Dballa's Weblog

Infinite Gifts in Finite Wrappings

Infinite Gifts in Finite Wrappings

Hebrews 1:1–6
Christmas Day
December 25, 2018

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome to the miracle of the birth of Jesus.

While most people think that babies don’t do much except eat sleep cry and poop the Baby Jesus does all of that and even more. For Jesus is the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

When you open a typical Christmas Gift, getting past the wrapping and the stuffing, you then receive the gift, and the wrappings and packaging can be recycled. We like the wrappings because of the surprise inside. But the size of the container may give us a clue what is inside. But once the gift is receive it is done and people move onto the next gift. However many would like to sell you the gift that keeps on giving, never ending gift unwrapping, think of the joy, i know think of the cleanup. But if there was no cleanup to receive one gift after another would be paradise. But we know that many claim to sell you the gift that keeps on giving it is just a marketing ploy. Unless of course you are talking about Jesus, but then again Jesus if given for free.

Jesus however isn’t a marketing ploy. Infinite Gifts in a Finite wrapping may sound like a conundrum or a marketing play. How can something finite that is something that has limits and boundaries contain something that is infinite without limits or boundaries. Jesus is more than just a small baby, for Jesus is also the Son of God.

God who is infinite who speaks Himself into His creation and becomes finite for the purpose of giving infinite gifts to a people who doesn’t derse any gift.

God who spoke by prophets now speaks directly to us through His Son.

But His Son is so small, but don’t look at the size of the gift to determine its value.

But yet how often to we equate gifts their size and cost it is not a fair comparison with something that is truly priceless. For God can take something so small. That He wraps His love for us in our own flesh and blood and shows that God and humanity are reconciled. The finite body of a little baby, and the radiance of the glory of God.

It is beyond our understanding, for we are finite people. We have a beginning and we have seen the end of many people. We realize that

WE only have so much money

We only have so much patience

We are only human right? We are limited.

While this is true is had led many down the wrong path, thinking that Jesus cannot be the infinite God. For how can the finine contain the infinite? But notice what Hebrews says

Hebrews 1:3–4(ESV) 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

Jesus is the glory of God.

Remember last night:

Luke 2:9(ESV) 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.

Yes, the glory of the Lord is bigger than a person, but Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature.

He is God, we are not. So while we have limitations of love, forgiveness, patience with others.

Yes, but Christ is true man yes human and true God.

He is unlimited in His gifts

He is unlimited in His Love

He forgives, restores and reconciles while we cannot

Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature

He uphold the universe by the word of His power

We receive this precious gift and just as John the Baptist leaped for joy at the Sounds of Mary’s greeting so also there is a change in us.

We leap for joy, We share God’s love and forgiveness

But we see our limitations and say I don’t have enough strength to be loving and forgiving all the time. Your are right you don’t, but that baby Jesus of finite form who is infinite in His gifts that He brings does. So we go back to the source of our strength. Not me myself and I, but back to the baby Jesus, the source of our love

The source of our forgiveness,

This is why we gather here at Peace Lutheran Church, to continue to receive God’s Word and Sacrament for God does not run out of Grace and mercy.

By the way, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Again many say how can bread and wine be the body and blood of Jesus. The bread and wine cannot be our body and blood, for we are finite.

But as the Baby Jesus as the author of the Hebrews notes

Hebrews 1:3(ESV) 3bhe upholds the universe by the word of his power.

So we gather each Lord’s day and receive unending gifts of Jesus. His love and mercy always ready for you. So we gather at the Lord’s Table to receive, for Jesus is of infinite gifts.

In the name of Jesus Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Written by dballa

December 25, 2018 at 7:45 am

Fear Not

Fear Not
Christmas Eve
December 24, 2018
Luke 2:10-12

Christians around the world gather to celebrate the birth of the world savior and redeemer Jesus the Christ. While we have the picture in our minds with the baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph we realize that this simple birth is anything but simple. In this iconic manger scene we see the greatest gift given in the world. God kept His promise and is reconciling a lost world back to Himself. So we realize that Jesus is the great gift and a gift we don’t deserve to receive, but God gives us Jesus anyway.

With the greatest gift given we don’t always receive it well, because something stops us. What stops us from receive this greatest gift, well we need to go back to the angels message for a clue.

Luke 2:10–12(ESV) 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Fear Not, the opening words of the angel, meaning they were afraid. In one essence they should be afraid. It isn’t every day that you see an angel. This is the third time in the Gospel of Luke that the angel meets someone and their response is fear so it is expected. As people we do have real fears. We fear the future, government, economy, world politics, you see it as people react to one another. There is a lot of anger in today’s world and behind that anger is fear. The fear shows our insecurity. The fear shows our sinful nature and our growing desire for isolation.

So the angels message is a bit out of the norm. Fear Not. Why, because our Savior is born God is reconciling the world to Himself.

There is nothing to fear from this baby, the fear comes ourselves. So the angel has to tell us not to fear. Because this message of God transcends our fear as Jesus is that special message of peace. Jesus is the only massage that can break through our fear.

This baby breaks through the fear that God is an angry judge and is going to zap me.

This baby breaks through the fear of the economy of this world, so that I don’t have to be stingy, but so that I can share with my neighbor in need.

This baby even breaks through our worry and anxiety especially as we pray in His pray the He Himself tells us to pray, give us this day our daily bread.

Why do Christians give gifts, and if I may add without an expectant return of a gift? Why do we teach it is better to give than to receive? Our selfish fear tries to tells us to give nothing away. But if we know what the Christ child Jesus is all about, we will agree with the angel’s message fear not.

Fear keeps us from giving freely because we are afraid of loss. As Christians we see the perfect gift of Jesus given to all people, we see the forgiveness of sins the reconciliation of all people through this Christ child. The reconciliation of all people in the world would even make most people fear, but not the baby Jesus, for is why God takes on our flesh and blood. For God sent His only Son Jesus born of Mary, into this world to redeem this world. So as God gives this greatest gift. And this gift is given without strings attached. Without an expectation of payment. We receive this gift of love and forgiveness. And like the Shepherds we are free to tell others about it.

While our stingy sinful nature likes to ask the question why do I have to give. We answer because it shows that we have been released from the attachment of the things in this world. Giving show how the love of Christ Jesus is flowing through us to other people. It shows that we have listen to the angel’s message and we have no need for fear. Notice the shepherds response

Luke 2:17–18(ESV) 17 And when they saw it,

Said that if we keep our mouths shut we get heaven to ourselves. No, that is not what the Bible says

they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

They freely gave away the good news of God’s salvation for all the people.

So here we have the Baby Jesus, who come into this world to redeem and reconcile a people filled with fear. In His Holy Name Amen.

Written by dballa

December 24, 2018 at 11:27 am

Posted in Sermons, Uncategorized

Christ(mas) is for You

Christ(mas) is for You

Most Americans know have heard about Christmas. The advertisements, the decorations, the parties give us some idea that something is different. Yes, Christmas is different than any other day. But do most know the reason why Christmas is special.

Christians celebrate Christmas as the Nativity of our Lord. The problem is that many have no idea that Jesus, who is the Christ, was born for them. Knowing about Christmas and knowing that Christ was born for you are radically different things.

Consider the angel’s announcement to the shepherds and to us

Luke 2:11 (ESV) 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Sure people can see the manger and realize that there is a baby involved, but babies are born every day. What make this day different is this baby was born for you. That’s right, because we need this baby, to be both God and man. It is difficult for one to admit that they need a savior who delivers us. It is difficult to consider this baby as true God. Even though it is difficult, our eternal life depends upon it.

It shouldn’t surprise us that God directed the angels to proclaim this message to shepherds who went to the Christ child, all the while the great lords and leaders of Jerusalem who would not accept a Christ child were allowed to go on sleeping.

Christmas is coming for you. Are we going to be like the Shepherds go to where the Christ child is located? Where does Christ promise to be? As the Christ Himself says in Matthew 18:20 (ESV) 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Christ promises to be here at Peace as we gather around Christ’s Word and Sacraments. Please join us at Peace for these Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve at 5,7,11 PM and Christmas Day at 10AM.

We will have a merry Christmas because the Lord Christ was born for us.

Pastor Balla

Written by dballa

December 12, 2018 at 11:45 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Jesus: King of Guilt

Jesus: King of Guilt
December 12, 2018

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Last Wednesday we looked at Jesus as the King of shame. This week it is Jesus King of Guilt. I have hear many Christians talk about the Christian life being filled with Guilt and Shame. This is actually good idea, if you realize that Jesus is the King of Guilt and Shame. So this week it is Guilt.

Do you feel guilty? After I realize I have done something wrong, the answer for me is yes I do. But if I don’t even realize I have done something wrong, there is not guilt. So in order to have guilt you need to have a realization of some transgression.

Again we say that Jesus didn’t commit any transgressions, so how could He have guilt? So we start with the reading from Isaiah 53:5

Isaiah 53:5(ESV) 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Here was have the great exchange, where Jesus takes on our transgressions, iniquities, and chastisement, to bring us peace and to heal us. This was our doing, by Christ Jesus makes it His, in this great exchange.

St. Paul says it this way: 2 Corinthians 5:21(ESV) 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Since Christ bore our guilt, He took on Himself also our punishment. He was made a curse for us so that we would not be cursed by God.

Galatians 3:13(ESV) 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

These passages shows the great exchange. Pierced for our transgressions crushed for our iniquities. Jesus takes our sins and its punishment, so that we have His innocence and access to the Father. Note the rhetorical question Isaiah has:

Isaiah 53:1(ESV) 1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

To put it another way, do we really see and understand this exchange? When we see the baby Jesus, do we see our guilt to be delivered to the cross. We see the manger, picturing it at night, with a little snow on it and we say how cute. Is that the same word we would describe the crucifix, with a bloody wounded Savior on it? Cute is not a word I would use to describe the bloody cross. We are not alone. For God didn’t have the angels deliver the message that a savior was born to the religion leaders, but to shepherds who would go and see this thing that God has done. Not everyone sees the great exchange of Guilt from Jesus as the King of Guilt.

Even Pilate, who had to declare many people guilty or not guilty. What was his professional decision.

Luke 23:4(ESV) 4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” Pilate could not see the guilt of humanity on Jesus.

Can we go from the Manger to the Cross, realizing this baby will bear our guilt? As we see Jesus on the cross in the center of the altar, do we understand that this baby was born for us. Yes, for you. For what comes from the altar of God.

Isaiah 6:6–7(ESV) 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Like that Lord’s Supper, what comes from the altar is Jesus, the King of Guilt, that is the magnet of guilt, who takes your guilt away and atoned for your sins. We look at the baby Jesus and say there is my savior, the King of Guilt. Jesus Himself notes in

John 5:24(ESV) 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

More about this verse next week, but for today, we realize that baby who is destined for the cross for the purpose of bring us from death to life. Faith and trust in Christ banishes from the heart all fear of judgment, punishment, and guilt.

Do you feel guilty? You shouldn’t, because we have a Savior who is the King of Guilt, and has taken your guilt away by His death upon the cross. So the next time that guilt creeps into our minds, we need to look to Jesus the King of Guilt, who has taken our guilt away. Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

December 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Jesus the King of Shame

Jesus: King of Shame
Advent Midweek 1
December 5, 2018

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you ever been shamed that is humiliated? For me my face turns beet red, so I usually try to avoid being shamed. It happens to us all, we are not perfect. So, tt may seem strange to consider Jesus as King of Shame. God doesn’t make mistakes, Jesus didn’t commit any sin. Then what shame would ever come to Jesus.

Let’s start with our first reading from

Zechariah 9:9(ESV) 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

We come across the word humble, and we may think, “A humble King?”

Would that be an Oxymoron that is contradictory terms, a Humble King?

While it may appear contradictory, it is actually a necessity, without of which there is no salvation nor hope for humanity.

God is eternal, not bound to any point of time nor location. But once you have the angel’s announcement to Mary, God is bound os to be speak, starting off as a single cell. For nine month, in Mary’s womb. We call this the steps of humiliation

Jesus Steps of Humiliation as outlined in the 2nd article of the Apostle’s Creed.

Born of the virgin Mary

Suffered under Pontius Pilate

Was crucified, died and was buried.

Because of this humiliation of Jesus, some people bow during the saying of this part of the Creed.

We need Jesus to do these steps of humiliation in order to

Reconcile God and Man since the fall ruined the relationship. We can’t do this, but God can.

Think of if this way: Our flesh is sinful. God will not have sin with Him in heaven above. So we need to change. We need to be holy as God is holy and the only way that is possible is for God who is holy to take on human flesh and blood, in order to redeem human flesh.

Almost 9 months ago the church celebrate the Annunciation of our Lord, the Angels announces to Mary that she will bear a son. God takes on human flesh. But we don’t see it until Mary gives birth in Bethlehem.

So conceived by the by the Holy Spirit is the first step of the humiliation of our Lord.

The Last step is also difficult Crucified died and was buried.

Matthew 16:21(ESV) 21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

We need God to redeem human flesh by fulfilling God’s will perfectly in our place. So the purpose of this Baby is to grow up and die on the cross

Philippians 3:18(ESV) 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.

Enemies of the cross?

Matthew 16:22–23(ESV) 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Yes, Peter was trying to take the shame away from Jesus, but we need Jesus to be the king of Shame

As St. Paul notes

Philippians 3:21(ESV) 21 [a Saviour] who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Just as God took on flesh and blood, so it is now possible through Christ Jesus for our lowly body to be like His glorious body.

We see possible with the Birth of our Savior Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.

We see it again in the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ from the dead and Christ’s Ascension into Heaven to the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

Yes, human flesh with God in heaven, all because of Jesus, the King of Shame.

As St. Paul notes

1 Corinthians 15:19(ESV) 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Note the this life only, we are pitied. Because of the King of Shame, we know that on the last day we will rise from the dead. Because of faith and trust in Christ’s Shame, we will be with Christ, the King of Shame in heaven.

So the next time we are humiliated or shamed, our reaction may be to curse our sinful flesh, but we need to remember we have a Savior who is the King of Shame and has redeemed us as St. Paul notes

Philippians 3:21(ESV) 21 [Jesus the King of Shame ] will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body,

In Christ’s name Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Written by dballa

December 5, 2018 at 10:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The King Shall Come to Bring Us Hope

The King Shall Come to Bring Us Hope
Luke 19:28–40
Advent 1
December 2, 2018

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Confused by today’s Gospel reading? Why are we hearing about Palm Sunday with Jesus on a road leading to the crucifixion instead of the path to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born. Advent means coming, and today we look at our coming King, so we have Jesus on a road that leads to a coronation, i.e. Christ as King. Yes we crowned our King with a crown of thorns, but that is how our salvation works.

During this time of Advent, as we prepare for the our King to come into our world as a baby in Bethlehem. We need to realize that we have a King who brings us Hope, as we light the first candle in our Advent Wreath, which many say is the Hope candle.

The Hope is an expectant Hope, not a wishful Hope. There is a difference, for example I hope that the Chicago Bears win the Super Bowl this season. Do I know that for sure, no, but it is my wish. However the expectant Hope realizes that something will take place and we are looking forward to it arriving, i.e. Christ’s Second Coming.

But do we realize that Christ is coming again? Now that I said that, maybe we are still struggling with the definition of Hope, from wishful to expectant hope.

Do we really live our lives knowing that Christ is coming and coming soon. Sure we celebrated it last week with the Last Sunday of the Church, but it may seem to us that Christ is taking a long time to come again, and we may just be wondering if He forgot about us. We live in a world of broken promises, so will God break His promise to come again. This is why we need to be reminded and Advent is that time to be reminded, before we celebrate Christ’s first coming as a baby in born in Bethlehem. The season of Advent prepares us, so that we can successfully make that shift in our own mind, heart, and soul from the wishful hope to the expectant Hope we have in Christ.

So we begin with our Gospel reading for today:

Luke 19:38(ESV) 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Verse 38 is a fulfillment of the Psalm 118:26 (ESV) 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.

The spreading of the cloaks bring back the proclamation of Jehu’s kingship (2 Kings 9:13).

2 Kings 9:13 (ESV) 13 Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”

Then there is the colt. Other than Jesus, the colt gets more attention than anything else in this Gospel reading. It calls to mind with the expectant king, righteous and having salvation, would arrive in Jerusalem on a colt in the familiar passage:

Zechariah 9:9 (ESV) 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

And the passage that I really get excited is from Genesis, where Jacob is blessing Judah (Christ is in the line of Judah) mentioning the colt and much much more

Genesis 49:10–11 (ESV) 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. 11 Binding his foal to the vine(hang on to this) and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. For in the Lord’s Supper we receive forgiveness, and that expectant Hope, that breaks through the broken promises of of the World, while hanging onto the promises of God. Yes the image is dripping with illustrations of wine for the Lord’s Supper, washed in the Blood of the Lamb. Wow, all of this from the Book of Genesis. We don’t dear keep quiet about this as

Luke 19:39–40(ESV) 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

No this isn’t a reference to a Rolling Stone’s Concert, but God’s own creation as

Isaiah 55:12 (ESV) 12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

The stone, the mountains the hill the tree the sea all sing for joy. How some may ask, by doing want is expectant of them.

But how many struggles go through our minds to so that we can’t be expectant, we can’t sing. We have been damaged by sin and grief on this world, but Christ comes the first time fulfilling the promises of God and promises to come again to bring us an expectant Hope. He has done it once, He will do it again.

Many of you know that I love my Old Testament, where all the aspects of God are found there. If is filled with jems showing us that God keeps His promises. Yes, we know how the story ends, and it may not bring as much excitement for us any more, for we have become complacent. Like the person who reads the only last chapter of a book, and says I don’t need to read the rest, I know how it ends. But doing so they lose so much meaning, they lose how everything was set up perfectly. The full appreciation is not just knowing the end, but knowing how we got there. For we have a God who brings Hope.

If we struggle with the wishful hope of Jesus, not being able to shout out with the rocks and the trees, then we need to go back and read the whole book. In doing so we see we see how God puts all this together, we see God always keeping His promises, we will then see our expectant Hope as Jesus is the King who bring us Hope, not just for a distant future, but a Hope for today.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

December 1, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Opening the Books

Opening the Books
Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14
Last Sunday
November 25, 2018

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today is the Last Sunday of the Church Year. Next week we will turn our attention to Advent and preparations for the celebration of Christ’s incarnation. But as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s first coming, we also anticipate His second coming. Christ’s return in glory is the focus of this service. In Daniel 7 here we see the Last Day so to speak, when Christ comes again, with the opening of the book of life.

Same may say this sounds like Santa Clause, who is checking his list to find out who been naughty or nice. But Christ isn’t just Santa Claus on steroids, from toys to paradise and lump of coal to eternal fire in hell.

Our view of Santa Claus puts the focus on our behavior with the end result being what is in it for me? What do I get?

But notice where Daniel focuses our attention, not to us, but to Christ.

Who is the one who is the son of man, that is Jesus? Who is the Ancient of Days, God the Father? Where are you? You may not really want to know the answer, you are the gifts for the Son of Man, His reward.

And this Son of Man receives the gifts

Daniel 7:14 (ESV) 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, (Gospel Reading) that all peoples, (You are part of that Gift) nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

Book of Life, list of names, not who is going to receive gifts (i.e. Santa Clause) but who are the gift for Christ. For we belong to Him!!!

Consider

Isaiah 40:10 (ESV) 10 Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.

His reward, His Recompense that is His compensation for His atoning death on the cross.

Yes, Christ receives the Kingdom, sitting at the right hand of the throne of God. He is the one who died on the cross, and we are the reward so to speak for Christ’s actions upon the cross.

Sure we benefit from this arrangement, from eternal death to eternal life, but it is not about us getting gifts, it is about us being the gift of Christ. Since Christ receives the kingdom, and we are connected to Christ, so we enjoy the benefits of Christ’s atoning work on the cross.

Again it isn’t our kingdom, but Christ’s.

Notice the connection to rejection of Christ, to removal from the book.

Exodus 32:33 (ESV) 33 But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.

So if we have sinned against Christ, if we have pushed Christ completely out of our life, then we are no longer connected to Christ, no longer going to join Christ in His Kingdom.

Revelation 20:15 (ESV) 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Are we in Christ or not. We have nothing to fear, but when we hear words like

Romans 14:10–12 (ESV) 10b For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

We hear the words of give an account to God. Do we worry about the last day?

As the book of Life opens on the last day, we see the power, we see the angels as

Daniel 7:10 (ESV) 10 A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; (then we see )the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.

Do we fear? Depends, did you earn enough for a place in heaven? No.

Luther Reminds us in the 3rd Article of the Apostles Creed.

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

The opening of the Book is not Santa Clauses’ list of who been naughty or nice. The Book of Life is where the baptized name are written.

We don’t come to the last Sunday of the Church year with fear, but in Joy, that the spirit has called us by the Gospel, enlighten me with His Gifts.

Luther ends his explanation of the 3rd article with On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in

Christ. This is most certainly true.

Our Joy is in Christ, as He the Son of Man is presented to the Ancient of Days, the Father, and to Christ who as the creed notes is at the right hand of the God the Father Almighty.

And we are presented to Christ, because the Holy Spirit has kept us in the faith.

In His Holy Name, Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

November 24, 2018 at 3:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized