24 December 2016

CHRISTMAS BECAME FLESH


Christmas is a story of grace coming down to earth. It’s a wonderful expression of God’s amazing grace as He walked among us. Grace is one of the precious words of our faith. The word originally meant “charm and beauty.” On one side of the coin its unmerited favor that God shows you and me. On the other side it’s beautiful and life givingThink about that tonight! Grace is not only sufficient for salvation; it brings beauty to life. And when grace enters our lives, death flees. As D L Moody said “You may read in the paper one day that D L Moody is dead, but don’t you believe it.” What D L Moody was saying was “The body dies, but the soul lives on.” When grace enters our lives, we are again able to breathe as we were created to breathe. That’s the grace that we receive from a holy God who came in the flesh to dwell among us. This is what makes Christmas so special for you and me! It’s about the Creator who spoke life into existence came in the form of a man to display what grace is all about. God became a man! Shouldn’t we pause for a moment and sit in awe of God. The perfect sinless, holy, just, self-sustaining, needed no one or anything. Yet He came, to His creation to show what grace looks like in the face of a broken, fallen and sinful world.
In the Gospel of John we see what Christmas is about! God, who is fully God becomes man; fully man who dwells among us to reveal who He is……. God (Incarnate Deity). God cannot get any more personal than that! It’s interesting to note that all 4 of the gospels speak about different characteristics of our Lord and Savior

The theme of Matthew’s gospel is.............Jesus the King 
Mark’s theme...............Jesus the Servant 
Luke’s account............Jesus the Perfect Man 
John expresses the most profound truth in the universe, that Jesus Christ is God in flesh!

The opening narrative of John’s letter is the clearest and most precise representation of God. Jesus is the “Word” who became flesh. George Whitefield spoke of this truth when he said "Jesus was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again." John penned this wonderful truth “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (v14)

For many this statement isn’t true. And for many at Christmas, most of the world sees Jesus as a baby in a manger and nothing more. I want to share with you some Christmas truths about this statement “Word became flesh” as we leave here tonight as we celebrate with our families tomorrow.

Jesus made Himself of no reputation. (v10-v11)

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.

We know this to be true, even today! Otherwise our churches would be full thought-out the year every week. What does that rejection that Jesus received looked like? Maybe it looks like this! “A poor family was farming some land during the depression. There was one son in the family and the parents wanted the best for him. They scrimped and saved so they could send him to college. After he has gone for a year or so, his parents, who loved him very much longed to see him again. They sold some things, saved their meager income and went to visit their boy. When they arrived on campus, poorly dressed in their simple and plain farm clothes they spotted their son with some other boys. The father ran to him and called out, “Son, son it’s your father.” The boy looked at his dad with no sign of recognition. The father repeated his words. “Son, it’s your father and mother. We’ve come to see you.” The boy no doubt embarrassed by his parents’ poverty turned to the other students and said, “I don’t know who this is. He must be crazy.” You and I may hear that story and think there could be nothing more horrible, but we just read the ultimate rejection. In (v11) we read these painful words, “He came to his own people, and even they rejected Him.” Jesus Christ is rejected on a daily basis then and still today! I read this passage and I’m reminded of what Jesus said in Mark’s gospel! Mark 12:1-11 “And he began to speak to them in parables.

" A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture: " The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"


Sadly this is continuing to happen even after what Jesus did accomplished [His death and resurrection]. Don’t you find it amazing that the angels went to common men to proclaim the good news and not the high priests, the religious leaders or the ruling government? Grace, God in flesh came down from Heaven and we continue to reject Him.
  
Jesus humbled Himself on behalf of you and me to redeem us. (v12-v13)

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

It’s the power of God unto salvation
It’s God who raises the dead to give new life
It’s God who calls you to this grace
It’s God who restores and makes new
It’s God who came to this earth to rescue sinners form the wrath of the Father.

 See there is nothing that we can do to in order to find or attain salvation! This is where we go “pew” or that sigh of relief. This is where grace came down from Heaven and glory filled my soul.

As the hymn song goes….. 
“Heaven came down and glory filled my soul
When at the cross my Savior made me whole
My sins were washed away and my night was turned to day
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul”

See!
It’s not about working our way to Heaven.
It’s not about growing up in a Christian home.
It’s not about your ability to attain salvation.
It’s only by the overflowing grace of God unto sinners that anyone of us is saved.

Redemption is a gift! 
You can’t make yourself better.
You can’t raise yourself up from the dead.
You can’t save yourself from the wrath of God.
You can’t restore what you’ve broken eternally.

No matter how hard we try to be good enough, each of us has sinned and fallen short, when measured by God’s standard of perfection. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23. But be of good cheer! This is why He came in the first place to redeem us from ourselves.

Which leads me to my final point!
  
Jesus came to reveal the grace of God to man. (v14-v18)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'") For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

We also read in John 1:1,8,9. In Jesus we see God….in Jesus we see the glory of God and the plan He has providential put in place to save sinners like me. The Word became flesh to take on a human form to bear our sin on the cross. Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus is the only way for our sins to be forgiven. Heb 10:4-10 tells us this truth!For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'" When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), then he added, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” A body to suffer for the weight of our sin. His hands, His feet, His side and the weight of sin and the wrath of God were placed upon His human body. Why? So that we could receive the gift of eternal life, find restoration and forgiveness in the shedding of His blood. He took on flesh so that we could see what grace looks and tastes like. “Full of grace” is the only way for us to receive grace. We are able to see and taste that grace through the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came in flesh so that righteousness could only come through Him, the perfect sinless Lamb of God. When you go home tonight and wake up tomorrow remember this truth as you reflect on the Christmas narrative found in Luke!

Christmas is preparation for Good Friday.

Just as God provided a sacrifice for Abraham when he took his son up Mount Moriah. God has provided a sacrifice for you and me! “His only begotten Son of the Father.” As the angel said to Joseph "….Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).” Matt 1:20-23. The Word, the Second person of the Trinity, became flesh and dwelt, lived among us. What a Christmas gift to give to people like us. God gave His Son……..the Son came willingly to this earth to save sinners from eternal judgement that burns for all eternity for those who deny this free gift of grace. God bless CBC Family & Guests…..Have Merry Christmas under His grace!



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