3Kings - King of Kings
December 24, 2011 Series: 3Kings
Passage: 1 Peter 1:12–1:12
CALL TO WORHIP: BELLS
Good Evening, you could have been with many different families tonight, I am grateful you came to be with ours. Christmas is the ultimate contradiction. It is the day we celebrate the fact that the God who created the universe entered into that creation. It is a day about a God who gave up everything, celebrated by consuming everything. It is a day that focuses on the fact that Jesus is the hero of the story, spent concerned over what I might get, or how they might like my gift. It is a day that God was introduced to the world, not as a pretty gift wrapped in bows and tinsel, but as a tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. Not in a palace, but in a barn. Not in some great city, but in the little town of Bethlehem.
So, we are not here today to impress or entertain. We’re not going to make it snow; we don’t have a kid’s choir; we don’t have bell ringers; we didn’t put together a cut play for you. In fact, tonight as with every time we gather, is not about us or you at all. We’re gathering here not as an event, but as the people of God to worship Him. The focus of our worship will be that little baby that was a king—the King of Kings. We will worship the king that came into the world greeted by lowly shepherds instead of great crowds. We gather this morning to recognize not only that He did come, but remember why: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. 1 Timothy 1.15. Prayer
SONG: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
READ: PASTOR CHRIS/MARK (Jesus revealed Himself to the Weak)
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 great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of 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. Luke 2.8-20
The great angelic hosts fill the sky to declare the glory of God to…a few shepherds. Men who slept out in their fields with their animals. Men who were looked down upon as the dirty, smelly, good for nothing portions of society. They had been written off by everyone, except for God.
And so we get a picture here of what Jesus can and does do. He changes people. In placing these two groups, the worshipping angels and the lowly shepherds together in the same story, God shows us how He works. He takes those who are nothing and turns them into something. He takes the things that we think are worthless, and He makes them worthy. He takes those who no glory, and shares with them His glory.
God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 1 Cor 1.27-29
SONG(S): God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen* / Hark the Herald Angels Sing*
READ: PASTOR CHRIS/MARK_(Jesus revealed Himself as the Weak)
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53.2-3
The God of creation entered into human life…born into a stable, birthed by an unwed mother. There was nothing noble about His beginnings. There was nothing exceptional about His parents. His appearance was nothing to write home about. His life was no picnic. Jesus was a normal guy.
But there was also something about Him that was not at all normal: HE IS THE KING OF ALL THINGS. We see in the birth and life of Jesus, a willingness of God to not only have sympathy on us our sin, but empathy as well. Jesus Christ did not just sit in heaven and dwell in the glory that He deserves. Nor did He enter into this world in the form of an earthly king. Instead, He suffered the humility, pain, and rejection that we do. He did it by choice, and He did it for us.
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering….Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2.10, 14-18
SONG: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
SERMONETTE: PASTOR SAM (Jesus, the glory of God, came to GLORIFY God by dying FOR the weak in the most glorious way.)
I’d like to ask all of us one important, uncomfortable question. If JESUS stopped being the REASON for YOUR season, would your Christmas celebration look any different than it does today? I believe that when we understand who Jesus truly is (Eternal Son of God) and what He did, God’s gift of HIMSELF at Christmas should so amaze us, so much that any other reason for the season cannot help but pale in comparison. The Bible says that the angels were amazed at God’s love for man. A famous, and rather controversial ‘paraphraser’ of the Bible (JB PHILIPS) wrote a short a conversation between angels discussing the miracle of Christmas:
Once upon a time a very young angel was being shown round the splendours and glories of the universes by a senior and experienced angel. To tell the truth, the little angel was beginning to be tired and a little bored. He had been shown whirling galaxies and blazing suns, infinite distances in the deathly cold of inter-stellar space, and to his mind there seemed to be an awful lot of it all. Finally he was shown the galaxy of which our planetary system is but a small part. As the two of them drew near to the star which we call our sun and to its circling planets, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere turning very slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis-ball to the little angel, whose mind was filled with the size and glory of what he had seen.
"I want you to watch that one particularly," said the senior angel, pointing with his finger.
"Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me," said the little angel. "What's special about that one?"
"That," replied his senior solemnly, "is the Visited Planet."
"Visited?" said the little one. "you don't mean visited by --------?
"Indeed I do. That ball, which I have no doubt looks to you small and insignificant and not perhaps over-clean, has been visited by our young Prince of Glory." And at these words he bowed his head reverently.
"But how?" queried the younger one. "Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince, with all these wonders and splendours of His Creation, and millions more that I'm sure I haven't seen yet, went down in Person to this fifth-rate little ball? Why should He do a thing like that?"
"It isn't for us," said his senior a little stiffly, "to question His 'why's', except that I must point out to you that He is not impressed by size and numbers, as you seem to be. But that He really went I know, and all of us in Heaven who know anything know that. As to why He became one of them - how else do you suppose could He visit them?"
The little angels face wrinkled in disgust.
"Do you mean to tell me," he said, "that He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?"
"I do, and I don't think He would like you to call them 'creeping, crawling creatures' in that tone of voice. For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them.
The birth of Jesus may have been humble by the standards of sinful men, but as we see in the rejoicing of the angels before the Shepherds, it was a big deal in heaven. The birth of Jesus marked a moment that all of creation had been waiting anxiously for since sin entered the world—the day our Creator took on human flesh and was born into that creation. The birth of Jesus is not about a perfect little baby, in a pristine nativity scene, with a glowing orb around His head. The birth of Jesus is about our real and Holy God doing the real work needed to bring sinful people back to Himself. Christmas is one chapter in God’s bigger redemption story.
You cannot truly keep “Christ in Christmas” without telling the whole story. The manger is simply a prequel to the empty tomb. Christmas is about our Lord Jesus submitting Himself to the creatures and the creation that He was truly King of. Christmas our God in human flesh, entering a sinful world, growing up like us but without sin, that he might die the death we deserved for our sins, at the voices and by the hands he created. Christmas is the true historical story of Jesus being born a man, giving up His glory, for a time, so that we can share in His glory for all time.
The true light, which gives light to 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 peopler 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. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1.9-14
Holy, Holy, Holy*/ Joy to the World* /O Holy Night*
As we go our many ways to celebrate in many different ways, we go one more time to the Word of God to describe how He sees this day: Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
Today we celebrate the fact that Jesus has made it possible for us to have life. Go enjoy that life with your families. Go in the grace and peace of Jesus Christ. AMEN.