Advent 4
December 24, 2000
All Three Lessons  
"How God Brought His Son to Earth"

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Introduction: It was no small thing for the infinite God to localize Himself on earth. For a holy God to identify with sinful mankind is truly a miracle indeed. The lessons for this the 4th Sunday in Advent gives us the answer to the question: "how did God bring His Son to this earth?"

1.  Mary - The person through whom Christ came - Gospel Lesson (Luke 1:39-45)

          As soon as she learns from the angel Gabriel that she will carry Jesus, Mary leaves the tiny village of Nazareth. She leaves to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is expecting. Elizabeth will give birth to John the Baptist. This is not a chance meeting. Everything goes according to plan, the Father's plan. Although we might not be able to see it, there is obviously something miraculous happening here. God is directing these events. Mary, who at this moment is less then a few days pregnant, is caring the Savior of the world within her.

When Mary's voice reaches the ears of the Baptist, John leaps for joy; for he is in the very presence of the holy Son of God. What a miracle, what a blessing for us today. If John can hear the voice of Mary and recognize her voice, if John can recognize the presence of Christ before he is born, should we be surprised that infants today can recognize the voice of her Savior even before she is born?

Mary is just an ordinary girl. Yet, she is chosen by the Father to work His will in this world. Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit to fulfill the will of the Father. Jesus is born of a virgin to fulfill Scripture. Jesus came into this world according to a divine plan.  The story of Christmas reminds us that God is in control of all of these events. Nothing is left to chance. If He so orders the events of Mary's life, how much more will He be more then able to order our days to bring them to completion according to His perfect will?    

2.    Bethlehem - The place from which Christ came - Old Testament Lesson (Micah 5:2-4)

      The Scripture is clear. "Out of Bethlehem a ruler will come" The hymn writer put it this way: "O little town of Bethlehemů" A small, insignificant, tiny, town.  Hardly anyone had heard of that place that is precisely where the Father determined that the Savior would be born. Not Jerusalem, not Bethel, not any of the other holy sites and cities. It was in the city of David, overlooked by all of the experts, but the very place that the Father determined for the Savior to be born.

       Out of Bethlehem will come a ruler who will be great in the world. Everything that the Father determined worked to perfection. He will not leave anything to chance. The Father determined the very place where the Savior was to be born. The will of the Father for your life is also determined by the testimony of His Word. Trust that He has worked every single detail. The people, the place, were all determined. Your life is not left up to chance. God has determined that His will will be worked in your life.

3.    To Do God's Will - The purpose of Christ's coming - Epistle lesson (Hebrews 10:5-10)

       Christ came into the world to do the will of the Father. In faith, we trust the Father to work His will in us. The will of the Father was simply to do the work of redemption in this world. He came to break the bondage of the devil, death, and sin. He came to be our substitute. He came to live under the Law perfectly. He came to take our sin and to suffer and die for the sin of the world.

        His prayer was a simple prayer: "Thy will be done".   He fulfilled the will of the Father in His coming into this world, in His life, in He suffering, in His death and resurrection. He will perfect His will in your life as well. That is His promise to you this day.

Conclusion: The person; Mary. The place; Bethlehem. The purpose; to perform the Father's will.  All was worked to perfection on the day Christ came into this world. May He work His will in your life this day.

"O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
Oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord, Immanuel"

  {TLH #647 stanza 4}