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Born for This

Christmas Eve 2017  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Purpose of Jesus Coming. Importance of his name

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Why A Baby?

Last week Pastor Bruce preached a great sermon on this truth: that even at Christmas, we ought to still be mindful of the Cross.
Jesus was, in an important sense, born to die.
But have you ever asked yourself some version of this question: Why didn’t Jesus parachute out of Heaven and go straight to the Cross?
I don’t mean for that to sound disrespectful, but that is an important question. Why couldn’t he have come straight from heaven as an adult and die for our sins.
I want to share one verse with you this morning to help us get a better understanding about this.
Matthew 1:21 ESV
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
This one verse is a treasure trove.
I want to break it into pieces so we can better understand what it’s saying.

She will bear a son

This part is easy. Who is the “she” being referred to? Who’s going to give birth to a son? Mary.
The Gospel of Luke records the angel’s announcement and conversation with Mary about giving birth to Jesus.
But in Matthew, the angel is addressing Joseph.
The second question from this part is this: Who is the “son” Mary is going to give birth to? Jesus

You Shall Call His Name Jesus

This is important. It was prophesied in the Old Testament that the Messiah would be a descendent of King David.
Luke gives us Mary’s genealogy to show us that she was a biological descendant of David.
Now here’s the thing: In the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph is never called Jesus’ father. He is his foster-father, so to speak.
Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus was a great miracle of the Holy Spirit. And so God was the Father of Jesus.
But the key to this part of the verse is this: By giving Jesus his name, Joseph was accepting responsibility for raising Jesus as his own.
In that culture, the act of naming a baby gave the child legal status in that family.
And so, Jesus was a biologically linked to King David through Mary and also legally linked to David through Joseph.

Name Him “Jesus”

Here’s what didn’t happen: God didn’t say to Mary and Joseph, “Go down to the Bethlehem Barnes and Noble and pick up a baby name book.
They didn’t consult “Great Baby Names of Hebrew History, 3rd Edition”.
God, through the angel said, You shall, you will, you must call this baby boy, “Jesus.” So God gave Mary and Joseph the name to call their son.

Why the Name, “Jesus?”

The name, “Jesus,” was the Greek form of the name, “Joshua.” It was a common name in Israel.
It literally means, “Jehovah is salvation” or “God saves.”
The angel tells Joseph that the baby boy is to be named “Jesus” because he will save his people from their sins.
It’s also important to mention here that the word “he” in the verse, “he will save his people from their sins” is emphatic. It means he and he alone.
For hundreds of years Israel looked for the coming of a Messiah, a Savior, who would save them.
But the salvation most of them had in mind was a national liberation. They wanted to be freed from those who oppressed them. In this case, it was the Romans.
They wanted a Kingly figure in the style of King David to ride in to town, with sword drawn, and take out their enemies.
But the prophecy that best points to the kind of salvation Jesus would bring is found in , which says,

8 He himself will redeem Israel

from all their sins.

Psalm 130:8 ESV
And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
The salvation Jesus would bring would primarily be spiritual, not political or social.
The name, “Jesus” is powerful. It represents our deliverance from sin and reconciliation with God.
Acts 4:12 ESV
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

His People

Who did Jesus come to save?
Well, “his people” would certainly mean Israel. We know he came to “his own” as puts it.
But we also know there is a wider context. Certainly Matthew, the Gospel writer who gave us the Great Commission, understood it was not only Israel Jesus came to save.
The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that he came for Jew and Gentile alike. Paul puts it like this in
Romans 1:16 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
For a Jew, the word “Gentile” or “Greek” simply means everyone else… everyone who is not Jewish.
Jesus came to save everyone who believes in him.

That Means He Came to Save the Religious

Now think about that… Jesus came to save his people from their sins.
That included a lot of very religious people, not just those who were described as “sinners.”
Jesus came to save his people from their sins
Jesus came to say that none of them can be delivered from their sin by their own religious works. They were all born in sin and their daily sins could never be atoned for by their own efforts.
Their sin against an infinitely holy God left them with an infinite debt. There was no way the most religious among them could ever pay that debt.

His Whole Life

Jesus could not parachute out of heaven as an adult and go straight to the Cross, because he had to be truly God and truly human.
As God, he would be able to atone for the infinite transgression and bridge the infinite gulf between God and us.
As human, he would live a life, tempted in every way that we are, yet without sin. As a sinless human, a lamb without blemish, as John the Baptist calls him, he could die in our place and take the punishment we deserved.
His life of perfect righteousness was just as important as his sacrificial death. For if he were a sinner like the rest of us, then his death would not have even saved himself, much less us.
By taking on human flesh and living among us, God revealed just how much he loves those he came to save and how just how valuable human life really is.

He Came to Save You

If he came to those even those religious Jews, it means he came to same even those religious Christians among us.
It goes without saying that he came to save the irreligious and even anti-religious.
But he even came to save those who consider themselves “good people.” Because, as I said, no matter how good you are, you make up for your sin, for it is an infinite debt.
You need grace. I need grace. We need the free, undeserved favor of God given to us in a manger in Bethlehem.
It is that baby, would be named Jesus because he would save his people from their sins.
He would grow up and live a perfectly righteous life for our sakes. He would die an atoning death on the Cross, also for our sakes. And he would be raised on the third day and ascend to heaven, for our sakes.
That is amazing grace and wondrous love!

Receive Him and Walk with Him

We talk a lot here at Southside about getting connected in our Bible studies, small groups, and Sunday school classes. Providing opportunities to reach out to others and serve them is also a very big deal to us.
But first getting “connected” to God through Christ is even more important. Not only that, it will enable you to live faithfully as his disciple.
The first words out of Jesus’s mouth at the beginning of his public ministry is to repent.
God wants us to seek his forgiveness, turn away from sin, and turn toward him. He wants us to place all of our trust in Christ alone - who he is and what he’s done on our behalf.
That is how we appropriate his work of salvation.

Mission 2018

In 2018 we’re going to be taking our faith in Christ to the next level. We have always taken discipleship and missions seriously, but in 2018 we’re going to be focusing on that as never before.
We want our whole congregation to go deeper with Christ so that we can reach higher and further for him in 2018.
We have so many great groups and studies and service opportunities coming up, all to help us grow in our faith and bear witness for Christ in the years to come.
But it starts today. The Apostle Paul says, “Today is the day of salvation.”
Today is the day to place your trust in Christ as the one who came to save you from your sins and reconcile you to God.
[Offer prayer as a model]
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