S-1285 3MIA/3B 12/14/11 Hymns: (O) 70; S 32; (C) LSB #801
Text: Isaiah 62- 63:5; 1 Peter 1:17-25; Luke 2:36-38
Theme: “Advent Redemption—Bought With A Price” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
Question: “What is the most expensive gift you have ever received?” Armour, SD.
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for the 3rd and final Midweek in Advent is from 1 Peter: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
In Nomini Iesu,
Tonight, as your pastor, I am privileged and blessed to speak to you as the Redeemed of the Lord and the not forsaken; but ones who have been sought after. Sought after by Him who claims YOU to be His very own; by Him who Restored, Rescued and Redeemed you from the empty ways of life; by Him who bought you; not with gold or silver BUT with His own precious, sinless, spotless blood.
My beloved in Christ, Advent is a time of looking forward with great anticipation of the coming of the Savior, the Redeemer of the world to be born in a manger, but it also moves us to look ahead with great expecation to His Second Advent to take us to the Paradise of heaven.
Throughout all of Holy Scripture, we see the many faithful saints who looked forward to such a time as this. The beloved physician, Luke, paints in his Gospel many wonderful events to help us see the birth of Jesus. One particular incident that I would like to highlight from Luke’s Gospel is this. As the aged priest held his eight-day-old son in his arms, he just had to sing. For in the birth of John, who was to prepare the way for the Savior, Zechariah—filled with the Holy Spirit—saw the certainty of Christ’s birth. And while that wondrous event still lay sixth months in the future, Zechariah sang of it as if it had already happened. “The Lord, the God of Israel, has come to redeem His people” (Luke 1:67). He prophesied these words for all to hear. The centuries of waiting and watching were almost over. Now it was time for unwrapping and for wondering in awe at God’s love gift—a Savior, a Redeemer who will redeem the human race from the pit of despair and the fires of hell.
Can you envision Zechariah holding his son in his hands—a gift from God and praising the Lord of the universe in hearing his prayers? Do you see the tears in his eyes that the waiting for redemption is almost over? Oh, Zechariah marveled at the gift of love in the coming of the Redeemer.
Therefore, like him, we need to marvel at the miracle behind Bethlehem. He hadn’t seen the Christ Child yet, but he knew who that baby would be. “The Lord, the God of Israel,” he stated. In that coming Child, he saw “God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God,” as we also see and confess in the Nicene Creed (The Lutheran Hymnal [TLH]). Zechariah could understand the miracle behind that birth no more than we could, but, like us, he could marvel at the love involved.
A love that moved the Lord to do the impossible—He came down from the unreachable, with a love that is unmatch-able, so that you and I might live forever with Him in heaven. As we unwrap God’s Christmas gift, may we, by the power of the Holy Spirit NEVER forget the miracle that was needed to achieve it and the love that provided it. Zechariah sang that day not only because he saw who that holy Child would be but also because he saw what that Child would do. Again, inspired by the Spirit, he spoke as if it had already happened: “The Lord has redeemed His people.”
Yes, indeed, the Babe in the Manger, the heaven sent Restorer, Rescuer and Redeemer, Jesus the Christ has accomplished the task that saints before us have looked to, and still do. O redeemed of the Lord, don’t pass too quickly by this Word! PAUSE.
Do you understand what it cost the Savior to redeem you? Do you know why He did it? Let me return for just a moment to my old profession a house painter and paint to you with wide brushes and colorful images this picture for you to make you appreciate your redemption—bought at a price.
(Here move over to the center where the table is and the cage is located). A story is told of a pastor of a church in Boston, met a young boy in front of the sanctuary carrying a rusty cage in which several birds fluttered nervously. The Pastor asked, “Son, where did you get those birds?” The boy replied, “I trapped them out in the field.” “What are you going to do with them?” “I’m going to play with them, and then I guess I’ll just feed them to an old cat we have at home.” When the pastor offered to buy them, the lad exclaimed, “Mister, you don’t want them, they’re just little old wild birds and can’t sing very well.” The pastor replied, “I’ll give you $2 for the cage and the birds.” “Okay, it’s a deal, but you’re making a bad bargain.” The exchange was made and the boy went away whistling, happy with his shiny coins. The pastor walked around to the back of the church property, opened the door of the small wire coop, and let the struggling creatures soar into the blue.
In another town, another Preacher came walking by one day and saw Satan holding the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve in a cage if you will—a prison cell. The Preacher asked “What are you going to do with them? Satan said, “Oh, I will play with them, and torture them with the fires of hell and cause them to work hard labor in my prison cell.” The Preacher looked at him and said, “What would you like to have to spare their lives?” Satan replied, “You don’t want these sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, they are no good to you. They will break your heart, disobey Your commandments, dishonor You with their lives and shame Your name”. The Preacher asked again, “What will it cost for you to let them go?” Satan, with gleeful smile looked at the Preacher and said, “YOUR LIFE FOR THEIRS!” The Preacher responded “DONE!” “Okay, it’s a deal, Said Satan, but you’re making a bad bargain.” And the exchange was made.
(Open the cage here) All of the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve were released from the prison cell at infinitely high price—the precious blood of the Preacher—Jesus the Babe of Bethlehem. And those who were released, with hope in their hearts; with eyes looked heavenward they appeared to be singing: “Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed!”
Saints in Christ, You and I have been held captive to sin, in the prison of Satan, but Christ has purchased our pardon and set us at liberty. When a person has this life-changing experience, he will want to sing, “Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed!” We have done that tonight with our sermon Hymn, “Redeemed, Restored, Forgiven!” Yes, we have been Restored, Rescued and Redeemed by the Only One who could and would—Jesus the Christ.
There are many people out there who rescue others in time of need—firemen, military personal, police officers. There are many others who help in time of need, but ONLY Jesus can redeem, because His life-blood is pure without any sin.
God’s people of old and God’s people of today rejoice in the glorious Good News that we have been bought with a price—not gold or silver, but the precious blood of Christ. God’s people understand the cost of their redemption and the unmatched love of the Savior. And for that we are thankful and joyful to praise His holy name and give thanks to Him for saving us from the fires of hell and opening the gate of Paradise for us. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA