Christmas

/Tag: Christmas

Universal Law, Universal Fall, Universal Savior

Download PDF

The Star Didn’t Just Shine on the Magi

 

Matthew 2:1–12 (CSB)

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Christ would be born.

“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah:
Because out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.,

Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship him.”,

After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen at its rising. It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.

 

Dear fellow redeemed:  You may very well have noticed that a text like today’s is included for a particular reason that guides our approach.  Today is the Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord, the feast commemorating the epiphany or manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.  It is also called the “Christmas of the Gentiles” and in some parts of Christendom it is the pinnacle of the Christmas cycle.

The meaning of the text is one thing and its significance is another.  The meaning is simple and straightforward.  It is an account of Magi from the east, from Babylonia or Persia, seeing a star appear and concluding that it signified the birth of the great and long-awaited king of the Jews.  They traveled to the Jewish capital, Jerusalem, to do honor to Him and were in turn directed by Scripture and by the star to the place where Jesus was.

Matthew also alludes to the historical situation: Herod the Great has brutally killed supposed rivals, including some from his own family.  His attempt to destroy the Messiah as a possible rival will lead to the “slaughter of the innocents,” the killing of all boys two years and younger in the vicinity of Bethlehem.

That’s the simple meaning.  That’s what happened.  We see what God did in bringing out this star, what believers like the Magi did, and what atrocities the unbelieving Herod committed.

But its significance goes beyond this and is revealed in Isaiah’s prophecy, Isaiah 60:3 (ESV)  And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Jesus isn’t just for the Jews, …

 

THE CHRIST CHILD IS THE LORD AND SAVIOR

OF ALL THE WORLD
I. Revealed So by God
II. Worshiped As Such by the Magi

  1. Revealed So by God

One of the ways that the old Liar separates people from the hope of the gospel is by casting religion as merely a cultural phenomenon.  That’s the unofficial religious position of our culture today.  I violate that concept every time I greet you at the beginning of a sermon, “Dear fellow redeemed,” because I am declaring that whoever you are in the world, whatever your language, race, color, or culture, Christ is your redeemer.

To say otherwise, to say that Christianity is just a cultural phenomenon, is to deny the universality of sin and the universality of our salvation. It reduces them from divine truth to personal opinion. The world (a Scriptural term meaning everything in the world opposed to Christ), the world wants to compartmentalize this universal truth. In Muslim and in communist countries you may believe such things, but not teach them or actually live according to them.

This is an agenda of “progressivism” in our country too, dividing “religious” from “secular.” The social theory is that you get to exercise your religion only in church, but outside in other organizations you can be required to violate God’s word and you have no choice.  Ask Hobby Lobby’s owners who are forced to pay for abortion drugs for their employees, even though they oppose it.

But if that is bad, then what’s worse is the prohibition of the gospel.  If God’s law isn’t universal, then the gospel isn’t either.  But He IS both Lord of all and Savior of ALL.

So you see the significance in the star that is seen by people elsewhere in the world than in Judea and Galilee. Think about that!  You see the significance of the fact that the Magi saw the star and believed the promise it represented. As God told Abraham, in his seed ALL the nations of the earth would be blessed.

Matthew gives us only the broad outlines necessary to grasp this.  He doesn’t tell us much about the wise men, the Magi (cf. “magician) other than that they were from the East.  They were evidently among the great scholars and observers of Persia or Babylon.  The prophet Daniel was probably one of them.  We still have some incredibly accurate star maps from antiquity that shows how great their knowledge of the heavenly bodies really was. Recently scholars uncovered trig tables that were more accurate than ours. These were not superstitious tribesmen but great scholars.

Their celestial and mathematical knowledge was complemented by the knowledge gleaned from the Jews during their exile in Babylon.  They must have been aware of prophecies like that from Numbers 24:17, I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.  Evidently Daniel also was even able to ascertain when the Messiah was to appear, so that his colleagues anticipated it.

The bottom line is that God announced to the wider world the birth of His Son so that all of us might hear and know the truth of those words, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.”  So God has clearly revealed His son as Savior and Lord of all.

 

2. Worshiped As Such by the Magi

And He was worshipped as Savior and Lord of all by the Magi.  Their faith is shown above all in that they worshipped this little child without hesitation.  They weren’t put off by his poverty, by his social circumstances, or by his infancy.

Doesn’t this teach us something today? How many people judge Christ according to His circumstances? He comes to us in His word and sacrament in places like this, in house churches in China, in ruins in Syria and Iraq. People reject him because there are no trappings of “success,” because of the people He is found with, His pastors, and disciples, the music or worship that, while rich in His word and therefore in Him, isn’t the “right style.”

And then there are the “feelings” and the “experience,” that isn’t exciting, warm & fuzzy, or “inspirational.” Jesus is your savior, whether you feel like it or not, and that’s a good thing.

Whether or not He met some expectations or other, they worshipped Him.

That is an astounding fact to absorb.  What would we have thought of them if they had just gone on their way without comment?  “And they returned to the East with a few reflections upon the condition of the roads.”  “And they returned to the East in time for the annual games in the Babylon Hippodrome.”  “And they returned to the East wondering why they had made the trip.” “And they returned to the East kinda disappointed and underwhelmed at the impression Jesus made on them.”

That seems to be the way many observe Christmas. Consider that these wise men can travel for perhaps two-three months one way to worship the Christ child, and that some cannot travel 30 minutes to worship Him at least some time during the 12 day festival.

They worshipped Him.  That is in itself an astounding fact.  In the hierarchical society of the ancient world for someone of stature to humble himself before another was a huge thing.  But they did this because they believed that He is indeed their Lord.

So He is also our Lord.  He is the One who has the absolute right to command what we must do.  Now who here likes being told what to do? “Lordship” is not a big part of American culture. Our experience with people who think we should do what they say because of who they are – some elite or other – is decidedly negative.

Many frankly feel the same about God. People resent Him. The challenge Him in his commands about our personal life: Whose body is it anyway?  Marriage, family, virtues of chastity, humility, chivalry, respect, honesty, courage, faith and the like – are all so “old fashioned.”  But they are what our Lord asks of – ALL.

So again, they worshipped Him.  That is an astounding fact.  In the hierarchical society of the ancient world for someone of stature to humble himself before another was a huge thing.  But they did this because they believed that He is indeed their SAVIOR.  There is no other reason to account for their devotion other than the fact that this same LORD whom mankind has offended is also the SAVIOR of mankind.

That means He is also your redeemer, whoever you are.  He is the redeemer of everybody who lives in Medford or Grants Pass, or the Pacific Northwest, or on the North American Continent, or in the Amazon Basin, or on the tundra of Siberia, or the subcontinent of India.

THE CHRIST CHILD IS THE LORD AND SAVIOR OF ALL THE WORLD, and he is manifested as such here before the Magi and, through the Word of God, to the whole world.

 

AMEN.

 

By |2019-01-03T17:26:48+00:00January 3rd, 2019|Sermons, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Jesus Lives Out Your Obedience

Download PDF

Where is Jesus’ Father’s House?

OUR SAVIOR GOD IS AN OBEDIENT MAN
1.  Growing Up a Lowly Man
2.  Special in Obedience and Service
3.  To Give Us Righteousness
Luke 2:41-52

Luke 2:41–52 (CSB)

41 Every year his parents traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up according to the custom of the festival. 43 After those days were over, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44 Assuming he was in the traveling party, they went a day’s journey. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46 After three days, they found him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all those who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked them. “Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them.

 51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.

Dear fellow redeemed, purchased for God by the child who was and is God in the flesh:  Last week we met Jesus, in the manger, born of Mary, His mother, but with no one who corresponded to Mary as an earthly father.  Nevertheless, Joseph was a caring and protective foster-father to Joseph, taking on faith that this was in fact a special child – God in the flesh.

But just as we learned on Christmas day, the sign with which the shepherds were to recognize Jesus consisted of an ordinary manger and ordinary swaddling cloths on an ordinary Baby.  As a human child, Jesus did not use His divine power, for He had not come to glorify Himself but to take our place and to save us.

This story is the one “dot” that connects the dot of His lowly birth with the dots of his ministry, passion, death, resurrection and ascension.  This shows that He was no mere man who arrived at a “god complex” in his early thirties, nor was He a magical child, God playing at being a child.  We see clearly that …

OUR SAVIOR GOD IS AN OBEDIENT MAN
1.  Growing Up a Lowly Man
2.  Special in Obedience and Service
3.  To Give Us Righteousness 

 

  1. Growing Up a Lowly Man

Luke records these events, probably having interviewed Mary, for He says, Luke 1:3 3Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus.  Nevertheless, what He writes is inspired, and does not follow the expectations of sinful man.

While many expected that the Messiah to come was going to be a kingly conqueror, Isaiah foretold that He would be a suffering servant, as we see in one of the more familiar passages, Isaiah 53:1-3

1Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Human imagination would say that Jesus must have been something special.  Fanciful traditions have him bringing wounded birds back to life and magically turning one thing into another.  But the fact is, He came to take your place, and to be like you.  Galatians 4:4-5 4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

Hebrews 4:15 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

So He wasn’t anything special to look at.  We might think that His holiness would be conspicuous, but let me ask you, “Would you know real perfection in life, in word and deed, if you saw it?  Would any of us sinners know it?”  Probably not.

Notice Mary here in our text. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Quite clearly, Mary wasn’t very happy with Jesus.  But who was the sinner?  Jesus or Mary?  Jesus clearly shows who was in the wrong when He said, 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked them. “Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?”

So even though Jesus was holy, He was not conspicuous.  He was not glorious.  He was humble, lowly.  He was living as one of us.

2.  Special in Obedience and Service

Jesus was born sinless, spiritually alive, holy and loving God perfectly. What would he have been like?  Born an infant, as He grew up he would have grown to know the world in which we live, as well as the true and living God, in whatever way God revealed Himself.

So we meet Him here as a student of God’s word, according to His human nature.

This doesn’t take way from the fact that He is God Himself, come down from heaven, as He himself said, John 6:38 38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.  To which the Jews reacted.  John 6:42  42They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”   But Jesus persisted, John 6:46 46No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.

But even in declaring that He came down from Heaven, Jesus again emphasizes that it was not to be glorified, but to serve.  Jesus didn’t come to be only a glorious example to us, but also a substitute for us.

Just as one man brought sin into the world, one MAN would provide the remedy for sin.  Paul puts it this way in Romans 5:17 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

In 2 Corinthians 5:21 Paul underscores the exchange: 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

3.  To Give Us Righteousness

So that we might become the righteousness of God.

Do you have the righteousness of God, so that you can know God and fellowship with God?  On our own, no, but it is the righteousness of God that Jesus was living out all during his life.

He did his chores.  He learned His lessons.  He learned His father’s trade of carpentry.

In one clip of the movie, The Nativity, that I saw, Mary wonders out loud what Jesus would do or say to make it clear that He was special.  But holiness isn’t seen in doing something “holy” it is shown in doing ordinary things, the things we do every day, in a holy way.

At work Jesus served God in faith and His neighbor in love.  He put honest effort into what he made as a carpenter.  He gave a full day’s work for His day’s wages.  He didn’t envy somebody else who might be more wealthy.  Regardless of how difficult His boss or his customer, He gave the same effort for everyone – out of love for them and for God.

He dealt with the frustrations of life with love and charity.  He kept an even head and emotions in the face of irritations that would leave us mumbling under our breath or striking out verbally – or worse

As a child, he took responsibility, but was also submissive to his parents, as we can see in our lesson for today.

This is his active obedience, keeping the obedience that every man, every human being, owes God, but cannot deliver.

He came to earth to do this.  He also came to do what was specially asked of Him by God the father, to do what none of us have been asked to do, to pay for the sins of the world.  This is His “passive obedience”

What gives it away is in verses 48b-50: His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked them. “Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he said to them. Jesus made clear who was His true father by His choice of what He considered “His Father’s house.”

Sinners as they were, and limited in their spiritual insight, Mary and Joseph still didn’t get it.  Jesus’ disciples were the same way when He explained that He would die and rise again from the dead.  It didn’t make sense.

But for your sake and for mine, He accomplished it nevertheless.  For your sake and mine, our Savior, though God Himself, was “just” an obedient man, so that by faith, you can be counted obedient before God.  By faith you are wonderful husband, loving wife, dutiful children, bearing in every way the righteousness of God.  AMEN.

By |2018-12-28T16:20:39+00:00December 28th, 2018|Sermons, Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Whole Story of Christmas

Download PDF

The Full Story- of Christmas

GRACE AND TRUTH ARE YOURS
FROM JESUS CHRIST
John 1:1-18

Dear fellow redeemed: Take up your bulletins or your Bibles and follow through this text with me. Luther, whose sermon on this text for Christmas Day ran over 50 printed pages called it “the most important of all the Gospels of the church year.” (Lenker, Baker, I:171) For everything is bound together here from the creation and the Trinity through the atonement, the resurrection, and our life now in the church militant. I promise I won’t be so exhaustive as Luther (even if I were capable of it). But as a text it is like a diamond mine of which I have before held up one or two gems, and now I hope we can look at the riches all together.

John 1:1–2 (CSB) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. If these words are reminiscent of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” then you are tuned into God’s word through John. For the same God speaks today through His prophet Moses and through His apostle John.

We are talking of the Word here, the LOGOS, the full and complete revelation of God.

He was in the beginning.  Already at the beginning of the universe, he was there and therefore without beginning or end.

And the Word was with God. He is everlastingly together with God – as one person of the trinity.

And the Word was God. He is no less divine than the other persons of the Holy Trinity.

He was in the beginning with God. There has been no change in Him or the fact that He is God the Son

Now come with me to the last verse of the text. There mustn’t be any misunderstanding about whom we are talking. John 1:16–18 (CSB) 16 Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness, 17 for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side—he has revealed him.

Moses and all the law with its sacrifices and ceremonies was a faithful picture and shadow of Christ. But Jesus Christ is the One who has brought grace and truth. The baby in Mary’s tummy was God. The baby who lay in the manger and was cared for by a young mommy was God. The man who hung naked on the shameful cross was God. The body in the grave was God’s body – in the grave until with all the power of God He struck death the death-blow and rose from the tomb. It is a man who is God who ascended to the throne of David and enlightens us with grace and truth – unmerited atoning love, and the truth to which our faith clings.

The body and blood of this man Christ that is present, distributed, and received by us in His holy supper is the body and blood of God.

It just takes John a little while to get there, so let’s go back, take his hand, and let him lead us.

John 1:3–5 (CSB) All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life,, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. There is nothing in the universe that came into being without Him. There is One God, and only through this second person of the Trinity did God create the world. There is no other creator.

And life came through Him. Physical life surely, and also eternal life, but the life that is crucial for us is the life that gives light. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. This is the life that eliminates spiritual darkness.  It is the life of faith so that with it the littlest child sings “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Away in a Manger” and knows truth about divinity, theology, and salvation – knows Christ, in fact.  All this goes on while the most brilliant minds are in the dark. ONLY Jesus gives light to men. There is no other source. This is why the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. Without faith there is no light.

John 1:6–8 (CSB) There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.

To emphasis that Jesus is the only light of man, John (the apostle) tells us about John (the baptizer). Now John the Baptizer was a preacher. John preached down mountains, preached valleys full and made roads out of them, so to speak. He and every faithful prophet, apostle, evangelist, minister, teacher, and every mom and dad teaching their children could point at Jesus so that Jesus shines in our hearts. But it’s like pointing at the sun: It is the sun that gives light not us.

John repeats for emphasis, John 1:9 (CSB) The true light that gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.,

There are all kinds of light in the world, like the light of reason, the light of conscience, the light of learning, the light of history, but none of them can enlighten the heart of man and show us God, none except the Word, Jesus Christ.

John 1:10–11 (CSB) 10 He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

While Christ is the only one who can give light to this dark world, not everyone saw the light. Taking a blind man out into the sunshine doesn’t help him see.

We live in a world, sadly, where the blind tell us that they see. We live in a world that is saturated with unbelief. The atheists and secularists know nothing of God, but act like they have been to the ends of the universe and in all dimensions spiritual and physical and have searched all time and space and can say for sure that there is no God, because they haven’t seen Him. The problem isn’t with the light, but with their blindness.

People right and left reject Christ and the Word whenever the Word is not what they want to hear. People think that the light is in their thoughts and feelings and inclinations and moods. But they are blind.

But this is a light that also opens blind eyes, so John goes on: John 1:12–13 (CSB) 12 But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.

The Life that is the Light of the World gives Light and LIFE. My parents gave me life, so I am their child. The Word gives life and He is God, so we are children of God, believing in Him.

Our faith was not our work, or the work of any man, but God’s work. People don’t believe because they were born to believers, or related to believers, or because we give super-good explanations or sermons or are are extra-good at converting people. People come to faith because of the word of God, coming from the Word of God, Who IS God. And who is this? Christ incarnate, Christ in the flesh. John 1:14 (CSB) 14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Word who created the universe, the One who is God and the perfect expression and revelation of God was born on a day and at a place imperfectly known (I can’t say it was Dec. 25th) but nevertheless a place on earth and at a moment in the history of the world. And His glory, his giving off of light, was seen by John and others. It was glory of the only One who could really bring life and light into the world. And it came in the form of grace and of truth.

In Christ we see the undeserved, unmerited, but perfect love of God. We see it in His state of humiliation, as Paul says, Philippians 2:8 (HCSB)

He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.

In Christ we have the truth about ourselves and our need for righteousness. In Christ we have the truth about the true and living God: Eternally Three persons and one divine essence.

What fools people are to turn to idols, to counterfeits. Every age has them. Baal or Ashtoreth, Zeus or Apollo, Science, Reason, the Enlightenment, Licentiousness, Government, Great Men, and Mankind itself have all taken the place of light and have brought darkness and blindness.  Even John underscored that there is no other who is the source of life, hope, and salvation.

John 1:15 (CSB) 15 (John testified concerning him and exclaimed, “This was the one of whom I said, ‘The one coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.’ ”)

He is the everlasting light.

John 1:16–18 (CSB) 16 Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness, 17 for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side—he has revealed him.

The law of Moses, like John, was good, but good because it pointed alone to the One who is the everlasting light.

Dear ones, we are gathered together today and hope and joy because there on that first Christmas Day a Savior was born to you, Christ, the anointed man, the Lord, the Word, and the infinite God.  No less than God the creator chose graciously to become also a creature so that He could redeem His creatures.

He is the everlasting light who has brought light to you in the form of faith and forgiveness.  May you ever live in the light!

AMEN.

By |2018-12-28T13:50:14+00:00December 27th, 2018|Sermons, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Rooted in Reality – The Birth of Christ

Download PDF

The Reality of the Incarnation

Luke 2:1–14 (KJV)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Beth-lehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14         Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace,
Good will toward men.

TODAY
1.  This Day and No Other
2. This Day THE Savior

Dear fellow redeemed: The portion of our text which we consider this evening is verse eleven. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Actually my emphasis is going to be even narrower than that. My text for this Christmas Eve is simply “this day.”

 

If you listen to a lot of traditional Christmas carols, you are bound to hear a number of them entitled simply “Hodie,” or in a longer form “Hodie Christus Natus Est.” Hodie is Latin and it means “today” or “this day.”

This is important to us because “today” is a dimension of reality.  Nobody can be two places at the same time, so the declaration of the angels was a declaration of the reality of God’s faithfulness in fulfilling the prophecies. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. On this day and at this place our Savior from sin was born. God was in the flesh, incarnate.

I emphasize this because in this postmodern age, the Christmas story is often treated as <just> a story. To our jaded age there isn’t TRUTH, so much as different stories that have not truth, but validity, which is something less. This allows people to be all “Christmasy” without taking it seriously, without seizing the truth of it all by faith. They really live like none of this is true.

But truth isn’t all slippery and changeable like that. Truth is hard and “crunchy” so that other things like our lives and our ideas have to bend around it.

It doesn’t get any harder than where the law says that anyone who sins is damned, that is, cast off by God for eternity. The law of God isn’t malleable, and Psalm 5 says “God hates all who do wrong.” Yikes!

But fortunately, just as truthful is the good news – not setting the law aside, but revealing the mystery of salvation, what we can’t know without being told: While anyone who sins is damned, Jesus took the place of anyone, everyone, and lived without sin. Jesus took the place of anyone, everyone, and in our place He made satisfaction for the sins of the world.

This is because unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour.

 

Do you know what an alibi is? If a crime took place at 7pm on Tuesday at First National Bank of Lombard, and you were known to be in Peoria, then you have an alibi.  You couldn’t have committed the crime because the TRUTH is that you were at this other place at the same time. You see, time is one dimension of truth.

 

So it is in the context of these truth statements that the angels tell us WHO is born in the City of David on this day. It is the Savior. “A Savior Christ the Lord” is specific and reveals Jesus as the Christ, the one anointed and chosen to be the Savior of mankind.

What does “Savior” mean? It means “rescuer,” someone who removes us from danger to safety, from certain death and destruction to life. The implication is that while we are helpless the rescuer steps in to deliver us.

There is only one Savior, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the One chosen by God to be the Savior of the world. There is only one who is both God and man, God incarnate so that He could do what no other son of Eve could ever do – live perfectly, die on purpose, and rise triumphantly. Jesus Himself later proclaimed, John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

The truth is not what people feel it is, feel it should be, nor is it what they want it to be.  Don’t buy this rubbish that everybody worships the same God. That’s as false as it is to say that someone can be two distant places at the same time. It is a denial not only of the truth of Scripture but of the nature of reality and of truth itself.

If God is one thing, He isn’t what He is not.  That “philosopher speak” to say that Jesus can’t be divine and not divine at the same time.  He can’t be our only rescuer, and there be other rescuers.

The declaration of the angels is that the divine Christ Child was born THERE, in Bethlehem, THEN on THAT DAY. He has left an impact upon this world that has continued despite the best efforts to pretend otherwise, because he is Christ the Lord. His word and command has brought people to faith, changed them, and changed the world wherever His name is hallowed.

Now, to some people this seems fantastical.  You know what else seems fantastical to many people – something as certain as our own death. It’s too much to wrap our brains around. But the day is coming in which these two realities WILL converge, for at our death we will stand before the Christ.  The Christ who lives, and who gives you life even in the midst of death.

Your hope of salvation depends not upon wishful thinking but on the historical reality.

 

HODIE

TODAY

THIS DAY

CHRISTUS NATUS EST

CHRIST IS BORN – OUR SAVIOR.

 

 

AMEN

This is most certainly true.

By |2018-12-27T17:27:54+00:00December 27th, 2018|Sermons, Uncategorized|0 Comments