Messages from Pastor Raddatz
January 3, 2021 Mount Olive Lutheran Houston TX, Other texts for the day 1 Kings 3:4-15 and Luke 2:40-52
PRAISE GOD WHO HAS GIVEN YOU EVERY BLESSING
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. -The Doxology
Dear People of God,
Today, through God’s inspiration, we are called to praise and bless God for every spiritual blessing. As the English Standard Version records Ephesians 1:3-6, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the beloved.”
Have you ever pondered that God desires our blessing? When we praise and thank him, we bless God.
The point is that God was moved by no outside influence to choose us and to send his one and only son, Jesus Christ to save us. Our salvation from eternity to eternity is safe in Christ Jesus. No one can disturb it. No one can take it from us. John 10:28. -Bul’s Notes
I am glad this bible reading comes up after Christmas because many of the Christmas gifts that were exchanged have already become “old”. Isn’t it interesting that opening gifts at Christmas can take only a few minutes. The excitement is over. One child described this experience by saying, “Now I have to wait a whole year for next Christmas”.
You may find yourself in the same kind of blue season after Christmas. The season is over. The new year has begun. We may or may not have received what we desired from last year. Our prayers may seem to be unanswered. You may still be waiting for God to grant you your hearts desires. What do we do while we wait? Paul guides us to “BLESS GOD”.
PRAISE GOD, BLESS GOD FOR “WHO HE IS”
Ephesians 1:3-14 is really a doxology. A doxology is a hymn or form of words containing an ascription of praise to God -dictionary.com. This passage begins with the word "Praise be" which means "blessed be." "Praise God for the fact that ..." etc. In this passage there are numerous blessings and gifts that God gives us. These blessings are listed in this section of the Bible.
Some of these gifts and blessings of God are. . .
- Spiritual, v. 3
- Because God has Chosen us, v. 4
- Because he made us holy and blameless before him, v. 4
- Due to the fact that God has Predestined us for adoption, v. 5
- His glorious grace, v. 6
- Redemption through Jesus Christ, v. 7
- That God has lavished upon us all wisdom and insight, v. 8
- An inheritance…through him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, v. 11
- That God has sealed us with the promised Holy Spirit, guaranteeing our inheritance, v. 14
There are nine blessings in this text. You may see more, and you may see less.
We could never earn these gifts. God just gives them to us because he is gloriously gracious and wants to bless us. Our praise of God is a priority. Our thankfulness blesses God.
This week’s local news reported that one out of every ten Christmas gifts are returned. Some are exchanged. If you do not have a receipt you can get store credit. Of course, the credit card bill can be extremely high after Christmas. Some cannot pay it. So now, the dark clouds of depression rolls in. And the words of the prophets can be written on the walls. As I was waiting for my appointment with my dentist this week, I read an important statement, from many years ago, “MAYBE CHRISTMAS, HE THOUGHT, DOESN’T COME FROM A STORE. MAYBE CHRISTMAS…PERHAPS…MEANS A LITTLE BIT MORE.” -Dr. Seuss 1957 Christmas Classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. A prophet can be anyone who describes a view of the world or a way to live. Thank God for those in the Arts who express truth and beauty amidst the noise and confusion of this world!
God has chosen us before the foundations of the world. The Bible has a unique word for God’s choice. It is “predestined”.
GOD HAS PREDESTINED US, vv. 5 and 11
That God “predestined” us and “elected” us is a divine mystery. Predestination and election are as difficult to explain as the Trinity. It is almost impossible to understand. God is telling us that the UNA SANCTA, means the “One Christian Church”. It is not limited to a denomination or an organization. It is all believers of Christ. All that matters is one’s view or belief in Jesus as their Savior. We proclaim this “One Holy Christian Church and One Communion of Saints” in our Creeds. This biblical concept is beyond our human understanding. All we can do with this teaching is accept the teaching God has given us in his word.
In trying to explain it Luther wrote: "A child of seven years knows what the Holy Christian Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd"; this is Luther's definition of the Una Sancta.” -Concordia Theological Monthly, CTSFW, Vol. 18, Nov 1947, No. 11, pdf, by F. E. Mayer
IN PRAISE OF HIS GLORIOUS GRACE
The purpose of recognizing the blessings which God has given us in Christ is to praise him for this gift. God’s gift of buying us back from the condemnation of our sin is because he chose to send his son in our place. Another way to think of “Blessing God” is what The Apostle Paul called “rejoice in the Lord always” and rejoice again and again and again…Philippians 4:7.
It has been said said, ''God's greatest glory is in His grace'' - Donald Gray Barnhouse. Think about it - grace. ''Grace is love that stoops and rescues'' - John Stott. God's grace reaches to the depths of sin, rescues us from destruction and redeems us by paying our debt. -internet search
Do you remember Evel Knievel? He would perform some crazy stunts on his motorcycle like jumping over so many busses or trying to ride his motorcycle over a canyon. Many years ago, a confirmation student came in with Evil Knievel’s phrase on his T-shirt. It said, "Bones Heal, Chicks Dig Scars, Pain is Temporary, Glory is Forever" -Famed Dare Devil Evel Knievel. The APPLICATION of the world’s search for glory for us believer is this, If the pain and suffering of a daredevil produces glory, imaging what the pain and suffering of a persevering child of God will produce!" For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!" (2 Corinthians 4:7, NLT). -Illustration Exchange
The world has a different idea of blessing. For God, the blessing comes because Christ has suffered for us. God’s way is to bless us through the way of the cross. This is the way of service and sacrifice.
Praise and thanks to God who has blessed us with “guaranteed” blessings. You will endure because God is faithful. I hope you had a good Christmas, and will experience a blessed new year. Meanwhile, BLESS GOD! The celebration of Christ will go on for eternity.
May we follow him to life everlasting where these gifts will be fully realized,
Pastor John Raddatz
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