Weary and Hopeful: The Covenant with David

Text: 2 Samuel 7

Main Point: Jesus is the perfect and soon returning King.

Merry Christmas! Why are we so tired?

I propose to you that we are weary because we want to be king or we are weary because we want a king. I am convinced that a two-year-old does not sleep for 12+ hours because her body is growing rapidly. No, a two-year-old sleeps so much because it is hard work bossing people around all day. It is terribly draining spending your days forcing people to do what you want them to do. This is true for two-year-olds and ten-year-olds and forty-year-olds and eighty-year-olds. It is hard work trying to be king and it is hard work trying to act like a king. It will wear you out trying to keep the family together. You will lose sleep if, like a king, you think you must protect everyone and teach everyone and provide for everyone. Trying to be strong will crush you. We are weary because we want to be king.

And we are weary because we want a king. We want a person to take care of us. We want a person to fight our battles and provide our bread and make us safe and give us good things. The problem is humans make terrible kings. Instead of kings taking care of us, kings expect us to take care of them. We end up fighting their battles. We provide their bread. We make them safe and we give them good things. The overarching story of kings and presidents and pastors is they are all failures.

The answer to our weariness is the covenant with David. In the promise made to David we find a better king. In the fulfillment of the promises we gain a king who is fully God and fully man. Jesus is the perfect, reigning, and soon returning King. Let’s read the Word and find hope. Let’s read the word and learn what we should be looking forward to.

Read 1 Samuel 8:1-9

Like the Israelites,

I. We are weary because we want a king

Now let’s consider why we want a king

  • Israel wanted to be like the world (1 Samuel 8:5)

It is our nature to want safety, stability, and security

Even an anarchist wants a leader to bring about his/her own version of safety, stability, and security. We want a champion who will care for us but no mere human can do this

  • Israel rejected God as their king (1 Samuel 8:7)

Isn’t that verse shocking? They would rather have a king like the world than have the King of the world. They traded the infinite and holy God for a finite and sinful man. Notice the brokenness of humanity- we want that which will harm us.

This is the serpent’s sin and marks all those who follow him. Adam and Eve rejected God as their king. Listen to how all of humanity follows their lead (Romans 1:19-23).

It is absolute foolishness to think a mortal man can care for us and protect us and provide for us like the eternal God. It is absolute foolishness to think we can reject God and reject the consequences of this decision.

  • Israel tried to reject the consequences (1 Samuel 8:19-20)

Viewed from the outside, it is insanity to think a person can reject God’s good ways AND gain good by it. It’s like thinking you can start a fire by throwing water on the wood. We want to be able to reject God and his ways and we want to have joyful lives, productive work, and healthy families. Listen to what is promised to those who reject God.

Romans 1:28-32

We are all disobedient children who want to be king. In judgment, God gives us what we want. God gives us terrible king. One of the consequences of rejecting God as king is we are given terribly selfish kings. Read 1 Samuel 8:10-18.

We are weary because we want to be king and we are weary because in judgment God gives us terrible kings. Here is our hope.

II. We have hope because of a better King

Here is the big picture

  • The covenants are fulfilled through a king (2 Samuel 7:8-16)

God will give David a great name, just as he promised Abraham (2 Sam 7:9; Gen 12:2). God will give David the land, just as he promised Abraham (2 Sam 7:10; Gen 12:1; 15:18). God will give David offspring, just as he promised Abraham (2 Sam 7:12; Gen 12:2). God promised his presence to David, just as he promised Abraham (2 Sam 7:13; Gen 17:7).  God promised forever rule to David, just as he did to Abraham (2 Sam 7:13, 16; Gen 12:2; 49:10). God will give David rest, just as he promised Israel (2 Sam 7:11; Ex 32:12-17).

What I’m saying is, God wants us to read the Bible expecting a king to be the means by which God fulfills all his promises to his people. The question in 2nd Samuel is this: Who will be the king to deliver the promise of God to the people of God? Here’s the hard fact

  • The Davidic kings are failures

Let’s start with Solomon. Man, he was doing great. He was king in David’s place. Solomon brought rest and peace to the land. Solomon built the temple, then God’s presence and glory filled the temple. Solomon blessed the nations and the nation of Israel became great under his rule. Everything is awesome, until it isn’t. Solomon turned away from God and lived a Romans 1:19-23 existence. To varying degrees, all the kings of Israel followed Solomon’s lead until the nation ends up kicked out of the land, cursed, and slaves to another nation.

The king, and the kings that follow, fail the nation. This is what humans do, this is what kings do, they fail us. This is what I would do if I was a king. This is what you would do if you were king. Kings fail us, and we fail as kings.

Enter

  • The hope of a better king

Remember, the Old Testament prophets were writing during the period of the kings and the exile. Listen to the way they preached the hope of a future king.

Isaiah 9:6-7, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;    and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

Jeremiah 33:14-17, Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ 17 “For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel” (23:5-6; 30:8-9).

Ezekiel 34:20-24, “Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, 22 I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken.”

Hosea 3:5, “Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.”

Amos 9:11-12, “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old.”

Zechariah 12:10-13:1, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land shall mourn, each family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves. “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.

No king in Israel was ever able to get even remotely close to accomplishing these wonderful things. Here’s why

  • Jesus is the better king

The Gospel writers are loud and clear as they preach Jesus the better king. Jesus is the promised son of David who will rule the nations. (Mt 9:27; 15:22; 20:30-31; 21:9; Mark 10:47-48; 11:10; Luke 1:26-27, 69, 72-73; 2:4; 18:38-39).

Here is one example, the angel’s words to Mary in Luke 1:31-32, “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Peter’s sermon on Pentecost connects the promise to David with the resurrection of Jesus. Listen, “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:29-32).

Two more- Romans 1:3-4 and Revelation 5:5

Romans 1:3-4 introduces the gospel, that promise “concerning his son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

When John is weeping for the frustrated future, one of the elders tells him, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Jesus is the better king because he is perfect and holy and pure. He won’t take your sons and daughters to fuel his selfish desires. Jesus won’t take your money so he can have one more chariot or one more wife. Jesus is the better king because he obeyed the law of Moses. He has nothing to repent of, nothing to regret. Our king cannot be bribed or blackmailed or exposed as a womanizer.

Jesus is the better king because he conquered sin and death by sacrificing himself and then he rose again. Nothing and no one can defeat our king. This king is right now, reigning until he has put all his enemies under his feet (1 Cor 15:25). The last enemy that is teetering on the edge of destruction is death. Our king has the power to defeat death itself.

So, why do we have hope?

  • We have hope because of Jesus the better king

Let’s apply this hope to our two sources of weariness: we want to be king and we want a king. I struggle wanting to be the king of my castle. I want my wife and kids and rodents to do what I want them to do when I want them to do it. I’m the king of the castle. I expect my subjects, I mean my children, to be fully formed, contributing, and pleasant adults at the age of 2. They should gladly serve me. I expect this because I am the king and my wish is your command. I want my way in my family, in my marriage, on my street, and in my work. To put it plainly, seeing that I am the king, I expect to be served. Since I expect to be served, the most frustrating thing that can happen is for me to have to serve others. We are all born this way, demanding to be served, demanding to be recognized as king.

Listen to what the only true King says, “My glory I give to no other” (Is 42:8). God tolerates no other kings because the job of king is outside our paygrade. We make terrible kings! Think on this: the reason we are frustrated having to do so much for others is we are sinful and instead of wanting to serve, we want to be king. This week, our frustration with our families and neighbors will scream out, “See, you’d make a horrible king. You’d be just like king Saul.”

Here’s the gospel way. King Jesus has purchased us rebels and forgiven us and made us members of his kingdom. Since Jesus is King that makes us stewards. Under the care of the King, we are entrusted with the property of the King. That body is not your own, it was bought with a price, what you do with King Jesus’ body matters. That house, those children, those friends, that spouse, those parents, those in-laws, those presents, and all the rest do not belong to you. All that we are and all that we have belongs to king Jesus. He gave it all to us to use with joy, for his glory, and for the good of others.

This week think about what it would look like to act like King Jesus. How can you use the stuff under your tree, in your closet, and in your garage to do good? Wrap a towel around your waist and serve. Wash the clothes and the dishes and the kids and the dog and the car. The office of king has already been filled by a guy who is way more capable than you. And he invites you to come and share his reign by joyfully serving his people.

What about those who want a king? What about those who watch Fox news more than they watch the clouds? We have been reading 2 Chronicles this week. The resounding theme is every king failed his people. Some were worse than others, some were better than others, but all were failures. Our day is no different. Now, we should desire faithful leaders and we should be thankful for every good thing leaders do. However, as Christians we have 6000 years of documented history of good guys doing bad things. Our hope is not in the White House. Our hope is coming riding on a white horse.

III. We anticipate the return of our King

In our Bible reading this week, we will read Revelation chapters 14-20. This week, as we remember the first coming of Christ, we anticipate the second coming of Christ. Slow down on Friday and use your imagination as you read Revelation 19. We don’t see a helpless babe in Revelation 19, we see a bridegroom on a white horse leading an army. This bridegroom is our king and he destroys every authority that rises against him. On Saturday you will read Revelation 20, all the nations are gathered before his throne and death and hades are condemned. On Sunday you will read Revelation 21 and the glorious promise of a new heaven, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem. This is where we are headed. We are headed to a new creation where sin and death and sickness and sadness are not allowed.

We are headed to a new creation ruled by a new and better Adam. We are headed to a new creation that will have no need for an ark or a rainbow. We will be gathered together as a great nation because God promised Abraham this would happen. We will be righteous and pure, made holy by Christ, and there will be no need for the law. In our holy city there will be a throne and on that throne will sit the promised Son of David who is Christ the Lord.

This week, be thankful for good food and good friends and good gifts but do not set your hopes on them. They will all fail you. Be thankful for the good in this world, but set your hope on the world to come. Lift up your eyes. Fight to see passed the momentary joys and monumental disappointments. A better world with a better king is coming. God our Father has promised it.

In Revelation 22:20 we read, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ We say, ‘Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!’” Let’s pray that together.

Weary & Hopeful, The Covenant with Israel

Text: Exodus 2:23-25

Main Point: Jesus came to give the weary rest.

Merry Christmas! Why are we so tired?

Maybe you are tired because you are following in the footsteps of Martin Luther. Do you know the story of that great German reformer of the 16th century? Before he understood grace and the gospel he was wearing himself out trying to obey God and win God’s favor. Luther was constantly worried that he had done something wrong and then after confessing it he was afraid he hadn’t confessed good enough. Luther was never good enough no matter how hard he tried. He was weary trying to obey God. Maybe that’s you. I get that way sometimes.

Today I want to show you how the covenant with Israel addresses our weariness. The covenant with Israel is often called the Mosaic covenant because it was delivered to the people through Moses. The covenant with Israel is also called the old covenant because it is obsolete and passing away.

I want to begin in Exodus 2 and transition from the promises made in the covenant with Abraham to their fulfillment in the covenant with Israel. Let’s look together at Exodus 2:23-25.

I. We are slaves

Why do the same the temptations keep hounding us? Why do we want the things we want? Why do we do the things we do? Part of the answer is slavery.

  • Abraham’s offspring were slaves in Egypt (Gen 15:13)

It is important to understand that the story of Moses leading the Hebrew people out of slavery in Egypt is the fulfillment of the promise to make Abraham into a great nation. Joshua leading the conquest of the Promised Land is the fulfillment of the promise to give Abraham’s offspring the land. But before fulfillment came slavery.

Fundamentally, to be a slave is to be the property of another. As a slave, you do not have the freedom to rest. Instead, you are required to work and always obey the will of your master. The Exodus from Egypt secured freedom for Abraham’s offspring. Look there on the banks of the Red Sea with Pharaoh and his chariots drowned by judgment. What do you see? You see a great nation. God’s sons, once slaves, are now a free and great nation. The sons of Abraham are free to worship, rest, and serve God.

What’s the connection and how do we have hope?

  • We have hope because Jesus came to set us free

Jesus’ Exodus from Egypt, recorded in Matthew 2:15, began his work of securing freedom from slavery to sin for Abraham’s offspring. Listen to what Jesus says in John 8:34, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (Romans 6&7).

Before Jesus sets us free by giving us new hearts with new desires, we are slaves to our old hearts and old desires. Before Jesus sets us free by giving us the Holy Spirit, we are slaves to our appetites. Jesus sets us free by giving us new desires and new power to obey those new desires.

Let’s be clear that God’s definition of freedom and the world’s definition of freedom are not the same things. The world defines freedom as the unhindered ability to do whatever you desire to do. The world says you must be free to be whatever you want to be and be with whom ever you want to be with. Erotic freedom or sexual freedom rules our culture.  God defines freedom as the unhindered ability to be and do what God originally made man and woman to do. Inside our Creator’s good and loving boundaries we have freedom to enjoy life no longer slaves of our culture or our selfish appetites. The human living in rebellion is like a fish trying to live on land. You can try all you want but in the end the freedom will kill you. The fish is constrained to live in the water. The water is the fish’s freedom.

Tim Keller writes, “Disciplines and constraints liberate us only when they fit with the reality of our nature and capacities…In many areas of life, freedom is not so much the absence of restrictions as finding the right ones, the liberating restrictions” (The Reason for God). A fish is only free in the water.

We have hope because Jesus came to set us free from our appetites and from our culture so we can enjoy all that God made us to be. We are now set free from slavery to sin. We have power to say no and power to enjoy the good. This freedom gives us hope and

  • We anticipate the day when we are free from the influence of sin and temptation

We are free from slavery to sin, but we are not free from the influence of sin. Christian, go walk around the mall, a grocery store, or a gun shop and you will quickly find that you are not free from the influence of sin and temptation. You will find something to covet! In particular, you may envy the person who is not in the mall, grocery store, or gun shop!

To think you can go through a day without being influenced by sin or tempted toward some sin is to set yourself up for failure. Today we will be tempted but we have the power to say no to the destructive and we have power to enjoy that which is good. In light of this struggle,  to be Christian is to set your hope on the return of Christ. We are headed to a renewed earth where we are made perfect like Christ and no sources of sin, temptation, or uncleaness are allowed (1 John 3:2; Rev 21). Now we are free from slavery to sin. Then we will be free from the influence of sin. That day will bring the fullness of joy. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

One reason we are weary is because of slavery to sin. We are also weary because

II. We are trying to earn our way to God

One of the common misunderstandings about the Old Covenant is that God gave his people the law so that they could earn their way to heaven. It is normal today for some to think the Old Covenant teaches salvation by works and the New Covenant teaches salvation by grace, like there are two different ways to be saved. This is not true.

Now, what is confusing is there have always been people who think they can earn their way to God and there have always been people who think they can obey the law given by Moses and be restored to God. People have genuinely and passionately believed this idea, but they have always been weary. Here is the clear and biblical truth

  • No one can be justified by works of the law (Rom 3:20)

It is a misunderstanding of God’s purposes to read the covenant with Israel as if God was giving them a way to become his people. Turn with me to Deuteronomy 7. I want to read verses 6-11 as we ask the question, “Do the Hebrews become God’s people by obeying the law? Do they earn their way, or deserve their way, into the covenant?” (Read Deuteronomy 7:6-11)

Hold onto this because its important. The Hebrews became God’s people because of God’s gracious choosing. The Hebrews became God’s people because of God’s gracious covenant with Abraham. The Hebrews did not deserve to become the people of God; it was an act of sovereign mercy. The law was then given in order to preserve the people of God. The law was given to protect the people of God and keep them distinct from the rebellious and godless nations that surrounded them.

No one has ever been able to be restored to God by keeping the law. No one can be justified by works of the law.

So, maybe you are weary today because you know you don’t measure up but you are dead set on getting there. Your number one goal in life is to do enough to be worthy. Your grades are an attempt to prove your worth and make your parents or your peers proud. Your work is an attempt to earn enough or accomplish enough so your parents or peers will be proud. Your morality, your bible reading, your family life, and your church attendance are all an attempt to impress God so that just maybe he will love you. Lies!

God loves you and accepts you and makes you his own because of his sovereign mercy, not because of your worth or works. Here is our hope

  • We are justified by Jesus

Jesus lived for us, died for us, and rose again for us

Where do we go? What are our two favorite verses? 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 3:18. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” “Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.”

It is Christ’s righteousness that restores us to God; he lived for us. It is Christ’s death that restores us to God; he was delivered up for our trespasses. It is Christ’s life that restores us to God; he was raised for our justification. The Hebrews in Moses’ day looked away from their works and trusted in the God who is merciful to forgive. They looked to the coming One pictured in the sacrifices and promised to Adam. We look away from our works and trust in the God who is merciful to forgive. We have the full picture. This is the gospel: it is through Christ, and not our works, that we are restored to God.

So, what was the purpose of the law? The law exposes sin so that we turn away from ourselves and turn to God and his mercy. The law preserved the Hebrew people so that God’s promise of a seed and a son and a savior-king would be fulfilled through the offspring of Abraham. The law kept the Hebrews distinct from the unbelieving nations and holy unto the Lord. The law showed them how to live as the people of God. The law did not make them the people of God; God’s sovereign mercy made them his people.

They hoped in the coming One. We believe in the One who has come and is coming again. This is our anticipation

  • Jesus is coming again for us (John 14:3)

Listen to Jesus, “if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.” Jesus has not left us as orphans. Jesus has given us his Holy Spirit and his unstoppable promise of his soon return. We have not arrived at heaven on earth. We cannot arrive at heaven on earth. Heaven on earth is coming with Christ at the return of Christ when he brings us into the fullness of the presence of God. We anticipate that day and we use the law lawfully.

So, what is the purpose of the law? The covenant with Israel was given as a temporary covenant that would preserve the people until the coming of the Messiah. Spend some time in Hebrews 8. Hebrews 8 unpacks the temporary nature of the covenant with Israel.

Now that the fullness of time has come, and Christ has been born under the law and fulfilled the law we need to think carefully about the law. Today I simply want to give you a biblical way of thinking. Those aspects of the covenant with Israel that kept Israel distinct until the coming of Christ and those aspects of the covenant with Israel that provided a means of forgiveness until the coming of Christ are no longer authoritative. Those aspects of the covenant with Israel that explain how we are to live as the people of God until Jesus’ return remain authoritative. Now listen, the New Testament apostles get to make this decision you don’t. The sacrifices and the ceremonies have passed away because they are fulfilled in Christ. Those were shadows. Christ is the blazing sun.

What about the moral law? The moral law, understood in light of Christ, protects and preserves us until the return of Christ. Through discipleship we learn how to obey the law. We learn how to obey all that Jesus commanded. We must learn to use the law correctly or it will make us weary. We need discipleship. May your weariness today point you to Christ and with his righteousness may you find rest. By his Spirit may you find strength to obey.

Here is another source of weariness

III. We are not yet in the land of rest

Now, all the covenants have signs or symbols that represent the promise of the covenant. What is the sign for the covenant with creation, the covenant through Noah? The Noahic covenant sign is the rainbow. What is the covenant sign for the covenant with Abraham? The Abrahamic covenant sign is circumcision because it is all about offspring. Now, the Covenant with Israel or the Mosaic Covenant, what is its sign? The sign for the covenant with Israel is the Sabbath. Now, the Sabbath didn’t begin in the days of Moses anymore than the rainbow began in the days of Noah. But the Sabbath is picked up and infused with greater meaning.

Listen to Exodus 31:13, “You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you.”

The Sabbaths were rest from work, rest in the land, and rest in the presence of God as the people of God. Here is the problem

  • Joshua did not give them rest (Heb 4:8-11)

Concerning that first generation who left Egypt, they rebelled against God and God swore in his wrath, “They shall not enter my rest” (Heb 4:3; Ps 95:11). The law was for that generation a means of cursing and not blessing. They refused to obey God. Well, what about the next generation under Joshua’s leadership? They conquered Jericho and the land and experienced peace.

Hebrews 4:8-11, “if Joshua has given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”

Joshua didn’t give them rest. David and Solomon didn’t give them rest. They all point forward to a Sabbath rest that is still to come. They point forward to Christ. Here is our hope

  • Jesus gives us rest (Mt 11:28)

I have already pointed you here concerning our weariness and law, Matthew 11:28. Jesus invites us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus came because the law cannot give us rest. The law is powerless to give us rest. The law can expose our sin so that we turn to Christ. The law can preserve us so that we don’t return to the ways of the world. But the law cannot secure rest. Try to get rest by obeying enough and doing enough and it will crush you. We need Jesus if we hope to rest. Jesus gives what Joshua and the law and a sword can never give. Jesus gives us rest.

Think of Zacchaeus working hard to make enough money to get enough stuff to finally rest. Money cannot give you rest. Zacchaeus found his rest in the forgiveness and love of Christ. Think of the woman caught in adultery. She thought she could find rest in the arms of a man. She found forgiveness and love and rest in Christ. Think of Nicodemus and Saul and Luther working hard to keep the law and be good enough and find rest. The law cannot justify. Those men found their rest in the love and forgiveness and strength of Christ.

How about you? Oh soul are you weary and troubled? Jesus invites you today to admit what you are doing. Get honest about the ways you are trying to find rest and acceptance apart from God. And ask Jesus to give you rest. Ask Jesus to forgive you and teach you and strengthen you.

Jesus has fulfilled the law. Jesus has paid for your sins. Jesus has conquered death. Jesus stands ready today to give you life. Believe and anticipate.

  • We anticipate our coming rest

We anticipate death as entering into rest. Listen to Revelation 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follows them.’”

Hebrews 4:11 commands us Christians, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” We have rest now, rest today, concerning justification. We don’t labor or work to make ourselves right with God. Jesus is our hope. Jesus brings us to God. And we are looking forward to the day when we are free from the influence of sin. We are striving forward toward death and heaven and rest and resurrection.

How do we strive? We strive with the word. Hebrews 4:12 goes on to say, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

That first generation of Hebrews failed to find rest because of unbelief. They refused to listen to the word of God that would teach them to depend on God’s mercy and stay away from sin. They fell because they didn’t have faith. The word of God is full of warnings and encouragement that we need as we strive toward heaven. The word of God is powerful and if we submit to it, it will expose those desires that left unchecked will lure us away from rest. We read our bibles every day because we are tempted every day. We read our bibles every day because we desperately want to know how to trust Christ and enter God’s coming rest.

God help us to hear from Jesus and find our rest.

Prayer- Father, you are the Great Physician. Use the word we have heard to lovingly cut us open and expose the disease within our hearts and minds. Show us our slavery to sin, to anger, to fear, to greed, to lust, and to bitterness. Teach us how to trust Christ who came to set us free. Show us the ridiculous ways we are trying to impress you. Teach us that you love us and have already made us your own. Give us the freedom of loving service. Thrill us with the prospect of perfect rest with you. Fill our struggles with sin and our experience of pain with the promise of eternal life with you. Use us to bring hope and life and encouragement to our brothers and sisters. Give us boldness as we go out to win the lost. Cause us to shine like lights and glorify you.

Weary & Hopeful- Promise to Adam

 

Main Point: The story of Scripture causes us to appreciate what Jesus has done and anticipate what Jesus is going to do.

Merry Christmas! Why are we so tired? “According to a 2017 National Safety Council report, almost half of Americans do not get enough sleep to safely perform the duties assigned to them by their employer.” We are tired. But we’re not talking about work, we’re talking about Christmas. This is the most wonderful time of the year and it can be the most wearisome time of the year. Why is that? Why are we weary and troubled? Today we are going to start a new sermon series digging into our weariness and finding hope in God’s promises. We are weary, and we are hopeful. I want to give you some satisfying and strengthening why’s behind our weariness and hope.

The structure is fairly simple. We will look into the covenants God has made throughout history. These covenants will help us understand our weariness, because in various ways God’s promises address our struggles. And we will look into all the wonderful ways Jesus has fulfilled, is fulfilling, and will finally fulfill all of God’s promises. The story of Scripture causes us to appreciate what Jesus has done and anticipate what Jesus is going to do. We are weary, and we are hopeful. Let’s understand our weariness and grow in hope.

Read Revelation 20:7-21:5

Today we look back and we look ahead. Let’s start with this question

I. Why are we weary?

We are weary because things have gone wrong. Creation has gone off the rails. In a way, we should grieve like the elders after the exile, when the second temple foundation was laid. We should remember the glory of relationships in the garden of Eden and we should grieve. But, we do not grieve as those who have no hope. Why are we weary? We are weary because of the good that has been lost. So,

  • Remember where you came from

Remember the good garden

The repeated theme of Genesis 1 is the goodness of creation (1:9, 12, 18, 21, 25). When God’s work of creation is complete, and Adam and Eve are given marriage, work, and rest, God pronounces that everything he has made is very good (1:31). Remember the good garden and remember

The goodness of work and rest

Adam and Eve were planted in the garden in order to work and rest. We are made in the image of the working and resting God. It is good to work hard, and it is a blessing to rest. God wired us and gave us instructions: work six days a week and rest for one. So, there they were, Adam and Eve were in a good garden enjoying good work, good rest, and good marriage. Remember

The goodness of marriage

Everything was right in the world except for the fact that Adam was alone. Everything was good except for Adam being solitary. He cannot do what God made him to do by myself. He needs a helper. God made him to work, have dominion, multiply, and fill the earth. God made us to be in relationship with one another. Man cannot do what God made him to do all by himself. Eve was given to Adam to bless him. And they were together in every sense and enjoying everything. Remember the good beginning and

  • Remember the curse

Look with me at Genesis 3:14 and 15. Genesis 3 gives the historical account of Adam and Eve being tempted and rebelling from God. Here are the effects (Read 14-15)

It is significant for the snake that he is humbled to the dust. It is significant for us that God promises

Perpetual enmity

God promises two lines of people. There will be the seed of the snake and the seed of the woman. These two groups will always be fighting. All of humanity is cursed with the promise of forever fighting and forever being hunted. Difficulty between people, once foreign to the garden, is now the norm for all people. So, why are we weary? We are a weary people because of perpetual enmity and we are weary because of

Pain in childbearing

We continue in Genesis 3:16a

A brief summary of women will reveal the weariness of womanhood. What was her greatest blessing, filling the earth with the image of God, now becomes a source of monthly misery which culminates in excruciating pain in child birth. There is pain in childbearing and we suffer from the

Distortion of marriage

Continue with me in Genesis 3:16

Just as there will be perpetual enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, so there will be division and conflict in marriage. Man and woman will no longer enjoy being together in work, marriage, and family. Instead of unity and help, there will be constant competition as husband and wife try to dominate or rule over each other. Before the fall, Adam experienced the weariness of loneliness. After the fall, Adam and Eve experienced the weariness of fulfilling God’s commands to multiply and fill the earth. We are weary because of a lack of relationships and we are weary because of relationships. The final curse falls on Adam

Frustration in work and rest

Look with me at Genesis 3:17-19

Producing enough food to eat will cause us to be weary. Work itself is not the problem. Fallen people working in a fallen world creates an unending train of problems. We experience the weariness of frustrating work.

Again, why are we weary? Why is your neighbor weary? We are locked in a perpetual battle between righteousness and unrighteousness. Living life as a woman is hard and wearisome. Living life as a man is hard and wearisome. Living life alone is wearisome and living together as a family is wearisome. Give us some good news! The good news is coming. Now we need to sober up. Like a parent groaning over the death of a child, we groan over what was lost in the garden. But again, we do not grieve as those who have no hope.

II. Why do we have hope?

Greg Nichols explains our hope, “Redemptive history has one chief character and hero, Christ the Redeemer: ‘and he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal’ (Gen. 3:15). Yet God doesn’t send him immediately after the fall. He first sets up a framework for his appearance. Over some four thousand years he enhances this proclamation of emancipation. He builds anticipation and expectation. As God builds this framework of solemn promises, he progressively discloses the Redeemer’s person and work.” (Covenant Theology, 106).

  • Remember the promises

God promises perpetual enmity

Now it’s crazy but true, we groan because of perpetual enmity and we hope because of perpetual enmity. We hope because God commits himself to doing battle with evil and rebellion. God hasn’t written off mankind. This creation is not a dumpster fire. We are not given over to evil. The battle between good and evil rages on. We see the fight first in Cain and Abel.

1 John 3:8 tells us that Cain was of the evil one and murdered his brother. Cain was the seed of the serpent and so he murdered just like his father. Cain murdered Abel because of enmity between the seed of the woman the seed of the serpent. Cain’s deeds were evil and Abel’s deeds were righteous. This battle must continue.

And it is good news that evil will not overcome good. The battle will rage so,

Remember the promise of preservation

Now we are looking ahead to God’s covenant with creation after the flood. The first explicit mention of a covenant comes in Genesis 6 in response to the increasing wickedness of mankind. God is going to punish the seed of the serpent because “every intention of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5). So, God gives grace to Noah, Noah is righteous, and then God makes a covenant with Noah. Genesis 6:17, “everything that is on earth will die. But I will establish my covenant with you” (6:18).

After the chaotic flood, God recreates, dividing the water with land. He recommissions man and woman with the creation mandate- be fruitful and multiply (8:1-5, 17; 9:1). God then makes a covenant with all of creation. Not just Noah, but Noah, his offspring, and every living creature are included in this covenant (9:9-11). Life will continue. Enmity will continue. Immediately, Noah and his son Ham are at odds and the curse continues, perpetual enmity and the promise of preservation. This ultimately gives way to

Eventual victory

Now we are back in Genesis 3:15 and the curse on the serpent. There is singular enmity between the serpent and the woman. There is multiplied enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. Then there is another case of singular enmity. A seed, a he-seed, will bruise the serpent’s head and the serpent will bruise his heel. Fast forward to Revelation 20 and we see the serpent crushed forever at the return of Christ. Genesis 3:15 introduces the promise that evil will be finally crushed.

In your weariness remember the promises: evil will not win, the seed of the woman will continue, and victory is coming. Now, let’s get more specific. We have hope because of the work of Christ. Therefore,

  • Appreciate the work of Christ

Some of us are weary because we have forgotten how to appreciate good things. We have forgotten how to rejoice. Let’s try and remember. Redemptive history has one chief character and hero: Christ the redeemer. I want to focus us on two passages that help us appreciate the work of Christ, Hebrews 2:14 and 1 John 3:8.

Hebrews 2:14, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.”

Here in Hebrews 2:14 we see the most explicit promise concerning the snake crusher of Genesis 3:15. The mortal wound delivered by the devious snake will not be the end of Jesus. The mortal wound delivered by the seed of the woman will be the destruction of the serpent. Christmas is the celebration of God becoming man. Christmas is the celebration of the Son of God becoming the seed of the woman so that he can destroy the devil.

Evil will not win. Evil cannot win. You will not be overcome by evil. Joined to Christ the victor you cannot be overcome by evil. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus has destroyed the devil. Think about it. We cannot be accused because we are forgiven. We cannot be condemned because we are justified. We cannot be destroyed because we have eternal life. We cannot be lost because we are united to Christ. Christ the victor, the seed of the woman, has conquered!

Look at Hebrews 2:14 and appreciate the work of Christ. He has destroyed our enemy. Now look at 1 John 3:8

1 John 3:8, “The reason the son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

Jesus came to overcome evil with good. Jesus came to push back the effects of that first temptation. Jesus came to frustrate and undermine and reverse the devil’s killing, stealing, and destroying. This work is happening in men and women like you. This work is advancing through teenagers like you.

We need to appreciate the work of Jesus to destroy the devil’s work and we need to understand that Jesus is doing that work through us. Remember Romans 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” God’s mission of redemption includes you and your work to overcome the evil inside of you and all around you. We are a redemptive people. Your work at home and in your neighborhood should be a redemptive work.

Think of Jesus commissioning and sending out the apostles in Luke 10. They preached the gospel and healed the sick. Jesus said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”

You were redeemed to be a snake crusher. Think of all the good you can do. You can encourage those who are suffering. You can be a friend to the lonely. You can feed the hungry and care for the poor. You can build up your brothers and sisters. You can love your wife. You can help your husband. You can share the good news of Jesus with your lost neighbors. You can serve and give and crush Satan under your feet.

Be sober-minded. There will be enmity. The seed of the serpent will oppose you and hate you and kill you. This mission is not a cake walk. You will need to rest. You will have to rest. You have been given the blessing of weekly rest. Be hopeful. The victory is sure. Satan has done his worst to Christ and Christ has overcome. Christian, you are joined to Christ and his life, his victory, and his power are yours.

Do you believe that? Do you believe this?

Romans 8:37, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Look away from yourself. You don’t have this power in yourself. Look away from yourself. You don’t merit this love in anyway. Look to Christ. He loves you. He strengthens you. He gives you his victory.

Do you know the essential element to living out this victory? Scripture calls it putting on the armor (Rom 13:12; Eph 6:11; 1 Thess 5:8). In the most simple of terms, putting on the armor is daily Bible reading and believing prayer. The more we understand of Christ, his work and his promises, the more we will appreciate and trust and follow and find victory in Christ. Read your Bible and respond with believing prayer every day because of the great work of Christ. We read our Bibles so we can have hope. So,

III. What are we waiting for?

Palmer Robertson gives us hope as we wait; “The hope of the future remains sealed in certainty. For we do now see Jesus crowned with glory and honor. Seated at God’s right hand, he had all things subjected to him (Heb 2:8, 9). From his exalted position of power, he ultimately shall bring all things into the service of men [and women] who have been redeemed by him to the glory of God” (Christ of the Prophets, 107).

  • Anticipate Jesus’ return

Our hope because of what Jesus has done should only be matched by our anticipation of Jesus’ return. We live in days of thankful longing. We are thankful for our forgiveness and restoration to God. We are thankful for justification and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. But we have not yet attained perfection. This world is broken, and we are broken. This world rebels, and too often we find ourselves with a rebellious mind. Who will deliver us from these bodies of death and this world of death?

Thanks be to God, we have victory through Jesus Christ! That victory is sure, but that victory is not yet in its fullness. 2 Peter 3:10-14 tells us that in light of judgment and restoration we should wait for and hasten the coming day of the Lord. We are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Every aching joint and case of the flu, every argument, every hospital visit, every nursing home visit, every prayer of repentance, and every apology should be an anticipation of Jesus’ return. Come quickly Lord Jesus and set up a new world where righteousness rules the day and there is no room for selfish rebellion. Because of brokenness, because of pain, because of enmity and frustration, we pray, “Come quickly Lord Jesus. Fulfill your promises and finish your work. Cast Satan and death into the lake of fire. Restore your creation and perfect your people.”

  • We yearn for the new earth

When the foundation was laid for the second temple the elders grieved because that temple lacked the glory of Solomon’s temple. They wanted to go back. Don’t be like them. We don’t want to go back to the Garden of Eden, we want better than Eden. We want God’s promise of a new earth with no temple. No temple will be needed because no sacrifices will be needed. No sacrifices will be needed because none of us will sin. We will enjoy the fullness of God’s presence unhindered by our weak appetites and sinful cravings. We will be restored to health and we will be restored to God. Listen, “God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from the eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there by mourning, nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:3-4).

Look back on creation, the Garden, and rebellion. Look back on the manger, the cross, and the resurrection. Stand firm in hope. Keep fighting. Put on the armor and wage war on your own sin and the evil that is striving to overcome you. Look back, stand firm, and yearn. Yearn for the return of Christ.

This means you must bend your anticipation upwards. Students, are you anticipating getting out for Christmas break? Are you anticipating giving that perfect gift or gathering with friends and family? Are you anticipating some time off from work and some rich feasting? All of those good things are just a glimpse, just a taste, of life in the fullness of the presence of God. Be thankful, give thanks, and yearn for better. Yearn for the return of Christ.

Church let’s practice. Let us adore the Christ who has come and let us learn to yearn for the Christ who is coming again.

3 Family Devotions for Christmas

By Paul Duncan, pastor Mambrino Baptist Church

The following is a set of quick readings and visuals to help your family understand and celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. This post is set up for three devotions. Click here for a set up for Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning.

December 23

Reader 1: Tonight we remember that God’s timing is perfect- Galatians 3:4

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a watch in the center of the table

Reader 2: God promised Adam and Eve that the seed of the woman would crush the Serpent’s head- Genesis 3:15

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a hammer in the center of the table

 Reader 3: The prophet Micah said the Ruler of Israel would come from Bethlehem- Micah 5:2

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a dress-up crown into the center of the table or you could have a child make one out of paper in preparation for this night.

Reader 4: The prophet Isaiah said that the people who lived in deep darkness would see a great light- Isaiah 9:2

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a battery-operated candle or flashlight in the center of the table

Sing: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, hymn 76 in the Baptist Hymnal or you can find a good version on Youtube.

December 24- Christmas Eve

Reader 1: Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and Joseph took Mary to be his wife- Matthew 1:18, 24

All: Jesus is coming!

Place a wedding ring in the center of the table (a piece of costume jewelry works well)

R2: You shall call his name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins- Matthew 1:21

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a cross in the center of the table

Reader 3: Zechariah the priest said that God will raise up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David- Luke 1:69

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a horn in the center of the table

Reader 4: So Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem- Luke 2:4

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a nativity scene in the center of the table but hold out baby Jesus, the angel, the shepherds, and the wise men

Dad or Grandad: Pray for your family asking that God would help everyone to understand the great blessing of Christmas.

Sing: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, hymn 77 in the Baptist Hymnal or you can find a good version on Youtube.

*Leave all the items on the table because you will add to them Christmas morning
Christmas Morning Celebration

December 25- Christmas Morning

Reader 1: While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem the time came for Mary to give birth and Jesus was born- Luke 2:6-7

ALL: Jesus is here!

Place baby Jesus in the nativity

Reader 2: An angel appeared to shepherds and said, “I bring you good news of great joy because Christ the Lord has been born in the city of David- Luke 2:10-11

ALL: Jesus is here!

Place the shepherds at the nativity

Reader 3: Then an army of angels appeared and said, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth”- Luke 2:12

ALL: Jesus is here!

Place the angel at the nativity

Reader 4: When the wise men saw the child they worshipped him and gave him gifts- Matthew 2:11

ALL: Jesus is here!

Place the wise men at the nativity

 Dad or Grandfather: The two most important times of the year are Christmas and Easter. At Christmas we celebrate the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, has come. At Easter we celebrate the fact that Jesus, our Savior, died on the cross for our sins and three days later rose again. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” The greatest gift we could ever receive is the gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Today we celebrate the fact that our Savior Jesus Christ has come, he has rescued us, and one day soon He’s coming again.

Sing: Joy the World! The Lord has Come, hymn 87 in the Baptist Hymnal or you can find a good version on Youtube

Pray: have one of the children pray and thank God for sending Jesus

 

Note to parents or grandparents

I change the actual scripts before printing and put in the names of the people who will be reading, this way it is much less confusing. If kids are constantly asking, “What number am I?” it can be a distraction. If you have children who aren’t reading yet you can work with them to memorize their parts or simply include them in the statements that everyone will make.

I want to leave it up to you to decide who puts the items in the center of the table or in the center of the room if you have more people than places at the table. The person reading can place the item, or an adult can place all the items at the appropriate time. Use your better judgment concerning the ability of the children to do this without getting distracted or fighting over who gets to hold the item.

I plan to do the Christmas Eve celebration just before bed (after pajamas are on and teeth have been brushed) and then do the Christmas morning celebration first thing in the morning (if you have an early riser who likes to eat and might get fussy go ahead and give him/her a snack).

 

Items you will need for the Christmas Eve celebration

  • Watch or clock
  • Hammer
  • Dress up or paper crown
  • Battery operated candle or flashlight
  • Wedding ring
  • Cross
  • Horn
  • Nativity scene minus Jesus, angel, shepherds, and wise men

 

Items you will need for the Christmas morning celebration

  • Jesus for nativity scene
  • Shepherds for nativity scene
  • Angel for nativity scene
  • Wise men for nativity scene

Christmas Eve & Morning Celebration

By Paul Duncan, pastor Mambrino Baptist Church

The following is a set of quick readings and visuals to help your family understand and celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. This post is set up for longer readings on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning. Tomorrow I’ll divide the readings up between three days.

Christmas Eve

Reader 1: Tonight on Christmas Eve we remember that God’s timing is perfect- Galatians 3:4

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a watch in the center of the table

Reader 2: God promised Adam and Eve that the seed of the woman would crush the Serpent’s head- Genesis 3:15

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a hammer in the center of the table

 Reader 3: The prophet Micah said the Ruler of Israel would come from Bethlehem- Micah 5:2

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a dress-up crown into the center of the table or you could have a child make one out of paper in preparation for this night.

Reader 4: The prophet Isaiah said that the people who lived in deep darkness would see a great light- Isaiah 9:2

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a battery-operated candle or flashlight in the center of the table

Reader 1: Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and Joseph took Mary to be his wife- Matthew 1:18, 24

All: Jesus is coming!

Place a wedding ring in the center of the table (a piece of costume jewelry works well)

R2: You shall call his name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins- Matthew 1:21

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a cross in the center of the table

Reader 3: Zechariah the priest said that God will raise up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David- Luke 1:69

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a horn in the center of the table

Reader 4: So Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem- Luke 2:4

ALL: Jesus is coming!

Place a nativity scene in the center of the table but hold out baby Jesus, the angel, the shepherds, and the wise men

Dad or Grandad: Pray for your family asking that God would help everyone to understand the great blessing of Christmas.

Sing: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, hymn 76 in the Baptist Hymnal or you can find a good version on Youtube.

*Leave all the items on the table because you will add to them Christmas morning
Christmas Morning Celebration

Christmas Morning

Reader 1: While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem the time came for Mary to give birth and Jesus was born- Luke 2:6-7

ALL: Jesus is here!

Place baby Jesus in the nativity

Reader 2: An angel appeared to shepherds and said, “I bring you good news of great joy because Christ the Lord has been born in the city of David- Luke 2:10-11

ALL: Jesus is here!

Place the shepherds at the nativity

Reader 3: Then an army of angels appeared and said, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth”- Luke 2:12

ALL: Jesus is here!

Place the angel at the nativity

Reader 4: When the wise men saw the child they worshipped him and gave him gifts- Matthew 2:11

ALL: Jesus is here!

Place the wise men at the nativity

 Dad or Grandfather: The two most important times of the year are Christmas and Easter. At Christmas we celebrate the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, has come. At Easter we celebrate the fact that Jesus, our Savior, died on the cross for our sins and three days later rose again. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” The greatest gift we could ever receive is the gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Today we celebrate the fact that our Savior Jesus Christ has come, he has rescued us, and one day soon He’s coming again.

Sing: Joy the World! The Lord has Come, hymn 87 in the Baptist Hymnal or you can find a good version on Youtube.

Pray: have one of the children pray and thank God for sending Jesus

 

Note to parents or grandparents

I change the actual scripts before printing and put in the names of the people who will be reading, this way it is much less confusing. If kids are constantly asking, “What number am I?” it can be a distraction. If you have children who aren’t reading yet you can work with them to memorize their parts or simply include them in the statements that everyone will make.

I want to leave it up to you to decide who puts the items in the center of the table or in the center of the room if you have more people than places at the table. The person reading can place the item, or an adult can place all the items at the appropriate time. Use your better judgment concerning the ability of the children to do this without getting distracted or fighting over who gets to hold the item.

I plan to do the Christmas Eve celebration just before bed (after pajamas are on and teeth have been brushed) and then do the Christmas morning celebration first thing in the morning (if you have an early riser who likes to eat and might get fussy go ahead and give him/her a snack).

 

Items you will need for the Christmas Eve celebration

  • Watch or clock
  • Hammer
  • Dress up or paper crown
  • Battery operated candle or flashlight
  • Wedding ring
  • Cross
  • Horn
  • Nativity scene minus Jesus, angel, shepherds, and wise men

 

Items you will need for the Christmas morning celebration

  • Jesus for nativity scene
  • Shepherds for nativity scene
  • Angel for nativity scene
  • Wise men for nativity scene

Jesus is Fully Man for Us

Text: John 1:14                                                           12/24/2017

Main Point: God became man to reconcile God and man.

Who is Jesus and what is Christmas all about?

God becoming a man, the celebration of Christmas, is all about God’s great rescue plan. God wants to save, restore, and redeem people. In order to do that, in order to reconcile God and man, God must become a man.

Now let’s do some meddling for a minute. Some of us don’t like to hear, “You can’t do it.” “You can’t do it,” becomes a personal challenge that must be defeated. “Oh, I’m about to show you that I can do it.” Christmas morning is all about the fact that you can’t do it. One of the most faith-filled biblical things you can say when you roll out of bed tomorrow morning is, “I can’t do it.” You can’t face the kids and their greed. You can’t face the kids and their disappointment. You can’t face your crazy family members. Friend, our problems with one another are symptoms of our problems with God.

A broken relationship with God will lead to broken relationships with others. Separated from God, we don’t have what it takes to do life. We need help. We need Jesus.

Who is Jesus? He is fully God and fully man. Why do we need Jesus? We need a perfect man to come and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We need perfect righteousness credited to our accounts. We need an atoning sacrifice to pay the sin-debt we rack up. We need a ransom, a savior, a messiah, a deliverer, and redeemer. We need Jesus.

Read Galatians 4:4-7

I. The Bible tells us God became a man to redeem us

We are going to trace that argument. God became a man. God became a man for us. Then we’ll get really pointed; the Son of God is sinless man for us. God became a man to restore man to God.

  • The Son of God became a man
    1. John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” God became a man. The Word, who is God, became flesh.
    2. John 8:40, Jesus said, “You are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth I heard from God.” Jesus, who understood himself to be God (we talked about that last week), he also understood himself to be a man.
    3. Acts 2:22, Peter preaches, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst…you crucified him.” Peter, who confessed the deity of Jesus in Matthew 16, witnesses the resurrection then preached the humanity of Jesus in Acts 2.
    4. 1 Timothy 3:16, “He was manifested in the flesh” This means God, who already existed, became visible. He appeared in the flesh.
    5. The apostle John said the disciples heard, saw, and touched Jesus (1 John 1:1). That means Jesus has a body.
    6. In the early church, believing or confessing that Jesus has come in the flesh was a test of one’s orthodoxy (1 John 4:2). “By this you know that Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” Confessing the incarnation of the Son of God is still a test of biblical Christianity.
    7. Hebrews 10:5, “When Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me.’” The preexisting Son of God became a man.
    8. Throughout Scripture we see Jesus being born, growing, eating, sleeping, getting tired and dying precisely because he is a man with a physical body.

Why does this matter? Fundamentally, it matters that God the Son became a man because that is exactly what God’s Word teaches. We submit to the authority of Scripture. We believe the Word and we want to think biblically about Jesus. This is the making of a biblical worldview. We try to understand and engage our world according to the truth of Scripture. So, we test every idea against God’s Word. Does what we believe match what Scripture teaches? Knowing that God became human also matters because we humans need a savior. God wants us to know that Jesus possesses everything it takes to be human for our salvation. God became a man to reconcile God and man.

  • The Son of God became a man for us
  1. Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeemed those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
    1. We used to be sons of God but that privilege and inheritance was lost in the Garden of Eden. Jesus came to restore us to our place in the family of God. Jesus is the perfect man who makes us perfect sons and daughters.
  2. 1 Timothy 2:5, “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
    1. The man Christ Jesus is the only means of getting back to God. He’s the only thing sufficient to make that happen.
  3. Hebrews 2:14-15, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself like wise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.” The things that make us human are the things Jesus took on. And there is a purpose for Jesus taking on flesh and blood…
  4. Hebrews 9:14, “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to serve the living God.”

The Son of God became the Son of Man. He took on the body and soul of a man. Jesus became fully man for us.

Why does this matter? Why does God want us to believe Jesus became truly man for us? Well, there is a lot of junk in our pasts. We are guilty and therefore separated from God. We have guilty consciences and need a redeemer. We humans are under the condemnation of the law. We need a human redeemer to fulfill the law’s requirements.

Think with me. This is worth hours of thought. Jesus took on himself and did for us all the law requires. He took our punishment the law requires, and Jesus fulfills the commandments of the law. All that the law requires for sin and for righteousness is accomplished for us in Jesus. We need a fully God and perfect human mediator. We need a human death conqueror. We need a human law obey-er. Church, be in awe and wonder, God the Son became a man for us. Let’s get even more pointed in our study

  • The Son of God is sinless man for us

Judas confessed that Jesus is innocent, Pilate’s wife confessed that Jesus is a righteous man, and the thief on the cross confessed that Jesus has done nothing wrong (Mt 27:4, 19; Lk 23:41). Listen in

  1. Hebrews 4:15, “Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.”
  2. Hebrews 7:26, “It was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.”
  3. 1 Peter 2:22, “He committed no sin, neither was their deceit found in his mouth.”
  4. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake, God made him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
  5. 1 John 3:5, “You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” (John 8:29, 46; 15:10)
  6. Why does this matter? Why does God want you to believe Jesus became a sinless man for us? Remember our problem? You can’t do it. Psalm 49:7, no man can ransom another. We are sinful, and we are small, therefore we are insufficient. You cannot save yourself. Your parenting and choice of schools cannot save your child. Jesus, only Jesus. Jesus is the sinless and sufficient sacrifice for your sins. Jesus, God become man, is righteous for you and took the penalty of sin for you. For our sake, the Father put our sin on the Son and put the righteousness of the Son on us. Jesus became human so that humans can become righteous. Do you believe this? Through Jesus, the perfect God-man, we are reconciled to God. Praise God for Christmas. We can be saved.

II. Objections to the humanity of God the Son

Unlike last Sunday, today I’m going to spend less time on objections. If any of these touch a nerve and you want more, then let me know and we’ll talk it out or I’ll connect you with someone with whom you can talk it out.

  • God cannot become a man

This objection simply states, God cannot change. So, part of what it means to be God is to be perfect and you cannot change perfect. So, if God becomes a man that implies a change which implies some deficiency. Therefore, God cannot become a man. God cannot change. He’s perfect and unchangeable.

The response is that the incarnation, God becoming a man, does not in any way imply a change in the nature of God. God doesn’t change in his knowledge or nature when the Son of God takes on flesh. Jesus is not less than God. Jesus is fully God, without change, in the flesh. The nature of God, what it means to be God, does not change when the Son of God becomes a man.

  • It only looked like God became a man

This old error is called Docetism- Jesus is fully God but he only appears to have taken on flesh. God really did not become a man; it only seems like he did. This is really the product of the idea that God can’t change or become a man, so we have to have some other explanation for Jesus. But look back at the testimony of Scripture for your answer to this one. God was really a man. Others claim

  • God became only partially man

This old error is called Apollinarianism- Jesus did not take on all of what it means to be human. He had a physical body and a divine soul. Jesus only took on flesh (John 1:14). This makes Jesus only partially man.

The problem with a fully God but partially human Jesus is redemption only applies to those human parts Jesus possesses. Biblical Christianity says Jesus possesses a human body and soul. Therefore, all of who we are and not part of what we are is redeemed. We need a fully human Jesus, body and soul, to redeem fully all of who we are.

That’s a sampling of objections and answers. Mainly I want you to see that Christianity can and has stood up to deep and difficult objections for nearly 2,000 years. There are good answers to your tough questions. Ok, now we are in a place to draw some good soul satisfying conclusions. Let’s talk about

III. Why the humanity of Jesus matters

  • Since Jesus became a man, the atoning death of Jesus can be applied to us

How do you know that God will forgive you and reconcile with you if you repent and believe in Jesus Christ? I know God will save me through Jesus Christ because I am a human and Jesus became a human to save humans. God became a man to reconcile God and man. Jesus did not become an angel to save fallen angels. Jesus became a human to save fallen humans. Are you a fallen human? Do you feel your weakness, sickness, and sinfulness? Take heart. Jesus has come for you. Repent and trust his work in your place so that you can be with him and enjoy the benefits of his place. Jesus will save you.

  • Since Jesus became a man, Jesus can truly sympathize and intercede for us

Hebrews 4:15 tells us that Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses because he has, in every respect, been tempted as we are yet he did not sin. Jesus knows what it feels like and Jesus is able to help. You are never “the only one.” To say, “I’m the only one and no one knows what it feels like,” is a lie and an attack on the full humanity of Jesus. We go to God in prayer knowing he experienced the same struggle We go to God in prayer asking for the way of escape that Jesus found. Because Jesus became a man and was tempted in every respect like we are, there is help and you are never alone. Pray. Take advantage of all the help of Jesus.

  • Since Jesus became human, Jesus shows us what it truly means to be human

There is so much here for us to see and enjoy. For the sake of time I want to quickly give you three points to ponder. First, what it means to be human is sinlessness not sinfulness. Adam and Eve were created without sin. Jesus was and is without sin. If we trust Jesus, our day is coming. It’s going to get better. Second, having a spouse and children is not what it means to be human. Humans get married and have children but marriage and children are not required to be human. Was Jesus less than human because he didn’t have a spouse or children? No! Jesus is fully human without a spouse or children. Lastly, read the Gospels looking to Jesus as a life worthy of imitation. The gospels show us a man in the full. Strive, by his grace, to become more like Jesus in 2018. Let’s keep moving

  • Since Jesus became a man, Jesus models prayerful dependence on the Father

Depending on the Father is a good thing. Taking your cues from your heavenly Father is a good thing. Jesus only said what he heard his Father saying and Jesus did only what he saw his Father doing. Jesus did nothing on his own. Everything Jesus did, he did as a response to and in relationship with his heavenly Father. Jesus lacked nothing, and he lived a life of glad and fruitful dependence on God.

We lack everything and must live our lives in glad and fruitful dependence on God the Son. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. Apart from him we can do nothing and as we depend on Jesus we will bear much fruit. Making disciples, doing good work, a team-work marriage, powerful parenting, and a joyous Christmas are all the product of depending on Jesus. Let’s get really practical. Let’s talk about

IV. Ways you can give and receive Jesus this Christmas

  • Expect your lost friends and family to act like lost

If it hasn’t happened already, people are going to say and do things that hurt, embarrass, and frustrate you. Our friends and family don’t need a good talking to, your famous dish, or the perfect present. Our friends and family need Jesus. I want to encourage you to see the offense that will happen as an opportunity for the gospel. Pray, search your Bible, talk to your church, and graciously confront, with the gospel of grace that offers a better way. Expect to be offended and determine today to bring gospel reconciliation. It is an opportunity to bring Christ into the darkness. If you want to know more about that, let’s talk.

  • Expect your Christian friends and family to need your help.

You are not the only person who will be hurt, embarrassed, or frustrated. Your brothers and sisters who make up this church need your help. Your children will need your help. Your spouse, your parent, and your sibling will need your help. Make room and make time for gospel conversations. Expect God to bring out brokenness. It is an opportunity to bring gospel healing to their needs. If you want to know more about that, let’s talk. Lastly,

  • Expect to need the help of your friends and family

One thing the incarnation teaches us is we can’t do it. We need help, so God sent the God-man Jesus Christ. One thing the church teaches us is we can’t do it. We need help, so God puts us in a family and gives us brothers and sisters. Walk out of this gathering and walk into Christmas firmly convinced that you do not have what it takes to do the next thing. Walk out of this gathering and walk into Christmas firmly convinced that with Christ and His church you have everything you need. Reach out to God; pray for help. Reach out to God; search his Word for wisdom. Reach out to the church; get the guidance, encouragement, and correction you need. Then go and tell the good news that Jesus Christ has come.

Go, Tell it on the Mountain!

Why Jesus?

Text: Luke 1:46-56                                         11/26/2017

Main Point: God gives us certainty which leads to worship.

 

I need to start with a correction from last week- I said Zebulun and Naphtali were the first to be attacked and sent into exile. But, according to 1 Chronicles 5:26, the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh were the first tribes to be taken into exile. I was wrong about that and I apologize. Instead of emphasizing a timeline I should have followed our passage and emphasized the theme of darkness. The light of Christ reaches to the farthest point of darkness. Jesus started with Zebulun and Naphtali; the farthest reaches of darkness. We need Jesus, we need light and life, because we live in death and darkness.

It is humbling and encouraging that you church are listening and checking to make sure the things I say are true. It is a reminder for me to work hard and handle God’s Word faithfully. Let’s pray together and thank God for his correction and ask for his help.

Pray

Today we continue to ask our question, Why Jesus? I chose Luke 1:46-56 because it is Mary’s Magnificat; it’s her joy all because of Jesus. What we see in this passage is that Mary is a rock solid theologian. Financially she is poor, formally she is untrained, but in the real world of knowing God and understanding Him, Mary is top notch. But she is no ivory tower unmoved thinker. Mary is full of good theology and vibrant worship. What she thinks about God causes her to worship and rejoice. Mary is a theologian, Mary is a worshipper, and Mary is certain about her God. In all the uncertainty of life Mary is anchored to the God who is trustworthy and dependable. She knows God and His Word.

Our big question is why Jesus? The answer is we need Jesus because he fulfills the promises of God. While we are on the way to seeing God fulfill his promises through Jesus we are going to learn a great deal about worship and faith from a girl named Mary.

Let’s go- Read Luke 1:45-56

In this uncertain world of uncertain ideas

I. We need certainty

  • The goal of the Gospel of Luke is certainty (1:1-4)

Turn with me to Luke 1:1 and let’s get the purpose of this book (read 1:1-4).

The Holy Spirit inspired, or led, Luke to write his gospel so that his friend Theophilus would have certainty concerning Jesus. We have this passage, and all of Luke, for the express purpose of strengthening our faith in Jesus. We have this gospel because a guy wanted his buddy to be certain about Jesus. Each story is another piece of rebar in the foundation of our faith. See God working his plan. See Jesus accomplishing his work. See his people trusting him. God hasn’t changed. You can trust him. The fulfillment of God’s promises in Jesus gives us certainty in an uncertain world. Listen as we go, and look for God to strengthen your faith. Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary are the first stories we encounter.

  • Mary and Elizabeth give us examples of belief (1:24-45)

Notice that Zechariah the priest is an example of uncertainty while Elizabeth and Mary show us a better way. Zechariah should have known better. When the old priest is told he’s going to be a daddy, he doesn’t believe it and is struck mute, he can’t speak, and it seems he can’t hear either (1:20, 62). Let’s catch Mary’s story (read Luke 1:34-38).

Mary believes nothing is impossible with God. Mary trusts herself to God. Mary believes with certainty and so can you. Now let’s pick up with Elizabeth’s story (read Luke 1:39-45).

Elizabeth believes Mary is pregnant with Elizabeth’s Lord. Elizabeth pronounces a blessing on Mary because Mary believes what God has told her. These women believe God. So, here are these two women, one an old barren woman and the other a young virgin, and both are promised children. Can God do what he promised? Will God do what he promised? Can we trust God with this? Can we have any certainty? Mary and Elizabeth both believed God’s word with certainty. We must focus on this point. It is Mary’s certainty, her trust in God and his promises, that leads her to worship God. Because of who God is and what he has done, there is certainty.

Luke 1:46-55 has become known as the Magnificat. The title, Magnificat, comes from the Latin for magnify. The certainty with which Mary magnifies the Lord is meant to fuel our certainty as we glorify the Lord.

All of this praise and glory centers on Jesus. The reason Mary worships God is because of the gift of the Messiah. The Jewish deliverer has come fulfilling God’s promises to Abraham. The Messiah has come and will be born as Mary’s son. God exalts the lowly and he does it through Jesus. God brings down the rich and proud. God feeds the hungry. Look at the virgin carrying a child. God does the impossible. Look at the humble and lowly being cared for and exalted. God is strong and merciful. You have reason to trust God in your situation. You can have certainty. You can worship. God will fulfill his promises through Jesus.

II. Praise the God who acts

The Magnificat is all about God. He is the subject of almost every verb in these verses. There are three parts. The first four verses focus on God and Mary. The next four verses focus on God and the humble while the final two verses focus on God and Israel. Let’s dig in.

  • Praise the God of Mary (1:46-49)

What stands out is the Mary who believes with certainty is the Mary who worships with boldness. Verse 46, “Mary said, ‘my soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.’” Mary’s worship is a response to the promise of God that she will carry the Son of the Most High, David’s promised Son. Mary’s worship is a response. True worship is always a response to God.

Verse 46, Mary’s soul magnifies God and her spirit rejoices in God. Soul and spirit are combined here to say Mary worships God with all that she has and all that she is. There is no lip-service here; no show or half-hearted song. She’s loving the Lord her God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is what certainty does. Certainty concerning Jesus causes loud and God-centered worship. In response to God, Mary magnifies the Lord. She exalts the Lord. Mary praises God and she rejoices in God her savior.

Mary is saying, “Hey, look with me and be in awe of this God who does great things. Isn’t he amazing? Isn’t this wonderful? The promised Messiah has come according to the power of God. Mary’s worship causes us to worship. We need more Mary’s.

Christian, we need you to say to us each week, “Hey, look with me and be in awe of this God who does great things for us in Jesus. Let’s exalt Jesus. Let’s rejoice in God who does great things.” We need you to worship as a response to God who is worthy of worship. We need your help to worship.

Now, let’s look at the specific reasons for Mary’s celebration. Verse 48, “for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” Mary rejoices because God sees the invisible. God has not passed over her in favor of the rich or powerful. In this sense Mary is like Hagar; God sees her. God is working for her and because of this great work of God, verse 48, “from now on all generations will call [her] blessed.” The great reversal of Mary, going from lowly to blessed, is meant to cause us to worship God. Think of what it means for Mary to carry the Messiah. Isn’t Mary blessed!?! She was chosen to carry and love and kiss and care for the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. What a blessing!

But notice, we are not to worship Mary or trust Mary or pray to Mary. Jesus tells us not to look to her. Later in Luke 11:27, when a woman yells out, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed,” Jesus didn’t say, “You’re right, you should pray to her because she’s awesome. She’s blessed and will bless you.” No, instead Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” Blessed are you friend if you will read the Word, listen to it, figure it out, and keep in step with it by faith.

Besides, Mary is no savior. In fact, Mary feels her need for a savior. In Luke 1:47 she rejoices in God her Savior. Mary was not sinless. Mary is not a mediator between God and man. Mary has no authority over Jesus. She is a blessed vessel chosen by God to carry the Son of God. We call her blessed and celebrate God’s faithfulness and power.

Along with Mary we say, verse 49, “he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

Mary’s response to the work of God is to point to the power of God; he has done great things for me. God miraculously caused her to conceive the Messiah. God took a low and humble woman and made her greatly blessed.

What has God done for you? What great things has God accomplished for your good? If you wrote out your own Magnificat what would your spirit rejoice in? Would you celebrate God’s holy name? Mary did, verse 49, “he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

His name represents his person and character. His name stands for all that he is. Some people call me dad, some people call me preacher, but nobody who knows me calls me holy. We call God holy because he is pure and perfect and absolutely without sin. God always does what is right. Holy is his name.

We praise the God of Mary and we

  • Praise the God of the humble (1:50-53)

Mary shifts in verse 50 from celebrating what God has done for her to celebrating what God has done for others. We find ourselves most clearly in these middles verses, verses 50-53.

Look at verse 50, “his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.” Every person who feels his need for mercy will be given mercy. Every person who feels her need for mercy will be given mercy. When we feel our lowliness and weakness and sinfulness it causes us to humbly seek God’s mercy. We make no demands; we trust the kindness of God. We need God to work. We need his miraculous power. Look at verse 51

“God has shown strength with his arm;”

Mary is doing good theology here. She is using the faithfulness of God in the past to stir up her faith in the present. Mary is a poor teenage girl who knows her Bible. The phrase “God has shown strength with his arm” is a good way of saying “God saved me” or “God worked salvation for me.”

Listen to Psalm 98:1, “Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.”

God’s mighty arm is connected with his work to rescue his people from Egypt, Isaiah 51:9-10, “Awake, awake, put on strength O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days of old the generations of long ago. Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over?”

What I’m getting at is, like Mary, we need to know how God works and how he promises to work so that we can pray and hope according to God’s faithfulness. We also need good reasons to worship. God’s strong arm working in the past and present give us certainty concerning his continuing work in the present. He will save his people and he will bring down the proud. We desperately need to know our Bibles.

Verse 51 continues, “he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;”

Let’s act like Mary and do some good theology. Who has God scattered? What proud people in the Bible did God bring down off their thrones? God brought down King Saul in 1 Samuel 13, King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14, the prince of Tyre in Ezekiel 28, and Herod in Acts 12. The prime example of God bringing down the proud is his banishment of Satan when he sinned in the thoughts of his heart. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Praise God, he brings down the proud and sends the rich away empty. Fear God, he brings down the proud and sends the rich away empty. Wealth and power, the things many of us so desperately want, are the very things that will destroy us. So, how do we work hard and have godly ambition but not ruin ourselves on promotions, power, and pennies? We act like Mary. Rehearse the mercy of God toward the humble, lowly, and hungry. Rehearse the wrath of God toward the proud, exalted, and rich. Think often of God and his ways so that you want him and not the things of this world.

And what if your struggle is not how to keep wealth and power from ruining you but your struggle is how are you going to get enough food to eat? What if you are hungry, in a humble estate, and more like a slave than a king? Mary gives the same advice to the poor as she does to the rich. Rehearse the ways and promises of God. Look at Mary, God has shown mercy to his bond slave. When has God exalted those of humble estate? Little ole David didn’t even get invited to the you-might-be-king party. He was the runt and not king material. God exalts the lowly. Jesus didn’t celebrate the generosity of the rich, instead he pointed to the faith of the widow who gave her last penny. God sees the invisible. Most of the disciples were low-class, second-class, or outcasts. God chose them. We have good reason to trust God.

Praise the God of the humble and

  • Praise the God of Israel (1:54-55)

America has been around for a couple of centuries; almost 2 1/2 centuries. Israel has been around for over 40 centuries. Why is Israel still around? To what can we attribute the continuance of Israel? Verse 54, “He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his off spring forever.” We will get into this when we return to Romans 11. For now, we need to celebrate the fact that Israel never deserved to be saved. God saved them and sustains them and promises to bring many to faith in Jesus because of his great mercy. Why is the remnant of Israel saved? Why is anyone saved? We are saved only because God chooses to show mercy. People are saved because God is faithful to keep his promise.

God promised he would make Abraham into a great nation and bless the nations through him. God keeps his promises. We can worship God and trust God and live with certainty because God keeps his promises.

Now before we lose sight of Jesus, let’s drive it home. What should we do with all this?

III. Believe in Jesus.

We could say Mary worshipped God because of God’s promises and we’d be partially right. We could say Mary worshipped God because of God’s faithfulness and we’d be partially right. You see, Mary’s worships God because of God’s faithfulness and because of God’s promise of a Messiah.

Last week Dale talked to us about how advent is meant to train us to look forward. We look back to the birth of Jesus in order to train our hearts to look forward to his return. We need Jesus to return and be our strong King just like we needed Jesus to come and be our sacrificial lamb. So, why Jesus? Jesus is of greatest worth because we need a sacrifice and we need a king. Let’s act like Mary. Jesus says, “Behold, I am making all things new” and “I am coming soon” (Rev 21:5 and 22:12).

The return of Christ is a wonderful promise, one we do not deserve. What will it be like? What will it look like? How do we know it’s going to happen? How do we know Jesus will return and make all things new? Rehearse the promises of God. Rehearse the faithfulness of God. God promised he would send Jesus as our Messiah and Savior. God kept his promise. God will certainly keep his promise to send Jesus a second time to gather his people to himself and make all things new. We have 10,000 reasons to praise God. We have 10,000 reasons to trust God. His promises are sure. Jesus proves it. Like Mary rejoicing over Jesus’ birth, we rejoice over his soon return.