Summary: A sermon on 1 Timothy 3:16 focusing on the incarnation (Mostly taken from Max Lucado's book, God Came Near, and also at: http://maxlucado.com/read/topical/gods-greatest-surprise/)
In one verse Paul reminds Timothy of the gospel in all its fullness. Tries to cover the whole gospel. Some songs try to do that:
You came from heaven to earth, to show the way, from the earth to the cross, my debt to pay, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky, Lord I lift your name on high.
One Day: Living He love me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away; Rising, He justified freely forever; One day He's coming- O glorious day!
Focusing on one aspect of the gospel and that is the incarnation: the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body. 1 Timothy 3:16 speaks of a personal manifestation of God- God in the second Person was manifested.
The union of the divine and human natures is not like any other union. It is unlike the union between the soul and body of man; body and soul compose only one nature between them. Christ’s union with believers cannot be compared with the union of the divine and human natures in Christ, for the distinction between Christ and the Christian is maintained. Nor is it like the union among the persons of the Trinity. In Christ there is one person and two natures; in the Trinity there are three persons and one nature.
Like we said last week this serves as an example for us. Christians need to beware of pride. The Son of God emptied Himself; shall His children be full of pride? Jesus Christ took upon Himself the form of a servant; shall His people be lords to be ministered to and not to minister? Christ must be manifest in our flesh. When a person sees a Christian, he sees Christ manifest in him.
Great but the union of God and human nature in the flesh is not like any other union.
Thesis: Let’s talk about one last aspect of the incarnation
Author: Max Lucado from the book “God Came Near.”
Christ didn’t insist on plush, royal robes or gleaming, golden scepters. He didn’t come on wings of a heavenly host, live in a celestial palace, or march at the head of an angelic honor guard.
He was the son of a carpenter in a remote section of an oppressed nation. He was God’s greatest surprise. The heart of heaven wrapped in human flesh.
“You mean to tell me God became a baby…
The one posing the questions was puzzled. His thick eyebrows furrowed in doubt and his eyes squinted in caution. Though there were places to sit, he opted not to do so. He preferred to stand safely behind the crowd, unsure, yet intrigued by what he was hearing. Throughout the lecture he had listened intently, occasionally uncrossing his arms to stroke his whiskered chin. Now, however, he stood upright, punching the air with his finger as he queried.
…and that he was born in a sheep stable?”
He looked as though he’d walked down from one of the adjacent Colorado mountains: stocking hat, down vest, nylon leggings, hiking boots. And he sounded as though he honestly didn’t know if the story he was hearing was a mountain legend or the gospel truth.
“Yes, that is what I mean to say, “ the lecturer responded. “And then, after becoming a baby he was raised in a blue-collar home? He never wrote any books or held any offices, yet he called himself the Son of God?” “That is right.”
The lecturer being questioned was Landon Saunders, the voice of the Heartbeat Radio program. I’ve never heard anybody tell the story of Jesus like Landon can.
“He never traveled outside of his own country, never studied at a university, never lived in a palace, and yet asked to be regarded as the creator of the universe?” “That’s correct.”
I was a bit unnerved by dialogue. I was fresh out of college, gung ho, enthusiastic. As volunteer helper in lecture series, I had come with memorized verses and responses loaded in the chamber of my evangelistic six-shooter. However, I came prepared to defend a lifestyle, not a Savior. I was ready to argue morality, doctrine, heaven and hell. I wasn’t ready to argue a man. Jesus had always been someone I just accepted. These questions were a bit too aggressive for my faith.
“And this crucifixion story. . . he was betrayed by his own people? No followers came to his defense? And then he was executed like a common junkyard thief?” “That’s the gist of it.”
The authenticity of the questioner didn’t allow you to regard him as a cynic nor to dismiss him as a show-off. To the contrary he seemed nervous about commanding such attention. His awkwardness betrayed his inexperience in public speaking. But his desire to know was just an ounce or two heavier than his discomfort, so he continued.