Summary: #1 in a series: A look at some of the better known characters of the Christmas Story, learning from their experiences as God’s In-Breaking Kingdom brought the incarnation of Jesus Christ to planet earth and into their personal lives.
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Did you ever get confused trying to find yourself on a map? I like to know where I am but can get easily confused or turned around. (like mall parking lots)
Do you know the definition of confused?
Standing in front of one of those “You are here” signs…and you ask your wife… “do you think they mean us?”
Well…for those of you sitting here today asking …
WHERE ARE WE??
It’s obvious that
1. You’re in church. (not a shopping mall)
2. You’re about to hear a Sunday sermon.
3. Since it’s CHRISTMAS TIME, you’ll probably hear a sermon from the Christmas story.
Turn to Malachi 4: 1-6
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. 3 Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty. 4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. 5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
What in the world is the pastor doing? Reading some obscure Old Testament writings about curses and judgement and fire & brimstone. For heaven’s sake, Boller,…this is Christmas…tells us about Jesus!
OK…I will. As a matter of fact, I just did!
You’re on page 677, right? Turn over ONE PAGE in your Bible. What does it say?
The NEW TESTAMENT. Right?
Do you know how many years you just turned? About 450-500 years.
The Christmas Story we are so familiar with is actually a continuation of a story that begins long before Jesus’ time. Jesus’ story is part of a much larger God-story. A Kingdom of God story.
Turn back with me to Malachi for a minute...
As the OLD TESTAMENT ends we see....a prophecy...something’s coming.
Actually the header says in bold print...THE DAY of the LORD.
As we read...Malachi is saying that the DAY OF THE LORD is coming...get ready...stay alert...be encouraged...
Yet, apparently Malachi also sees there are 2 events attached to the story.
1. The DAY of the LORD… (verse 1)
2. BEFORE the DAY of the LORD...(verse 5)
Naturally when there are 2 events (before & after) there is a space between the two....SPACE between the DAY and the BEFORE the DAY.
The question is...how long is that space?
Let’s use THIS DIAGRAM to show you what I mean...
When viewed from a distance these two corresponding events can look like one!
Jews easily thought these 2 events to be ONE EVENT. (See Red & Black circles) It’s easy to think that when viewing a God-event from about 2500 years away.
They say hindsight is twenty-twenty...
When viewed from a different perspective, the space between the two actually becomes a lot larger. we begin to see 2 separate events!
THE COMING DAY and THE BEFORE
You & I now know…that the BEFORE has already happened…
The great prophetic voice of Elijah (John & then Jesus) has come to prepare the way. Breaking the curse of fatherless-ness.
But THE COMING DAY has yet to happen!
The space (gold bar) between these 2 events has now run at least 2000 years.
NOW Diagram 3 THE LAST DAYS
Now it’s important to view all of history from God’s point of view. This entire two thousand year period is ONE AGE in God’s viewpoint.
Here’s the first CHRISTMAS...
We’re all on the same track of God’s time.
From a biblical viewpoint everything between the BEFORE and THE COMING DAY..... is THE LAST DAYS.
It’s the overlapping of two ages….the age that was…and the age to come.
Age of the church. Age of the Holy Spirit. A dispensation where MERCY is being dispearsed on planet earth to make us ALL ready for the GREAT LAST DAY.
The age of IN-BREAKING of GOD’S KINGDOM.
Why did I take the time to show you these graphs?
Because to better appreciate the CHRISTMAS STORY you need to realize that the CHRISTMAS STORY is