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Showing posts from December, 2007

The Word of the Lord Increased

In at least three places in the book of Acts, chapter 6:7, 12:24, and 19:20, the author, Luke, describes how the “word of the Lord increased.” The book of Acts describes the early decades of the first Christians, as they strove to bring the message of the Gospel in ever-expanding circles to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Along the way they faced much opposition and persecution. Sometimes the opposition was merely verbal, and at other times it took the form of imprisonment, flogging, or even death by stoning (see the example of Stephen, Acts 7).

But the fascinating part about the three passages that I mentioned above, along with many other passages in the book of Acts, is how the church continued to grow and abound in the face of such opposition. In Acts chapter 6, the apostles had been arrested and put in prison, beaten and then told not to speak in the name of Jesus. In Acts chapter 12, the apostle James was killed by Herod, and then Peter…

Sermon on Matthew 1:18-25, 4th Sunday in Advent

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The sermon text for this Fourth Sunday in Advent is Matthew 1:18-25. On this final Sunday of the Advent season, Advent’s muted celebration of the coming kingdom of God gives way to the full-fledged joyfulness of Christmas, as we move from the calls of repentance to the birth of the Savior from sin. Today we learn how the fear, doubt, and uncertainty of our lives is dispersed with the glorious light of Christ Jesus’ coming. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

After the sermon today, we will join in speaking words that have echoed through Christian churches for at least 17 centuries. Words that we cannot allow to become commonplace simply because we have repeated them so often. Words that were made possible 20 centuries or 2,000 years ago, when Christ was born of a virgin. The words I speak of are the Christmas Words of the Apostle’s Creed, …