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Sunday, December 21, 2014

12212014 Advent 4 - Rorate coeli - The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Sermon Audio

December 21, 2014
How do you show your love?
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

It is intriguing that every week in the Fall of the year, the networks carry football games that are filled with clear expressions of brute strength.  Last night my mother and I watched some of one game where the trainers consistently were on the field because of injury.  The players hit one another with a clear sense of determination, intensity and strength that even some televisions resonate with the hits through the stereo surround sound.  But on the sidelines and up in the stands, there are some who watch the event who hold up signs that are the polar opposite of the at times seemingly brutal hits on the field.  The signs are common place today that say, “John 3:16”.  It is one of the best known passages, because it simply states the Gospel message clearly and can be shown and recognized quickly.  The passage reads, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” 

So well-known is this passage that I would venture it is the most translated passage of the Bible.  But for we who gather here this morning, it has a different meaning.  In our series on the Advent Wreath, we come to the last of the four candles.  In previous weeks we have learned about the Hope we have in Jesus Christ, Preparing Him room in our lives for Jesus and the Joy we can find in His Gift to us of His life, but now we reach the last and greatest of the four candles.  The Candle of Love.  This candle clearly epitomizes the feeling of this season of the Church Year.  For in Jesus Christ coming to the earth, His love is clearly manifest and unmistakable of His willingness to come to save mankind.

This is why so many people not only gravitate to and memorize John 3:16, but use it to tell the truth of the Gospel for all of mankind.  This is why Jesus Christ came to earth over 2000 years ago.  Jesus came because of His great love for all of us.  Jesus Christ love for us cannot be measured because Jesus love for all of mankind is limitless.  In mathematical terms God’s love would be represented by the infinity sign, the one that looks like an eight on its side.  For God, Who has no beginning and no end, has a love for us that has no beginning and has no end.  If you would ask someone who has lived surrounded by trees all their life and all of a sudden move to a place like Montana or even here in Northwestern Kansas where trees are rare, they would say they felt like they could see for miles or to the ends of the earth.  God’s love also will never end.

The last of the Advent Candles clearly sums up all of the candles on the Advent Wreath in a simple four letter word of LOVE!  God’s love overflows and overcomes all not out of coercion, but out of the sheer reality that God’s love is clearly manifest in Jesus Christ coming in the manger in Bethlehem.  As we have seen throughout these four weeks each candle has a different and unique meaning and understanding, but this week we come to the center of God’s core, His love for all of mankind.

We see and experience today the mercy of God for mankind from the Garden of Eden made manifest for each of us that is fulfilled and made complete in the manger.  When we see all four candles lit and fully understand the significance of each of them and the fullness we find with all of them aflame, we are overcome with the reality that God loves each and every one of us so deeply and profoundly.  God’s love is so complete we can only be overcome by God’s grace and respond on bended knee at the manger where His Son Jesus Christ lies wrapped in swaddling clothes.

For only on bended knee at the manger can we clearly see and understand the depth to which our God will go to bring us home to be with Him in His Kingdom.  God’s sending His Son into the world to save all of mankind has one goal in mind, our being with Him to learn from Him the unconditional love He has for all of mankind.  This especially includes all of us saints gathered to light the Candle of Love on this the Fourth Sunday of Advent here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

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