Summary: A sermon for Christmas based on Galatians 4:4. (Material taken from SermonCentral contributors, from Boyce Mouton’s book "Special Messages for Special Days, and from Rich Warren’s book "The Purpose-Driven Life")
Sermon for 12/25/2005
For Such a Time as This
When Leonardo Da Vinci painted The Last Supper on a monastery dining room wall, the monks began to have many questions about his ability, and his integrity. The picture was merely a copy of the dining area in which it was being painted. The tables, the linens, even the dishes used by the monks, were all identical to those in the picture. Some of the monks thought da Vinci was taking advantage of his contract to paint this picture. They were resentful of his long periods of inactivity, when Da Vinci would stand for hours without touching his brush to the wall in front of him. When they asked da Vinci about his inactivity, he replied, “When I pause the longest, I make my most telling strokes with my brush.” No other event in the life of our Lord has been painted more often, but none can match the one painted by da Vinci nearly 500 years ago. Da Vinci took his time and his Last Supper is one of the most famous paintings to this day. If he would have rushed through it, this would probably not be the case. Every stroke of his brush was carefully planned and we see the beauty of the finished product.
A. (Gal 4:4 NIV) But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son,
B. WE could say that God took his time as he was preparing and working on the beautiful gift of his Son Jesus Christ. The Lord was making a beautiful masterpiece for the world. Everything was carefully planned.
C. The timing of God is perfect. Every prophecy that focused on the coming of Christ into the world was going to be fulfilled. Every event in human history was being used by God to enhance the miracle of virgin birth. There were no mistakes and as we look back we see the tremendous beauty of the first Christmas.
Thesis: Why was it the fullness of time for the coming of Christ?
A. It was the perfect time, everything was right for the birth of the Messiah, everything was ready. God used several things to bring about this fullness of time:
1. God used the Greeks.
A. Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world in 333 BC. He died at the age of 33 and was not able to set up a central government. His empire was divided up between his generals into several Greek nations. The Greeks controlled most of the known world for many years. They did not set up a great empire, this was for another people group, but they Hellenized most of the known world. When it is said they Hellenized the world, it means that they attempted to make the world Greek. It was cool to do things the Greek way and whatever was Greek, was good.
B. The best thing that they did was to give most of the world a universal language, Greek. When the Greeks conquered the world, Greek language became the cool language. Everyone wanted to speak Greek. After a few years, everybody knew a little Greek. They read and wrote Greek. All documents were in Greek. Everyone could understand each other because everyone spoke some Greek. Oompa!
C. God was bringing together people who could preach and everyone could understand them. God was bringing people together to write a book that the world could understand because it was going to be written in Greek.
2. God used the Romans
A. In 63 BC, the Romans conquered the Greeks. When the Romans took power, there was 1 government over most of the known world.
B. There were some skirmishes here and there but for 200 years there was a period of peace. This period of peace was called the Pax Romana and there has not been such a period of peace before or after it in the history of the world. The Romans reigned supreme and if anyone faced them in battle there were crushed in a short period of time.
C. The disciples of Christ were free to travel the world with the gospel, because of this period of peace. Also, to connect their empire the Romans built roads that are much better than our roads. Many of them still exist to this day. Roman roads were everywhere and they made travel easy.
D. God also used the Romans and Greeks to bring a crazy religious system to the world. At the time of Jesus’ birth, the world worshipped many gods and goddesses. The Greeks and Romans had over a thousand gods and goddesses. Also, the stories of these gods and goddesses were ridiculous, they didn’t make sense. The stories of the gods and goddesses were like our modern day soap operas except the main characters had super hero qualities, Divine qualities about them. There are some things about the Christian faith that goes against logic, but when we look at the faith of the Romans and Greeks, to believe all of that stuff one would have to throw out all logic. Talk about a blind faith! By the time of Jesus, some of the educated Romans and Greeks were atheists because it just didn’t make any sense.