Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Fullness of the Time

    God’s Great Plan – JESUS!  Good and evil are in our world.  Jesus entered the world to save it.  Jesus brings God’s unfailing love and faithfulness (grace and truth).
    “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17 (NKJV)
    Christ is coming!  The prophets witnessed to this hope.”
    The fact of the expectation of Our Lord among the Jews at the time of His coming is accepted by all students of their history.  It is the fact that, at His Coming, Something had filled the Jewish people with the conviction that the Redeemer, the Messiah, was to come, that He would come about this time, that such and such would be His circumstances, His characteristics, the marks by which He might be known.  This expectation was not merely of an event, or of a person in general, but was detailed in its knowledge of what was to be.  This expectation, and the figure of Him that was to be, was marked clearly. He was to be born of a Virgin. He was to be born at Bethlehem; and yet by an apparent contradiction He was both to come out of Egypt, and was to be called a Nazarene. He was to be of the line of David.
    God’s Right Time!
    “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”  Gal 4:4-5 (NKJV)
    “By observing, that God sent forth his Son born of a woman, the apostle insinuates, that Christ is the seed of the woman, promised at the fall to come and bruise the serpent's head.” McKnight   [note Romans 16:20]
    “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."  So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:  "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."  Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,  and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.” Matt 1:21-25 (NKJV)
    “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,  concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”  Romans 1:1-4 (NKJV)
    The Apostle John wrote that God Himself became flesh in Christ (John 1:14). Jesus' humanity and divinity were complete, not partial. The two ideas—Jesus as 100-percent divine and 100-percent human—form the bedrock of a Christian understanding of Christ.  The idea that the Word became human (literally became flesh) stunned both Greeks and Jews.  The Lord's glory in the Tabernacle (Exod 40:34-38) was now present in Jesus Christ
    I believe in the God I see revealed in Jesus of Nazareth.”  N.T.Wright 
    “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  2 Cor 4:6 (NKJV)
    “The image of the true and living God, once revealed in all its glory, is to be reflected into all the world, as was always God’s intention. The mission of the Church can be summed up in the phrase “reflected glory.” When we see, as Paul says, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we see this not for our own benefit, but so that the glory may shine in us and through us to bring light to the world that still waits in darkness and the shadow of death.”  N.T.Wright
        “The nativity is about Almighty God sending His one and only (begotten) Son down to this earth. This is His gift to us, not for Christmas, but for eternity. He doesn’t want us to admire it, anymore than we would merely admire a gift given from a loved one. He doesn’t want us to merely acknowledge His gift. He wants everyone; He wants you, to receive His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, by inviting Him into your life.”  DJ
    “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.”  John 3:16 (NKJV)
     Trust God and obey Him.     

Friday, December 2, 2016


     ADVENT is the name of Christ’s First Coming.  Jesus turned things upside down when He came to Earth. His Coming is the strategy of God and the tactics of the Son. It’s about life, death, blood, confrontation, darkness, light, and war. It’s the clash of two kingdoms.  GOD WINS!
     “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”  Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)
     Jesus Came to Overcome Darkness
     “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  John 1:14-17 (NKJV)
     Jesus Came to Overcome Blindness
     There are at least four ways that show Jesus has overcome the darkness and given sight to the blind.
     “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake.  For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Cor 4:3-6 (NKJV)
     Advent is a clash of two kingdoms—darkness and light. Christ is the only way that darkness can be overcome and through him we can receive sight. His power over nature and death, his understanding of human nature, and his zeal for God conquer all that is dark.
    Jesus Came to Deliver Us
Christ is the gate and the good shepherd.
Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:1–6, 23–24; John 10:1–21
     “O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!"  Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.  He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.” Isaiah 40:9-11 (NKJV)
     “For thus says the Lord God: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.  As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.  And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.  I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.  I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord God.  I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment." Ezek 34:11-16 (NKJV)
     Advent is world-altering and life challenging. It is power beyond anything we can imagine, coming with humble tactics that strip human nature of self-sufficiency, self-justification, and self-enthronement.
     Jesus Came to Reveal His Glory
Jesus was Almighty God who came to earth for our benefit.
     “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.  And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:1-5 (NKJV)

     John gives us an advantage when we read his Gospel—he tells us exactly why he wrote it and what he wants us to get out of it, and lets us know what the Advent season is all about. John 20:31 says, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”