God's Miraculous Christmas Connections
God's Miraculous Christmas Connections
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Dec. 10, 2017
*God truly works in mysterious ways. It's amazing how He works in our lives to bring us together. If some false friends, hadn't taken advantage of my dad 48 years ago, Mary and I never would have met. If she had not been listening to the radio in Stuart Florida 44 years ago, we never would have met.
*God has wonderful ways of creating new connections. But nothing can top the miraculous Christmas connections of Jesus Christ.
1. First: Jesus connected divinity with humanity.
*In vs. 1-3, John called Jesus "The Word," and boldly declared that Jesus is God:
1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2. He was in the beginning with God.
3. All things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
*Then down in vs. 14, John said this about Jesus: "The Word, became flesh and dwelt among us. . ." "The Message" paraphrase says: "The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood." For 33 years, God moved into our neighborhood as a man! "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." The word picture for that word "dwelt" is "pitching a tent." When Jesus came at Christmas, God pitched a tent right here among us. (1)
 Why did He do that? One reason why is because God wanted us to know Him very well.
*Mary and I don't do a lot of camping. In fact, we don't do any camping. But in 1976, Mary and I went all the way from south Florida to Toronto Canada, and most nights we stayed in a pup tent. Let me tell you: There's not a lot of privacy in a pup tent!
*God "pitched a tent among us" so that we could get to know Him very well. And He did this in a way that should have been impossible. Jesus had to be, and He was born through a one-of-a-kind, miraculous, virgin birth. That's why we find a miraculous connection between divinity and humanity in Jesus Christ.
*As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 3:16, "God was manifested in the flesh." How was God manifested in the flesh? -- Through the miraculous, virgin birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
*Luke 1:30-35 tells the story. There the angel Gabriel said this to the Virgin Mary:
30. . . "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
34. Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
35. And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."
*That's how "God was manifested in the flesh." Jesus was not half God and half man. He was and is fully God and fully man. Jesus is 100 percent God. All that God is, Jesus is. But at the very same time, He is all that we are, except for the sin.
*God Almighty humbled Himself to become a man. Just like you, He learned to walk and talk. Just like you, He got hungry and He got tired. Just like you, He laughed, and He cried. He threw up on His mother. He dirtied His diapers.
*Imagine you are sitting in school, -- and sitting next to you is God! You go to the store to buy a chair, -- and the nice young man waiting on you is God!
*Here is the wonder of wonders: The God who holds the universe in His hand humbled Himself to become a man. Jesus made a miraculous connection between divinity and humanity. Why did He do that? Why did God the Son humble Himself to become a man?
 Because He wanted us to know Him very well. And because it was the only way to save our souls.
*Hebrews 2 explains:
9. . . We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
10. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
14. Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
15. and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
*God the Son humbled Himself to become a man, so we could get to know Him very well, and so we could be saved. Every Christmas, Paul Harvey used to tell a story about a dad who didn't believe in the Lord. This dad didn't believe that our Savior was born on the very first Christmas. And He didn't believe in the cross of Christ.
*One evening near Christmas, his wife was about to go to church with the children. They were going to a Christmas celebration. Before they left, her husband, said he didn't see how she could be so sure her faith in Jesus was going to save her. "Why would God choose a method like this to reach people?" He asked. "Someday you'll understand," she replied.
*As usual, he stayed home while they went to church to celebrate Jesus's birth. Shortly after the family drove away, snow began to fall, heavier and heavier. And as he sat in his chair reading his newspaper, the dad was startled by a thudding sound, then another and another. At first, he thought some kids were throwing snowballs at his living room window. (Those darn kids!)
*But when he went to the front door, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm and in a desperate search for shelter they tried to fly through his large window.
*Dad couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze. And he thought of the barn. His barn would provide a warm shelter, -- if he could direct the birds to it. He quickly walked through the deep snow, opened the door wide, and turned on a light. But the birds did not come in. Next, he tried to lure them with a trail of bread crumbs. He tried catching them. And he tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms. But they scattered in every direction except into the warm lighted barn.
*Dad tried everything he could to help them. Then he thought: "If only I could be a bird myself, and mingle with them and speak their language, and tell them not to be afraid, and show them the way to the safe, warm barn. But I'd have to be one of them, -- so they could see and hear and understand."
*At that moment the church bells began to ring the well-known Christmas carol "O Come All Ye Faithful." The sound reached his ears, he fell to his knees in the snow, and he realized why God came to earth as a man. God's Son, Jesus Christ came down to save everyone who will put their trust in our crucified and risen Savior. (2)
2. Jesus connected divinity with humanity. -- He also connects life and light.
*In vs. 4-9, God's Word says this about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
4. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
8. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9. That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world.
*God gave the physical sun to give physical life and light to our planet. Infinitely more important: God gave His only begotten Son to give spiritual life and light to people. Spiritual darkness is all over the world, and is destroying people everywhere. But Jesus Christ is the Light of the world!
*Annie Chapman told about a Christmas present she got one year from her 4-year-old daughter Heidi. It was just a little trinket, but it was priceless to that mother. Daughter, Heidi, kept jumping for joy as Annie opened the package Heidi had wrapped.
*It was a huge ball of wrapping paper and tape. And inside all that paper was a tiny, plastic, glow-in-the-dark manger scene with Joseph, Mary and the Baby Jesus. The whole time Mom unwrapped, little Heidi kept saying over and over, "Mommy, Jesus glows in the dark! Jesus glows in the dark!" (3)
*And He did. -- And He does. In our lost, hurt and dying world, Jesus Christ really does glow in the dark.
3. Jesus connects life and light. -- He also connects grace and truth.
*Down in vs. 14-17, God's Word says this about Jesus:
14. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'''
16. And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
*"Grace for grace" is the idea of more grace, grace on top of grace, new grace for the new day and for new service.
16. And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
17. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
*Verse 14 tells us that Jesus is "full of grace and truth." And in vs. 17, "grace and truth came through Jesus" in a way that they could never have come without Him.
*Brian Bill explained that: "Grace is God's overwhelming kindness, good will and favor. It's a special kind of tenderness. Parents brought children to Jesus and He blessed them. The disabled, the discouraged, the disenfranchised, and the down-and-outers grabbed every chance to be near Him.
*Jesus was full of grace, and He was full of truth. Jesus was truth personified because of His perfection, knowledge, wisdom and excellence. All that He spoke was truth. All that He did was truth. All that He thought was truth.
*He is the way, the truth and the life. And, because He is full of truth, He speaks the truth that we need to hear." Jesus tells us the truth about our lives. Then offers His grace to give us His life. As Max Lucado said: "God loves me just the way I am (that's grace), -- but He loves me too much to let me stay that way (that's truth)." (4)
Larry Libby put it this way: "Jesus is truth, and He is grace. In His truth, Jesus tells me the real story about my life and where I stand. He tells me I am spiritually dead, booked on a one-way flight to hell, incapable of achieving Heaven on my own power. In His grace, Jesus loves me, seeks me, calls me, redeems me, walks with me through the hours of the day, and stands guard over my slumbers at night." (5)
*God's grace and truth were revealed to us on the first Christmas day. And they were fulfilled for us on the cross of Jesus Christ. So Brian Bill said: "The manger is filled with the awesomeness of God's grace but we're also reminded of a terrible truth: Because of our sin, Jesus Christ came to die for us.
*Because He is full of grace, you can come to Him just as you are, without having to clean up your act first. And because He is full of truth, you can come in complete confidence, knowing that He will keep His promise to forgive you and grant you eternal life." (4)
4. Jesus Christ connects grace and truth. -- He also connects sinners with the Savior.
*Back up in vs. 11-13, God's Word says this about Jesus:
11. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
12. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the (power or authority or) right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name:
13. who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
*Here God's Word is talking about sinners being saved! It's talking about believers being born again into the family of God. A few years ago, I bumped into Trish Barmore and her little boy at Walmart. They are some of our friends from McClendon. And the first thing out of that little boy's mouth was this: "I got saved on my birthday!" I said, "That's great. Now you have two birthdays on the same day."
*And he can always remember when he was born again, because when we trust in Jesus Christ, when we believe in Him, when we receive Him, we receive God's eternal life through a new, spiritual birth.
*This miraculous gift of new life is absolutely essential for salvation. And vs. 13, says believers are "born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
 That means the new birth is not by human descent.
*"It's "not by blood." Our parents may have brought us to church, but they could never bring us into the Kingdom of God. Only God Himself can do that. (6)
 The new birth is not by human descent. -- And it's not by human desire.
*It's not by "the will of the flesh." Suppose you wanted to be saved more than anything else in the world. Well, all the want in the world by itself is not enough to save us. And the reason why is because even when we try our best to be good, we still can't measure up. We drop the ball. We trip up. We all fall short of the glory of God.
*You could be the best person in Caldwell Parish, the best person in Louisiana, or the best person in the world. But that's not going to get you into Heaven, because Romans 3:23 tells us that we all fall short.
*George Whitefield proclaimed: "What! Get to heaven on your own strength? Why, you might as well try to climb to the moon on a rope of sand!" When it comes to salvation, no one has ever been good enough! -- No one but Jesus! So, God has to do the saving! (7)
 This new spiritual birth is not by human desire. -- And it's not by human design.
*It's not "by the will of man." People can come up with some pretty amazing plans, but no one could have come up with God's plan for the cross. And even if they did, they couldn't have carried it out. Salvation can only come from God, and God alone!
*Only God could have lived a perfect life, and provided the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Only God could have risen again from the dead. And only God could give the power for us to become the sons of God.
*Jesus' death gives us life when we are born again by believing in Him. And it never would have been possible without Christmas. God was born as a little baby! Christ came into the world to save us from our sin. Christ came into the world to die on the cross for our sins.
*Jesus Christ was born to die on the cross for us. And He rose again from the dead to give eternal life to all who will receive Him as Savior, God and King.
*Open your heart to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, and you will receive His gift of eternal life. You can do that today, and you should! It's the most important thing you can ever do. Then do everything you can to help us reach more people with the good news about Christmas and the cross of Jesus Christ.
*Would you please bow for prayer.
(1) SermonCentral sermon "The Christmas Collision" by Brian Bill - John 1:14-18
(2) Adapted from "The Christmas Storm: A Modern Parable" by Paul Harvey - Sources: Jeff Strite, Church of Christ at Logansport, IN, and studentminister.org Resources NT01_Final_Imposed pdf
(3) "Decision" - December 1993
(4) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "The Christmas Collision" by Brian Bill - John 1:14-18
(5) Adapted from "Discipleship Journal, Issue 126" - 2001 - Source: SermonCentral sermon "The Christmas Collision" by Brian Bill - John 1:14-18
(6) This section adapted from SermonCentral sermon "The True Light" by Devin Hudson - John 1:6-13
(7) George Whitefield quotation - Source: www.thegracetabernacle.org/quotes