Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

12/16/2018 A.M.

 

Good News Of Great Joy

The Method & Purpose of His Coming

John 1.1-2 & 14  Philippians 2.6-8   Colossians 1.15-20   Hebrews 1.1-5

 

Last week Harold Akridge sent me a story... It seems a Sunday School Teacher instructed her class to draw a picture from Jesus’ Coming... And to add one more character which didn’t rightly belong in the narrative.

 

So... One boy drew an airplane with a... Man... Lady... Baby… In the back of the plane... And another man in the cockpit. When asked about the meaning of his work... The boy replied... “This is... Mary...Joseph... And Baby Jesus on their flight to Egypt.”

 

The Teacher asked... And who is that man in front of the plane?... “Oh... Don’t you know... That’s Pontius the Pilate.”

 

So... As the world focuses its attention upon Jesus... We tOo examine His Coming.

 

• We’ve looked at the reason for His Coming... Our Sin Guilt

 

• Last week... The Promise of His Coming... We noted that the Old Testament contains over three hundred prophecies pointing to Messiah... The Anointed One... Jesus coming into the world... And that the New Testament Writers cite these prophecies a hundred and thirty times.

 

• This morning... The METHOD of His Coming... Incarnation.

 

There’s no doubt… Thegreatest event in human history was the incarnation… A time When God put on humanity to deliver His message to lost mankind.

 

But he did more than deliver the message… He is the message.

He did more than proclaim truth… He is the truth…

He did more than say… Let there be light… He is the light…

He did more that show us the way… He is the way.

He did more than come to make grace possible… Jesus is grace!

 

In the beginning was the Word...

And the Word was with God and was God...

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

And we saw His glory as the only begotten of the Father... Full of grace and truth.

 

Who... Being in very nature God...

Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped...

But made himself nothing... Taking the very nature of a servant...

Being made in human likeness... Being found in appearance as a man.

 

He is the image of the invisible God... The firstborn over all creation.

For by him all things were created... Things in heaven and on earth...

All things were created by him and for him.

He is before all things... And in him all things hold together.

 

He is the head of the body... The church...

He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead...

So that in everything he might have the supremacy.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.

And through him to reconcile to himself all things...

Whether things on earth or things in heaven...

By making peace through his blood... Shed on the cross.

 

Incarnation... The process of Almighty God subjecting Himself to the limitations of humanity... Like us... He came into the world in a moment of pain... A scream knifes through the silent night... Sweat pours from Mary’s face as Joseph... The most unlikely midwife in all Judea... Rushes to her side...Wanting to help... But feeling helpless.

 

The contractions are not enough... It’s almost as if God were refusing to come into the world. Joseph prays... The animals watch... Messiah... God in flesh… Arrives.

 

Think of it church... The Son of God... Umbilically tied to a lowly Jewish teenager.

 

Jesus cries... Deity nursing from a young maiden's breast... Could anything be more profound?

Josephis full of wonder.

The baby nurses and sighs... The Word has been reduced to a few unintelligible sounds.

Then...For the first time... His eyes find Mary's.

Deity straining to focus... The Light of the World... Squinting.

Tears pool in Mary’s eyes...

She touches his tiny fingers... Hands that once sculpted mountain ranges cling to her finger.

 

And so... With barely a notice... God stepped into humanity.

Where we would have expected heads of state...

• There were only donkeys...

• Perhaps a haltered cow or two...

• A nervous bunch of sheep...

• A tethered camel...

• A scurry of curious barn mice.

 

Yes... Angels announced His arrival... But only to a band of lowly shepherds.

 

Yes... A magnificent star appeared to mark his birthplace... But only three foreigners bothered to follow it.

 

Thus... In the little town of Bethlehem... Almighty God... Jehovah God... Becomes flesh. The omnipotent...Made Himself... Breakable... Sinable...  Woundable...Dieable.

He who had been spirit became flesh... Pierceable.

He who was larger than the universe... Became an embryo.

 

Can we comprehend it... God as a fetus?

Holiness sleeping in a womb.

The creator of life being created.

 

Scripture tells us that... Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.

The universe watched with wonder as God learned to walk.

Children played in the streets with Him.

 

We wonder... Had the synagogue leader in Nazareth known who was listening to his sermons... Would he have taught differently?

 

Perhaps a girl down the street had a crush on Him or vice versa...

Interesting!!… Did Jesus have a teenage crush?

 

Amazing as it may seem... As difficult to understand as it is... Jesus... While completely divine... Was completely human.

 

For thirty-three years… He would feel everything you and I have ever felt.

• Weakness... He grew tried and weary... Hungry and thirsty...

• He was afraid of failure...

• His feelings got hurt....

• He became anxious and fearful...

• His head... bones... and body... Ached...

• You could slap Him and it would hurt...

• Spit in His face and it would make Him sick...

• Whip Him with a scourge and He would bleed...

• Nail Him to a cross and He would die.

It’s called incarnation!

 

It’s much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation. There is something about keeping Him Divine that keeps Jesus... Distant... Packaged... Predictable...Believable... Manageable... But don't do it... Let Him be as human as God intended. Let him into the mire and muck of our world... For only if we let him in can he pull us out.

 

So now we come to the Purpose of His coming... The Why of the incarnation?

 

Jesus came... To show us God... His nature... His love.

There was a time two thousand years ago when someone could say of Jesus walking down the street... There goes God... And the statement would be true.

 

Jesus came to exegete God... Describe God in human terms... Demonstrate God to us.

In Jesus... We see...

• God’s glory...

• His love...

• His grace...

• His truth...

All fleshed out in Human form.

 

Proof of these statements can be found in John 1.18... No-one has ever seen God... But the One and Only... Who is at the Father’s side... He has made Him Known.

 

The Greek word translated Made Him Known is the word from which we get our word exegete!...Jesus came to explain God.

 

The New American Standard reads... No man has seen God at any time... The only begotten God... Who is in the bosom of the Father... He has explained Him.

 

Paul indicates in Philippians chapter two that Jesus was... Equal with God... He was God... But emptied Himself... Becoming human... Taking on the nature of a servant.

 

If we want to know what God is really like in human terms...

• Look at Jesus...

• Become acquainted with Jesus...

• Walk with Jesus...

• Examine his Heart... Mind... Attitude... Disposition... and Behavior.

 

John tells us that His nature was one of love... Dear friends... Let us love one another... For love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God... Because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. No-one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

 

Indeed... Jesus came that we might know God... Understand... Experience... And Share His nature... Amen?... Question… Are we really sharing His nature… Loving others… All others?

 

This brings us to number two... Jesus came to show us how to live... Show us to share His nature.

John 10.10 has Jesus saying... I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.

 

The Hebrews’ Writer expands this more... Saying... In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

 

Church... Are we listening?... The world tells us this is the way to live... Jesus says...No!... Let Me tell you how to live...

• Who are we listening to this morning?...

• Who did we listen to last week?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

 

Is life becoming... Weary?... A burden?...

Are we in need of peace and rest?...

When will we learn how to...

• Live life well...

• Be fulfilled...

• Appreciative of the time God has given us?...

I think the answer is yes…When we follow Jesus... Allow Him to show us how to live... What life needs to look like on a daily basis.

 

Number three... Jesus came to forgive our sin debt.

For fifteen hundred years...The Jews had been seeking forgiveness from God through sacrifices and burnt offerings... But these sacrifices didn’t really forgive their sins...Under the law... Sins were only rolled forward annually until the coming of Jesus.

 

What man could not do... Jesus did!

In Him... We have redemption through His blood... Even the forgiveness of our sins... In accordance with the riches of His grace.

 

Paul says of the incarnation... God was in Christ...Reconciling the world to Himself... Not imputing their trespasses to them... He has committed to us the word of reconciliation... For in the fullness of time... God sent His Son... Born of woman... Born under the law to redeem those under the law... (The Jews)... So that we... (Gentiles) might receive adoption as sons.

 

The story is told of a young Russian soldier whose father was a friend of Czar Nicholas The First. This young man was made a paymaster in the Russian Army.

 

Because of his enthusiasm for gambling... He lost... Not only his money... But the Army’s vast payroll. Understanding his plight... He knew that he would be forever imprisoned for his crime becauseof the amount of the loss... So... He decided to take his own life. He sat down and wrote this note... A great debt!!... Who could pay?? It was late at night... And the young soldier fell asleep... Note in hand... Gun on the table.

 

That night Czar Nicholas was walking past the barracks... Saw the light... Went in to check what might be going on... Saw the note... And the pistol in the solder’s hand.

 

The Czar’s eyes fell on the note... Impulsively... He takes the pen and wrote one word at the bottom of the ledger... Beneath the question... Who Can Pay?... The Czar wrote... Nicholas!! The next morning... As the soldier mused over the note... A runner arrived with the funds needed to wipe out the deficit.

 

There is no way we can pay our sin debt... Only the blood of Jesus can do that... At Calvary... Jesus wrote in His blood... Forgiven... TETELESTAI... It is finished... Paid in Full.

 

The incarnation has an experiential purpose... His Spirit living in us.

Every time a person is born again... The Holy Spirit of God come to reside in his or her heart.

 

Acts 2.38 has Pater admonishing with this promise... Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

In Romans chapter eight... Paul concludes... You are not controlled by your sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ... Because those led by the Spirit are sons of God.

 

First Corinthians 6.19 reads... Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

 

You see.. Incarnation not only means God came to live in the flesh... It means He still lives today in the heart and life of His children...

• In His incarnate state... Jesus changed lives...

• Today... He’s still changing lives of those who are producing the fruit of His living in them.

 

The question becomes... Is my life and yours... A witness to His incarnation?... Is He living in us… Known by the fruit we produce?

 

Then finally... Jesus came to give us victory over eternal death.

Let’s let Paul make this point without our preaching... I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed--in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the mortal has been clothed with immortality... Then the saying that is written will cometrue: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory throughour Lord Jesus Christ.

 

John wrote… He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away

 

Well... We end our lesson with the question...

What difference does it make?...

Must we believe in the incarnation?...

• Is this faith fact necessary to our salvation?

I believe Scripture has our answer... First John 4.2 & 3 says... This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God... But every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. But is the spirit of the antichrist...

 

Listen... Are we ready this morning to acknowledge that God came into this world in the form of Jesus Christ, and that His incarnation is the instrument of our salvation by...Faith... Repentance... And New Testament Baptism?...

 

My prayer is that we not only believe in the incarnation... That we are ready to confess the fact by allowing Jesus to Live In Us Daily... As we stand and sing.