Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas 2

Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18
January 2, 2011
“The Eternal Christmas Plan
God our Father, when Your Son was born of the Virgin Mary He became like us in all things but sin. May we who have been reborn in Him be free from our sinful ways. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen

The celebration of Christmas has been going on for a long time. We usually think that the celebration started with the announcement of the angels to the shepherds, who then made haste with joy to see the great things that had happened. But the, we are reminded that people of the Old Testament looked forward with joy to the coming of the Messiah too. Christians too celebrate the of God’s Son. Even though the calendar has changed to a new year, Christmas is still on our mind. The text for today lends itself to a continuing celebration of Christmas and adds an eternal dimension to our celebration as it talks about “The Eternal Christmas Plan”

1. Christmas began before the world was made.
A. God loved us then already. (vs.4)
1. He did not fall in love with us. He loved us because He is love. In spite of our sin which separated us from Him.
2. His love has a purpose and design which set the pattern for all that would happen in the world. (vs.4)
B. He planned to make us His own. He chose us. (vs.5)
1. This happened in Christ who would effect the forgiveness of our sin by His sacrificial death on the cross.
2. In His grace God would also attach us to Christ by faith so that we would enjoy and have for our own the forgiveness of our sins. (vs.8)
3. This is how His plan would work out in time to make us holy and blameless before Him.

2. Christmas happened in Bethlehem.
A. We went in spirit to Bethlehem last week and there adored again the newborn Savior.
1. It was not a new celebration but a special celebration of God’s faithfulness to His plan and promise.
2. Our wisdom and understanding grew through the means of grace.
B. We can not limit the celebration of Christmas to one day or a week.
1. The celebration is a lifestyle.
2. We celebrate all year long.

3. Christmas is taking place today in the life of the New Testament Church.
A. The eternal plan is being worked out among us.
1. We have been brought to faith in the Lord Jesus. (vs.15)
2. We love each other.
3. We know and believe we have been chosen in Christ.
B. The eternal plan moves us to specific prayers for God’s people.
1. We thank God for believers in the church.
2. We pray that people might grow in their knowledge of faith.
3. We pray that the church might be filled with a glorious inheritance prepared for God’s own people. (vs.18)

Christmas involves an eternal plan. It started before the world was made. It was worked out in time when Christ was born. The plan continues to unfold in the life of the church today. God has you in mind from the beginning of the world and has worked out that plan so that you might have eternal life.

Prayers from For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and by the Church Vol. 1© 1994 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau Dehli NY
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

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