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 – Titus 2:11-14 “GOD’S GRACE, HIS GLORY”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text for this evening, our celebration of the Savior’s birth, is the Epistle Lesson just read, from Titus 2.  We begin with prayer.

 

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

  • The apostle writes that God’s grace has appeared. His grace is His undeserved love, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and redemption.  He is talking about the coming of Jesus in the flesh, and also His crucifixion and resurrection for our salvation.  This grace and salvation is also God’s glory, His wondrous love.
  • Paul also then describes functions of God’s grace in Christ, what the consequences are of God’s grace appearing. First, there are good things that we are given, and through the experience of these good things by faith in Jesus, we are actually made better.  And this, of course, is also a good thing! 
  • But first:

 

I.  The Appearing Of God’s Grace Has Brought Us Salvation

 

Text:  “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people. . . . .  He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all unlawfulness.”

 

Statement:  This is the principle blessing that Christ came to bring when He appeared as the very grace of God!  Salvation for all people!  To redeem us from the worst things – all of the unlawful, evil, immoral, thoughts, words, and deeds that we have engaged in!  All of this has been taken away by “the grace of God,” not of works, not earned.  He redeemed us; we did not redeem ourselves.  He has saved us and all people; we cannot save ourselves! 

 

Application:  It is hard to adequately express just how wondrous this is for us!  And it is a wonderful thing to know it – it brings peace, comfort, joy, security, confidence, and courage!  This is what God wanted us to have when He sent Jesus into the world to work His grace, His redemption, His salvation!  This is the true joy of Christmas, the source of all other genuine love, grace, and mercy in the world!  Let us give thanks to the Lord this Christmas season!

 

Transition:  However, there is much more blessing that accompanies the appearing of God’s grace.  Specifically:

 

II.  The Appearing Of God’s Grace To Us Also Recreates Our Hearts And Minds For Goodness And Love

 

Text:  “The grace of God has appeared . . . training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age . . . .  He gave Himself for us . . . to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.”

 

Statement:  Yes, “joy to the world.”  Anything that brings renunciation of ungodliness and worldly passions, anything that enables and empowers upright and godly lives of good works is a God-send.  And this is precisely the effect that the “appearing of God’s grace” has upon all those who receive God’s redemption and salvation in faith and with joy! 

 

Application:  We do not always appreciate this aspect of the “appearing of God’s grace,” because it brings us into conflict with our sinful nature, our “auto-pilot.”  Inner conflict is uncomfortable and can create great distress for us.  But the alternative is to leave the evil in our hearts unchallenged and untethered – to lash out at others as our selfish and violent hearts dictate.  This cannot be good!  It is not good for us, our inner constitution, and it certainly isn’t good for our victims. 

 

Transition:  And in time, as we live in the joyful knowledge of God’s grace and love, we become more accustomed to acknowledging and rejoicing in what is good and godly.  And then this effect of the appearing of God’s grace is more deeply appreciated and embraced.

 

But there is more.  For the appearing of God’s glory has halted the demise of creation and placed it on an upward track, one which will come to glorious culmination!  For:

 

III.  Although We Enjoy Great Blessings Right Now, Things Are Going To Get Even Better For Us When He Appears In Glory – On The Last Day

 

Text:  “We are waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

 

1 John 3:2  “When He appears we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is.”

 

Phil. 3:20,21  “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.”

 

Statement:  This is an aspect of the redemption and salvation that God’s grace has brought to us in Christ Jesus.  It is to be looked forward to already, in this life, as we live in the joy of God’s salvation and the renewing power of His love!  It is the culmination of the appearing of God’s grace – what everything is trending toward within the holy Christian Church! 

 

Application:  This too is a great part of the joy of Christmas – the gift of optimism, assurance of the victory of God and good, and our participation in the blessed celebration!  All of this because of God’s grace.  Through it we also receive God’s glory!  Thanks and praise be to God!

 

Conclusion:  So we rejoice not only in the grace of God, the thing itself, through which we have salvation and redemption, but also in the blessings that God’s grace works in our lives!  And we especially rejoice that God’s grace leads us to His glory, and to our being glorified with Him!  If we meditate upon these realities, and consume them in our hearts, we will indeed have a merry Christmas.  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.