December 22, 2019
Pastor John Hering
3 For at one time we ourselves were also foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by many kinds of evil desires and pleasures, living in malice and jealousy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward mankind appeared, 5 he saved us—not by righteous works that we did ourselves, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and the renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs in keeping with the hope of eternal life.Titus 3:3-7
It is so wonderful to see so many here today. What a joy to gather at God’s house and hear the Christmas Account from the mouths of our children! It would have been quite a shock for these children who worked so hard for this service and no one showed up. It shows kindness to be here today. You know what it would be like to invite people to a birthday party and how unkind it would be if no one showed up! God created us to gather together and show kindness to each other. He is also looking forward to enjoying your company with him in heaven. That’s one reason why it is so good to be here today: God wants you to enjoy
The Hope of Eternal Life!
Showing Kindness from God
You’ve heard these words in worship often: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. You hear them at the beginning of the service, when you confess your sins and hear God’s forgiveness proclaimed, when parents bring their little children to be baptized, and when we close our service. These words speak to us about the Kindness from God.
God created us to be holy. After Adam and Eve sinned and sin was passed down to all people, God had to go to work. Paul wrote: “4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward mankind appeared, 5 he saved us—not by righteous works that we did ourselves, but because of his mercy.” God is so good! God the Father created a plan to save what he created. The plan called for his one and only Son to leave the glory of heaven, be born as a human, live the perfect life fulfilling God’s perfect demands, and then to die in order to make payment for our sins, and rise again as proof that we were justified, that he conquered Satan, sin and death for us all! God the Son took on the mission given to him by his Father and fulfilled all the prophecies, kept all the laws, then offered his life on the cross to wash away our sins. God the Holy Spirit then took God’s plan, took the work accomplished by the Son, and brought it to us through the Gospel in Word and Sacrament. The kind work of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit give us the Hope of Eternal life!
The service today reminds us of the many gifts God gives to us. At Christmas it is our tradition to give gifts to each other. Maybe you’re thinking, “I sure wish I get a new Cowboys jersey for Christmas. I wish the Cowboys, Packers, or Vikings win their next game. Many also wish for snow on Christmas (not in Texas!) You kids wish you’d get good grades. You wish the big presents under the tree are YOUR presents. These are all things that we wish for. But, they aren’t certain. We don’t know if they will come true. Some people say you’ll get good presents if you’re a good little girl or boy. But, the kindness we get from God is different. He saved us not because we were so good, but because God is so good, merciful and kind. We Don’t wish for God’s gifts, but we hope IN God’s gifts!
The HOPE we have from the manger of Jesus is different. The hope we have in the Christ-child is a sure confidence in the fulfillment from God’s kindness! The Father, Son and Holy Spirit who worked out our salvation is certain. As certain as he sent Jesus he gives us the sure Hope of Eternal life! That hope of eternal life is for you!
Such Kindness for You
We needed this kindness because of what Paul wrote to Titus: “3 For at one time we ourselves were also foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by many kinds of evil desires and pleasures, living in malice and jealousy, being hated and hating one another.” Paul knew what this life was like when he didn’t know Jesus. Titus was working in a place where the people were rebelling against God’s Word. And you know your own life when you foolishly followed the disobedient ways of the world with your language, greed, sinful desires of the flesh, hatred and rebellion against authority. How do I know Paul is speaking the truth about you? Because I know myself. Before God called us from the darkness of sin into his marvelous light, we were the ones cursed with sin and bound for hell. But, what marvelous kindness! God called us in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!
God’s so loved you that he shared his kindness with you. Paul said, “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and the renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs in keeping with the hope of eternal life.” When you were baptized God washed your sins away! And because you belong to God’s family, you are going to live with God in heaven someday. That is what Advent is all about! Let’s get ready for God’s Gifts at Christmas! Let’s get ready for Jesus to come again in glory!
It is a great blessing for us to gather in God’s House to celebrate Jesus’ birth. This means even if you find yourself all alone (no friends, poor health, death of someone you love), you are never alone since God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is with you. Yes, let’s celebrate the Kindness of from our God, the Kindness given to you in Jesus that gives you the hope of eternal life! Amen!