December 2, 2005

I mentioned in an earlier post that the church where we worship will be working with the “Toys For Tots” program in our zip code area. The following is a hand out we will be sharing with the families that we minister too.

Matt. 1:23, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated means GOD WITH US.”

We want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of your Christmas. The Madison church is not just a large group of people, we are a family that cares about you and your family. We want you to know that our desire to be of service is not limited to the Christmas season. While we are eager to help with your physical needs, we are also here to assist you with your spiritual needs as well. During this wonderful season of the year we celebrate the birth of the Son of God. While we give gifts to each other during this time, we realize that Jesus is the reason for the season. But have you ever ask….WHY WAS JESUS BORN?

The writer of the book of Hebrews answers the question this way. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he to shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is the devil. — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Heb. 2:14-15.

Jesus was born to be human, like you and me. One writer explains it this way. “One cold day a Christian was walking down the street and noticed that someone had thrown a handful of bird seed on the ground to keep feathered creatures from dying from the wintry blast. Dozens of hungry little sparrows had descended on it for an unexpected feast. As he came closer, the birds became anxious. Another step and they prepared to fly. A step or two more and they all flew away—leaving their banquet table unfinished. The man stopped looked and reflected. Why had the sparrows scattered on the wing, when he had no sinister intention toward them? Then it dawned on him: It was not his intention, but his person that had scared them. He was so big! The only way he could have walked among those birds without scaring them would have been to become a sparrow himself, fly down among them, and share their existence.”

You see, that is exactly what Jesus did. He became one of us to be able to relate to us. Even though He was the very Son of God His birth was not in a Palace, but a stable. His bed was not covered in fine linens, but straw. Those who celebrated at his birth were not those of means, but lowly shepherds. That little baby lying in a feed trough was God’s son. The angel that visited Mary told her that she would give birth to a son, “and they will call him Immanuel—which means “God with us”, Matt. 1:23. In the Gospel of John, John tells us that this little baby was with God in the beginning of time and that He created the world and everything in it, John 1:1-3. In John 1:14 he tells us that this same creator became flesh – human, just like you and me. But that is not the only reason He was born.

John tells us that He came to show us what God was like. “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” John 1:18. In John 14:9 Jesus tells Philip, one of His disciples, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” He truly was the “God Man”. Altogether God and altogether man at the same time.

Jesus was not only born to be like us and to show us what God is like. He was born to die for us. Here is what the Apostle Paul said to a group of Christians in the city of Philippi, “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.” Phil. 2:6-8. You see Jesus was born to die. His mission was not to just be like us, and show us what the Father is like, but to also die for us. Mankind has a problem that only God can solve. The problem is sin. Sin separates us from fellowship with God. Because God is perfect and holy He can’t have fellowship with us. We could never do enough good works to solve the problem. We can’t reform our lives and live without sinning to solve the problem. Yet justice demands that sin be punished. Just as it would not be right to open all the jails and let murders and thieves go free, the scales have to be balanced in some way, and we are helpless to do it ourselves. So God sent His perfect, sinless Son, so that through his death on the cross for us He could pay the price for our sin and make it possible for us to have fellowship with the Father..

The price was paid by Jesus, but that doesn’t solve our personal sin problem until we respond to God’s gift for us. In what may be the most familiar verse in all the Bible John said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. Faith in who Jesus is and what He did for us is the first step toward a saving relationship with Jesus. But Jesus not only wants to be your Savior, He also wants to be the Lord of your life. Faith in Christ causes a change of direction in our lives. The Apostle Peter said, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…” Acts 3:19. Repentance is a 180 degree turn from a life of practicing sin, to a life of serving Christ. Like faith, repentance is another step toward Christ and the “wiping out” of our sin.

Faith is the foundation of our forgiveness, repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of direction in our life. Now Jesus wants us to verbalize our decision. “..if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…” Rom. 10:9. There are no secret Christians. Jesus wants us to acknowledge Him publicly as our Lord.

This whole process of faith, confession and repentance is describe as dying with Christ, “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” Rom. 6:8. We not only die with Him, we are also buried with Him. Notice how the Apostle Paul describes this process, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Rom. 6:1-4. This is why Peter told a large group of people convicted of their sin to, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38.

We believe in Him. We turn from a life of sin toward Him. We confess Him, and then are buried with Him in baptism for the remission of our sins. Did you notice? It is all about HIM. What we could not do on our own, He has done. His grace and mercy makes this all possible.

What now? Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. Jesus established the church and calls it His body, Col. 1:17,18. The church, the body of Christ, is a place to belong. It is a place that helps us stay connected to Jesus and grow as a Christian.

Why was He born? To become like us, to show us the Father, and then to die and be resurrected for us. It was all for us, but it was all about Him. If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord, we stand ready to help you. What a great gift that would be. To make Jesus the Lord of your life this Christmas.


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