Summary: Preached at Christmas, but good for any occasion. God came the distance to us. He went the distance for us. He is going the distance with us.
God Will Go the Distance
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 (NIV)
HE CAME THE DISTANCE TO YOU.
Man was in a dilemma. Sin had created a great gap between man and God. We did our best to bridge the gap – we lived by our conscience. We lived by self-government. We lived under the law of God. But no matter what we did, we could not even come close to bridging the gap.
Like mankind, most of us go through a similar pursuit. (conscience, self-government, external rule) But, like mankind – it is not enough.
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (NIV)
I’m thankful that when we could not get to God – He came to us. We fall short – but he never falls short!
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. Isaiah 59:1 (NIV)
I want to remind you that this is what Christmas is really all about. It’s about God recognizing our inability to become like him – so he became like us!
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us." Matt 1:21-23 (NIV)
In case you were wondering – he really did come all the way to where you were.
• He was not born in a palace, because that’s not where you live.
• He was not born wealthy, because that’s not what you are.
• He wasn’t born in a normal family, because you don’t have one.
• His birth didn’t make headlines, because yours didn’t.
He wasn’t born in the heavens, a spirit-baby. He was born on earth, and he was born naturally.
He wasn’t just born naturally – he was born poor!
He wasn’t just born poor – he was born to a single mom!
You see – he came all the way to you.
HE WENT THE DISTANCE FOR YOU.
So he came – what good would that do? Sure, we could learn more about God. We could find out about how much He loved us. We could begin to understand more about what God’s kingdom was like.
We would experience his miracles. We would wonder at his teaching. We would enjoy his personal kindness.
But is that enough? No! As a matter of fact, we may well be in a worse shape than we were before all of that. You see – the Law showed us how sinful we were. But Jesus demonstrates in person how far beyond us God’s nature is. Before we were told we couldn’t murder – but now Jesus says we can’t even hate! Before we were told we can’t commit adultery, but Jesus says we can’t even want to!
Because of the law, I found out how sinful my flesh was. But now that Jesus is here, I’m finding out how sinful my spirit is. And in spite of His presence here on earth, in spite of his teaching, in spite of his miracles – I’m still doomed to die. Because I’m a sinner. And the wages of sin is death…
But here’s the beautiful thing. Jesus didn’t just come the distance to me. Jesus went the distance for me!
First – he lived a sinless life. Not just for 5 years, or 12 years, or until he was 21. For 33.5 years Jesus remained true to his disciplines. It wasn’t easy, I’m sure. He faced the same temptations that you and I did. He was mistreated and misunderstood. People took advantage of him.
For 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. Heb 4:15 (NIV)
But the beautiful things is this… You know why he lived that way? So that he wouldn’t have to die for his own sins. But that wasn’t a selfish goal by any means. He still planned on dying – just not for his own sins. He was going to die for mine! He was going to die for yours! You know why Jesus went all the way in life? So that he could go all the way in death!