Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Isaiah gives us a brief description of the coming Messiah. People have been looking for him and to him ever since.

1. Obscurities

There is a story about a student at Cambridge University who entered the classroom on exam day and asked the proctor to bring him cakes and ale. The proctor refused, expressing astonishment at the young student's audacity. At this point the student read from the four-hundred-year-old Laws of Cambridge, which were written in Latin and still nominally in effect. The passage read by the student said, "Gentlemen sitting for examinations may request and require Cakes and Ale." The proctor was forced to comply. Pepsi and hamburgers were judged the modern equivalent, so the necessary accommodations were made for the student. After all, the law was on his side. Three weeks later the student was summoned to the office of Academic Affairs to face disciplinary action and was assessed a fine of five pounds. He was not fined for demanding cakes and ale, but for blatantly disregarding another obscure Cambridge law: he had failed to wear a sword to the examination.

2. God often works from the unseen, the hidden, in order to clearly enact his will -- this is the mystery of the gospel -- once hidden, now revealed; once seemingly insignificant -- now clearly powerful

3. We know that people have been looking for the Messiah for years

a. Angels looked into the mystery -- Jesus; Jews and Gentiles [No other plan

b. Shepherds; Wise Men; Herod -- searched

4. Isaiah 9.1-7

I. God Often Works in Obscurity

A. God is the Light to Dark Places

1. In Creation

2. Zebulun and Naphtali

a. 2 Obscure tribes of the 10 that went into darkness and Assyrian captivity

b. The place of Galilee where Jesus ministered as God's light to the world in the midst of darkness, including Gentile ignorance -- Matthew 4.13-17

B. God's Light Came in Obscurity

1. As a Baby, not an Adult (Adam); a Warrior (David); a Priest-King (Melchizedek)

2. In Bethlehem -- "House of Bread" and "Bread of Life" (Micah 5.2)

a. City of David near Jerusalem

b. Near the Herodian

3. In a Stable/manger (Luke 2.7)

a. Cave under the house? Darkness

b. Filth of the stable

4. Danger/Darkness of Herod -- fear and insecurity

II. God Often Works in the Ordinary

[47/102 Pilgrims died during the first winter in the new world. 55 remained to commit themselves to the Mayflower Compact, religious freedom and service to God. The result: The greatest nation in the history of the world; FREEDOM

6 Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4.6

A. Clear Revelation of His Sovereignty

1. Small beginnings are God's way -- Zechariah 4.10a

For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice,

a. Choosing Israel from among the nations

b. A Returning Remnant to bring the Messiah

c. A FEW to advance the kingdom

d. A Clear indication of God's power

2. Choosing US -- 1 Peter 2.9-10

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

B. Clear Revelation of His Success

1. God always wins -- Romans 8.28

2. May appear defeated but is victorious

a. Genesis 3.15

b. Death; Burial ------RESURRECTION

1. Birds in the Snow

Paul Harvey once told the story of a man who was a kind, decent, mostly good man, generous to his family, upright in his dealings with others. But he did not believe in the incarnation of Jesus. It just didn't make sense to him and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just could not swallow the Jesus story about God coming to earth as man.

"I'm truly sorry to distress you he told his wife, but I'm not going to church on Christmas Eve." He said he'd feel like a hypocrite. He would much rather stay home, but that he would wait up for them.

He stayed, they went.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier. Then he went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound; then another and another.

At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. But when he went to the front door, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm and in a desperate search for shelter they had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

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