Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: As we leave 2009 behind for 2010 - we look at the glory of God, knowing that won’t change

Concordia Lutheran Church

Second Sunday of Christmas January 3, 2010

He Has Made Known…His Salvation!

Psalm 98:1-3, 124:8

† IHS †

May you, the gathered of Christ sing His praises as only those who know how marvelous His salvation is, as you grasp the depth, the height, the breadth and width of the Father’s love!

Struck by Luther’s view

Four building parallels

A 16th century pastor wrote these timeless words,

We are here called upon again to sing unto the Lord a new song, as before, Ps. 96:1. “Sing a most excellent song, the best song you have.’ ’ Let the song of Christ’s love be like Solomon’s on that subject, a song of songs. A song of praise for redeeming love is a new song, such a song as had not been sung before; for this is a mystery which was hidden from ages and generations. Converts sing a new song, very different from what they had sung; they change their wonder and change their joy, and therefore change their note. If the grace of God put a new heart into our breasts, it will therewith put a new song into our mouths.

Today, they are as relevant as they were for the congregation in Wittenberg. We are here this day, to celebrate our conversion, our change, the fulfillment of the prophesy Ezekiel described in chapter 36

I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your filth and of all your foul idols. 26 I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. 27 I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws, and respect and practice my judgments. Eze 36:25 (NJB)

As Luther goes on in this article, he will repeat the reason for such praise, such focus on the majesty and awe and glory of God. As we start this year, it will be good and right to focus on the work of God will continue to do, in our presence.

1. The wondrous works

The first praiseworthy parallel that the psalmist writes about is that our LORD, and there it is the name of God, not just a title, does marvelous things. The word is simple – it describes the awe of things done that are beyond human ability, the incredible, magnificent things that God does – like cause life, and redemption. Luther phrased it this way,

The work of our salvation by Christ is a work of wonder. If we take a view of all the steps of it from the contrivance (conceptualization) of it, and the counsels of God concerning it before all time, to the consummation of it, and its everlasting consequences when time shall be no more, we shall say, God has in it done marvellous things!

Can we even begin to to see the complex nature of our salvation, of God finding us not sinners, but righteous? Of how God uses each of us, in combination with each other, to see people delivered from sin to everlasting life? Truly this is incredible in its scope, to see how all the puzzles fit together, to see God even redeeming our errors and shortcomings and using them for the good of those whom He loves, who He has called according to His purpose!

Herein lies the challenge, and the benefit of faith, of trusting in God’s presence, and His ability to use all, not just for His glory, but for our best interests.

2. The Work of His might (the Victory)

As we look at this Psalm, the next thought is similar to the first – God is worthy of us praising Him with our voices, because “His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.”

Working through this passage, Luther focused on an interesting aspect of salvation – the aspect of its victory,

Our Redeemer has surmounted all the difficulties that lay in the way of our redemption, has broken through them all, and was not discouraged by the services or sufferings appointed him. He has subdued all the enemies that opposed it, has gotten the victory over Satan, disarmed him, and cast him out of his strong-holds, has spoiled principalities and powers (Col. 2:15), has taken the prey from the mighty (Isa. 49:24), and given death his death’s wound. He has gotten a clear and complete victory, not only for himself, but for us also, for we through him are more than conquerors. He got this victory by his own power; there was none to help, none to uphold, none that durst venture into the service; but his right hand and his holy arm, which are always stretched out with good success, because they are never stretched out but in a good cause, these have gotten him the victory, have brought him relief or deliverance.

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