Blog / Book of the Month / Once for all/ Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-55 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday December 19th 2021 / Season of Advent / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Once for all/ Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-55 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday December 19th 2021 / Season of Advent / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Once for all/ Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-55 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday December 19th 2021 / Season of Advent / Mount Olive Lutheran Church

SERMON NOTES (listen to the audio sermon for more)


Text: Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-55
Theme: “Once for all”

Intr – Shoveling your driveway in the winter: would that qualify for a “once for all” action? I’m sure it wouldn’t.

Now what would you like to have once for all in your life? A balance in your bank account; a filled up gas tank; beer in the fridge? These belong to dream land of course, and the fact of the matter is that most things in life aren’t once for all, and some of them have become increasingly not lasting longer anymore. It applies to job, house, city, health, even family.

        (Except for one thing: sports teams, right? People would change clothes, house, job, city, even spouse and family. But they will die without changing their team for any other.)

1 – Ephapax - Once for all

In Hebrews we hear about something that is once for all: Ephapax. This word occurs 5 times in the NT.[1] In all of them the meaning is one of these: Once and for all / All at once / At once / Once.  They all describe Christ’s work for us.

Sacrifices were still offered at Jesus time, but God was not pleased at them anymore. And God did away with them. The two main reasons were:

1)They were just a foreshadow of Christ;
2)Instead of being that foreshadow for the time being until the coming of the Messiah they became front and central in His place along the years and centuries. They became a thing in themselves. They became largely, with perhaps honorable exceptions, pro-forma actions, sacrifices without mercy, as the Lord had pointed and called them out for (Hoseah 6).

        God doesn’t like facades, unless they are the external shape of the right content. That's why he continues to do away with sacrifices without mercy.

_God does away with “apologies” and “sorrys” if they are not acts of really acknowledging sins and fighting against it. “If I offended you”, “I might have done wrong but”, when we are in real sin don’t really qualify as repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
_God does away with Church going if that is all it is – and not weekly living of the Church going. Illustration: The Vulture Christian.
_God does away with works entitled tithes – “because I place my offer in the plate or the bank I feel entitled, better loved by God than others that don’t.”
_God does away with loving complete strangers but stinging and hurting the “loved one” close by, even those under the same roof.

        God does away with sacrifices without mercy. God does away with a supposed faith in Jesus on the outside but a faithless, merciless heart inside.[2]

 2 – One for all

        This is what Jesus came to be, to live and to do. Once and for all. He is the promised Messiah who came to be the once and for all Messiah; the once for all sacrifice; the once for all offer for sin. He presented the once for all sacrifice with mercy, just as promised by the Father.

Jesus not only did once for all. He was one for all.

For all our sins / all our sorrows / all our solitude / for all of us

   Elizabeth’s words in the Gospel today reflect the acknowledgement that this blessed promised was being fulfilled: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”[3]

 3 – All for all

        As Christ was one for all doing once for all what we all needed on His Cross, now we are called to be all for all, both in our Church life and in our daily life. Here’s a good question to always keep in mind: Do you neighbours know that you love them? Not only in a broad, but also people next door to you; down the road; in your Church; even your enemy. For this is Christ’s command and commission to us. Love your neighbor.

        One of the most difficult things about all for all, living our faith through love though is that here there’s no once for all. Loving people happens every day, every week of every year. It demands daily effort, actions, Forgiveness, Growth. It is challenging especially when we think that daily life is not always linear, predictable and constant. On the other way around, more times than we’d like to it can be a real mess, filled with confusion and sudden turns. When times are challenging, beyond than asking what that famous sign “God bless this mess” does, remember this little detail: Jesus was born in a stable. And a stable is a messy place. This new baby was out of place among the straw, spilled grain, and all the smells and sounds of the stable. But Jesus Christ – our “Emmanuel” in the mess, is the heart of the Christmas message, is the ultimate Christmas gift – is our promised Saviour. There is no stable, no place in our world that is too messy, too confusing that God cannot be found in His Holy Word and Sacraments that give us PEACE AND PURPOSE in the mess!"[4]

These Sacraments point also to this once for all and week after week dynamic of our Christian life. Baptism is once for all. Holy Supper is a weekly offer of Jesus’ blood and body bringing to us all we need offered weekly where we can be strengthened in Him for this difficult weekly battle of living our faith in a faithless world. [5]

Here we can learn from Mary the Mother of the Lord who dedicated herself, her life all at once to God. The verse preceding our text for today is read this way. Mary said: “Behold, the servant of the Lord: let it be done to me according to your word”. She dedicated her life to God unconditionally.[6]

 Cc – Next time you’re clearing your driveway from snow, or you see someone doing it, and you remember how annoying that can get throughout 6 months of winter in SK, take some time to remember and be grateful: throughout the 12 months of the year, throughout our entire life, we have received a once for all The most precious gift - Jesus the Messiah – who is a weekly, daily presence in our lives. Just like the cold in the winter.


[2] God does away with any modern attempts of ours of doing rites and sacrifices and actions because we think we can make up for your duties and obligations before Him and nails it all to the Cross.
[3] As Mary’s words in her magnificat do as well: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
[4] Rev. Paulo Brum. Peace in the Mess. Sermon for the 4th Sunday in advent, December 19th, 2021, page 3
[5]We have a beautiful message: once for all, one came for all and brought forgiveness and peace for all. Now we can share that with all – and that begins with someone. We can be all for someone, reflecting Christ to our neighbour.
[6] Rev. Paulo Brum. Peace in the Mess. Sermon for the 4th Sunday in advent, December 19th, 2021, page 3