S-1525 3SIA/3C 12/13/15; Hymns: (O)#355; (S)#819; L.S. #818; #353; #813; (C) #349,
Texts: Zephaniah 3:14-20; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 7:18-28
Theme: “A Busy God” (Zephaniah 3:16-20)
Question: “How Busy are you during this Season?” (14th Sermon at Trinity).
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is the O.T. reading: “On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord Your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing. I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach. Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,’ says the Lord” (Zephaniah 3:16-20)
INTRODUCTION: In Nomine Iesu
Oh most beautiful Bride of Christ the facts are true and real. During this time of year many people feel gloomy and glum, depressed and disheartened, sad and scared. We are so busy and don’t know which way to turn Too many invitations to attend, backing, cleaning, decorating, buying gifts and wrapping them too, and sending out cards. Loss of loved ones doesn’t help. Medical concerns add to the burdens of life. Too many activities, too little time. Overextended and under-befriended. Put in layman’s term, we are busy, busy and getting busier by the second and our world is spinning out of control.
But take heart today as you listen to God’s Word through the prophet Zephaniah whose name means: “God is Hidden!” But He is not hidden. Instead, through the O.T. reading we learn that our God is busy. Busy making sure we don’t become overextended and overexerted, fatigued and frazzled; instead He wants us to know of His gracious will for our lives.
However, we don’t know any better. Instead of enjoying this season of Advent and prepare for the Joy that the Savior came into the world to offer sinners like us, we become busy and anxious about all of the things we need to do. In the process, the devil gets hold of us, distracts us, and takes away from us the celebration of the Babe of Bethlehem and turns our focus inward, on what we have to do instead of what the heaven-sent Child has done.
Our busyness drives us away from our loving God. Our busyness adds pressure to our lives that need not be there. Our busyness tires us out. Our busyness makes us sick because we don’t know what to do with ourselves. We are torn between wanting to slow down and do what everyone else is doing and we don’t want to be left out. PAUSE.
In our busy life, the prophet of God extends to us on this third Sunday of Advent, the joy that the God of all grace and compassion offers to burdened people. He draws our attention to the living and powerful Word. Please follow along and mark how busy this gracious God is in our lives. “On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord Your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save1; He will rejoice2 over you with gladness; He will quiet3 you by His love; He will exult4 over you with loud singing. I will gather5 those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach. Behold, at that time I will deal6 with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change7 their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring8 you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make9 you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore10 your fortunes before your eyes,’ says the Lord”
These words of the Prophet bring joy to the heart, first to the people of Judah and then to you and me. This is what the pink candle is all about! The God who promises judgment also brings joy! In these great promises we hear of 10 different ways our Lord is busy blessing us with reasons for joy.
Notice these 10 reasons and write them on the tablets of your hearts so that when you are so busy, you don’t have time, or when you are overworked and overextended with the busyness of day today things; remember also, that Your God is busy working things for your good and for His glory.
1. He will save you through the King of kings and Lord of lords—the Babe of Bethlehem.
2. He will rejoice over you. This is a fabulous language of the Holy Spirit at work over you and filling your heart through the precious gifts of His Word and Sacrament.
3. He will quiet you with His love. There is nothing in the world that can calm your heart, head and mind like Jesus’ love.
4. He will exult over you with loud joyful singing. Hallelujah is our chorus; Joy to the world is our good news. This is the most majestic music in history, for our ears, hearts and heads.
5. He will bring back His people from exile. That is to say, He will bring relief from oppression.
6. He will in the fullness of time take out all the bullies of this world. Just think of it beloved; there will be NO bullies in heaven.
7. He will “change” the lame, heal the sick perfectly and raise the dead. All because of the Perfect Savior, who does everything perfectly for us who are imperfect but become Perfect through His grace.
8. He will take away all shame. In heaven there will be no shame and no blame. But bliss and joy and peace.
9. He will reunite the outcast, the forsaken and abandoned because of the Son back again to Himself. This is our Awesome, Amazing and Almighty God.
10. He will restore...joy galore...raise the rafters, celebrate, rejoice, think pink, joy.
These are 10 beautiful and blessed reasons to help us be joyful. You should know children of the heavenly Father that the number 10 stands for the perfect work, of the perfect Savior for the imperfect people like you and me.
We see in our Awesome, Amazing and Almighty God that He really is busy. Busy removing the judgments, punishments, and the power of the devil, busy forgiving us our many sins, busy clearing away our enemies and driving fear away, busy destroying the power of the grave, busy rejoicing over us, busy saving us, busy blessing us, and busy renewing us. All of this He does on account of His Son, the Babe of Bethlehem. Because of the Perfect life of Jesus-the heaven-sent Savior we become perfect in His sight and receive the great blessings that fill our hearts, heads and homes with the true and lasting joy. PAUSE.
Sadly in our human nature we are always busy in the wrong way. This busyness distracts us and destroys the joy that should be ours. Our minds are busy even when we are not physically busy. In the darkness of the night we begin to question if God cares, or if He is near us. Satan comes among us and distracts us; just as it was with John the Baptizer who was distracted. Though he was in jail and wasn’t busy physically, yet his mind was very busy. In the Gospel reading we are told: “The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ And when the men had come to him [Jesus], they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the One who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” (Lk. 7:18-20)
Of course He is the One. He is the One who does everything right for our benefits. He is the One who is busy in our lives taking away our busyness that makes us anxious and nervous and replace it with His love and peace. He does ALL of this because He IS the Perfect God and Perfect Man who does everything perfect for us who are imperfect so that we might become Perfect in the sight of God.
This is the Savior of Mankind—yours and mine. He is the Babe of Bethlehem. He is the One who rally us in faith and instill confidence, not to bring dismay. For this is Jesus speaking – Jesus! The coming Judge and King is also our Savior…and He knows better than anyone that our sins have been paid for, because He paid for them on the cross. He comes again therefore, not with judgment for you, but for your “redemption” – the fulfillment of God’s salvation plan, which includes destroying all evil and the Evil One, and making all things new. Including you, with that new and glorious resurrection body that never gets sick, dies, or sins again. He promises to be this busy GOD FOR YOU!
On account of this promise, we take to heart the words of Paul in the Epistle lesson who exhorts us to, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:4-6).
Oh, precious people of God, you His Bride, as the Lord has been this busy for us in salvation and deliverance, you and I in this Advent season can be busy in joy and praise! AMEN
Now the peace of God…
SOLI DEO GLORIA