76–79 ; Is. 60:1–3 , 19–20 ; Eph. 5:8–14 ; Is. 25:7–9

Invocation
P: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. +
C: Amen.

Confession
P: Beloved in the Lord! Let us draw near with a true heart, and confess our sins unto God our Father, beseeching Him, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to grant us forgiveness.

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord,
C: Who made heaven and earth.
P: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord;
C: And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

All: Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto You, that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against You by thought, word and deed. Therefore, we flee for refuge to Your infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Your grace, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

P: Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, has had mercy upon us, and has given His only-begotten Son to die for us, and for His sake forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in His Name, He gives power to become the sons of God, and has promised them His Holy Spirit. He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved.
P: Grant this, Lord, unto us all. C: Amen.

Psalm: Psalm 85 For the Music Director. A Psalm of the songs of Korah.
1 LORD, You have been favorable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. 2 You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah 3 You have withdrawn all Your wrath; You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger. 4 Restore us, O God of our salvation, and put away Your indignation toward us. 5 Will You be angry with us forever? Will You draw out Your anger to all generations? 6 Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? 7 Show us Your mercy, O LORD, and grant us Your deliverance. 8 I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints, but let them not turn again to folly. 9 Surely His salvation is near to them who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land. 10 Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed. 11 Truth springs from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. 12 Yes, the LORD gives that which is good, and our land shall yield its increase. 13 Righteousness shall go before Him and prepare a way for His footsteps.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Kyrie
C: Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us.

Collect
Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Catechism Lesson: The Creed, Article II
155. Wherewith has Christ redeemed you? Not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.
152) 1 Pet. 1:18-19. For you know that you were not redeemed from your vain way of life inherited from your fathers with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
293) 1 John 1:7. The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
156. How does this work your redemption? Christ has thereby rendered satisfaction for me, and paid the penalty of my guilt.
294) 2 Cor. 5:21. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
295) Is. 53:4-5. Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.

Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 40:1-8
1 Comfort, O comfort, My people, says your God. 2 Speak kindly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been pardoned, that she has received of the hand of the LORD double for all her sins. 3 The voice of him who cries out, “Prepare the way of the LORD in the wilderness, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low, and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rough places a plain; 5 then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.” 6 The voice said, “Cry out.” And he said, “What shall I cry out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is as the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades because the Spirit of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God shall stand forever.

Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
1 Let a man so regard us as the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by man’s judgment. I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this. But He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will reveal the purposes of the hearts. Then everyone will have commendation from God.

Gospel Lesson: Matthew 11:2-15
2 Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 and said to Him, “Are You He who should come, or should we look for another?” 4 Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 Blessed is he who does not fall away because of Me.” 7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the crowds concerning John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Look, I am sending My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.’ 11 Truly I say to you, among those who are born of women, there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist. But he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has forcefully advanced, and the strong take it by force. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah, who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Apostles’ Creed
All: I Believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; The holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body; And the Life everlasting. Amen.

Hymn: “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”
1 On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry Announces that the Lord is nigh; Awake and hearken, for he brings Glad tidings of the King of kings! 2 Then cleansed be ev’ry life from sin; Make straight the way for God within, And let us all our hearts prepare For Christ to come and enter there. 3 We hail Thee as our Savior, Lord, Our refuge and our great reward; Without Thy grace we waste away Like flow’rs that wither and decay. 4 Lay on the sick Thy healing hand And make the fallen strong to stand; Show us the glory of Thy face Till beauty springs in ev’ry place. 5 All praise, eternal Son, to Thee Whose advent sets Thy people free, Whom with the Father we adore And Holy Spirit evermore.
Charles Coffin, 1676–1749; tr. composite Public domain
PUER NOBIS L M Matt. 3:1–6 ; Is. 40:3

Sermon
Dear fellow-redeemed sinners, ransomed by the shed blood of Christ Jesus, our Savior. Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Is Jesus the promised Messiah and Savior?

Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said to Him, “Are You He who should come, or should we look for another?” Matthew 11:2-3

Are you ever troubled by doubts concerning your faith? Have you ever doubted that Jesus really is God the Son in human flesh come into this world to save us from sin and everlasting punishment? Or, are you ever troubled by doubts about God’s mercy and forgiveness for you in Jesus Christ? Are my sins really forgiven? Will Christ come and receive me into the eternal joys of heaven?

John the Baptist boldly prepared the way for the coming of the Messiah and Savior by calling upon all to repent of their sinful and self-centered ways and pointing them to Jesus, God’s Son and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Luke 3:1ff.; John 1:29,34).

He was even so bold as to call upon King Herod to repent of his sinful ways, pointing out that he was sinning by having his brother Philip’s wife (Luke 3:19-20; Lev. 18:6,16).

But now, he was watching and hearing of Jesus from a dark prison cell. Jesus had not yet fulfilled those ancient prophecies which spoke of the Messiah judging the wicked and unbelieving world and establishing an everlasting kingdom in which righteousness dwells (cf. Ps. 96:13; 145:13; Dan. 2:44). Though he had been faithful, now he was awaiting his execution and Jesus seemingly was doing nothing about it.

Perhaps this is why John sent two of his disciples to Jesus. Or, perhaps, he was directing his disciples to Jesus for their own sakes. But coming to Jesus with our doubts and fears is a good place to bring them.

“Are You He who should come, or should we look for another?” they asked.

Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is he who does not fall away because of Me” (Matt. 11:4-6; cf. Isa. 29:18; 35:3ff.; 61:1ff.; 28:16; 8:14f.).

Is Jesus the promised Messiah? Yes, He is the one promised — the Seed of the woman promised in Genesis 3:15, The virgin-born Immanuel of Isaiah 7:14, the Son of the Highest and Son of David promised by the angel in Luke 1:30-35, and the Redeemer of mankind spoken of in Galatians 4:4-5.

But why do we go on suffering in this world? Why has He not come to judge the living and the dead and to establish His everlasting kingdom?

“He is patient with us, because He does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).

And so we see, through the preaching of the Gospel, the spiritually blind seeing their sin and seeing in Christ Jesus their Savior, the spiritually lame walking and living for their God, those with incurable sins cleansed in the blood of Jesus, those who could not hear and understand the Word of God hearing and believing, those dead in their trespasses and sins raised to new life through faith in Christ Jesus (cf. Eph. 2:1ff.; John 5:25).

In the Small Catechism, we confess: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life” (SC, Creed, Art. III).

And, when Jesus comes back on the Last Day, we and all believers will “be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity“ (SC, Creed, Art. II).

O gracious and merciful Savior, grant that we not doubt but take comfort in Your gracious working to establish Your kingdom and make us Your own. Amen.

P: The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Offertory
ALL: Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation: and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Amen.

General Prayer
Almighty and Everlasting God, who art worthy to be had in reverence by all the children of men, we give Thee most humble and hearty thanks for the innumerable blessings, both temporal and spiritual, which, without any merit or worthiness on our part, Thou hast bestowed upon us.
We praise Thee, especially, that Thou hast preserved unto us, in their purity, Thy saving Word, and the sacred ordinances of Thy house. And we beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant and preserve unto Thy holy Church, throughout the world, purity of doctrine, and faithful pastors who shall preach Thy Word with power; and help all who hear, rightly to understand, and truly to believe the same.
Be Thou the Protector and Defender of Thy people in all time of tribulation and danger and may we, in communion with Thy Church, and in brotherly unity with all our fellow-Christians, fight the good fight of faith, and in the end receive the salvation of our souls.
Bestow Thy grace upon all the nations of the earth. Especially do we entreat Thee to bless our land, and all its inhabitants, and all who are in authority. Cause Thy glory to dwell among us, and let mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, everywhere prevail. To this end, we commend to Thy care all our schools, and pray Thee to make them nurseries of useful knowledge and of Christian virtues, that they may bring forth the wholesome fruits of life.
Graciously defend us from all calamities by fire and water, from war and pestilence, from scarcity and famine. Protect and prosper everyone in his appropriate calling, and cause all useful arts to flourish among us. Be Thou the God and Father of the widow and the fatherless children, the Helper of the sick and the needy and the Comforter of the forsaken and distressed.
And as we are strangers and pilgrims on earth, help us by true faith and a godly life to prepare for the world to come; doing the work which Thou hast given us to do while it is day, before the night cometh when no man can work. And when our last hour shall come, support us by Thy power, and receive us into Thine everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, forever and ever. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven; Hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Benediction
P: The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the LORD lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
C: Amen.

Hymn: “Almighty Father, Bless the Word”
1 Almighty Father, bless the Word Which through Your grace we now have heard. Oh, may the precious seed take root, Spring up, and bear abundant fruit! 2 We praise You for the means of grace As homeward now our steps we trace. Grant, Lord, that we who worshiped here May all at last in heav’n appear. 3 Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host: Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Church Poetry , Philadelphia, 1823, sts. 1–2, alt.; Thomas Ken, 1637–1711, st. 3 Public domain
OLD HUNDREDTH L M Mark 4:26–29 ; Matt. 13:8–9

[Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. Some hymns in this service may be copyright protected and are used with permission under LSB Hymn License No. 100010399.]

Author
Categories ,

Posted

Advent 2 — Dec. 9, 2020

Download Bulletin

Liturgy: LSB 229 Vespers

Hymns: LSB #332 “Savior of the Nations, Come”; LSB #350 “Come, Thou Precious Ransom, Come”; LSB #883 “All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night”

Psalm: 1 Samuel 2:1-10 “Song of Hannah”
“My heart rejoices in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the LORD. My mouth is bold against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation. 2 There is none holy as the LORD, for there is none besides You, and there is no rock like our God. 3 Do not multiply proud speech, nor let arrogance come out of your mouth, for the LORD is the God of knowledge, and by Him actions are examined. 4 The bows of the mighty are broken, but those who stumbled are girded with strength. 5 Those that were full have hired out themselves for bread, and those that were hungry ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, and she that has many children wastes away. 6 The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. 7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. 8 He raises up the poor out of the dust and lifts up the oppressed from the dunghill to make them sit with princes and inherit a throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth belong to the LORD, and He has set the world upon them. 9 He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked will be silent in darkness. For by strength shall no man prevail. 10 The adversaries of the LORD will be broken to pieces; He will thunder against them out of heaven. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His king and exalt the horn of His anointed.”

Scripture Readings: Isaiah 7:10-16; 9:6-7; and Luke 1:26-56

Prayers: “The Litany” LSB 288

“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Listen, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. And of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:30-35

Who is Jesus? The announcement of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary leaves no doubt. Jesus is Jehovah God in the flesh! He is the “Son of the Highest” and also the promised Son of David who would rule over God’s people forever and ever.

How can this be? The Holy Spirit caused Mary, a virgin, to conceive; the power of the Highest overshadowed her. It is in this way and for this reason that the Holy Child born to her would be called the Son of God. Jesus is Immanuel [God with us] and Jehovah our Savior as His name itself tells us.

It is as Isaiah prophesied some seven hundred years before Christ: “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14); and, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with justice and with righteousness, from now until forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:6-7).

In the Person of Jesus, and by means of the virgin birth, Jehovah God Himself took on human flesh and blood and became true man and lived among us that He might fulfill the righteous demands of God’s law for us and then bear the full punishment for our sins by going to the cross and suffering and dying in our stead. This Jesus did; and because He is the very Son of God, His innocent sufferings and death are accepted of God the Father as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Jesus’ resurrection is proof (cf. John 1:1,14; Rom. 1:3-4; 4:23-25; 1 John 2:1-2).

God sent His Son that we who stand condemned by God’s holy law might flee to Christ Jesus and place our faith and trust in His perfect life in our stead and His innocent sufferings and death on the cross for the sins of the world. And when we do, God graciously forgives our sins and accepts us as His own dear children for Jesus’ sake (cf. Gal. 4:4-5; 2:16; 3:26ff.; Eph. 1:3ff.; John 3:16; 5:24).

What a miracle for a virgin to conceive and bear a Son! And, what a miracle of grace for God Himself to become true man and go to the cross to redeem you and me and then send His Holy Spirit to bring us to faith and keep us in faith in the Son through the preaching of the Gospel!

O gracious Father, we thank You for so loving the world that You sent Your only-begotten Son to be born a true man of the Virgin Mary that He might redeem us from sin and death and grant us life everlasting through faith in Jesus’ name. Amen.

[Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

Author
Categories ,