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What has He done in becoming a baby

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The birth of this child was to bring glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men.

all the works of God’s do not glorify him so much as the gift of his dear Son,

What then does this birth tell us about Him? 

 

God in his profound mercy, descends into our corruption in order to break the power of sin an death.

He is not ashamed to call us brothers. 

He chose to become alive to the struggles of the human soul.

In His humanity, Jesus takes upon Himself our disobedience.  He submits Himself as the bearer of all disorder, all brokenness that constrains that image within us. and carries it obediently to the cross.

He bore the sinful disobedience that issues out of that brokenness.

Why?

1.     The reason for it all is that we know that ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son’. Love is God’s own motive.

Christ loved them! He did so before they sinned in Adam, and His forethoughts of them in their fallen estate produced no change in His love for them; rather, they afforded greater opportunity for Him to display that love. T

He became incarnate, that He might blot out their sins.

The incarnation means that reconciliation is no longer hoped for but is a reality; it is a reality because God has done for man what man was powerless to do for himself.

2.     Mercy

God might have said, “I give thee up, O Adam, and cast off thy race. Even as I gave up Lucifer and all his host, so I abandon thee to follow thine own chosen course of rebellion!” But we have now no fear that the Lord has done this, for God has espoused manhood and taken it into union with himself.

Now manhood is not put aside by the Lord as an utterly accursed thing, to be an abomination unto him for ever, for Jesus, the Well-beloved, is born of a virgin.

. The race is not to be outlawed, and marked with the brand of death and hell, and to be utterly abandoned to destruction, for, lo, the Lord hath married into the race, and

Justice and mercy are entirely separated attributes, unblended and unharmonized. Justice obstructs the exercise of mercy by presenting its unsatisfied claims, and “mercy stands silent by.” There is “no eye to pity, and no arm to save” (Isa. 59:16; 63:5). But in the evangelical sphere of revealed religion, the two attributes are united and harmonized: “Mercy and truth meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other” (Ps. 85:10). This is  mercy that is infinitely just, and justice is infinitely merciful.

Why? because it is mercy in the form of self-sacrifice.

 it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Tit. 3:5).

the highest form of mercy because (a) the offended party permits a substitution of penalty, (b) the offended party provides the substitute, and (c) the offended party substitutes himself for the offender.

Pascal (Thoughts) expresses the same truth in the remark that in the Christian redemption “the judge himself is the sacrifice.”

The opposite of Justice would  be Indulgence is foolish good nature. It releases from punishment without making any provision for the claims of law. Its motive is sensuous, not rational.

It suffers, itself, from the sight of suffering, and this is the reason why it does not inflict it. It costs an effort to be just, and it does not like to put forth an effort. Indulgence, in the last analysis, is intensely selfish.

Mere happiness in the sense of freedom from discomfort or pain is the final end which it has in view.

If it be conceded that legal claims must be met at all hazards and cannot be either waived in part or abolished altogether, then it is evident that the great problem before divine mercy is how to meet these claims in behalf of the object of mercy. The problem is not how to trample upon justice in behalf of the criminal, but how to satisfy justice for him.

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What did it mean for Him?

3.     He would bear our suffering.

As the angel said to Joseph, His object was to deliver His people from their sins, and all He did was designed to that end. He came in order to die for us, to ‘taste death for every man’, that He might deliver us and emancipate us.

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for he felt all the griefs of mankind in himself. He took our sicknesses and carried our sorrows. He proved himself a true brother, with quick, human sensibilities.

He was willing to be an alien to His mother’s children, despised and rejected of men, mocked and scourged by them, yea, abandoned by God for a season, that His people might be cleansed.

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Jesus, in obedience, takes upon Himself the full weight of all our sin and dies with it. 

He allows Himself to be swallowed up by our hell, once and for all.

Jesus took upon Himself every idol, every source of deception, every wound and every weakness that separates us from the Father’s love. Whether those things were conceived by us or forced upon us by others,  “He become sin for us” (2 cor. 5:21).

Jesus bears our sin that we would no longer be burdened by it. 

He died with the weight of the slow death that sin works in us.

He was tempted in everyway that we are and yet without sin. 

He was tempted to satisy Himself and veer off the difficult course established by the father.

He was tempted to find security and comfort apart from the Father’s will. 

He kept the law of God perfectly, and his obedience was reckoned as the obedience of all who were in him.

Yet because He never surrendered to temptation we can assume that He was tempted nonstop with an intensity that none of us have ever experienced.

He broke sin’s power by allowing it to break Him unto death and then rising on the third day from the grave. 

Isaiah 53:4-5 (NKJV)
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

4.     He would feel our pain

He doesn’t blame us for our struggles.  He assumes the weight of every sinful effort the struggler has made to resolve his issues according to his own will and wisdom.

Scripture records that when he saw our distress, when he saw us downcast, He felt compassion for us (matt 9:36).

He looked at the crowd, we are told, and He saw them as ‘sheep without a shepherd’. How frequently is the word ‘compassion’ used in connection with Him! ‘He had compassion on the multitude’.

. “Two persons were left,” Augustine says (ad loc.), “the unhappy woman and Compassion Incarnate”

11. She said … And Jesus said unto her] And she said … And Jesus said.

Neither do I condemn thee] though I am truly sinless. The words are not words of forgiveness (Luke 7:48), but simply of one who gives no sentence (comp. Luke 12:14).

The Leper had full faith in Christ’s ability, but he had some doubts as to Christ’s willingness. Our Savior looked at him; and though he might very well have rebuked him that he should doubt his willingness, he merely said, “I will, be thou clean;” and straightway he was made whole of that loathsome plagueThere is a second instance.

Mark 5:19. It was the demoniac. There met Christ a man so possessed with a devil as to be mad; and instead of belief in Christ or asking for healing, this spirit within the man compelled him to say, “Wilt thou torment us before the time?”—and rather to stand against Christ healing him than to ask for it; but Christ was moved with compassion, and he bade the evil spirit come out of the evil man.

Luke 7:13. It refers to the widow at the gates of Nain. Her son was being carried out—her only son. He was dead, and she was desolate. The widow’s only son was to her her sole stay, the succor as well as the solace of her old age. He was dead and laid upon the bier; and when Jesus saw the disconsolate mother, he was moved with compassion, and he restored her son.

At the sight of the great congregations that gathered to hear him, our Lord was often moved with compassion. Sometimes it was because they were hungry and faint, and in the fullness of his sympathy he multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed them. At

 “He was moved with compassion.” “He saved others; himself he could not save.” He was so moved with compassion, that compassion, as it were, did eat him up. He could save nothing from the general conflagration.

sought not the rich and renowned, but was “the Friend of publicans and sinners.” See it in the miracles He performed:again and again He enjoined the healed to go and tell no man what had been done for them. Behold it in the unobtrusiveness of His service:unlike the hypocrites who sounded a trumpet before them, He sought not the limelight, shunned advertising, and disdained popularity. When

What does it mean for us?

Who are we?

Made for relationship

they draw out the imperfections of one another.  Instead of limitless love there is scarcity of love. 

Because we are frustrated in our longing for real love, we gravitate toward whatever promised to ease our aloneness. 

We indeed become bound to our own neediness and alone.

We submit our souls and bodies again and again to the deception that a man or woman, idealized in our minds, can complete us.  Lost are relationships that affirm our true image and they are replaced by sensual experiences that entrap us.

Instead of bearing the image of our Father, we bear our own image.  We look to see what others want and we do a trick for them that we might be thrown a treat. 

Homosexual tendencies are often fueled by intense yearning to identify with one’s own gender.  It is a longing for completion, for wholeness.

It is the attempt to meet one’s needs according to a creature’s wisdom and not the creator’s wisdom that constitutes sin and rebellion.

We shake our fists at what we interpret to be arbitrary and outdated expressions of an ignorant God. 

The needs in our lives are great, and at times the power to make or to sustain a committed union is too hard for us in our weakness.  At those times love outside of the boundaries can be hard to resist.

The cry from our need and the pain of our brokenness is anesthetized over time by our sin.

I am the woman at the well, I am the harlot
I am the scattered seed that fell along the path
I am the son that ran away
And I am the bitter son that stayed
My God, my God why hast thou accepted me
When all my love was vinegar to a thirsty King?
My God, my God why hast thou accepted me
It's a mystery of mercy and the song, the song I sing

I am the angry man who came to stone the lover
I am the woman there ashamed before the crowd
I am the leper that gave thanks
But I am the nine that never came
My God, my God why hast thou accepted me
When all my love was vinegar to a thirsty King?
My God, my God why hast thou accepted me
It's a mystery of mercy and the song, the song I sing

You made the seed that made the tree
That made the cross that saved me
You gave me hope when there was none
You gave me your only Son
My God, Lord you are
My God, my God, Lord you are...

What is our response?

·        He is bone of our bone.  Approachable

·        An end to our suffering/ruin

·        Fellowship of sinners

·        Become rooted in His love

Press into HimHe is god’s provision

His obedience to the Father unto death is the basis of our hope.  He is the Father’s provision for us in our disobedience. 

Instead of focusing on our own disobedience, we look to Him in His obedience. 

Instead of turning from Jesus, we are called by God to press into Him.

We need not fear Him

“God has freed me to acknowledge my sin. Before him, I am free to be a sinner!”

Jesus is intent on freeing us to be a fellowship of sinners.

To hide in shame or defensiveness is to resist grace and to grant the fallen self and the evil one the right to empower sin.

he was so born in lowliness that they would find him a babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Is there cause of joy there?

it is the terror of the Godhead which keeps the sinner oftentimes away from reconciliation; but see how the Godhead hath graciously concealed itself in a babe, a little babe, — a babe that needed to be wrapped in swaddling bands like any other new-born child. Who feareth to approach him? Who ever heard of trembling in the presence of a babe?

the humble father and mother, and at the poor bed they had made up, where aforetime oxen had come to feed, you would say “This is condescension indeed.” O ye poor, be glad, for Jesus is born in poverty, and cradled in a manger.

Behold, O men, the Son of God, who is bone of your bone, intimate with all your griefs, who in his after life hungered as ye hunger, was weary as ye are weary, and wore humble garments like your own; yea, suffered worse poverty than you, for he was without a place whereon to lay his head. Let the heavens and the earth be glad, since God hath so fully, so truly come down to man.

It means that man can now be what he is—a creature made for fellowship with God.” 19

And then, “to be reconciled with God involves reconciliation with the neighbor.” 20

God came into the world in order that black people need not be ashamed of who they are.

In Christ we not only know who we are, but who God is. This is the heart of the biblical message.” 23 This is what Barth meant when he spoke of “the covenant as the presupposition of reconciliation.” 24

Be Rooted in Love

Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV)
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The height above the earth, he said, must correspond to the depth below the earth!

 Much more important than to say our prayers, and more important than what we may say and desire in our prayers, is our attitude towards God when we pray to Him. Sometimes simply to bow and to stay in His presence saying nothing is more indicative of the right relationship to Him:

Contemplation of God, adoration and worship are the highest expression of our love to God.

They have taken it for granted, they have rushed on, instead of making sure that they truly love God. And we only come to love God as we realize deeply the truth about Him and what He has done for us in His Son.

Give Golory to God

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ Note the order. The Saviour has been born, the Child is in the manager in the stable in Bethlehem: but the response of the heavenly host is, ‘Glory to God in the highest’, and only after that, ‘peace, good will toward men.’

The moment salvation is mentioned it is the glory of God that is most prominent. Salvation is a revelation of that above everything else

 In the same way, when we are thinking of salvation, we must not think of it in the first instance in terms of our deliverance from particular sins, or even from condemnation. It includes that, of course, but the chief thing about it is that the glory of God has been revealed to us through it, the glory of His love and grace that have embraced us where we were.

But above all else the glory of God has been revealed to us in His grace.

Henry Cloud makes the statement that grace, by definition, is something that we can’t give ourselves.  It comes from outside of us, as something we do not deserve.

The question must arise in our minds as to why in view of our rebellion and arrogance and sin God has done anything for our good. The answer is found in His grace;

Ephesians 1:2-6 (NKJV)
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In this verse the Apostle reminds us that the entire atmosphere in the Church should be one of praise: ‘To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved.’

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[1]Shedd, William Greenough Thayer ; Gomes, Alan W.: Dogmatic Theology. 3rd ed. Phillipsburg, N.J. : P & R Pub., 2003, S. 729

[2]Lloyd-Jones, David Martyn: Christian Unity (Studies in Ephesians, Chapter 4, Verses 1 Through 16). Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1972, S. 127

[3]Pink, A. W.: A Guide to Fervent Prayer. electronic ed. Escondido, CA : Ephesians Four Group, 2000, S. 206

 19 p. 148.

 20 p. 148.

 23 p. 149.

 24 p. 149.

[4]Lloyd-Jones, David Martyn: Christian Unity (Studies in Ephesians, Chapter 4, Verses 1 Through 16). Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1972, S. 127

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