Sermon for 01.02.22 2nd Sunday after Christmas “God loves YOU dearly”

*Sermon for 01.02.22 2nd Sunday after Christmas Text: Ephesians 1:3-14
Theme: God loves YOU dearly!*

*In the Name of the Father…Amen.*

*The Epistle lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.*

*Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the Father through our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.*


*Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:*

*God loves me dearly, Grants me salvation,*

*God loves me dearly, Loves even me. *

*Therefore I’ll say again: God loves me dearly, God loves me dearly, Loves
even me. *

*I was in slav’ry, Sin, death, and darkness;*

*God’s love was working To make me free. *

*Therefore I’ll say again: God loves me dearly, God loves me dearly, Loves
even me. *

*Text: Public domain*


*Dear brothers and sisters of Christ Jesus: How much does God love you? *

*Have you ever pondered that thought? *

*God loves each one of you dearly. *

*The Father loves you so much that he sent his only-begotten Son, born of
the Virgin Mary, to be your Savior. *

*Jesus loves you so much that he willingly shed his blood for you so that
your sins might be paid for and you could receive forgiveness of those sins
and life eternal through faith in him. *

*The Holy Spirit loves you so much that he comes to you and works through
the waters of Baptism and the Word of God to change you from an enemy of
God into a lover and disciple of the only God, the Holy Trinity, Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit.*

*By the power of the Holy Spirit, St. Paul wrote the words of our sermon
text. Paul wrote these words to assure troubled hearts and to show the
wonderful wisdom and grace of our God. He teaches us that*

*God Loves You Dearly . . . and Has from All Eternity!*

*Paul wrote: **“**Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly
places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that
we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for
adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose
of his will**”** (verses 3**–**5, emphasis added).*

*1. **The heavenly Father loves you from all eternity.*

*Consider how dearly we are loved by God. *

*St. Paul tells us that the heavenly Father blesses us in Christ Jesus with
every spiritual blessing. *

*It is amazing to consider that God loved us so much that he sent his
only-begotten Son so that whoever believes in him as their Savior will
receive eternal life.*

*All of us need forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. *

*Is there a person who can truly say that he or she has:*

never thought an unkind thing,

never said an unkind word,

and always has acted in ways that were pleasing to God?

*Even in this season of Christmas, we struggle with selfishness. *

*We are much more willing to be the recipients of gifts than to be the
giver of gifts. *

*Our tempers are expressed more than we like, when holiday guests disrupt
our routines or the situations of celebration cause us to be stressed. *

*In short, our sinful self is always ready to show itself in our actions,
thoughts, and words. *

*The awful reality is that we all have fallen short of the glory of God. *

*We all earn with our sins the wages of death. *

*This is only physical death being spoken of but, more important, also
eternal. *

*Every one of us must confess that he or she has not obeyed the
commandments of God perfectly and needs to be forgiven. *

*We all must understand that we are not able to earn our way to heaven. *

*We simply cannot do enough good works to cover over our many sins. *

*In fact, if we try to earn our salvation by way of God**’**s Law, we must
obey it perfectly, and not one of us has done that. *

*What are we to do? Who will save us?*

*The joyous message of Paul is this:*

God, before the creation of the world, before our creation, considered
carefully how to save us.

And the way that God determined that we were to be saved was in his Son,
Jesus Christ.

The heavenly Father predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters
so that, through faith in Christ Jesus, we are indeed children of the
heavenly Father.

We are heirs of God’s kingdom!

*This is not simply a general proclamation of God**’**s grace but rather it
is a personal one as well. *

God loves *you*. He calls *you* by name. His plan of salvation is for *you*
personally, even as it is for all the elect of God. Rejoice in how dearly
God loves you!

*2. Jesus the Son loves you from all eternity.*

*Jesus, who is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, loves you so
dearly that he willingly became a man. *

*He was born of the Virgin Mary. *

*Thus Jesus was born without sin. *

*And as a man, Jesus lived perfectly under the Law of God so that he might
obey it as you and I have not obeyed it. *

*Jesus loves you and me so dearly that he willingly took our sins, in fact
the sins of the whole lot of mankind, and carried them to the cross of
Calvary. *

*Upon the cross, in obedience to the Law of God, Jesus died. *

*God says that the wages of sin is death and the soul that sins shall
surely die.*

*In order to fulfill the Law of God, Jesus allowed himself to be hung on
that cross. *

*Jesus died on the cross in order that he might redeem us with his blood
shed and his body broken. *

*Jesus once and for all time paid the price of:*

* your sins, *

*my sins, *

*and the whole of mankind**’**s sins. *

*Jesus didn**’**t remain in the grave but rose again on the third day
victorious over sin, Satan, and death. *

*He thereby assures us that all has been completed on behalf of our
salvation. *

*Paul reminds us that this plan of salvation was in place even before we
breathed our first breath.*

*3. The Holy Spirit loves you from all eternity.*

Jesus and the Father send the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit,
to work through the Word and Sacra­ments to call unbelievers into true
faith and to sustain them in the true faith.

It is God’s desire that all people be brought into saving faith.

*We know this is his will from so many passages that point it out. *

*For example: *

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever
believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people”
(Titus 2:11).

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who
desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”
(1 Timothy 2:3–4).

And last but not least, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for
ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

*St. Paul, in our sermon text for this morning, reminds us that the Holy
Spirit called each of us to faith, and that the Holy Spirit, comes and
dwells with us. *

*The Holy Spirit changes us by enabling us to have:*

*a new heart,*

*A new mind, *

*A new desire, *

*and a new will to do the will of God. *

*In other words, the Holy Spirit leads us to strive to serve God and our
neighbor above ourselves. *

*The best way that we can serve our neighbors who are Christians is to
encourage them in their faith. *

*The best way that we can serve our unbelieving neighbors is to invite and
bring them to church so that they might hear the message of salvation in
Christ Jesus.*


*And when we find that we have fallen and sinned against God**’**s holy
will, which happens daily, the same Holy Spirit enables us to repent of our
sin and strive once again to walk according to God**’**s will. *

*See how much God loves us dearly. *

*He doesn**’**t leave us without a guarantee of our salvation. *

*The Holy Spirit is the guarantor of our eternal inheritance. *

*He is the one who leads us to true faith and enables us to receive the
wonderful blessings of God, blessings which God determined to give us
before the creation of the world.*

*Here is a question that may be impossible to answer: *

How wide is the door to heaven?

This is the kind of question that stumps first year seminary students and
those that are intellectually curious.

Well, how wide is the door to heaven?

“This wide”—the width of Jesus’ arms outstretched on the cross.

*God knew before creation that you were and are precious to him (Ephesians
1:4). *

*God knew that his Son, Jesus, would be the only way for you to attain
heaven. *

*He sent Jesus to save you, even though he also knew all your sins before
you had ever done them. *

*Remember, God loves you dearly! *

*Dear brother and sister in Christ, God indeed loves you dearly! *

*In Jesus**’** name. Amen.*

*Let us pray:*

*He sent forth Jesus, My dear Redeemer, *

*He sent forth Jesus And set me free. *

*Therefore I’ll say again: God loves me dearly, God loves me dearly, Loves
even me. *

*Jesus, my Savior, Himself did offer;*

*Jesus, my Savior, Paid all I owed. *

*Therefore I’ll say again: God loves me dearly, God loves me dearly, Loves
even me. *

*Now I will praise You, O Love Eternal; *

*Now I will praise You All my life long. *

*Therefore I’ll say again: God loves me dearly, God loves me dearly, Loves
even me. *

*Text: Public domain*

*The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and
minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.*

*In the Name of the Father…Amen.*