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December 12, 2020 3:00 am
The children love Christmas. I love everything about the tree to the lights to the music of the presence everything fills them with anticipation. But we be mistaken if we thought that Christmas was about kids today on Truth for Life weekend. Alistair Begg redirects our perspective by taking us to the heart of Advent in first Timothy chapter 2, I don't want us to get off on the wrong foot is aware in our Advent celebration is to make sure that we are bombing underneath the explanation of God himself in Scripture concerning his plans and his purposes.
There is a sense in which to a certain degree I'm seeking. Perhaps to rescue Christmas not from kind of antagonistic secularism, but to rescue Christmas from our own potentially diminished and trivialized perspectives so I suggest to you that if we're going to make sure we make progress in this regard, we must allow the Bible to correct any of our faulty thinking. Note it is in light of that that I have just three words for is the first word is history. The second word is mystery and the third is victory right history. History here. Paul tells us that what God has done in Jesus is provided for as a ransom, which is the testimony given at the proper time given at the proper time. One of the great questions is why is it that all of history went as long as it did before.
We have the breaking into time by the eternal God will answer that quite honestly is a God knows what he's doing and he knows when to do what he's purposed to do, and these mind-boggling aspects can actually cause us to forget that these things are actually part of human history.
When Paul writes to the Galatians he summarizes it wonderfully when he says, but when the fullness of time it come, God sent forth his son, the history involves us in ministry.
Let's turn to ministry ministry. I love ministries.
A large part of my reading is mystery is always ministry I lie. I love having to keep reading and reading and finally it at all the lines as it is essentially eventually come together some great moments very moment one of this mystery while the mystery is not is mystery its its unfathomable ministry. You have the mystery of God's eternal being that the reality of the eternal being of God father son and Holy Spirit one in three and three in one coequal and coeternal entry into a covenant in eternity for the accomplishing office plan to save a people that are his very own, and along with that the added mystery of the incarnation itself, and when you wrestle with these things. What you realize is that you don't go as some would like us to be able to go to a page in the Bible you're like page 75 and then on the topics as Trinity and then underneath Trinity others great explanation of the Trinity, or incarnation, and then you have it there, you don't, why not because the way in which the people of God came to an understanding of these things was the same way in which we are supposed to come to an understanding of these things and how is that by reading your Bible, and realizing the very commencement of the Bible is plural led us make man in our image, is the first that the spirit of God breathed over the waters over the chaos and over the darkness by benefactor that when I come to the beginning of the gospel of John, where John decides not to start with the birth narratives, nor even with John the Baptist. But back in eternity and what is he say's mysterious in the beginning was the word the loggers the way by which God spoke the world into being in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, while that's that's so how could you be with God and the Word was God ministry is best for you have the work of all the councils in the early centuries of the church was a work of godly men who would think he needs things through and will ruling out all false options so they realized that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself that in the baptism of Jesus, you have the son of God in the water you have the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on the son of God, and you have the father in heaven declaring this is my beloved son, you see, it is these things these mysterious things that are the heart of it all. This is how the Westminster confession puts it, concerning Jesus, here, here, he says, the son of God, the second person of the Trinity being truly and eternally. God of one substance and equal with the father did. When the fullness of time had come. Galatians 4 take upon himself. Man's nature, with all its essential properties and common frailties yet without sin. Now, says Paul to Timothy, there is one mediator between God and man. There is only one channel that is only one gate. There is only one way he might've said as Peter preached post-Pentecost in acts chapter 4 there is only one mediator between God and man. Mohammed doesn't fit Putin doesn't fit the devalued nonsense as of Jehovah's Witnesses does not fit there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, that the that the Lord of eternity is the Christ of history. That's what's being said and loved ones. This is not some kind of arm's-length theological construct can I say to this matters immensely.
This matters is it's all about the children what to this degree. It is about the children because we want to bow down to our children and send and teach them the wonder of the love of God in Jesus that Jesus is the one who makes it possible for us even though were naughty even though were bad even though were selfish even though were scared even though were maxed that it is in Jesus that we may come directly to God the father through Jesus and know that there is no condemnation to us, not because we are sinners, but because of Jesus the one mediator has borne our sin that loved ones is at the heart of it all, the Word was with God, was what was God. He was not only the only mediator between God and man, but he was at the same time both God and man. When my friend says how hard it is to grasp even the edges of this astonishing fact that the confession goes on in this way to whole natures, the divine and the human perfect and distinct were inseparably joined together in one person without being changed, mixed or confused process mysterious is put on you live in the realm of ministry all the time, not depending on any primary or mental faculties. For me, my own world is mystery. So why, why would I imagine that in in in in embracing Christianity. I would be removed from the realm of ministry none taken into the realm of ministry. Now John Murray the late Murray professor at Westminster says of these things.
These are high and heavenly doctrines, and for that reason, listen to this and for that reason of little appeal to dull minds and darkened hearts.
These are high and heavenly notions to a dull mind in a darkened heart responses. Hey please.
Could we go back to the sugary stuff. It's a lot easier to to comprehend is much more accessible answers soaring.
No why because this is what Paul says, he goes on into chapter 3 and he says here that great is the mystery great indeed. We confess this is verse 16 of chapter 3 of of first Timothy great indeed.
We confess, is the mystery of godliness. The mystery of godliness. Some of you are willing to trust Jesus did what to finally get all your those jolly mathematical equations working all all the other bits of the periodic table of the elements that that all go together that make things happen and and and years and years stuck there cash yourself on Christ using believe in Jesus great is the mystery we proclaim, what is it he was manifested in the flesh. People said what manner of man is this, that even the winds and the waves abandoned the Jews knew that only God control the waves so he could stand up and stand in the waves on the sea, peace be still. They said wait a minute, what is this upon the rights to Timothy. He says he was manifested in the flesh. He was vindicated by the spirit seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed in the world taken up into glory.
Great indeed is the mystery. The second person of the Trinity did not cease to be what he was eternally, but by the incarnation, he began to be what he was not in a passage that we read he emptied himself, taking he made himself of no reputation, taking it was in the absence of something. It was the presence of something that was in the humiliation to become a man.
Even the best of men to come down into this environment.
Meekness and majesty manhood and deity in perfect harmony. The man who is God, but there is one other aspect of this mystery and it is at the very center of all of this and to this I want to give a moment and that is not simply the mystery of God's eternal being, nor even the mystery of his becoming man. It is not the story of man becoming God. This is the story of God taking on humanity.
But the great mystery is that he came to give his life as a ransom for many, that the great mystery is in the mystery of his work noticed picture of ransom or redemption is a central picture throughout all of the Bible. When they Egyptians held the people of God captive in Egypt they were redeemed by an outstretched hand, and God gave instruction that it would be by the shedding of blood that the people would be redeemed that the angel of death would pass over there and those who had done as had been said in relationship to the taking of a lamb without blemish and the sprinkling of his blood and so on. Either there would be no death, and that all they would be ransom, they would be redeemed as a result of the shedding of blood. When you come to the New Testament that is exactly what we find is true of Jesus we see again.
This is why theology is so important. God cannot arbitrarily just say you're forgiven you cannot arbitrarily overlook sin, because in the perfection of his being sin has to be punished and in the wonder of his love in the person of his son. The ransom is paid by Jesus, so that we who are to be the ones paying are set free on account of his grace when we study that Ephesians. This was again the very heart of things I II hope that these things of large forest in our in our hearts as well as in our minds to the praise of his glorious grace with which he is blessed is in the beloved is verse six of Ephesians 1. Here we go in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight, making known to us the mystery of his will according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time history to unite all things in heaven and things on in him we have redemption through his blood, and the point of Paul is making here in this verse is in him and only in him there is one mediator and what the prophet predicted Christ has fulfilled you became a servant.
He was gracious in the way he served others for the servitude of Jesus is a servant hood whereby he serves the father John tells us he came down from heaven not to do his own will but the will of him who sent the death of Jesus was an act of obedience. It was a death like no other death. Sometimes when we say to people you know I Jesus died for our sins.
He was in her driveway. I know I appeal everybody dies but another staff was a unique death and unrepeatable death. How else to explain his cry from the cross, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me the death of Jesus makes no sense as a sort of example of selflessness whereby a liquid. Jesus did not. Why don't you go and do something in a sacrificial as well. As to miss the point entirely bearing shaman scoffing rude in my place condemned, he stood and sealed my pardon with his plot see the great mystery of it is that when you look into the cradle in Bethlehem you gaze into the face of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I suggest to you that really is the crux of Christmas. The final word in our time is gone is just the word victory and I must leave you to follow this through on your own. But it's there because what the Bible makes clear to his. Is that what Jesus set out to do. He accomplished he accomplished it in providing his own atoning sacrifice becoming sin for us so that we may be set free from our sins. He was reconciling the world to himself.
He was dealing without alienation. Remember I said in the very beginning and I can or sugary Christmas will not be able to answer the question who who am I what am I where would I go how do I deal with my story, and so on. Know we need a victorious Savior made McDonald common name, especially if you live in Scotland later McDonald lived in the in the 19th century at least.
She was a Gallic speaker. She wrote in galaxy wrote poetry and songs. Her name is Ashley Mayor McDougall and she, her dad was a farmer and she worked and she used time writing different things and one of the little points that she wrote was then subsequently translated into English giving to is one of our well-known Christmas carols and just imagine a farmer's daughter. What was it it what kind of preaching and teaching. Was she under that she could write this, listen to this child in the manger. Good start in front of Mary.
Outcast and stranger Lord of us all. Here we go child who inherits all our transgressions. Where in the world is a farmer's daughter come up with something like that unless somebody had explained to that at the heart of the incarnation is the death of Christ in the place of the sinner. He who inherits all our transgressions and all our demerits on him for all his merits credit to my account all my demerits born in his own self. Once the most holy child of salvation gently and slowly lived here below.
Now is our glorious mighty Redeemer see him victorious over every fall. I sincerely according from Murray that these doctrines this doctrine is heavenly and is high and it is of little significance to the doll mind in the dark and heart, but it is at the same time the delight of the enlightened mind and a humble soul but think about. Remember when Simeon to Jesus in his arms and he says you know this child is destined for the rising and falling of Manny. In other words, people will either trip over him to their own destruction or they will take their stand upon to their own liberation security and here we are this morning.
I know some of you. I don't know all of you know know most of you who could I ever know. But God knows can I ask you, how does this ring, not asking. Was this a 6/10 talk or 2/10 torque work. Did you like to talk. Notice what I'm asking you quite honestly in your heart of hearts, do you have a dull mind and a dark heart that is able to pass this off and say let's get pancakes or in the mercy of God. Do you have an enlightened mind and a humble soul that says you know I had to walk out of this building and walk away blessed God, the Messiah died for me that he lives for me. May God grant that we are in the latter are not in the former category listing to Alister bring the message titled the crux of Christmas. This is Truth for Life weekend.
Alister will be back in just a minute to close with prayer so please keep listing the coming of Jesus as a baby in the manger was the fulfillment of God's promise to his people and it's a reminder to us that God does what he says his word is sure.
The 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon compared the promises of God to a bank check we received the check now in faith, knowing that it points to a future reality that is guaranteed and this is the illustration. Spurgeon draws on in the devotional book titled checkbook of the bank of faith. This is a concise but wonderfully encouraging book. Spurgeon presents 365 promises God makes in Scripture.
He accompanies each of these promises with a brief reflection that deepens our trust in all that God has promised us request your copy of checkbook of the bank of faith. When you click on the book image in the Truth for Life mobile app or by visiting our website Truth for Life.org and as we approach Christmas.
Many of us are thinking about friends or family members that we'd love to introduce to Jesus will today. I'd like to recommend to you a brand-new collection of Christmas studies by Alister these short series explore who Jesus is, where he came from and why he came. The collection is called the miracle of Christmas and it comes on a convenient USB your friends or family members will learn about the events surrounding the remarkable birth of Jesus and how he changed the world forever. Find out how you can give a gift of the good news to someone you love. Simply visit our website Truth for Life.org. Now here's Alister close with prayer and gracious God, we thank you that we can bow down before you is very good God and ask that the Holy Spirit will apply in a way, far beyond our imagining the truths of your word to her life's God grant that we may not remain in the darkness of our own intellectual pride sense of failure shine shine your light into our hearts. We pray this to ponder the wonder of it all the pain Christ name, amen. I'm Bob Lapine hoping you can join us again next weekend as we explore the life-changing travels of the Magi.
The message titled a journey to Jesus, the Bible teaching of Alister big is punished by Truth for Life. Learning is for Living