Summary: Takes hearers from birth through death and ressurection in a very short and easy to understand manner which applies practical application to everyday life.
JOKE--- Finding a lamp on a beach, Bob began cleaning it, so he rubs it, bam! Out comes a genie. For setting me free, I will now grant u 3 wishes. ?Cool? says Bob. ?OK Genie dude, I want a billion dollars.? Poof! As the smoke clears, there in his hands, Bob was holding a paper with Swiss bank account numbers in his name.
?Cool? he says.
?Next, I want a Ferrari? Poof! Parked next to him was a brand new red Ferrari with vanity plates that says ?Bob?! Again Cool!
?Finally? Bob says, ?I want to be irresistible to women?
Poof! Bob turns into box of chocolates.
INTRO--- Have you ever wondered why the Lord of the Universe chose to come into this world 2000 years ago as a tiny baby instead of a conquering king?
We are a society which loves to look at baby pictures. My friend there is nothing more beautiful, cuter or more approachable than a new born baby. Babies are irresistible. When a baby enters the room the first thing even strangers want to do is to come near the child and touch it. But would you dare to draw near a conquering King? Not on your life, instead, many would flee.
The manger speaks powerfully of a God who wants to identify with the poor and the humble, the unfortunate ones, the struggling mothers, the homeless, the fearful, the hurting, the classless, the regular guy on the street. The manger speaks to every one who feels insignificant. The manger makes a statement ? there?s Someone who cares about you so much that He was willing to enter the muck and mire of a living hell, a place of struggle and suffering and disease and war called earth just to be with you. No, this God is not gonna watch from a distance.
Folks that?s the point of the manger scene! And even still this Christmas the Christ child welcomes us all to come near and touch Him and fellowship with Him forever.
TRANS---I was reading through the Gospels again when I noticed something so amazing that this sermon practically took on a life of its own and wrote itself. You see, my amazing discovery was that when Jesus was born in the manger he was wrapped in swaddling cloths. But then I also read that when he died at the cross, once again, he was wrapped this time in a very similar burial shroud. And in between his two coverings we learn all about Jesus? mission of self-sacrifice to the world. Because of His sacrifice, there are three coverings we need to examine this Christmas:
I. JESUS WAS COVERED AT THE CRADLE
A. Look at vs. 7---Swaddling clothes were strips of cloth wrapped around a newborn infant to keep it warm.
1. Now the swaddling clothes, which bound the infant Lord following His birth, were symbols of the cold condition of all humanity.
a. Mat. 3:1-2--- In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."
b. Human hearts had grown ice cold toward God as each person did what was right in his or her own eyes.
c. The swaddling clothes are a symbol of God?s warm love that Jesus would restore in our hearts.
2. According to the American Heritage dictionary, swaddling clothes were also used to bind the hands and feet of the infant to keep it still.
a. The bindings were also symbolic of the world?s slavery to sin.
b. Romans 3:23---Now Paul said, ?all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.?
c. John 8:34---Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.?
ILLUSTRATION---Shackles and chains are used in our society on a daily basis. From prisoners to enemy combatants the message of the bondage they provide is always the same. You have lost your freedom and your will and are forced to obey the one in charge over you.
Now Brother Bruce took me to the jail once. And believe me when you leave the world of green grass and fresh air behind those steel reinforced doors as they slam and clink tight behind you, you understand the concept of loss of freedom. Through the sin of Adam, all humanity lost our freedom and were forced to obey the one in charge over us: Satan.
3. But the bindings of swaddling clothes on the baby Jesus also symbolized the necessary sacrifice for that sin.
a. On the cross at Calvary, Jesus hands and feet would again be bound, but this time to the tree.
b. But instead of cloth the binding would be nails.