Pastor Bruce Simpkins
Renewal Community Church
Preached: December 25, 2011
A GIFT BEYOND DESCRIPTION
A few years ago, on “Good Morning, America,” Joan Lunden
featured some extraordinary gifts that a person might want to
include on their Christmas gift list.
One of them was a Jaguar automobile, the Jaguar 220. To
purchase one, you first go to your Jaguar dealer and put down your $80,000 deposit.
When it is delivered, you pay the balance of $507,000. The Jaguar 220 is a $587,000 automobile, and only 250 are made each year.
Lunden then mentioned that if you purchased the Jaguar, you might also want a car wax that promises to give it the ultimate shine. It retails for $3,400 for an 8-ounce can. I guess if you can afford a $587,000 automobile, why not spend $3,400 for car wax?
A third item she mentioned was a $300,000 gold and silver toilet seat inlaid with precious stones. Of course, there were cheaper gifts for those who have everything: an $18,000 frisbee, a $10,000 yoyo, a $12,000 mousetrap, and even a $27,000 pair of sunglasses.
And for the proud grandparent who is wondering what to buy the new grandbaby, how about a $28,000 pacifier?
Such gifts stagger our imagination, but they are not indescribable. Only God can give gifts beyond description. His greatest gift was His Son. The indescribability of that gift testifies to how precious we are to Him.
2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. What is a census? everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Do you think you would be afraid if an angel appeared to you? Why? 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. There are some denominations that teach that God has “predestined who Jesus is for who Jesus is not for. This is a reminder that Jesus is for ALL people. Have you heard this before?
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” How hard do you think it would be to find Jesus with this sign? Very easy. Bethlehem was a tiny town and they were not indoors . . . but in a manger which the shepherds could easily see.
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rest.” knowing what you do about the bible, who did Jesus’ favor rest on? (The humble, believers)
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. In what way were the people amazed by the shepherds claim? 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. How was Mary’s response different than the people? 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. What does the name Jesus mean in Hebrew? (Savior).
22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified
A total of 40 days after the birth.
If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.'”
What do we do now-a-days with babies to consecrate them to the Lord?
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Has this prophecy come true? In what ways?
36 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, (meaning “favor of God”) of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Sounds much like the nuns of today. You know nothing about evil . . . much about sin, but nothing of evil.
Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Redemption is the same as salvation and Jesus name means Savior.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
He grew physically, and spiritually. As parents, our job is to ensure our children grow physically by keeping them fed and clothed and safe from harm. What is our job as parents to ensure our children grow spiritually?
On more than one occasion Jesus told us that we must become “like a child” . . . in other words, to be “child-like”.
Matthew 18:2-4 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
But the apostle Paul said:
1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
Are these two scriptures in conflict? Why not?
What is the difference between being child-like and child-ish?
Childlike is humble, trusting without needing proof, and obedient to authority.
Childish is almost a perfect synonym for Selfish. Not willing to share, impatient for getting what I want when I want it, not thinking about the welfare of those around, but self focused only.
What are some examples of child like things children do?
What are some examples of childish things children do?
It is our responsibility as parents to ensure our children keep their child like qualities but teach them to grow spiritually and work to remove the selfishness Just as Jesus did.
It is our responsibility as children (and we are all still children) to learn from Jesus example to “put away childish things” as the Apostle Paul taught us. And just as the scripture describes Jesus growth, so that also sets the example for us.
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.