Monday, December 23, 2013

Sermon for 12/24/13 "God with Us" Matthew 1

(This recording was made at a retirement home 12/22. It's the same sermon I'll use on 12/24 in our Christmas Eve service.)

God with us. Immanuel.
What kind of God is this?
 Patient beyond measure - promising Ahaz his blessing again and again
 Able to give that holiness to his people, to us, and make us ascend his holy hill
 Working miracles - bringing his miracle child Jesus to be born at just the right time and in just the right place
 Creating life

Isn’t this fearful? The holiness of God ought to make us fear and tremble.
 God’s goodness should show us our failure.
 God’s love shows us that we are not love.
 God’s mercy reminds us that we don’t show mercy.

This is the kind of God who makes us want to run and hide. Our sin has separated us from God.
 all the other religions of the world - try to earn the way back into a deity’s good favor
 Christianity confesses God has loved us when we were not worthy.

We build biblical theology on this event, the incarnation, the time when God becomes man
 like us except without sin
 to understand us
 so we can understand him
 full of grace and truth
 full of love for us who do not deserve it
 full of mercy, as we need mercy
 full of forgiveness

How do we respond?
 I’d like to think we respond well, in faith and gratitude
 So often that is not the case
 We respond by repenting and praying

Lord, God with us, Immanuel, you have broken into our world. Break into our lives. Make us bring you honor, make us reflect your care for us. Use us in your work of changing this world.

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