Summary: A sermon for New Year
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
What does this year hold for you?
Are you excited about the prospects?
Are you expecting anything different to any other year?
Are you worried perhaps?
In our readings this morning we have three very expectant people.
Each of them is expecting God to move imminently and sovereignly in the situation, or context, in which they are living.
There is Simeon, who is waiting for the consolation of Israel and to see the Lord’s Christ, and
There is Anna, who had probably lived the 60 years of her widowhood within the Temple precinct, as she waited in anticipation for the redemption of Jerusalem, and
There is Paul, who was praying for the people of Colosse (and also of Ephesus, and probably all the churches in Asia Minor) that they would live a life worthy of the Lord:
bearing fruit in every good work,
growing in the knowledge of God,
being strengthened with all power.
His prayer arises out of the context
- of the wonder of God coming amongst us in Christ Jesus,
- The context of His reconciling work through His incarnation (or becoming human) and
- The context of the atonement (or forgiveness of our sin against Him) that came through His blood shed on the Cross.
The sense of expectation is an essential part of the faith life. We live in faith because we expect something better, we expect God to move to fulfill His promises to us.