DEC 6 PART ONE Applying Christmas to the Christian life. Accepting the Promise.
Well…It’s Begun…One of the Busiest Times of the Year…It seems like there is Not One Spot Left on Our Families Calendar to Fit anything else in before Christmas!
You know…It’s Interesting that in the Busyness of the Christmas Season…It can be so hard to Make Time to Really Celebrate Christ! So…During December I want Us to Consider What Christmas Means to Christians…And What God Wants to Accomplish in Our Lives as We Celebrate the Birth of Christ.
Today we start a 4-Part series on “Applying Christmas to the Christian Life”.
I’ve always been told it is Best to Start at the Beginning…So…Do You Know when the Christmas Story Began? It did Not begin in the New Testament…And it did Not Begin with the Prophet’s…The Promise of Christmas Began in Genesis…
The promise of the Messiah was first revealed after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden Gen 3:15 God said to the serpent: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
- This verse is considered the first announcement of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
- God Would Provide A Savior who would Redeem Us All from the Sin of Adams Fall!
God gave this promise after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden.
- Theologians call it the protoevangelium–or first gospel because these words spoken by God contain the first promise of redemption in the Bible.
- Everything else in the Bible flows from these words in Genesis 3:15…As the Acorn contains the Mighty Oak, so these words contain the Entire Plan of Salvation.
- The English preacher Charles Simeon called this verse “the sum and summary of the whole Bible.”
- Christ is the ultimate Seed of the Woman who would one day come to crush the serpent’s ugly head…In the process his “heel” would be bruised on the cross. In short, this verse predicts that Jesus would win the victory over the Satan but would himself be wounded as the same time.
When Charles Wesley wrote the familiar Carol “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” he included a verse based on Genesis 3:15. “Come, Desire of Nations, come, Fix in us Thy humble home. Rise the woman’s conquering “SEED”, Bruise in Us the serpent’s head. Adam’s likeness now efface, Stamp Thine image in its place, Second Adam from above, Reinstate us in Thy love, Hark, the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King”.
- Christ Fulfilled the Promise God made amid the Wreckage Caused by Adam’s sin. Remember… Our Sin may be Great…But the Promise is Greater than the Transgression, through Christ’s Great Sacrifice…And to Each Person Who Receives the FREE GIFT They Are Set Free.
The word “Seed” in this verse means “child” or “descendant.” So, this verse says that the battle between Satan and the human family will continue through the generations.
- More specifically, the “seed” of the woman Is referring to a specific descendant of the woman: Jesus, the Promised Messiah.
Sin entered the world through one man—Adam. As the “head” of the human race, Adam Lost Friendship with God by his Disobedience, Not just for himself But for the Entire Human Family.
- At the same time, salvation comes through one man—Jesus.
- Jesus is the “New Adam,” who Undoes Adam’s Disobedience through His Perfect Obedience and who Reunites Us to God as the Head of the Body, the Church.
Paul explains in Romans 5:15–17 “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!”
INTERESTING THOUGHT: Similarly, as Adam’s Sin Occurred with the help of Eve, Jesus’ Work of Salvation Occurs with the Cooperation of Mary.
- You See…Where Eve said “NO” to God and then helped lead Adam astray, Mary said “YES” to God and allowed Jesus to enter the world through her.
While the prophecy made in the garden was only fully understood after it was fulfilled in Jesus, We can See that, from the Beginning, God shows His Power in Promising to Bring Something Good Out of the Evil of Our Sin.
The Evil of Our Sin Became an Opportunity for God to Unveil a Plan of Love and Mercy that is Greater than Our Sin and Greater even than His Original Gifts to Adam and Eve.
GOD WANTED US TO KNOW OF HIS LOVE AND PLAN FOR SALVATION SO HE PROVIDED PROPHECYS THAT PROVE CHRIST IS THE MESSIAH
- Scholars say there are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament.
- These prophecies are specific enough that the mathematical probability of Jesus fulfilling even a handful of them, let alone all of them, is staggeringly—If Not Impossible.
Peter Stoner, Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena College, was passionate about biblical prophecies. With 600 students from the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Stoner looked at eight specific prophecies about Jesus.
- They came up with extremely conservative probabilities for each one being fulfilled, and then considered the likelihood of Jesus fulfilling all eight of those prophecies.
- The conclusion to his research was staggering. The prospect that anyone would satisfy those eight prophecies was just 1 in 10 to the 17th power! That’s 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. 1 in One Hundred Quad-Trillion!
In Science speak he described it like this: “If you mark one of ten tickets, and place all of the tickets in a hat, and thoroughly stir them, and then ask a blindfolded man to draw one, his chance of getting the right ticket is one in ten. Suppose that we take 10 to the 17th Power… silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of Texas 2 feet deep.
Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. “Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one?
- He would have the very same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote using their own wisdom.”
Let’s Look Briefly at the 8 Prophecies of Jesus’s Birth
- The nations will be blessed through Abraham’s lineage
- Prophecy: God Calls Abram in Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”.
- Fulfillment: Acts 3:25-26 “And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways”.
- God’s covenant with Isaac’s ancestors
- Prophecy: Gen 17: 19 “God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him'”.
- Fulfillment: Rom 9:7 “Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned’”.
- The nations will be blessed through Jacob’s offspring.
- Prophecy: Gen. 28:14 “Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring”.
- Fulfillment: Jacob is part of Jesus’ genealogy. Luke 3:34 “the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor”.
- The scepter will come through Judah
- Prophecy: Gen. 49:10 “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his”.
- Fulfillment: Judah is part of Jesus’s genealogy. Luke 3:33 “the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah”.
- David’s offspring will have an Eternal Kingdom
- Prophecy: 2 Samuel 7:12–13 “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever”.
- Fulfillment: Matthew 1:1 “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham”.
- A virgin will give birth, and he will be called Immanuel (God with us)
- Prophecy Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel”.
- Fulfillment Luke 1:35 “The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most-High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God”.
- The Messiah will end up in Egypt
- Prophecy Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son”
- Fulfillment Matt 2: 14-15 “So he [Joseph] got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son'”.
- The Christ will be born in Bethlehem
- “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” This was Written in the 8th Century BC…800 Years before the Birth of Christ!!!
- Fulfillment Matthew 2: 4-6 “When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'”
These Prophecies Reveal, that God Planned Our Redemption All the Way Back in the Garden. Jesus’s death and resurrection were the most important events in history.
- Therefore…It’s No Surprise that God would give Us Signs of His Plans throughout Israel’s History and Prophets…Jesus’s story reveals God’s incredible love for Us…For YOU.
Throughout the Old Testament, We Discover how Incredibly Thorough His Plan for Rescuing Us was—Now, We can All be Reconciled to Him Through the Sacrifice and Resurrection of Jesus…God’s Son…Immanuel…God With US!
YOU: This Morning if You have Received the Promise God Gave You Through His Son’s Death and Resurrection…He Wants You to Understand that with Accepting the Promise of Salvation…Comes a Responsibility…To Choose to Serve Him and His Plan for Your Life!
In the Weeks ahead We are Going to See that God Wants Us to
- Surrender to the Promise:
- To Trust the Promise:
- To Proclaim the Promise to a Lost World:
POINT: ACCEPTING THE PROMISE…COMES WITH A RESPONSIBILITY