Saturday, October 19, 2013

God's Story: The Incarnation

God’s Story: The Incarnation

1:        So far we have seen God explode on the scene through his creation

2:        Everything he created was good

3:        God lived in perfect relationship with humanity

4:        That is, until the humans chose to disobey God

5:        Sin infected their relationship with God

3:        With each other

1:        With their children

2:        and with all of creation.

4:        God’s holiness could not tolerate sin

5:        God tried to establish the Law through Moses

4:        But no matter how hard the Israelites tried,

3:        The Law did not make them holy.

2:        It only showed them the depths of their sin problem.

1:        Israel ask for kings

3:        God gave them what they wanted but once again

5:        Sin destroyed any attempt for a human kingdom to save them

2:        Many attempts that God tried to initiate with humans did not work

4:        Because when sinful people are confronted with a holy God

3:        The only response is fear, terror, dread and a revulsion of our sin.

1:        But God found another way to invade the world that the devil has claimed for himself

2:        A way in which the God of the Universe would confine himself

3:        to the limitations of human flesh.

4:        All of history pointing to this one event.

5:        A Messiah, a King, a Savoir who would set things right again!

3:        The prophets foretold

1:        The temple foreshadowed

2:        The kingdom looked forward to

4:        One who embodied the prophet, priest and king.

3:        One who would come to save the whole world!

1:        You know this story.

2:        Except your version has been sanitized.

3:        A cute, cuddly baby Jesus

4:        A beautiful manger scene.

5:        Angels and shepherds all celebrating

3:        And wise men from the East bearing great gifts.

1:        It brings us warm fuzzies

2:        And excitement about the Christmas season.

3:        But our hallmark card mental image could not be further from the truth.

4:        Imagine living in a society where an unwed teenage girl who is pregnant could get the death penalty for her apparent immorality.

5:        Imagine living under a dictator who regularly killed anyone who may pose a threat to him, including his own sons and his wife!

4:        Imagine having to hide your pregnancy when the normal thing to do is to allow this time to be a celebration within your family and community.

3:        Imagine having a story about an angel visiting you and saying that you are going to be the mother of God.

2:        Let’s be honest. In today’s more civilized world, if Jesus would have come in the 21st century he would have never made it out of the womb.

1:        Mary would be considered mentally unstable, a liar and a lunatic

5:        Jesus may very well have been aborted if no other family was willing to help

3:        This is the Christmas story

2:        when the kingdom of heaven

4:        collided with the kingdom of earth.

1:        Two pregnancies

5:        Two miracles

2:        Once celebrated

4:        One hidden.

3:        Elizabeth gave birth to John. 

5:        Everybody was there to share in the joy of a child miraculously born to an aged woman

1:        Mary on the other hand

2:        A teenager pledged to be married to Joseph

3:        Is awakened by an angel.

4:        “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you! Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you.  Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”

3:        Then Mary said to the angel,

2:        “How will this happen since I have not had sexual relations with a man?”

3:        The angel replied,
4:        “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son.

3:        And then Mary said,

2:        “This is the craziest thing I ever heard. Thanks, but no thanks. Why in the world would God use a nobody like me to birth the Savior of the world.  This is a joke, right?  If I was a wealthy, powerful princess of a royal family maybe I would understand this.  But I am a poor, insignificant, nobody of a teenager!”

3:        Actually she did not say that. Instead she replied:

2:        “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.”

3:        Then the angel left her.

1:        Did she understand it all?

5:        No.

1:        Did it make sense to her?

5:        Probably not.

1:        Did she see the potential for gossip, slander and judgment.

5:        I am sure she did.

1:        Did she realize that to explain this story just as it happened would probably not be received well?

5:        Yep, crazy girl who needs to be locked up.

1:        Yet she submitted to the will of God and gave herself to his plan.

2:        As luck would have it, the governor declared that a census was to be taken right when Mary was at the final weeks of her pregnancy.

3:        Everyone had to register in their home town

4:        Joseph lived in Nazareth but now had to travel to Bethlehem to register.

5:        Mary went with him.

4:        Upon their arrival, the contractions began.

3:        Joseph needed a place quick.

2:        This baby is coming now. On this road trip.

1:        As many people were traveling to register for the census all the hotels were booked.

5:        Accept one owner who saw the predicament that Joseph and Mary were in and offered his stable.

3:        The baby born in a manger.

1:        Visitors came that nobody would have ever expected.

2:        The religious leaders of Israel?

5:        NO

3:        The political leaders of Israel?

5:        NO

4:        The business leaders of Israel?

5:        NO

1:        A group of shepherds. 

2:        Those who were considered unclean.

3:        The fringe of society.

4:        Shady guys who often are looked down upon.

1:        Then these wise guys from the East.

5:        Not Israelites.

4:        Definitely considered outsiders, pagans, gentiles.

3:        Here to worship Jesus as they followed the star.

1:        In fact there was one Israelite that responded.

2:        King Herod met the wise men.

3:        He acted interested in wanting to also worship this newborn king.

4:        But an angel revealed Herod’s true motives and the wise men returned to their town without reporting back to Herod.

5:        This initiated a genocide of that generation of boys.

4:        Herod in his lust for power was willing to kill anyone who got in his way.

3:        His wife

2:        His own sons

1:        His relatives

3:        and now all the boys who are 2 years old and under.

5:        Through God’s protection, Jesus and John escaped this bloodshed

2:        But they grew up with a sizable dent in their generation of friends

4:        A slaughter that happened to try and exterminate the Christ

1:        What can we learn about Jesus through the incarnation?

2:        First of all, the HUMILITY of Jesus is revealed.

1:        The God of the universe allowing himself to be confined to human flesh

2:        The Maker of all things shrank down, down, down, down so small as to become an ovum,

3:        a single fertilized egg barely visible to the naked eye,

4:        an egg that would divide and redivide until a fetus took shape,

5:        enlarging cell by cell inside a nervous teenage.

2:        He was born in an animal shelter, not a palace

4:        He was born to a couple of no real significance, not royalty, not wealthy by any means

3:        Secondly, God has now become very APPROACHABLE.

1:        No more fear and terror when God shows up on a mountain

2:        Now God is one of us.

3:        He can relate to us on our level.

4:        Third, Jesus represents the UNDERDOG.

5:        He stood up for the poor and powerless and oppressed.

1:        His birth was without power or wealth, without rights, without justice.

5:        And lastly we see Jesus as COURAGEOUS

1:        He came to fulfill a mission

2:        He came to claim what was rightfully his all along

3:        He came to reclaim the territory that the devil thought he owned.

4:        Heaven and earth collided in this one moment.

5:        The kingdom of heaven has broken into the kingdom of earth.

1:        God’s kingdom has now come, his will is being done, on earth as it is in heaven.

3:        The birth was God bursting onto the scene in a most extraordinary way.

5:        But now the question becomes:

1:        What is his plan?

2:        What is his message?

3:        Why was he sent?

4:        Come back next month as we look at these very things. e can approach us and we can appr

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