Summary: A Sermon for Christmas based on Galatians 4:4-7
The Fullness of Time
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. [NASB]
When the fullness of the time came…
God’s timing is always perfect. He is never a moment early, nor ever an instant late.
The fullness of the time came when every word of prophecy that should have been given had been given – not a word less, not a syllable more. Every ear that should hear had heard; all the receptive minds of faithful servants; the fearful hearts in need of encouragement; the wavering doubters; even the stubborn fools and the hardened rebels who railed against the rule of Almighty God – every person destined to hear had heard; beginning with those who first heard the prophets speak, down to the one who listened to the scriptures being read the night before the Word was made flesh. The Word had gone forth and had not returned void. The sound rebounded to Heaven’s throne accomplishing precisely what the Author intended: salvation for many; destruction for others, but in every instance; glory to God!
The fullness of the time found the perfect tyrant on the throne in Jerusalem; the perfectly ruthless emperor reigning in Rome; the correct carpenter laboring in Nazareth; the exact band of shepherds dozing on the hillside near Bethlehem; the designated governor ordering a census; and the ordained stargazers in their Persian observatory gathering the very gold, incense and myrrh reserved from before the founding of the earth for that moment.
In the fullness of the time, every sparrow and every insect was in place; every star and planet and each grain of sand; every ripple of every stream; every atom in the universe was in its perfect location and the chosen maiden in Galilee heard and obeyed – in the fullness of the time.
When the fullness of the time came sin was as filthy and foul as it ever would be. In the fullness of time Hell gaped wide to devour the human race; Eden was spoiled and Canaan conquered; the prophets were long dead and the promises nearly forgotten. When the fullness of the time came the Temple of Zion was corrupted and vain; the teachers of Israel were strangers to grace; darkness and ignorance held sway over the race - on just the right day.
When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son…
God, in harmony with His character, immune to manipulation, moved by grace and informed by His own perfect wisdom, God sent His Son; eternal, majestic, sovereign and sinless, sublimely serene in unblemished holiness; the Power of Creation; the Word of all being, omnipotent, omniscient; all wise and all seeing; worthy of all honor, all worship and praise, robed in splendor, the Ancient of days; the Source of life and peace and love; the Lord of Glory stepped down from above – in the fullness of the time.
When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.
His first breath smelled of camel dung and horse sweat; of musty straw, of our fear and regret. He was wrapped in home-spun cloth and laid to sleep in a common feed trough, grimy and cheap. He was born into a world of fleas and flies and insect bites; of brittle bones and parasites; of bacterial infections and genetic defects; a world of discomfort, disease and death. He was born into our world of guilt and despair; a world where nothing very often seems fair; born of a woman whose agony that night was an echo of the curse He had come here to fight.
When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.
He was born under the Law God had given as the standard of life; the Law sin had twisted into an instrument of death; the Law so simple and yet so severe; the Law granted as a gift; accepted in covenant, utterly just, yet consistently broken; the Law implacable, undeniable, inescapable and pure, the Law, our blessing turned into our bane, the Law never kept until the Lawgiver came – in the fullness of time.
When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son… in order that he might redeem.
In the fullness of the time He came to redeem, by a spotless life of utter integrity; by acts of gentle mercy; by unwavering love; by the courageous proclamation of uncompromising truth; by the demonstration of God’s power imparted through a faithful servant; by unembarrassed joy in the company of sinners; by outraged righteousness in the presence of hypocrites; by unflinching obedience to the demand for His life, His body, His blood; by His silence when ridiculed, slandered and slain; by His surrendered soul; by three days in the grave. He redeemed us by his holiness in Mary’s womb; by his peaceful righteousness in the silent gloom; by His triumphant shout when He burst from the tomb, victorious and glorious, unshackled, unstained; his scars but a token of the prize He had gained.