HG009 Matthew 1:18-25
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:4-5
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him… John 1:9-10
Kid’s Talk - Julie
Kid’s Talk - Julie
Offering - Video Song - Majesty in a manger
Offering - Video Song - Majesty in a manger
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
Nativity Skit MBC
Nativity Skit MBC
There have been great arguments for and against the virgin birth of Christ; there have been many articles written on the nature of swaddling cloth in which Jesus was wrapped; many word pictures have been drawn of the manger in which Jesus was laid; there have been thousands of sermons preached concerning the inn at Bethlehem which had ‘no room’ for Jesus. But what of the question: Why did Jesus come?
With that said, let us settle the Virgin Birth question before we move on. There is no doubt from the Scriptures that Mary was a virgin when she conceived via the Holy Spirit. If we do not believe this yet confirm that Jesus is both God and man we still need to answer the question how did God become man? We affirm that God became a man by causing Mary to conceive whilst remaining a virgin. Therefore we say with the creeds that Jesus is very God who became a man. Of course, like a man I met during the week said, it is impossible for Mary to have been a virgin for it has never happened before or since. Well, yes. That is the definition of a miracle! It means that only God could have been involved and if there is a God miracles can happen. This should not be surprising. I believe in a God of miracles otherwise what kind of God do I believe in?
So, let us answer the question of why Jesus came at all. There are at least 10 reasons the Bible tell us why Jesus came, all but the first one come from the very words of Jesus Himself:
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.
And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”
For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’;
Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
These ten reasons are what Christmas is about. It is more than pious sentiments about a star seen in the East, a babe in a manger, and frightened shepherds on Bethlehem's hillside.
Notice again the reasons that Jesus came: that Jesus will save His people from their sins, to shine a light on our path, to give us life to the full but this could only be achieved by fulfilling the law and doing the will of His Father. This was the way of the cross where Jesus paid the ultimate price for our failures. He died in our place for us so we could be with Him forever.
But there is a flip-side to all this and that is this: if we do not receive Jesus He will reject us. Jesus came to cause division too. Out of the goodness of God’s heart He sent Jesus to save us but if we refuse to be saved by the only means possible then we remain on the wrong side of the fence and we only have judgement to fear.
We have been given the offer of life but we can still choose death and face God on our own terms. I do not need to say how that will go for us if we did that. But come to God on His terms which are these:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
And all the good promises of God become ours.
We have received the greatest gift God could have given but what is the greatest gift you can give to God today? It is to turn around, face God and give your life to Him and say that He can come and live in you.
He has sent His invitation to us all; to everyone here: I accepted it. Will you?
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
The overall reason for Jesus coming at Christmas, when we celebrate the greatest gift we have ever been given, is that He wants to be with us. From the first book of the bible to the last this longing runs deep – there in Genesis 3 in the garden of Eden was the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day through to the book of Revelation:
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
The very Gospel of Matthew is bracketed with God with us in the passage we read in the first chapter, Jesus our Immanuel, and in the last chapter that He is with us until the end of the age.
The Bible is full of the fact that God is interested in people. The Bible says plainly says that he desires all people to be saved. Saved from what? Saved from hell, saved from sin, and saved to be in a right relationship with God. This is so incredible it is what led to the radical action of sending Jesus whom we celebrate at Christmas as a human child to live like us, whose name Jesus means ‘God saves’, and therefore to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be with Him forever and Him with us.
In fact, it is even more marvellous than that: he wants to live not only with us but in us: Christ in us the hope of glory. When we accept Him into our lives His Spirit comes and lives in us and cries ‘Abba, Father’. The intensity of the relationship is so deep that everything within us yearns to be with God - and it is plain that this is the same desire that runs deep in God; to be in fellowship with us. There is a God-shaped hole in every one of us that is not satisfied with anything less than God and us being fully committed to Him: and time and again Scripture makes it very clear…
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
For those of us who have already received Jesus but are still dissatisfied it is because we are not truly living for God but for ourselves. True satisfaction comes from drawing near to Him and Him drawing near to us. I’ve noticed a theme these last few weeks where we have been continually encouraged to seek God. It was even in last week’s bible readings:
When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
How can we know He is really interested in us? He came at Christmas to be ‘God with us’ What will we do with Jesus this Christmas? Will we seek Him? Will we let Him live in our hearts? Will we let Him have His way in our lives?
Jesus did warn, though, about counting the cost of following Him. Jesus wants all people to receive peace and goodwill from God but there will be those in our families and friends who will not want to know even if we do. This will cause division. This will cause heartache.
We have great benefits in coming to Jesus but the price for some people is too high. A friend of mine who did not count the cost beforehand found that all his other friends wanted nothing to do with him after he asked Jesus into his life and they urged him to reject Jesus. And he did. He no longer wanted to be my friend after that either. He wanted the approval of his other friends rather than that of God.
For me, I think there is a great imbalance. Knowing Christ is worth it all. He died for me. Which of my friends or family did that? And He did it when I was not for Him but an enemy of His. And now I know forgiveness.
All that come to Christ will gain enemies. This is just a fact. We gain one immediately in the form of Satan who will hate us and work against us, and then we will also gain enemies in our family, among our friends and from others in the world and there may be consequences for following God’s will just as there was for Jesus. When we say that God has a hope and a future for us it may be just as it was for Jesus: Jesus lived the perfect life yet still died charged with being a criminal. He was persecuted and we may be persecuted too but we have already been given eternal life and the reward will be great. I say again: Knowing Jesus is worth it all. What about you?
The invitation to life is here. What will you do with Jesus this year? This Christmas? Follow Him now and forget Him later?
Jesus is for life, not just for Christmas. Jesus asks you now: “Will you follow Me?”
If it is yes then fantastic! Talk to me afterwards and we’ll journey together.
If you are already on this journey perhaps it is time to rededicate your life to the One who gave it all for you and serve Him with all your heart for we have the admonition of Jesus:
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
He left His Father’s throne above so free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love, and bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free, for O my God, it found out me.