Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Advent 2015 | Rejoice! Jesus Comes to Bring Us Reconciliation and Restoration

Special Emmaus City Advent Liturgy  | Sunday, January 4, 2015 

Rejoice!: Jesus Comes to Bring Us Reconciliation and Restoration


Rejoice! | Jesus Comes to Bring Us Reconciliation and Restoration Homily Audio:

Rejoice! | Jesus Comes to Bring Us Reconciliation and Restoration Homily Passage and Homily Notes

“The Gift of Gifts” (from the 1600 – 1800s),
Adapted from The Valley of Vision

God, Origin and Creator of all good,
What shall we give to You for the Gift of gifts,

Your own dear Son, begotten, not created,

Our Redeemer, our Advocate, our Assurance, our Substitute,
His self-emptying incomprehensible,

His infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.
Here is wonder of wonders:
 He came below to raise us above,

Was born like us that we might become like Him.
Here is love:
 when we cannot rise to Him He draws near on
wings of grace,

To raise us to Himself.
Here is power:
 when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
 He united them in imperishable unity,
the uncreated and the created.
Here is wisdom:
 when we were undone, with no will to reconcile to Him,

And no intellect to devise restoration,
 He came, God-incarnate,
To save us to the uttermost,

As man to die our death,
 to shed His blood on our behalf,

To work out a perfect righteousness for us.
O God, take us in spirit to the watchful shepherds,

And enlarge our mind; 
let us hear good tidings of great joy,

And hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,

Our consciences bathed in an ocean of restoration,

Our eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;

Place us with the animals in the manger,
To look with them upon our Redeemer’s face,

And in Him account ourselves delivered from sin;

Let us with Simeon clasp the new-born child
to our hearts,
Embrace Him with undying faith,

Rejoicing that He is ours and we are His.
In Him You have given us so much 
that heaven can give no more.

Repentance – in Greek – is metanoia, a change of mind. Repentance is a ruthless dismantling of old ways of seeing and thinking, and then a diligent and vigilant building of new ones. … According to the apostle Paul, sin’s fortress is your mind: the ultimate consequence of evil behavior, he says, is that it makes us ‘enemies in (our) minds’ toward God (Col. 1:21). So God in Christ, and Christ through the Holy Spirit, is seeking to change our minds. All who are in Christ, Paul declares, are new creations being transformed ‘by the renewing of your mind …’ – Mark Buchanan

1) Rejoice! Jesus Comes to Us to Bring Reconciliation so We Can Turn from Our Isolation

And Mary said, “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. – Luke 1:46-55

Reconciliation is profound and beautiful. In the Greek, reconciliation is katallassō which literally means “to change, or exchange; to effect a change.” The word katallassō is often used by the apostle Paul to describe the restoration that can occur after two groups have been at odds (e.g., Romans 5:1-11). Through the process of reconciliation, two groups that were once alienated from each other begin to identify with each other and stand in solidarity. In a world that is plagued by division and inequality, reconciliation requires a profound change in the way we interact with each other. Groups that are accustomed to having little firsthand knowledge of each other must learn to not only know each other, but identify with each other. Groups that are accustomed to being at odds with each other must acknowledge the grievances and then do what it takes to make peace. We’re not meant to ignore our differences; we’re meant to identify and embrace them so that we can know how our identities uniquely contribute to the larger puzzle of the family of God. Reconciliation is not for the faint of heart—but when it actually occurs, it is truly spectacular and well worth the effort. … We begin our journeys of reconciliation … by leaving the comfort and familiarity of our racially isolated worlds, engaging across racial lines, identifying with people of other races and making their burdens our own.” – Dr. Christena Cleveland

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” – Ephesians 2:13-22

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

2) Rejoice! Jesus Comes to Us to Bring Restoration so We Can Turn from our False Ideas of Elevation

And (Simeon) came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.– Luke 2:27-35

"So when they had come together, they asked him, 'Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?' He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:6-8

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. … And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven … “ – Colossians 1:13-14, 18-23

… to say the kingdom has drawn near … is to say the kingdom is now present in Jesus. As Luke’s Gospel puts it: ‘The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst’ (Luke 17:20-21) … ‘The kingdom of God is at hand’ means ‘the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:14).’ … Bonhoeffer in Life Together: ‘Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial.’ We soon discover that our admired saints are less than we expected and our local church fails ‘to deliver’ what we hoped for. This is where we are given the opportunity to embrace the inaugurated reality of the kingdom: we are to embrace ourselves and our fellow ‘saints’ as those in need of grace and forgiveness and love. As Bonhoeffer completes the thought, ‘The bright day of Christian community dawns wherever the early morning mists of dreamy visions are lifting. … we should be both shocked and not shocked by the sinfulness of Christians. Christians live, on one hand, after the inauguration of redemption, so they should be Christlike; but on the other hand, they live in a time when they are not yet fully outfitted for eternity, so they will bear the marks of the flesh.” – Scot McKnight, The Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church

"Imagine an urban church so influenced by the power of the gospel that it seized every opportunity to proclaim and live out the gospel for the good of the city. Imagine that this church physically and spiritually served the poorest of the poor, but also lovingly rebuked the wealthy. Imagine this church as the epicenter of straight-up, God-fearing, Spirit-filled revival, leading thousands of people to eternal life in Christ in just a few years. Imagine a church that built elderly housing, housed orphans in the city, and taught wealthy business people to have a ‘double bottom line’ so they could run a profitable business in order to support the work of the church and meet the needs of the city. In other words, imagine a church that boldly preached the gospel and lived out the values of the kingdom. … the church does not exist to simply ‘fix’ problems. Instead, the church is to carry the burdens of the world to Jesus.” – Matt Carter and Darrin Patrick, pastors of The Austin Stone Community Church and The Journey respectively; co-authors of For the City 

Come, ye sinners,
Poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power!

He is able, He is able;
He is willing; doubt no more!

Come ye needy,
Come, and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh!
Without money, without money
Come to Jesus Christ and buy!

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry 'til you're better,
You will never come at all.
Not the righteous,
Not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requires
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He gives you,
This He gives you,
'Tis the Spirit's rising beam.

Lo! The Incarnate God, ascended;
Pleads the merit of His blood.
Venture on Him; venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.
None but Jesus,
None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good! 

2014 A.D.

Come out of sadness
From wherever you've been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
So lay down your hurt
You're not too far
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There's hope for the hopeless
And all those who've strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There's rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't cure

(Repeat Chorus)

Come as you are
Fall in His arms
Come as you are

There's joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal

2013 A.D.

By His stripes we are healed
By His nail pierced hands we’re free
By his blood, we’re washed clean
Now we have the victory.
The power of sin is broken,
Jesus overcame it all,
He has won our freedom,
Jesus has won it all,

You have won the victory
You have won it all for me
Death could not hold you down
You are the risen king
Seated in majesty
You are the risen king

Our God is risen, 
He is alive
He won the victory, 
He reigns on high


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