12-3-17 – “The Greatest Gift” 2 of 4

The GREATEST GIFT…

Last week we started to look at the GREATEST GIFT that’s even been given…

God didn’t just give us ‘A Gift’ He gave us THE GREATEST GIFT HE COULD GIVE…  He gave Himself!   

 

John 3:16-17 NLT – 16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

1 John 4:9-10 NCV – This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. 10 This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is God’s love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins.

 

The Bible is a Love Story…  It’s a love story about God’s never ending, unexplainable, undeniable, overwhelming, amazing Love and His pursuit of (US) His creation. 

 

G – God So Loved…

I – The Incarnation of Christ  – God’s Pursuit of us. 

 

What is Incarnation?

John 1:14 NCV – 14 The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory—the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father—and he was full of grace and truth.

 

God first announced the promise of the Jesus (the Messiah) to the serpent after the fall of Man.

Gen 3:15 NCV – I will make you and the woman enemies to each other.
Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies. One of her descendants will crush your head, and you will bite his heel.”

 

700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah & Micah told of Jesus coming: 

Isaiah 7:1414 The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and she will name him Immanuel. (Give Him a name meaning: God With Us.)

Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”

Micah 5:2 NLT – But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah (Eph – Ra – thah) are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.

 

Matthew 1:18- NLT – 18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:26-38 – A more detailed account of Jesus birth.

Philippians 2:6-8 NLT – Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.Instead, he gave up his divine privileges (emptied Himself); he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form,he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

 

Jesus IS GOD!

John 5:58 – I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!

John 10:30 – I and the Father are one.

John 14:8-9 – Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?

 

Colossians 1:19-20 NLT – For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

 

For many this idea of “Incarnation” Jesus being God and becoming Human is a major stumbling Block…   even for some who claim to be Christians!

 

Galatians 4:4-5 NCV – But when the right time came, God sent his Son who was born of a woman and lived under the law. God did this so he could buy freedom for those who were under the law and so we could become his children.

 

Why did Jesus need to come in the Flesh?   Sacrifice.

God initiated blood sacrifices in the Old Test. as a covering for sin and also as a foreshadowing of the Messiah – Jesus Christ.  Heb. 9:22 –  Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 

 

God took a life (earthly life) to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness and shame (symbolizing their sin). 

 

He told Moses in Leviticus 17:11 NLT11 for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible.

 

God gave the last innocent life…  Jesus Christ gave up his life to cover sin once and for all!  A Heavenly Lamb!

 

Why a Virgin Birth?

Jesus was born under the law but not under the curse of sin. Jesus wasn’t born of a man (or he would have been born into sin).  THEREFORE, HE WAS PERFECT AND THE PERFECT SACRIFICE FOR GOD AND MANKIND!

Hebrews 4:15 ESV – For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 9:12-17 NCV12 Christ entered the Most Holy Place only once—and for all time. He did not take with him the blood of goats and calves. His sacrifice was his own blood, and by it he set us free from sin forever.

2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

 

 

Does it really matter?  YES!  It’s one of the foundational truths of God’s word and one of the most important truths of our Faith.   Without the Incarnation of Christ what do we have?  

 

If Jesus is NOT God, there is no Forgiveness of sin.  There is no Savior.  There is no resurrection.  Jesus is a liar, God’s a liar and if that’s the case how can there be a Holy God?

 

 

The Purpose of the “Incarnation” is NOT just that of a sacrifice for God and for us.  It’s also to show us how to live in a way that Pleases God.  

 

  1. To do the Father’s will. John 6:38 CSB38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
  2. To reveal and bear witness to the truth. John 18:37 CSB – 37 Pilate said, “So you are a king! ”Jesus answered, “You are the one saying I am a king. This is why I was born and came into the world: to tell people the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me.”
  3. To bring light to the darkness. John 12:46 NLT46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.
  4. To bring true judgment. John 9:39 MSG39 Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”

 

  1. To bring us abundant life. John 10:10 NLT10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

 

  1. To be restored to the right relationship with God the Father. John 14:6 NLTJesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

 

CONCLUSION:

How can someone accept the Gift of God and deny the Incarnation of Christ?  You can’t!

1 John 4:1-2 CSB –  Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming; even now it is already in the world.

 

I is for Incarnation of Christ and it’s also for the Identity of Jesus!  His identity is absolutely critical since He is the foundation of our Christian Faith, Biblical Doctrine, all Truth and all that represents God.

 

The incarnation of Christ is extremely important.  The incarnation of Christ “God with us” affects every single area of the Christian Faith.

 

Without it there is no Sacrifice, no Savior and no Salvation!  There would be NO forgiveness of sin!   What kind of sick gift would that be from God?  That’s not love, that’s just cruel.

 

The Incarnation and the Identity of Christ…  if we deny that there is no such thing as Christmas!