The Third Sunday of Advent
- Our Faithfulness falls flat
- Jesus’ faithfulness is credited to us!
SERMON TEXT: Luke 3:7-18
So John kept saying to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruits in keeping with repentance! Do not even think of saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ because I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is going to be cut down and thrown into the fire.” The crowds began to ask him, “What should we do then?” He answered them, “Whoever has two shirts should share with the person who has none, and whoever has food should do the same.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized. They said, “Teacher, what should we do?” To them he said, “Collect no more than what you were authorized to.” Soldiers were also asking him, “And what should we do?” He told them, “Do not extort money from anyone by force or false accusation. Be satisfied with your wages.” The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John could be the Christ. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But someone mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor. He will gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Then with many other words, he appealed to them and was preaching good news to the people.
FIRST LESSON: Nehemiah 8:9-18
Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites, who helped the people understand, said to all the people, “Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or cry!” because all the people were crying as they heard the words of the Law. Nehemiah said to them, “Go, eat rich food and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, because today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Then the Levites silenced all the people, saying, “Hush! Today is holy. Do not grieve.” All the people went to eat and drink and to send portions to others and to celebrate with great joy, because they understood the words that had been made known to them. Now on the second day, the heads of the families of all the people, the priests, and the Levites were gathered around Ezra the scribe to study the words of the Law. They found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded by the hand of Moses, that the Israelites should dwell in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month, and that they should proclaim this and make this announcement in all their cities and in Jerusalem: “Go out to the mountains and bring branches from olive trees, wild olive trees, myrtle bushes, date palms, and leafy trees to make shelters, as it is written.” So the people went out and brought branches and made shelters for themselves. Each man made a shelter on his roof. They also made shelters in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the house of God, in the square by the Water Gate, and in the square by the Ephraim Gate. The entire congregation that had returned from the captivity made shelters and stayed in the shelters. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated in this way, because there was very great joy. Ezra also read from the Book of the Law of God every day, from the first day to the last day of the festival. They celebrated a festival for seven days, and on the eighth day they held an assembly according to the ordinance.
SECOND LESSON: Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
VERSE OF THE DAY: Matthew 11:10
I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.
GOSPEL: Luke 3:7-18
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