141130 1 Corinthians 1:3

Last Updated on Monday, 01 December 2014 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: 1 Corinthians 1:3
Theme: Keep Your Eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ!

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

When you heard Pastor Pagels read the second Scripture lesson for today earlier in our Service, did you notice anything about the reading from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians? In the seven verses that served as our reading, the apostle Paul mentions our Savior's name six times! Why? Why did Paul mention the name of our Savior so many times at the beginning of this letter? From what we know about the Corinthian congregation, we know that many of them had their eyes focused, not on their Savior, but on the things of this world. There were many who loved human wisdom and their own earthly possessions. During this time of year, in the days leading up to Christmas, you and I may be tempted more than at other times during the year to focus our attention away from our Savior, and instead focus on all the material things of this world. Because of this, on this First Sunday of a new Church Year, on this First Sunday of Advent, you and I hear the encouragement: KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

Today, as you and I keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ, I would like us to focus our attention just on verse three of the opening chapter of 1 Corinthians. Did it sound familiar to you when Pastor read it earlier for us? Many times it is the greeting we use to begin our sermons. But, the phrase "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" is so much more than simply a nice way to begin a sermon. Rather, this statement, used many times at the beginning of Paul's letters, is a very simple summary of the entire Gospel message.

Paul writes, "Grace to you". From our days in Catechism class we have learned the definition of grace as "God's undeserved love"; undeserved love which our Savior-God showed to all sinners of all time; undeserved love which our Savior-God showed to you and me; love which moved the one true God to take action on our behalf.

God the Father showed you and me his grace by sending his one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to this earth. Our Savior is the almighty Lord, ruling over all things for our good. He is the one who was chosen by God the Father to be the Savior of all mankind. He was chosen to be your Savior and mine. Moved by his grace, our one and only Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, willingly humbled himself, to be born as a human being. Out of grace, the Lord Jesus Christ lived, suffered and died in your place and mine. The glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ assures you and me that the price for all sins has been paid for in full and is accepted by the holy and just God. Moved by his grace, God the Holy Spirit comes to you and me and uses the message of the Gospel to create in our hearts faith in Jesus as our one and only Savior. It is through that same grace that you and I are kept in our faith by the power of God's Word. It is by grace that you and I have the promise of eternal life with our Savior in heaven.

Since we have been showered with the grace of God, there is now peace between the one true God and us. This peace does not depend on anything you and or I are able to earn for ourselves. Not one of us here is able to say that we have earned peace with our Father in heaven. In fact, left on our own, our relationship with the one and only true God would be anything but peaceful. As the Bible tells us, "the sinful mind is hostile to God." The peace that you and I enjoy, the peace that exists between our Father in heaven and us, was won for you and me only by our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the reason why Jesus came to this earth, born as a baby. As Paul writes 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." As true Man and true God, Jesus Christ lived the perfect life under God's Law, which you and I could never live. Jesus gave up his body on the cross, he shed his innocent blood, for the sins of all people. Through the wonderful gift of faith that forgiveness becomes our own free gift, and you and I are now at peace with our God in heaven, and part of his heavenly family.

In the responsive prayer of the Church for the season of Advent in our hymnals we pray, "In these days before Christmas, spare us from the stress of deadlines and the frenzy of commercialism." I am sure that all of us would agree that this is a very busy time of year! Many of us are busy shopping for that perfect gift, or spending hour after hour making sure our homes are decorated just right. It is a busy time of the year for our enemy, the devil, as well. At this time of year, there are so many things that the devil will use to tempt us to lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas. While spending time with family and friends, and sharing gifts with each other are all part of this time of year, keep focused on what is most important. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST! 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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