Good morning everyone:
Maybe you’ve seen it. In the wake of the latest mass shooting, the bold headline in the New York Daily News states: “God isn’t fixing this!” The paper goes on to condemn those who offer prayers as substituting meaningless platitudes for concrete action. We know, of course, that God is almighty and can do anything, but how would you respond to the accusation that God isn’t doing anything?
First of all, the headline really should read: “God isn’t fixing this the way we think He should.” Sinful human nature is quick to tell God what and how He should run the world and our lives. The “fix” that many want to see is an end to all violence. Who wouldn’t want that? God could simply say the word, and there would be no more violence anywhere.
But that would not solve the underlying problem. It would be like using a band-aid to treat an invasive cancer. The real source, not just of gun violence, but of everything wrong in the world is the sinful heart. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matt. 15:19). No amount of education or legislation is going to fix the human heart. In fact, there is nothing mankind can do to eradicate sin. People who are born dead in trespasses and sin can’t get rid of it. It’s impossible.
But God can and did. That’s what Christmas is all about. God sent His own Son into our world as our Brother to fix everything we cannot. We can’t live up to God’s holy standards, but Jesus did for us. We can’t make things right with God with resolutions and good intentions, but Jesus did by taking the world’s sin upon Himself and suffering its punishment on the cross. With that message of God’s perfect “fix” through Jesus, the Spirit works faith and gives the sinner a new heart, which becomes evident in love for God and neighbor.
That new heart moves us to pray; and yes, despite the criticism, prayer is powerful and effective. So let’s keep on praying. Let’s pray that the Lord will work through the Word to bring many more souls to repentance and faith in Jesus. Let’s pray that the Spirit would produce the fruits of faith, such as love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control in ever-increasing amounts. Let’s pray that the Lord would by His power and through His representatives in government and law enforcement restrain all those who reject Christ and seek to cause harm to others. Finally, let’s pray that the Lord will soon come in glory to bring an end to all evil and usher His Church into her new home of uninterrupted peace and incredible joy. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).
Tomorrow’s sermon text (Luke 3:1-6) is God’s call through John the Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus through humble repentance.
The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated in both services.
Parents, remember that the children have Christmas Eve rehearsal at 9:30 a.m.
The public school confirmation class meets at 12:15 p.m.
If you’re able, please join us for caroling at 4:00 p.m. and the chili supper to follow. Faced with all the sadness of our sinful world, it’s a joy and relief to sing the news of God’s perfect “fix” in the Christ-Child, and to share the news with others.