170108 Psalm 72

Last Updated on Sunday, 08 January 2017 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Psalm 72 (verses found on page 93 of CW)

Sermon Theme: Merry Christmas!

I want to begin this morning by wishing each and every one of you, a very Merry Christmas! No, this is not Pastor Schmidt trying to hang on to one of his most favorite times of the year. In the calendar of the Christian Church Year, January 6th marks the Epiphany of our Lord. The word "epiphany" means "shining forth" or "shinning out". This reminds us that the baby born in Bethlehem is the Light of the world. As we read in the opening verses of the Gospel of John, "In him was life, and that life was the light of men."

Epiphany has also been referred to by many as the "Gentile Christmas". In our Gospel Lesson this morning, we read how the Wise Men from the east came to see the King and Lord of all people. As we sang a few moments ago from Psalm 72, "All kings will bow down to him, and all nations will serve him." The Good News of Epiphany is that Jesus Christ came to this earth on Christmas not just for the Jews but for the non-Jews, the Gentiles, as well. Jesus came for all people. Jesus came for you. Jesus came for me. Today, as we remember The Epiphany of Our Lord, as we celebrate "Gentile Christmas", I wish each one of you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

At this time, I invite you to hear again the verses from Psalm 72 that we sang just a few moments ago. If you would like to follow along as I read them, you may turn to page 93 in the front part of your red hymnals. It is from God's Word that we read:

Endow the King with your justice, O God, the royal Son with your righteousness.

He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy.

He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations.

He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth.

All kings will bow down to him, and all nations will serve him.

All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.

Praise be to the Lord God, who alone does marvelous deeds. May the whole earth be filled with his glory.

How is it possible for you and me to enjoy a MERRY CHRISTMAS on this day we remember the "Gentile Christmas"? The fact that our God is "the LORD" gives you and me the comfort that he is the God of faithful love and commitment. We know from the Law of God that your sins and my sins make you and me guilty before a holy and just God. You and I needed One who could save us from the guilt of our sins. And moved by his great love and mercy for you and me, the Savior-God took action. As we read in Galatians chapter 4, "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.' So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir." Jesus Christ paid in full the price required by the holy and just God for your sins and mine. Jesus Christ has made you and me children of our loving heavenly Father in heaven. Because of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins that he won, you and I will inherit eternal life at his side in heaven. Or, as God's Word tells us in Psalm 72, "Endow the King with your justice, O God, the royal Son with your righteousness. He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy." Giving all thanks to our Savior-God for his wonderful gift of the forgiveness of all of our sins, you and I are able to enjoy a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

There are even more reasons why you and I are able to say today: MERRY CHRISTMAS! We read this from Psalm 72, "He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth." During the hot days of summer, the ground can become very dry and very hard. Such conditions are extremely hard on the crops planted in those fields. They depend on the rains of spring and fall in order to grow. And in his great goodness, the LORD God provides that rain.

So it is in your life and mine. In great love for you and me the all-providing Lord showers us with blessings after blessings. We need only think back to this past Christmas to remember just how richly the LORD God blesses you and me. Maybe you didn't get everything that was on your Christmas list this year, but my guess is that you got something. Maybe you didn't get to see everyone you wanted to this past holiday season, but my guess is that at some point you spent time with some of your family members and friends. Maybe you didn't get to eat your favorite Christmas cookie, but my guess is that none of here this morning have had to go without any food during the past two weeks. Each day of his grace to you and me, the Lord promises to provide for our physical needs. As he promised in Genesis chapter 8, "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." And in Psalm 145 we are told about our LORD God, "The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." Giving thanks to our Savior-God for all the blessings he showers upon you and me day after day, you and I are able to enjoy a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

There is one more thought that I would ask you to note from these verses from Psalm 72 that are before us. Who is it that is to enjoy a MERRY CHRISTMAS? We read phrases such as, "All generations...All kings...All nations...May the whole earth be filled with his glory." Did you have to hide any presents this past Christmas? If we want a gift to be a surprise for someone, we often times have to work hard to make sure the gift stays hidden. But the Good News about Jesus is not to be a gift that you and I are to keep hidden away somewhere. We are to share the message of forgiveness that Jesus won with the generations that come after us. This is why our congregation is committed to moving FORWARD with the ministry of our Lutheran Elementary School. This why we as a congregation conduct our Sunday Morning classes and classes that are held throughout the week. It is in the words of Psalm 78 that you and I promise: "We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands."

Rather then keeping the greatest Christmas gift a secret, you and I are to share the Good News about Jesus with our family, our friends and our neighbors. You and I are even able to share the Good News about Jesus with people we cannot see, in places where you and I cannot go, as we support the ministry of our Wisconsin Synod with our gifts and with our prayers. As we read a moment ago from Ephesians chapter 3, "His [that is, the LORD God] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known..." My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, gladly and willingly share the Light of the Gospel so that many more might enjoy a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

What a loving Savior-God you and I have! First and foremost, he graciously provides the forgiveness of all sins that you and I need through our one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. In his great love for you and me, our loving Lord provides all the physical blessing that you and I enjoy day after day. Finally, he makes us the promise to bless all our faithful efforts as individuals, as a congregation and as a Synod to share the Good of Jesus with others. For all these gifts and for all these blessings, as today we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord, as we celebrate the "Gentile Christmas", you and I join our voices together and say, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Amen.

 

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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.

 

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