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Catechetical point: What blessings did God give you last year?
Message: The greatest blessing: †
A Blessed New Year!
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Text: (Numbers 6:22-27) The LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron and his sons, 'This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: "'"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face towards you and give you peace."' "So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."
This is the Word of our Lord. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
A. It's a new year
1. And during the celebration of the new year, we generally spend our time looking to the old year
2. The Bible is no different
B. We live in the New Testament
1. But the New Testament constantly refers back to the Old Testament
2. And rightly so, since the Old Testament speaks of Jesus Christ almost as much as the New
3. Because God promised to send Him in the Old Testament
4. And He has kept His promise
II. And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
A. This expression or a variation of it shows up over 200 times in the Old Testament
1. It's a common "take it for granted" expression
2. But these words aren't spoken lightly
3. Because what follows is from the mouth of God Himself—the Old Testament version of red letters!
4. So God is speaking to you here as well
B. And in this passage that you hear almost every Sunday, you hear God Himself speaking words of blessing
1. This is why we come to church services
2. To receive God's blessings that He gives us through His Word and sacraments
3. Forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation
III. "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:
A. Blessing people is God's primary activity with us
1. He created a world full of blessings—and it was a whole lot better before the fall
2. He has given you not only the blessings of necessity—food, clothing, and shelter
3. He has given you all those extra blessings, like what you find under a Christmas tree
4. And He has given you the intangible blessings of reputation, love, belonging, and friendship
B. Most of all, God blesses you with forgiveness
1. This is the greatest blessing He could give you
2. In spite of your countless daily sin
3. In spite of your very nature being corrupt to the core
4. He has replaced that corruption with His own perfect righteousness by trading places with you on the cross
5. And He continually pours out His blessings through His Word and sacraments
IV. "Yahweh bless you and keep you.
A. Note here the triple blessing
1. While you can't assign each blessing to one Person of the Trinity, since all three Persons as one God bless you,
2. At the same time, each of these blessings speaks to the work of our Triune God as distinct persons
B. God blesses us beyond measure
1. The Father has poured out His love on you by creating this world
2. But the even greater blessing the Father has given is the gift of His Son
a) What greater gift could anyone give than His own Son?
b) And yet, He freely gave Him up for us, a bunch of ungrateful rebels
C. He sacrificed His Son in order to keep you
1. Because He wants all men to be saved
2. He wants you to have the gift of eternal life
3. So He bought that gift and gave it to you freely, paying the price to buy you
V. "'The Lord cause His face to shine on you and be gracious to you.
A. What reason does God have to smile on you?
1. You certainly haven't done anything of your own ability to earn God's smile
2. But He has
B. He was gracious enough to become a man
1. And in that man, Jesus Christ, He has revealed His glory to you
2. St. John says, "We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth."
3. God reveals His glory in His forgiveness and salvation
4. And through the resurrection of Christ from the tomb, God has made you a promise
5. You will see His glory.
a) In the words of Job: "As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. "Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another." (Job 19:25-27a, NAS95)
b) You will see His glory with your own eyes
c) With your perfect, resurrected and remade eyes, you will see His glory
d) With your forgiven, purified, and sinless eyes, you will see His glory
e) And in that eternal paradise, you will see God's face shining on you every moment.
VI. "'Yahweh lift up His face to you and place peace on you.'
A. How does God give peace?
B. By grace through faith
C. He has sent His Holy Spirit to give you peace
1. Peace that your sin, no matter how great, has been washed away by the waters of your Baptism
2. Peace that the blood of the Son of God is sufficient to forgive not some, but all of your sin
3. Peace that you have been restored to God, brought into Communion with Him through the Sacrament of the Altar
D. And He will continue to give you faith and peace through the same Word and Sacraments until you no longer need faith and see your Redeemer with your own eyes
VII. "And they shall put My Name on the sons of Israel, and I will bless them."
A. This isn't just, "I hope God blesses you."
B. This is a sure and certain hope
1. God has promised to bless you
2. He put His name on you in your Baptism
3. He adopted you into His family
4. He has written you into His will, and He has already died that you receive the inheritance
C. Both Old and New speak of God's grace in Christ
1. He has been with you over the past years
2. And surely He will be with you always, even to the end of the age. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Now the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
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