Unto You is born a Savior

[10] And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  [12] And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

What good news this day brings, the GOOD NEWS that to us, to us and for us, the Savior had been born.  In that city of David, Christ the Lord lay in a manger.  He came into the world to save us from sin, our sin, and in doing so, is our Savior, our only Savior, apart from whom there is no other.  The world might talk about the spirit of Christmas, Christmas cheer, and the holiday season, but apart from Christ’s birth and that babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, there would be no reasons to celebrate.

On that night when the angel visited those shepherds, it was unto them that the angel declared a Savior, Christ the Lord.  But the angel did not speak generally, as if the Savior was for everyone else and the world, but not for them.  Instead, the angel announced to the shepherds in their ears, Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger Luke 2:11-12).  To them the angel proclaimed the GOOD NEWS.  To them, to humble and lowly shepherds, did God reveal His salvation.  To them, He spoke in their ears what no natural man could know, nor can know, unless God had revealed it, that salvation is through Jesus Christ, He who was born of man, and yet God in the flesh.

That Jesus Christ was man, few will deny.  To be born into the world means to have flesh and blood.  But that the child Jesus was also God, many will reject.  This is because The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned 1 Corinthians 2:14).  Unless God had revealed it, man would keep denying it.  And man still denies it, not receiving the testimony and witness of God through the Apostles and the Prophets.  But all who do believe in God’s Son, that He was (and is) both God and man, having two natures, the human and the divine, these demonstrate a God given knowledge, one that man cannot know apart from God’s revelation.

Apart form God’s revelation, the shepherds would not have known about the Christ child being born to them.  Least of all would they have known that He we was wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger (Luke 2:12).  The shepherds had not followed their own thoughts and inclinations.  They instead believed the Word of the Lord as spoken through God’s messenger.  And they found the Christ Child in just the place where it had been told them.  The Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord, the One born that day in the City of David was indeed wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

It could have been no other way, for the words of the messenger are as the words of the one who sends him.  The angel sent to declare the Good News of Christ’s birth to the shepherds was simply repeating what God had given to declare.  Therefore had the shepherds believed God’s Word.  And they acted according to that Word, and found Him of whom the angel spoke.

The sign that the angel had given the shepherds would have meant nothing to them, had not God’s Word also been attached.  A child wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger seems of little significance.  But the angel’s word indicated differently.  Here was a boy born, but not just any boy, but the boy who was Christ the Lord.  Going by appearances alone would have told the shepherds otherwise.  But judging by appearance is dangerous business.  When it comes to matters of faith and eternal significance, these matters are not to be judged by the eyes.  They are to be judged by the Word alone, God’s Word and nothing else.  Judging by anything else will only deceive and mislead.  Only the Word of God gives absolute and certain confidence.

Judging by the Word that our Lord has given, that of Holy Scripture, we know that that baby Jesus was not only man, but God in the flesh; that He fulfilled the Holy Law of God, died our death, and was raised to life; ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the throne of God.  But all these things He did not do for Himself; neither for example, nor for show.

For you Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again.

The words of the angel to the shepherds were not merely, ‘The savior of the world is born in the city of David.’  Instead, the angel of the Lord announced, Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord Luke 2:11).

With these words, that angel personalized that wonderful good news to the shepherds.  And by believing the ‘unto you’, they made that Good News their own.

By believing the ‘for you’ of God’s Word, you, too, make His Word your own, even the ‘for you’ of sins forgiven, and the ‘for you’ of Christ’s body and blood for the remission of sins.  What your eyes would tell you, deny when it comes to the things of God.  Instead, go by what God says, sins forgiven and peace with God through Jesus the Christ.  It does not make sense that the news of our Lord’s birth would be to mere shepherds and not to kings and nobles.  It is beyond human comprehension that Christ was not born in a palace with help all around.  But to kings and nobles Christ’s birth was not announced.  In a palace Christ was not born.  Neither was His death on the cross more highly exalted than His birth.

But He who died between two criminals is He who died as One of us, but God in the flesh, FOR YOU, that your sins not be counted against you.  He who was laid in a manger is He who sits now in the heavens, FOR you, bestowing His grace and mercy only upon sinners, according His Word and promise.  He whose birth the angel announced to lowly shepherds is He who announces God’s peace and good will upon all who hold Jesus to be their own and their only Savior.

And so He is, and also is He your Savior, not because you see with the eyes, but on account of God’s Word through your ears.

You have reason to rejoice this day.  You have no reason to fear or to be afraid.  For unto you Christ has come.  And to you, your sin is forgiven.  Amen.

Lk01.1-20, Christmas Day, 2011B, Outline & Notes

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The Birth of our Lord–An Article of Faith

“So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  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.”
Luke 2:6-7

In the Name of Jesus, the Son of God.  Amen.

So insignificantly, lowly, and humbly did Christ enter the world.  Hardly did the world at all take notice.  Yet angels sang and the heavens rejoiced (Luke 2:13).  Mere shepherds went to Bethlehem to see that which the Lord made to pass by the announcement of the angel,  “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).

If such record had not appeared in Holy Scripture, who would believe it—that God became flesh through the womb of a virgin, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit?  That God did become flesh, though without any sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15), is truly an article of faith.  Yet, this God-man Jesus became sin for us, for you, that you “might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Few believe such Good News today because they do not want such a Savior as the One whom God sent.  They want a savior of their own making.  But such a man-made savior does not save, nor will the vapor of false confidences remain.  Only One truly delivers from sin, death, and the devil.  This is none other than the Jesus Christ born of the Virgin and even laid in a manger; the Jesus Christ who was laid on the cross to bear our sin.

There, too, on the cross, Jesus did not look like much of a Savior.  But there, on the cross, is where all your sins died, with Christ’s death.  Yet He, approved by God, rose the third day.  In the grave your sins remained.  Yet He triumphed over death and the grave, and gives eternal life to all who believe this.

Insignificantly, lowly, and humbly does Christ come into the world still.  Through Word preached, Holy Baptism, and the Holy Supper of our Lord, Christ Jesus comes to you to give you life and salvation.  Indeed, these means and gifts of God mean little to the world.  But they do not lose their power because of that.  Nor do they lose their effectiveness because few believe and doubt.  They are effective because God Himself works through them, though the world deny such great blessings.  And they remain the very means by which God calls, gathers, and enlightens the Christian church on earth.

For now, this church appears as insignificant, lowly, and humbly as Christ did.  Yet as Christ comes again in all of His glory, so also will His bride be revealed in all her glory, which is Christ’s.

The Lord richly bless you this Time of Christmas as you rejoice in the gift of your Savior, Jesus Christ!  Amen.

Lord Jesus, as you came into the world, being laid in the manger low,

So greater faith and courage on me bestow,

That I may believe in Your Holy Word each and every day,

And not at all doubt whatever you say.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for dwelling on my sight

And for walking in the uncertainty of night.

Grant me an ever firmer trust and confidence that is daring and bold,

With a confession that is courageous and a heart that is neither lukewarm nor cold.

Lord Jesus, keep me in the holy and true faith and doctrine to the end,

And open my ears to gladly hear and believe the messengers whom you send,

For they speak of Jesus, who lived, died, and rose the third day,

To save me from my lawlessness and for all my sins to pay.

Give me joy and blessing this Christmas Tide and season

And bring me to live only by faith in Your Word above human reason,

For the world and its ways are corrupt and have an end,

Yet Your ways are holy and just, and my ways You transcend.

Amen.

Announcements for the week of December 25, 2011

11-12-25, Christmas Day, Announcements.pdf

Christmas Insert, 2011.pdf

Announcements for the week of December 18, 2011

11-12-18, Advent 4, Announcements.pdf

Announcements for week of December 11, 2011

11-12-11, Advent 3, Announcements.pdf

Reason to give thanks

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Psalm 30:11-12, NKJ

In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

The writer of Ecclesiastes, in the third chapter, begins by writing, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  In the same chapter, speaking of the times, he says that there is, “A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

The Psalmist spoke of such a time.  He had mourned.  He had grieved in sackcloth.  Yet his grief was turned to gladness.  His mourning was turned into dancing.

These things did not become so because of or on account of the Psalmist.  He doesn’t say, “I have turned” or “I have put off.”  No!  He says, “You,” meaning the Lord his God.   The Lord his God had turned for him his mourning into dancing.  The Lord his God had put off his sackcloth and had clothed him with gladness.

This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes (Psalm 118:23).

The Lord had heard the prayers and petitions of His servant for mercy and help (Psalm 30:10).  And the Lord answered him.

The Psalmist David implored of the Lord with confidence, not doubting (see James 1:5-8).  He didn’t pray by saying, “Lord, if you’re there, hear.”  He didn’t say, “Lord, if you can help, please do.”  Rather, David prayed with a confidence that trusted in the God who is faithful to His promises and steadfast to His Word.

God had given David such confidence.  And God gives such confidence to you, for in Jesus, you have nothing but the certainty of God’s mercy towards you.  Now you have peace with God (Romans 5:1).  And having this peace with God through Jesus Christ means that you also have reason for continually Him giving thanks and praise and for singing in your heart to the Lord.

Though your circumstances remain the same or not, the Lord is ever faithful to His Word.  The change from having bitterness in the heart to giving endless thanks to the Lord is not dependent on circumstances, but a changed heart, a heart changed by God, by means of His Holy Word.  And by means of God’s Word, even the Word made flesh (John 1:14), you always have reason to rejoice and give thanks, even through times of grieving and mourning.  Times of joy and dancing will come, but not at your time—in the Lord’s.  Amen.

Prayer: Lord God, keep me confident of your promises and nothing but sure of Your faithfulness to Your Holy Word.  Help me to bear my crosses while waiting only on you and trusting solely in Your Word, praying, “Thy will be done.”  Amen.

Announcements for week of December 4, 2011

11-12-4, Advent 2, Announcements.pdf

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