Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
God Comes to the World - December 25, 2016 - Christmas Day - Text: Luke 2:1-20
Over the past four weeks we have been with the angels as they have worked at preparing the world for the Advent, the coming, the birth, of our King, the One promised in the Garden of Eden, the Savior of the world, the Messiah. We began the Advent season by hearing the angel, even God Himself, as we describe Jesus as the pre-incarnate Jesus appear to Abram and reiterate the promise He made in the Garden of Eden, except at this time narrowing the family line of fulfillment of the promise to the family of Abram, whose name He changed to Abraham. We moved on the hear the angel Gabriel announce to Zechariah that he and his aged, barren wife, Elizabeth would give birth to the forerunner of the Messiah. We heard the same angel, Gabriel announce to the unwed, virgin girl, Mary, that she would be the mother of the Savior of the world. We heard the words of the unidentified angel as he spoke to Joseph in a dream to assure him that it was okay to take Mary as his wife, for what was conceived in her was from the Holy Spirit. And, last night we sat out in the country and heard the message of the angel to the shepherds that the Savior was born. This morning the message is to the whole world as we all together celebrate the birth of Jesus.
This morning as we celebrate the birth of our Savior I want to make two points from our text. The first point is about the words that “the time came for the baby to be born (v. 6).” What is it about this time? This time is first and foremost the time from the promise made in the Garden of Eden and reiterated time and again to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob on so on, until now, the time of the promise being fulfilled. The time came means that everything was ready. The world was ready, the children of Israel were back in the promised land, more or less and were ready. Everything was in order and ready according to God’s perfect plan and purpose.
The time came is also in reference to the time for the child to be born, that is, forty weeks, or nine months. This child was conceived and born of a woman, a human woman, and like any ordinary child this child was born after the usual nine months of pregnancy.
Which brings us to the second point I want to draw from this text and that is, what is it about this child that is so special? We read verses seven and eleven, “7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” “11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (v. 7, 11). This child was conceived and born of a woman. This child is Mary’s firstborn child and this child is truly human. That fact that the child was truly human is important, because it is only as a human that He can become a substitute for us, that is that He will be able to trade His perfect life for our imperfect life.
This child was born in humbleness. Although He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He left all the glory that was His in heaven, took on human flesh and blood, and became one of us. He was born a king, indeed He was from the house and lineage of great King David and great King Solomon, yet He was not born in the usual way of nobility. He was not born with lots of money, power, fame or fortune. He was not born with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Instead, He was born to poor, humble parents. He was born in a small town, the home town of His father, Joseph. He was not born in the upper room or guest room of the house because there was no room as other relatives who had arrived earlier took those places. So, He was more than likely born in the main part of the house where the family and some animals stayed which is why His first bed was a manger, a feeding trough for the animals.
This child was born in the town of King David, in Bethlehem. This fact is another important fact because the prophets of old told us very distinctly that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem. If He had not been born in Bethlehem then He could not and would not be the Savior. It is important that we keep the facts straight. Luke the Gospel writer and historian, as well as all the other writers of Holy Scripture were sure to keep their facts straight, for you see, the odds of someone accidentally fulfilling more than one of the Old Testament prophecies, let alone fulfilling them all, is too great to count. Jesus did not fulfill them accidentally or coincidentally, He fulfilled them as a part of God’s plan to save His people, you and me included.
This child is Christ the Lord. He is the one who spoke to Moses and said, “I Am” has sent you. He is Yahweh the one and only true God. He is one hundred percent man and one hundred percent God.
As the world around us celebrates this day as a secular day, as a holiday or even as a Christless Christmas day, exchanging presents, getting a day off, and so on, really with no thought for the reason for the season and the reason for the celebration, we celebrate this day with an understanding that there is greater meaning to the celebration. Yes, we have the privilege of looking back and seeing that these things have already taken place, but that does not diminish our celebration, rather it heightens it as we continue to look forward to His coming again.
Today we celebrate the fact that God’s promise, made some 3000 to 4000 years earlier has come to pass. The perfect world and the perfect union between God and man that God had create and that Adam and Eve had broken was now set to be restored. Something we could not do was beginning to be done by the only one who could do it, God Himself.
Jesus birth marked that God was once more intervening in human history. Again, something we could not do, God set out to do for us. Reminding us that God is not watching us from a distance, but He is right here with us each and every day, each and every step of the way.
Jesus birth marked God taking on human flesh. Jesus became one of us. Jesus lived for us in our place. He struggled through all the temptations of life that we face and indeed He suffered through even more and greater temptations than we might ever imagine. He obeyed all of God’s laws perfectly. He did everything that we are unable to do. Which reminds us and gives us comfort to know that we can take all our troubles, problems, cares, worries and concerns to the Lord because He does know and understand what we are going through, because He has been there.
Most importantly, Jesus came to give His life for ours. The baby was born to die. That is the hard message of Christmas, but it is the message nonetheless. The reason the baby was born was because of our sins, your sins and mine. The reason the baby was born was to give His life for ours, for yours and for mine.
This morning we celebrate. We celebrate because our sins are forgiven. We celebrate because the greatest gift is not the gift we give to each other, it is not any gift which we bring to give to the Lord, as if there were any gift or anything we could bring to Him or give to Him. No, the greatest gift is the gift which God gives to us, the gift of Himself, the gift of forgiveness, the gift of life.
We celebrate because heaven is a present reality. We do not have to wonder about our future. We do not have to wonder about what will happen when we pass on from this world. Heaven is ours. It is a free gift, it is the gift given to us through the life of the child whose birth we celebrate.
The time has come. Today is Christmas Day. Today and for the next eleven days (the twelve days of Christmas beginning last evening) we celebrate the birth of Jesus. If you have not done so already, most of you will leave here, go home, eat and unwrap presents, or unwrap presents and then eat. You may spend time with family and friends. I pray that as you celebrate, that as you unwrap the presents that you exchange with one another, that you will remember that the most important gift is not the presents we exchange, but the gift that God gives to us, the gift of Himself in flesh, the gift of His life for ours, the gift of forgiveness of sins, the gift of new life and the gift of eternal life. May the Lord bless your Christmas celebration to His glory. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.