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Christmas 98

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Today is the Sunday before Christmas and normally we give a sermon about the birth of Christ, which were going to do today.

Luke 2:1-16. Today I'm going to start off with a short poem called "Christmas Means." And it begins like this...

I) Christmas means that:

A) He descended that we might ascend (John 6:38, 14:3).

B) He became poor that we might become rich (2 Cor 8:9, Jas. 2:5).

C) He was born that we might be born again (John 1:14, 3:2,7).

D) He became a servant that we might become sons (Phil. 2:7; Gal. 4:6, 7).

E) He had no home that we might have a home in heaven (Matt. 8:20; John 14:2).

F) He was hungry that we might be fed (Matt. 4:2; John 6:50).

G) He was thirsty that we might be satisfied (John 19:26).

H) He was stripped that we might be clothed (Matt. 27:28; Gal. 3:27).

I) He was whipped that we might be healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

J) He was forsaken that we might not be forsaken (Matt 27:26; 28:20).

K) He was sad that we might become glad (Isa 53:3; Phil. 4:4).

L) He was bound that we might go free (Matt 27:2; John 8:32-36).

M) He was made sin that we might be made righteous (2 Cor 5:21).

N) He died that we might live (John 5:24, 25).

O) He came down that we might be caught up (1st Thessalonians 4:16, 17).

1) Christmas also means that God is never late. He never misses a deadline. He sent His son into the world right on time. God’s timetable is always perfect. Our timetable and God’s timetable are not always the same. There are times when we want God to act right now. We pray "God give me this promotion right now… God get me out of debt right now… God give me patience and give it to me now!" But God who has all wisdom and knowledge and sees the end from the beginning is never late. He’s right on time. It may not be our time, but is always His time.

2) In the Christmas season we see a great reminder of the fact that God acted in just the right time when He sent His Son to the earth.

a) Turn with me to Galatians 4:1-7. Notice that (V.4) says, "When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman."

(i) That’s an amazing statement. Jesus came at precisely the right time, God’s perfect timing.

3) Maybe today is the perfect time in your life for God to move in a special way. Today may be the time God speaks to your heart, answers your prayer, or changes your situation. Today may be the perfect timing for God to begin to work in your life.

II) There had to be PREPARATION for His Coming (vv.1-3).

A) Just as there is a perfect timing for Jesus Second Coming, there was a perfect timing for his birth. There were many prophecies given concerning the birth of Christ and these prophecies had to be fulfilled before Jesus could be born.

B) There was RELIGIOUS Preparation.

1) Throughout the Old Testament, God had been dealing with His chosen people, Israel. It would be through them that the Messiah would come. But Israel was always straying from God. They refused to simply worship Him alone, and were always following after the gods of the peoples around them. Over and over, God judged Israel for this idolatry.

2) Finally, during the Babylonian Captivity the Jews returned to monotheism, which is the worship and service to only one God. This prepared the way for Jesus to be born.

C) There was POLITICAL Preparation.

1) By the time Jesus was born, Rome ruled the world. The Romans had conquered all the nations around them.

a) God determined who would ascend to power in the Roman Empire. At the coming of Christ, Caesar Augustus was the emperor. Little did he know that when he called for a census, he was doing God’s will.

2) Because of this census all of the people had to return to their place of origin and be taxed and counted.

a) A pregnant woman and her husband made a historic journey to Bethlehem. Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus, was guided by the sovereignty of God to the place prophesied in the Old Testament where Christ would be born.

D) There was SPIRITUAL Preparation.

1) Look back with me to Galatians 3:23-25. These verses provide an analogy of how God prepared people’s hearts to receive the Messiah.

2) (V. 22) says, "The Scripture hath concluded all under sin," that is by reading the Bible we all know that we are sinners.

a) (V. 23) says that "Before faith came we kept under the law." Before Jesus came, people tried to keep all God’s OT laws. Guess what? They couldn’t do it. It was impossible. God designed is that way.

b) (V. 24) says " The law was our schoolmaster (tutor) to bring us unto Christ."

(i) In other words, because we realize keeping the law can’t save us, we know we need a Savior…Jesus!

3) In (Galatians 4:1), Paul uses a slightly different analogy. He speaks of an "heir" who is a "child." In fact, he says that such an "heir… does not differ at all from a servant or slave" even though he is "master of all." Why? Because he is "under tutors and governors," who make him study, who point out his faults, and punish his mistakes.

4) But this only lasts for a while, "until the time appointed by the father."

a) In Greek culture, this wealthy young "heir" is schooled and disciplined, and treated like a "slave" until the time that his "father" gives him his full inheritance.

5) (Galatians 4:3) says, "We were children… in bondage under the elements of the world." God’s people were under the law, the "tutor" or "guardian." The law was harsh and its punishment was harsh.

6) Now look at Galatians 4:4. We were "in bondage" until "the fullness of the time had come."

a) Jesus’ coming signified that our bondages have been broken and we no longer full under the curse of the law and that we can now live in the full inheritance of God's blessings.

III) The PURPOSE of His Coming (vv.4-5).

A) Jesus came to FULFILL (v.4).

1) Jesus came in the "fullness" of time to fulfill the work of the God. There was much more to that night in Bethlehem then just a baby born in a manger.

2) God "sent forth His Son." Jesus left His place of prominence and privilege in heaven to dwell in the womb of a young woman from Nazareth. How the angels must have been in awe and amazement. The Creator of the Universe was carried about in a woman’s womb.

3) (Verse 5) says that He was "born (or made) of a woman." This speaks of His humanity.

a) Because He was the offspring of the Holy Spirit and had no human father, He is absolutely divine.

b) However, in his mother, He is absolutely human. He often referred to Himself as "Son of Man." This is vital. It means Jesus understand what it is like to be a man. He knows the hurts, the hardships and the grief of mankind. He knows what it’s like to be human.

4) Jesus was "born under the law." Jesus was born under that "tutor," that "guardian." However, Jesus was different from all other men. The law didn’t point out His sin and His failures because He had none. On the contrary, the Law pointed out His perfection!

a) The Law proved that Jesus is qualified to be the perfect Sacrifice for our Sin.

5) Jesus had more in mind in His coming to this Earth than giving us a holiday. God had a great purpose for Christ’s coming. God had planned this event before the Earth was formed. Now the time was right. And Christ came.

B) Jesus came to REDEEM (v.5a). Jesus not only came to "fulfill" the law and prophets, He came "to redeem those who were under the law."

1) Most people think that God will accept them based on their good works.

2) But no one is good enough. (Isaiah 64:6) says, "All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags." That is the point of the OT law. It is our "tutor" our teacher that shows us that we can never be good enough. It points us to our need of a Savior.

3) We were under the law, but could not keep the Law. So Jesus came. He bore our humanity. He bore our iniquity. He died on the cross in our place. In His death, He accepted the full measure of God’s punishment for sin for us.

a) In doing so he has redeemed us or bought us back from the penalty and power of sin.

4) You are still have to choices: We can choose to live our lives in our own strength, and trying to earn our way to heaven or we can accept God’s offer of salvation by faith in the finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s the best Christmas gift ever.

C) In Verse 5 it tells us that not only did Jesus come to redeem us, but he also came to adopt us into His family forever, "That we might receive the adoption as sons."

1) The word "adoption" in Greek comes from two Greek words. One means "to place" and the other means "a son." Thus "adoption" means "the placing of a son."

2) When you came to Jesus, when you were saved, God adopted you into His family. He forgave you of your sins, assured you of a home in heaven and placed within you the Holy Spirit, but He also adopted you. He made you His son or His daughter. Now you have all the privileges of sonship.

3) Christmas means I’ve been adopted! As the old song says, "I’m a child of the King." Jesus was born in a manger not only to pay for my sins, but also to adopt me into God’s family!

IV) Look at Galatians 4:6-7.

A) Because we are not slaves but sons, because we have God’s Spirit indwelling our hearts we cry out "Abba Father!"

1) What does "Abba" mean? The word is a tender expression of Father. About the closest word we have in English is "daddy." God makes us sons and brings us close, in intimacy to Him. He puts His Spirit in us, places us in His lap and we call Him "Abba," Daddy.

B) We are not just SONS but HEIRS.

1) (V. 7) continues, "if [you are] a son, then [you are] an heir of God through Christ." If "through Christ" you have become "a son" then it makes sense as "a son" that you are also an "heir."

2) An "heir" inherits the wealth of his father. As believers we have and we will inherit the "fullness" of our Father’s wealth. Christmas means that we have not only the gift of salvation, but all the wealth of our Father in Heaven.

3) (Romans 8:16-17) says, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ."

C) Almost 2,000 years ago, there came a night when "the fullness of the time" had come. The plan of God through the ages was beginning to unfold. It would be only moments before they announced to the shepherds, "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger" When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman. The angels would explode with the cry of jubilation, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men." The fullness of time had come. Our Lord and savior was born that day.

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