Saturday, December 17, 2016

Advent 4

Advent 4
December 18, 2016
Matthew 1:18-25 “God is with us”

Hymn of the Day: LSB #357 ~ “O Come O Come Emmanuel

Collect for the Day: Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

God’s Word Is Fulfilled for Us in the Flesh and Blood of Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary

The Fourth Sunday in Advent turns our attention toward the Nativity of Our Lord. With the Blessed Virgin Mary, we await the coming of the Christ, her Son, conceived in her womb by the Word and Spirit of God. This fulfillment of the sign once given to the house of David, that “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son” (Is. 7:14), is now given to us in the Gospel. It declares that salvation is by His grace alone, entirely His work and a free gift. It also is the way and means by which the Lord our God is Immanuel, “God with us.” The almighty and eternal Son of God is conceived and born of Mary and is thus “descended from David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3). He comes in this way to save us with His own flesh and blood; He is called “Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). As Joseph received this sign in faith and immediately “did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Matt. 1:24), we also live by faith in this holy Gospel.

At issue for us today is that many live their lives with little or no awareness of how close God really is to them. They live their lives as if God were far removed from them. They live as if God does not partake in their humanity.

These words once appeared on a parish bulletin board; “If God is far away, who has left?”  People often live their lives with little awareness of how close God really is to us. Notice the irony. We are living in a time in which we are always connected whether it is through texting, facebook or twitter. We can communicate with friends and family members literally around the world in real time. Yet when it comes to the Divine how often do we almost feel as if God were absent from our lives.

It may be the weekly worship serve or possibly a tragedy in our lives that sensitizes us to God’s nearness or to the need for Him to be near. Our test reiterates and reinforces this reality of our Christian existence. God is truly with us.

1.       He is with us as the God-Man.
2.       He is with us with His Salvation.

1.       He is with us as the God-Man.
A.      He who is with us is true God.
1.       The Holy Spirit in a virgin conceived him. Vv. 18, 20b
2.       He was without sin.  Hebrews 4:15
3.       He is not merely “godly” but actually and fully God. v.23b; Colossians 2:9  
4.       He was, is, and remains God. Hebrews 18:8

B.      He who is with us is true Man.
1.       He was born of a woman.  V. 25
2.       He assumed a human body, wants, and feelings.
3.       He lives in the real world, experiencing joy and sorrow, acceptance and rejection.
4.       Jesus, the God-Man, is with us still. Matthew 28:20
5.       Since He assumed our human nature, He will never cease being a man.

2.       He is with us with His Salvation
A.      He came to save from sin. V.21
1.       Sin is a terrible reality.
a.       It corrupts.
b.      It separates from God
c.       It condemns.
2.       Only God and Mary’s Son could save us. Acts 4:12
a.       As man, He kept the Law and died in our stead.
b.      As God He was able to bear the suffering and to rise from the dead.
B.      He is your Savior.
1.       Do not make prayer, faith, liturgy, or piety your Savior.
2.       Jesus alone saves from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin.
C.      His salvation is a daily reality. Psalm 85:9; Psalm 27:1

The Advent message is that God has come to be with us as the God-Man with His salvation. How close God is to us.   

Words – 716
Passive Sentences – 4%
Readability – 81.0%

Reading level – 5.0

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