12162018 Advent 3 Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

"We ask the Savior to Come into our life and we accept His offer of salvation!"

12162018 Advent 3 Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

December 16, 2018

"We ask the Savior to Come into our life and we accept His offer of salvation!"

Sermon Audio

If you look throughout the hymnal in the pew in front of you, and count the number of Advent hymns, you will see there are 29.  Each of these tells an individual story that is useful in our preparation for our celebration of Jesus Christ birth. Not only do they each provide and add value, but clearly show us how, God through the Words of Holy Scripture inspire us to prepare our heads and hearts for Jesus birth.

This morning, in our preparation, we have a hymn whose roots predate even the protestant reformation began by Martin Luther.  Let’s join together to sing the first two stanza’s of our sermon hymn #263 of “Savior of the Nations Come!”

St. 1 - Savior of the nations, come; virgin’s son, make here your home.  Marvel now, O heav’n and earth: God has chosen such a birth.

St. 2 - Not by human flesh and blood, but the mystic Breath of God, was the Word of God made flesh, fruit of woman, blossom fresh.

Martin Luther, father of the protestant reformation brought this hymn back to the church’s collective use from the early church.  Attributed to Ambrose of Milan, he was a Roman governor and became Bishop of Milan and was seen as one of the most influential biblical exegetes of the early church.  At this time in the development and spread of the Christian church, the liturgies were not as developed and hymns weren’t like we have them today, written in a hymnbook.  Hymns were memorized and taught as a way of learning the faith.

Ambrose in our hymn shows a clearly confessional connection of what we confess in our Apostle’s and Nicene Creed laying claim to the ‘virgin’ birth and inviting Jesus into our homes.  Thus with our preparations, we see and believe that ‘God has chosen such a birth’ for His Son so we can see God’s interest in our well being as His children and heirs of eternal life through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.

For it is only by ‘the mystic Breath of God’ that ‘the Word of God made flesh’.  And in flesh like ours, God shows the depth of His love and to what degree He is willing to send His Son, ‘fruit of woman, blossom fresh’ in order that we can receive and be partakers of God’s gift of grace for all of mankind.  Let’s continue by singing stanza’s 3&4 and see how God and Mary’s Son is eager to run a race.

St. 3 - Won-drous birth--oh, won-drous child--from his throne, a virgin mild!  Very God, and Mary’s son, eager now his race to run!

St. 4 - From God’s heart the Savior speeds, back to God his pathway leads; out to vanquish death’s command, back to reign at God’s right hand.

Bishop Ambrose who was the shepherd of Milan clearly through this hymn was teaching the people that Jesus was begotten and did return to God the Father after His death on the Cross of Calvary.  Yet, in order for the people to follow this, Ambrose in penning this hymn began at the beginning of Jesus time on earth, His birth, being a child and from where Jesus came, the throne in heaven, and came down to earth and was born of a virgin.  Hence why Jesus by Ambrose is called, ‘Very God, and Mary’s son’. And clearly pointed out that Jesus life here on earth would not be an easy life, but a life that Jesus Christ was ‘eager his race to run!’

We who gather here today look back through a clarity and full list of doctrines that have been written about.  However in Milan where Ambrose wrote this hymn Christianity was first legalized by Constantine. For Ambrose, teaching about the faith was primary and in this way the hymn provided a clear connection for how Jesus Who came down to earth, would ‘From God’s heart the Savior speeds, back to God his pathway leads; out to vanquish death’s command, back to reign at God’s right hand.’  Ambrose in this hymn clearly depicted the trajectory of Jesus and would insure followers of Jesus would know exactly where Jesus was headed upon His ascension.

As we look to the last two stanzas, we find ourselves at the manger.  For on Christmas Eve we will gather around the manger clearly understanding that God’s gift found in the lowly manger is the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.  He is ‘shining bright’ and ‘hallows night with newborn light’. For it is the gift we find in the manger that inspires us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ for all of mankind.  We are provided the clear and present opportunity to celebrate again the coming of the Christ Child. Truly it can be said, ‘Night cannot this light subdue’ and our collective prayer can be fulfilled in order that ‘our faith shine ever new’ in the light of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

The final stanza puts the exclamation point on this hymn by clearly and deliberately proclaiming that God’s Son, came as the ‘virgin’s son’, the true ‘incarnate Word’ and it is for God’s Glory that this is fulfilled for us and for all mankind.  And we are blessed to share this with the world as we join together to sing the praise of God!

Let’s join in singing the last two stanzas of our hymn and proclaim how the light in the night will be bright and enable us to Praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

St. 5 - Now your manger, shining bright, hallows night with newborn light.  Night cannot this light subdue; let our faith shine ever new.

St. 6 - Praise we sing to Christ the Lord, virgin’s son, incarnate Word!  To the holy Trinity praise we sing eternally!  AMEN!