Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

Tomorrow Morning, the First Sunday after Christmas, December 30th, 2012: The Presentation (Luke 2)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Are you soaking in your Christmas season? I hope so! In the ultra-creative song on symbolism, your True Love (the Lord God) gives 1) Jesus; 2) The Two Testaments of the Holy Bible; 3) the three theological virtues (in 1st Cor. 13) Faith, Hope, and Love; 4) the four gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
In the “A New Dial” song, all of the assigned aspects are the same the first four days except for day 3 in which “A New Dial” remembers The Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
There is also a divergence for Day 5. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has your True Love giving you “five golden rings” which evidently symbolize the first five books of the Old Testament, called “The Pentateuch,” the Books of Moses, and also called “The Torah.” The Hebrew word “Torah” is typically translated as “Law,” but those first five books which do indeed present the Ten Commandments in both Exodus chapter 20 and Deuteronomy chapter 5, is not simply about strict law (in the narrow sense), but also includes awesome gospel: the message of God’s saving free gift of love and mercy in and through the coming saving Christ first prophesied about in Genesis 3:15. A better translation for “Torah” therefore might be “Instruction,” that holy instruction from God that includes both convicting law, but also sweet gospel. Perhaps one of the more famous quotations from the Torah is from Numbers 6:24-26 which is an amazing blessing known as the Aaronic Blessing. It goes like this (from the ESV translation):

The Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Talk about a great blessing to meditate upon on this 5th Day of Christmas, Saturday, December 29th, 2012!
“A New Dial” or “In Those Twelve Days” takes a very different approach and it might surprise you. This memory song encourages us to remember on the 5th Day of Christmas the gift of God which consists of your 5 senses:
The sense of Sight
The sense of Hearing
The sense of Smell
The sense of Touch
The sense of Taste
Think about it. These gifts have been given to us to not only enjoy all of the Lord’s “1st article gifts” like house and home, food and clothing, etc., but also the “2nd article gifts” like our taking in the symbols, words, hymns, songs, and prayers that powerfully proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In addition, our senses receive the “3rd article gifts,” especially as the Holy Spirit gives to us His powerful Sacraments for our forgiveness and consolation. But there is more, much more. We have been set free from the bondage of sin to then use these gifts to the glory of God, to serve our neighbor, and to live as God’s people who share His love. When these 5 senses are used this way, we become the vehicles of the Savior’s presence to our neighbor.
Tomorrow morning I am preaching on “The Presentation” from Luke chapter 2. Jesus was only 40 days old and with the rest of the holy family, sacrifices are presented for them in the temple for their purification. But why would the sinless Savior need this? Why is He already associated in this way with sinners? We will answer this question and continue to rejoice in our Amazing Christmas gifts in the One Lord and Savior Jesus!
I hope to see you at 9:30 am tomorrow morning at Crean Lutheran High School, 12500 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA with Sunday School and Bible Study starting at 11:00 am.
Exit Sand Canyon from the 405 or 5 and head northeast.
Cross Irvine Blvd.
Turn right on Saint’s Way and you’ll be on the campus of Crean Lutheran High School, Irvine.
We worship in the hard-shell “tent”-like building.
The Lord bless you as you continue to celebrate Christmas!
Here is an excerpt from tomorrow’s sermon outline:
A.     At the circumcision of Jesus — when He was only 8 days old — our Lord already began to shed His blood to save us. His perfect fulfillment of the Law of God was already being conducted not for Himself — for He had no sin — but for us so that by His perfect fulfillment and righteousness His life would be counted for our sinful lives.

B.      But there was much more to be done and 40 days after His birth and 32 days after the circumcision He is brought to the temple this time for a presentation that was for purification.

1.      The holy family brought prescribed clean and sacrificial animals for their entire families’ purification. In this case, a pair of turtledoves and two young pigeons (v 24).

2.          And while it may be easy for us to understand why Mary and Joseph needed purification, what about Jesus (because He too was definitely included)?

3.      This tests us dear Christians as to how much we actually understand the Gospel. Too often religious folks throw the word “Gospel” around, but if one were to stop and ask, “What does this mean?” I’m not too certain how folks would do. The good news of salvation in Christ Jesus is quite simply a happy and glorious exchange…if we are to be saved we must know and trust in this truth:

Christ took our sin; we took His righteousness.

Or put in another simple way…

The righteous is counted as sinner; sinners are counted as righteous.

In Your Service & To Christ’s Glory,
Pastor Espinosa
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