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Mission Christmas: Love Restores

Mission: Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  25:54
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Paul David Trip New Morning Mercies Dec. 22, 2022
Jesus knew what he was facing. He knew the price that needed to be paid. He knew what it would mean to stand in our place. He was quite aware of the spiritual math:
suffering for a moment = acceptance for all of eternity. And he was willing.
A great moral tragedy was being played out every day in the lives of every person born into this sin-shattered world. Unlike anything else, God had created human beings in his image and for intimate, loving, and worshipful community with him. A relationship with him was to be the deepest, most influential motivation in their lives. It was meant to shape every thought, every desire, every word, and every action. And this community between God and people was meant to be unbroken forever and ever. But it had been broken in an outrageous act of rebellion and sedition. Not only had Adam and Eve stepped over God's clear boundaries, but also they had quested for his position. So in the saddest moment in human history, they had been driven out of the garden and away from God's presence.
From the vantage point of creation, it was all very unthinkable. People living separate from God? This was like fish without water, honey that is not sweet, or a sun that provides no heat. Not only did it defy the logic and design of creation, it could not work. Human beings were not hardwired to live independently. We were not made to function on our own and to live based on our own wisdom. We were not created to live by our own limited resources. We were made to live in a constant, life-giving connection to God. People's separation from God was a functional and moral disaster.
So this disaster had to be addressed. The tragic gap between God and man had to be bridged, and there was only one way. Jesus would have to come to earth as the second Adam and live a perfect life in our place. He would have to bear the punishment for our rebellion and endure the unthinkable the Father's rejection. It happened at that horrible ninth hour on the day of his crucifixion, when, in a loud voice, he cried, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?) (Mark 15:34). This was Jesus's most painful moment of anguish as he took on himself the tragedy of our separation from God.
This moment really was the epicenter of the Christmas story. It was why Jesus came. It was why the angels rejoiced at his coming. He came to be the temporarily separated Son so that we can be the eternally accepted children of God. Now, that's a story worth celebrating!
Celebrating Christmas is anticipation and remembrance. Hope and nostalgia. What was done, and what is waiting. There exists tension between these two concepts.
Let’s see this morning how Jesus birth brought joy from tension, hope for the weary, and joy from longing.
As we celebrate Christmas today, lets step into that point where the object of anticipation comes into view.
To do this, we’ll look at Jesus, and two faithful servants of God who’s faith became sight.
Luke 2:22–38 ESV
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” 36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.


Promised, Proclaimed, Presented.

Jesus’ purity was prepared before Him. Through His life He upheld all that was right and good. But here we see that while He was yet unable, His purity was performed on His behalf. Jesus was presented to the presence of God to fulfill the law, to affirm His parents promise, and to prepare His ministry.
Christmas is a season that we are all to familiar with presents. May we hold firmly to the one truth that the only gift that truly matters was the gift of Jesus for the redemption of humanity.


Patient, Pious, Prepared.

Simon spent his entire life in preparation for the Messiah. From His youth to his old age, he was faithful, commited, and patient. He knew the time of the Messiah was near.
But those long years of anticipation didn’t cause him discouragement. At least not that wasn’t brought to the Lord. And the Lord sustained and encouraged Him. He kept His perspective on Heavenly things, not small things. On eternal things, not on fleeting emotions and unwise council. He remained God-focused because He was God-centered.
So when the time came, he was prepared. The Holy Spirit of God was on him - “NOW is the time!” Now is the time you will see God’s promises fulfilled. Now is the time patience turns to joy. Now - take the Promise of Israel up in your arms.
We look back on the coming and life of Jesus. We know all history is anchored on this one person. In some ways we have this same opportunity as Simeon to hold the Hope of Israel, the Hope of the World. But we hold the fullness of the work of His life.
Yet we still look forward. To the anticipation of our hope becoming sight. When Man shall dwell with God is His presence. May we be patient, pious, and prepared.


Waiting, Wanting, and Worn?

Years of dedication
As a prophetess she would have foreseen the coming Messiah
Had offered every aspect of her life to God’s service
And those last years as her body began to break down she would have had every opportunity to loose hope. Just getting out of bed was a hardship.
In her body, she was worn out!
What did she do in the face of waiting, wanting, and weariness?

Seek the presence of God

She remained faithful. She sought to be in God’s presence. It was a daily priority. As she was rewarded.
One day, that might have started like any other, she struggled to get up and get moving, but she pressed on. She got ready for the day and headed out into the courtyard so she could, like every other day, get as near the temple as she could.
As she rounded the corner so that the open courtyard came into view, I suspect her spirit saw before her eyes or ears the excitement before her. “That very hour…” While Joseph and Mary were bringing Jesus to be dedicated. While the Holy Spirit was leading Simeon to the meeting of his life. While he prayed in the Spirit “my eyes have seen your salvation… a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to you people Israel.”
In that very hour Anna came to add her voice and her joy in the presence of the coming of the Promised One.
First Zechariah and Elizabeth and John their son. Then Mary and Joseph and the Anointed Jesus. The shepherds in from the field. Now Simeon and Anne - these two doves who had offered their lives and now give testimony to the one who would redeem.
May we follow this their example giving testimony of this baby in a manger who holds the keys to redemption and salvation.
In our message to those around us, may we show love in tangible ways. May we forfeit our way and our rights here to show grace and kindness to others. May we call them to the standard of God’s goodness. And may we speak clearly the salvation through Jesus.
There is no greater gift we can offer than that.
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