1. God’s plan for a human relationship
2. God’s plan for a holy relationship
3. God’s plan for a holistic relationship
After many failed attempts, in December 1903, Orville and Wilber Wright finally got their flying machine off the ground. The airplane was born. In their excitement, they sent a telegraph to their sister Katherine. It said simply, “Flew 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas.” When Katherine got the news, she ran to the local paper and showed the telegraph to the editor. He glanced at it and said, “How nice, the boys will be home for Christmas.” He completely missed the point. Yes, it was nice that the boys would be home for Christmas, but man had flown in an airplane for the first time. That was the big news. How often do we miss the big news at Christmas time? All too often, we get caught up in the lights and tinsel and shopping and gifts and family. Those things are nice and they’re fun. Just like it was nice that the Wright brothers would be home for Christmas. They’re nice, but that’s not the big news. The big news of Christmas is that God became a man over 2000 years ago in order that we could have a relationship with Him.
Today, the world will tell you that Christianity is no different than any other world religion. If your children or grandchildren take a world religion class in college, more than likely, the professor will tell them that there is no difference between the Christian God and the gods of other religions. They will say that all religions are essentially the same. Well, they’re almost right. You see, all world religions are essentially the same. That is, all of them except one. Every religion in the world—whether you’re talking about Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Mormonism, Paganism, or New Age—every religion in the world requires man to do something to work his way up to God. He has to achieve. He has to earn his way into some type of relationship with the deity. As a matter of fact, it’s not even a relationship with God. It’s actually becoming God. That is the thing that all religions have in common. They all require man to do things in an attempt to become divine. To become God. All of them except one. All of them except biblical Christianity. You see, the goal of Christianity isn’t to become God. It is to have a relationship with Him. God is God and we’re not. And we never will be. We never could be. God is far too holy and perfect and righteous and just and pure and powerful for us to even imagine, much less attain. There is nothing we could ever hope to do to become God. We’re too frail, and imperfect, and weak, and unfair. We could never become God, that’s why He had to become man. God had to become man, not so we could become God. But so that we, in all of our sin and imperfection, could have a relationship with Him. In order that God might have a relationship with us, His Son stepped down from His throne in heaven and became man. I want each of us here this morning to see that Jesus came to earth as a man because God desired to have a relationship with us. And when we see that, I want us all to celebrate this Christmas knowing we have that relationship with Him. In order to do that, we will look at the three relationships God desires with us. The first relationship He desires is a human relationship.
God desires a human relationship with us. As you know, we have three children. I was there when all of them were born. My wife was not real happy with me, because the nurses ended up giving me more attention than they did her a few times. Let’s just say God never intended for me to be in the medical field. Who ever had the bright idea of allowing husbands into the delivery room in the first place? It was perfectly fine when men got to wait in the waiting room till it was all over. But think about childbirth for a minute. What an odd way for the creator of the universe to enter His creation. Why would God the Son subject Himself to that? To drooling and spitting up and dirty diapers? A story is told about an old farmer who asked that same question. He thought the idea of God coming to earth as a man was ridiculous. One evening during a terrible snowstorm, he kept hearing a loud thump on his living room window. The snow was so bad, he couldn’t see out to see what it was. Later, when the snow let up a little, he braved the storm and went out to see what kept making the noise. It turned out to be a flock of wild geese that had been stranded in the storm. They kept flapping around blindly, occasionally flying into his window. The farmer knew they would freeze to death if they stayed out in the storm, so he went and opened up his barn for them. But just the sight of him frightened them and they wouldn’t go near. He tried everything and they wouldn’t go near him. Finally he thought, if I could just become a goose, I could save them. It was at that moment, he realized why Jesus had to come as a man. It wasn’t so ridiculous after all. In Jesus’ humanity, He had to endure anything we could ever possibly have to endure. He endured physical struggles—hunger, poverty, pain. He endured emotional struggles—He was betrayed by a friend, He was rejected by his own family, He was mocked and made fun of. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” The word relationship comes from the root word relate. Jesus had to come to earth as a man in order to relate to us. In our sin and weakness, there is no way we could ever work our way into being good enough to relate to God. So God reached down into history and took on the feeling of our infirmities so He could relate to us. He became man in order to have a human relationship with us. He became man in order to save us. But not only did God desire a human relationship with us, He desired a holy relationship with us.
God desires a holy relationship with us. God is holy. He is high and lifted up. He is righteous. He is all powerful. He is all knowing. He is everywhere at once. He is infinite. That’s who He is. He is perfect. No words can accurately describe how far God is above man. Because God is holy and perfect, He cannot tolerate profane and imperfect things in His presence. If He did, it would take away from His holiness. He would be tainted. So, how can an infinitely holy God have a relationship with weak, sinful and frail people like you and me? He can, because our relationship isn’t based on what we bring to the table. It isn’t based on anything we’ve earned. Anything we do to earn a relationship with God is a stench in His nostrils. Our best effort falls that short of His holiness. Our relationship isn’t based on what we bring to the table. It’s based on what He brought to the table. His holiness, His righteousness is embodied in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. When Jesus saves us, He clothes us in His righteousness. So, if you’re saved, when God the Father looks at you, all He sees is His Son. He doesn’t see your imperfections and frailties. He doesn’t see your sin—He’s forgiven that as far as the East is from the West. All He sees is His Son. His righteous Son. His holy Son. But how does it all work? God desires a human relationship with us, so He became a man. But if that old farmer had just become a goose, he’d have been just as stupid as the other geese. He would have frozen to death with the rest of them. If Jesus was only a man, He wouldn’t have been able to be our Savior. So, God also desires a holy relationship with us. Jesus cleanses us of our sins and clothes us in His holiness. The holiness He has as God the Son. But a holy relationship and a human relationship sounds like two different things. How can we put those two together? Because God desires a holistic relationship with us. Now, read all of verse 23 together:
God desires a holistic relationship with us. He desires a complete, total, whole relationship with us. If God had only sent us a man, He could’ve only sympathized with us. He couldn’t have saved us. If God had only come to us as God, He could’ve only come to judge us and condemn us. He couldn’t have saved us. But God came down to us as both. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to be born of a virgin as a man. Fully man. And He sent His Son Jesus Christ to be conceived of God the Holy Spirit as God the Son. Fully God. Jesus Christ is 100% God and 100% man. It might sound confusing, but my God is powerful enough to do anything. He’s a whole lot more powerful than I am smart. I don’t have to understand everything. But I know that is the only way He could save us. That is the only way He could have a relationship with us without tainting His holiness. What we celebrate today and tomorrow is an awesome event. We celebrate the fact that over 2000 years ago, the infinite creator God stepped into history. He stepped into time that He created but is not bound by. He reached down through His infinite power, majesty, might, and glory. And cried that first helpless cry of a newborn baby. And was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. He was fully God. And He was fully man. John 1:10-13 says about that baby, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Jesus is no longer a helpless, crying baby in a manger in Bethlehem. He grew up. He lived and taught for 33 years. Most of the people rejected Him. Rejected Him to the point of hanging Him on a cruel Roman cross. But that was God’s plan all along. The baby whose birth we’re celebrating was born to die. He was born to die so you wouldn’t have to. He was born to die, so you could have a relationship with your maker—God Almighty. But not only was He born to die, He was born to live again. And He lives today and is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. Making relationship possible between us and God the Father. Do you have a relationship with Him today? The relationship that Jesus provides is free to you. He paid all that could ever be paid when He gave His live on Calvary. He was born to die so that you might live. Do you need to start living for Him today?