I. Introduction (Isa 9:6; John 1:1-5, and 14)
A. Whoever this ‘child’ is, in Isaiah 9, he is said to be the mighty God!
B. For the next two weeks, I want to sit in awe at the Birth of Jesus
1. We have a Christmas hymn titled, What Child Is This?
a. What Child is this, who, laid to rest, On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
b. Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping?
c. This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
d. Haste, haste to bring Him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary.
2. These words would be the ones spoken by the Shepherds as they peered into that Barn shed. What an amazement must have filled their minds
3. I want to try and answer their question – what Child is this?
4. And to do it, I want to look at Three or Four things, leading up to our Christmas Day meeting here on Thursday, 25th of December:
a. The Incarnation
b. The Interference Jesus Caused
c. The Immanuel that Jesus Is
d. And maybe I can fit in, the Idols – the Imitators
e. So, don’t miss a single church meeting!
C. First of all, let’s look at the singular miracle of the Birth of Jesus
D. According to John 1:1-5, 14, the true miracle, and meaning of Christmas was:
1. Not a virgin conceiving a child by the Holy Ghost – which is a great miracle indeed, but not the greatest
2. Not an angelic announcement to shepherds at His birth – another miracle
3. Not a baby in a filthy manger, wrapped in swaddling grave clothes – strange miracle
4. Nor the priceless gifts brought to Jesus from the Wise men - though miracle
E. The Real miracle of Christmas was IN the life of that baby Himself - If we could get a hold of this, it would transform our homes, and community!
F. The ‘Incarnation’ doesn’t mean “X-Mas Trees, expensive gifts, Santa and dangling stockings”. It means “GOD WITH US” - “God in Flesh”. Now THAT was a miracle!
G. But so what? What does that mean? Well, it means everything, both to God, and to this lost and dying world! Let’s take just a moment and see for ourselves from John 1, what the miracle of Christmas really means!
H. The Need for Someone With Skin
1. There was a small voice that penetrated the stillness of the night. It came from the bedroom across the hall. "Daddy, I'm scared!" Out of your groggy, fuzzy state, you respond with, "Son, don't be afraid, Daddy's right across the hall." After a very brief pause the little voice is heard again, "I'm still scared." Always quick with an insight you respond, "You don't need to be afraid - God is with you. God loves you." This time the pause is longer . . . but the voice returns, "I know about God being with me, Daddy; it’s just… I want someone with skin!"
2. It seems like the logic used by the little child is precisely the reason for the incarnation. After thousands of years of being unsuccessful in being able to convince His people that He really loved them, our Creator realized that the best way to demonstrate his love for us was to send "someone with skin on." To prove he was there, loved them, and would save them from all their fears!
I. In Christianity, the incarnation, or the union of the God nature with human nature in the person of Jesus Christ, is a central doctrine. Sharing completely in His divinity and in His humanity (except for sin), Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God in human form.
A. The Word of God – The Pre-Existent Christ -- "The Word" (John 1:1,2)
1. How powerful are YOUR words?
a. Carry no power at all!
b. If you screamed for 8 years, 7 months, and 6 days at the top of your lungs, non-stop, after all that expended energy, you could very well pat yourself on the back – because you would have expended enough energy to just heat up one cup of coffee!
2. Yet, the WORDS out of the mouth of God…
a. Created the entire Universe, from the tiniest to the largest detail
b. Holds the universe together – physics calls it the STRONG force
c. Sustains any believer longer than food can (Mt 4:4)
d. Are written down in a Book called the Bible.
e. Saves a sinners’ soul (1Pet 1:23)
f. Will call us up at the Rapture
g. But best of all, transformed HIMself into a sinless baby!
h. Here was God the Word, becoming flesh, and dwelling right here, with us!
3. The Word of God, IS God – a part of the Three-part-ness of God
4. For 2,000 years, Christians have struggled to fully understand the Trinity
5. Just take it one step at a time
a. There is but ONE God – Jehovah, the I AM
b. That ONE God, is able to express Himself as three different Persons – not three individual ‘Gods’ but three aspects of the same God
1) The Father
2) The Word
3) The Holy Spirit
4) These three are ONE – I and My father are ONE
c. These are God’s titles - God’s way of describing Himself
d. The Creation as an example:
1) The Father came up with His plans, His will for the universe
2) The Word fulfilled that will – created everything as God spoke
3) The Spirit filled that new plan and place with the presence of God throughout the universe
6. It was that WORD that did the following:
a. Spoke the universe into existence 6,000 years ago
b. Confronted fallen Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
c. Spake to Moses out of a burning bush
d. Appeared as a Cloud by day and Fire by night to the Jews in the wilderness
e. Appeared as a Man in the burning fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshek and Abendigo – even Nebuchadnezzar realized this was the Son of God!
7. God determined to become like His creation – not an ape, or a bird, or a elephant – but a Man
8. Here was the WORD of God, that had demanded righteousness, and perfection by the Law at Mount Sinai, becoming the only Man who would be able to fully obey those laws!
9. Some Scriptures on the word of God
a. Gen 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
b. Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
c. Psalms 56:10 In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.
d. Psalms 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
e. Psalms 19:7 ¶ The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
f. Psalms 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
g. Psalms 119:89 ¶ For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
h. Psalms 119:160 ¶ Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
i. Psalms 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
j. Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
k. Revelation 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
10. In summary, every time the Bible refers to the WORD or WORDS of God, it is referring to what later would become FLESH – Jesus
B. The Image of God - The Person of Jesus (1Tim 3:16). By the way, all the “new” bibles pervert this Scripture so that you miss the Deity of Christ here and in scores of other otherwise CLEAR passages!
1. We all kind of accept the fact that the person we refer to as Jesus actually did not start to exist in a virgin’s womb, and later in a Manger – he always existed – he Himself was the Great I AM!
2. But we have a harder time following the fact that this pre-existent person became a Human person – that’s why he most of the time referred to Himself as the Son of Man; the Son of a Human; a Human Man
3. Someone said it this way - "He who never began to be, but eternally existed, and who continued to be what he eternally was, began to be what he eternally was not."
4. Now, Christ Jesus is not a man becoming God (like the Mormons teach), but rather, He is God incarnate, God coming into human flesh, coming into it from outside
5. "The Word did not become a philosophy, theory, or concept to be discussed, debated, or only pondered. But, the Word of God became a living, breathing Person to be followed, enjoyed, and loved!" - From a Christmas Card by DaySpring Cards
6. This “Person” was not just a normal man, but the very image of the Almighty God:
a. 2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
b. Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
c. Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
7. An Example of the Incarnation
a. Have you ever taken a euro, or some coin and place a sheet of paper over it. Once doing this, you take a pencil and brush it across the coin covered by the paper. What you get is an exact representation (an incarnation) of what the coin underneath the paper looks like.
b. To see what God is like we need only to look at the life, and words of Jesus. He is the exact representation, perfect image of God our Father
8. And yet, even though Jesus was the perfect image of God in mortal flesh – He was also a very normal kind of person – Jesus had hands, and a face, and feet – He could be hugged, and talked to (1Jn 1:1-4)
9. For thirty-three years He would feel everything you and I have ever felt.
a. At times, He felt weak.
b. He grew weary on the long walks.
c. He burped, and had body odour.
d. His feelings got hurt.
e. His feet got tired. And sometimes, His head ached.
f. His heart was often broken.
g. He sweated under the sun.
h. He shivered in the cold.
i. He was misunderstood, maligned, made fun of, and a marked Man for the last years of his life.
j. He had to take a bath, and brush his teeth.
k. He ate things that tasted terrible.
l. He grew up HAVING to obey His imperfect parents.
m. He worked hard to learn from Joseph, his step-daddy, how to measure and cut wood for shelves and dressers, like a good Jewish carpenter should!
n. At times, He even was homesick. For His real home, and the glory He used to share with the Father.
o. Jesus was a true and complete Man.
10. To think of Jesus in such a light is—well, it seems almost irreverent, doesn’t it? It’s not something we like to do; it’s rather uncomfortable. It is much easier to keep the humanity out of the life of Christ. We usually try to clean the manure from around the manger. Wipe the sweat out of his eyes. Pretend he never snored or blew his nose or hit his thumb with a hammer.
11. He’s easier to stomach that way. There is something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant, packaged, predictable.
12. But don’t do it. For heaven’s sake, don’t sanitize the Person of Jesus. Let him be as human as He intended to be. Let Him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in, can He pull us out.
C. The Purpose of Christ (2Cor 5:17-19) – The Redemption of All mankind
1. That’s why God the Word became flesh – to redeem sinful flesh - sinners
2. His earthly life as the Highest and the Holiest, entered in first at the lowliest door. Not at the highest as a King, or prince, or President.
3. God became the weakest thing in His own creation, a Baby
4. And by living perfectly the Laws of God in His flesh, and then dying in our place in His flesh, He lifted His creation back to where it was intended to be.
5. Jesus Christ became man for only one purpose: that He might put away sin, so that the whole human race might stand perfect before Him as we all were created to do, becoming the friend and lover of God ourselves.
6. If a person experiences all the fun of X-mas, and gets all the gifts of this world, and misses the Purpose for the Incarnation, and sees it only as a trite babe in a manger scene down on Patrick’s street, then they miss heaven, and forgiveness, and eternal life, and the only hope this world ever has had!
7. The purpose of the birth of Jesus Christ was missed by the Jews 2,000 years ago
a. They Wanted a Ruler to perfectly dictate their lives – hated imperfect leaders
b. Wanted a Deliverer – from the Romans, and those that oppressed them
c. Wanted a Saviour from all their Physical problems
d. And yet, how many people today still yearn for deliverance from the same things? And so they too, pass on, and end their lives empty, and in hell for all eternity!
e. What a sad result
8. Oh that every person in this room, would humble themselves before such an awesome God, who truly loved them, and gave Himself for them!
A. "For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt. Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out." -Max Lucado
B. The Word of God – how mind-bogglingly powerful – Before anything else ever existed, God, the Word existed
C. The Image of God – Christ’s Incarnation
1. "He who never began to be, but eternally existed, and who continued to be what he eternally was, began to be what he eternally was not."
2. A Man – perfect and without sin
D. The Purpose of God – The Redemption of All Mankind
1. That all might be Redeemed – all the debt paid off
2. That all might be Saved – from being forever lost
3. So that anybody could be Born again
E. Here is how to become a Child of such a wonderful God as the Lord
1. Accept the fact that, in God’s eyes, you are a sinner – quit ignoring it
2. Know that your sins will send you to a devil’s hell, for all eternity
3. Repent of your sinfulness – Call out to God in a broken prayer of I am so sorry for who I am and what I have done against you
4. Receive the Person of Jesus Christ into the lead of your life – make Jesus Christ YOUR Lord, and Saviour
5. You can do that right now! In Prayer!