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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Christmas Eve Candlelight – Matt. 1:18-25 “Not Afraid To Do The Right Thing”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel Lesson just read, Matt. 1:18-25.  We begin with prayer.

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

  • One of the consequences of living as we do in this highly sensitized time of “political correctness” – and the crotchety hypersensitivity of people all around us, is that we are often afraid to do or say anything, for fear that someone will be grievously “offended” and worse, that they may feel compelled to attack us.  In that the world is a wretchedly wicked and evil place, this make us especially fearful of saying or doing anything that is “right” – for surely in so doing we will step on someone’s toes.  And if they are already committed to wickedness and evil, we suspect that they wouldn’t mind adding to it by hurting and harming us.  So we may find ourselves in the position of being “AFRAID TO DO THE RIGHT THING.” 
  • God has been dealing with human sin and wretchedness a lot longer than we have – and it is apparent that He is “NOT AFRAID TO DO THE RIGHT THING.”

     1.    He was not afraid to create the universe, the earth, and humanity, even though He knew the evil that would ensue

  1. 2.    He was not afraid to punish the wickedness of mankind with a universal flood
  2. 3.    He was not afraid to commence His plan of saving us from our sin – with the calling of Abraham and the establishment of Israel as His people – even though He knew how they would abuse His grace
  3. 4.    He was not afraid to continue loving us and all people, and to fulfill His promise to send His Son as our Savior
  4. 5.    He was not afraid to continue building His church in the world through His Word and Sacrament
  5. 6.    And He is not afraid to continue commencing all of human history to the bitter end, in the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Last Day – and not afraid to judge all people, sending some to heaven and some to hell
  • So, it is appropriate for us to also consider our own attitude toward and commitment to “DOING THE RIGHT THING” – and to consider God’s will for us in these matters.  But first we note that:

I.  God Was Not Afraid To Do the Right Thing For Our Salvation – In Sending His Son To Be Our Savior

A.  Sending Him In Vulnerability To Evil

1.  Born in human flesh

2.  Born out of wedlock – by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit

3.  Born to a lowly mother, and a humble step-father

B.  Sending Him To Suffer And Die As The Lamb Of God, To Take Away The Sin And Guilt Of The World

Gal. 3:13  “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’”

 

Statement:  When Simeon blessed Jesus in the temple, and spoke of “a sword” piercing Mary’s soul, he was referring to vulnerability of Jesus and the mission He was sent to accomplish, His crucifixion for the sin and guilt of the world.  In that we are created in God’s likeness, we should not think that God was “painless” and anesthetized toward what happened to Christ on the cross.  Indeed He is our “Father,” and no father would be immune to intense suffering and sorrow if such a fate were to befall his son.  If we can suffer so for our children in our “fatherhood” and “motherhood,” how much more must the “ultimate Father” have suffered in the cross of His Son Jesus? 

Application:  But God sent Him not only knowing His vulnerability in “human flesh,” not only knowing He would thus suffer, He sent Him intentionally, for this very purpose.  You must understand – He was thinking of you when He did this, and He was thinking of me.  God is love – and He loves you this much, that He was “NOT AFRAID TO DO THE RIGHT THING” when it comes to our salvation in Christ Jesus! 

Transition:  And we see the same thing in our Lord Jesus Christ, for:

 

II.  Jesus Was Not Afraid To Do The Right Thing For Our Salvation

A.  He Was A Fearless Teacher And Prophet

B.  He Laid Down His Life For Us – He Was Not Afraid To Suffer, To Die, And To Rise Again For Our Salvation

 

Statement:  We can remember the accounts of how the Scribes and Pharisees criticized and argued with Jesus, how the crowd took up stones to stone Him, how they tried to shove Him off the brow of the hill.  We remember that His own family came to get him, because they assumed that He was insane.  We recall that the Pharisees concluded that He was demon possessed.  We understand that the Sanhedrin concluded He was worthy of death, and saw to it that Pilate acquiesced and ordered His execution.  We remember Jesus’ “sweat of blood” in the Garden, and His exclamation:  “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 

Application:  All of this was endured out of love for us, to gain salvation and eternal life for us as God’s free and gracious gift to us.  And Jesus was “NOT AFRAID TO DO THE RIGHT THING” – thanks and praise be to God!  Now we have His forgiveness, and peace with God through faith in Jesus, and the assurance of eternal life in heaven when this life is over! 

Transition:  And so blessed and encouraged by His love for us:

 

III.  God Bids US To Not Be Afraid To Do The Right Thing

 

A.  Even As Joseph Was Not Afraid To Take Mary As His Wife, And Jesus As His Stepson

 

Text:  “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

 

B.  And Even As Mary Was Not Afraid To Bear The Son Of God Our Savior Out Of Wedlock

 

Luke 1:30-33,38  “  And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.’ . . . And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’”

 

C.  So Also We Are Called To Faith In Christ, To Receive Him As Our Savior And Lord – And Called Not To Be Afraid To Serve The Lord Jesus

1.  Living decent, good, and upright lives of love and moral decency

2.  Devoting ourselves to serving Him as His disciples – serving one another and all people within the life of Christ’s church

 

Statement:  In view of all that God has done for us, all that Christ has done for us, it is the right thing to do, to embrace Him as our dear Savior and Lord, and to commit our lives to following and serving Him as His disciples!  Again, considering the wickedness and moral filth that surrounds us in the world today, it may seem like a daunting and fearful thing to live “decent, good, and upright lives” of love and moral decency.  But given what Christ has done for us, it is not too much that we devote ourselves to God – and to serving His dear people of faith within the life of His church.

 

Application:  We may have fears in all of this.  Mary and Joseph had fears; and the disciples, following Jesus’ crucifixion also “hid” themselves behind locked doors out of “fear of the Jews.”  All of their fears were ultimately overcome, so that they came to the point where they were “NOT AFRAID TO DO THE RIGHT THING.”  Knowing His great love for them, they became like God – and this is exactly what we are also called to do, to know His great love for us and to become like Him. 

 

It is certain that we will be treated as He was – some will think we are foolish, others will think us insane, and some may even believe we are “demon possessed.”  We will be criticized, argued with, opposed, slighted, mistreated, and perhaps even condemned.  Some will surely think we should be killed, that the world would be better off without us.  But we know God’s love for us, what He has endured for us and for our salvation, and we also know His power and His will.  And in knowing these things we too are “NOT AFRAID TO DO THE RIGHT THING.”  God grant us blessedness and joy in this, rejoicing in His love, and rejoicing to love and serve Him.  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.