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Friday, January 6, 2012

Sermon 01062012 Epiphany

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!
Let us pray!  Lord Jesus Christ, tonight heralds the end of the Christmas season where we celebrate the coming of the Three Wise Men.  May our hearts be overjoyed that again we have against the devil come again to hear Your Word preached and proclaimed in its purity.  For we know Your Word will not return without accomplishing Your purpose and Your purpose is the proclamation of the saving message of the Gospel for all mankind, especially we Your saints gathered here at Emmanuel, this Epiphany night.  AMEN.
On Epiphany 1532, Martin Luther preached a sermon with Matthew 2:1-12 as the text.  Hear a quote from that sermon:
“All the cunning of the devil is exercised in trying to tear us away from the Word.  If in the external preaching he does not succeed in making people unwilling to hear the Word, yet he succeeds in the heart by persuading them not to cling to it.”
Even nearly 500 years ago the symptom we face daily of not coming to hear the Word of God was persistent and pervasive.  Satan with the cunningness unmatched by any wielded the means and power to ‘tear us away from the Word’ and we here today in Goodland, KS this January 6, 2012 are no different.  Around every bend and every turn, we encounter the draws of our society, our life and our world to pull us away from the proclamation of God’s Word.
Yet, tonight we hear from sacred scripture about three men who enter Jerusalem and find the same disdain for sacred scripture and the prophecies of old.  The three wise men, learned men from the East in the natural sciences thought they would encounter a people who would know who the Savior of the World was and where He would be at.  Their question to Herod of “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” was met with such uncertainty since they were in the capital of Jews that the wise men probably wondered why nobody knew Who or Where the King was.  We know, He wasn’t born in a palace, His entrance into the World was not on satin sheets with hot running maids and a team of doctors.  But the Savior of the World came in a lowly manger because there was no room in the inn.
But tonight three men enter the story of salvation coming from a far to worship the “King of the Jews.”  They bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  They enter into salvations history to offer gifts, but take away the greatest gift of all, being in the presence of Jesus Christ, Savior of the World.  These three men of story and song come to worship the long foretold King.
Tonight we have that same opportunity to Worship the King.  In my office, I have a very small nativity set that I have had set up for most of Advent and Christmas.  One of the traditions that has been passed down for generations is how the Wise men always are on a journey from the beginning of Advent until Epiphany.  So tonight the wise men finally reach the place where the star stopped moving.  Tonight we come to worship the King, and like the wise men we bring our burdens we carry daily, they are not Gold, Frankincense or myrrh, but we like the wise men depart having heard the Word of God in its truth and purity.  For we know Jesus Christ came into this world to bring us salvation for all mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel, this Epiphany night.  AMEN.
//trial script