Saturday, December 12, 2009

Advent 3

Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation; now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One god, now and forever.

Our anxiety over life in a broken world gives way to the joy inside of our tears – as Christians we can experience real and lasting joy mid tears and sadness. We truly expect and actually prepare for the reception of God’s peace in the Christ child, a peace that passes all human understanding. The prophet Zephaniah announces the joy and demonstrates God’s presence in our midst while Luke shows us how the Holy Spirit helps us prepare by cleansing the way and anticipating the consummation of all things.

1. Joyful tears make now our patience before people.
A. Patience recognizes that the Lord is near. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near (Vs.5)
B. This patience petitions God. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (V.6)
1. We offer prayer and supplication.
2. We offer it with thanksgiving.
C. Patience keeps our hearts and minds in the peace of God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (V.7)

2. Joyful tears show our imitation of Christ.
A. We imitate His qualities. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (v.8)
1. We receive these qualities in Baptism, when we become “Christ’s”
2. They are detailed in the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. You, dear friend are blessed. The Kingdom of Heaven is yours! You shall see God for you are called the sons of God - for you belong to Christ. (Matthew 5:1-12)I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Philippians 3:10)
1. We suffer in our fight against opponents of the Gospel. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have (Philippians1:29-30)

2. We suffer with the same mind of Christ detailed by Paul when he encouraged us
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11)
C. We imitate the apostolic tradition, which assures us that the God of peace will be with us. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)
1. We recount what we have learned, received, heard, and seen from the apostles.
2. We proclaim the incarnate Word, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.
3. We celebrate God’s peace in Communion.
The God of peace will be with you. Now that’s true comfort – comfort we need as we live in the midst of tears and sadness.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use

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