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December 26, 2021 7:00 am
Well it's rubber Bibles… Go to John's Gospel numbers look good. John chapter 1 John chapter 1. If John gives his concise is synced presentation of the coming of Christ. And it's amazing how under the superintending of the Holy Spirit. This different gospel writers bring out different elements of the glory and the truth of Christ's coming is look at it together there. First of all, in verse 11 that the verse five and they will jump down to verses 14 and 15 John chapter 1135. In verses 14 and 15 John writes in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God all things came into being through him, and apart from him nothing came into being that is coming to be in him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. Verse 14 and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the father full of grace and truth.
John testified about him and cried out, saying this was he of whom I said, he who comes after me has a higher rank than I for he existed before me Pam and I started doing some cleaning up yesterday afternoon after the tribe of Knobloch finally departed our house and that we didn't get finished. We save some for today and I begin the study over my notes and pray. Solomon I was thinking about, though, with all of this love that goes on at Christmas. We need a cleaning up of our thinking. Perhaps a cleaning up of our hearts and minds about not just what is this all about and that's what I think I'm going to do this morning is take you back to a sermon that I actually wrote 33 years ago on Christmas Eve in the hospital when my wife Pam gave birth to our firstborn child is the next day was Christmas. Of course I rode there in the hospital and I've tweaked it, but I preached it ever since then, no, I wonder when I became a pastor if I would have some of those sermons that long tenured pastors have about a repeat them intentionally because not because of that the greatness of the delivery of the message but because of the foundational and important element of the doctrine of the truth therein. Dr. RG Lee, the pastor of the famed Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis have is the sermon payday Sunday and the first time I heard it was the 14th hundred time he preached and God used Jonathan Edwards, one of the great leaders of the great awakening and in colonial days had the sermon the sinners in the hands of an angry God, and everywhere he went he preached it was amazing. The revival lot not even slightly, suggesting I have sermons of that caliber. That's not the important thing. But as I teach young pastors. I'll tell them find some basic truths, and God will give you a nugget ever so often it needs to be brought to the people again because it reinforces one of the most foundational elements of our faith.
Well, this message certainly does that. I don't know that I can do any better than this at driving home to you. The glorious truth of the incarnation, which is tied closely to the deity of Christ that this one lady in Bethlehem's feed trough was God.
So let's unpack it again together this morning.
I call it the celebration of the incarnation, if were going to celebrate Christmas rightly.
Had we celebrated what first let's remind ourselves that Satan is always trying to dishonor and undermine and repudiate the great truths of God's word is very subtle.
He's very slick he's very conniving he's very manipulative and he tries to mix all kinds of things that I probably want to Satan. If not, his greatest tool is the synchronization of worldly false doctrine in which true doctrine until the true doctrine.
Is it true anymore.
Just mixing it up as a Christmas. His hands has like all the great truths of our faith becomes smothered and is being smothered.
This is nothing new for us. It's worse in our country today than ever because were more ungodly than ever, but is been going on since the beginning of time, and certainly since the birth of the church age.
One of the ways is by mythologizing. Christmas is smothered out to mythologizing up I go back to my childhood for this because when I was a little boy wouldn't have all the television station we have now.
Thank God, and there was only a few Christmas specials compared to today, but always remembered how they would take that the story of the virgin birth and the birth of Christ and they would add some things to it like I remember one of that was real popular. My childhood was all these animals would show up at the birth of Jesus and they would be talking when I might be sweet and cute, but is not biblical is distorting the truth and who can remember the song still on the radio this on the LITTLE drummer boy he goes and he doesn't have anything to offer, but he places drama and all that is got that so we just not biblical. This because it sweet and moving and warm and cuddly dead minutes right look, I'm not saying that you can't watch anything like that, at least, be mindful with the true message is just… Continual efforts to smother out the truth of Scripture of Christmas and of all Bible truths mythologizing is one then course secularizing is another just turning it into something that is not no real traditional biblical context.
You'll often see Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus and not much else to say it is like you can take this very broad story of hope and make it mean whatever you wanted to may know you can't, God tells us what it means God tells us who he is and what he again you know you these subtle undermine things like the Hallmark movies.
Now we watch those Hallmark movies because I have to watch and I'll be out. It is nice to see a movie that's clean and decent and warm and the two people that are to get to get always get together. A man in that nice for a change in it nice to watch something that elevates Amanda little of the above the animals where everything is not based on your sex drive in your lust for something, but nevertheless I can watch those Hallmark movies and I don't find hardly anything in them about the true doctrines of Christ in the incarnation is what I tell people if you enjoy things like that just don't stop there.
Just the secularizing just putting a secular spin on it and not staying with the biblical truth, and of course commercializing my goodness is it that a massive smothering of the message of Christmas industry experts tell us that Americans will spend in excess of $1 trillion. This Christmas on Christmas stuff will would it would be to God that one day we hear that bad distant evangelical churches have now given this Christmas season over $1 trillion to world mission. Then there's just the out now this is the one it's become so prominent in our country. They are not reprint, repudiation just to cast it off just to do away with it. Matter fact you are taboo if even say Merry Christmas.
They don't mind the season but let's just call it a holiday season and make sure you believe that any reference to Jesus Christ or anything that's holy and biblical well again like I said in all of Christian truth. Satan is ever working at this he's ever working to undermine in this honor discredited to remove the truths of God's word. You remember this is in having had children and now having grandchildren. I appreciate the story more.
It was Sunday morning and and dad was sitting on the cutest little boy came up out of Sunday school and set them beside him and you had a piece paper and the danceable. So what's on the piece of paper.
He said all we had to draw a Christmas story this morning and Sundays is an open let me say it. And so that had looked at the piece of paper and there's a big jet airplane. He so this is a big jet airplane. Note now. What's that mean that Christmas is about that. That's the flight to each okay is divorce Joseph and Mary Nestlé baby Jesus. But who's the guy up in front of the plane is with that. That's conscious. The pilot and the dead said well, and there's Joseph and Mary baby Jesus. But who's the great big round fat guy in the back all this around John virgin he's on the flight to well is silly, but would have children is more funny but anyway because that sentencing mind saying that but there's all kinds of twists and turns in smothering sin changes in so I just thought this morning. Let's clean it out and focus of French on the wonder and the glory of just what Christmas is the Christmas story actually in the biblical narrative.
Getting this profound. It's a message that's not really hard to grasp.
Actually now how God did it is impossible to grasp at what God did, and what it means is not really hard to grasp. It's that God became man. God was born through the lonely virgin in the person of Jesus Christ, that he might live the sinless life and go to a cross and their die for our sins and save us. It is the height of all hopes it's the hope of all's that God.
Remember Isaiah from a couple weeks ago God was given to us a child will be born to us, the prophet wrote a son is given to us and we remind ourselves the event that is the statement that God did not come in the world for condemnation or wrath, but Christmas he came to us to save us. Why would anyone have a problem with that message.
Think about that. Just stop, while with the world or anyone have a problem with that true myth message and I think are two points I'd like to make right here. This is all introduction. First of all the recent men have a problem with the true biblical message is because of the depravity of men's hearts. Our hearts are so corrupted by sin. Our minds are so tainted with sin in our emotions are so marred by sin. We have a natural resistance to anything that is of God. Secondly, I think it's the glory issue Christmas is foundational. He not even about you being saved is foundational about the glory of God, which hallelujah you hallelujah includes us being saved is the glory issue these events in Scripture, like all of God's works are there to cause us to deem him worthy of honor and praise and worship.
For example in that in the narrative the Christmas narrative from Luke chapter 2 beginning in verse eight in the same reason.
There were some shepherds staying out of the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night and an angel of the Lord suddenly stood around them. And here is the glory of the Lord shone around them. Here's the glory of the Lord appearing in context with the birth of Christ.
They were terribly frightened, but an angel said to them, do not be afraid if I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people but today in the city of David. There's been born for your Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This would be a sign for you. You'll find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger and after they say that this like God says this can't just be said it's too wondrous for that verse 13 and suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host wanted to do, and praising God and saying, glory to God in the highest. The glory factor on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased with the stop right there. Remind ourselves that perhaps Satan's greatest purpose. His primary ploy is to undermine the purpose of God in making much of himself. Satan wanted the glory for himself. He didn't mind you getting the glory for yourself as long as he can bring the glory off of God. So I think when you know the truths of Scripture and for this season. The truth of the incarnation and Christmas. It should cause us to honor it should cause us to praise it should cause us to worship and Satan hates that he uses all these things to smother out Christmas in John 11. John writes here in the beginning was the word and here we have that word word used for Christ in US requires that why she called the word because he's the manifestation of God in generally speaking a lot fully true, but our words should make statements about the truth of who we are. Bible says, out of the heart man speaketh. Sometimes our words are not completely accurate about who we are, we can put little jam on the bread sometimes and how we say things about maybe ourselves, our accomplishment were not always accurate but in Jesus Christ.
You have the absolute correct manifestation or word of God.
A true celebration of the incarnation is that we celebrate the wonder and the glory of this that a true celebration of the incarnation is we win when we remember that the baby laying in the feed trough in Bethlehem. First of all, was the pre-existing one he existed before that morning that he was born in Bethlehem as the writer writes John chapter 1 verse one in the beginning was the word he was already the word. He was there, Jesus was there when the beginning began. Genesis 11 tells us in the beginning God created the word God, there is the Hebrew Aramaic word Elohim. It has a plurality emphasis. Why would the writer under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit use the word. The word Elohim there when he could use another word because he's included God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus was there in Genesis 126 the Bible says God says let us make man in our own image, a plurality appropriate.
Now why God the father and God the son and God the Holy Spirit are involved. Jesus was there in John 858 talking to the Jews who venerated and honored Abraham as their head and as their leader and as their spiritual father. Jesus said to them, before Abraham was, I am always a I existed even before Abraham existed. Now we talk about God becoming man in the Christmas message and the word is the incarnation, I think it's good to remind ourselves that while this birth of the Virgin Mary, I like to say is the full and perhaps final incarnation.
It wasn't necessarily the first incarnation because the Old Testament records appearances of Christ in human form before his birth to Mary theologians call these Christoph and he's Old Testament appearances of Jesus Christ. For example, in Genesis chapter 32 we have Jacob Jacob, who was not yielded and surrendered to God and blessed by God as he needed to be, and Jacob tells that one night he wrestled the Bible says he wrestled with a man all and then he says something astounding. In verse 30 that chapter. He said I've seen God face to face, and yet my life is been preserved as the man Jacob wrestled with all night. It also was the face of God. There's only one Jesus Christ and by the way can I remind you, the reader. This is very significant in our text. The reason Jacob said.
I wrestled with a man all night and I've seen God face to face, and yet I have been preserved means that he could've only seen Jesus Christ is only one way to see God not be considering is a God in Jesus Christ is the provision for our sins, whereby we can know God and have our sin, penalty and offensiveness removed through his merits on our behalf was the one who wrestled with Jacob. It was a man was God's Jesus Christ, and in Joshua chapter 5, Joshua was planning his conquest of the promised land. Then Josh was out sort of pacing and no doubt thinking about the attack. The next day. In looking at his fortifications are his troops and seeing how everything was in the Bible says he just happened to look up, and behold standing in front of him was one with sword drawn, Joshua was immediately fearful. Joshua said to him, who are you are you on their side are you on our side. He said no, this is Jeff Doblin for amplification no no I'm the captain of the Lords host.
I didn't come to take sides. I came take over in the Bible says that Joshua fell down and worshiped. And you can't find anywhere in the biblical text.
When Angel allows worship.
They will rebuke you and say no to worship me worship our father, but this one accepted the worship as this one was sword drawn to start before Jonathan went to the captain of the Lords host and accepted the worship of Joshua. It was Jesus Old Testament appearance of Christ before the angel of the Lord. Let them go this the text calls Jesus in that context, he says, by the way Joshua, take your sandals office the land you're standing on is holy ground. We only say that one of the time and that's when Moses let the burning bush, where God appeared in the burning bush and God said Moses take off your sandals.
I'm just not an angel is this is God. This Brown's holy ground is the one who is God who is currently using human form before Joshua was Jesus Christ, then Nebuchadnezzar put up a great image and babbling. Nebuchadnezzar said all the people in the orchestra plays must bow down and worship this image that I've erected Shadrach me shack and Abednego the Jewish boys who are faithful to worship only Jehovah decided they could not do that.
They were brought before Nebuchadnezzar maybe connectionless try this one more time because he really like the voice of the honors they were good. There good, faithful servants of his wise beyond his his own administrators. The Bible says we have the orchestra prior and let's get this right and in one of those spoke up and said the king.
We don't have answer you on this. I love that child of God you understand the small things in your life you had to give an answer because God Artie told you what did you not figure out what you're going to because God's arsenic.
He said king whether you throws in the fiery furnace or God delivers us and enter through it or what matter God Artie taught us when it worship anybody but you, so they wouldn't do it.
So Nebuchadnezzar had the furnace cranked up seven times hotter than before and he had some valiant warriors to take Shadrach me shack in Abednego, and cast them into the fiery furnace abounds as it consumed the our soldiers through the boys and their the king been begin to look in the furnace door and he looked around he said, did we not throw three men in the furnace that said yes three mini Selassie for and in his understanding. He's a polytheist you understand he said in one of them is not like the other three. He looks like a son of the God's law is the one who looked like Amanda was very different than a man walking with Shadrach and me second. Abednego in the fiery furnace. It was Jesus Christ appearing so we think about Christ. Remind ourselves that he has already existed didn't began at Bethlehem, he became a full human experience. A full course of humanity starting in Bethlehem. This one we worship and we honor we praise on Christmas we worship him and celebrate him as the pre-existing one. Secondly, let's note that we also must worship him as the prestigious one. The prestigious 20 began. He continues in verse one it says in the beginning was the word that's he's always been around his pre-existing and the word was notice had thwarted with God. This one who was born first Christmas morning in Bethlehem was one who had been with God that speaks of prestigious nests.
It means distinct from, not from all others. No one can claim that no one could have ever claimed to have been with the heavenly father and come from the heavenly father even having been with his father from the very beginning even before the beginning began. He has such prestigious nests distinction is of great grand and unmatchable distinction.
He has a dignity beyond all others. He has unmitigated willpower, wisdom and beauty and his glory is such that when it is unveiled it will fill the entire universe.
He is one who was with God, remember Prince William only still around these, the Duke of Cambridge in second in line to the British throne that all the sudden he married in Upham upper-middle-class girl named Kate Middleton upon her marriage. She is no longer Kate Middleton. Now she is Catherine Duchess of Cambridge. Why she gained such prestige by being associated with the prints. Jesus is one who came from the father.
He comes with great and honorable prestige. Let's remind ourselves that his incarnation did not end when he left this earth. Having risen from the grave. Hebrews tells us he ascended into glory and into the father's presence after he had made that atonement for our sins and no one else has the right to be in the presence of the father, like he does. He's right. Now Jesus the man now stands at the right hand of God to make intercession for us. The Bible says limit.
Remember his high priestly prayer in John 17 now. Father, glorify me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was prestige. He's always been with him. No one else says but he has John 1711. I'm no longer in the world. Yet they themselves. Speaking of his disciples are in the world and I come to you.
Holy father keep them in your name.
The name which you have given me, that they may be one even as we are. He has this unique oneness. He's always had with God the father gives him a prestigious no one else has. Listen to this and through Christ we gain the same prestige with him.
You never become a Chrysler little God, like the Mormons teach, but there's a prestige and being his bride is his children will have forever. John 1724 father and desire that they also need given me, be with me where I am, so that they may see my glory, which you've given me, for you love me before the foundation of the world. He's always been around, and he's always been with the father.
He is connected with him and united with him in this union that no one else can comprehend it's it's it's it's incomparable to any other union are our companionship.
We can know when humanity and it's incomprehensible to the human mind, this oneness of God the father and God the son, Jesus Christ our dear friend is your pastor would be the greatest joy of the heart.
Here, the people and by preaching some time sit in quietness and marble at the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ that be my joy. Yes, it's a joy that you take good care of us and it's a joy that you love preaching. I look all that's a joy to my heart, but to hear that you marble over Christ would be my greatest joy.
So we celebrate Christmas by honoring and praising and worship him as the pre-existing one. And secondly, I sleep the prestigious one and then finally number three we worship properly and celebrate Christmas properly is remembering and honoring him as the preeminent one, the preeminent one. The text says in the beginning was the word pre-existing one, and the Word was with God, prestigious one and the word was God.
He wasn't just like God or pretty close to God are higher than us, but less than God he is God. God, in the form of little baby will marvel theologians say it now say it all the time. He's God of very God which which distinguishes him from the old pagan teaching of antiquity. They in Internet and pagan religions where they had all kinds of gods they worshiped, they would sometimes call them demigods. Gods that were higher than us, but not absolute authority and power and sovereignty demigods in the Mormon Church's Mormon church's doctrine teaches that you can one day become hard and you are now and kinda become your own little God, so to speak. That's it that's that's garbage biblically.
That's blasphemy. There's only one who is God and that is Jesus Christ. This one is put on human flesh. He is the preeminent one. The Bible says Jesus is the creator of all things. Jesus is the absolute sovereign, the omniscient, the omnipresent the omnipotent holy God of very God's Colossians 115 says he's the image of the invisible God.
Hebrews 13 says he is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of God's nature. Colossians 29 says all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form in Jesus Christ. Colossians 116. He's creator of all things. Colossians 118 that in all things in him and read rather in all things he must have the preeminence. Then in Hebrews chapter 1 verse eight God the father calls Jesus the son God. Some attempt today to wax eloquent in philosophy and ask the question what how could God become human and still become God. Simple answer takes God to do that. There been many men who would become God ever not on the earth. These tyrant absolute monarchs of days gone by, who want to be worshiped in honor many men who become God with only one God became man is never ceased to be the one he is God of very God.
He is the preeminent one is born of a virgin, which speaks of his holiness that he's God, the Magi came, bringing precious gifts. Why because the holy one was born at his birth. The angels appeared to the shepherds, saying, glory to God in the highest. Why, because this is an easy regular birthdate the holy one was born he was God's will for them to celebrate Christmas properly. We must pause and contemplate in Freudian honor and praise and worship him as the pre-existing one the prestigious one and the preeminent one element give you two conclusions for practical application to things we should renewing this Christmas season. Number one, we should renew the matter of our lives. Then in verse 14 it says, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That is a condescension beyond comprehension. How can we grasp that God availed himself of this glorious and veiled himself of so many of his divine prerogatives became human speaks of humility church. Are you listening to me have you come to understand that submission and humility to God's truth and God's person is the mark. The mark of real strength and power the world will call you weak for that.
The world will call you you a loser for that, but in God's economy fits the all who are strong. Nobody was more humble than Christ we clothe themselves in the limitations of human flesh, so let's renew the manner of our lives. Concerning humility whiles humble yourself a fraction of the headship of your husband, children humble yourselves afresh under the headship of your parents husband's humble yourselves afresh under the headship of your church elders, your employer, to meet the needs of your wife and family.
Humble yourself flat fresh to know that your but a sinner saved by grace, we should renew the matter of our life concerning humility. Jesus did not come to a palace or a castle. He did not come in regal splendor is a great king or mighty ruler.
He was all those things that that's not the way you came became the baby of a poor family who had no place for him but to lock him in a feed trough.
What humility let's read dedicate our lives to being humble and selfless in Christ centered. Secondly, this recommit our lives to being holy text simply says the Word became flesh. In other words, holiness came among us. Holiness appeared in human form at Christmas time we must commit our lives to be holy before the Lord, child of God.
Listen to me you're not lock the world. You don't belong to the world.
You are a member of the different family. You are a part of a different kingdom.
You function according to higher principles. Hope you figured out that you don't fit in the Democratic Party you don't fit in the Republican Party.
So obviously we agree more throughput Republican Party than the Democratic Party. Why don't say what about, say, the Republicans make me sick sometimes with the way they waffling move around and compromise were dealing with the Democratic Party that almost has never seen a sexual perversion. They would celebrate the unborn child. They wouldn't terminate what kind of ungodly brash filters that cares what I'm saying, no matter where we find ourselves. We just don't fit down here because were somewhere else and someone else were reminded that on Christmas eve and for any description or any idea anyone had about the Messiah, our Savior are great king will secondly not them. Only the manner of our lives. Business rededicate ourselves to the mission of our lives. Verse 14. In the last part. He says he came full of grace and truth. Oh my goodness, on the one hand, that makes us want to dig a hole and just cry out with great gratitude and thanksgiving. On the other hand, it should fill us with such excitement. We could run the wall holy one came among us and did not come to judge us. He could have that would been righteous became full. Does that word fool you have full God can be the path you'll see how full I was just after I got three God is God is infinitely full because he has no bounds, full of grace. That's unmerited favor forgot how much did you forget Evans can you cleanse and how long-suffering can you pay and God says well I'm infinite and I'm full of grace and truth ponies.
He came on a mission to find sinners and he found a bunch of them and he saves them, the angel tells Joseph in Matthew 121 he will save his people from their sins. And can I cite you this morning.
He will save his people from their sins not fail. It will not fall short not miss a few well side people from their sin. Now he's called us to join him in the mission is called us to join him in the plan or the apostle Paul when he's reviewing what he's about in his ministry, says I came out, and I preach Christ not born in Bethlehem of the virgin no. I came not preach Christ crucified, the Bible never tells us to remember his birth. Certainly we do.
It's in the Scriptures, and we should not in any special where we are told to remember his birth were always told to remember his death. The Lord's supper baptism remembers death. Why, because that's where your part was accomplished. That's where your sold salvation was procured and that's his mission. He was born to die to rise again list rededicate ourselves in our small groups and that are true church conference in in our daily lives to be after souls.
You can always give a word of testimony share something with the things of Christ I got to do that. A time or two lately and what about you this renew our mission to be about his mission less never separate the incarnation from the crucifixion because it was never intended to be separated but we properly celebrate Christmas.
We will renew the matter of our lives and will renew the method of the matter are the mission of our lives.
Some years ago. I think it was John MacArthur's look Christmas book, or for looking at maybe 30 years ago to know if it's even around anymore, but he shares a story in their of a more ecclesiastical like I guess I should say ecumenical kind of church family and they when they have their babies, they immediately get the babies to the church so the priest can do the. The sprinkling of water they feel like that does something as has to do with her salvation. So the family rushes to the church and they have the baby sprinkled and there's a little service there and the tradition is after they take the baby home.
There's a big party celebration of the house and unfortunately a lot of the settings involve blood drinking, and on this occasion the man had taken the little baby put it on the first bedroom off the foyer of the house in the middle of the bed and someone came into celebrate all the friends and family come over the part in the celebration of the christening and someone through a heavy coat over the baby and another one came in and through another heavy coat, not knowing child was there and sometime later after several coats have been thrown on that front bedroom. They had the mom came in and found the baby did. That's what Satan would look Christmas is smothered out, but not us, not us. We join together this morning, and great joy and great honor and great worship that the baby laying in Bethlehem Street trough was the pre-existing one the baby laying in Bethlehem Street trough was the prestigious one the baby laying in Bethlehem Street trough was the preeminent one baby laying in Bethlehem Street trough was God. This is where the sermon ends but cannot charge you in love this morning. Have you settled with Christ you turn to Christ till Christ save me, cleanse me. He's full of grace and mercy. I'm not asking you, have you been baptized, join the church repeated a prayer walk down and I'll those things are good but have you from your heart come to a settled rest in Jesus Christ. If not, do that today and then you can become a true worshiper of Jesus Christ