Dec 01, 2019 | Lee Becknell
The moment Christmas finally arrived. (hope)
* Here are some facts about Christmas from The History Channel Website from some years ago:
* Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone.
* In the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were rowdy and raucous—a lot like today’s Mardi Gras parties.
* From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in Boston by the Puritans, and law-breakers were fined five shillings.
* Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.
* The first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith’s 1607 Jamestown settlement.
* The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.
* Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.
* Those are all interesting, but the real, most important fact about Christmas are found in our text this morning.
- At the right moment in time God sent His son into the World.
Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,”
* Have you ever stopped to consider how important timing is to everything that exists? Do you plant tomato plants in November? Do you paint the outside of your house in January? Do you go swimming in the pond during February? No?
* Why not? It's not the right time! There is a right time for such activities. I think we would all agree that December is not the best time to try starting a diet, right?
* Think about the importance of timing for our daily lives. You are delayed at work, but because of the delay you missed a major accident on the interstate.
* Does one minute make a difference? Just ask those who made it out of the Twin Towers minutes before they collapsed. One moment, one sixty-second interval of time, placed in just the right location can make all the difference in the world.
Mark 1:14-15, “14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Luke 21:24, “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (NKJV)
Genesis 15:15-16, “But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
* A picture of God granting the Amorites grace up the final straw or in this case the final sin that would seal the fate of the Amorite people.
* The Bible says, "When the time came to completion, God sent His Son ... "
* Most people did not recognize the significance of Christ's birth at the time. People were much too busy to pay any attention to the young girl giving birth to her first child out in a stable there in Bethlehem.
* His coming was part of God's divine plan established before the foundation of the world. "Historians tell us that the Roman world was in great expectation, waiting for a deliverer, at the time Jesus was born. The old religions were dying. The old philosophies were empty and powerless to change men's lives.
* The world was at peace under Roman rule. Roman laws protected the citizens and Roman soldiers guarded the peace. At just the right time God sent His Son!
- Jesus came to redeem us from the law.
Galatians 4:5, “to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
* The law says, I am a sinner. The law says I deserve death. The law says I will never make it to heaven. But God says He loves sinners and by faith the demands of the law are fulfilled.
* Galatians 2:16, “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faithin Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
Galatians 2:19-21, “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
Galatians 3:13-14, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”
- Jesus came so we could be adopted as son’s into God’s family.
Galatians 4:5-7, “to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
* The New Testament word for adoption means “to place as an adult son.” It is all about our standing within the family of God: we are no longer little children, but full-grown, mature, adult sons with all the entitlements and privileges.
* Unfortunately, all the Bible translations do NOT make a distinction between sons of God and children of God. We have been made children of God through faith in Christ; we are born into His family. But every one of His children are automatically placed into His family as a son (your sex is important to God) but as a son you receive the same blessing whether your male of female. As a son we all receive all the rights and privileges of a literal son.
* I was not born a son, but by His glorious grace I was adopted into the family. I do not think that we can fully comprehend this awesome truth, to think that I am an heir of God.
* Abba is the Hebrew word for father. It is a word of endearment, more equivalent to our word daddy. My children called me Pops. Should they come up and call me father, I would be suspicious.
* Choose Jesus and you are choosing an abundant life on earth and an eternal life with Christ in heaven. It is just what you need for just this exact moment. That represents the miracle of Christmas.
A few days before Christmas a reporter named Lee, who worked for the Chicago Tribune - and an atheist, had written an article about a family called the Delgado’s: There was the grandmother named Perfecta and her two granddaughters, Jenny age 13 and her sister Lydia 11 years old. They lived on the west side of Chicago in a 2 room apartment with bare walls, no furniture, no rugs … nothing but a kitchen table and a handful of rice in the cupboards. The girls only had one short-sleeved dress a piece, plus a thin gray sweater that they shared. On cold days when the girls walked the ½ mile to school, one of the girls would start with the sweater and then give it to the other at the halfway mark. It was all they had. Perfecta wanted more for her granddaughters and would gladly have worked but her severe arthritis and age made work too difficult and painful. Lee’s article detailed their poverty in stark and powerful ways. A few days after he wrote his article, he visited the Delgado’s again. His article had touched the hearts of many subscribers who responded with furniture and appliances, rugs, dozens of coats, scarves and gloves. The girls wouldn’t have to share a sweater any longer. There was cartons and cartons and boxes of food everywhere. They had so much food that the cupboards and closets couldn’t contain it. Someone had even donated a Christmas tree, and under it were mounds of presents and thousands of dollars in cash! Lee was astonished! But what astonished him the most was what he found Perfecta and her granddaughters doing. They were preparing to give most of it away. "Why would you give so much of this away?" Lee asked. Perfecta responded, "Our neighbors are still in need. We cannot have plenty while they have nothing. This is what Jesus would want us to do." Then he asked Perfecta what she thought about the generosity that was shown to them. She said, "This is wonderful. We did nothing to deserve this; it’s all a gift from God. But it is not his greatest gift, Lee. No, we celebrate that tomorrow. Jesus." Lee was speechless. And as he drove back to the office, he began to reflect on a few things: He had plenty. But along with that… he had plenty of anxiety, by contrast, the Delgado’s - despite their poverty – were at peace. Lee had everything and yet wanted more, but the Delgado’s had nothing and yet were generous. Even though Lee had so much more than the Delgado’s, he longed for what they had. By the way, the journalist and self-proclaimed atheist - his full name is Lee Strobel. This encounter with the Delgado’s shook his unbelief and eventually led to his accepting the call of Christ. He’s become a prolific writer for the faith of Christianity and one his most famous books is “The Case for Christianity.” All because he met people who had the hope and peace Jesus had promised.