Sermon for Advent 3 December 13, 2020
Text: Isaiah 61:1-3,10,11 ILCW – B 20:2230
Theme: Here Is My Joy!
Are you a happy person? If so, why are you happy; when are you happy; and most importantly, can others see it?
There once was a crippled boy who wore leg braces to walk. He fell a lot. But even though he frequently found himself sprawled on the ground, he went everywhere. One day he fell at the top of the school steps and tumbled all the way down. The teachers were afraid. They ran to him and asked if he were hurt. Lifting his head he smiled and said, “No, I’m not hurt. I’ve learned how to fall.”
For his few short years, that boy had learned something that takes many people a lifetime to learn, if they learn it at all. He had learned how to be happy when things didn’t go right. He could even smile if he fell and hurt himself. Can you?
In our Epistle Lesson this morning God tells us to be happy all the time. Paul writes, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thess.5:16). No matter what happens, the Christian can be happy for he remembers how much God has done for him in Christ.
So, dear friend, when you feel sad or upset, even on the verge of tears, ask yourself a simple question: “Where is my joy?” It’s Here in Christ Jesus. Then start thinking of how good God has been to you in Christ. It’s what Isaiah pointed the Old Testament believers to in our text in their sad times.
I. In Christ who freed me eternally.
This is a text that focused Israel on the coming Savior. In fact, it did more than that. The Savior, who was still some 750 years off in the future, actually spoke to them here
Think of it. The Messiah, who wouldn’t be born for another 750 years, talks to His people way ahead of time. It would be like hearing your great, great, great, great, great, great grandchild talking to you even though you died over 7 centuries before he was born. How strange is that! But that’s what we’ve got here. The Messiah speaks to Israel 750 years before His birth.
A voice from the manger talks to His ancestors! Why? Because
Israel needed to hear directly from the One whom God appointed to relieve their misery. And they were truly miserable. There was little reason to be happy for they had fallen with a far greater fall than tumbling down a few steps. They had fallen from God.
The Messiah begins, “The Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor…to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Every description is couched in pictures of an Old Testament festival called “The Year of Jubilee.” Israel celebrated it every 50 years. When the Jubilee Year came, debts were cancelled, slaves were freed, and land was returned to the original owners. The past was forgiven and forgotten, the slate wiped clean; everyone had a new beginning. To those oppressed by debt, slavery, and loss of status, all was restored to them by God’s gracious decree (Lev.25) every 50 years. It was a year of happiness, a year of jubilation.
Why was that important to the people to whom the Messiah, born 750 years later, spoke in our text?
Because by the time Israel heard this, they were a sad and distressed people, captives in Babylon. They lost their homes, lost their families, lost their land, lost their freedoms – lost everything to the Babylonians from the east. Why? Because they had disobeyed God and would not turn from their ways set against Him. So, He allowed them to be taken captive and lose their land. They were prisoners, in two ways – outwardly to Babylon, inwardly to the sadness and distress that afflicted their hearts for their sin.
That’s what sin does. It imprisons us. It can’t make us happy. Oh, sure, our flesh enjoys its wayward ways for a time, but we become prisoners to destructive behavior that affects us in body and soul. Sin separates us from God (Is.59:2). Live in it, and you push God away. Without Him at our side, no happiness is found.
Think of it this way. Were Adam and Eve happy the day they disobeyed and were driven from the Garden of Eden? Was Cain happy the day he murdered his brother Abel? Was Judas happy the day he got money for betraying Jesus? Are you happy when you break God’s commands? Your flesh may delight because it fulfilled its desires. But each disobedience estranges you to God. It deepens the debt, impoverishes the soul, and imprisons body and spirit.
Have you ever been poor? Have you ever been in debt? Have you ever lost your house? Have you ever been jailed? Israel was all of these. And the worst part was the harm their sin caused within them. If you can’t be at peace with God within, you can’t
be happy at all. It’s hard to smile on the outside when you aren’t smiling on the inside, too.
So here’s the question, dear friends. How do you get happy on the inside? King David had the answer when he wrote (Ps.4:7): “God has put gladness in my heart.” What made David say that? If David were to be happy, God had to do it because David had made a mess out of things. God made him happy by showing him mercy and by promising to love and help me. He would free him from his sin eternally.
The same was true with Israel. They had made a mess of their lives. They caused the problems. But God in His grace would help and free them. He did it by sending the Savior to pay for their sin. That Savior came in our text to assure them that He would replace sorrow with joy, pain with happiness, and that He would restore fortunes by bringing then back to His side. In unmerited love, Christ forgave and smiled upon them and us. And if God smiles upon you, dear friend, you can be happy – within and without.
Here is my joy – in Christ who frees me eternally. If I must fall, may I fall not into sin but into the arms of Christ; He frees me, shields me, and causes me to stand firm in Him.
II. In Christ who clothes me gloriously.
So it is that God’s people proclaim, “I delight in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Some more Old Testament pictures. But this time they are portrayals of the happiness a Savior brings to the lives of His people. Let’s get at the meaning behind the pictures by first addressing customs that take place at a wedding
Earlier in my life when I was part of a wedding celebration, the guys always wore tuxedoes. You older gentlemen, do you remember wearing a cummerbund? If you ever put on a tuxedo, more than likely you also put on a cummerbund. It’s the silken sash that’s worn around the waist and used to be a traditional part of a groom’s clothing. Now, what good are they? What do they do? They seem to serve no practical purpose. So why wear them? In the Old Testament guys didn’t wear cummerbunds. They wore turbans. And the bride wore lots of jewelry. So, why do brides and grooms wear dresses with long trains, and cummerbunds, and turbans, and jewelry? They serve few practical purposes. However, they mark a very, very, very happy and special day.
When Christ frees His people eternally, He clothes them gloriously in a robe of righteousness. When He puts the garments of salvation around them, He and they are just as happy and giddy as a bride and groom are when they put on their special wedding accessories.
Such happiness on God’s part should never cease to amaze us. Can we honestly believe God rejoices to take such wayward children back?
Yes! Just as He rejoiced in bringing back His captive people in the Old Testament and in binding up their broken hearts. God joys to clothe us gloriously in a Savior, a Savior whose birth we are about to celebrate. That, dear friends, is grace, pure grace that makes all God’s people of faith happy!
Here Is My Joy? It is in Christ who clothes me gloriously and makes me happy within. And when you’re happy within, you will smile on the outside for Christ’s “righteousness and praise springs up before all nations.”
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God” for He freed me eternally and clothes me gloriously in Christ. Do others see it? God grant that they do in our lives of faith; for Jesus’ sake. Amen
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com email: email@example.com
The Third Sunday in Advent December 13, 2020
“I rejoice greatly in the LORD…for He has clothed me in garments of salvation.” Is.61:10
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge. Since my youth You have taught me and to this day I declare Your marvelous deeds. I will declare Your power to the next generation, Your might to all who are to come” (Psalm 71).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Rejoice! The Savior Draws Near. Like an oasis in the desert comes the Third Sunday in the Advent Season. To the weary traveler an oasis brings refreshment on the hard journey. So also the Third Sunday in Advent brings the promise of refreshment to our souls parched by sin.
Advent’s clear message is that of preparation through repentance. Often the tone is a somber one. But always, and especially on the third Sunday, there is a note of joy sounded because those who rightly prepare the way of the Lord thrill to hear His promise of forgiveness. So it is that in joy we look forward to the Savior’s coming. He means so much to us – joy in the midst of sorrow, happiness in the place of sadness. Rejoice! The Savior draws near.
To that end we pray: Hear our prayers, Lord Jesus, and come. Come with the refreshing news of your mighty deliverance. Drive away the darkness from our hearts and fill us with Your light of hope; for Your name’s sake we pray. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 61:1-3,10,11
In Old Testament times the Year of the Lord’s Favor, or the Year of Jubilee, came every 50th year. Prisoners were freed, debts were forgiven, and land was returned to original owners. Isaiah describes the joy it brought as he links its greater significance to the coming Messiah.
Epistle Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
While they await Christ’s second coming, Paul encourages Christians to live joyfully, thankfully, prayerfully and spiritually. They cannot keep themselves safe, but God, who is faithful, can and will. He sets them apart to live for Him. What joy and peace that brings them.
Gospel Lesson: John 1:6-8,19-28
Before Christ’s first coming God sent John the Baptizer as a witness to the Savior’s ministry which was about to come on earth. John freely confessed Christ and his own role in preparing the way for Him. That was his joy, calling people to repentance and faith in the coming Savior.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “Paul says that rejoicing should go on all the time. Here he hits those who rejoice in God, who praise and thank Him half the time, that is, when matters go well with them. But when matters go badly with them, the rejoicing is at an end. It was not so with David. In Psalm 34:1 he writes, ‘I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.’ He had a good reason to say this, for who can hurt or harm the man who has a gracious God? Sin does nothing to him, nor death, nor hell….
“This is the confidence of Christians and the joyousness of our conscience that through faith our sins become Christ’s on whom God laid the sins of us all. He is the Lamb of God which bears the sins of the world. And all the righteousness of Christ, in turn, becomes ours. He places His hand upon us and it is well with us. He, the Savior, blessed forever, spreads His garment and covers us. Amen!”
— Martin Luther on Rejoice in the Lord Always
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Entrance Hymn: #14
Order of Worship: Hymnal page 38, “Service of the Word”
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #71 Hymnal page 92
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Hymn Response: #12
Sermon Hymn: #3
Sermon Text: Isaiah 61:1-3,10-11 Here Is My Joy!
Lord, Accept Our Response
Apostles’ Creed: pg.41
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer. pg.43
Lord, Bless Us
Closing Prayer & Blessing: Hymnal pages 43-44
Lighting Candles at Advent
What is the meaning of the Advent wreath, and what do the candles signify?
The evergreen in the wreath represents life. It represents our Savior and the life that we have in Him, for His coming brings the hope of salvation and eternal life to all who believe.
The four colored candles in the wreath represent the four Sundays in Advent. Three of them are violet, symbolizing repentance and preparation, since our sin made it necessary for Christ to enter our world. The candle for the third Sunday is rose to remind us that in the midst of our time of repentance there is cause for joy because the Savior has come for us. At the celebration of Jesus’ birth, a white candle is placed in the middle.
Except for the third candle, which is sometimes called Gaudete (Latin – Rejoice), no specific names have been assigned to each candle in the wreath. But over the years several designations arose. Some name them the candles Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherd, and Angel. Others refer to them as the candles of Love, Peace, Joy, and Hope, which are spiritual gifts that the Savior brings us.
On this Third Sunday in Advent we add the lighting of the third candle to those lit the first two weeks. They signify:
- Candle of Prophecy (violet)
As the first candle on the wreath, my light is the first to pierce the darkness. I represent the light of the holy prophets who spoke in times past with news of a coming Savior. Theirs was the first ray of hope to all men lost in the darkness of their sins.
- Bethlehem Candle (also called Redeemer Candle – violet)
As the second candle on the wreath, my light symbolizes the coming on earth of Jesus, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. He is “the Light of the world” who will come again soon to take all who believe in Him to heaven.
- John the Baptist’s Candle (also called Shepherd Candle – rose)
The Prophet’s Candle reminds us of Jesus’ first advent long ago. The Redeemer’s Candle testifies to Christ’s second advent yet to come. As the third candle, I bring a message of preparation to receive the Lord Jesus in faith right now. I represent John the Baptist. His preaching of repentance and Baptism with water still rings out as our way to prepare for the coming of the Savior into our hearts and lives.
The Third Sunday in Advent – Revised Series B
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 61:1-3,10,11 – God’s Servant Anointed
1The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the afflicted. He sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for those who are bound, 2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3to provide for those who mourn in Zion, to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, a cloak of praise instead of a faint spirit, so that they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord to display his beauty.
10I will rejoice greatly in the Lord. My soul will celebrate because of my God, for he has clothed me in garments of salvation. With a robe of righteousness he covered me, like a bridegroom who wears a beautiful headdress like a priest, and like a bride who adorns herself with her jewelry. 11For as the earth produces growth, and as a garden causes what has been sown to sprout up, so God the Lord will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up in the presence of all the nations.
Epistle Lesson: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 – Paul’s Closing Exhortations
16Rejoice always. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not extinguish the Spirit. 20Do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21But test everything. Hold on to the good. 22Keep away from every kind of evil.
23May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
Gospel Lesson: John 1:6-8,19-28 – John Points to the Lamb of God
6There was a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as an eyewitness to testify about the light so that everyone would believe through him. 8He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.
19This is the testimony John gave when the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed and did not deny. He confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21And they asked him, “Who are you then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” “No,” he answered. 22Then they asked him, “Who are you? Tell us so we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
24They had been sent from the Pharisees. 25So they asked John, “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, or Elijah, or the Prophet?” 26“I baptize with water,” John answered. “Among you stands one you do not know. 27He is the one coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” 28These things happened in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2017 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
We become enamored with eloquent and influential speakers today and eat up anything they say. But the true messenger of God will step out of the limelight and let Christ Himself shine in His Word. That is where the real change in our faith-born outlook comes from and the humble lifestyle that longs to serve Him and His will.
The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 61:1-3,10,11 (answers are found on the back side)
- Upon whom is this prophecy mainly focusing?
- What are some of the changes that come in a relationship to God through Christ?
- Who makes all these changes?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Dave Ballou; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Felicia Nichols’ family; Bill Buchanan; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Jodi Milam; Jodi’s brother and sister-in-law sick for 2 months with COVID 19; Lois Wiese; Pastor James Witt, St. Louis, following infection and back surgery; Morgan Nichols and Geremy Peel united in marriage yesterday at Zion.
Special Devotions for the Advent Season have been written by our pastors and professors who teach young people preparing for the public ministry at Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN. The devotions began with December 1 and end with Christmas Day. This year’s theme is The Jesse Tree. Look for the specially printed booklets in the narthex.
Copies of the Daily Devotions written by pastor will be found in the narthex.
Health Ordinance With Springfield and the Greene County Health Dept. extending the mask requirements until January, we will continue wearing masks in the worship service. You will find masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. Please, continue to watch your physical distancing, side to side and front to back. We are not passing the offering plate during the service at this time, but it will be found at the door upon leaving the sanctuary.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 21; Sunday Bible Class: 10; Communed: 13; Midweek Bible Class: 4; Sunday Offering: $1,411.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
4th Sunday in Advent (Series B): 2 Samuel 7:1-11; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- When Jesus read this passage in the synagogue (Luke 4:21), He announced that it was about Him. Many missed the good news that He was anointed to preach with His life, death and resurrection. Life is often filled with misery, trouble and disappointment. But the good news from Jesus as Savior brings comfort and strength.
- Life may be rough and bring people down, but Jesus covers us with gladness and praise, beauty and splendor. A brand new spirit invades the negative environment of our sinful hearts and makes it alive!
- The LORD, Jahweh, the God of faithful love, purchased a robe of righteousness for us through the righteous life of Jesus. He wraps that around us and views us as beautiful. This should result in greater praise to God and a new view of the people of God—ones who are forgiven and clothed with Christ.
This week I am praying for……