Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mid-Week Advent Service, December 5, 2012 -
The Two Natures of Christ




Mid-Week Advent 1, 2012

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Mid-Week Advent, Thursday, 7 PM Central

The Hymn # 61             Comfort, Comfort                  221
The Order of Vespers                                             p. 41
The Psalmody            Psalm 100                             p. 144
The First Lection                      
The Second Lection           
 The Sermon Hymn # 76            A Great and Mighty             2.2

Two Natures, Old and New Testaments

The Prayers and Lord’s Prayer                         p. 44
The Collect for Peace                                           p. 45
The Benediction                                                   p. 45
The Hymn # 558     All Praise to Thee               2.9

KJV Isaiah 7:10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. 13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

KJV Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

KJV Romans 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:



Two Natures of Christ – Old and New Testaments


If we look at the Christian Faith in comparison with all world religions, two basic truths emerge.

One – Christianity is salvation by grace, not works – unlike any other religion in the world. All the others teach that we must appease God with works of some kind, or we are not forgiven. All of the bad versions of Christianity blend works with grace to some extent. Sometimes that is implied but not openly taught. Sometimes, as in Catholicism, it is plainly taught with anathemas aimed at justification by faith alone (Council of Trent – if anyone teaches we are saved by faith alone, let him be damned.)

Two – Christianity teaches this grace through the Two Natures of Christ. Jesus was completely human and completely divine, those natures united in the One Person. There are many saviors in world religion, many teachers, but there is only One Savior and that is Jesus. It is fitting that the others are so much alike and that the One Savior is unique, one of a kind. Salvation by grace, through the Two Natures of Christ.

In the Advent season we think about the importance of the birth of Christ. The three passages for tonight can be read for their teaching of the divine nature of Christ, but also for their teaching of His human nature. We know that people have chosen one or the other for their false teaching fetishes.

In the early days of Christianity, some objected to the human nature of Jesus, that He was born of a woman. There were several ways to deny this – either to bypass the birth or to make Mary a divinity herself, free of all actual sin. The second part was so embedded in Medieval Catholicism that Luther took some time to adjust. It remains the bedrock of Roman Catholicism today. Wherever converts are made and old fashioned Romanism is promoted, the Immaculate Concept of Mary is renewed with fervor and Enthusiasm.

Isaiah 7:14ff is one of those special passages in the Bible that stands out so clearly that false teachers must change the words to make it sound more pleasing to their ears (like Romans 3 for the NNIV ecumenists and UOJ Lutherans).

The point is – God will give a great miracle. We use “sign” far too often, although we should see those special interventions as signs of God’s good will and angelic help. But still – this event is far more than a sign. It is the One Great Miracle. The narration brings this out, because haughty Ahaz will not ask for a miracle.

The prophet in rebuke says, GOD will give you the miracle. So, instead of man asking for a miracle, God on His own declares the miracle for all of mankind. That is justice, because no man is wise and holy enough to ask for what God was pleased to do. No one could imagine it to ask, which Paul reminds us about our prayers (and Isaiah too) – that God gives more than we can imagine and does so before we even think to ask. (Eph 3 and Isaiah 65:24)

KJV Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

KJV Isaiah 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
Behold, a virgin shall conceive,
and bear a son,
and shall call his name Immanuel.

God in His grace will give His people a miracle they never expected, never requested, and never deserved. People ask for rain in the midst of a drought, and for rain to stop in the midst of flooding. They pray for food, for peace. They do not pray for the God-man Jesus to born of a Virgin.

The God-decreed miracle (already prophesied in Genesis 3:15) is three-fold –
A virgin will conceive,
She will give birth to a son (the Messiah)
He will be called God With Us.

The miracle is one of salvation, one of grace, one of prophecies fulfilled. We hear these words so often in Christmas pageants and programs, but this is a baby who is God. Human and divine nature, born of a woman.

KJV Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

This passage gives me goose-bumps because the many descriptions of Jesus simply defy any other identification.

Not just a king or the Messiah they expected – the increase of His government will never end. It will grow continuously and never end. So from the Old Testament foundations and Jesus’ ministry came the world-wide religion of peace, the peace of forgiveness, that has created millions of saints forgiven through faith alone.
There have been many conquering kings, not through grace and forgiveness but through slaughter. It is said that some areas have never recovered from Genghis Khan (who has returned as a restaurateur, by the way). His kingdom was enormous but did not last and grow. It fell apart, as all human kingdoms must.

And this leader is called Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

This is not man’s work, but God’s. As I told one pastor, what he does and how he does it will not determine the outcome. God’s Word, faithfully taught, will accomplish God’s will because it belongs to God alone.

No one can figure it out. Sometimes it blinds and hardens. It drives people crazy with anger against it. And yet the same Word converts and softens hardened hearts through the same Gospel, with the same power of the Holy Spirit.



If we try to make it work better, through man’s wisdom, it will no longer be God’s Word, but man’s word. That may seem impressive in its effect at first, but it is dangerous work to do. Many ministers have hardened themselves while playing this game. Rob Bell (Fuller) made his sermons so appealing that he talked himself into Universalism. His own congregation found him appalling rather than appealing and he “decided on his own” to go elsewhere.

All the good done by the Gospel is simply impossible to measure. I would say that 99% of the good is simply beyond prediction or expectation. It is easy to list disappointments or hardships. But the power to draw people together in God’s love is the entire purpose of the Gospel. To generate Gospel fruits in the family – that belongs to God. To reconcile enemies – only God can do that through forgiveness and grace, faith and prayer.

KJV Romans 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

Paul made many references to the Two Natures of Christ. The revelation of God is not like a textbook. These statements seem to pop up in various places. They are not organized in ranks and rows, which would be boring and easy to forget, perhaps too easy to study and forget. We can read the same passage many times and then we notice – that is yet another example of the Trinity, or the Two Natures, or the Word/Spirit combination.

Here is it – the seed of David according to the flesh.
Declared the Son of God with power by the Spirit.


God and Man.

How are we forgiven our sins? Christ, as God and Man, died for our sins. The preaching of this Gospel creates and sustains faith in our hearts, by the power of the Holy Spirit. This Word-Spirit created faith receives the blessings God has graciously provided for us.

The Word conveys Jesus to us. The Word in all its forms is the Instrument of God’s grace.


"Melanchthon, the Hamlet of the Reformation, shrinking from action into contemplation, with a dangerous yearning for a peace which must have been hollow and transient, had become more and more entangled in the complications of a specious but miserable policy which he felt made him justly suspected by those whose confidence in him had once been unlimited."
            Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, Philadelphia: 1913 (1871), p. 85.         

"If we would be Christians, therefore, we must surely expect and reckon upon having the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies, who will bring every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where the Word of God is preached, accepted, or believed, and produces fruit, there the holy cross cannot be wanting. And let no one think that he shall have peace; but he must risk whatever he has upon earth--possessions, honor, house and estate, wife and children, body and life. Now, this hurts our flesh and the old Adam; for the test is to be steadfast and to suffer with patience in whatever way we are assailed, and to let go whatever is taken from us."
            Large Catechism, The Lord's Prayer, Third Petition, #65, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 715.     

"That forbearance which is a fruit of the Spirit retains its characteristic kindness whether directed toward friend or enemy, toward rich or poor."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 103.

"Prayer is made vigorous by petitioning; urgent, by supplication; by thanksgiving, pleasing and acceptable. Strength and acceptability combine to prevail and secure the petition."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 107.

"The Lord's Prayer opens with praise and thanksgiving and the acknowledgement of God as a Father; it earnestly presses toward Him through filial love and a recognition of fatherly tenderness. For supplication, this prayer is unequaled. Hence it is the sublimest and the noblest prayer ever uttered."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 107.

"This, mark you, is the peace of the cross, the peace of God, peace of conscience, Christian peace, which gives us even external calm, which makes us satisfied with all men and unwilling to disturb any. Reason cannot understand how there can be pleasure in crosses, and peace in disquietude; it cannot find these. Such peace is the work of God, and none can understand it until it has been experienced."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 111.

"The reference [the Votum] is simply to a disposition to trust and love God sincerely, and a willingness of heart and mind to serve God and man to the utmost. The devil seeks to prevent this state by terror, by revealing death and by every sort of misfortune; and by setting up human devices to induce the heart to seek comfort and help in its own counsels and in man. Thus led astray, the heart falls from trust in God to a dependence upon itself."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 111.



"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing. His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith. For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., xd., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 355. John 20:19-31.       

"For the devil will not allow a Christian to have peace; therefore Christ must bestow it in a manner different from that in which the world has and gives, in that he quiets the heart and removes from within fear and terror, although without there remain contention and misfortune."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 380.

"Joy is the natural fruit of faith. The apostle says elsewhere (Galatians 5:22-23): 'The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.' Until the heart believes in God, it is impossible for it to rejoice in Him. When faith is lacking, man is filled with fear and gloom and is disposed to flee at the very mention, the mere thought, of God. Indeed, the unbelieving heart is filled with enmity and hatred against God. Conscious of its own guilt, it has no confidence in His gracious mercy; it knows God is an enemy to sin and will terribly punish the same."
            Sermons of Martin LutherVI, p. 93.

"To rejoice in the Lord--to trust, confide, glory and have pride in the Lord as in a gracious Father--this is a joy which rejects all else but the Lord, including that self-righteousness whereof Jeremiah speaks (9:23-24): 'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he hath understanding, and knoweth Me.'"
            Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 95.

"Now, suppose some blind, capricious individual intrudes, demanding as necessary the omission of this thing and the observance of that, as did certain Jews, and insisting that all men follow him and he none--this would be to destroy equality; indeed, even to exterminate Christian liberty and faith. Like Paul, in the effort to maintain liberty and truth, everyone should refuse to yield to any such demand."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, VI, p. 98.   

"Christ's kingdom grows through tribulations and declines in times of peace, ease and luxury, as St. Paul says in 2 Cor. 12:9 'My power is made perfect in weakness, etc.' To this end help us God! Amen."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 99.

"The ultimate purpose of afflictions is the mortification of the flesh, the expulsion of sins, and the checking of that original evil which is embedded in our nature. And the more you are cleansed, the more you are blessed in the future life. For without a doubt glory will follow upon the calamities and vexations which we endure in this life. But the prime purpose of all these afflictions is the purification, which is extremely necessary and useful, lest we snore and become torpid and lazy because of the lethargy of our flesh. For when we enjoy peace and rest, we do not pray, we do not meditate on the Word but deal coldly with the Scriptures and everything that pertains to God or finally lapse into a shameful and ruinous security."
            What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 18.

"The church is recognized, not by external peace but by the Word and the Sacraments. For wherever you see a small group that has the true Word and the Sacraments, there the church is if only the pulpit and the baptismal font are pure. The church does not stand on the holiness of any one person but solely on the holiness and righteousness of the Lord Christ, for He has sanctified her by Word and Sacrament."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 263. Matthew 24:4-7.     

"When you preach or confess the Word, you will experience both without, among enemies, and also within, in yourself (where the devil himself will speak to you and prove how hostile he is to you), that he brings you into sadness, impatience, and depression, and that he torments you in all sorts of ways. Who does all this? Certainly not Christ or any good spirit, but the miserable, loathsome enemy...The devil will not bear to have you called a Christian and to cling to Christ or to speak or think a good word about Him. Rather he would gladly poison and permeate your heart with venom and gall, so that you would blaspheme: Why did He make me a Christian? Why do I not let Him go? Then I would at last have peace."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 928.  

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