Showing posts from December, 2012

Sermon on Psalm 98, for Christmas Eve, "Marvelous Things!"

The concluding Sermon from a series on "Psalms for Advent." May your celebration of Christ's birth be filled with joy!             “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace good will toward men!” Our sermon text for this Christmas Eve is Psalm 98, and I’ll be quoting it as we go along, if you’d like to follow. As you may have already guessed, the great Christmas hymn “Joy to the World” is directly based on this Psalm, and I’ll be making references to both.      1     Oh sing to the Lord a new song, A song that celebrates God’s new work of salvation—a song to praise the redemption that Jesus brings as He is born to Israel, to all the earth—yes to all creation! For he has done marvelous things! He has made a new marvel for all time, the Virgin conceives and bears a child. The infinite and all powerful God, whose scepter rules over all creation, has joined Himself to lowly mankind. The Virgin conceived by the Holy Spirit and gave birth to the Son of God, Je

Sermon on Micah 5:2-5a, for the 4th Sunday in Advent, "Shepherd King"

            Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve—the much anticipated arrival of the birth of the Christ child is almost here. Tomorrow our Christmas carols will joyfully leap from our tongues, as we “come adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord the newborn King.” But while many might already be burning out from an overdose of trite, secular Christmas music, let’s prolong our anticipation one more day, before the full tide of Christian joy and celebration pours out tomorrow and on Christmas Day. Let’s tune our ears in to hear the sacred “hymn and chant and high thanksgiving and unending praises” that the Church sings to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Let’s once more hear the voices of the prophets, chanting in one accord, promising the birth of the long-expected Jesus. Today the prophet Micah sings his haunting solo, then blends his voice to sing in tune with all the prophets, as he announce

Sermon on Psalm 146 for Advent Midweek 3, "Praise the Lord!"

            Psalm 146-150, all 5 Psalms begin with the Hebrew word “Hallelujah!” Which translated, is “Praise the Lord!” v. 1-2 Like every Psalm, this one praises the Lord by telling back God’s mighty deeds. The Psalmist views the singing of praise to God as a lifelong endeavor—that as long as he draws breath, he will praise and bless God’s holy name. And yet even a lifetime of praise would fall short of declaring the riches of God’s glory. To Him we owe our very existence, our body and soul, eyes, ears, and all our members, our reason, and all our senses. And He still takes care of them. He does this all only out of His fatherly love and divine goodness, without any merit or worthiness in us. For all this it is our duty to thank and to praise, to serve and obey Him. Praise is God’s rightful due—it’s the worship God expects and deserves from all creation, as the 1 st commandment says: “You shall have no other gods before me,” the 2 nd : “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord you

Sermon on Philippians 4:4-7, for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, "Rejoice in the Lord"

Note: This sermon on joy was written with the tragic and senseless events of the recent school shooting in mind. Our prayers and hearts go out to the victims and survivors, that God would sent His peace and the light of Jesus Christ into the darkness of this time. As the Psalmist in Psalm 42 reflects, sometimes joy may seem distant and we may feel only bitterness and grief. Yet he puts his hope in God that there will again be a day of praise and gladness. The Bible's teaching on joy is a reminder to us that Christian joy does not concede or retreat from evil, or times of grief or loss, but rather that God sends His good news of redeeming love and comfort to us precisely when we are hurting, lonely, and lost. It is the message of Jesus' victory of good over evil at the cross, that is the only hope for joy in a time of darkness. It is this joy in the Lord   that is brighter than the darkness, and that gives us hope even in midst of our worst troubles.  ·          Grace, mercy

Sermon on Psalm 72, for Advent 2 Midweek, "The Righteous King"

      The Psalm is titled: “Of Solomon” and may have been used at the coronation, or crowning of King Solomon or other kings of Judah. Historically Solomon received the gold of Sheba, described in vs. 10 & 15, when the Queen of Sheba visited him. Also in other ways this Psalm is a prayer of blessing and description of his reign. Solomon’s name means “peace” and his reign was certainly one of peace. But he ultimately only foreshadows the greater rule of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the royal Son of God, the glory of whose greater reign eclipses Solomon’s lesser rule. So as we consider this Psalm, we’ll focus not on Solomon’s role as foreshadow, but on the purest fulfillment in Christ the King.       V. 1-4, Jesus is the Royal Son, the Only Begotten Son of God, who rules with God’s own justice and righteousness. These are repeatedly described as the hallmarks of His rule. It’s necessary that He drive oppression and wickedness away, and help the poor and needy. Our vision of what k

Sermon on Malachi 3:1-7b, 2nd Sunday in Advent, "Messenger of the Covenant"

·          Would you accuse God of injustice? A fearful proposition, to lay that charge at God’s feet—yet this is just what the people had done in Malachi 2:17. Malachi wrote: “You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?” They accused Him of leaving the wicked unpunished, and that evildoers were prospering. Their question “Where is the God of justice?” Is tantamount to them saying, “God, what are you going to do about all this evil that is going on? Are you going to prove yourself just and judge them, or will they continue to escape?” ·          Malachi 3 is God’s response to this charge. Malachi, the last prophet, ~430 BC records God’s response. Watch what I will do—I’m sending my messenger to prepare my way. God’s saying, “I’m coming on the scene. I’m going to handle this myself.” God was going to get up

Sermon on Psalm 25, for Advent Midweek 1, "Teach Me Your Paths"

This year for Advent Midweek services, I am preaching on "Psalms for Advent", using selected Psalms that I've chosen, reflecting the Advent themes of repentance, waiting, and expectation of the Messiah, the King of Israel. The order will be Psalm 25, 72, 146, and then 98 for Christmas Eve, while also making references to other Psalms throughout.  “During Advent, our season of preparation, we’re asked to look at how well we accept God's guidance; along what paths are we walking?”  Psalm 25 is a prayer to God that He would teach us His paths, make known His ways. Are we willing to listen, or will we turn to our own paths? Psalm 1 contrasts the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. There is the path to sin and destruction, or the path to righteousness and life. Firmness, fruitfulness, life and blessing comes from one path, instability, unfruitfulness, judgment and death come from the other path. Simil