Summary: This Christmas message compares the swaddling clothes to the burial lineans of Christ.

Clothes Make A Man

Luke 2.7; 23.53; 24.12

Stand Alone Christmas Sermon

December 19, 2004

FBC Chester, Illinois Mike Fogerson, Speaker


(Prior to worship, you’ll need one-inch strips of fabric, baby powder, & a box. Prior to beginning the message/service place the strips of cloth into a box. I suggest sprinkle baby powder over them just as service starts. As your listeners enter the sanctuary, ask them each to take one of the strips.)* Innovative Worship: 95 Easy Worship-Enhancing Ideas: (Loveland, CO: Vital Ministry) 1999, p 91.

A "Hold up your piece of fabric to your face and feel its softness." (Pause)

Smell it, think about the memories that its touch and smell bring to you.

a It’s amazing to think that God almighty came into the world as a tiny baby – weak, vulnerable, and dependent on a human mom & dad.

What would it have been like to feed Jesus? Rock Jesus to sleep in you arms? Watch Jesus as he slept?

I want to challenge you to hold this human image of Jesus in your minds and continue to feel and smell the fabric throughout this message.

b From the pages of the Old Testament, Baby Moses comes drifting down the Nile in a wicker basket. The ancient word tells us that God used that baby to bring the law.

Today, we see that God used a baby in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes to bring what the law could not . . . grace.

John 1.17 "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." (NASB)

*At the same time your remembering the babe in a manger, think of the God on the throne in power, strength, and sovereignty.

B Dr. Luke used two pieces of cloth to bridge the cradle to the cross. (ETS)

a 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 (NASB)

53 And he took it (the body of Christ) down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain. Luke 23:53 (NASB)

12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. Luke 24:12 (NASB)

b God’s greatest gift to humankind has been unwrapped.(ESS)

C I hope you’ll allow the significance of the two unwrapped pieces of cloth to change your life. (Objective)

a How are the clothes of Christ changing your life? (Probing Question)

b Let’s look at two pieces of cloth that changed the entire landscape of humanity. (Transitional Sentence)

I The first piece of cloth that changed humanity were swaddling clothes.

7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 (NASB)

A The swaddling clothes that Jesus was wrapped in were perhaps the most normal part of the nativity. (Nothing normal about an Obstetrics wing being in a stable, Cattle trough doubling as a crib, virgin giving birth, or shepherds waiting in the lobby to see a new born)

a When a Hebrew child was born, three procedures took that place that constituted normal infant care. The baby was . . .

1) Cleaned with water, 2) rubbed in salt, 3) wrapped in swaddling clothes.

The Swaddling Clothes were not necessarily dirty rags from the stable.

I speculate that Joseph & Mary may have brought the clothes with them from Nazareth. (SPECULATION: Perhaps they were Joseph’s when he was a baby. Maybe a wedding gift from Mary’s parents.)

b Mom would literally wrap the baby, in mummy fashion, to insure that the baby’s limbs would grow straight and also would give a certain amount of protection to baby. (The baby would quickly grow out of the swaddling clothes)

*What a mental picture think of the Son of God, lying in a baby blanket and a diaper. (Glowing parents!!)

B So much of the birth of Christ is miraculous (Star over Bethlehem, virgin birth, angel choir, shepherd, wise men, old testament prophesies, etc.), but the swaddling clothes remind us that Jesus knows what it’s like to be a real person.

a Rich Mullin’s Song: Man like Me:

"Did you grow up hungry, did you grow up fast? Did the little girls giggle when you walked past, did you wonder what it was that made them laugh?" "Did you ever get scared playing hide & seek, did you try not to cry when you scrapped your knew, did you ever skip a rock across a quiet creek?"

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