"God makes promises; God keeps them" Sermon / Matthew 2; Galatians 4 / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / Sunday December 29th 2019 / First Sunday After Christmas / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: Matthew 2:13-22; Galatians 4:4-7
Theme: “God makes promises; God keeps them”
Intr – As we approach the end of the year, we also approach the “resolution making” time as well. Because a new year begins, we all think that it is a magic date for us to promise start doing things we haven’t been doing in the previous months or years.
A man writes: “Last year when I called my parents to wish them a happy New Year, my dad answered the phone. "Well, Dad, what’s your New Year’s resolution?" I asked him. "To make your mother as happy as I can all year," he answered proudly. Then mom got on, and I said, "What’s your resolution, Mom?" "To see that your dad keeps his New Year’s resolution."
Resolutions. Which I will also call promises here. They are a part of life. We are always promising ourselves we will do this and that. But frequently we are not good at keeping them.
Promises made and not kept are actually something very annoying.
It may be other people’s promises. Someone said “I’ll be there” and he or she wasn’t. The wedding promises, delivery time promises, satisfaction guaranteed ones; or that type of person that keeps making promises, and keeps letting us down I many of them.
It may be our own promises. The unfulfilled words spoken to our children, spouse, boss… And especially, when we don't keep the promises we make to ourselves. "Starting today, I will lose weight." "This is the last time I do this." "Yes, I'll quit that vice." “I will never ever anymore...” “From today, I will always…”
This is why it is always good for us to look into the Word of God and to be reassured of His resolutions, His promises that never fail, and always come true. God makes promises; God keeps them. And from Galatians we know also that they come true: "in the fullness of time".
_God is never early, and He is never late.
The gospel today brings ingredients to solidify our certainty of that.
_Jesus' family in danger. They had to trust.
_Jesus family on the road. They had to trust.
_Jesus family in Egypt. They had to trust.
_Jesus family coming back to Judea. They had to move to Nazareth though. They had to trust.
Perhaps that was starting to look like "To good to be true". All the ‘magic’ of those days of annunciation, birth, celebration seem to be gone. But the Word of the Lord was being fulfilled. "Too good and it's true". God's makes promises. God keeps them in the fullness of time; in the fullness of His love. “To God to be true.”
As we start a new year, we know we have Someone who makes promises and keeps them exactly how He made them. He says, and he makes it happen.
_Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
_Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
_I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture; My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
_[Nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus on the cross is the greatest reality of God’s promises being fulfilled. Jesus inside your heart through faith is the greatest sign that His promises will never fail in your life. For we know from His Word: there is nothing impossible in all His promises. The word is not 'some' or 'many'. Not even almost all of them. It is comprehensive and complete: God promises, God does.
And what about His promises for the future, the ones yet to be fulfilled? Let me mention some of them:
_Weekly feeding on God’s Word and Sacraments will sustain your faith;
_Living God’s Word and principles will give you stability even in face of the biggest storm;
_When you recognize your sins and confess them in repentance and faith, you will always be forgiven;
_You will face problems and afflictions. But you will never face them alone.
_Witnessing Christ in acts, and also words will bring Him to someone’s heart. Or even more than one. For the word of the Lord never returns empty.
_Walking with the Lord you will have a happy life. But remember: happy here doesn’t mean what the world sometimes means by it. The Word of God lets us know what happiness in Christ is all about.
Now, your promises and resolutions; in faith, they come from a God that sometimes makes you become what you don't want to, in order for you to become who He wants you to be.
That's what happened with Jesus' family. This is the type of thing that we may also expect for your lives in a new year. When you feel like “moving to Egypt.” When you feel like having to live in a faraway land. Sometimes it seems like the world is out to kill your dreams, or death is surrounding your family. Remember: God is always in action. Always.
Remember also that your resolutions, promises, and requests to God into a new year don’t need to be only about money, and weight loss, and more exercise and so forth. You are free to do those, but here is a short list of other suggestions where you may call upon Him to help you to do:
_To read His Word as frequently as possible;
_to Lead you to Holy Supper;
_to go to Church, especially when I don’t feel like going;
_to help keep your congregation to keep working;
_to remember that to love is a verb of action;
_to pay attention to the opportunities He provides, and use them;
_to preserve you in Him even if your health is not ok;
_to walk with Him when suffering comes;
_to be thankful to Him for your success and accomplishments.”
Also, don't forget that the more you keep your promises the more you are able to make them - and not the other way around.
Our resolutions can always be included in this one: God is the One who provides for and takes care of your needs.
Cc – After all, what is our biggest need?
If our greatest need had been education, God would have sent us a professor
If it were technology, He would have sent a scientist;
If it were money, an economist or a big entrepreneur providing super well paid jobs;
If it were party and pleasure, he would have sent a producer or promoter;
Since our greatest need was forgiveness, love, and life, though God sent us the Savior — Jesus. God makes promises. God keeps His promises, “When the fullness of time comes”. In faith, that is the assurance we have deep inside our heart for a blessed and happy New Year.
Why do we make resolutions, promises that we don’t keep? Well, perhaps because many of the promises we make are impossible promises. We talk about losing weight, gaining confidence, starting this, stopping that, quitting a vice. But because they are not well reflected on a realistic basis, taking into account both our strength and our weakness they become void promises - and therefore impossible to be kept. Not being realistic gives birth to a bad promise. And a poorly made promise is almost surely a to be broken one – whether small or big, crucial or circumstantial.
 Romans 8.28. When we deliver our expectations, hopes and plans to God, that’s when they are true, for the Lord works for the good of those who trust in Him.
 Psalm 37:5
 Psalm 50:15
 John 10