Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church
Charles Shultz Ė The creator of peanuts- Charlie Brown, was a Christian. I love his made for TV show- A Charlie Brown Christmas- in it Charlie Brown is frustrated and wants to know what Christmas is all about and Linus says, "Ö for there is born to you this day, in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)
Itís not about the baking, the shopping, the gifting, the decorating, the cards and greetings, or the pageants or the parties. Itís about the birth of the Savior.
And His birth is more than something to give us warm fuzzy feelings; more than teaching us to give generously, more than how to endure hardships, itís even more than worship, though worship ought to be in every way part of our response and celebration of Christmas. Christmas is about the birth of a Savior.
When the angel appeared to Mary, he said that He was to be called Jesus (2:31). Eight days after the Baby was born, He was circumcised, and officially named and was given the name Jesus. (2:21)
Back up with me and look at Matthew 1:20ff. The angel appears to Joseph and said to marry Mary and thus care for an raise the child as an adoptive parent and call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
Now forgive me, but at the time, the name Jesus was not a special name. It was simply the Greek rendering of the Hebrew name Joshua. Lots of people were named Joshua or Jesus. The first century historian Josephius names 20 men of prominence, ten living at the time of our Jesus who were named Jesus. History even says that Barabbasí first name was Jesus. But the angel is
very specific about why Joseph is to give this name to Maryís baby, "for He will save His people from their sins." You see, the name means, Jehovah saves, or, our God saves. Salvation is the reason for Christmas. This baby was born to be a hero, a savior. A greater hero than any fiction can portray. In fact the Isaiah 9:6 prophecy that says, His name shall be called, "Öthe
Mighty GodÖ" actually means the strong hero God. Iím not making that up, you can check it out.
This morning, I want to take this verse apart for you (Matt. 1:21) because this is what Christmas is all about.
Itís about God coming in the flesh (Immanuel), to rescue us, and reconcile us, and give us the most fantastic gift imaginable.
I. The Son of God who is God the Son
"You shall call His name Jesus, as a fulfillment of Isaiahís prophecy (Isaiah 7:14). The Baby is God with us. For about a month on Wednesday evenings we have looked at the incarnation of Jesus.
Isaiah 43:11, "Besides me there is no savior." This baby is God.
II. The Salvation which the Son of the God gives.
His name and the angelís announcement is that of salvation. The word for save or salvation is Ďsozo,í which is used as our English word. It means to rescue from danger of harm. Though he lived as a perfect example of obedience and sinless-ness, and though He showed us how to love one another, and though He taught us to know God and His laws and ways more perfectly, these
are not the primary reasons for His coming to us. His primary mission was to be a hero and rescue us.
But why did we need rescuing? The answer is because of the danger and consequences of our sins.
III. The Significant Dangers of our Sins.
A. The Definition of Sin.
There are various definitions of sin, like, disobedience to God and His laws, or living contrary to the holiness of God, or the one I use a lot, "seeking to satisfy our wants and needs independent of Godís will."
There are 5 Greek words that help us to understand what sin is:
- Sin, the word is Ďhamartia.í This word in Rom. 3:23 literally means to miss the mark. Paul actually defines the word as he applies it to all of us. Kinda like an archer and an a arrow.
- Trespass. The word is, Ďparaptoma,í which is an unintentional slipping or fall, an unplanned, unintentional breaking of the law. Like not knowing property lines and being on property that you arenít supposed to be on, or not seeing the posted speed limit decline. Youíve been there.
- Transgression. ĎParabasis,í is an intentional breaking of the law. Remember Red Skeltonís little kid character, "If I do it, I get a whopping, I do it anyway." You know what I mean. This is something I know I am not supposed to do. It is wrong but I am still going to do it, like setting your cruise control on 70 when the speed limit is clearly 55.
- Lawlessness or iniquity is, Ďanomia.í This is a flagrant rebellious action. A defiant disobedience against God.
- Debt, as in the Lordís prayer in Matthew, is ĎOpheiloma,í and it means what it says, a debt of moral and spiritual quality that must be paid. It kind of defines the results of any sinful action.
Now the Bible clearly says that we are all guilty of sin
- Rom. 3:10; 23; 5:12
- Eccl. 7:20
Therefore, everyone of us are under the consequences and condemnation of sin.
B. A Description of Sins Consequences.
I am not going to spend a lot of time on this but I want us to get a grasp of the consequences of sin in our personal lives as well as the world.
Going all the way back to the garden of Eden, we know the story. Eve and Adam ate the fruit that they were forbidden to eat and consequently brought the curse of sin on the human race (Romans 5:10). Consider the following:
- Pain in bearing children. Labor in child birth, that I donít think the animal kingdom experiences. Maybe the pain is a reminder of the fact that our children will live in a painful world. I donít know.
- Leadership issues. Male leadership was announced by God here and the struggle that many women have with that is also described as a result of the fall into sin. The phrase "your desire will be for your husband" (3:16) is the same wording as in 4:7. The desire will not be for a husband but for His position. It is a struggle for men and women to this day as the whole
womenís lib movement of the end of the 20th century bears out.
- Work for survival will be unpleasant (3:17-19).
- The earth is cursed with weeds, thorns and thistles (3:17-18), consider the groanings of pain in the earth that Romans 8 speaks of. I believe that this is all the natural disasters that the earth experiences as it awaits a new day.
- The Depravity of the Human race. From the very beginning with murder in the family, and inhumanity to our kind because for the selfish and self centered nature that we have all been born with. What is the evening news and newspapers largely about? Crime and violence. All of us are sinners.
- The Destruction of health and the aging process. Sin brought in germs, disease, deformity, disability and death.
- The Destruction of relationships. No sin is private. Every sin affects someone else, resulting in pain, and the death of marriages or respect, or friendships, or reputations, or employment.
- Death now on the vertical level. Meaning what? Death is separation. Genesis 2:17 with 3:4; they didnít die physically that day but their separation from God did occur that day. (Cp. Matt. 8:22; Eph. 2:1-5. John 5:24).
- This leads of course to Physical Death. (Gen. 3:19) Return to the ground. Because we are human, descendents of Adam we all die physically (1 Cor. 15:21-22)
- And Finally, Eternal death. Eternal separation from a Holy God. Now you must understand that this is not because of the random decision of God but because of the Holy character of God. Sin can not come into Godís presence and must be removed from it because God is Holy. And sin must be judged. Our God prepared a place for the spiritual being behind sin (Satan) and
called it the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41 cp. Rev. 20:11-15). Whoever was not in the Lambís book of life; that is, not rescued, not saved, not redeemed, etc, is to be assigned there for eternity. This is the reason we need a hero, a savior and only Jesus could be that hero.
In the many thousands of years from Adam to now, neither politicians, nor monarchs, nor armies, nor police have been able to solve or save us from the consequences of sin. But the angel said, this child would because His name is Jesus, The Lord saves, because He shall save His people form their sins. How?
He would take the penalty for our sins upon Himself. Only the Holy, sinless God, who was and is offended by our sins, could solve our sin problem. He did this by dieing in our place as our sin substitute (2 Cor. 5:21). His died for all of our sins. They were all imputed to His account and 1 John 2:2 says he did this for the whole world.
And then He rose again to prove that our sins are paid for. But the rescue is not complete because those He came to save must want to be rescued. No one will be saved unless they willingly accept this rescue as a free gift.
- Those rescued are reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18-21)
- They have peace with God (Rom. 5:1)
- They are no longer condemned (Rom. 8:1)
- They are completely forgiven Ė never to be charged with sin again (Heb. 10:17-18)
- They are adopted as Godís Child (John 1:12)
- They are changed from the inside out (2 Cor. 5:17)
- They are given a powerful companion (John 14:16)
- They are given heaven and a home in Godís House (John 14:1-3; 1 Peter 1:4-5)
- The fear of death is removed and in fact death is even something to look forward to (Phil. 1:20; Hebrews 2:15)
- They are given the fruit of the Spirit Ė (Gal. 5:21)
- They are given the ability to understand and keep Godís law.
- They are given a wonderful purpose for living- to glorify God by loving Godís people.
And a whole lot more.
No wonder Paul says, "Thanks be unto God for His indescribable gift" (2 Cor. 9:15).
This, my friends, is the message of Christmas.
This is what God did for us. This is what our Jesus came to do. To save us from our sins.
Oh, my friends, has He saved you? He will not force you to be rescued. He offers you His salvation as a gift. You can not save yourself. There is no salvation in any other name Peter says (Acts. 4:12) The Jailor said, "What must I do to be saved?" The answer is "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." (Acts 16:30) To believe is to trust fully in Him and accept Him as Savior and
Christians, worship Him this Christmas for He alone is worthy (Rev. 5:9)
If you have not received His salvation would you consider doing so today? Paul said ĎToday is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. 6:2) Tomorrow is not promised and may be too late.
This is the reason for the season. His name is Jesus- The one and only Lord (our Mighty Hero God; Isaiah 9:6), who can save us from our sins.
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman