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Sunday, January 4, 2015

01042015 Epiphany (Observed)

Gospel Audio 
Sermon Audio

New Years Resolutions
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.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, as we gather here this First Sunday of the Calendar New Year, all of us have either heard, made or are challenged with "New Years Resolutions".  Whether from the radio, Facebook or even our families traditions, new years resolutions seem to be the norm.  Our society makes many different and varied new years resolutions that include losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more or regularly, making more money and spending time with our friends or on vacation in exotic locations.  But ironically the church has a different perspective on New Years resolutions.  It isn't about our physical appearance, our job or our location away from home or what we have in the gun safe, garage or the latest fad in technology or equipment.  New Years resolutions for the church should focus upon something that is far more important.

What about Emmanuel Lutheran Church?  What resolutions do and should we as a church have?  Some in our society would say, the church doesn’t need any resolutions for the new year. There are others who would say, finishing the window and wall foundation project that will help the church for years to come should be a priority.  Others would say, begin the kitchen remodel so we can serve Lenten Soup Suppers, Easter Breakfasts and especially meals for families that are mourning their loved one’s entrance into the Church Triumphant.   But if we look to today’s lesson for Epiphany there are two resolutions or takeaways we can apply in the here and now that are extremely clear and we need to be reminded why they are important for we who gather this morning.  

First, the church of Jesus Christ has the perspective that when we enter the new year, our resolution should be focused on the gift that the three wise men found in the manger, the gift found in the person Jesus Christ.  Last week in our Lessons and Carols service we sang of the Three Wise men who offered the gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to the baby Jesus, today we celebrate that event with the entire church on earth of the coming of these wise men.  The clear resolve of the three wise men, not only to find the promised Messiah by following the star, but their resolution to offer Him the three gifts they carried for weeks and months that clearly shows the importance of Who they found, even for we the people of Emmanuel.

The second resolution from both the season of the church year and our lesson is and becomes more personal for each of us, because it is from the perspective of Jesus Christ, the babe in the manger.  It is Jesus Christ resolution from the manger to grow up and go to Golgotha and die for each and every one of us.  For Jesus Christ resolution to offer us the free grace has an eternal goal and impact, our entrance into eternity to be with Him in His Kingdom.  Jesus resolution points to the greatest gift of grace and mercy that our world will ever see.  It is the experience from the manger to the Cross of Golgotha.  And Epiphany is just one more step and stepping stone in the plan of salvation of all of mankind that began with Jesus entrance in the manger in Bethlehem.


But there is a fact we need to understand about resolutions that we make at the beginning of the year, for even we who gather here today as the church, we may easily break our new years resolutions.  But the fact remains, the resolution made by Jesus Christ will never be broken.  Jesus resolution was to come and die in order that we might live.  As we celebrate the coming of the Three Wise Men today, may we remember Jesus gift for each of us as our eternal life saver for all of mankind, but especially each of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel as we celebrate Epiphany and the resolution Jesus comes to fulfill for each and every one of us.  AMEN.

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