Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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Advent 3 – December 16, 2012 – Zeph. 3:14-20 “The Death And Resurrection Of Christ”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Old Testament Lesson just read, from Zephaniah 3.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • When reading the Old Testament Scriptures, it never ceases to amaze me how similar the concerns of the ancient peoples were with our own concerns.  We are concerned about “judgments against us,” the guilt of our sin and what we really deserve for it – and the shame that it brings, especially if others find out about it; our enemies who look for opportunities to accuse and oppress us; evils all around that threaten us; weakness and lack of strength – our vulnerabilities; and coming to some sort of shame, losing respect and our place in life.  Of course, there are always the myopic and blind people who have great confidence and assurance in life because they are ignorant of the threats all around us, all that could go dreadfully wrong for us. 
  • For a very short time, it did appear that everything that could go wrong in God’s plan for our salvation, the coming of His beloved Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior, had in fact gone wrong – with His late night arrest, His conviction in a secretive “kangaroo court,” Pilate’s acquiescence to His crucifixion, and His grisly death on Good Friday.  His mother, His friends, and His disciples must have had quite a time trying to get a grip on what had happened to Jesus.  But their suffering was rather short lived – shockingly Jesus rose again from death, and their adjustment was transitioned to trying to figure out their new life of discipleship with the glorious and ascended Lord of the church. 
  • In our text, God addresses all of these concerns that have been common afflictions through the ages for God’s people of faith – by assuring them of all that Christ would accomplish through His death and resurrection, the blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus.  Yes, these same blessings are ours today – present reality for us to grasp and benefit from!

 

I.  In His Suffering And Death, Christ Has Taken Away All Judgment Against Us

 

Text:  “The LORD has taken away the judgments against you.”

 

A.  We Are Now Forgiven Of All Our Sins, And Justified By God’s Grace In Christ Jesus Through Faith

 

Eph. 1:7  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

 

Eph. 2:8,9  “By grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

 

Rom. 5:1  “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

B.  This Means That None Of Our Enemies Can Ever Successfully Accuse Or Assault Us

 

Text:  “He has cleared away your enemies.  The King of Israel is in your midst.”

 

C.  So There Is No Need For Us To Fear Evil

 

Text:  “you shall never again fear evil.”

 

Statement:   We pray all the time:  “forgive us our trespasses . . . lead us not into temptation . . . but deliver us from evil.”  But do we believe that God has already answered all of these petitions in the gift of His Son, our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ?  We still see the threats all around us – and from time to time have to face them in “real time.”  But have they ever really harmed us or had their way with us?  Never!  And even when it appears that some enemy has “harmed us,” God is in fact “working all things together for the good of those who love Him, those who are called according to His purpose.” [Rom. 8:28]  So it is only a matter of time and it will be apparent, to us and to everyone else, that they have accomplished nothing of the evil that they plotted and perpetrated against us! 

 

Application:  Our sins are forgiven!  No judgments remain against us!  No enemies can prevail against us, for God is our fortress and our shield, a very present help in danger!  None of this produces smugness, arrogance, or impunity within us!  Rather we are humble, understanding our great guilt and the great deliverance from sin we have received by God’s grace.  And none of this produces evil, violence, or haughty aggressiveness in us!  Rather we see our weakness and vulnerability, and our confidence is not in ourselves but in God our Savior and Strong Deliverer!  We live by faith in God’s goodness and love, and by His promises, not by “seeing” some invented strength and invulnerability in ourselves!  And we take refuge in God from the evil aggression of others, so we understand that we cannot be evil and aggressive toward others!  God is also protecting them! 

 

Transition:  All of this is the blessing, the fruit of Christ’s coming that first Christmas – for we remember that He came as the Lamb of God, to suffer and die to take away the sin of the world.  And all of this is assured to us in His glorious resurrection, for:

II.  In Christ’s Resurrection Victory We Are Assured Of God’s Continuous Blessing Upon Us

 

A.  The LORD Our God Is Now Constantly In Our Midst, Rejoicing Over Us

 

Text:  “The King of Israel, the LORD is in your midst. . . . The LORD your God is in your midst, a Mighty One Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness.”

 

Matt. 28:20  “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

B.  God Will Quiet Us With His Love – Even Rejoicing Over Us In His Love For Us

 

Text:  “He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”

 

C.  He Gathers Us Together In The Church, Where We Are To Suffer No Reproach

 

Text:  “I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach.”

 

D.  He Will Deal With All Our Oppressors – Lord, Have Mercy On Them!

 

Text:  “At that time I will deal with all your oppressors.” 

 

E.  He Will Change Our Shame Into Praise And Renown

 

Text:  “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 people of the earth.’

 

F.  He Will Restore Our Fortunes

 

Text:  “When I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the LORD.”

 

Statement:  As far as appearances are concerned, and as the world judges us, we are weak and poor, miserable and misfits, fearful and vulnerable.  But the reality is quite different:  God is with us, His love gives us comfort and confidence, we are safe from all judgment, and our future is glorious and blessed beyond description!  Thus we gather together – because God gathers us to bless us within His church!

 

Application:  So let us be comforted, and quieted, and reassured, and strengthened, and transformed by His love – as we wait patiently and expectantly for the greater blessings of His love to come!  All of this has been accomplished for us already by the coming, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!  We have confidence – but it is not in ourselves; rather our confidence and joy is in the Lord!

 

Conclusion:  Yes, we still have the concerns that God’s people have always had, the same weaknesses and vulnerabilities, the same enemies and the same disdain from the world around us.  But Christ has come, and so we join in the hymn of God’s people.  We “sing aloud” with the daughter of Zion.  We “rejoice and exult with all our heart” with the daughter of Jerusalem.  We know what the LORD has done for us, and the blessings that are coming.  Thanks and praise be to God!  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.