Summary: A short Christmas sermon for our Older Folks service
Immanuel: God with us. Matt 1:18-23.
WBC Silver Service (for older folks). 1 Dec 2005
Can you believe it’s nearly Christmas time, again?
- doesn’t it come around quickly?!
But I love it! And I want to tell you, this afternoon:
- why I am a Christian. And not something (or ’nothing’ else)
- Why Christmas is they keystone of why I am
…and it’s all within this name: Immanuel
This baby was not just any baby. The man Jesus was not just a man
- He was also God
- In the flesh
That’s incredible! Amazing!
- so amazing that some - can’t take it in (I can’t!)
" can’t/ won’t believe it
But why should it surprise us so much?
- Illustr: I have two children. Particularly when they were younger, I would come down to their level to talk to them
Soren Kierkegaard, the great Danish theologian told this story:
A prince who wanted to find a maiden suitable to be his queen. One day while running an errand in the local village for his father he passed through a poor section. As he glanced out the windows of the carriage his eyes fell upon a beautiful peasant maiden. During the ensuing days he often passed by the young lady and soon fell in love. But he had a problem. How would he seek her hand?
He could order her to marry him. But even a prince wants his bride to marry him freely and voluntarily and not through coercion. He could put on his most splendid uniform and drive up to her front door in a carriage drawn by six horses. But if he did this he would never be certain that the maiden loved him or was simply overwhelmed with all of the splendour.
The prince came up with another solution. He would give up his kingly robe. He moved, into the village, entering not with a crown but in the garb of a peasant. He lived among the people, shared their interests and concerns, and talked their language. In time the maiden grew to love him for who he was and because he had first loved her.
- But it’s more than that- it’s God wanting to show His love to the equivalent of a slug!
And the almighty God gave up His majesty and glory… and showed Himself in that little baby
- such humility!
- Such love! That’s the kind of God I want to follow!
Philip Yancey in his book Disappointment with God wrote this:
"Imagine for a moment becoming a baby again: giving up language and muscle coordination, and the ability to eat solid food and control your bladder. God as a foetus! Or imagine yourself becoming a sea slug - that analogy is probably closer. On that day in Bethlehem, the Maker of All that is took form as helpless, dependent newborn."
Contributed by: Andrew Chan on www.sermoncentral.com
But it doesn’t just end there for me
- not just the incredibleness of God walking around on earth..
Not JUST as pastor from a bygone age, named Arthur John Gossip, wrote:
The wonderful thing about Christ is that as people looked at Him, followed Him, and watched Him, it became apparent to them that this is what God must be like. They concluded that if there is a God at all, then He must have Christ’s eyes, Christ’s ways, Christ’s ever-helpful hands, Christ’s character…Stand upon Calvary and know that if today he loves like that, he always loves like that. Even when our hearts become hot and suspicious of Him or soured and bad-tempered toward Him for His ordering of our lives and crossing our wishes, He still loves us. To be God means always to stoop lower by far than any man could stoop, to bear what never a human heart would dream of bearing, to give Oneself with an abandon of unselfishness that leaves us staring in slack-jawed wonder. His love is a hugeness beyond all human reckoning. It is an everlasting Calvary.
- … it was GOD WITH
Not distant. Not walking around in royal clothes. Or stuck in an ivory tower. Transcendent in His glory
He was WITH us. Became one of us. Experienced what we experienced. Linked and integrated fully with humanity… human experience
- He didn’t give us an envoy. He gave us Himself!
- That’s the kind of God I believe in… want to follow
In his book The Life of God in the Soul of Man, Henry Scougal, the seventeenth-century Scottish minister, said, "God hath long contended with a stubborn world, and thrown down many a blessing upon them; and when all his other gifts could not prevail, he at last made a gift of himself."
Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 86.