Glad Tidings

July 23, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Luke | 1 Comment
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And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

Luke 8:1

The word translated as “shewing the glad tidings” is euaggelizo, the same word that can be translated as “preach the Gospel.” Jesus and His Disciples were not preaching about how to get nicer material possessions, or how to have a happier marriage, or how to be a better parent, or how to be healed from physical illness, or how to have “your best life now,” or how to “make every day a Friday.” No, they were preaching the Gospel!

Was this an isolated occurrence of evangelism for Jesus during His earthly ministry? Of course not.

And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

Luke 1:19

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 2:10

The birth of Jesus was not separate from the Gospel. It was PART of the Gospel. The “peace on earth” that Jesus came to bring was not the kind of peace where people start being more polite to their neighbors. No, it was peace between God and man: God and SINNERS reconciled. Reconciliation is not made between friends or people who are already on the same team. Reconciliation is made between enemies. I’m sorry that your favorite department store or retailer suddenly wants to take “Christ” out of “Christmas,” but I’m a lot more concerned that some churches wants to take the GOSPEL out of Christmas!

The angels preached the Gospel, and John the Baptist preached it:

And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

Luke 3:18

Jesus preached it:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Luke 4:18

And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent.

Luke 4:43

Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

Luke 7:22

In the books of the Bible which the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to write (Luke and Acts), he makes a point of highlighting the ministry of women, and here we learn that the Gospel ministry had been supported by financial giving from the beginning.

And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

Luke 8:2-3

The Purpose of Jesus’s Birth

December 27, 2017 at 11:18 am | Posted in Incarnation | 1 Comment
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In this short series I have mentioned some concepts that parents could easily discuss with their children during the holiday season:

1. Incarnation
2. Advent
3. The Condescension
4. The Virgin Birth
5. The Humanity of Jesus
And, finally:
6. The Purpose of Jesus’s Birth

The cuteness of the Nativity scene can be attractive to children, there is no doubt about it. Parents need to remind kids, though, that the birth of Christ was only the beginning of His lifelong mission to:

a. Seek and save sinners (Luke 19:10; I Timothy 1:15)
b. Fulfill the Law of God (Matthew 5:17-18)
c. Minister to others and give His life for a ransom (Mark 10:45)
d. Divide the true from the false (Luke 12:51-53; John 18:37)
e. Call sinners to repentance (Mark 2:17)
f. Die for the sins of the world by satisfying the wrath of God (John 12:27; I John 4:10)

The Humanity of Jesus

December 21, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Posted in Incarnation, Luke | 2 Comments
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At the most festive time of the year, make sure that you intentionally discuss with your children some of the most wonderful Biblical truths about Jesus’s birth, such as:

1. Incarnation
2. Advent
3. The Condescension
4. The Virgin Birth
and
5. The Humanity of Jesus

“…[L]ittle Lord Jesus, no crying He makes…” go the words to a popular Christmas carol. But is this an accurate representation of the infant Christ? Christmas is a great time to explain to kids that Jesus, in His earthly incarnation, was indeed FULLY human. He experienced human emotions. He felt hunger, fatigue, joy, sadness, and the full range of feelings, although never sinfully.

Popular Christian art has tended to picture baby Jesus as serene, often times surrounded by a halo or corona of light, but the image of a child who stares blissfully and knowingly at all the adults around Him, never crying or giggling, seems more creepy than holy. Your kids might be fascinated to think of baby Jesus learning to walk, needing to wear a bib, and even needing a diaper change from time to time. The idea that the God of the universe would subject Himself to the limits, awkwardness, and temptations of humanity, further demonstrates His great love for us.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Luke 2:52

Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

John 4:6

Jesus wept.

John 11:35

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

John 19:28

Next time we will consider the purpose of Jesus’s birth.

The Virgin Birth

December 19, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Posted in Incarnation, Luke | 6 Comments
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In the ongoing series of theological concepts to discuss with our kids during the holidays, we have mentioned:

1. Incarnation
2. Advent
3. The Condescension
Now we come to:
4. The Virgin Birth

This can be a tricky one with kids, and – especially when it comes to really young kids – you may want to leave the subject of virginity alone, or at least use a tremendous amount of tact and delicacy. Use your own judgment. You will know what your own kids can and can’t handle and understand. However, the miracle of Mary’s pregnancy, despite having no husband and having never “known” a man (Luke 1:34), is a crucial doctrine of the Christian faith.

First, it shows the miraculous power of God, because babies just aren’t conceived this way apart from His supernatural action. Second, Jesus Christ, although conceived in the womb of a sinner, was not “conceived in sin” the way every other human being (sons and daughters of Adam) has been. Jesus was not only holy, sinless, and righteous in all His earthly deeds, thoughts, intentions, and words, but was sinless in His essence and “person.”

Perhaps you could explain to your children that the appearance of a newborn baby requires a mommy and daddy, except for this one time – which we celebrate at Christmas – when a baby was born whose Father was God.

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Luke 1:26-37

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

We will continue the series by looking at the humanity of Jesus next time.

The Condescension

December 18, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Posted in Incarnation | 4 Comments
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Previously, I recommended that Christian parents use the holiday season to discuss some relevant theological ideas with our children, such as:

1. Incarnation
2. Advent

Now, add the Condescension to the list. This is a good concept to explain to children when they see droplets of water forming on a frosty beverage glass. Just kidding, that’s “condensation.”

The Condescension of Christ refers to the way in which the Son of God left His throne of glory in Heaven and came to live in our world as a man. He “stooped down” or “condescended” to our level in order to identify with us in our sufferings, needs, and dependence upon God, even beginning His earthly life as a newborn baby. This is one of the tremendous blessings and features of the Gospel message, for it helps to show how much Jesus loves us and how far He went to redeem us. As you explain it to your kids, it would be good for you to get down on their level, kneeling, sitting on the floor, or bending down to demonstrate.

For those who do the Christmas tree thing, helping them hang ornaments on the lowest branches of your Christmas tree, or peering underneath at some of the waiting-to-be-opened presents, would be an ideal time for this.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:5-8

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

II Corinthians 8:9

Next time we will discuss the Virgin Birth.

Advent

December 15, 2017 at 9:01 am | Posted in Incarnation, Luke | 5 Comments
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December is a great time for Christian parents to talk with our children about some of the great theological concepts associated with Christ’s:
1. Incarnation
2. Advent

As we get older, it seems like December 25 comes faster and faster each year. The agony and expectancy of having to wait for the opening of presents and the sharing of goodies makes the period between Thanksgiving and “the big day” seem like an eternity to little kids. For us adults, who have full schedules and obligations, it seems like Christmas comes the day after Labor Day!

“Advent” means the arrival of something important, and it has taken on the connotation of waiting for something with the sort of longing that makes it seem like a long time in coming. In Christian theology, though, it has a specific reference to the appearance of Jesus Christ at his birth in Bethlehem (His first Advent) and His imminent return, for which we are still waiting (His second Advent). Christmas is a good time to explain to kids that faithful Old Testament believers knew what it feels like to wait with great anticipation for Christmas morning. The prophecies that a Messiah would come to save them from the punishment for their sins and to set them free to enjoy the favor and goodness of God began way back in Genesis 3:15 and continued for centuries and centuries. Kids who are antsy about the arrival of Christmas are the perfect candidates to hear about the stories of Simeon and Anna.

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Luke 2:25-38.

See also:

And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:13-14

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.

Isaiah 9:6

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Micah 5:2

Next time we will take a look at the Condescension.

Incarnation

December 13, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Incarnation | 5 Comments
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December is a great time for Christian parents to talk with our children about some of the great theological concepts associated with Christ’s incarnation.

Jesus’s conception in Mary’s womb was the first and only time that God has taken on human flesh and entered our world as a man. He never stopped being God, nor did He even temporarily set aside His Deity, but He did veil His glory in becoming fully human while remaining fully God. He did this for many reasons, chiefly so that He could accomplish our redemption through His sinless life and sacrificial death, but also in order to identify with all our human frailties as our Great High Priest. Obviously, you will want to use simpler terminology, but even very small children can understand the basic concept of God becoming a man.

And the Word was made 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 1:14

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

I John 4:2

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:35

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:22-23

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

Galatians 4:4

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Romans 8:3

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:14-15

Next time I will discuss Christ’s Advent.

Power in Many Voices

December 13, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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This title of this post is from a sermon on Nehemiah 5:7 called “Witnesses Against You.”

When he found that his own words were scarcely powerful enough with them, he gathered together the people, and let them all have a voice, for in the many voices there was power.

Charles Spurgeon

Certainly it can be convicting, and even alarming, when a vocal majority holds a different opinion from you, especially if they are shouting you down. A saturation of voices reiterating a common topic or theme on a daily basis can also invade our minds and intrude into our thought processes. For Christians, as December 25 draws nearer and nearer, and as even the secular voices in society begin to allude to the Incarnation of Christ – either directly, indirectly, or in a counterintuitive effort to obscure it – we should seize this opportunity to glorify our Savior.

When everyone wants to commercialize or secularize one of the key doctrines of our faith, it doesn’t make us happy, but at least it gives us a doorway to witness. This holiday season, add your true voice to the many popular, but false, voices, and trust in the power of God and His Gospel to get people to think about what it means that the King of Glory came down from His Heavenly throne to rescue rebellious sinners.

And the Word was made 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 1:14

Reconciled

December 21, 2012 at 11:55 am | Posted in Luke, Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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It’s taken from Luke 2:14, and it’s my favorite lyric in any Christmas song:

Peace on Earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” by Charles Wesley (later amended by others)

The idea of “peace on earth” is pretty wonderful to think about, but it’s something that we’ve never truly experienced in our lifetimes. From family squabbles, to school yard fist fights, to problems on the job, to different political, cultural, and societal groups at each other’s throats, to war in the Middle East, we sometimes just wish the fighting would stop and we could all get along.

But the “peace on earth” that the angel proclaimed to the shepherds a little over 2000 years ago was not really that kind of “peace.” In fact, some of the people to whom God was sending peace to the Earth in the Person of His Messiah were some of the same people who would be screaming: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” a short 33 years later.

Christmas is about something greater than God coming into this world to reconcile sinners to each other. It is about God coming into this world to reconcile sinners to Himself! A great price was paid so that God could bring us into mediated fellowship with Himself. We come into this world with two great needs: forgiveness and purity. We need forgiveness because we are at enmity with God from the get-go. And we need purity so that we can survive in the presence of a holy God.

The Baby born in Bethlehem on that famous night brought both of those things to us. Because He paid the price for your sins, God can and will forgive you if you trust in Jesus. Because Jesus lived every moment of every day of His earthly life in perfect peace, harmony, and obedience with God, He achieved the purity which He can impart to us.

That’s the real message and meaning of the celebration of the Incarnation, which our culture calls “Christmas.”

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Colossians 1:20 (emphasis added)


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