Summary: A Christmas Sermon taken from a Christmas Card (from DaySpring) Jesus had a different kind of birth; He had a different kind of kingdom; and He wore a different kind of crown
Sermon for 12/26/2004
For 30 years, Randy Murphy drove without a traffic incident, without being stopped by the police, and without a driver’s license. Then, the 46 year old Knoxville, Tennessee native’s luck ran out. On his way home from work as a dishwasher, he increased the volume on his radio. Turning the corner he was stopped by police officer Mark Taylor who pulled him over because of the blaring music. When Officer Taylor asked Murphy for a driver’s license, Murphy admitted he didn’t have one. What would we expect in that situation?
Officer Taylor asked Murphy why he didn’t have a license. Murphy said that he couldn’t read enough to pass the written test. With uncommon courtesy, Taylor told Murphy, if you’re willing, I’d like to help you with the reading part of the test. The police officer gave Murphy his pager number. Later that afternoon, Murphy paged Taylor to schedule their first meeting. For the next three months the men met several times a week to review the test booklet. When Murphy felt ready, Taylor accompanied him to the department of motor vehicles. Murphy took the test six times before he passed and then sailed through the road test. Taylor’s act of kindness earned him the Officer of the Month award from the Knoxville Police Department.
A. Jesus is different.
B. Chuck Colson, of Prison Fellowship, tells about a prison in Sao Do Campos, Brazil, which is run according to Christian principles. The prison only has two people on its staff. The inmates do everything else. Each prisoner has another to whom he is accountable. Every prisoner goes to chapel or takes a course in character formation. Each prisoner is assigned to a volunteer family outside the prison that makes him a part of their family. The rate of return for crimes after release is 4% compared to 75% in other Brazilian prisons.
When Colson visited the prison to discover the secret of their success, a prisoner took him to what at one time was an isolation cell. When the door opened, Colson saw a beautifully carved wooden figure of Jesus hanging on the cross. The prisoner pointed to the figure of Jesus and whispered, "He’s doing time for all of us." Jesus made the sacrifice for you. He went alone to the solitary confinement of our cross and did our time—all of it. That means you are completely forgiven!
That’s what makes Jesus different from everything else in the world! Only one religion gives us a Savior who has done it all for us. Only one religion offers complete forgiveness.
C. A got this sermon idea from Gene Woolard, the preacher at the Shattalon Church of Christ in Winston Salem. He sent us a Christmas card last year and this is what it said.
Thesis: Jesus had a different kind of birth; He had a different kind of kingdom; and He wore a different kind of crown
He had a different Kind of Birth
A. Why didn’t Joseph just go without Mary?
B. The troubles of transporting a pregnant wife.
C. How many were born at home?
D. Jesus was not born at home but even worse in a barn.
E. The unsanitary conditions and the smells in a barn.
F. Jesus was laid in a feed trough.
G. Shepherds were the first ones to come. Old smelly shepherds, usually not respected in society.
H. Oh, but what about the kings from the East. They didn’t come until several days later when Jesus and family were in a house. Matthew 2:11- And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped him.
I. I was thinking this past week about the day after the birth of Jesus. That night, Christmas Eve, Jesus was born in a stable. The shepherds came and then the next morning I am sure that Mary and Joseph got out of that barn. They found a place to stay, a house, and they were there until 33 days later when they took Jesus to the temple to have a sacrifice made to the Lord for him. It wasn’t far from Bethlehem to Jerusalem. Every first born male needed to go to the temple and have this sacrifice made according to the Law of Moses. This is where we see Simeon and Anna coming up and giving thanks and prophesying about this baby. Evidently Joseph and Mary go back to Bethlehem and then we see the Magi coming and then they take off for Egypt. They are in Egypt for a few years until the death of Herod and then they finally return to their hometown of Nazareth.
J. Could you imagine the life of Joseph? He is a carpenter in Nazareth, a skilled job. This would have made him a member of the middle class. He wants a wife so he becomes engaged to Mary. This is when his life is turned upside down as it is for many men. Before they come together, Mary is found pregnant. Joseph wants to put her away quietly and not have anything to do with her when an angel appears to him and says that this Child is of the Holy Spirit. He takes her and makes her his wife and then they all have to go to Bethlehem because of the census. The baby is born in Bethlehem and so they have to stay there for many days. Joseph has to find a place for them to stay, the first night in the stable and then a house. Then they have to flee to Egypt where Joseph has to find another place for them to stay. He has to find work in Bethlehem and now in Egypt. After a few years he is finally able to go back to Nazareth and set up his carpentry business and raise his family. I am sure that he breathed a sigh of relief when they all were back in Nazareth. This is a lot for any man to do. So many changes! Not what he would have wanted.