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December 8, 2019 11:00 am
What is the greatest event of world history. There a lot of different plausible answers I supposed to that question. Some probably would say that the harnessing of fire. With the invention of the wheel are at least some of the greatest events of human history but no one knows when nor the how those particular events. Some might say the development of democratic government, the rule of the people rather than the rule of kings and emperors but we have come to recognize that the benefits of democracy have proved minute difficult to maintain for long. Some might even say that the greatest events in human history, terrible as they were, would be the two world wars which profoundly reshape the world in which we live, but awful cost of lives and property, but my submission to answer that question is the one that is found before us in Galatians chapter 4 verses four and five and I would submit that the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the fullness of time is the greatest event that is ever happened in the history of the world, an event which you know what happened 2000 years ago is even now celebrated all around the world by many people who really don't understand its significance, but nevertheless that event is deeply stamped in the minds and history of the people of this world to this day, and that event shall increasingly grow in significance as the days Rolando I've chosen for my text today. Galatians chapter 4 verses four and five but when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who are under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. This is the greatest event in history that we shall learn more of the momentous impact of the incarnation of Jesus Christ as we carefully examine this text. Please note with me number one God's appointed time number two God's appointed son and number three God's appointed purpose God's appointed time, but when the fullness of the time had come, the fullness of the time.
What is this fullness of the time to which the apostle Paul speaks there are many things, actually, that we can say about this in the first one is that it is obviously the time of redemptive maturity. That's what we find in the context of our text, the portion that I read to you before and after the text today. Paul opens a chapter with a cultural illustration. He talks about a minor son who is the son of a wealthy father and indeed is the appointed and recognized error of the father, but in many respects, he is forced to live like a slave for a while though maybe not in the poverty that a slave might live in. But lives like a slave. In this regard that he's under the authority of others, just like a slave. It I say this is a culturally appropriate illustration because, of course, of the Roman world.
Slavery was everywhere in our world. Gratefully, at least in the Western world that is no longer true, but the one thing above everything else that is common to all slaves is that they are under the authority of another.
There other circumstances may differ. Some struggle and hardship and poverty. Others are in in comfortable circumstances in regard to their their housing and food in the circumstances of their life, but the difference between a slave and a free man is that the slave must live his life under the authority of someone else in the freeman at least has a measure of liberty. Paul says when a the air of a rich man is still a minor, then he's still under the authority of others, just like a slave. He is under as he puts it here under the guardianship of of tutors and stewards teachers and pedagogue's and those who are in authority over him, to whom he must answer all of whom he must render obedience even though he is the heir nevertheless is like a slave until the time appointed by the father. There will come a day in his life. When the father decides to promote him to adult status and then on he will be liberated from his servitude from his subjection to the authority of others, and will be given authority in his own right, and Paul makes a spiritual application of all of that what he says in verse three. Even so, we are situation is very much like that. Even so, we when we were children were in bondage under the elements of the world before Christ.
We all of us.
As Paul were like children in bondage. We were like minors. We were in some ways like slaves and what were we under the authority of what he calls it here. The elements of the world and I take that to mean the laws which rule over us and held us in bondage. My thick probably the way the reason he used that broader term. The elements of the world. Instead of being more specific, is because it's clear from the passage that he has different groups of people in mind if you were thinking only of juicy might say we were under the law of Moses until the time appointed by the father, but he's got Gentiles in mind as the passage makes very clear both Jews and Gentiles. And so Jews under the law of Moses and Gentiles who were still under the law of God even though some of them had never seen the Bible and it never heard the articulation of the 10 Commandments and I never read the law of God. Paul makes clear in Romans chapter 1 that all man all women born into this world have some measure of the law of God written in their hearts and every one of us are responsible to whatever law we have been given we are accountable to obey it. We are under the penalty of disobeying it. We are under as he puts it here. The elements of the world until we are released in the release. The time of redemptive maturity as I have called it is what we are looking at an in our text in Galatians 44 but when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons, the fullness of time is the time when Jesus Christ came to release men from the bondage of the law and all those who believe in him are released from the bondage of the law doesn't mean that we have nothing more to do with the law, but we are in a different relationship with it. We are no longer in bondage to it.
We have been freed from that released from that by the coming of Jesus Christ and the fullness of time, so God's appointed time.
Number one is a time of redemptive maturity, the fullness of time. Number two is the time of evangelistic opportunity there a lot of very interesting things that took place in the world at the time when Jesus Christ was brought into the world. We can think about some of the religious elements that came together at that particular time, the Jews, though at one time scattered out of their land and held in Babylonian captivity had been brought back to their land, their Temple rebuilt and down the days when Christ was born, greatly expanded larger even than in the days of Solomon were carrying out the dictates of the Mosaic law in their worship. The Old Testament Scriptures were now all completed and the Lord had accomplished its intended purpose, namely, to be our schoolmaster to lead us under Christ to show us are said to show us our utter inability to keep that law blog. Given we are commanded to keep it were under obligation to keep it. And yet unable to keep it. Now I think the reality of that has become abundantly clear.
And furthermore, in the time of Babylonian captivity the Jews to develop the synagogue system which we see nothing of in the Old Testament and springs forth into full development in the days of the New Testament and the Jewish synagogues were not only in the land of Israel but were actually constructed and in operation all over the Roman world and even beyond. So that every city of any size had a Jewish synagogue where people were gathered together worshiping the one true God. Reading the Scriptures of God declaring that there is only one God and not many gods, not a Parthenon of Greek or Roman gods but one true God and as we know, even many Gentiles had heard that message and been brought into the synagogues. We find Paul coming into contact with them and he is travels across the Roman world of his day and all of that was preparing the world religiously for the coming of Christ in the fullness of time.
Culturally, it was a time of evangelistic opportunity. Alexander the great, had conquered the world the Western world of his day and had brought to it. Greek culture and even more importantly, a universal language, which was still the universal language. The grease was gone in Roman Rome was in power, though the Romans spoke Latin and their laws were written in Latin and their government was carried out. The governmental deliberations were carried out in Rome in Latin.
All throughout the Roman world, everybody spoke Greek. Not everybody spoke Latin, wonderful opportunity for the spread of the gospel.
Missionaries could fan out across the Roman world without having to go to language school and learn a different language. All they had to do was come preaching the Lord Jesus Christ in the Greek language and God had already prepared that there would be a universal language that most of the people in the Western world understood.
Indeed, it was in that respect, the fullness of time was the fullness of time, politically because Rome actually had coming to power.
Though the Greek empire was great and influential in many ways that out outlasted its actual existence.
The Roman empire was also great but I think we could say greater and made other impacts that were just as significant and so at the time Jesus was born.
It was the time that is called the pox Romana, the Roman peace the time of imposed peace and because of the piece of the very minimal wars that took place at least within the boundaries of the Roman Empire prosperity for war always diminishes prosperity wherever that is going on so was a time of peace.
It was a time of prosperity was a time of safety when people could travel from place to place in relative safety and all kinds of opportunities for travel were available.
Ships were crossing the Mediterranean world regularly going from place to place in Rome built those famous roads. The Appian Way they had nationwide all across the Roman empire crisscrossed with good roads that people could travel on from place to place.
When opportunity for messengers of the gospel to fan out across the world and to preach that Jesus is the Christ, that Jesus is the Savior of the world. It was in the fullness of time at time of evangelistic opportunity. It was terribly what I will call the time of eschatological transition of big word eschatology deals with the end times, eschatological transition, there was a huge transition that took place in the flow of redemptive history with the fullness of time. With the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. It was inaugurated the new covenant. The old covenant that had been in place for the people of God. For centuries, was now replaced by new covenant that not only encompass the physical people of God, the Jews, but also expanded out to the whole world. The Gentiles, and that was inaugurated with the coming of Christ. In fact, I think we would say in this respect, the coming of Christ inaugurated the fullness of time. Up until now it was something less than the fullness of time, but when Jesus came. Now we are in the fullness of time. We are in the last days. You know that I've explained that and have been ever since the coming of Christ. That's the part that some don't understand, but the coming of Christ change so much the coming of Christ Changed What Was Taking Pl. in God's working among the people of this world. It was a time of eschatological transition. The coming of Jesus Christ has forever changed not only not only God's people, not only those who believe the Bible but it has changed the whole world and the testimony to that. One of the testimonies to that is that every time you write the date every time you data check you write it down as I did writing a couple of checks this week and I wrote December whatever day it was I was writing the checks six through 79 2019. What is 2019 20 1980, ever since the coming of Christ. Everything is now dated after that event.
If I if we lived before that we would've where we did things were dated the say way then, but now looking back in history to the things before that event.
We data everything before the coming of Christ be see before Christ. But now, after Christ after his coming, some who have an antipathy toward Christ have recommended changing that.
I propose changing that have tried to change that nobody successfully change that we still do it. Everybody does it. Every politician does it every Muslim does it every atheist does it, they write down their dates in reference to the coming of Christ in the fullness of time, but ultimately what Paul is talking about here is the time of sovereign determination is really impossible for us to know exactly what details he had in mind. I propose several that seem very likely to me.
The ones that are in our text at time of redemptive maturity are clear enough, but those others just seem to be most providential date of evangelistic opportunities back the Greek and Roman world of that day and the eschatological transition of courses. Indeed, indicated to us in Scripture, but about everything else.
What Paul is emphasizing is God chose the time, even as a Roman father who has I saw is not yet a full adult makes a determination as to when he's going to promote his son to maturity.
He chooses the time. The time appointed by the father. He's under guardians and tutors until the time appointed by the father. Even so, we but when the fullness of the time was come, God chose the time God the father said this is the time when I will bring my son and here he is here he came, God's appointed time notice. Secondly, God's appointed son. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, God's appointed son and he is described here in relationship to a special birth into a common birth. First of all, the special birth God's appointed son we learn who we was before we learn what it became, God sent forth his son, who was see he was first the anointed agent of God the father God sent this is sending one unofficial mission.
This is authorizing wind to carry out the work that the father had assigned him to do you know of course that the word Messiah means anointed one God sent forth his son, God anointed to kiss son for a particular task. He was the anointed agent of God. But more than that he was the eternal son of God, God sent forth his son, not the God sent forth his being too become his son when he was begotten in the womb of the virgin, but he was already the son of God, God sent forth the one who was already his son. We talked about that last Lord's day didn't really he was the son before he was sent.
He is the eternally begotten of the father who was begotten by the Holy Spirit in a different sense in the womb of the Virgin Mary, but he is the eternally begotten son of God. This mystery of the of the relationship between the three members of the triune God get the Trinity. He was, as we saw last Lord's day face-to-face with God. John 11 in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the Word was God the Word was face-to-face with God and the Word was God himself. God, he is the eternal son of God, who is also the eternal God, he is God in the mystery of the Trinity and therefore who is this one who came in the fullness of time. He is the eternal son of God.
He is God the son he is God. God, in one sense, sent his son, in another sense God came. He sent himself. That's who he was. That's the special birth but then when he became the common birth, the incarnation of this indeed is amazing God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, a common birth. What did he become.
He became a man, and he became the subject he became a man born of a woman that's a phrase. It simply means he was a human being. He was a man Jesus use that same phraseology in reference to John the Baptist in Matthew 1111.
Assuredly, I say to you among those born of women there has not arisen one greater than John the Baptist just up a common phrase used in that day frequently to designate a human being one born of woman that's that designates a human being. That's what it's telling us here that God sent forth his son, born of a woman, God sent forth his son to become a human being, God sent forth his son to take upon him a human nature. This speaks both of these means of entrance and the source of his humanity. What I mean by that.
He was born of a woman Greek back small preposition, but it means from or out of not through oftentimes we think of Jesus as more or less being transmitted through the womb of the Virgin Mary, he came from heaven a traverse through the womb of the Virgin Mary, and was born into this world, that's true, of course, when were talking about God the son in his deity. But what this emphasizes is when he went into the womb of the Virgin Mary when he was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He picked up something he added something that he didn't have before. Namely humanity and and this was a precious and an important thought to me as I is I dealt with this passage starting at this week. The source of his humanity was entirely for Mary.
He was born from or out of a woman is humanity was for Mary.
It's never been really clear to me until I saw exactly what this passage is saying there have been different suggestions as to how exactly the than the human nature of Jesus Christ came together and this tells us more about it if we understand what say it tells us that his nature came entirely for Mary. He didn't have a human father. We know that we know he couldn't come from Joseph he couldn't come in the way that most people are born with the coming together of father and mother, male and female to produce that new child that human nature, but in the case of Jesus Christ. He didn't have a human father.
He didn't care at therefore the Adamic nature that comes to us through our father's, but the surprising thing is that his entire humanity came from Mary this gives greater significance to marry perhaps and we are accustomed to thinking about if I put it to you this way.
I think maybe you will become more clear in how many different ways have human beings been produced there actually for we don't usually think of that. But there are four, three of them are unique one to have one way to one person. Adam was entirely a human being. How was he produced God formed his body out of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living soul.
He was not the product of a mother and a father. He was the product of God's forming him breathing life into him right is one way, how about Eve believed was different God. We are told, opened up the side of Adam into gold ribbon from that rib, he made a woman and again not the way he made Adam and not the way that we are produced by the coming together of our mother and our father, but in yet another way.
God produced a full human being one who was fully 100% human, but was not produced in the normal way.
That's the second way that humans have been produced. What's the third way with the way that all of us were produced. The way were accustomed to the way the billions and billions and billions of people and produce down through the ages to such an extent. So great is the. The magnitude and end the virtual uniqueness almost uniqueness of this particular way of producing humans that sometimes it is assumed that it is the only way, but no Adam was number one in manner of of of being produced.
Eve was method number two of human beings being produced. You and I are number three of methods of human beings being produced in Jesus Christ was number four. 1/4 way of human beings being produced being produced entirely out of the biological material of the mother without any human father conceived in the womb by the spirit of God, but all of his humanity coming from his mother, his entire if I understand this correctly. His entire genetic makeup was Mary's essay that does give more significance doesn't to the virgin Mary, so what he became number one. A man born of a woman number two. A subject what is that word means subject to be subject.
A subject means to be subjected to something and he came into this world. He is King of Kings and Lord of lords. He is the one who, to whom everything else is subject when he was born into this world. He himself became subject. He was made of a woman are born of a woman he was born under the law. He was a subject to the law. Upon birth, he immediately inherited an obligation that everyone born of woman inherits again depending upon our circumstances, the Jews inherit a particular obligation to the Mosaic law Gentiles who have not the Mosaic law. Nevertheless have the law of God, under which we are all born in subject in Jesus Christ. Upon birth was immediately subjected to an inherited obligation to obey the law. He was subject to the laws precepts and he was subject to the laws penalties just like everyone of us, and because by the design of God.
He was born as a Jewish male. He was born under the strictest law code that has ever been given which was the Jewish law code, law of Moses enhanced. He had to carry out every precept of that law.
He was circumcised as a Jew something and many elements of that law that are not incumbent upon others, but they were upon him because he was born of a Jewish woman he was born into Jewish society. He was born not only a man but he was born a Jew, a Jewish male and therefore the strictest law code of his day so that he could represent all others who were under the strictest law code of that day and would also represent everybody else who was under a less strict law code because even though not everyone is under the law of Moses.
Everyone under the law of Moses. Also, if a person could fulfill the law of Moses he would fulfill all the other laws as well. There would be nothing left undone law of Moses is the law code that is upon all of us plus more. And Jesus took the plus more so that, in fulfilling the law as he did perfectly. It is the only person who ever did. He fulfilled all the requirements of the law.
The strictest code that applied to every Jewish person as well as the law code that replied to every Gentile person in whatever circumstances they are in.
So he represented others in his subjection to an fulfillment of the law, both those under the highest legal code, the law of Moses as well as all others who were under a lower legal requirement. This is God's appointed son. This is who he was God eternal deity. This is what he became a man under the law, which she is God had given why we come thirdly to God's appointed purpose. Why did he do this are told in verse five to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons is actually a twofold purpose for Greek scholars. There are two Hilda clauses here. It is the little Greek word that means in order to wear in order that in there it's used twice here if you translated it strictly he would be exactly the same. He came in order to redeem those who were under the law, in order that we might receive the adoption as sons became number one for the redemption of sinners and number two for the adoption of the lever for the redemption of sinners, to redeem those who were under the law, to redeem, there is a word that we should be familiar with the redeem Exxon's arrived so to buy out to buyback.
It refers to the purchase of slaves to buy them out of slavery to buy them back from their owners by the payment of the required price, whatever that price might be all that's what Jesus did, he came to redeem those who were in bondage to the law he came to purchases out of that slavery out of that bondage and what was the required price. His blood is life is death on the cross bearing the penalty for the law that we are all under and the penalty for breaking the law that we have all broken.
The penalty is death and Jesus became the substitute of those who are under the law, and he paid the price.
He died on the cross in order to redeem those who were under the law, and the result is, of course, freedom from bondage when someone is bought out from the slave market. He is freed from bondage. At least the one who his own damn now he belongs to a new owner to whoever it was who purchased him, but sometimes slaves are purchased in order to set them free, and that in fact is what Jesus Christ does for his people. He purchases us out of the bondage of of the law in order to set us free will no longer be under the bondage of the law again free from the law rights the songwriter a happy condition.
Jesus has bled, and there is remission. Some of understood the meaning of that song what he's talking about the same thing. The post talking about here, free from the legal bondage of the law to keep it for life in righteousness. And if you don't keep it to die under its penalty but free from all of that because Jesus has bled and has redeemed those who are under the law, and so he has set us free from that but those who have been set free now gladly involuntarily serve the one who freed them out of loving devotion and gratitude. Why do we do that will number one because we understand the greatness of our redemption, and number two because he doesn't just free us by buying us out of the slave market of sin, but he transforms us he regenerates as he changes authority changes our desires. He sends his Holy Spirit to work within us all the elements of redemption are not included in the short text, but because he gives us a different heart and we now have a God-given desire to serve the one who freed us. It is a voluntary servitude with what what less would we want to do than to live for him who died for me and so he came to redeem us from the bondage of the law, to redeem those who were under the law and secondly that we might receive the adoption as sons. That's the second reason the word adoption literally means son placing it usually refers to one who was placed in a family who is not naturally born there.
That's the way we normally use it today.
There are in in our church family.
There many natural children and then there are good number of adopted children and the families that constitute beacon Baptist Church and those adopted children of those who were not born naturally, but they have been adopted. They have been placed into a family that they were not born into, but now having been adopted, they are legally and we hope and think in the case of those at beacon are treated equally in every respect in their families to those who are naturally born in the Roman customs of Paul's day there was a special ceremony at a time appointed by the father to adopt a son into his family and in the Roman custom. It was even customary for the father to adopt his own natural born son. It was the ceremony that that marked the transition from minority to majority from under authority to full emancipation full privileges.
So in that Roman adoption ceremony, a special Togo was placed upon the sun to memorialize this event and to symbolize his new status. The kind of Togo that his father would wear the kind of Togo that a wealthy person would wear and at this time there was bestowed upon this mature son, the rights and privileges that belong to a full grown son and under Roman custom the ceremony must be witnessed by seven other men who could all testify in court later that this had taken place in case somebody contested the event some natural born child would say this one has no right to our father's inheritance.
He has a belong to our family and there were seven witnesses that could step forward and say yes he does. Father so ordained it. The father so appointed. This one has as much right in this family is you do all the rights all the privileges that belong to a natural son and why did Jesus Christ come into this world take upon him human nature and lay down his human life upon the cross for our sins. Why did he do that he did that. We are told to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive the adoption of son. He who was a son of God by nature and the only one was the son of God by nature willingly took upon himself the form of a servant. So that way you are servants by nature might become sons, by adoption. Now his father is now our father and we have been granted all the rights and privileges of mature natural born sons that is astonishing. That's what Jesus did in the incarnation. After hearing this, do you quarrel with my designation of this is the greatest event in world history. The incarnation is truly beyond our comprehension. That's why Paul writes in first Timothy 316 and without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifested in the flesh, there it is the incarnation God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory. This is a mystery. Paul calls it a mystery. God was manifested in the flesh.
That's the mystery of the incarnation. It truly is beyond our comprehension. Yet it is the greatest event in world history. In all these ways that I've already described in one more that I haven't mentioned because with the coming of Jesus Christ. Satan's power was broken and began to fade is been given limited lingering power, but not the power he had before Christ K you say things like he's got a lot of power. Now, nothing like what he had before. That's why Jesus said in Luke 1018 then the 70 returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name, they were astonished at that and he said to them, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven that took place when Jesus came into the world. Satan was weak. Let's put it this way. He had his wings clipped he hasn't yet been strained. That's still coming when Jesus came into the world. He had his wings clipped he doesn't have nearly the power he had before I ran across this testimony to that that I thought was very interesting. It was in the sermon on this text by William Plummer. He made reference to the great oracle of Delphi, which for hundreds of years was a place in Greece Temple, inhabited by priestesses were people would go and inquire of of the Oracle. The God that was worshiped there who was was thought to have the power to foretell the future and to reveal all kinds of things and seem to be able to do that. Speaking to the priestesses in its course, if there was that ability. It had to be demonic ability and apparently it wasn't. This is what he said I've never seen this any place before, but he said, with the coming of Christ.
The Oracle of Delphi ceased to give its responses and said this, there is a Hebrew boy who is king of the gods who is commanded me to leave this house and be gone to hell and therefore you are to expect no more answer amazing amazing. Yes, the incarnation is surely the greatest reality that has ever transpired in the history of the world, the incarnation of Jesus Christ is surely the greatest opportunity that is ever been given to this world because of what he did when he came you, dear friend, if you will believe in him will have eternal life. You will be redeemed from the bondage of the law. The requirements that the penalties over which you will never escape. Except if you come to Christ. You will be redeemed from the penalty of the law and given the full rights of a son of the most high God. It is the greatest opportunity that has been given to anybody in this world and it is proclaimed to all who will come all who will believe in with the incarnation of Jesus Christ comes the greatest responsibility that is ever come upon anyone because he came because God came because God did these things, it is incumbent upon all of us to believe that to bow before his throne to receive this wad to worship and adore him and to fail to do so must surely be the greatest salesman the greatest offense against Almighty God, that anyone could possibly commit. So when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons, shall we pray Almighty God, we do not fathom all of the mysteries of this, but how we rejoice in the reality of it, how we acknowledge our great need of it. How we thank you for the grace that has given us your son how we cling to him for the cleansing of our sins. How we proclaim him to the world that needs this message and no dear Lord, how we pray for those of our loved ones who are yet outside of Christ that they don't go out into eternity guilty of despising and rejecting this one who came in the greatest event averse history. We pray these things in Jesus name man