Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Christmas Miracle: A Baby and A King

Intro: I want to let you in on a little secret.
  1. Six weeks ago, I had no idea what was going into my Advent sermons.
  2. I already can tell you what I am considering preaching on through the beginning of summer – or exactly what passages, but I can tell you that we will have two snippets, if you will, of our walk through Romans. And, during Lent, we will find time to finish our look at the life of Christ in the book of Mark that we started last Fall.
  3. But I really had no idea what I would during the four or five weeks of advent. I was stuck and I had to preach.
  4. Thanksgiving was coming and I was at a lost as to what to preach on.
  5. I really do not remember where the idea came from. It may have been something I read, it may have been something one of you said, or it may have been just thought that past through my head. But it certainly was not something I had planned.
  6. I went to the Internet – and began to look at the Lectionary. The Lectionary is a three year rotating set of readings that many churches use to guide their worship planning. And there it was, five of the most beautiful passages of scripture available from the OT describing the coming or Jesus Christ. All form the book of Isaiah. I had a set of sermons.
  7. For me, it has been fun journey through these five passages of Isaiah – a journey that I could not plan but that I needed to leave in the hands of God.
  8. We have one more passage to look at. We actually read it last Friday night at our Christmas Eve Service – but there it only set the foundation for what followed.
  9. Today it becomes the focal point of the morning message.
Read Isaiah 9:1-7
T.S. The passage begins with a baby, but ends with a king.

I. Our story starts with a Baby.

  1. “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a son is given.”
  2. Six months ago a baby joined our congregation. Have you taken time to look at Colin Ratcliff recently. He is growing and smiling and observing.
  3. Have you ever stopped to think – Jesus was this small and weak at one time. Dependent on His parents.
  4. (Appl.) The next time you see a baby – in a restaurant, in the line at the store, in the doctor's office – that baby, any baby, is a model of what how Jesus came 2000 years ago. Marvel that God sent his son as a baby – he did not merely drop him here. He did have to grow up. We spend a good deal of time each Easter discussing the suffering and sacrifice that Christ went through in the days and hours leading up to his death. But that baby that was born on Christmas day so long ago would experience hunger, he would stub his toes, he would fall and skin His knees.

  5. We all feel that is unfair when a child gets hurt – it seems particularly unfair that should the same happen to the Son of God. Yet we have absolutely no reason to think otherwise.
  6. But there is something else here. The verse uses two verbs to describe Jesus' coming. We understand what being born means.
  7. But there is another word used in the second phrase of the verse - “A son is given.” The Hebrew work used is natan – the underlying meaning is “to give.” But it has another underlying meaning – natan also means to place into the care of of someone or something. Jesus was placed into the care of Joseph and Mary
  8. (Appl.) Not much different from any of us – God gives us children for us to care. It is a responsibility given to each of us who is a parent. We have a responsibility to God for our children.

II. Our story starts with a baby, but it ends with a king.

(Ill.) The Jews had lots of kings. Most we have never heard of – Pekah, Shallum, Amon. There are others, that we may have heard of, but know little about – Zerubbabel, Josiah, Hezekiah. And then there are three that most of us will know – Saul, David, and Solomon.

  1. If you were to ask a person from the Jewish tradition who was the greatest King, there would be no doubt. It would be David
    1. Humble beginnings– trained to be a shephard
    2. Lots of oppositionon the way to the thrown and after getting there
    3. Seemed like he never finished his self appointed task of building the temple – left to his son to accomplish
  2. Lots of parallels to Christ's life
    1. Humble beginnings– born in a manger, raised as a carpenter's son
    2. Lots of opposition– Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees -
    3. Seemed like his life was a failureas He found himself hanging upon a cross.
  3. Look at the terms Isaiah uses to describe the child mentioned in verse 7: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    1. “Wonderful Counselor” - This child will guide those who choose to trust him.
    2. Why – because He is the “Mighty God” - God Almighty. There is no end to what he can accomplish.
    3. And whatever he does do, he does it as a “Everlasting Father” -tender and caring. Unlike earthly fathers that can be abusive or may abandon us, God will serve as a loving father that will never abandon or desert us.
    4. In fact He is called the “Prince of Peace”.

    (Ill.) This past week a comic crossed my desk – another of the rather insightful “Frazz.” It was written as a short poem – it ends “This year my wish is peace, but what if it already showed? And came in parts and we're too dumb to get it on the road?”

    5. Yes the Prince of Peace has come and we're, including me, often too dumb to get it for ourselves.

(Appl.) In 1999 Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, wrote what has become a rather well known book called Fresh Faith. One of the points that he makes is that God is not looking as much at our works, as our willingness to put our faith in Him. More often than not, when scripture talks about how a person is doing spiritually, the question of personal faith becomes more predominate than the size of the church, the works that a person is doing, or the amount of last Sunday's offering. Rather, the question becomes “where is their faith?” Is it growing? Has it been demonstrated in their lives? I don't know what you need for your faith to grow today – but Christ is there to provide it. He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He is the King of Kings.

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