Summary: The final message of our Advent Conspiracy series entitled simplechristmas, focusing on the great love Jesus has shown the world through His coming and what it means for us. This message was preached on the Sunday of our Christmas musical program as the
Stephen N. Collins
Millville – 12/21/08
Part 4: Love All
[Cantata: Hope Has Hands]
Song: The World Has Joy Medley
-Joy. What is “joy?” What does it look like to have “joy?” How is someone who has “joy,” different from the rest of us? Isn’t it the same thing as just “being happy?” Because I don’t know about you, but I’m sure not happy all of he time. You know, the simplest definition of joy I’ve heard is that joy is constant even when happiness is not. Joy is strength for today and hope for tomorrow.
-So, how can we live lives that are full of joy? How can we live with the deep, abiding joy that we sing about? I mean, really, what’s there to be joyful about these days? There was a man in the Bible named Paul who talked about what brought Him joy:
Scripture: Philippians 2:5-6
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…”
-You may have never considered this a Christmas passage of Scripture, but it is. Verse 6 describes Jesus as “being in the form of God.” What does that mean? It’s the background for Christmas. Christmas loses it’s meaning if we don’t recognize the significance of the background. The backdrop of the manger where the baby Jesus lay was the Heavenly throne He once sat upon. “Being in the form of God,” means that Jesus was one with God’s nature.
-He is one with God. He is divine. He is pre-existent. It means before the manger scene, He is. It means before the shepherds and the wise men and Mary and Joseph, He is. It means before prophet Isaiah, He is. It means before Jacob, He is. Before Moses, He is. Before Abraham, He is. Before Noah, He is. Before Adam and Eve and the serpent…He is.
-It means that Jesus, this little, frail baby in the manger, is no ordinary baby. He is God in the flesh. Here’s what is said about Him later in the New Testament:
Scripture: Colossians 1:15-20 (NLT)
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.”
-The word “He” is used in some form in those 5 verses 13 times. Jesus. It’s always been about Jesus. It is right now, about Jesus. When we are dead and gone and even when the world has ended, it will still be about Jesus. He is King. Period. This is why we worship Him as God. Because He is. Because He is.
-Everything is His. And…He gave everything up. In the first chapter of John, the writer says that “the [eternal] Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelled among us.”
Songs: The Word Became Flesh
The Lord Has Been Kind
Beautiful Star of Bethlehem
Mary Rocks the Rock
-The Rock of ages. He owns it all and deserves it all. And He could have claimed it all by divine force, but verse 7 says:
Scripture: Philippians 2:7 (NLT)
“Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.”
-The King, the eternal Word, God is the flesh…emptied Himself of His divine rights and came from Heaven to earth. He went from King of creation to a poor, dirty little baby. He forfeited everything that was rightfully His to become one of us.
-My papaw, who’s been a pastor for over 50 years and read and studied this more times than I could ever hope to, has a real good way of putting this all into perspective, and I’ve never fully appreciated the depth of what He was saying until I was preparing for today. When He talks about what God gave up to send His son to be one of us, he says that “Heaven went bankrupt…for us.” Jesus, God in the flesh, went bankrupt. He gave everything He could possibly give…to become one of us.