Because He Came–sermon text version

It is appropriate on this 4th Sunday of Advent to take a bird’s eye view of why Jesus came.  It is hinted at in the final verses of the prayer in our Acts passage (Acts 4:27-30) and therefore, I thought it was fitting that today we pause to see the bigger picture.

How often do we rush through Christmas without truly taking time to ponder the incredible difference His birth made?

I spend a lot of time driving to the airport.  There’s a billboard that always catches my attention.  It says “Become a Difference-Maker.”  On my drive up here each week, I pass a billboard that says, “Because the world needs more strong women.”  Both are from educational institutions.  While both catch my attention, neither one points to the education we really need!

That’s the role of the Church: to teach Who is the real Difference-Maker…the One that the world really needed then and still needs today.

Because the truth is that—on our own as humanity—we’re just a mist, vapor in the air that sunlight diminishes to nothing.  Absorbed into the atmosphere.  Here one minute.  Gone the next.

Or as the punishment in Genesis outlined, we’re dust to dust.  To the serpent (the architect of evil) God says,

Genesis 3:15 And 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.” [This is called the protoevangelion, the first mention of the Christ, the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Savior…even as God continues to outline the punishment!]  16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

In our Advent reading, we saw this Seed as Immanuel, “God with us.”

Matthew 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”

He will save his people from their sins.”

Jesus is the Difference-Maker.  He makes an eternal difference!

In today’s passage of Acts we see this Seed of woman as the holy servant Jesus.  But as a world of evil would do,

Acts 4:27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus,

The Whole World was Against Him.

4:27 (cont) whom you anointed.

But God was For Him.

Acts 4: 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

They crucified Him.

But God raised Him from the dead.

29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”  

heart-earth-cropThe World Still Hates Him.  But God still loves us and reaches out to save us.  He is God with us, Immanuel!

Let’s recap our situation:

  • The Whole World was Against Him.  But God was For Him.
  • The Whole World crucified Him.  But God raised Him from the dead.
  • The World Still Hates Him.  But God still loves us and reaches out to us continually….to save us.  He is God with us, Immanuel!

Take a look at this Difference-Maker, the One the world truly needs! 

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

What an amazing statement!  It ought to give us pause, like it did the Grinch:

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

Here’s what Christmas means:  Jesus was born as our Difference Maker.  Because the world needed Him! 

Because He came, dust to dust doesn’t need to be our final and only destiny.

Because He came, sin’s perpetual curse doesn’t need to be our lot.

Because He came, we can be forgiven, once for all time!

Because He came, humanity’s attempts at saving ourselves never need to be our only resource.

Because He came, the True Light penetrated the darkness and the darkness will never overcome Him.

Because He came,, God demonstrated that His love is so magnificent it would show supremely in the ultimate sacrifice.  And it’s while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!

Because He came, the death the world conspired to achieve would be the very means by which God desired to save us.

Because He came, there is a tomorrow. Of hope.  Of peace.  Of joy.  Of love.  Of everlasting life.

Because He came, sin no longer rules over us.

Because He came, death has been defeated.

Because He came, the gates of hell will not overcome us.

Because He came, the gates of heaven are open wide!  And the angels sing each time someone who has been lost is found!

Because He came, the good news is really, really Good!  It’s good for you.  And it’s good for me.

Because He came, we have seen the Father!

Because He came, we know the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Because He came,, we can know, enjoy, and take part in the Resurrection!

Because He came, we can find the narrow door and have access to the very throne room of God in prayer.

Because He came, the Holy Spirit can dwell in our hearts and remind us of everything Jesus taught in His lifetime.

Because He came, we know what Love looks like.

Because He came,  our lives have purpose and meaning!

Because He came, we can wrestle through the splendid mystery of how the Almighty God—the very One who created the entire universe– fit in such a tiny package as this Infant Holy, Infant Lowly, lying in a manger.

Because He came, God’s angels sing, God’s people rejoice, and demons tremble with fear.

Because He came, Christmas means far more than what money can buy or what comes from a store.  Jesus is the Difference Maker!

Because He came, our greatest joy on Christmas morning can be found in a manger, and not under a tree.

Because He came, we know the very meaning of Merry Christmas!

Let’s pray.

====this message was first preached by Barbara Shafer at Plymouth Congregational Church of Racine, WI on Sunday, December 21, 2014.

Categories Chapel Worship/News | Tags: | Posted on December 24, 2014

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Leave a Reply