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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EPIPHANY – January 6, 2019 “THE LIGHT IS SHINING”

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

 

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

  • Epiphany comes from two Greek words: epi – meaning upon, and faino – meaning to shine.  So the term literally means a “shining upon.”  This is an apt description of the various ways in which the presence and the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ was revealed to mankind in the days following His birth. 
  • There were “Magi,” there were shepherds, who were visited by angels, there was Simeon in the temple. Later, Jesus Who is the True Epiphany of God’s love – He is the Light of the world – revealed Himself and shined upon the world in miracles, in power and glory, and finally and most forcefully, in His crucifixion. 
  • Now, all that He has done for us in revealing God’s great love for us is still being “shined upon” humanity – by means of the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures, and by means of the life and ministry of the Holy Christian Church, of which we are a part.
  • Yes, it is our privilege and our greatest delight that each Sunday, and also throughout the week, we are blessed to bask in the light of God’s love, and blessed to reflect and shine that love to others around us.
  • Paul makes this blessed reality quite clear in our text. First that:

 

I.  The Prophets And Apostles Received The Word Of God’s Love And Light Directly – For You, By The Power Of The Holy Spirit Of God

 

Text:  “I, Paul – assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me FOR YOU, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.  When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.”

 

Statement:  People have always looked for ways to bypass the Holy Scriptures of the apostles and prophets in their search for “enlightenment” and “knowledge of God.”  This is a foolish and tragic error that leads to gross delusion and darkness!  The revelation is not given to all – except through the apostles and prophets, in the Words of Holy Scripture. 

 

Application:  But when we turn to the Holy Scripture, we can be sure that we are not being misled or fooled, for it was revealed to these men, these authors, by “the Spirit” of God, the Holy Spirit.  Let all men be liars, but God is always True and faithful.  His Word has been given to us, made known to us, through the apostles and prophets.  It was given – the message and deposit of God’s grace – FOR YOU! 

 

And this “stewardship” of the grace of God, which is the greatest good news of blessing and goodness that human beings can receive, is also a wondrous blessing of God’s love!  God so loved the world that He gave His Son Jesus to be the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.  God has made peace with us through His sacrificial death for our sins on the cross.  God is reconciled to us, and begs us to now be reconciled to Him – in His love.  This is “the light” of God’s love, His glory shining upon us! 

 

Transition:  His glorious love and light come to us not only in the written and preached Word of God, but also in the visible Word of God – Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion, both of which convey to us the forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation, by the very promise of God!  And so we see that:

 

II.  Now Through The Ministry Of The Scriptural Word Of God And Christ’s Sacraments, The Light Of God’s Love Comes To Us Within The Church

 

A.  The Manifold Wisdom Of God

 

Text:  “To me, though I am the least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God Who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known.”

 

B.  This Is The Revelation Of God’s Eternal Purpose To Save Mankind By His Grace, In The Savior Jesus Christ

 

Text:  “This was according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

C.  These Blessings Of Grace, Forgiveness, And Eternal Life Are Unsearchable Riches – And They Give Us Boldness And Access To God By Faith

 

Text:  “to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ . . .  in Whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him.”

 

Statement:  Obviously the “wisdom of God” is the superlative and unsurpassed wisdom!  His redemption of mankind in Christ Jesus is His manifold wisdom, His wisdom revealed to all.  He has revealed His salvation in Christ Jesus, and through His prophets and apostles, and now through the church – and this is God’s “eternal purpose.”  He planned it before creation  – this revelation of His grace, mercy, and eternal love!  We do Him honor by believing in Him, in His great love, and boldly accessing His grace with confidence!  This is what He wants and desires us to do, just as we parents want our children to be bold in coming to us, confident of our love!

 

Again, people have always wanted to access this “wisdom of God” on their own, apart from the church.  They look at the church as inferior to themselves.  This is horribly sad and pathetic, and a terrible step into the darkness, for according to God’s Word His manifold wisdom is “made known through the church.”  Sorry cults, false prophets, charismatics, and those who are “spiritual” loners! 

 

Application:  This preaching of God’s Word within the church – given “FOR YOU” in the writings of the apostle Paul, and the other prophets and apostles – is “THE LIGHT SHINING” upon you, and out into the world.  This light shines upon us by means of the life, fellowship, and worship of the church!  It shines to each of us the grace of God, the unsearchable riches of Christ’s redemption and eternal salvation! 

 

Conclusion:  In a very real sense, we are far more blessed within the church than the Magi or the shepherds, or even the people who witnessed Jesus’ ministry first hand.  We know the meaning, the purpose, and the accomplishment of the manifold wisdom of God, His eternal purpose “realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

We have revelations and assurances of His love that we participate in Sunday after Sunday – in the preaching of God’s Word of love, and in the celebration of Christ’s supper, in which we receive His true body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins. 

 

“THE LIGHT IS SHINING” still here within the church, and wherever people are learning the mystery of God’s glorious love through His Word, the Holy Scriptures.  We are blessed to be among them here in His church!  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.