Monday, December 29, 2014

Looking Beyond the Stable

 How Americans celebrate Christmas:

Per research and Gallop polls, found that 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas
81% of Non-Christians celebrate Christmas!

88% of American households put up a Christmas tree.
90% buy gifts and gather with friends and family on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or during the season sometime.

54% attend Religious services
65% display decorations with a religious meaning

73% believe in the Virgin Birth

78% of American adults say they take time at Christmas to "reflect" on the Birth of Christ

Christmas offers much to reflect on - virgin birth, birth narratives, prophecies fulfilled in Jesus' birth, magi, .....

Here are 3 reflections that take us a bit further:   It's about much more than just a babe in a manger.

I.  The Incarnation of Christ
II.  The Humiliation of Christ
III.  The Substitution of Christ

I.  The Incarnation of Christ
Latin = "incarnatio" = take on flesh (body)
The word is no in the English New Testament - John 1:1, 14 - God put on flesh
The teaching clearly is. - John 20:28

Question - How? - "the Infinite in an Infant"
Answer = 1 Tim. 3:16

II.  The Humiliation of Christ
this does not mean embarrassment, confusion, shame, disgrace
but means condescension - stepping down, stooping down, lowering 'self
Assuming a position beneath His rightful place/position - He humbled Himself - intentionally, willingly, knowingly
Phil. 2:6-7    John 17:5

This =1) self-humiliation
         2)  Humiliation - with a purpose

III.  This Substitution of Christ - Phil. 2:8 - to what end? purpose?
Answer:  to reconcile us to God - He took our place
1 Pet. 2:24   2 Cor. 5:21   Luke 19:10

Summary of Incarnation and Humiliation and Substitution?
Col. 1:21-22 - Bridge Illustration

Response to these Reflections? 

I.  to Incarnation?  - Awe and Wonder which leads to WORSHIP

II.  to Humiliation? => Imitation - Phil. 2:5-7
                             => Service - John 13:12-16
He did it for the benefit of man.  Calls us to do the same.

III.  to Substitution? => Declaration - "my LORD and my God"
                               =>  Allegiance - Bow the knee - You are LORD
                                                        Live the Life
                                                        Serve the King

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