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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

As we celebrate Christmas, we are celebrating the coming of Jesus. But Jesus, the child born in the manger, the man nailed to a cross and risen from the dead, already came. So whose coming are we anticipating?

What do the following scriptures tell us about the story of Jesus yet to come?
Colossians 3:4

2 Timothy 4:1

Revelation 5:5

Revelation 21:3-7

Revelation 22:12

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In the flurry of activity surrounding Christmas, one can lose sight of the wonder and awe of the one true and living God, the one who calls Himself I AM and EMANUEL. It is also possible to overlook precision of the plan, the scarlet thread deliberately woven through the fabric of God’s revelation, connecting the books, written by different authors, from various walks of life, over many generations.

This Christmas, look for the scarlet thread, consider the Weaver, the love evidenced in the fabric woven before the foundations of time, God’s plan for salvation.

God prepared the perfect place for man to live in perfect fellowship with Him . . . the garden, in the east of Eden . . .

God allowed them to choose; they chose death, spiritual and physical.

BUT GOD had a plan to restore life . . .

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel . . .

The plan is slowly revealed . .

God provided a sacrifice for Adam and Eve, a covering for each of them before they left the garden.

God saved Noah . . .

God called Abraham out of a pagan land filled with idolatry to walk by faith in an unseen God.

God asked Abraham for faith, seen in the willing sacrifice of a son by a father in obedience to the God he loved. God provided Himself a sacrifice, so Isaac was spared.

From Isaac, came Jacob and the 12 tribes. The Messiah was to be the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

The 12 tribes were held captive in Egypt and suffered under the bondage of Pharaoh.

BUT GOD sent a deliverer, Moses, a picture of the ultimate deliverer, Jesus, who God would one day send to deliver the world, from sin.

God gave His people the law through Moses, laying out how sinful man might approach a holy God.

The Law was a school master showing the people their inability to measure up, their ultimate need for a Savior, a Redeemer.

In the wilderness, God gave signs of the Coming One, bringing living water from the Rock, raining down the bread of life from heaven, a pillar of fire by night and a cloud of protection by day.

God drew the plans for a temporary dwelling place for Him in the wilderness, the Tabernacle. It was a picture of Jesus, the Way to fellowship with the Father.

At the entrance of the Tabernacle was the altar, where the blood would be spilled, the sin offering, the atoning sacrifice for sin.

Next was the Laver, a place for cleansing, for reflection like the water of His Word, which washes us clean and shows us who we are.

Then, the Holy Place, to be entered only by the Priests where there were many pictures of Jesus, the lampstand (the light of the world), the show bread (the bread of life), and the altar of incense (the intercessor).

Finally, the Holy of Holies where only the High Priest could enter and then only once a year. It was a clear picture of our separation from God, our need for a mediator. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, would tear the veil and forever remove the barrier separating us from God, allowing us to run boldly to the throne of grace.

God’s plan was to be all-inclusive . . . Consider Rehab, a pagan temple prostitute in the messianic line.

Consider Ruth, the Moabitess, also in the line of the Messiah. We see the love of Boaz, the Kinsman Redeemer, for the foreigner, Ruth. Boaz is a foreshadowing of our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus. Boaz lived in Bethlehem, growing barley in fields near where, one day, our Kinsman Redeemer would lay in a manger.

Consider David, the King God chose, a lowly shepherd boy, watching his sheep in those same fields outside of Bethlehem.

Over time, the people fell away; they left God and sought after idols. They played the harlot, and God forsook them. They were taken into captivity in Babylon.

BUT GOD, in His great mercy, preserved a remnant.

Consider Esther. A Queen in a place of influence to save her people from total destruction.

Through the remnant, God restores Jerusalem and rebuilds the temple. However, the people again find themselves in captivity. This time, they are under the domination of the Roman Empire, and God has been silent for some 400 years.

BUT GOD has not forgotten His promise to Abraham. He has not abandoned His plan for salvation.

In Bethlehem, as foretold by the Prophets of Old, would be born a King. All the Old Testament signs and foreshadows come into focus in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

It was God’s plan to save man. It was God’s mercy to provide Himself a sacrifice for the sins of man. He sent Jesus to be the mediator between a Holy God and sinful man. It was God’s intention that the Word would become flesh and dwell among us that we might know God’s love.

No one is righteous; all fall short of God’s law.
The just punishment for violation of God’s law is death.
We’re all dead men walking.
We can’t save ourselves.
We are at the mercy of God.

Jesus, the son of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of Jesse, the Promised One, the Messiah . . . He provides the covering for our sins. On the cross at Calvary, He laid down His life, an atoning sacrifice for the sin of mankind. He died and was placed in tomb. On the 3rd day, as He promised, He rose again, conquering death once and for all. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

He is the Way . . . the only Way.

May your Christmas be spent worshiping the true and living God who died that you might live . . . forever.

 

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It was love, mere love; it was free love that brought the Lord Jesus Christ into our world. What, shall we not remember the birth of our Jesus? Shall we yearly celebrate the birth of our temporal king, and shall that of the King of Kings be quite forgotten? Shall that only, which ought to be had chiefly in remembrance, be quite forgotten? God forbid!

No, my dear brethren, let us celebrate and keep this festival of our church with joy in our hearts: let the birth of a Redeemer, which redeemed us from sin, from wrath, from death, from hell, be always remembered; may this Savior’s love never be forgotten! But may we sing forth all his love and glory as long as life shall last here, and through an endless eternity in the world above! May we chant forth the wonders of redeeming love and the riches of free grace, amidst angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, without intermission, forever and ever!

And as, my brethren, the time for keeping this festival is approaching, let us consider our duty in the true observation thereof, of the right way for the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls, to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; an event which ought to be had in eternal remembrance.

George Whitefield, Selected Sermons of George Whitefield

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Who is He? The world has struggled with this issue since Jesus came on the scene more than 2000 years ago. Was Jesus simply a man? Was he a great prophet or teacher? Or was He the Christ–the Messiah–the Promised One, fulfilling hundreds of prophecies of the Old Testament prophets?

1. What does Isaiah 7:14 foretell about Jesus (the Messiah-the Promised One)?

2. What does Isaiah 9:6-7 tell us about the Messiah?

3. What additional information is given regarding the Messiah in Isaiah 11:1?

4. What do you learn from Isaiah 53:1-3

5. When did Isaiah live and give his prophecies?

6. What does the prophet Micah tell us about the birth place of Messiah in Micah 5:2?

7. When did the prophet Micah live and give his prophecies?

8. What does the prophet Zechariah tell us about the Promised One in Zechariah 9:9?

9. When did the prophet Zechariah live and give his prophecies?

10. When read these prophecies, given hundreds of years before the person they describe was born, by three different men, and you learn that they came true in the person of Jesus, what does that make you think about the Bible? God?

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We catch sight of a new key principle–the power of the Higher, just in so far as it is truly Higher, to come down, the power of the greater to include the less . . . Everywhere the great enters the little–its power to do so is almost the test of its greatness. In the Christian story God . . . comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; . . . down to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created. But he goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him . . . [O]ne may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the death-like region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to color and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover.”

C.S. Lewis, Miracles

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Baby Jesus, small and soft
born that star-filled night
for ages prophets had foretold
Light to pierce the night

Your heavenly home You left behind
put eternal things aside
to enter human time and space
and temporarily abide.

why would You,
Almighty King
Lord of all the Lords
come down to earth to be with us
so far below Your throne

the cross it is the centerpiece
instrument of pain
see where blood was flowing down
the lamb on it was slain

the living, it was needful
without blemish You were found
yet dying was the pinnacle
my sins they stained the ground

in dying You gave your life for me
propitiatory substitute
in rising You opened eternity
rendered the accuser mute

a baby born to humble means
lain in a manger bare
is only part the story told
look further if you dare

the only true and living God
the one they call “I AM”
He kept His promise in the child
He sent His Son, the Lamb

Copyright M.E. Mullin Bush

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Who is He?
The world has struggled with this issue since Jesus came on the scene more than 2000 years ago. Was Jesus simply a man? Was he a great prophet or teacher? Or was He the Christ–the Messiah–the Promised One, fulfilling hundreds of prophecies of the Old Testament prophets?

1. What does Isaiah 7:14 foretell about Jesus (the Messiah-the Promised One)?

2. What does Isaiah 9:6-7 tell us about the Messiah?

3. What additional information is given regarding the Messiah in Isaiah 11:1?

4. What do you learn from Isaiah 53:1-3

5. When did Isaiah live and give his prophecies?

6. What does the prophet Micah tell us about the birth place of Messiah in Micah 5:2?

7. When did the prophet Micah live and give his prophecies?

8. What does the prophet Zechariah tell us about the Promised One in Zechariah 9:9?

9. When did the prophet Zechariah live and give his prophecies?

10. When read these prophecies, given hundreds of years before the person they describe was born, by three different men, and you learn that they came true in the person of Jesus, what does that make you think about the Bible? God?

Closer to the birth of Jesus, months before, we are given additional information about Jesus.
Read Luke 1
11. What has Mary been chosen to do? Why?

12. What prophetic information is given about the child in this chapter? Provide a verse reference.

13. What happens when Mary goes to visit Elizabeth? What prophetic information does Elizabeth speak about the child Mary is carrying?

After Jesus was born, people were still speaking about His future and who He was.
Read Luke 2:8-15
14. What was spoken about the Messiah to the shepherds? Who delivered the message?

Read John 1
15. What do you learn about Jesus from this chapter? On what did John base his knowledge about Jesus?

16. What does Peter say about Jesus in Matthew 16:13-17? Who does Jesus say gave him that information?

17. What does Jesus say about who He is in the following verses?
▸ Matthew 9:6

▸ Matthew 26:63-64

▸ Mark 8:31

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