160103 Ephesians 3:2-12

Last Updated on Monday, 04 January 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Ephesians 3:2–12

Theme: Rejoice That The Christ-Child Brings You Together!

If you have spent any time on social media during the past week, you most likely saw picture after picture of folks getting together with family and friends. That certainly is one of the blessings of this time of year. But you and I know that it is not the greatest blessing. Today, as we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord, we are reminded from God's Word that the greatest blessing we enjoy is the gift of the Christ-Child. It is our one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, who came as the Savior of ALL mankind. It is Jesus who came as your Savior and mine. With our celebration of our Savior's birth still fresh in our memories, REJOICE THAT THE CHRIST-CHILD BRINGS YOU TOGETHER! From our Second Lesson for today, we are reminded that, by the power of the Gospel, you and I are brought together in close relationship with Christ and that through Jesus you and I and all believers are brought together in a close relationship with one another as members of God's family. Listen again as I read one verse taken from Ephesians chapter 3 that we heard read earlier. It is in verse 6 that we read this:

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.

This is the Word of the Lord.

In the verses just before verse 6, the Apostle Paul reminded his readers that the Lord of the Church had given him the special task of making known a "mystery" about the Gentiles. Unlike our word "mystery" which most often refers to something that can't be understood no matter how hard someone tries, the Greek word that Paul uses here means something that can be understood, but it requires special insight to understand.

What is the mystery? Where does the "special insight" come from? Paul states it this way, "that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus." The message revealed in the Gospel is that the Christ-Child came not just for the Jews but for the non-Jews, the Gentiles as well. All those who are together with the Christ-Child are also together as members of God's family. All those who are together with the Christ-Child are spiritually rich. As Paul writes, "this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."

Wouldn't it be fun if a millionaire came to us and told us that he or she would give us $50,000 a day to hand out $50,000 to those that were the most needy in the Oconomowoc area. Wouldn't you be filled with great joy during the time it took you to handout those free gifts of $50,000 to people in need? From God's Word, you and I know that we are conceived and born into this world spiritually bankrupt. The price for your sins and mine is a debt far too great for you and me to pay on our own. But the message of the Gospel is that through Jesus Christ you and I are rich. What great joy it is for us to know that because you and I are together with the Christ-Child you and I are spiritually rich with the forgiveness of all of our sins and the promise that we are heirs of heaven. How much more joyful it is for you and me to share not the riches of this world that are here today and gone tomorrow, but rather the riches of Jesus with other people so that many more are together with Christ-Child and with us!

How important would you consider it for you to take some type of action if you knew that your neighbor was asleep in his or her house and you saw a fire coming through one of the windows? Would you just sit and watch and say something like, "Someone ought to tell them that there is a fire in their house!" No, you would consider it not only important, but also very urgent that you do something, that you go and tell him or her immediately of the danger they were in. My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, those who are not together with the Christ-Child, those who are not together with us as part of God's family, are in greater danger than any house fire. It is so very urgent for people who aren't together with Jesus to be told about him, because they are in the danger of spending a life that never ends in the fires of hell. Just like the Gentiles in Paul's day, the truth about the Christ-Child remains a mystery to millions of people in the world today. They have no idea that the Christ-Child came into this world for them. They have no idea that the Christ-Child wants to be together with them. They have no desire to be together with you and me and the family of believers.

This why the Epiphany of our Lord is so very important! In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul writes in chapter 5, "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." Just as in Paul's day, so today the Lord needs you and me to go and to tell people about their need for a Savior; to share with people the wonderful Good News that the Savior they need is the Christ-Child. The message that you and I have to tell others is that the Christ-Child wants them to be "members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus."

It is fun to see pictures of family and friends enjoying time together. While you may not know everyone in the pictures, you still enjoy looking at them. But at the same time, it may also be sad, because you know that not everyone in the picture is together with the one and only Savior. Dear fellow members of our heavenly Father's family, may the Holy Spirit bless your efforts to share the message of God's Word with others so that many more are able to join along with you and rejoice that the Christ-Child brings you together. Amen.

 

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

Worship Schedule

Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

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Sunday at 10:00 A.M.
on Charter Cable Station 985

 

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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