December 18, 2011
TEXT: Luke 1:26-38/Romans 16:25-27
THE GLORY OF THE ONLY WISE GOD!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh;


How do you give the only wise God glory who has given you every faculty you have – your power of thinking – of moving your limbs – of seeing and hearing and speaking. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give anything that is not in a sense already His!  How do you give Him glory who gives you all?


Man-made religions try to do so by bargaining with their idea of god. In our recent study of world religions it is clear that religious bargain hunting is in high gear. Whether the effort is to please millions of idols or to burn incense to an idolized teacher who never claimed to be divine, the bartering goes on. Do enough, pray enough, beg enough, meditate enough and you can be reincarnated to try again. Do enough, pray enough, beg enough, meditate enough again and again and again and eventually you might become a drop in the eternal sea or be blown out and escape into the nothingness of Nirvana. These demanding idols are either inside one’s own head or some impersonal idea at a distance or a formless life-force of nature. Man-made religions try to bargain with God. Christianity blows that idea into bits!  There is no putting the Most High in your debt. There is no earning a passing grade with the only wise God!  To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen

December 18, 2011
TEXT: Luke 1:26-38/Romans 16:25-27
THE GLORY OF THE ONLY WISE GOD!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh;


How do you give the only wise God glory who has given you every faculty you have – your power of thinking – of moving your limbs – of seeing and hearing and speaking. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give anything that is not in a sense already His!  How do you give Him glory who gives you all?


Man-made religions try to do so by bargaining with their idea of god. In our recent study of world religions it is clear that religious bargain hunting is in high gear. Whether the effort is to please millions of idols or to burn incense to an idolized teacher who never claimed to be divine, the bartering goes on. Do enough, pray enough, beg enough, meditate enough and you can be reincarnated to try again. Do enough, pray enough, beg enough, meditate enough again and again and again and eventually you might become a drop in the eternal sea or be blown out and escape into the nothingness of Nirvana. These demanding idols are either inside one’s own head or some impersonal idea at a distance or a formless life-force of nature. Man-
 
These idol-laden religions do not have a Holy Book grounded in history – a book filled with and flowing from verifiable historical events and places and persons. Do you know how many historical facts recorded in Scripture were at one time mocked by the world – even sometimes by the elite who publish encyclopedias?  Syrian and Babylonian kings, the kingdom of the Hittites, the presence of harvester ants on this earth, the reality of earth in space, to name just a few!  Did you know Scripture is translated into over 2000 languages and is still the best-selling book in the entire world?  St. Paul references this Holy Book anchored in history in our epistle from Romans. He speaks of the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations according to the command of the eternal God.


There is a reason the eternal God’s glory was a mystery for long ages. We think of glory for the one who has it – something to be competed for – a prize to be won – something the world delights in. The Packers perform in part to win earthly glory and acclaim. It must come at the expense of others. Some mistakenly believe that God intends to “wow” people into believing in His earthly power and glory in such ways. Words in our text are often misused in this manner. Nothing (no word) will be impossible with God. His messenger said this in regard to the miraculous conception of John the Baptizer who would prepare the way for the Savior of the world who was even more miraculously conceived. These words in Scripture are always closely tied to God acting to bring salvation to us sinners. The Holy Spirit gives us no authority to rip the words Nothing is impossible with God – out of the context of God bringing us salvation and apply them to raising money or winning a football game for Jesus. There is a reason God’s glory was a mystery for long ages. It is not like earthly glory!  Actors perform to win fame – it comes in competition with others. Such fame is sometimes politicized and always fleeting. But God’s glory is entirely different!  God’s glory is revealed in humility and suffering and salvation for us. In this world, God’s glory is hidden in such ways that Jesus even tells us not to pray so that others may see us praying but rather to go into our room and shut the door and pray to our Father who is in secret (Matthew 5:5-5). To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ!


How do you give Him glory who gives you all?  Only through Jesus Christ!  Only through the obedience of faith which is faith in the mystery made flesh!  The mystery – kept secret for long ages has now been disclosed. It is the mystery God spoke through the prophet Nathan to King David. I will give you rest from all your enemies…Moreover the Lord declares to you that the LORD will make you a house…And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. It is this eternal mystery that goes back to God’s promise to our first parents that the male seed of the woman would crush the tempter’s deceiving head.


How do you give Him glory who gives you all?  Only through the obedience of faith in Jesus Christ – the mystery made flesh!  It is this holy mystery that the angel Gabriel announced to a virgin whose name was Mary. The name “Gabriel” means “strength of God.”  This messenger from the realm of God’s creation that we cannot see just yet proclaimed the astounding outpouring of God’s real strength:  “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”


Dear Christians - this is the glory of God!  As you stand at the door of Christmas weigh carefully what this angel said to this virgin. In the fall angels guarded the way to the tree of life as man was driven out of God’s holy presence. Now God sends His angel to proclaim that He has come into our presence, giving us a new tree of life.


The entire Old Testament hope is now realized in the womb of Mary. This is the hope the children will soon review for us in their program today. The word for “overshadow,’ used in today’s Gospel, is the same word used to describe the cloud overshadowing the Tabernacle as the glory of the Lord filled it (Exodus 40:34-38 LXX). The meaning is both apparent and astounding!  The Holy Spirit came upon Mary!  The power of the Most High overshadowed her – so that the body of the holy Son of God dwelt within her body until the night of His holy birth. He is the glory of God – now in the flesh – your redeemer - your brother.


Note Mary’s response. “Behold, I am the servant (slave) of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”  This is the obedience of faith. Her gentle voice claims no queenly title. Her gentle voice claims no spiritual powers. Her gentle voice invites no prayers to her. Rather her gentle voice says, “Behold, I am a servant (slave) of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”   Just like that – God’s Word does what it says. The mystery kept secret for long ages - is on this earth in the flesh. In bringing us salvation nothing (no word) is impossible with God. For the next nine months, the womb of this one virgin girl will be the temple of God on earth!  Most highly favored lady!  All generations should honor her – including us – for her Son!  He is God’s glory in the flesh!  He does claim a kingly title – King of kings!  He does claim all spiritual power and all authority in heaven and on earth!  He does invite all prayer to God the Father in His Name. He is the one mediator between God and men because He is God and man (1 Timothy 2:5)


How do you give Him glory who gives you all?  By receiving the gifts of His wisdom and His Word!  We are all to be servants as was Mary in submission to and faith in His Word. Our sin is our unbelief in doing this. Our sin is feeling we can stand in judgment of all things as if we are only wise. By nature we flow away from giving Him glory by intentionally or unintentionally seeking our own. We want to be in charge – not in submission to the only wise God.


God must come to us not with a bargain but with beautiful, life-giving, forgiving grace!  To this end, men and women, young and old, we are all impregnated with faith in the same way – through our ears. We are impregnated in the same way that the Word made flesh came to be with Mary – through her ears!  Oh, the angel Gabriel is not here today visibly speaking to us, but God’s Word is!   


To the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! God is glorified when someone is clothed with Christ in the waters of Baptism For Nothing (no Word) is impossible with God!  The only wise God is glorified when a human heart sees that God’s wisdom and glory is Christ crucified!  It is foolish to those who are perishing but not to those being saved. No bargaining on Calvary!  Just the fulfillment of God’s will to redeem the world – to save us. It is the only reason Jesus was born!  His glorious work was not done in competition with or at the expense of anyone – except Satan and the grave. The most High God is now glorified when hearts hunger and thirst for the righteousness He offers in lowly gifts of bread and wine for, Nothing (no Word) is impossible with God!


Shower, O heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit. In this pregnant season of Advent 2011 we no longer wait for a holy baby – the Son of God!  Now we wait for the Ascended Christ – the Son of God - to come again!  By His grace and mercy He comes among us now to continue lifting the sins that weigh us down.


So Merry Christmas!  Happy Holy Day!  In Christ you are now free to anticipate the day of His coming or the day of your death as a child anticipates and joyfully welcomes the arrival of Christmas Day. The only wise God – the Most High has so much more to give you!  So Merry Christmas!  Happy Holy Day!


(T)he mystery that was kept secret for long ages…has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ!  Amen.


THE PRAYERS
Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

O God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, Your promise of an everlasting house and kingdom came to fulfillment in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Forgive us when we doubt Your promises. By Your Holy Spirit, help us believe that Your Word is true and that You always fulfill what You promise. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


Almighty God, bless the proclamation of Your Son’s coming and the joyous celebration of His birth to lead unbelievers to repent of their sins and trust in the Son of the Most High for the forgiveness of their sins. Lead and guide all missionaries and pastors by Your Holy Spirit that Your Word may be preached to all the nations. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


Gracious Lord, deepen the faith of Your people in this congregation. Steady us in prayer and acts of love for one another. Adorn our faith with holy living that we may reach out to a world sitting in darkness with the light of Christ. Give us charity for those in distress and bless our outreach efforts to those from other lands…Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


Gracious God, look with favor upon Your servants, especially police officers, firefighters, and other emergency workers and those who serve in the armed forces. We thank You for these servants and the protection they offer, and we ask You to keep them from all harm and danger. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


Father of mercies, look with favor upon all who are in need of our prayers, especially Helen, and Krisi, and Zane and his sons and Rofael and his family. Give them patience and comfort during sickness or distress, and grant continued healing and help according to Your will. Give to them and to us all grace to accept all difficulties with continued hope in Your merciful salvation. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.


O Lord, we thank you for the blessings of marriage. Strengthen all husbands and wives with love that reflects the sacrificial love You give to Your bride, the Church. Open their hearts to receive more of Your love that their love for each other may never grow weary but deepen and grow through every joy and sorrow shared. We give thanks with John and Jennifer at the birth of a baby daughter. Bring her to the saving waters of Holy Baptism that she may share in the eternal inheritance you have promised to all who believe. Hear us for all mothers with child especially Sara and for all mothers with infant children that they may have increasing happiness in their blessings. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
All wise God, we give you thanks for completion of studies and graduation for Paige. Bless her future endeavors and those of Your people still furthering their education. In every transition of life help us to remember that we are pilgrims on earth for whom Your Son came to provide at eternal home. Grant safety in travel and joyful reunions in this season of praising Your Son’s dwelling among us. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Faithful Lord, we give you thanks for the memory of Christian loved ones who have preceded us in death and are now with You. As Christ has pierced the darkness of death with the light of His incarnation, give us eternal joy in Him who is the light of the world. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a