160103 Ephesians 3:2-12

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.

Read more: 160103 Ephesians 3:2-12

151225 John 1:1 & 14

Text: John 1:1 & 14
Theme: The Meaning Of Christmas Comes Down To A Single Word

What is the meaning of Christmas? Depending on whom you ask, that question can have many different answers. Ask someone in retail, and it means the difference between a good year and a not so good year. Ask the average child, and it means presents, presents and more presents. Ask a non-Christian and you might get an answer that includes Santa or Rudolph or a snowman named Frosty.

What is the meaning of Christmas? Even for Christians, that question can have more than one answer. For some, Christmas is about peace, peace on earth and good will toward men. For others, Christmas is a time for giving. We exchange gifts to remember the greatest gift of all, the gift of a Savior.

In recent years it has become popular to talk about Christmas as a day set aside for family. Perhaps you have heard that some Christian churches don't even have Christmas Day services to encourage people to spend time with the people they love.

What is the meaning of Christmas? The apostle John came up with his own answer to that question. And he shares it with us in the sermon text for today. His answer isn't very long. It isn't comprised of pages or paragraphs or even a few sentences. In fact, John would say that...

THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS COMES DOWN TO A SINGLE WORD

I. A Word with no beginning and no end
II. A Word who brought many years of waiting to an end
III. A Word whose glorious reign will never end

Read more: 151225 John 1:1 & 14

151220 Luke 1:39-45

Text: Luke 1:39-45
Theme: Why Am I So Favored?

With the official beginning of winter just around the corner how many of you wish it was the end of May instead of the end of December? I can't do anything about the calendar or the cold temperatures, but the sermon text for today takes us to the end of May (May 31 to be exact), to a minor and sometimes misunderstood church festival that is simply called "The Visitation."

There is no shortage of visitations in the Bible. In Exodus God visited Moses in the desert in the form of a burning bush. In the book of Acts Paul visited many of the mission congregations he had planted all over the European continent. Since we are still in the Advent season you might be thinking of the special visit the angel Gabriel paid to Mary when he announced to her that she would give birth to the promised Messiah.

"The Visitation" doesn't celebrate that particular visit recorded in Luke 1:26-38, but it's very close. In fact, the first thing Mary did after Gabriel told her that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Savior was to visit her relative Elizabeth.

Elizabeth had quite a bit on her plate when Mary arrived. She was getting along in years. She was pregnant. And her husband Zechariah couldn't talk. It wasn't exactly the best time to be receiving house guests, but when Mary knocked on the door Elizabeth wasn't annoyed. She was overjoyed, and she wasn't just being polite when she said: "Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me" (43)?

I am guessing that a lot of you have a lot on your plates right now. There is much to do before Christmas, and there are only a few days left to do it. If you are feeling worn out, if you are feeling stressed out, or if you just aren't feeling it this year, you couldn't be in a better place.

This morning the Lord invites you into the home of Elizabeth. Let this woman help you prepare for your Savior's birth. Let her Spirit-inspired words uplift your spirits. Let her gracious attitude remind you of the grace that is yours. Let God's Word answer the question she asked and the question I encourage you to ask yourself today...

WHY AM I SO FAVORED?

I. The humble response of an excited believer
II. The thoughtful response of every believer

Read more: 151220 Luke 1:39-45

151213 Philippians 4:4

Text: Philippians 4:4

Theme: Rejoice in the Lord!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

The general theme of our service this morning encourages you and me to rejoice. But do you and I really need to be told to be joyful? After all, it is Christmas time. For most, this is a joyful time of year. We hear our favorite Christmas songs on the radio. We see friends and relatives whom we haven't seen for quite some time. We come here, and see the Church beautifully decorated. So why the reminder to be joyful at such a happy time of year? Listen again to this one verse from Paul's letter to the Philippians. He writes, "Rejoice IN THE LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" And maybe that is something we need to be reminded of on an ongoing basis; yes, even at Christmas time. So, let us take a moment to look at this one verse from Scripture which is before us where we are encouraged two times to, "Rejoice in the Lord."

Read more: 151213 Philippians 4:4

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  1. 151209 Matthew 1:18-25

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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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