Learning and Living the God-centered life

One Biblical Doctrine at a time…

Review for December 19

Since this was our last time together in 2010 I decided to bring a Bible devotion. I titled it “The Christmas Story and The glory of God.” However as I said in class today it could have been as easily called “The Christmas story and The doctrines of God.” We read from Luke 2:1-20 and I made the following 5 observations regarding this particular text.

Observation #1 - Jesus comes at the right time
Observation #2 - Jesus comes at the right place
Observation #3 - The manner in which Jesus comes
Observation #4 - The reason Jesus comes
Observation #5 - The response to when Jesus comes

Jesus comes at the right time
At the end of Luke chapter 1 verse 80 the curtain falls on the life of John the Baptist. And we don't know anything more than he was circumcised on the 8th day till his public ministry in the wilderness of Judea. But we do know that God was preparing John the Baptist to be the forerunner to prepare the way for Jesus Christ.

The curtain now rises on the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is going to be a birth not like any other birth. It will divide history into BC which means before Christ and AD which means “year of our Lord.” And not only will HIs perfect time of arrival divide the way we mark time on our calendars but it will divide the following:
Believer/non believer
God is the Father/the devil is the father
In Christ/in Adam

Jesus Christ intersects the history of the world at God’s perfect time. As I pondered on this timing several different verses came to mind.
John 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. The vast majority of Jews in the days of Christ and yes even today do not believe in Him. Then my thoughts moved to those who were His disciples. And though His timing to come as the God-man was perfect still many were prevented from seeing Him. And we learn from Luke 24 that it was because they had framed the wrong Jesus in their minds. In other words when we construct the Jesus we want instead of the Jesus who is, we are prevented from seeing Him. How often does Christ’s perfect timing show up in our lives by way of His word. But unfortunately we read it with hearts that are downcast. Many today have a Jesus who is a divine butler and cosmic bell hop. Is there any wonder why the eyes of these are prevented from seeing Him?
Our Lord Jesus has perfect timing to come into the world to save sinners and to come into our daily lives. Do we know this Jesus from His word not from what the culture tells us?

Everyone in Israel knew somethings about the Messiah
1. They knew He would come and be King
2. They knew He would come from the line of David and rule on His throne in Jerusalem forever
3. They knew from the book of Micah that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (house of bread)

Jesus comes to the right place
Luke newer quotes from Micah 5:2 but rather shows us how God sovereignly orchestrated the events in the life of Joseph and Mary to get Jesus to Bethlehem. It may help at this point to get a definition of sovereignty before us and we will be studying this later when we come to the doctrine of salvation.

Sovereignty means God plans and carries out His perfect will as He alone knows is best, over all that is in heaven and earth, and He does so without failure or defeat.
Sovereignty is a statement about God’s CONTROL over all things in His PLAN and His EXECTUING that plan.

How wide? - over all heaven and earth
How successful is God in this plan? - without failure or defeat

Let’s note a few Scriptures that support this doctrine

  • Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.
  • Genesis 20:6 where Abimelech is kept from sinning against the Lord by the Lord Himself.
  • Daniel 4:34-35 with regard to King Nebuchadnezzar
  • Ezra 1:1-4 the Scriptures tell us that God stirred the heart of King Cyrus
  • Ezra 6:22, 7:6 and again God moves in the heart of King Darius

Side note - We could talk also about Pharaoh and how God used him to bring to bring the people out of Egypt and through the Red Sea.

Look back in Matt. 2:15 He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.” This is a pointer to Christ who would one day redeem His people.

Now back to the text and the story of the birth of Jesus.

Since Joseph and Mary were only in Bethlehem for a few days then the birth had to happen at that very time. Luke makes sure the readers know this by his accurate historical account and he also knows his readers are familiar with the account in Micah. We can see that in Luke 2:1-3 that it was critical for Joseph and Mary to get to Bethlehem so Jesus could be born there. And little did Caesar Augustus know that his heart was being directed by God Himself in order to take the census and at what time it would be taken.

The manner in which Jesus came
Unfortunately because of our time constraints I wasn’t able to teach on this point of observation. However these are the following texts I had in my notes to cover with our class.

2Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
His manner was simple and uncomplicated. The focus was not on getting fortune, power and influence but to simply do the will of His Father. How many a man has been ruined in seeking for the riches of this world? You cannot serve Christ and money for you will either love one and hate the other.

Phillipians 2:1-8
Phil. 2:1 ¶ Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
Phil. 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Phil. 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
Phil. 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Phil. 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Phil. 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Phil. 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Phil. 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
He came in a manner of complete and utter humility. Jesus enters earth in human form so that we might be reconciled to God. We cannot comprehend with the finite mind that act of leaving glory and coming into a sin filled world. He gives up in a willing manner the divine privileges and comes on a rescue mission. Americans are not humble we saturate and breath the air of arrogance on a daily basis. I have said a number of times this year “a fish does not know that it is wet” and we don’t know we are arrogant. The only solution to arrogance is to have the manner of Christ flow in and through our lives. Oh there is much to say here but I will end.

John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. His manner becomes one of tabernacling with His people. The Greek word for dwelt in this text is tabernacle. And it points us back to the Tabernacle which Moses built under God’s command. The Tabernacle is a pointer for us to Christ. Jesus tabernacles with us on a daily basis, through the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of glorifying God the Father.

The reason Jesus came
I am reminded that Jesus comes primarily to glorify God.

Colossians 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

John 12:28 “Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

John 17:5Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

2Cor. 4:6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

Rom. 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
Rom. 3:26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

The response to Jesus coming into the world

Luke 2:20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.
Psalm 30:12 That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Hebrews 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

Therefore Christians should be the most thankful and praise manifesting people on planet earth. But in order to do so we need to think on the greatness of God, the sinfulness of our falling short of His glory and the grace and mercy of Christ who has saved us, is saving us and will save us on that day!