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Why a manger and not a mansion?

Christmas 2017  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A night of Miracles

Luke 2:7 NIV
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Jesus’ birth fulfilled four-hundred year old prophecies:
Born to a virgin mother.
Luke 2:7 NIV
and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Isaiah 7:14 NIV
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Born in Bethlehem.
Micah 5:2 NIV
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Galatians 4:4–5 NIV
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
The grandest miracle of all: God born as a human being.
John 1:14 NIV
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

It is a miracle that the Savior of the World was born in the lowliest of nurseries.

It is a miracle that the Savior of the World was born in the lowliest of nurseries.

It is a miracle that the Savior of the World was born in the lowliest of nurseries.

Have you wondered why Christ was laid in a manger?
Why not a mansion?
The Manger Perfectly Pictures His Rejection

The Manger Perfectly Pictures His Rejection

Illustration
1001 Illustrations that Connect Illustration 666: Forgetting Birthday Boy

The party on June 3, 2006, was for Michael Emmanuel’s sixth birthday, and friends and family were celebrating at the local Chuck E. Cheese in Boca Raton, Florida.

The party went just fine. The problem came when it was over. All the children and adults climbed into three different vehicles and headed home. Everyone, that is, except Michael.

Apparently, the birthday boy returned to the play area, and when the partygoers departed, the boy was left behind. Employees found Michael wandering around the restaurant at 10:00 p.m. and called the police.

Michael’s mother, who assumed that her son was staying with his grandmother, didn’t realize the boy was missing until the next morning. Unfortunately for Michael (and his mother), it is possible to have a joyful celebration and still forget the guest of honor.

Prophecies told us he would be rejected.
Isaiah 53:2–3 ESV
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:2–3 ESV
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
There was no room for him in the inn.
There was no room for Him in the inn.
Room for business in the inn
Room for pleasure in the inn
Room for others in the inn
John 1:10–11 NIV
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
The world did indeed reject him when he came.
The Word was God (v. 1)
John 1:10–11 NIV
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
The Word was the Creator (v. 3)
The World was made by the Word (v. 10)
The world knew Him not (v. 10)
The world still rejects him today.
His own received Him not (v. 11)
Christ is the Word (v. 14)
Does your faith stay strong while others reject Him?
The world still rejects Him today
Will you receive Him?
Will you receive Him?
The Manger Perfectly Pictures His Redemption

The Manger Perfectly Pictures His Redemption

The two signs given by the angels to the shepherds:
John the Baptist called Him the Lamb of God .
John 1:29 NIV
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Wrapped in swaddling clothes
Lying in a manger (the Lamb of God).
Not robes of purple or soft fabric of silk
Lying in a manger (the Lamb of God)
Not a nursery room especially prepared for him.
John the Baptist called Him the Lamb of God ()
1st Century Jewish home. Two stories.
John the Baptist called Him the Lamb of God ()
In the area where animals like sheep and lambs were kept.
It was not far from the manger to the cross.
It was not far from the manger to the cross.
John 1:29 NIV
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
It was not far from the manger to the cross.
It was not far from the manger to the cross
It was not far from the manger to the cross.
It was not far from the manger to the cross.
We must not forget the cross at this time of the year
Paul’s descriptions tied the birth to the cross:
He was born to redeem them that were under the law.
Galatians 4:4–5 NLT
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
Philippians 2:5–7 NIV
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
: to redeem them that were under the law
: even the death of the cross
He was born as a man in order to die on a cross.
: even the death of the cross
Philippians 2:8 NIV
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
The Lamb in Revelation (5:9)
He was born as a lamb to be slaughtered.
Revelation 5:9 NIV
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
Revelation 5:8–9 NIV
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

Jesus was the sacrificial lamb for you and me.

The Manger Perfectly Pictures His Availability

The first announcement to humble shepherds
The first announcement to humble shepherds
We must be careful not to complicate the message
We must be careful not to complicate the message:
He chose the manger instead of a mansion because everyone has access to the manger.
He chose the manger instead of a mansion because everyone has access to the manger.
I love ribs, so when I heard about a restaurant that had amazing ribs, a bunch of my friends and I drove fifty minutes to get there. The place was packed, and the food was great. It was “all-you-can-eat rib night,” and rib bones were piling up as fast as the line to get in.
Eating ribs is messy business. Barbecue sauce gets on your face, fingers, and clothes. Dirty napkins pile up next to half-eaten bowls of baked beans and coleslaw. When our crew had eaten all we could, we paid our tab and waddled out to the car.
I reached into my pocket for my keys and came up with nothing but lint. Panicking, I looked through the window at the ignition. I hoped that I had locked my keys in the car, because in the back of my mind a more disgusting possibility was taking shape. When I saw that the ignition was empty, I knew exactly where my keys were—to my car, my house, and my office. Only seconds earlier, those precious keys had slid off my tray and followed a half-eaten corncob and many bones to the bottom of a trash can. I had thrown away my keys on all-you-can-eat rib night.
My friends weren’t going to do the dirty work for me. So I dove into the dumpster, fishing through bones, beans, barbecue, corn, cake, coleslaw, and a host of saliva-soaked napkins. A shiny layer of trash can slime coated my arms before I finally grabbed those precious keys.
I have a soaring adoration for the infinite God who left a pristine, sinless heaven to search through the filth and rubbish of this fallen world for something precious to him—me.
Am I willing to humble myself to go to a smelly stable and worship at a manger?
Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (p. 373). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
He chose the manger instead of a mansion because everyone has access to the manger.
He chose the manger instead of a mansion because everyone has access to the manger.
He chose the manger instead of a mansion because everyone has access to the manger.
No one is restricted from entering a stable.
Jesus was humble enough to come as a human-and we must be humble enough to admit our need of a Savior.
He receives all who come to him in humility.
John 6:37 NIV
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
He receives all who come to Him in humility
Jesus was humble enough to come as a human-and we must be humble enough to admit our need of a Savior.
How can we refuse to be humble when we look at the manger into which he was laid?
How can we refuse to be humble when we look at the manger into which he was laid?
Let us return to the manger.
John 6:37 NIV
All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
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Let us return to the manger.
Let us return to the manger
The Gospel meets us where we are.
John 3:16 NIV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Take this with you...

Conclusion
What does the birth of Christ mean to you?
What Does the Birth of Christ Mean to You?
Is that your Savior in the manger? On the cross?
Illustration:
I love ribs, so when I heard about a restaurant that had amazing ribs, a bunch of my friends and I drove fifty minutes to get there. The place was packed, and the food was great. It was “all-you-can-eat rib night,” and rib bones were piling up as fast as the line to get in.
Eating ribs is messy business. Barbecue sauce gets on your face, fingers, and clothes. Dirty napkins pile up next to half-eaten bowls of baked beans and coleslaw. When our crew had eaten all we could, we paid our tab and waddled out to the car.
I reached into my pocket for my keys and came up with nothing but lint. Panicking, I looked through the window at the ignition. I hoped that I had locked my keys in the car, because in the back of my mind a more disgusting possibility was taking shape. When I saw that the ignition was empty, I knew exactly where my keys were—to my car, my house, and my office. Only seconds earlier, those precious keys had slid off my tray and followed a half-eaten corncob and many bones to the bottom of a trash can. I had thrown away my keys on all-you-can-eat rib night.
My friends weren’t going to do the dirty work for me. So I dove into the dumpster, fishing through bones, beans, barbecue, corn, cake, coleslaw, and a host of saliva-soaked napkins. A shiny layer of trash can slime coated my arms before I finally grabbed those precious keys.
I have a soaring adoration for the infinite God who left a pristine, sinless heaven to search through the filth and rubbish of this fallen world for something precious to him—me.
Am I willing to humble myself to go to a smelly stable and worship at a manger?
How desperate are you to be forgiven for your sins?
Desperate enough to bow at a manger in a stable?
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