Luke: Gospel Beginnings

Sermon by J. Ligon Duncan on December 7, 2008

Luke 1:1-7

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The Lord’s Day
Morning

December 7, 2008

Luke 1:1-7

“Gospel Beginnings”

Dr. J. Ligon
Duncan III

If you have your Bibles, I’d invite you to turn with me to
the Gospel of Luke, chapter one. We begin today a study through this great
Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I was on the phone on Wednesday in a conference
call in which John MacArthur was participating, and he was saying that on this
Sunday morning in Orange County, California, at Grace Community Church, he is
going to be completing his study of the Gospel of Luke with his congregation.
Now, a word of encouragement to you: it’s only taken John ten years to get
through the Gospel of Luke! Now the encouragement to you is it will not take me
that long, Lord willing! It will take a little time, but it won’t take that
long. But what a great, great Gospel it is.

Now, we call it the Gospel of Luke. When we say
gospel
in this context we mean something a little bit different than when we
use the word gospel to refer to the message of salvation through Jesus
Christ. The gospel
, that
message of salvation through Jesus Christ, is good
news.
It is a message. It is something announced or proclaimed.
It is that central truth of salvation by God through His grace and through our
response of faith in Christ Jesus, in which we acknowledge that God is our maker
and sin is our failure; and that Christ is our Savior, and that faith is our
answer, and that new life is our pleasure. God has created us, He’s made us for
Himself, and our hearts are restless unless they find their rest in Him, and yet
we have rebelled against Him. We have chosen to worship other gods or we have
chosen to worship ourselves instead of Him, and the Bible tells us that when we
do that the wages of sin is death. And yet, God in His love has not left us
under the condemnation of our sins. He has sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ,
into this world not only to live perfectly but to bear the due penalty of sin
for all who trust in Him, so that when we put our trust in Jesus Christ, when we
believe on Him as He is offered in the gospel, we are pardoned and forgiven. We
are accepted and adopted into His family, and we live a new life. We live no
longer to ourselves, we live to Him. We no longer live to the perpetual endeavor
and ambition to please ourselves and to attain an earthly and worldly
satisfaction, but we find the fullness of joy, the abundance of joy that God
gives us, only in Jesus Christ, when we die to self and live to Him. And that
gospel message is a core proclamation in the preaching of the New Testament. We
find it all across the book of Acts.

When we refer to the
Gospels
, we’re not talking about that message. We’re talking about
the four books that give you the context for appreciating that message.

Those four books — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
— tell us the story of the life, ministry, death, burial, resurrection and
ascension of Jesus Christ, which are all essential to the gospel message
.
And they explain the meaning of the life, ministry, death, burial, resurrection
and ascension of Jesus Christ. They give us the history, in other words, of the
person and work of Christ, and then they explain the significance of the person
and work of Christ, in order that we would understand the gospel message.

One of the very interesting things that you find in
the book of Acts is that every gospel presentation except for one begins with
the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus Christ. And isn’t it
interesting that that is exactly how the Gospel of Luke begins?

The Gospel of Luke doesn’t begin with the birth of
Jesus, it begins before the birth of Jesus. And it doesn’t just begin
with the birth of John the Baptist, it points us back to the Old Testament and
to the prophecies and the promises of the Old Testament which are accomplished
and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. And so the Gospel of Luke begins with the Old
Testament. It begins with the Hebrew Bible. It begins with the prophecies that
God had made long ago. That’s one way that God tells us that He’s not just at
that point in time beginning to work for His people a salvation, but He has
been working for our salvation not only from before the foundation of the world,

but throughout the history of His people in the Old Testament. And those things
are connected in the Gospel of Luke, and we’ll see that amply as we study Luke 1
and 2.

Well, today we’re just going to look at the first six
or seven verses. If you look at the first four verses of Luke, it’s his
introduction. It’s his prologue to the book. And then he begins to tell the
story of this obscure priest and his wife, Zechariah and Elizabeth. And we’re
just going to get the first snippet of their story as we study this Gospel
today. Let me tell you four things to be on the lookout for in your reading.

First of all, when we get to verse 1, I’d like you
to be asking yourself some questions about this.
What does verse 1 tell me
about God’s plan in the story that’s unfolding in Luke 1? What does verse 1 tell
me about the accomplishment of God’s plan? Second, when we get to verse 4, I
want you to ask yourself a question: What does this verse tell me about the
importance of truth to the Christian faith and life?…What does this verse tell
me about the importance of truth to the Christian faith and life? When we get to
verse 5 (this one’s maybe a little bit harder to see at first, but it really
just struck me this week) …when we get to verse 5, I want you to ask yourself a
question: Doesn’t verse 5 point to an irony in God’s providence that we don’t
just see in Luke, we see it all over the Bible? There’s an irony, I think, in
verse 5. I’ll draw it to your attention when we get there, but you be on the
lookout for it. And then in verses 6 and 7, as the story of Zechariah and
Elizabeth is unfolding look for this: look for the trials and particularly the
great trial in their life and ask the question, “What does the trial of
Zechariah and Elizabeth teach me about how I am to respond to God’s providence?”

Well, be on the lookout for those things. Let’s pray
before we read and hear God’s word.

Heavenly Father, this is Your word, and so we ask
that You would help us to hear it for what it is — the words of God, not the
words of men. And it is the beginning of the Gospel of Luke, so make us mindful
and trusting in the gospel of Your dear Son as we read it, mark it, and learn
it, and inwardly digest it by Your Holy Spirit. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Hear God’s word:

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the
things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the
beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us,
it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some times
past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you
may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

“In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named
Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of
Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God,
walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they
had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.”

Amen. And thus ends this reading of God’s holy, inspired,
and inerrant word. May He write its eternal truth upon all our hearts.

It is one of my dreams for our congregation, one of
my prayers for our congregation, that we would become increasingly over time a
gospel-saturated and a gospel-centered congregation. That is, a congregation
that is saturated by the knowledge of the truth of the gospel and impelled in
our life and ministry by the power of the gospel, motivated to live and serve by
the gospel, preoccupied with sharing the gospel and living out the gospel. And
what better way to learn how to be gospel preoccupied and gospel centered than
to study through the Gospels — or to take a Gospel like the Gospel of Luke and
let it inform our life and our ministry together? And so I hope over the course
of our time together we would become gospel saturated and gospel centered, and
gospel preoccupied and gospel proclaiming as a congregation. More and more I
believe that if we were, it would profoundly impact our relationships in our
families and in the congregation. I think it would profoundly impact how
welcoming we are to others who are not like us, how effectively we reach out to
our community and bear witness not simply with our lips (but certainly with our
lips) and also with our lives as we live and minister amongst the people of
Jackson and Hinds County and the surrounding counties. I believe that it would
have a profound impact upon us, and so I’m excited about embarking upon this
journey of study through the Gospel of Luke. And as we do so this morning
there’s so much to say here, but I want to draw your attention to four things.

I. The Christian gospel begins
with what God has done for us.

The first thing I want to draw your attention to
is this: Luke makes it clear in this passage that the story of God’s redemption
in Jesus Christ begins with a focus on what God is accomplishing among
us.
You see this in verse 1. Luke says to Theophilus,

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative…” [of what?] “…of the
things that have been accomplished among us.”

And when he begins to catalogue in the next two chapters
the things that have been accomplished among us, you will see that those things
first are accomplished by God himself. It’s not a record of what we’ve
accomplished; it’s a record of what God has accomplished.

Second, you’ll see that it is a record of what God
has prophesied that He would do in the Old Testament coming to pass in the very
time of Luke and his friends and their contemporaries.
And so Luke is
drawing our attention when he says, ‘Theophilus, I want to tell you what’s
happening and what has happened in our midst and in our time.’ He’s not just
saying, ‘I want to give you a report on yesterday’s news.’ He’s not just saying,
‘I want to make a catalogue of some stuff that has happened.’ He’s saying, ‘I
want to tell you what God is doing in fulfillment to His prophecies and promises
in the Old Testament.’ It’s so important for us to appreciate that focus. The
Gospels begin with a focus on what God has accomplished in accordance with His
word. Beforehand He promised and prophesied what was going to happen in the
coming of His Son, the Messiah, and now in Luke’s own time He has fulfilled and
accomplished those promises and prophecies, and the gospel begins there.

Why is that so important? Because even in
evangelical churches (and, heaven knows, outside of evangelical churches) so
often the content of the ministry of the preached word or of the messages that
are being given is not focused on God, His glory, the gospel, or Jesus Christ.
It’s focused on something else. Very often what goes as a message in Christian
churches is the encouragement that God is here to help you reach your full
potential. In other words, the message is essentially about you, and God is the
best means for you to get what you want.

Now I want you to understand that from a biblical
perspective that’s entirely upside down. God is not the best means for you to
reach your ends, He is the chief end of man and we live for His glory. And so
when we say that God is the best means to achieve our ends, we have just turned
the story of the Bible upside down. And Luke is putting it right side back up
for us by pointing us to what God is doing.

You know, we’ve said over and over that J.I. Packer
says that the secret to a soul-fattening Bible study is to ask first, “What does
this passage teach me about my God?” and then only secondarily ask, “Okay, how
then does that inform how I am going to live?” The first message is what does
this passage teach me about my God, and we see it here in Luke as he draws our
attention to what God is accomplishing among us in fulfillment of the Old
Testament. It’s vital for us to listen to the word of God and ask ourselves, “Is
the focus here on God? Is the focus here on His gospel? Is the focus here on His
Son, or is the focus on something else?” If we are listening to messages where
the focus is on something else other than God, the gospel, His glory, His grace,
and His Son, then you can be assured that that message did not emanate from the
Scriptures. It came from somewhere else. And Luke is putting things in
perspective for us by pointing to God’s accomplishments among us. It’s all about
God. This is His story. This is His plan. This is His purpose being
accomplished, and Luke is drawing our attention to that. And what we learn from
that is this: the Christian gospel begins with God’s accomplishments on our
behalf.

II. The Christian faith is
founded upon tuth

Now there’s a second thing I want you to see as
well, and you see it especially in verse 4.
Before Luke gets to the “once
upon a time”… and he gets to the “once upon a time” in verse 5… ‘Once upon a
time there was a king named Herod.’ He gets to that in verse 5, but before he
gets there he tells Theophilus, this friend of God who is either someone who is
interested in the gospel and has heard about the gospel but who has not yet
believed on Jesus Christ, or he is a young Christian, or this book is ultimately
focused on an audience of young Christians and those who are being introduced to
the gospel…whatever the audience is, Luke is telling you why he’s writing the
book. ‘Here’s why I’m writing the book.’ Verse 4, here’s what he says:

“That you may have certainty concerning the
things you have been taught.”

In other words, Luke believes that it is absolutely
imperative that we understand the truth on which Christianity is founded; that
we understand the basis of the gospel message in the light and ministry, the
person and work of Jesus Christ, because Christianity is an historical
religion. It claims that God has intersected and intruded into [if we can
use that language] human history, and therefore there is truth, there are
facts, there are events, there are concrete things that have happened that form
the basis of what God is doing in His plan of salvation
.

And so Luke’s work of this Gospel is not just a
story, it’s a true story. It contains history. There are events and facts
and truths that are essential to the gospel that he’s proclaiming, and so he
says to Theophilus and to all his readers, ‘I want you to be certain about the
basis of the message that you’ve heard proclaimed to you, and so I’m going to
write down — based on eyewitness accounts, based on the proclamation of the
apostles themselves — I’m going to write down things that you could confirm to
this day,’ he says to Theophilus, ‘to people who were eyewitnesses to these
things.’ In other words, he is saying that the Christian faith is founded on
truth.

Notice the language that he uses, by the way, in
verse 2: “Just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses…” [so
they did what? They saw these events.] “…and ministers of the word have
delivered them to us….” They saw these events and then they did what? They spoke
about them. They proclaimed, they preached about them. Then Luke says, “It
seemed good to me to write an orderly account of them.” So notice: they saw;
they spoke; and, he wrote.

Now what’s that all about? It is about Luke saying,
‘I am telling you about something that people alive now, Theophilus, saw with
their own eyes, proclaimed with their mouth; and so that it might be more
certain for you and preserved for the generations to come, I am going to write
it down. Because the truth matters.’

That is something that our generation has a really
hard time grasping. Our generation doesn’t like truth. At least it claims not to
like truth. What it means by that is that it doesn’t like your truth. It would
like to substitute another truth, and in order to do that in a cordial sort of
way, it just declares that there is no truth. And then it proceeds to substitute
its own truth for your truth. And so all around us we see a claim that truth is
not essential to Christianity.

I was told just this past week about an interview
with Will Smith. Yes, the actor, Will Smith. And in this interview, the
interviewer said, ‘Now, Will, it is rumored that you are involved in or enamored
with Scientology’ (a very famous California cult that celebrities are so often
involved in)…and the interviewer said, ‘It’s rumored that you’re involved in or
enamored with Scientology. But, Will, you grew up a Baptist. How do you
reconcile those things?’ And he went on to say, ‘Well, you know, I grew up in a
neighborhood where there were Muslims and Christians, and Jews and Hindus, and
atheists and others. And I believe that any way someone approaches God, if it
works for them, that’s wonderful. I think that everyone has truth. We all call
the same God by different names. And, anyway, my grandmother taught me
ultimately it was about being a good person, doing good things.’1

Now, it was a fascinating answer. Rarely, rarely in
an interview have I seen so much confusion packed into so few words…but I don’t
have time to go into that right now. But here’s the point: Had Will Smith said
to Luke, ‘Look, I don’t want to get all hung up in the truths and the doctrines
and the claims about who Jesus is and what He is, I just want to be a good
person and do good things,’ Luke would have said, ‘Fine. You’re not a Christian.
Christians believe this. It is essential to Christians. Christians are not just
people interested in doing good things.’

We are interested in doing good things, but
when people come along to you and they say, “You know, it doesn’t matter what
you believe; what matters is doing good things,” let me tell you what they’re
always after.

One is they are after redefining what it means to do
good things, because your good things and their good things I promise you do not
match up!

And secondly, even though they deny it, they’re
actually about redefining what you think is truth. Even though they say truth
doesn’t matter and it’s about doing good things, they are after both changing
your views and your practice of what good things are.

And they’re after changing your truth, because even
people who claim there is no truth believe in truth. Everybody has their non-negotiables,
and the minute they tell you they don’t have them, they’ll slide them under the
door.

And Luke is saying you need to understand that the
Christian faith is founded upon truth. Christians believe these things, and
these things are essential to the doing that Christians do. Christians do the
things we do because we believe the things that we believe, because the things
that we believe are true! And so there is a connection between truth and faith
and practice, and they flow. And if you break the chain between any of those,
the Christian faith falls apart.

So Luke is telling us that the Christian faith is
founded upon truth, and it’s important for us to know these things and to
believe these things and to understand that these things are based on truth —
events that really happened. This is not a fairy tale.

III. The Christian story
reveals an irony.

Third, did you see the intriguing irony in verse
5? Just read it again: “In the days of Herod, the king of Judea, there was a
priest named Zechariah.”
Now, if you had been reading the weekly edition of
“The Jerusalem Post” in those days, no doubt you would never have read a
front-page article about Zechariah (he was just a priest), although you probably
would have read a lot about Herod. I will forebear comparing him to a recent
President of the United States who was in the newspaper almost every day, and
not always for the best reasons. Herod was just like that. You would have
probably found him on the front pages of the paper a lot; and therefore, people,
because of his position and because of his notoriety, would have assumed that
Herod was far more important that Zechariah. Not in God’s economy.

Herod was a pawn. He was the king, but he was a pawn
in the plan of God. This unknown priest, Zechariah, he was the chosen instrument
that God was going to work through. You understand that this is always the way
it is, my friends. The world looks at faithful believers, obscure believers,
marginal believers, and says that’s not important. They’re not important. The
really important things that are going on in the world are going on in
Washington and London, and Moscow…Beijing. Nope. They’re going on in the lives
of yielded believers whom the Lord has chosen to be His instruments for the
propagation of the gospel and for the building of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus
Christ.

The world may think that they are obscure and
unimportant. Fine. But in God’s economy the kings are pawns, and His people are
His instruments
.

My friends, there is nothing that we do for Christ or
for the gospel that is wasted in God’s economy, and it doesn’t matter whether
the world gives us acclaim for that or not. We’re not looking for the world’s
applause or acclaim. But I promise you this: nothing that you ever do…nothing
that you ever do for Christ or for His gospel or for His kingdom will be wasted.

It’s an intriguing irony, isn’t it? Nobody would have
paid attention to little Zechariah, but he was the one that God was planning to
use, and Herod was a pawn.

IV. The Christian life entails
both faithfulness and trials.

One last thing. Not only do we see that the Christian
gospel begins with God’s accomplishment; that the Christian faith is founded
upon truth; that the Christian story reveals this intriguing irony in God’s
providence where He uses the weak to confound the strong and the obscure to
confound the famous, and to advance His purposes

Don’t you love the way that Zechariah and
Elizabeth are described in verse 6? They were righteous before God. They walked
blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. Luke is telling
his Jewish readers, ‘Look, these were godly saints! They loved the Law of Moses.
They lived according to their Hebrew Bibles. They walked with integrity. These
were salt of the earth believers,’ he’s saying to his Jewish readers. But…verse
7…they had no child.

It’s resounding, isn’t it? They loved the Lord. They
walked in His ways. They served His kingdom. They gave their all from the inside
out for Him, and they were going through the most grievous of trials. It is
difficult for us today to even begin to understand the trial of childlessness
for a Hebrew believer in the days of Christ or before Him. It is hard for us to
understand. As grievous as that trial is — and it is a generational trial which
we know all too well and there may well be people in this room right now that
are wrestling with that particular trial — it’s still hard for us to get our
heads into how difficult a trial that was for a Hebrew.

And isn’t it interesting that over and over in the
Bible, starting back with Abraham, there is this particular trial? Abraham longs
for a son, and when God says to Abraham, “I’m your shield and your reward; I’m
your inheritance,” Abram’s response is, ‘Lord, what does it matter, if I don’t
have a son to give it to?’ Or Hannah’s importunate prayers when she begs for a
child, in I Samuel; or Manoah and his wife praying that God would give them a
son.

Over and over in the
Bible, remarkable stories of God’s purposes in the overall plan of redemption
begin with a childless couple, and often the couple is advanced in years
.

Why? To teach us two things:

that God’s power is perfected in weakness
and God’s glory is displayed in our weakness; and, on the other hand,

to teach us that though God had one Son
without sin, He has no sons without trials.

It teaches us that God’s power is perfected in
weakness. What better way to show that this is a story that God Himself is going
to accomplish than to point to two human beings who are not only not even going
to have another generation to pass their line on to? How dependent is this plan
upon the intervention of the Lord? It’s that dependent. It’s utterly dependent
upon Him. Our weakness will not accomplish this; His strength will. God’s power
is perfected in weakness. That’s what we learn.

But we also learn, my friends, that wonderful,
God-fearing, Bible-believing, gospel-treasuring, Christ-exalting Christians can
endure great and grievous trials. Have you ever heard a preacher say if you just
believed you wouldn’t have trials? If you just have enough faith, you won’t
suffer? It’s a lie, my friends, it’s a lie. The greatest and godliest saints in
the Scripture had lives that were filled with trials, and whether your trial
today is barrenness — you long, you ache for a child of your own, and the Lord
has not seen fit to bless you with your own child — or whether you’ve suffered a
tremendous bereavement from which your heart cannot even catch your breath…or if
you’re undergoing whatever trial it is, I want to say this to you. Luke is
saying that the Christian life entails both faithfulness and trial. It
was an old Puritan who said that God had one Son without sin, but no sons
without sorrow. And even if God has called you to trial, I want to tell you
this: there is no place like trial for God to prove himself to you that His
power is perfected in your weakness.

And that is one of the great stories. We’re going to
see it unfold in the life of this couple. We’re going to see that story unfold.
Now in their case, they’re going to be given a son. But that’s not how God
always unfolds it. You remember the Apostle Paul prayed to the Lord three times
‘take away this thorn in the flesh,’ and God’s word to Paul was not, ‘Good,
Paul. You’ve suffered long enough. I’m going to take away that thorn in the
flesh.’ His word to him was simply this: “My grace is sufficient for you.” That
may be God’s word to you this morning. His word to you may not be a relief from
your circumstances by His intervention — although that may be His answer. His
answer to you may be relief in your circumstances by His all-sufficient grace,
because God does not comfort us by simply changing our circumstances. He
comforts us by giving us His Son, who takes upon himself our trials and our
deserving of judgment and the burden of our sins, so that one day He will take
us to a place where there is no longer any trial or sorrow or suffering. And
God begins to teach us that truth in this great book. We have much to learn, my
friends. May the Holy Spirit open our eyes and hearts to it.

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, comfort us with the truth of Your
word this day, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

1. Will Smith. Newsweek November 28, 2008.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/171192


A Guide to the Morning Service

Sermon
We begin our sermon series this morning on the Gospel of Luke. This
gospel begins with promises and problems. Sometimes it is almost like God
is showing off. Not in the sinful way that we might do it to draw attention
to ourselves, but it does seem like God shows off from time to time to get
our attention. After all, God promised countless descendents to Abraham
and his barren wife Sarah when they were in their nineties. Why did He not
do this when they were in their twenties? In Egypt, God hardens the heart
of Pharaoh that He might multiply His signs and wonders in the land.
Wouldn’t it have been easier to make Pharaoh let them go as soon as Moses
asked? Or, why does God have to take most of Gideon’s army away from
him before giving them victory over the Midianites? Why did Hannah have
to be barren when the promise of Samuel came? Why did God choose a
shepherd boy named David to become the King of Israel? And here, in the
first chapter of Luke’s Gospel the barren Elizabeth will become pregnant
with John the Baptist, and her virgin cousin, Mary, will bear the Lord Jesus
Christ. Does God just like showing off? It seems that God is trying to teach
us something through all of this: With God, promises are greater than problems.
May our hearts be tuned to respond in worship and adoration as we
see God glorify His Name in the face of what seems to be insurmountable
problems standing in the way of the promises of God.

Old Testament Reading
Calvin said in The Institutes that our hearts are perpetual factories of idols.
For Luther, the issue of the Reformation was justification, but for Calvin, the
most prominent issue was worship.
Idolatry is something that plagues us all. Sure we probably do not worship
little wooden gods that we have fashioned and worship them, but we
all are tempted to have inappropriate trust and comfort in the stuff of this
world. It is easier to look at a nice bank account or find comfort for the
future in a well-planned 401K than it is to look by faith to the Living God.
It is not that bank accounts or 401Ks are inherently wrong; it is only when
we look to those things to find our comfort and security and joy, rather than
looking into God’s Word to find our true hope and comfort.
One of the prominent issues in this oracle concerning Damascus is idolatry.
Verses 7-8 say, “In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes
will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work
of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either
the Asherim or the altars of incense.” God is dealing with the heart of man
by causing them to turn their eyes from the idols entangling their hearts that
they might look to the Living God.

The Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Another of Charles Wesley’s masterpieces of hymnody (the second and
third stanzas are modern, but worthy accompaniment to Wesley’s two stanzas).
It ponders the richness of revelation found in the prophecies of the Old
Testament, and plunges the depths of the reality of the second member of
the Triune God becoming man. “Born Thy people to deliver, born a child and
yet a king, born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring.”
We sing it this morning in response to the reading and preaching of God’s
holy word. Oh, by the way, you may associate this tune with another in our
hymnal–”Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners!”

Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates! (Psalm 24)
This excellent new covenant rendition of Psalm 24 emphasizes the coming
of the Lord, a theme we find in the very opening chapters of the Bible.
Churches that follow the ecclesiastical calendar call this season “Advent,” in
celebration not only of Christ’s first coming but also in anticipation of His
second coming. The church’s longing for the second coming of Christ (as
well as our thankfulness for His first coming) can be fully expressed in the
singing of this psalm.

Comfort, Comfort Ye My People
We will close our morning worship with this carol. The text was composed
by the German philosopher/lecturer, Johannes Gottfried Olearius in the
mid-seventeenth century.

© 2019 First Presbyterian Church.

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