Summary: Christmas sermon. The promise that God is making everything new is highlighted by the arrival of His Son to earth
Global Warming. They tell us we’re all doomed. They tell us that we’re destroying the planet. They tell us that the ice caps are going to melt, there are going to be terrible storms, polar bears will go extinct, and that poison ivy is going to grow bigger and more toxic.
They also tell us that the whole global warming panic is a farce – that it’s someone’s political agenda, not scientific fact. They tell us that man isn’t causing it, and that the changes they’re trying to get us to make are so insignificant they won’t make any difference at all. It just depends who “they” are. I have to tell you the biggest frustration of the whole subject is:
To whom do you listen?
The earth is warming. Since 1880, the probable average degree of surface warming in the Northern Hemisphere has been 1.2°F. So, yes, the earth is warming. But is it warming at a dangerous rate? Is man the cause of it?
It all depends on who you listen to. So, I encourage you to be careful about the people who gather and present the facts for you. They can’t all be right on this subject.
Whatever you conclude, you can be assured of this: the earth is changing, and one day it’s going to be different than it is right now. I believe that because I’ve read a story.
It’s a really old story. It starts out with the words, “In the beginning, God…”
Then, it takes shape quickly as God speaks into existence all that is. There, present in all of this is God the Son. He’s that part of God through Whom and for Whom all things were made. In fact, nothing that has been made was made apart from Him. Jesus is there at the beginning.
He’s there as God says, “Let Us make man in Our image” and He places the man and woman in His perfect world to work it and keep it. They live there, in a garden called Eden. In the center of the garden is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God tells Adam and Eve they must not eat from that tree: “…when you eat of it you will surely die."
They eat of it, and God kept His word.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22 …death came through a man…in Adam all die…
Beyond that, all women were cursed with greater pain in childbearing and an altered relationship to their husbands. The earth was cursed, so that man would be able to get it to work for him only by hard work. Somehow, thorns and thistles, disease, chiggers, hurricanes, income taxes and homework all became a part of the once perfect creation, and worst of all, death did too.
So, from Genesis 3 on, all we have ever been able to experience or even read about is this flawed creation – one that has been “subjected to futility”; in shorter words, cursed. It was changed.
Man becomes even worse by Genesis 6. In fact, it’s so bad that God starts all over with just one man’s family. Noah builds the ark, the flood comes, and God gives the whole creation an extreme makeover. The creation is changed. The earth has to start over. People don’t live as long after the flood. And God makes a promise that such a thing will never happen again. It’s another change that will last as long as creation.
The creation is still cursed. It’s still not the way God created it. The relationship between God and man still isn’t what He created it to be. So God has more changes planned.
That’s what we’re focused on this time of year – the most significant change of all.
We’ve already talked about the way Joseph and Mary had their lives changed, suddenly and forever. Today, we’re looking at a moment when the whole story of creation was changed, just like God planned it.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.