Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
Fourth Sunday In
Option #1: "A Body Prepared"
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.
1) For the New Covenant--vv5 & 9; Ps 40:6-8; Isa 1:11
2) To do the Father’s will--vv7 & 9; Lk 1:35; John 1:14; 1 Tim 3:16
3) To sanctify His people once for all--v10; Heb 2:14-15; Matt 1:20-23; Gal 4:4-5
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible: The apostle having shown that the tabernacle and ordinances of the covenant of Sinai were only emblems and types of the gospel, concludes that the sacrifices the high priests offered continually could not make the worshipers perfect with respect to pardon and the purifying of their consciences. But when "God manifested in the flesh" became the sacrifice and his death upon the accursed tree the ransom, then the Sufferer being of infinite worth, his free-will sufferings were of infinite value. The atoning sacrifice must be one capable of consenting and must of his own will place himself in the sinner’s stead: Christ did so. The fountain of all that Christ has done for his people is the sovereign will and grace of God. The righteousness brought in and the sacrifice once offered by Christ are of eternal power and his salvation shall never be done away. They have the power to make all who come perfect; they derive from the atoning blood, give strength and motives for obedience, and they comfort you inside.
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THE MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN
Visual: the church altar or a photo of an ox or ram.
Tonight or tomorrow morning, depending upon your family’s custom, you will be opening your gifts. There are some things that you will be jumping up and down aboutwhen you take the wrapping paper off. And then there are gifts that you will need more that won’t make you so excited--clothes, socks, well, you know the rest.
Now let’s talk about the clothes for a minute. Mom and dad brought you the clothes because you wore out of the old ones or you simply got too big for them. Happens all the time, doesn’t it? Well, something like that happened when Jesus came. He came to replace something that was all worn out. You’ve learned in Sunday School about those sacrifices that had to be made--lambs and rams and oxen and steers. There was a river of blood flowing before Jesus came, and it flowed to show people what Jesus would do in shedding his blood on the cross for our sins. In the Bible reading for today it says: "A body you have prepared for me. I have come to do your will, O God." He throws away the first, the one with all those animals being killed, to set up the second, the one where only Jesus’ blood is shed.
We don’t have to kill animals anymore to pay for our sins. And that’s because Jesus died for our sins one time for everyone of all time. Now God wants LIVING SACRIFICES, not dead ones. An animal could be sacrificed only once; a Christian can offer his body as a sacrifice to God every day that God gives life. And so we will throw away some old clothes after we get some new ones as gifts. And God gave us the New Testament so that we could give him our bodies as LIVING, EVERYDAY SACRIFICES.
Option 2: "Salvific Serendipity"
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
The Point: God works in mysterious, surprising, and unexpected ways.
The Problem: We sometimes try too hard to figure God out, to domesticate Him, dismissing hidden and surprising forms and deeds of God.
The Promise: God unexpectedly chose "small" Jesus to become King and Savior then, surprisingly, to die for our sins and, risen from the grave, to work His love to and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit, calling the small and weak to God's big Kingdom.
1. And now for that word Ephratah. That was the old name of the place which the Jews retained and loved. The meaning of it is "fruitfulness" or "abundance." Ah! well was Jesus born in the house of fruitfulness; for whence cometh my fruitfulness and thy fruitfulness, my brother, but from Bethlehem? Our poor barren hearts never produced one fruit or flower, till they were watered with the Savior’s blood.” (Charles Spurgeon)
2. It isn’t just that the Ruler from Bethlehem brings peace; He is peace. As Paul wrote of Jesus in Ephesians 2:14, He is our peace. (David Guzik)
3. Peace: the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is. (Blue Letter Bible)
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This page was revised on: Monday, December 18, 2006 08:02:56 PM