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The Word Rejected

The Cost of the Gift  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Word Rejected

Let’s open our Bibles to
Read .
We continue in our Christmas series, The Cost of the Gift.
We frequently talk about the reason for the season.
We try to remind ourselves of Christ and how this season is about remembering the incarnation, the advent, the birth of Jesus.
What is often neglected is the huge act of humility that Christ went through to become the Savior.
To help us in this endeavor we’ve been looking at some verses from and we’ve seen:
That Jesus is fully God.
That He is eternal.
Was with God.
And is God.
We’ve seen that He came in the flesh.
And what that meant for the divine to become flesh.
This week we look at probably the most humiliating part of this journey … the Word rejected.
A couple weeks ago I saw a clip from Antique Roadshow.
It’s this television show, where people bring their old antiques to a home show, or some kind of convention center.
They bring their antiques and have them appraised and explained by an antique expert.
About 10 years ago, I was at a museum in downtown Riverside, by the Mission Inn.
In this one clip, this woman brings what looks like a gargoyle dog statue.
I began walking around the museum and came across what some call Modern Art.
I call it … trash.
I found an old video, just to double check my feelings on it … and I stand by my original conclusion.
It was a white statue, maybe 2 feet tall.
The type of statue that would be in a garden in someone’s back yard.
I found a weird chain like structure that was made of old cassette tape … tape.
It’s clearly some kind Chinese art.
It’s something she inherited from her grandmother.
The actual tape.
She didn’t think it was worth much.
It was braided together to form a chain.
Someone thought it looked cool.
The antique expert, complete with a bow tie, looks at it.
Then I found a pole that was wrapped in plastic bags … you know, the kind of plastic bags that cost 10 cents at the grocery store.
And … begins to cry.
He starts to cry!
Then there was a square piece of cloth on the wall with a stick leaning against it.
There was what looked like a shield, but it was all crushed coke cans.
He then says how he’s never seen anything like this in his life before.
There were a couple of pictures made completely with electrical tape.
He points out the condition of the marble.
The muscles on the dog.
Kind of cool, but not really.
Then there was a giant picture of Lenin … the communist Lenin.
Meanwhile, the lady is staring at him, surprised that what she thought was old junk, has turned out to be a treasure.
It was made out of Marlboro cigarette packs.
She’s had it all these years, and missed the beauty of it.
It was all in an art museum and supposed to be art.
But I didn’t get it.
Clearly the artists had talent, but it was mostly wasted talent.
As we go through the beginning of John, John is trying to paint a special picture of Jesus.
He was in the beginning.
He was with God.
And He was God.
And yet, the world has missed it.
The world around us has missed the beauty of Christ.
He’s been right there in front of us the whole time, and we’ve missed it.
He’s gone ignored.
He’s actually been rejected by people.
Like the Chinese dog statue, He’s been pushed aside and neglected.
We’ve seen how positionally, Jesus is great, and how He humbled Himself by becoming a man.
But now we look at how people responded to the arrival of Jesus.
Read John 1:10-13.
There’s this progression of events.
The World.
The Land
And the People of Israel.
Look at , “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.”
The World
Jesus created the world.
It was created by Him and for Him.
It’s His world.
He owns the cattle on a thousand Hills.
How does the world respond to Him?
By rejecting Him.
The Land
Then we fine tune it, we narrow down His rule and authority.
God then created the nation of Israel.
12 tribes.
Gave them a land.
He gave them laws and a government.
God made special promises to Israel as well.
And how did the nation of Israel respond to God?
They rejected God.
When Solomon died, the nation was shattered.
It had a split, there was a Northern Kingdom, and a Southern Kingdom.
The Northern Kingdom rejected the true God that saved them from Egypt, and began worshipping the golden calves that were created in the fire at the base of Mount Sinai.
Then there were the Jews.
The Jews were those in Judah.
As history progressed, they were the ones who kept God’s law.
Their kings were some of the good ones.
They continued to have a temple and offer sacrifices.
It was through Judah that Jesus eventually would come from.
And how did the Jews respond to Jesus?
Then He came to the nation of Israel and was rejected.
His home town rejected Him.
Then He came to the Jews themselves and was rejected.
When he was arrested, the people were given the chance to have Jesus freed or Barabbus, a violent murderer, they called for Barabbus instead of Jesus.
They eventually called for the crucifixion of Jesus.
He came into the world and He was rejected.

It’s not just the ancient world, Israel, or the Jews that rejected Jesus.

It’s continued even to today.
Our present culture is a picture of what’s been happening since the Fall.
We are watching our culture systematically, piece by piece, reject Jesus.
Any hint of Jesus is removed.
The very scent of Christ is pushed aside.
To some extent we see it with Christmas.
In order to be politically correct, people say “Happy Holidays”.
I’ve even heard people apologize because they accidentally said Merry Christmas!
As a culture we are doing everything to reject God’s laws and morals.
Sin is not only embraced, but encouraged.
At the end of last month, a Church of England priest, said that people should pray for a 4 year old prince to be gay.
Seemingly putting, the end of directly into action.
It says, “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
Who’d have ever thought that in the year 2017, gender would be questioned or even called evil?
Our culture has a renewed vigilance to squash any remnant or thought of Christ.
says, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”
That is the story of mankind.
People love darkness more than light.
People love sin more than Christ.
The world is on an attack to refuse the clear teaching of God.
He’s made Himself evident, and the world refuses it.
says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
The story of the world is that mankind rejects He who made it.
I remember hearing of the brilliant mind of Francis Crick.
He was famous for decoding the human genome.
He was a brilliant mind.
He looked into evolution and said that there was no way life could have randomly been created by chance and a little bit of energy.
He rejected the theory of evolution.
But he too was a product of our culture.
Just because he rejects evolution, doesn’t mean He embraces Christ.
He too rejected Christ.
So in his brilliance he honestly said it couldn’t have been evolution.
He said the way life came on earth … was from aliens.
This is the mind that sees the power of God in creation, but won’t have anything to do with Him.
It’s one thing for Jesus to put on humanity and live with us.
That’s certainly a humbling act.
It’s another thing to come to humanity only to be rejected by them.
This was the cost of the incarnation.

But the cost of the gift is even greater.

Look at verse 12, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,”
I realize that this is a positive verse, it says we get to become children of God.
But on the flip side of that is this dark truth, we are not naturally children of God.
We don’t like hearing that.
The natural thought of mankind is to say that we are good people, and all God’s children.
But that’s not really what the Bible says.
Notice that even the language of this text doesn’t imply that all people are God’s children.
Some are given the right to become children of God, but it doesn’t say we all start off as children of God.
There’s plenty of evidence to say that many people are less like children of God and more like children of the devil.
, Jesus said, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
You are of your father the devil … you’re a child of the devil.
, “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
Who are children of the devil?
Those who are slaves of sin.
Those who make a practice of doing wicked.
And isn’t that every single one of us?
None of us are perfect.
None of us have been sinless.
And this is who Jesus came to save?
He didn’t come to a people who had open arms and were just waiting for the Messiah.
He came to a world that was in darkness, who didn’t know Him, and wanted nothing to do with Him.
He came to a world filled with children of the Devil.
It’s as if, He came to save not an orphanage of sad lonely children.
He came to a world filled with Osama Bin Ladens.
That’s humility.
That’s who He came to save.

He descended to a world that wanted nothing to do with Him, but yet was indebted Him.

And He comes to these people, and makes them Children of God, He loves them.

There’s this beautiful picture here.
Left to man’s own devices, left to our own will what do we do?
We reject Him.
We suppress the truth.
says that “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
But this is a hopeful text.
Look at verses 12-13, “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.”
That’s a great statement.
We go from children of the devil, to children of God.
How do we become children of God?
You might be thinking, well that’s easy, believe in Jesus.
It’s one of the first things we ever learn.
It’s also found in verse 12, receive and believe in Jesus.
That’s what we do, but that’s not the how.
Let me put it another way, as children of God, we receive Christ, and we believe in His name, but that’s not how we become children of God.
That’s describing children of God.
The how is found in verse 13.
We must be born, “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
We are talking about salvation here.
Salvation is a very personal thing.
Some of you know that when I was younger I was into falconry.
I had birds of prey; hawks and falcons.
In order to become a falconer, you have to take a test with the Department of Fish and Game.
And after you take the test you need a sponsor.
This is someone who watches you closely, making sure you don’t harm yourself, or the bird and don’t do anything illegal.
The sponsor had to report to Fish and Game on your progress.
You needed a sponsor if you were going to get anywhere in falconry.
When it comes to salvation, there’s no sponsors here.
You don’t get to say, I know Luke, or I went to such and such church and sat under really great preachers.
You don’t get to say that you come from a family of Christians or that your dad was a pastor.
I remember one time sitting in the kitchen with a bother and a sister.
As I was explaining the Gospel to them, they got angry with me.
Their words to me weren’t, “Oh yes that is good news!”
Their words were, “Luke, our father started churches. We already know this. He told this to us a lot.”
They lived as if their dad was their sponsor into the family of God.
There was no personal salvation.
They were clinging to the coat tails of someone else.
It doesn’t work that way.
It’s personal.
You must be born again.
You don’t even get to say that you made yourself a child of God.
The only way to become a child of God, is if you are born of God.
That means He grants you faith.
That means He causes you to be born again.
Our verse says, but by the will of God.
says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”
Or says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
What’s beautiful here, is that we are not naturally children of God.
There is only one Son of God, that is Jesus Christ.
What are we?
We are adopted.
That is sometimes seen as a negative statement.
But don’t let it be.
Because here it becomes a beautiful picture of the piece we have with God.
We formerly were enemies.
Now what are we?
We aren’t neutral.
It’s not as if God simply made a cease fire with us.
We aren’t acquaintances.
We are children of God.
And when you are born again, you have the right to become a child of God and with it all the benefits of it.
When you read right in verse 12, don’t think of the American Bill of Rights.
Maybe you even think of the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”
Nor is this word like the Bill of Rights.
This is actually much cooler than either of those uses of rights.
This word means that someone else grants privileges to another.
They aren’t universal, they are backed by someone else.
You put your money in an FDIC insured bank.
That means that if the bank were to go belly up, you are insured up to $250,000.
That bank is backed by the US government to protect you up to $250,000.
The bank comes with protection and powers because it’s backed up by someone greater.
If you are born again, you have certain privileges, but those privileges come because there is someone backing you up.
There is a source to those privileges.
That source is … Jesus Christ.
So if you want to receive the right of being a child of God and all the privileges with it, you must be in Christ.
It’s not just enough to say that I’m a human, therefore, I’m a child of God.
It’s not just enough to say you are a human.
You must be in Christ.
What’s beautiful here, is that we are not naturally children of God.
There is only one Son of God, that is Jesus Christ.
What are we?
We are adopted.
That is sometimes seen as a negative statement.
It’s something that children use to insult each other.
But don’t let it be an insult.
Because here it becomes a beautiful picture of the peace that we have with God.
We formerly were enemies.
Now what are we?
We aren’t neutral.
It’s not as if God simply made a cease fire with us.
It’s not as if He said He’ll remove His anger and make us neutral so we can start over and fall right back into war with Him.
We aren’t acquaintances.
He doesn’t make us someone that He once knew.
If we are in Christ we are children of God.
And if we are children of God, we receive certain benefits.
One of which is we have a new relationship with God the Father.
We can pray to Him.
He provides for us.
We also become heirs with Christ.
says, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
Is not this the greatest story ever told?
Christ came into this world.
He was rejected.
He was despised.
He was killed.
And the very same people who lived as rebels, then:
Receive faith.
Are born again.
Receive a new status as children of God.
This is your story.
If you are a part of the church, if you are a Christian this is you.
This is a very Merry Christmas.
Sometimes Christians walk around all mopey and sad.
Yet that isn’t supposed to be us.
Philippians says we are not to grumble or complain.
We shouldn’t be complainers.
We should be the most joyful people out there.
Because of Jesus.
Because we are adopted.
And if you are a grumpy person.
If you are more of a Scrooge or a Grinch in life, maybe it’s because you don’t think about Christ enough.

Who are you in this story?

If you are one of those who have been born again, then you are to receive Christ and believe in His name.
This doctrine of adoption, this doctrine of election should humble you.
It reminds us that we are not saved because of anything we have done, our parents, or where we come from.
We are saved only by God.
And whatever benefit we have in Christ, is because of Christ.
It’s FDIC insured by Christ.
He’s who we trust.
He’s who we lean on.
He then becomes the foundation of our very faith.
says that we are to look to Jesus who is the founder and perfecter of our faith.
Who’s the founder of our faith?
Where does your faith come from?
This is good news.
When you wonder why you should go to heaven, or how you can even be saved, the good news is that it’s not on you.
Your proof isn’t you.
You are not the Gospel.
You are not the hope.
Your hope is that it was Jesus who died for you.
And how do you know if this has been applied to you?
You receive Christ.
You take Him.
He becomes yours.
You are covered in Him.
You become a new person.
The Holy Spirit dwells within you.
You receive a new heart.
I’m surprised how many people think they are saved because of something other than Christ.
They think they’ve inherited heaven because of who their dad is.
You must receive Christ.
All this to say, the person who has been born again, should look different.
You should live different.
Your desires should be different.
This is repentance.
And this takes some effort.
True, it’s something that is given to us by Christ, but it takes effort on your part also.
It’s something that we strive after.
There’s also believing in His name.
This is your confidence that Christ is Lord.
Funny that this is something we are expected to do, and something that we are to do.
Are we commanded to believe?
Is it a good thing?
Does it have to be a burden?
This is the joyful reality that there is no other name that you call on.
There is pleasure in this belief.

As we wind down the year

This belief is what should be the source of our joy.
And not just at Christmas, but all year round.
We should be a church of joyful people, a demonstration of their faith and belief in Christ.
Husbands, no need to be grumpy.
There are some men who the family dreads his arrival.
Why? Because he has no joy.
His presence sucks the joy out of the room.
There are some people who just love to complain.
But your attitude does say something about what your focus is.
Your attitude says something about your active belief in Jesus.
Your attitude says something about what you believe about Jesus and what He’s done for you.
I know that Jesus came into this world, and was rejected.
I feel like that woman who had the Chinese dog statue and found out she had a treasure all along.
Are you a child of God, or a child of the devil?
Christ has come.
He came to save me.
To ransom me.
If you are a child of God, then we must assume that you agree that:
And has caused me to become a child of God.
You have been born by God.
Meaning He’s caused you to be born again.
That gives me joy.
That you have been transferred into His Kingdom.
What gives you joy?
Also that you have received Christ and trust only in His name.
Is it the same thing.
How are you doing in your repentance?
Let’s demonstrate it in worship to Him and through our lives.
How are you doing in trusting in Christ?
As we wind down the year, think about where you need to grow, and pursue it.
What sins still plague you?
What are you doing in your fight against them?
And if you’ve been born again, does anyone know?
Have you been baptized?
Has the church worshipped God for the work He has done within you?
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