“The Glorious Emancipator”

December 10, 2012

Hershey homecoming concert 12/7/12
Hershey Homecoming Concert musicians
Giant Center, 12/7/12

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Note: Due to travel a podcast message was not prepared for this message.

During the next several weeks we intend to develop messages based on  Christmas song themes, some old, others newer, some well-known, others not so much. This notion occurred to us when we attended a Christmas carol singing event last week and were stirred by messages we heard in the lyrics.


“The Glorious Emancipator”

“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives” (Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18). “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Charles Wesley wrote this Advent hymn and printed it in his Hymns for the Nativity of our Lord (1744). Like so many of Wesley’s texts, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” alludes to one or more Scripture passages in virtually every phrase. The dual nature of Advent is reflected in this text, in which we remember Christ’s first coming even while praying for his promised return. Stanzas 1 and 2 recall Advent prophecies in the Old Testament; stanza 3 speaks of Christ’s birth and kingdom, and stanza 4 is a prayer inviting Christ to set up His throne right within our hearts.

Today let us merely consider those wonderful lines, “Born to set Thy people free” and “Born Thy people to deliver.” Charles Wesley in hymnody captures the essence of Christ being our glorious emancipator.

Our first daily text is actually identical in both Isaiah and Luke. Isaiah is a Messianic prophesy which Christ quotes verbatim concerning Himself in launching His ministry. Today we especially focus on the phrase “to proclaim liberty to the captives”. This was at the very heart of our Lord’s mission to earth.

When Jesus uttered the words in the second text He was speaking of the captivity common to all humanity, our captivity to sin. What a glorious truth!  “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  Are you free this day?  If you aren’t, Jesus is still at work in freeing people from their greatest bondage.  Turn to Him today.  If you are free from the bondage of sin, rejoice and be not enslaved again to the yoke of bondage!

We are so blessed in our land to enjoy political and religious freedoms but these are fading. Some of our readers experience few of these freedoms. But today we want to share about a freedom that is available to all infinitely greater than any political or religious freedoms we may or may not enjoy at the present time. One hundred or one thousand years into eternity I suspect that where we lived during our brief earthly sojourn will be of little regard, with the one exception of our decision to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and experience His freedom from sin.

In John 8 Jesus confronted the Pharisees and religious leaders of His day who had challenged His authority. The encounter specifically began when Jesus asserted, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The Pharisees challenged Jesus and the validity of His testimony and of course that has been at the heart of resistance to God’s redemption plan ever since.

Jesus taught that those who “hold” to His teaching are truly His disciples (v. 31).  He said to them “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).  This especially insulted the proud Pharisees who responded, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” (v. 34).

But Jesus was speaking of a slavery that impacts the entire human race; rich or poor, powerful  or weak, intellectual or unlearned, politically free or oppressed. People, no matter their background, are slaves to sin!  Yet this is the very slavery that Jesus came to free us from: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

If you are a citizen of a free country don’t take it for granted. Give thanks to God for this wonderful privilege and consider those who sacrificed for your freedoms. Pray for our brethren who do not have these freedoms. Above all give thanks to God that Jesus paid the supreme sacrifice so that we might be freed from the slavery of sin. That’s something that we can all rejoice in no matter the political persuasion of our country.

Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom,
No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus the glorious Emancipator,
Now and forever He shall be mine.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, how glorious it is to enjoy freedom from sin, thanks to the sacrifice of Your Son on my behalf.  My life, once enslaved to sin, now enjoys the freedom from that which once held me captive to Satan’s bondage.  I live in victory because You have set me free and I am now free indeed.  Thank You, Father, for delivering me from the dominion of darkness and transferring me into the kingdom of Your beloved Son in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sin!  Amen.

 


Our glorious emancipator provides:

1) Freedom from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:18).
2) Freedom from guilt and shame (Colossians 1:21-23).
3) Freedom from fear of death (Hebrews 2:15).

Nigel LeeOn Friday we wrote about Pearl Harbor Day. Nigel, a longtime friend from New England, did some additional research. “I read your message with interest today, especially the part about the Lieutenant who didn’t pass along the warning. It turns out that he had little training and little support, and he was cleared afterward of any wrongdoing. What I find interesting is that he served in the U.S. Air Force until 1961, some 20 more years, and received the Legion of Merit for his work in WWII. So he continued his career and did not let this “mistake” haunt him for the rest of his life.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermit_A._Tyler
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/26/us/26tyler.html?ref=obituaries
According to these articles he went on to live to 96 and died as recently as 2010!


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Personal note: As I have mentioned in the last two messages we have a friend who lost his grandson in a traffic accident last week. Early this morning we are heading out to Columbus Ohio to attend the Memorial service. At the concert Friday evening we heard a song from The Martins that brought tears to our eyes. As it was playing I leaned over and said to Brooksyne “That sure makes me think of Ken” and she whispered “I was thinking the same thing.”
“The Promise”  Video  The Martins

“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”  Video  Red Mountain Music  This version includes additional stanzas I’ve not sung before.

“Glorious Freedom” Video Today’s message title, “Glorious Emancipator” is based on a line in this song which we heard the other night at the Homecoming concert at the Giant Center in Hershey. What a powerful message in this hymn!

Hershey homecoming concert 12/7/12
This is not a very clear photo but shows the colorful stage area. A choir from Lancaster County accompanied several of the songs (lower right in photo)

We were blessed to be at the concert and hear several of our longtime favorite musical groups. The song that touched us and prompted the title is “Glorious Freedom”  and this version is one very similar to what we heard from the Gaither Vocal Band last Friday night.

The Homecoming concerts are a production by Bill and Gloria Gaither who have written many songs most of our readers have probably sung. In the nineties they began to have large arena events where they included other singing groups which gives you a great variety in the course of the 3 hour long concert. We went to a well-attended Homecoming Concert in Worcester MA back in the nineties and were heartened by the interest in  Gospel music even in New England!

Brooksyne and I recall going on a date to hear what was then the Bill Gaither Trio while Bible College students in Springfield Missouri in the seventies (that’s the kind of safe places Bible School students went on dates and it kept us out of a lot of trouble!)


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