Summary: A Christmas sermon that considers the wonder of the incarnation and the implications for the way we live for God
Welcome and opening prayer –
I John 1:1-3 read offstage
What's the Big Deal?
Why an angelic announcement?
Why shepherds worshiping?
Why Magi traveling from the East?
Why all of Jerusalem stirred by the news of Him, and then a plot to kill Him?
The subject we look at this morning is the difference between genuine Judaism and Christianity: The difference between a God Who is coming and a God Who is with us.
Immanuel - from 2 Hb words = with us is God.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
With the coming of this child would come a change in the course of history. No longer would men merely say, "God is there," or "God is coming." Now they would say, "God is with us!"
-Everyone prefers the idea of a God that is with us over a god who is just "out there." People have always built temples and shrines and idols - things they can see and touch and go to - tangibles to help them feel like their god is real. Those gods may be pretty ugly or angry looking, but they at least are concrete. Even the Scriptures invite us to taste and see that the Lord is good.
So, the idea of a God Who is not only out there and on His way, but Who now is "with us" is a great reason to rejoice today!
Angels from the Realms of Glory
Angels from the Realms
He is with us!
I. A God Who is with us is a God Who Understands Us
Ill - There was a European monarch who worried his court by often disappearing and walking incognito amongst his people. When he was asked not to do so for security's sake, he answered, "I cannot rule my people unless I know how they live." We have a God who knows the life we live.
2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
Hebrews 4:15 we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.
Quote - C. S. Lewis - The 2nd Person in God, the Son, became human Himself: was born into the world as an actual man a real man of a particular height, with hair of a particular colour, speaking a particular language, weighing so many pounds. The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a woman's body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.
John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
He didn't stay aloof. He came to us and became one of us.
Young person, Jesus knows what it's like to be where you are. He knows what it's like to be a teenager. He knows how it feels to be an outcast, to be let down by your friends or betrayed; He knows what it's like to be insulted, or to want to seek revenge when you're wronged; He knows the tug of the world, and the whispering of Satan in your ear to trade life's greatest treasures in for an instant of fun; He knows fatigue, hunger, stress, and loneliness. He knows the temptation of being offered positions of popularity instead of the servanthood that God has in mind for you. He understands the frustration of not being able to make decisions for the people around you because they have a free will.
Since He not only was among us but became one of us, I know that Immanuel is a God Who understands me.
(Let's pray and thank Him that He understands us...)
O Holy Night
II. A God Who is with us is a God Who Meets Our Needs
-Everyone came in here this morning with some idea of what it is they need or want out of life. And Christmas is a time we focus on those needs, or at least what we consider to be our needs...
-Sunday afternoon football and red meat
-ER and shopping malls
-a Bluray player and to be kissed before you graduate!
-We all have our differing ideas about what it is we really need in life. Jesus said to a dear friend named Martha that it's possible to feel like we have a lot of different needs, but that really only one thing in life is necessary. Having a God Who is with us meets our great need.