Summary: The Christmas season is a time of promise and expectation. God promises to be hands on involved and invest eternity into our lives.
Intro: The living God Yahweh revealed in Jesus Christ is a promise making and a promise keeping God!! In an article in Time Magazine dated 24th Dec 1956, it reads:
The old legend that there are 30,000 promises in the Bible is a bit off, according to schoolteacher Everek R. Storms of Kitchener, Ontario. A member of Canada’s United Missionary Church, Storms slowed down enough on his 27th reading of the Bible to tally up the promises, which took him a year and a half. He came up with 7,487 promises by God to man, two by God the Father to God the Son, 991 by one man to another, 290 by man to God. Twenty-eight promises were made by angels, one by man to an angel, and two were made by an evil spirit to the Lord. Satan made nine. Grand total of promises: 8,810. 85% of promises in the Bible are by God to man.
Christmas is a time of promise and expectation. For children it is the promise of Christmas morning excitement and discovery of new toys and clothes. For adults it is a time of hustle, bustle and the occasional black Friday tussle.
The greatest promise God ever made is the one we are the most familiar with and brings the least expectation and excitement. It is the promise of the birth of Jesus. If we look at the background of the time the promise was given I believe we find similar circumstances today. (Read Isaiah 7: , 9:1-6)
Ahaz was a wicked king of Judah. He trusted in the alliance that was made with Assyrian. Because he would not trust Yahweh there was gloom, destruction and terrorism. Judah was in a dark time economically, politically and spiritually. In this time God spoke a clear and certain promise.
In a time of loneliness, hopelessness, suffering and terror God spoke a word of promise. It is a promise of hope and healing that applied to them and us.
Jeremiah 33:14-16 (Read) It is in the birth of Jesus into the world that God’s promise was fulfilled in the 700 year old prophecy of Isaiah.
According to James 1:17 “God is the giver of every perfect gift. A son will be given to us.” The greatest gift has always been Jesus.
I like James MacDonald’s definition of promise! “A promise is the assurance that God gives to His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.”
I. The promise of God’s involvement – A child will be born to us – His humanity
A) Our biggest problem
Oprah can tell people what’s wrong with them and not problem. Dr. Phil can tell people they are idiots and we agree and nod. Let someone stand behind a podium and communicate the word of God that clearly tells us we have a problem and all the sudden offense. Why? Because the Word of God cuts to the heart of the problem! The problem is sin and separation from God. The Birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of a promise that was given in Genesis 3.
Understand that God’s answer to sinful man was not to condemn us to hell. When we choose God we choose heaven. When we reject God we choose the place of rebellion called hell. God doesn’t solve problems the way we do.
The solution to our fear of terror, death, pride, prejudice, cowardice, lust, anger, bitterness, loneliness, is the quiet birth of a boy in the humanity and humility of birth in an animal stall. God’s first promise to Adam and Eve was in the moment you eat of it you will die. His next promise was one who would crush the cause of our problem sin.
Why do our problems seem to continue to consume us? Because we all too often are not willing to accept God’s way of solving or dealing with them. God’s solutions to our problems don’t always make sense but they always work! God’s solutions don’t merely rework the outside they remake the inside.
The promise of Christmas is the promise of God’s being hands on changing you from the inside out! His promise is to free us from the slave holder of sin!!
What are some ways that God works outside the box to deal with people?
1) Gideon – God was hands on to make him from guy in hiding to a guard for Israel
2) Jacob – God was hands on to make him from a deceiver and thief to a person of faith
3) Peter – God was hands on to make him from a loud mouth braggart into a faithful preacher
B) God’s highest price
The first Christmas was not festive or familiar. The first Christmas was celebrated by thieves, aliens and foreigners. It was the entrance of God into the darkness of the world in order to pay God’s price for the sins of the world.