2019 Sermons Christmas

Christmas Day John 1.1-14

Sermon – John 1.1-14 (Christmas Day)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Exordium: We have spent the Advent season as a time of preparation for the advents of Christ. We have considered His coming to us through the means of grace, and His coming into the world in glory on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead. And today we celebrate the birth of Christ, our Immanuel. And we are ready to celebrate, for we have heard the words of John the Baptist, who said, “Make straight the way of the Lord.” We have heard the Law, that we may acknowledge our sinfulness and need for the Savior to come. He has come. The angels have announced His birth, and sang their praise to the glory of God. The shepherds go and see the wonder of God’s love. And we with repentant and believing hearts go and ponder this thing that the Lord has made known to us. The Son of God is born in human flesh. What a wonder this is! It is the miracle of the incarnation. God became human for our sakes, so that we, through Him, would be reconciled to God. Our Savior is born, and it is this truth that makes today a great festival day of the Church.

Therefore, let us joyfully sing the praise of the Incarnate Son of God! We will sing the festival verse, hymn number 142, “Rejoice, Rejoice This Happy Morn.” Please rise.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 2 He was in the beginning with God.

 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.

 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

These are Your Words heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your word is truth. Amen.

Dear Christmas worshippers,

In the Age of the Enlightenment, the prevailing thought of the day was that the human mind was capable of the greatest things. It could understand all things, conquer all things, solve every problem, and some even thought that by the power of the human mind could create a utopia. The mind is supreme, and everything beyond what the human mind must be denied, that is, the supernatural. And so life, our beginning, sustenance, our experiences, feeling, our behaviors, our motivations, our meaning, and values all consists in merely natural processes. This kind of thinking is still fairly common today.

But this way of thinking about life, has been surpassed today with the idea that life is defined and shaped by our feelings, emotions and experiences. Led by these, we supposedly can achieve fulfillment and our purpose in life. 

But whatever man tries to use as their life and light in this world fails, whether it is human reason, or emotion and experience or whatever it is. To think that life is found in our reason, or emotions, or experiences, is in fact rebellion against God. It is not the way of life, but the way of death. Such has been the case since the fall into sin.

Adam and Eve as the source and center of their lives God, the Creator. They lived in perfect communion with God, knowing God as perfectly as a creature is able to know His Creator. They had the image of God, their reason perfect, their feelings perfect, both completely in line with God’s will, enlightened by God, holy and good.

But Adam and Eve, at the tempting of the devil, were tempted to find life and light outside of God. The devil led them away from God and His Word, and tempted them to trust in him and his words. He tempted them to covet another way of life, one independent from God, one that they could have in themselves, for the devil said, “Your eyes will be opened, and will be like God, knowing good and evil.

And the moment they disobeyed, they recognized the darkness and death that had just come to them-the just consequence of their sin. God entered the Garden where they were. What do they do? They do not welcome Him with joy eager to hear the words of His grace. They do not run before Him and bow down to Him. They are afraid. They see that the shame of their sins have separated them from God. Sinning against Him, they had broken their relationship with Him. And God’s holiness, basically the law, made them very well aware of this.

At least they noticed the problem. Much of the world today goes about completely unaware that they live in darkness. They desire independence from God, thinking that they have life in their own wisdom and feelings, that they are self-sufficient in themselves, and God can take a hike. But independence from God means separation from their creator, from His life and light, and being left in darkness and death. They exalt their reason, experience, determination, strength and power as gods, yet all these are under the power of sin and death, and lie in darkness. 

Separated from God, there is only darkness, sin and death.

But, behold, life and light have come! Don’t look within yourselves. Well actually, yeah, first look for a moment within yourselves, not to find the source of life and light, won’t find it there, but look within with a humble and honest heart, and see the darkness of sin in your hearts. Yes, even though we are believers born anew in Christ that sinful nature still remains within us. See how we have exalted our wills, our reason, and our feelings above God and His will. See how we have sought independence from God, to be little gods ourselves, to think that we know better than God. Look there, see it within, and repent. And behold, your Life and Light comes to you.

He is Jesus, the child born of a Virgin. No mere human child can help us. No man has life in himself, and therefore, much less could any man bring us into life with God. But the good news is found in who this child is. And John gives us some beautiful theology about Him!

He is called the Word. He is the Word that has been with Father from eternity. He was there in the beginning when there was only eternity, and through Him, even time came into existence. 

The child is the Word who was with God. The Word was not the Father. He is distinct from the Father, and from the Holy Spirit, for that matter. And He has always been with them from eternity.

And the Child is the Word who was God. The Word is not just sounds put together by the mouth of the Father, like the words that come from our mouths. Rather the Word was Himself 100% almighty God—of the very same divine substance as the Ffather and Holy Spirit.. And in creation, He was not simply an inanimate and powerless tool of the Father, but He, with the Father, is the almighty Creator of the universe. Through Him all things came into existence as we read here in John and also in Colossians and Hebrews. We owe our existence to Him. He is our Creator and we are His creation.

And this eternal and divine Word became flesh. The Creator became a creature, and He was born in Bethlehem. The divine nature and the human nature are there united in the one Person, Jesus Christ.

In the Word made flesh was life. This is the life that we had been without, the life of being united with God, of dwelling in His peace and joy, a life of knowing God, and living in perfect righteousness and blessedness in His presence forever. Only in Him can we be restored to life and light as Adam and Eve first enjoyed.

In His love and mercy He shines the light of His life upon the world. Though the world in its darkness did not see Him. The devil has so blinded the world and the world has so fallen away from God, that it turns away from Him and chooses darkness. The world put the Word made flesh on the cross. The world today rejects His life and light, and prefers the darkness of sin and death. It still prefers the life, rather than the death of going its own way.

But you have received Him, not by means of blood or of the might of your will, but by the working of God who gives you a new birth, a new life through His baptismal waters. The Holy Spirit has opened your eyes to see what John saw. John saw the glory of the Christ. Though Jesus’ divinity was hidden throughout much of His life, John saw glimpses of His divinity through the tremendous miracles that He performed, and His resurrection from the dead. And you see that Jesus is the Word made flesh.

And He is the perfect Mediator between God and man. He comes between us and His Father, and restores to us the life that we lost. He has taken upon Himself your rebellious independent sinfulness, comes between us and the Father and takes the Father’s wrath in our place. So since it isn’t just the suffering of one man, but the hellish suffering of God Himself for all the sins of the world, you are forgiven. The price has been paid. Christ has made full satisfaction, and now you have peace with God. In this saving work of Christ, is found the life we lost in the fall. And through faith in Him, we are restored to life! There is no longer need to hide from Him like Adam did, like that would do any good anyway, but because you trust in Christ as your Savior, you freely repent before Him and receive His forgiveness and life with joy! You have that perfect peace with God; you live in communion with Him as His dear people. You have eternal life with Him. That is the true life, the life of Christ in which you live.

And having this life, means that we also are new creations in Christ, having the new self which is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Thus we put to death the Old Adam which desires to direct our reason and hearts in darkness, and let Christ be the Lord of our reason and our hearts, directing them in righteousness and holiness according to His gracious will. Surely, we need this renewing each day, living the baptismal life, repenting of our sins, and being renewed by the gospel, sanctified, and strengthened to follow our Lord’s lead.

What a blessing it is to have Christ’s life. But make sure you recognize where we find the source of His light today as we live in this world of darkness. And in this we also get to rejoice. Jesus says, “My words are spirit and life.” Here we have the bright beaming Sun of righteousness shining on us with His precious life. And not only there, but He shines His life upon us in His holy Supper, where the very body and blood of the Word made flesh, that once lied in that manger, was given up into death, and now is in heaven, that very body and blood is given to you for your life!

No man could save us from the gloom of darkness. No mortal could give us eternal life. No sinner could restore us to God. No creature can save us from the sadness of fallen creation. But the Word became flesh. In Him was life, and His life is your light and your salvation! Thanks be to our God made flesh, our Immanuel. Amen.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Forevermore. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto everlasting life. Amen.

2019 Sermons Christmas

Christmas Eve – 2018 Luke 2:1-16

Sermon – Luke 2:1-16 (Christmas Eve – 2018)

O God, as You once caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light, grant, we beseech You, that we who have known the mysteries of that Light here on earth may come to the fullness of Its joys in heaven; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

 8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

 11 “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

 12 “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

 15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”

 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.

These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your Word is truth. Amen.

Dear fellow redeemed,

We find in a number of Christmas carols in which the author used some artistic license with some of the details about the night of Jesus’ birth. What animals were really there around the holy family? Were the stars shining in the bright sky that night, or was it a cloudy night? Did baby Jesus really not cry? And did Joseph Mohr, who wrote Silent Night 200 years ago, mean to say that radiant beams shone from Jesus’ holy face? Was there a glow?

But, of course, there are a number of details that we do know that Scripture tells us. One thing we know is beautifully said by Mohr in Silent Night, right after he mentions the radiant beams from Christ’s holy face, he says that in that face, is the “dawn of redeeming grace.”

What did the shepherds see when they came to Bethlehem? They saw Joseph and Mary, and the Babe lying in a manger. Whatever kind of night it was, and whatever animals were there around the manger, when the shepherds looked at the face of the child there wrapped in swaddling cloths, they saw the dawn of redeeming grace.

The night has ended, the day has broken the darkness! Surely, God’s promises are as good as done. Every promise God made of the coming Messiah foretold through the prophets were as good as done, for through this promise, the Old Testament believers already had the forgiveness and righteousness that Christ would eventually win. But there becomes a time, when the promise is no longer promise, and it becomes fulfillment.

This night the Christ has arrived! Look at that face, and you see God’s redeeming grace. It is grace, because in Him we see the undeserved love of God. What benefit was there in it for God? What was there that led God to do this, for we are sinners, unworthy of His love or for one act of kindness from Him. But He shows His undeserved love for us in this Child.

And it is a redeeming grace, because this love of God is active, it is self-sacrificing. The shepherds saw in that face of baby Jesus, the one who will live a perfect life and die an innocent death to save us from sin, death, and hell.

And so in faith, behold this wonderful thing that we ponder tonight, that Christ, the Savior is born! God’s promise of redemption is now fulfilled in the Christ who has come for us and our salvation.

Let the dawn of His redeeming grace shine upon you who sorrow over your sins, for it is for sinners that He is born, to be the sacrificial Lamb to free you from the condemnation of all your sins.

Let the dawn of His redeeming grace shine upon you, brokenhearted, for He has come to make all things new! He delivers you from the evil one, from this evil generation, and from the brokenness of this fallen world. And He brings you into the newness of life in His kingdom of light, where we have peace with God!

Let the dawn of His redeeming grace shine upon you, o you who mourn in this the valley of the shadow of death, for His light swallows up the darkness of death. The child born in Bethlehem, has redeemed us from death, and all who die in Him, are delivered from this land of the dying, and are welcomed into heaven, the land of the living!

May the dawn of His redeeming grace bring you all great peace and joy today and always! God has fulfilled His promises. Christ is born for you! Amen.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.

2019 Sermons Christmas

New Year’s Eve – Luke 13.6-9

Sermon – Luke 13.6-9 (New Year’s Eve – 2018)

Let us pray: Eternal God, we commit to Your mercy and forgiveness the year now ending and commend to Your blessing and love the times yet to come. In the new year, abide among us with Your Holy Spirit that we may always trust in the saving name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.

 7 “Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard,`Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’

 8 “But he answered and said to him,`Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.

 9 `And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'”

These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your word is truth. Amen.

Lord, Grant Us Another Year of Fruit

Dear fellow redeemed,

As we arrive to these last hours of this year and approach the new year, it is proper for us to be thankful and prayerful. We thank our heavenly Father for the blessings that He has granted to us this past year in His gracious providence. We thank Him for the good and abundance, but we also thank Him for the times of trial, for we know that He works even these for good. Through them, He lovingly chastises, admonishes, and leads us to trust Him with a strong childlike faith. Through them, He brings us low, that He may then exalt us in His kingdom.

And as we look forward to the new year, we pray to Him, that He may bless our new year with much good and blessing, though trusting Him, that whatever He gives us is best for us.

Our gospel reading today teaches us one of the things for us to pray for in this new year. And isn’t that what God’s Word does? God speaks to us through His word, and gives us words to speak in prayer to Him. So let us see what God would have us pray for this evening.

A man had a vineyard with a fig tree planted in it. For three years, the vinedresser spent time and effort working on that tree so that it would produce fruit. But it had not borne any fruit. So, the owner saw that it was time to condemn the tree. Time to cut it down. Why let it take up space in the vineyard? Why spend so much time and effort on it, when it will produce no fruit?

However, the vinedresser, showed grace toward that tree, asking to give it more time before cutting it down. He will work it in the hopes that it will this year produce fruit. If it doesn’t, then cut it down. 

This gospel is about God’s grace and justice. God is just and will judge unbelievers. But He is also gracious, holding off judgment in great patience and longsuffering that they repent and believe in Him.

God had been so patient with the Israelites over the generations. Through the Patriarchs, through Moses and the Prophets, God called the Israelites to repent and trust in Him, and to live godly lives in accordance to His will. And though there were some who did bear these fruits, many did not. They remained unfaithful, grumbling against God, worshipping the gods of other nations, trusting in their own righteousness rather than God. 

Judgment shall come upon them, but Jesus intercedes. He is patient and longsuffering, in grace He gives more time, that they may repent and believe.

But even when Christ arrived in the flesh displaying the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, the Jews still rejected Him. “He came unto His own, and His own did not receive Him.” And Jesus cried out over the city, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Mt 23:37). They rejected Christ, and they largely rejected the apostles as well. And there is a time when grace gives way to judgment. And perhaps the cutting down of the fruitless tree is a picture of God judging the Israelites through the Roman siege of Israel and the destruction of the Temple in 70AD. 

And so from this text, the Lord would have us pray that we bear fruit in this time of grace. 

Basically, it is the prayer that the kingdom of God come, as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer. Luther explains this coming of God’s kingdom in this way, “The kingdom of God comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and live godly lives here in time and hereafter in eternity.”

And so we pray that God’s kingdom come. We pray that it comes to those who do not know Him, who reject His grace. The patience of God is comforting when we have loved ones who do not know Him. God loves them, desires their salvation and is patient with them, that they may repent and trust in Christ. They still live in the time of grace, before the Lord’s judgment is carried out.

Likewise, we pray that God’s kingdom continue to come to us! The devil will do everything in his power to keep it from coming to us. As we think about what may be in store for us this year, the devil will use those things against us. If God blesses you with great earthly blessings, the devil will use it so that you treasure the things of this world more than the heavenly gifts Christ has won by His cross. If God chastises you, the devil, will use that to draw you away from the promises of God in Holy Scripture and lead you into doubt and despair. If God blesses you even with another year in this world, that means that we have another year to contend with the vain philosophies, false doctrines, and peer pressures of the world, and the rebelliousness of our sinful flesh.

And in spite of all these things we have dealt with in the past year, we thank God that His Kingdom has come to us, that He has given us the Holy Spirit to produce the fruits of the Gospel in us. He has brought us to believe His holy Word, to repent of our sins, and to rely upon Jesus alone as our Savior. He has given us the new life in Christ by which we live godly lives now, and are assured that this life will continue in perfection in the life to come!

And with the new year ahead of us, we boldly ask God’s blessing! And we boldly pray what God would have us pray–that He continue to let His kingdom come to us and that His Spirit may have His way with us and produce in us the fruits of the gospel! 

In the New Year, God grant us humble and repentant hearts that turn to your Word and seek your gracious promises of forgiveness and love. Grant us a stronger faith and the abundance of joy and peace that your salvation gives. Grant us a new life that we may each day live godly lives to your glory! 

Whether we go through times of happiness or through times of trouble, in whatever circumstance God gives us, we ask Him to always grant us these precious fruits. And He will do it, for that is His good and gracious will.

He will grant us such fruits that we may have the joy of His eternal salvation, that the devil may suffer disgrace, and that Christ, our Savior, may be glorified.

And knowing of His great love for us in Christ Jesus, what comfort and joy it is to entrust this new year into His gracious hands! Amen.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; forevermore. Amen.