Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

21 December 2011

Sermon: Advent 4B (Gospel)

21 December AD 2011

Sermon Theme: Nothing Is Impossible

Summary: A popular television show of the late 1960s and early 70s, Mission: Impossible became a money machine as a motion picture franchise. The basic premise of both TV and film was that a select group of secret agents could pull off “impossible” feats of espionage and daring-do. Of course, continuing success meant that the missions of the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) were not actually impossible. Difficult? Yes. Improbable? Certainly. Impossible? Not exactly.

Gabriel announced to Mary the beginning of a mission that seemed even more impossible than anything undertaken by the IMF — that of redeeming fallen mankind from its depths of sinful depravity and restoring fallen humanity to a right relationship with its Creator. It would begin with these “impossible” events: A virgin would become pregnant without having sex; God would take on human flesh; the creative and creating Word of God would become a creature of God’s creation.

The Risen ChristWhile Mary was astounded and initially taken aback, she quickly confessed faith in God’s ability to do these marvelous things: “Let it be to me according to your word.” What a contrast with most of fallen mankind! Of particular irony is that today also celebrates the Feast of Saint Thomas — the disbelieving disciple who demanded unshakeable proof before he would allow himself to believe that Jesus was alive.

We thank God that He works faith in our doubting, disbelieving hearts. He leads us to trust in the meritorious suffering and death and the victorious resurrection of His Son Jesus. Through Word and Spirit, He condemns our sins, creates, sustains, and strengthens our faith, forgives us, and leads us through this life into life everlasting. All this may be impossible for us to accomplish on our own but “nothing will be impossible with God” — not even our forgiveness and our new and eternal life in Christ.

Text: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

Gabriel and MaryAnd the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And 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.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy  — the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:26-38

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Nothing Is Impossible, preached to the saints of God at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Ernestville, Missouri.

Other Readings: Psalm 89:1-5 (19-29); 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Romans 16:25-27

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