Summary: The incarnation must be experienced personally to be fully known!
Grace Made Flesh, Isaiah 7:14, Mathew 1:23
“I tell you Jesus Christ is a myth,” shouted an atheistic lecturer as he concluded his talk in which he ridiculed the Bible and denied the existence of God. A miner, who had come to the meeting in his grimy clothes, stood up and said, “I am only a working man. I don’t know what you mean by the word ‘myth.’ But, can you explain to me? Three years ago I had a miserable home. I neglected my wife and children. I cursed and swore. I drank up all my wages. Then someone came along and told me of the love of God and of deliverance from the shackles of sin by turning to Christ. Now all is different! We have a happy home. I feel better every way. A new power has taken possession of me since Christ came into my life! Sir, can you explain to me?”
You will never be able to explain or to understand the miracle of the incarnation of God until God is made a reality in your heart through Christ who came into the world to bring God to human hearts.
This morning we will discuss the reality of the Christ; the divine nature, character, person of God descending into human flesh. The Logos, the divine Logos, the thought and expression of God, the Word of God made flesh who dwelt among us; the divine mystery of the hypostasis; the reality that Jesus was both fully God and fully Man; that is, the incarnation of God in Christ.
This is the last Sunday prior to the start of the Advent Season. This is the culmination of a year’s worth of worship, teaching, and prayer, according to the liturgical calendar which steers our worship. It is my purpose today to speak of what is perhaps the most pivotal of all biblical doctrines as we make the transition in Church life from all of the subjects that we have discussed, sang about, and prayed about this year unto the great object of it all; Immanuel, God with us.
The doctrine or teaching of the incarnation of Christ, the indwelling of the divine nature, character, and power of God in Jesus is a subject which one could easily study and meditate upon for entire lifetime and not exhaust caveats and nuance and areas of study. This is a subject rampant with philosophical shades and tones.
This is a subject wrought with great theological debate and discussion. But at the end of the day, all of the details point us to glorious truth which is contained in John’s Gospel, 1:14-17, where it says, “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. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, ’He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’" From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
The word of truth assumed flesh and dwelt among us; God’s grace came unto His own cloaked in human flesh; grace was made flesh for the divine purpose of the redemption of humanity. God’s grace was and is no longer an abstract concept.
It is not a theological mystery; here it is, in flesh, touch, behold, listen, and receive Him in the sacrifice of the Cross; connect to God through the indwelling of His grace in Christ which draws us even now to receive the love of God!
Diogenes the Cynic was a Greek philosopher; a disciple of Antisthenes, the former pupil of Socrates. Diogenes, a beggar who made his home in the streets of Athens, made a virtue of extreme poverty. He is said to have lived in a large tub, rather than a house, and to have walked through the streets carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man.
When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes the cynic, he asked what he could do for him. The cynic answered that there was only one thing which Alexander could do for Diogenes, and that was to abstain from standing between him and the sun.
There are many great and mighty people who like to stand between God and man, but they only obscure man’s vision of God. Only Jesus Christ, God incarnate, can bring God as the regenerating and transforming Spirit into our experience.
In Isaiah 7:14 the prophet foretells of the coming of Messiah, Immanuel God with us. In Mathew 1:23 the Angel tells Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, that the child which Mary carried was indeed from the Lord, that he should not fear to be wed to her, and that the child shall be called Immanuel; God with us.