Grace and Peace be with you in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
We continue our Sermon Series "God Bless Us Everyone: The Redemption of Scrooge". This is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the theme is "The Hope of Christmas Future: Death-Defying Acts". Our scripture for this week are:
Revelation 1:4-8 - John of Patmos writes to seven churches in what is now Turkey about a vision he saw. These opening words testify to the fact that God (One God: Father, Son, and Spirit) has always been, is now loving and freeing us, and will always be into the future the Almighty.
Romans 8:4b-17 - If we live by the ways of the world's systems and powers (Paul calls this "flesh") we will surely die. If we live by the way of God's love in us (Spirit) we will find life, true life. If Christ lives in us then the Spirit is in us. If the Spirit is in us then we are the children of God. We are sisters and brothers to Jesus Christ and we inherit the Kingdom with him.
Luke 4:18-19 - Jesus has gone to the synagogue in Nazareth and is asked to read from scripture and speak. I asks for the scroll of Isaiah and reads from it. These are the words that inform Jesus' mission.
Our Lectionary Readings are:
Isaiah 7:10-16 - The current king of Judah, Ahaz, is reluctant to call upon God for help. Isaiah is sent to him. He urges Ahaz to aks but still Ahaz refuses. So Isaiah say to Ahaz, "Ok, God will give you a sign anyway. A young woman will give birth to a son and his name is "God With Us".
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 - The Psalmist calls on the God to restore Israel to its former glory and the people will never again turn its back on the Lord.
Romans 1:1-7 - This is the beginning salutation of the letter from Paul to the church in Rome. He identifies himself as one who was set apart to proclaim the Gospel of God. This Gospel was promised by the prophets in Scripture (Old Testament). This Gospel is Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead and gave us grace and apostleship to bring the news to those who were not Jewish.
Matthew 1:18-25 - Joseph is engaged to Mary. She gets pregnant but it is not by Joseph. Rather than have her stoned, as is his right in that time and place, he decides to leave her quietly. Then the angel appears in a dream telling him to be the husband Mary needs and the father the child will need. The angel tells him that the child will be a boy and that he is to name the boy Jesus. When he awoke he did as the angel commanded.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor