God With Us! God...In The Flesh

God With Us! God…In The Flesh

Opening Illustration: The Man Who Snuck Into Auschwitz

In September of 1940, Witold Pilecki, a Polish army captain, did the unthinkable—he snuck into Auschwitz. That's right, into Auschwitz. Pilecki knew that something was terribly wrong with the concentration camp and as a committed (Roman Catholic) Christian and a Polish patriot he couldn't sit by and watch. He wanted to get information on the horrors of Auschwitz, but he knew he could only do that from the inside.

So his superiors approved a daring plan. They provided a false identity card with a Jewish name, and then Pilecki allowed the Germans to arrest him during a routine Warsaw street roundup. Pilecki was sent to Auschwitz and assigned inmate number 4859. Pilecki, a husband and father of two, later said, "I bade farewell to everything I had known on this earth." He became just like any other prisoner—despised, beaten, and threatened with death. From inside the camp he wrote, "The game I was now playing at Auschwitz was dangerous …. In fact, I had gone far beyond what people in the real world would consider dangerous."


But beginning in 1941, prisoner number 4859 started working on his dangerous mission. He organized the inmates into resistance units, boosting morale and documenting the war crimes. Pilecki used couriers to smuggle out detailed reports on the atrocities. By 1942, he had also helped organize a secret radio station using scrap parts. The information he supplied from inside the camp provided Western allies with key intelligence information about Auschwitz.


In the spring of 1943, Pilecki joined the camp bakery where he was able to overpower a guard and escape. Once free, he finished his report, estimating that around 2 million souls had been killed at Auschwitz. When the reports reached London, officials thought he was exaggerating. Of course today we know he was right.

Pilecki could have simply acknowledged something was wrong with the presence of this concentration camp.  He could have stayed outside its walls and not risk his own life.  He didn’t.  He choose to sneak into the camp, to dwell with the prisoners in the flesh, and play a major role in setting them free.  

Friends, that is what Jesus did for us.  He knew that sin had so diseased the world that something had to take place.  So on a quiet night some 2000 years ago, Jesus came into this world.  He put on flesh and dwelled with the prisoners of sin and played the role of sacrifice.  He saved us all.  He saved us by becoming one of us.  He looked like us and felt the same trouble that we felt.  

Immanuel Is God Helping Us, Healing Us and Here With Us! 

Matthew 1:23 NLT
"Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us.”

John 1:1-18 ESV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

The Christmas Story Starts With Jesus’…

I. Preexistence vs. 1-2
John 1:1-2 ESV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 

Point: Jesus Forever
The biblical argument for the pre-existence of Jesus is certainly multi-faceted. Pre-existence is defined as “existence in a former state or previous to something else.” In the case of Jesus Christ, His pre-existence means that, before He became a man and walked upon the earth, He was already in existence as the second Person of the triune God. The Bible not only explicitly teaches this doctrine but also implies this fact at various points throughout the Gospels and Epistles. In addition, Jesus’ own actions reveal His divine identity and, as a consequence, His pre-existence.

Examples In Scripture:
John 17:5 ESV
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

John 8:58-59 ESV
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

Point:
So, why is it important that Jesus is preexistent?  Let me ask you a question?  Does it matter to you what brand of car you drive?  Most of us have opinions on certain types of cars, trucks or SUV’s are best. Some of us are brand loyal and will never step outside of that brand.  I feel that Honda makes a good product.  As Angela and I have purchased cars and vans over the years, we have generally bought Honda.  Currently I have and older Honda Accord and a relatively used but newer than mine Honda Odyssey.  If there is a problem with our cars, we know the makers.  We know where we can take the cars to get fixed.  We know where we can find professionals who also know our vehicles and can service them affectingly.  Essentially, we can carry our cars back to the source and say “fix it”.  

Friend, do you know your source? The Bible is pretty clear.  We are not some cosmic accident.  We were created by a loving God.  According to John, Jesus was there when creation manifested.  It’s important that we recognize that Jesus is preexistent because when things get broken in our lives, when things start messing up and breaking down, we can go back to the maker.  We can go back to the source.  We can go back to the one who made us.  

The problem is that to many people don’t know their maker.  Would you carry your Nissan to the Kia dealership to be fixed?  Would you carry your Honda to the Jeep dealership for evaluation?  Of course not.  Yet, there are so many people who carry their troubles to Islam.  There is no peace there.  Others carry their lives to Shiva.  You got it right, no peace there either.  Friends, all religions are not created equal and no false god compares to Jesus.  Listen to Paul’s words captured in Philippians 3.  

Philippians 3:10-11
10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

Point:
Paul got it.  He knew that Jesus was all there really was worth knowing.  Jesus is Paul’s maker, our maker.  He was there from the beginning of time and will be there at the end of time.  

Revelation 1:7-8 NLT
7 Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”

The Christmas Story Starts With Jesus’…

I. Preexistence vs. 1-2

II. Power vs. 3
John 1:3ESV
3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 

Point:
John doesn’t just claim that Jesus was before all things.  He also claims that everything was made by Him.  Everything.  The mountains, the stars, the sun and moon.  All His.  He made them all.  How?  Well according to Genesis, God spoke everything into existence.  That means that God had no raw material.  No dirt.  No dust.  Nothing.  He simply said and “Boom” it was there.  

As a matter of fact, creation testifies openly about the Creator.  Listen to Paul again in Romans 1:20.

Romans 1:20 NLT
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

As believers, we know God exists because of his work.  

Illustration:

The Mona Lisa testifies to Leonardo da Vinci artistry.




The Eiffel Tower testifies to Gustave Eiffel. 


When I look at these priceless and unbelievable creations, I think about the creator.  However, the Bible goes a step further.  Open your Bibles to Colossians 1:15-17.

Colossians 1:15-17 ESV
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

Point:
Jesus didn’t just make it all, but he holds it all together.  Right now, our bodies are holding together by the power of Jesus Christ through creation.  Our planet spins through space by the power of Jesus’ creative power.  Paul leaves no doubt.  Jesus created it all.  Jesus holds it all together.  

The creation testifies to the creator.  The creation testifies to the awesome power and wonder of Jesus Christ who creates and holds all things together.  

Don’t believe me? Well, come Christmas Eve and I will illustrate for you in a very powerful way.  

The Hubble Space Telescope is the most powerful telescope in the world.  It sits out on the edge of space and takes pictures of the deep far off places in the universe.  

(DO NOT SHOW IMAGE!)

A few years ago the telescope looked as far as it could look and captured and image taken from the spiral galaxy M51.  This galaxy is 31 million light years away.  The M51 galaxy measures 1100 lights years from point to point. At the center of this galaxy is a huge black hole.  This is how NASA describes the image:

This image of the core of the nearby spiral galaxy M51, taken with the Wide Field Planetary camera (in PC mode) on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows a striking , dark "X" silhouetted across the galaxy's nucleus. The "X" is due to absorption by dust and marks the exact position of a black hole which may have a mass equivalent to one-million stars like the sun. The darkest bar may be an edge-on dust ring which is 100 light-years in diameter. The edge-on torus not only hides the black hole and accretion disk from being viewed directly from earth, but also determines the axis of a jet of high-speed plasma and confines radiation from the accretion disk to a pair of oppositely directed cones of light, which ionize gas caught in their beam. The second bar of the "X" could be a second disk seen edge on, or possibly rotating gas and dust in MS1 intersecting with the jets and ionization cones. 

Now let me show you the image…

(NOW SHOW IMAGE)


Pretty amazing right.  Gives new meaning to…

Psalm 19:1 NLT
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.

Jesus is eternal.  That’s is what the Bible claims and what Jesus Himself says.  Jesus, this little baby in a manger came low but He is reigning on high today.  He is the creator and sustainer of all things.  He is all powerful.  Now, let us talk about the purpose of Jesus.

The Christmas Story Starts With Jesus’…

I. Preexistence vs. 1-2

II. Power vs. 3

III. Purpose vs. 4-5
John 1:4-5
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Question: 
Have you ever wondered why God did what He did?  Why did God send Jesus?  Well, let’s go back to God’s Word and see why Jesus came.  John is pretty clear.  He came to give life and light to a dead and dark people.  

Jesus came to illustrate complete obedience to God.
John 6:38 
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Jesus came on a rescue mission to save all that would believe in Him.
John 3:16
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Jesus came to be the literal personification of God, walking among humans.
John 14:9
Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father;

Jesus came as the rightful King of the Universe declaring the ultimate truth to all mankind.
John 18:37
Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

Jesus came to preach the Kingdom of God to all mankind.
Luke 4:43
But He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose."

Jesus came to find Stuart Davidson.
Luke 19:10
"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

Jesus came to give Stuart Davidson life, love and liberation.  He came for that purpose.  
John 10:10
The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Point:
Do I need to go on?  I think that you pretty much get the picture.  Make no mistake.  Why did Jesus come?  He came first to give glory to His Father.  He came second to save us.  All of us.  No matter where we are from or what state of life we are in.  Jesus came for you.  

He came for the overworked Dad.
He came for the tired soccer Mom.
He came for the frustrated college student.
He came for the jaded senior adult.  
He came for the kid with ADHD.
He came for the child with anxiety disorder.
He came for the girl with an eating disorder.
He came for the boy whose parents are to hard on him.

Friend, Jesus came first for God’s glory and second for God’s creation.  For many years, we have placed ourselves in the center of Christmas thinking that ultimately we were the center of the story and we couldn’t have been more wrong.  Jesus is a the center of the story and He came to bring glory, majesty to Himself and all the while saving all mankind. 

He came for all of us. 

Mark 10:45 NIV
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”

The Christmas Story Starts With Jesus’…

I. Preexistence vs. 1-2

II. Power vs. 3

III. Purpose vs. 4-5

IV. Pleasure vs. 14-18
John 1:14-18
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

Illustration: CS Set It Straight
Story: At a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity. 

Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God took human form in Jesus. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.” 

Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead. 

Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, arm full of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what’s all this rumpus about?” 

Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We’re debating what’s unique about Christianity.” 

“Oh, that’s easy,” answered Lewis. “It’s grace.” 

The room fell silent. 

Lewis continued that Christianity uniquely claims God’s love comes free of charge, no strings attached. No other religion makes that claim. 

After a moment someone commented that Lewis had a point, Buddhists, for example, follow an eight-fold path to enlightenment. It’s not a free ride. 

Hindus believe in karma, that your actions continually affect the way the world will treat you; that there is nothing that comes to you not set in motion by your actions. 

Someone else observed the Jewish code of the law implies God has requirements for people to be acceptable to him and in Islam God is a God of Judgement not a God of love. You live to appease him 

At the end of the discussion everyone concluded Lewis had a point. 

Only Christianity dares to proclaim God’s love is unconditional. An unconditional love that we call grace. 

Christians boldly proclaim that grace really has precious little to do with us, our inner resolve, or our lack of inner resolve. 

Rather, grace is all about God and God freely giving to us the gifts of forgiveness, mercy, and love.

Point:
I have read John 1 hundreds of times.  I have preached dozens of sermons.  Something hit me the other day as I studied.  I realized that John is captures the pleasure of God.  God was pleasured to send Jesus to earth to live and breathe.  He was pleasured to send Jesus to heal and give hope.  Because Jesus came to earth, we have grace upon grace.  I like how that is phrased.  We have been given a gift that never runs out.  Grace on top of more grace.  Grace abundant and forgiveness forever.  All because of the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  God became man so that man could be saved for God’s glory.  

Closing Video:
In just a moment, you are going to see a video.  It is a modern day parable.  I believe that it captures the incomprehensible incarnation of Jesus Christ.  He came to us when we were stuck and dying in our sin.  

Play A Man In A Hole



Revelation 4:11
"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created."


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