Last one of the season. You may have seen it already. This one by the “singing monks.”
Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category
Terry Enns shares several things that are true because Christ has been born!
- We have a mediator between God and man. We have an Advocate that intercedes on our behalf against the one who always accuses us in the presence of God. And our Advocate and Mediator never loses a case.
- We know the greatest demonstration of God’s love in general — how patient is His love towards all men — and His love in particular for those of us who have been redeemed — what the Lord has endured and done to make us His own!
- We are no longer in bondage to the Law.
- We are free from sin. And we are free and able to obey the law and commands of God.
- We have the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit; and we have the gifts and fruit of the Spirit working in and through our lives.
- Because Christ has come, serving others is not a burden, but a privilege. And that sentence makes perfect sense and does not sound strange to us.
- We have an example of humility that is worth following.
- We have seen, through the eyes of Peter and John, the glory of Christ’s transfiguration.
- We have a testimony of Scripture that has been made more sure and certain.
- We have the great Shepherd of the sheep and have known of His power through many faithful undershepherds. (Who are the shepherds — dead and alive — who have fed your souls since the infancy of your faith?)
- We have the example and power of One who has been tempted in all ways as we have, yet without sin. He then is a worthy substitute for us and a gracious example to follow.
- We are in the Father. We belong to Him. We are secure in a paternal relationship and we will never be alone again.
- We have been adopted as God’s Son. We are now the brother of Christ and part of the bride for Christ. We are in every way secure in God’s heavenly family, with all the privileges of being in that family.
- We not only have a relationship to God, but we have relationships and fellowship with each other. We have friends that are closer than brothers.
- We have been reconciled to God and to one another. As Gentiles (most of us), we have been reconciled to God’s chosen people, Israel. And that means it is also possible for a white man to love a black man. And we do.
- We have a tangible example of what a real father and husband is and does. And we have the ability to do what He has exemplified for us.
- We have been given a treasured message to dwell in us. We have a message of hope for those who are sad and weak. We have something to tell others that will sustain, encourage, strengthen, and equip them.
- We have the New Testament. We have a sure guide and a confident hope for what is to come.
- We know of Gabriel and Michael and their power over Satanic angels and their message of grace to Zecharias, Mary and the shepherds. And that is hopeful — if the shepherds can be given grace then maybe so can we…
- We have, because of the Spirit’s gifting, ongoing ministry in the church.
- Our blind eyes now see, our deaf ears hear, our ignorant minds understand, and our cold hearts are made warm to the truth of God. In fact, we now love the truth and we love to have it revealed to us, even when (especially when?) we are rebuked by it, for then change becomes possible.
- We know what it means to be remorseful and repentant. We look forward to confessing sin to God and each other. We know that there is a certainty of restored fellowship on the other side of repentance.
- We no longer hate God and resist Him. We love Him and His righteous standard. Instead of being His enemy we are now His friends.
- We have a divine intercessor with the Father. Our prayers are heard! And our unsanctified prayers are sanctified by this Intercessor.
- We know the peace that God gives. We have a peace that is not like that which the world gives.
- We can eat and drink to the glory of God. The most mundane tasks — drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning — finds its meaning in Christ.
- We can live with humble means and with plenty and be content with either. We do not despair in our humility and we do not idolize and find our satisfaction in our prosperity because in both circumstances we still have the greatest possession of Christ.
- We know the One who is worthy to open the scroll of God and receive the worship of all men.
- We have the only thing worth living for — to live is Christ. He is our life.
- Satan is defeated. Because Christ came it is made evident that he does not win.
- Sin is not hopeless; death is not ultimate. Heaven is our certainty. Fellowship is our confidence. Life with Christ is ultimate.
From John Piper’s 2008 Together 4 the Gospel Conference message titled “How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice”. Christ is supreme because:
He is God’s final revelation
He is the heir of all things
He is the creator of the world
He is the radiance of God’s glory
He is the exact imprint of God’s nature
He upholds the universe by the word of His power
He made purification for sins
He sits at the right hand of the Majesty
He is God enthroned forever with the scepter of uprightness
He is worshiped by angels
His rule will have no end
His joy is above all other things in the universe
He took on human flesh
He was crowned with glory and honor because of his suffering
He was the founder of our salvation
He was made perfect in all of his obedience by his suffering
He destroyed the one who had the power of death
He delivered us from the bondage of fear
He is a merciful and faithful high priest
He made propitiation for sins
He is sympathetic because of His own trials
He never sinned
He offered up loud cries and tears with reverent fear and God heard him
He became the source of eternal salvation
He holds His priesthood by virtue of an indestructible life
He appears in the presence of God on our behalf
He will come a second time to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
(HT: Gospel Driven Church)
The Christmas story in 6 part harmony (compiled by Frank Turk). A longer reading than just Luke 2 but might be useful for your Christmas Eve/Christmas Day family worship:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to her. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But Mary was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God. … For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.
A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
And at the end of eight days, when [the child] was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
(they said this because the prophet Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, and he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his discourse and said,
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;”)
After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
C. J. Mahaney explains why Christmas should disturb us.
“Don’t get me wrong—Christmas should be a wonderful celebration. Properly understood, the message of Christmas confronts before it comforts, it disturbs before it delights.”
Read more about why a real understanding of Christmas should disturb us.
The obvious answer is “in Bethlehem.” The second answer most people quickly give is “in a barn–a stable.” But if we dig a little deeper into the Word of God and the living quarters of that time, perhaps it wasn’t exactly what we might think.
Here’s one possibility offered from current research at Answers in Genesis that I think is worth thinking about.
Regardless of where he was born, we ought to focus most on the fact that He was born! He was born in Bethlehem–just like Micah predicted 700 years before it happened!