Summary: How can we know for sure that Jesus really is EMMANUEL – GOD WITH US – the One the Father sent to be the Savior of the world? One of the major evidences to support Christ’s claim to be the Messiah, are the great Messianic pophecies of the Old Testament.
Christmas Eve 2012
Mililani Community Church
Pastor Rick Bartosik
A new movie will be released on Christmas Day 2012; it is entitled Les Miserables, a French term meaning: the miserable ones or the wretched ones.
The movie is based on a French novel by Victor Hugo which is widely considered the greatest novel of the 19th century – and one of the half dozen greatest novels in the world. The stage production has been seen by 60 million people in 42 countries.
A recent review describes it this way (Mike Cosper – “Law and Grace in ‘Les Mis’” December 20, 2012, The Gospel Coalition):
“Every character in the story experiences the weight and tragedy of our fallen world. They all face inevitable disappointments.
“There is a grinding, heartbreaking kind of tragedy that threads its way through Les Miserables. You can’t help but feel the sting of our fallen world.
“That feeling of relentless heartache sends the characters to God and to one another wondering if there’s any relief, any hope, any way out of the darkness.
“The answer to those questions plays out most tellingly in the contrast between Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert.
“Valjean deserves judgment and condemnation, but instead, he receives grace.
“Not just forgiveness for his sins, but an abundant, over-the-top gift.
“This act is the heart of Les Miserables. Grace transforms Valjean – and leads him home to God.
“Valjean is determined to live a life worthy of the grace he has received.
“This story resonates for two reasons. First, the audience can identify with a world of tragedy and disappointment. We all feel that sense of grinding sorrow and wonder if there is any hope for those who are sick, who suffer injustice, and who long to start anew. We are all discouraged by the constant onslaught of bad news, and we dream dreams of places where hope is high, life is worth living, and God is merciful.
“Second, Les Miserables answers those doubts with hope for redemption. There IS a way to start afresh. There IS a grace that surpasses, that sets us free from the burdens of our past, and that leads us home to God.
“And while Les Miserables provides a vague answer, how beautiful that it is releasing on Christmas Day, when that grace is announced to the world so clearly!
“In light of the gospel, a story like Les Miserables isn’t simply uplifting; it is a call to remember how great a salvation we have.”
Diane and I plan to go see les Miserables during this Christmas season.
The great truth of Christmas is that God the Father loves the world so much he sent His own Son to take on human flesh and to dwell among us – to die for our sins and to suffer for our iniquity; then to rise from the dead on the third day – CONQUERING SIN AND DEATH.
Now there is salvation and FULL PARDON FROM SIN AND EVERLASTING LIFE PROMISED for those who believe and put their trust in Him.
Death has met its ultimate defeat in the death and resurrection of Christ.
THOSE WHO DIE IN CHRIST have the hope of being immediately with Him – “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
As Paul says in Colossians 3:4 – “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
There is something so glorious waiting for us that the Apostle Paul says, “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him” (I Cor. 2:9).
THE QUESTION I WANT TO THINK ABOUT THIS EVENING IS: How can we really know and be sure that this HOPE we have in Jesus Christ is real?
How can we know for sure that Jesus really is EMMANUEL – GOD WITH US – THE ONE the Father sent to be the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD?
As C.S. Lewis said – If Jesus is not who he claimed to be, then his teachings are either the ramblings of a lunatic who sincerely thought he was God (but wasn’t) or the words of a liar who knew he wasn’t God (but said he was).
ONE OF THE MAJOR EVIDENCES to support Christ’s claim to be the Messiah, the eternal, incarnate Son of God, are THE GREAT MESSIANIC PROPHECIES of the Old Testament.
The fulfillment of all the messianic prophesies in one person, Jesus Christ, provides convincing proof that Jesus Christ really is the Son of God – the One the Father sent to be the Savior of the world.
In his book, Beyond Belief To Convictions (63-68). Josh McDowell asks us to imagine agreeing over the phone to meet a distant business associate – someone we have never met in person – at a large business convention.