Delivered at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Los Altos, California on Gaudete Sunday (Advent III), December 16, 2018.

Delivered at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Los Altos, California on Gaudete Sunday (Advent III), December 16, 2018. 

Sermon Text: 

The Gospel. St. Matthew xi. 2.
NOW when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Sermon Outline: 

St. John the Baptist found joy amidst suffering, we too too pause from our Advent penance to rejoice in a salvation that has drawn near. 

  1. St. John the Baptist Proclaims the Coming Kingdom.
    a. Yet is arrested, jailed, and sentenced to death.
    b. Sends message to Jesus to ask for a glimmer of hope.
    c. St. John asks his cousin, “Are you the one who is to come?”
  2. St. John the Baptist Receives Word Back
    a. An Excitement to Christ’s words.
    b. Christ is the fulfillment of Isaiah 61
    c. Confirmation that Christ is the Messianic King!
  3. But St. John the Baptist would not enter the Kingdom
    a. Just like Moses, St. John the Baptist only got to experience the joy of anticipation.
    b. St. John the Baptist only caught a glimmer of the Kingdom.
    c. Yet who is greater than St. John the Baptist?
  4. Difference between Christ’s First and Second Advent
    a. Liberation from Pharaoh vs. liberation from Satan.
    b. Darkness of Faith vs. the Beautific vision.
    c. Valley of Tears vs. Unending Joy
  5. Christ did not banish suffering
    a. Christ transformed the meaning of suffering, until his second coming.
    b. “…we have not yet fully taken possession of our salvation.”
    c. Hope guides us through suffering to our reward.
  6. Hope leads us to Joy, even in dire circumstances.
    a. St. John the Baptist rejoiced even in chains.
    b. Moses rejoiced at Mt. Nebo.
    c. In the midst of this valley of tears, let us Rejoice in Hope (Romans 12:12).
  7. Joy and Rejoicing
    a. Henri Nouwen: “Joy is not the same as happiness.”
    b. “Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing — sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war or even death — can take that love away.”
    c. Nouwen
    “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
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Steve Macias
Father Steve Macias is an Anglican priest in California's Silicon Valley. He is the Headmaster of Canterbury Christian School, Rector of Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, and Archdeacon of the West Coast for the Anglican Churches of America. He is married to Sarah and the father to Athanasius, Anselm, Assumpta, Basil and Zoe. His professional work consulting with political campaigns, leading nonprofit organizations, and in the California State Capitol has been recognized by The Los Angeles Times, National Review Magazine, Our Sunday Visitor, The Chalcedon Foundation, and numerous online and print publications. You can reach him on twitter @stevemacias.