Summary: In the midst of the glitter and noise, the purpose of the Incarnation is powerful, but not always easy to hear. But to a lost world, God sent His Son to be Our Savior
Passage: Hebrews 2:10-18
Intro: At the risk of appearing Scrooge-like, I want to talk about death this morning.
1. in spite of the frantic attempts to hide or reinterpret the true meaning of Christmas, the coming of Christ into the world had a critically important purpose.
2. and if we will dare to face that purpose, and refuse to bury it under glitter and gifts, we will discover real joy, true happiness, release from fear.
3. we’re not going to get the truth from Wal-Mart or NBC or even Fox News, but from the Word of God.
4. but lest you think the news must be bad, nothing could be further from the truth.
5. the truth about the birth of Jesus Christ is so fabulously great that it is, for many people, truly unbelievable.
6. but if our eyes are opened to it, we will find joy and peace that cannot be matched.
7. last week we examined a painful fact; that we humans are in need of a Deliverer.
8. this week, we will see how Jesus became that Deliverer, and what He did to save us.
I. He Became One of Us
1. Did you know that Jesus was unqualified to be our Savior before He became a man?
2. v10: “appropriate” emphasized in Greek, this was God’s perfect plan.
3. the One who would deliver us, save us from our darkened sinfulness, had to be perfected for the task.
4. we resist that word, but it means to perfect, to qualify.
Il) every year, thousands of would-be professional golfers attending “qualifying school”. Those who suffer successfully become pros.
5. this suffering Christ experienced was not just the cross.
6. He joined the human race, experienced the pain of living in a sinful world.
Il) “Black Like Me” Robert Griffin, the story of a white man in the South who darkened his skin and then walked throughout the South to experience what it was like to be an African American.
7. the love of Jesus compelled Him to share the plight of those He calls brothers.
9. clearly in the economy and plan of God, it was required that our Lord and Savior suffer as a man in the kingdom of Satan, to go right into his living room and defeat him in the area of his greatest strength.
10. and that arena of great strength is the power of death.
II. He Faced Death for Us
1. there is a powerful statement in vv14-15 that we need to understand.
2. Jesus became a man so he could defeat Satan on his own turf. (purpose)
3. and in doing so, v15 says His death also frees “those who all their lives…”
4. this is at the heart of the Christmas message: we don’t want to miss it.
5. humans think we are OK as long as we remain alive.
6. but death for us is a great unknown, an area of great speculation, if we choose to ignore God’s revelation.
7. we are trapped in the physical world, cut off from the spiritual
8. this fear gives Satan a huge opportunity to deceive.
9. he began the problem by telling Adam an Eve that they would not die if they ate the forbidden fruit.
PP Genesis 3:4
10. and now he continues to convince people under the curse that what they fear most will never happen.
11. the fear of death is the fear of judgment, pure and simple.
12. it’s the same reason that in the passage last week we saw that the evil people avoid the light, because it will expose their sinfulness.
PP John 3:20
13. the nonbeliever hates the thought of his sin being exposed
14. but they have a sneaking suspicion that after they die, there could be a judgment.
15. so Satan leaps on this fear and proposes a whole host of soothing remedies
Il) Islamic belief. Works righteousness
Il) Buddhist belief. Buddha said to prepare for a peaceful death, One should: "not be fond of a busy life involved in various activities, not be fond of being talkative, not be fond of sleeping, not be found of having too many companions, not be fond of too much social intercourse, not be fond of daydreaming."
Il) Near death guru Kevin Williams said "If there is survival after death, then we can have our cake and eat it too. If there is survival, the question is whether life after death will be heavenly or hellish. I am convinced that the same principle found inlife also applies to the afterlife. Life is what you make it. We can kill someone and end up in prison. Or we can do good things and live contentedly. I believe this principle applies to heaven and hell. So, if any fear is justifiable, it would be the fear of going to hell. But if you are not a criminal why worry about it? It is not the just who fears the law." (Article on the web called "Why the Fear of Death is Irrational.)