Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Isaiah 9:6 – 7
“The Power of The Incarnation”

Incarnation means: Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, became human. Paul says, He took on the form of a “servant.” Yet this is one of the most powerful truths in the Bible. It was an early acid test to distinguish false teachers from real teachers. The idea that God Almighty would leave Heaven, voluntarily allow Himself to become the most fragile and vulnerable human to suffer death on the cross implies many things.

I. The Incarnation moves us beyond wishful thinking.

A. Darkness has always been part of human history.

1. Isaiah 9:1 – 2 describes a sunrise in “the land of the shadow of death.”

a. C. S. Lewis noted that we live in the “shadow lands.” Everything is only a shadow of what it was supposed to be and what it will be in eternity.

b.In the face of despair, we tend to develop a sense of wishful thinking.

1.) E.g. The various proposed “solutions” to Iraq only deal with the immediate.

2.) Often medical treatment deals only with symptoms...

3.) Loneliness drives people to do things that are often against their personal beliefs.

2. The power of a name is well known. In the Old Testament, it revealed something about the person.

a. Abram became Abraham when God made a covenant with him and gave Abram part of His name. (The “h” from the sacred name of God.)

b. Jacob’s name was change to Israel when God made a covenant with him and gave him part of His name. (The “el” meaning “God.”)

c. Simon’s name was changed to Peter. (Possibly this was a special covenant with Peter.) Peter means “rock” and was one of the names of O.T. names of God. (Gen 49:24, 1 Samuel 2:2, 2 Samuel 22:3, Psalm 18:2, 31, Isaiah 26:4 etc...)

B. But hope is part of the Christmas tradition.

1. We fill our senses with good things like lights, smells of baking, candies and sweets...

2. We set this hope up against the “N.U.T.s” in our lives.

a. Stress studies show that little things that are constant are worse than a sudden big thing that passes quickly.

b. “N.U.T.s” stands for Nagging Undone Things”

1.) How many are thinking about lunch right now?

2.) How many are planning tomorrow or our Christmas vacations/celebrations?

3.) These things DISTRACT us and DRAIN our energy.

c. So we hope, when we decorate and bake all the holiday goodies that for a short season, we can focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

II. The Incarnation stabilizes our sense of lostness.

A. Think about the name of Jesus for a moment. They are considered “throne names.” The idea is to reveal Jesus.

1. These names reveal Jesus position.

a. The fact is that Jesus is God. (Not a good teacher, not one of many “gods,” etc...)

b. As the rightful rule of everything, He is worthy to be worshiped.

2. These names reveal Jesus character.

a. Some would like to see Jesus as terrible, moralistic, or hateful.

b. God has our safety, good, and best in mind.

3. These names reveal the function of Jesus.

a. What Jesus was going to do, like bring peace.

b. What Jesus was going to mean to us... like being wonderful.

4. These name reveal the divinity of Jesus.

B. Jesus’ purpose was to bring us salvation at His expense.

1. Our salvation is based on the person of Jesus.

a. What happens is we have a difficult time getting past our sense of lostness.

b. We were born lost, live in a lost world, and our sense of spiritual direction is easily disturbed.

2. If Jesus is all this, then our salvation is solid.

a. A contract is only as good as the person/company who signs it.

b. If God made a covenant with us through Jesus, then we can depend on that covenant.

III. The Incarnation is God’s grace towards us.

A. How?

1. “Wonderful” is a cure for the dullness of life ruled by sin.

2. “Counselor” gives direction in the choices of life free from sin.

3. “Mighty God” empowers us to meet the demands of dealing with life.

4. “Everlasting Father” settles the questions of our eternal destiny.

5. “Prince of Peace” deals with the disturbances to our life.

B. Here’s how this happens:

1. Thomas a’ Kempis explained it this way: “He to whom the Eternal World speaketh is delivered from a world of unnecessary conceptions.”

a. There is a difference between knowing ABOUT Jesus and KNOWING Jesus.

b. What happens when we cross over between knowing about and know is that EVERYTHING changes.

1.) Our attitude changes. We see things from an eternal perspective.

2.) Our perspective changes. We see things from a biblical perspective.

3.) Our behavior changes. We do right things not selfish things.

4.) Our ownership changes. We (our lives and our stuff) are controlled by God.

2. Once we have been to the stable in Bethlehem we see the cross outside Jerusalem, the empty tomb, and the New Jerusalem to come... nothing can ever be the same.

IV. The Incarnation offers transformation.

A. Yield the government of your life to King Jesus.

1. When we trust (v “accept”) behavior patterns change:

a. We act to please our King.

b. We are delighted to serve for someone/thing else bigger than ourselves.

2. We move from success (which is for ourselves) to significance (which is for someone else).

3. What do we need to yield? (Everything)

a. We yield our heart. Our emotions and affections are sensitive to the heart of God.

b. We yield our will. Our desires are for what God wants us to do.

c. We yield our mind. Our thoughts line up with how God would think.

d. We yield our bodies. Our obedience becomes actions of love toward our King.

B. We can then enjoy God’s peace.

1. When you know:

a. you are save...

b. what happens is for a greater good...

2. Then you don’t take things personally.

a. Personally means we make “it” about us.

b. Instead, we make it about our King.

If Jesus was born into this world and experienced physical life, we can be born into the heavenly Kingdom and experience eternal life.

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