What the Child will Accomplish, Sermon 12/23/2018

Micah 5:2-5a;  Lk. 1:39-45;  Heb. 10:5-10

Why at Christmas we will leap for joy?  Ever see football players leap for joy at a touchdown?  Ever see a child jump up and down at the prospect of getting a puppy?  Ever notice the jumping winners of a television give-away show?  How many are leaping for joy that Christ is coming in a few days at Christmas? According to the gospel of Luke, Elizabeth’s unborn child leaped for joy when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, comes to visit.  Christmas is a joyous celebration, but will we be happy because of gifts, of family reunions, of vacation from school or because Christ is born?  Would we leap for joy at Christmas if no loved ones came to visit or if there were no gifts to open?

Why at Christmas we will leap for joy?  Because our Savior, Jesus is being born!! According to apostle Luke, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, saying, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

Jesus’ birth for our salvation was not an after thought, not something God decided to do when the world got out of control.  This plan was set in motion by the all-knowing, eternal God long before the world was created.  The Scripture says, “an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and said, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt.1:21).

The message of the angel was that his name was to be called Jesus which is the Greek form of Joshua. Joshua means ‘Jehovah is salvation’ because Jesus will save his people from their sins.

The Bible says, “Therefore, when He comes into the world He says, You didn’t want a sacrifice or an offering, but you prepared a body for me; you weren’t pleased with whole burnt offerings or a sin offering.  So then I said, “Look, I’ve come to do your will, God. This has been written about me in the scroll.” He says above, You didn’t want and you weren’t pleased with a sacrifice or an offering or with whole burnt offerings or a sin offering, which are offered because the Law requires them. Then he said, Look, I’ve come to do your will. He puts an end to the first to establish the second. We have been made holy by God’s will through the offering of Jesus Christ’s body once for all” (Heb. 10:5-10).

The costly sacrifice of a valued animal’s life impressed upon the sinner the seriousness of his sin before God. Because Jesus shed his own blood for us, his sacrifice is infinitely bigger than any Old Testament offering.

Animal blood could not take away sin; it could only take it out of sight until Jesus came to deal with it permanently. Through Christ we can fulfill the moral law as we let Him live in us.

Jesus was born to die for all of us! He was born to save us from our sins that we could reconcile with God. Believing in Jesus is the only way to be saved. No other religious teacher could die for the sins of the whole human race. No other religious teacher came to earth as God’s only Son. No other religious teacher rose from the dead. Only our Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead. No one else can add to what Jesus did to save us.

Some years ago, a fire broke out in a hotel in Chicago. Flames and smoke blocked the normal escape routes. Some people on the tenth floor went out on a balcony to escape the smoke, but they were trapped there. It looked as if they were doomed. However, one man in the group braved the smoke and went back into the building. He found an exit to a fire escape. He made his way back through the smoke and flames and led the group to safety. Another person in the group later said, “You cannot imagine the feeling of relief and joy we felt when that man came back for us and said, “THIS WAY OUT! FOLLOW ME! I KNOW THE WAY”!

This is what the Christian gospel says to us; “Here is the One who knows the way to safety and life!  Here is the One who can deliver us!  Here is the One who can save us!  Jesus Christ is our Savior!

Dear friends!  By this date most people have completed their Christmas shopping.  The gifts are wrapped and piled at the base of the Christmas tree.  Among the gifts, is there one from God?  That is what Christmas is really all about: God gives the world the gift of Jesus.  Should we be excited about this gift or is it “old hat” to us by this time?  Indeed, the best and greatest gift we can ever receive is God’s gift of the Christ-child.

WE HAVE GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY TO THE WORLD.

“…Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

Dear friends!  Let us share God’s gift, Jesus Christ, our Savior with our neighbors!  Let us invite them to the celebration of Christmas!  Let us go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!

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