Summary: God blesses other people through you.
What if I was to tell you that because of you someone else will get
something great? Something wonderful! In someway they, because
of you, will be blessed? How would that make you feel? Would you
feel pretty good? Or pretty confused? Maybe you would ask yourself
"What could I ever do that someone else gets something wonderful?"
That's a pretty normal response. But these are not normal times are
they? Its Christmas time, the time of giving! Today, during this time,
it's easier to see that other people will get "blessed" because of you.
Gift giving is pretty big this time of year. And some gifts are given
unawares. You kids are nicer and "more good" this time of year,
aren't you? Because "Santa Claus is coming to town" and he knows
if you've been naughty or nice, or so the song tells us. So you behave
yourselves at home. But also at school because you know that your
teachers will probably tell your parents if you've been good or not!
And if you give that some thought, being good is a gift to your
parents and teachers. It's easier on them when you behave! They
have an easier time of it when they don't have to worry so much
about you getting into trouble. Of course that 's not the motivation to
be good, but the motivation doesn't seem to matter too much to your
parents and teachers during this season. And of course, this is not
the real meaning of Christmas. I mention that lest you think that I
am getting a little too cynical about this time of year. As we get
nearer to Christmas the focus from this pulpit will be more and more
on the true meaning of Christmas. But back to my original point.
People being blessed because of you.
This is not as such a strange thing in this day and age as you
might think. It fact, it’s a fundamental part of being a Christian.
This is the way God set up Christianity from the beginning.
Throughout Advent we're using the Old Testament lessons to get us
to Christmas. The lessons are from Isaiah, but Isaiah wasn't the first
to foretell of the coming Messiah, which we celebrate on December
25th. The promise goes back to a time before Isaiah. Isaiah knew of
them, however. The promises foretold through Isaiah are bound and
understood through these earlier promises. The promise I'm talking
about in this introduction is found in Genesis. It's one that the
people of Isaiah's day would be most familiar with. It is also a
promise that has everything to do with you, today.
The promise is this. God says to Abraham
"I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous
as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your
descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and
through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,
because you have obeyed me."
There are three aspects to this so-called Abrahamic promise. One:
many descendants. Two: Land. Three: through your offspring, all
nations will be blessed. This third aspect is the one I draw your
attention to. Because this, as it turns out, is a Messianic prophecy
that also involves you.
Ok, here is where you can get confused. It's ok to say, "Huh? It
involves me? How?" Well, here's how. As you know, Abraham had
only one child, Isaac. Yet, God kept his promise to him about
numerous descendants. As you will remember from Sunday School,
Abraham had only two grandsons. But one of them was Jacob who
went on to have 12 kids. An in the span of some 400 years, these 12
kids had many sons and daughters and grandchildren and great-
grandchildren until, when they left Egypt, they were rightly called a
nation! The Nation of Israel. That part of the promise to Abraham
came true. The second part of the promise came true soon after they
came to possess the Land of Canaan, which God gave to them. But
the part about all nations being blessed would only come true much
later. It wouldn't be until a Jewish child was born to parents who
were descendants of King David and ultimately, of Abraham, that
the third part of the promise would come true. And that is where you
come in. Jesus was the fulfillment of the third part of the Abrahamic
promise. Through Jesus, an offspring of Abraham, all nations are
blessed. Because it is through Jesus that all people of all nations can
receive forgiveness of sins, the ultimate blessing. And they find out
about this blessing because the people of God, Christians, YOU, tell
them about it. You've been told how to do this ever since there has