God Became a Man

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The greatest mircle of all is when He saved my soul, cleansed and made me whole.


Hard to believe

Last week I gave you 2000 years of Church History to understand how the conflicts of 125 years ago shape denominations in America today. During that survey I introduced the labels Fundamentalist and Modernist. This controversy came down to a tension between “believing what we are told” and “believing what we can see”. The Modernists gave more credibility to things that could be seen and discredited anything that was not observable.
In our age the debates are not between what we are told and what can be seen. We no longer “trust the science”; today the conflict is over what people conclude or feel. It is not in the presentation of factual evidence, today we must deal with interpretations of the data that are proclaimed as “my truth”
Historical Christianity is not limited by things seen by modern man, nor by the conclusions or feelings of post-modern humanity.
2 Cor 5:7 claims that we are not limited by sight. Our faith is rooted in a God who created the natural order, but also maintains the ability and authority to supersede the limitations of time and space/sequence and matter.
Transition: Miracles are called miracles BECAUSE they don’t happen regularly, else we would call them “ordinaries”. The events surrounding the human origin of Jesus involves no less than 3 miracles. Just because these miracles are not ordinaries, does not mean they did not, nor will not be real.

Miracle #1 - God became man (Phil 2:1-11)

Us on His Mind (Phil 2:1-4)

In a world where we are told that “the greatest love is learning to love yourself”, the concept of denying oneself for the good of another becomes even more miraculous.
I am grateful for soldiers, sailors, and emergency personnel who sacrificially engage in service where an unintended consequence is too often death. But there is a difference in my mind between serving in a way that death MAY happen, and serving in a way that death is CERTAIN to happen. It is the 2ndlevel of sacrifice that God chose with you on His Mind.
2. V.4 is hard enough, that we also consider the interest of others. But did you get that v.3 establishes the example of more significant than yourselves? Text
3. We tend to think we are doing our part when we meet another party in the middle, but that is not the example modeled by Christ; the example that brings joyful unity.

Grasping to a Form (Phil 2:5-6)

It is quite rare that I hold the NIV translation as better than other modern translations. Where most English translations use the word form, the NIV uses very nature. The NLT is even better where it translates Though He was God. The idea Paul is trying to convey is not that Jesus was like God, but that Jesus was God in the very core of His being.
Jesus’ exalted status was not something to be clutched to. He had every right to it, but he set it aside.
Jesus’ attitude toward his own exaltation was the opposite of the attitude many have toward their firearm, “you’re going to have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands!”

Adopting a Form (Phil 2:7)

Emptied himself - Nobody or nothing took his equality! He himself temporarily set it down. He could have picked it back up at any time, but he chose to accept a form that would accomplish the Father’s will.
You have heard me say that I enjoy action movies. It makes for great fight scenes, but makes very little sense when someone who has the superior strength position to set kick away a weapon and go to fisticuffs. Except for Rocky movies, eventually someone picks up a board, or a knife to finish the fight.
2. However, Christ didn’t come to fight with you. It is much more like a negotiator who is attempting to earn your trust, or a little league coach who lowers himself to one knee so he or she can look the players in the eyes.

Emptying the Form (Phil 2:8)

Jesus’ act of becoming truly human didn’t stop there.
2b says he became a dead human.
2c explains he became a despised dead human—the type of human buried in an unmarked grave in a paupers field.

Reinstating His Reign (Phil 2:9-11)

God the Father responded to this willing emptying of Jesus by exalting Him to previous glory PLUS ensuring that eventually EVERY person will see that Glory.Text
Alanis Morissette didn’t quite get it correct. God never became “a slob like one of us”. But He did become fully human, fully identifying with those of us who reflect the image of God.
Transition: The 2nd miracle also addresses a misunderstanding of personhood. Contrary to pro-choice demonstrators, Pregnancy doesn’t involve 1 person. Naturally it involves 3—child, mother and father. In today’s miracle is not only involve the Christ child, but it involved ONE other person – a Virgin named Mary.

Miracle #2 - a Virgin became a mother (Luke 1:30-35)

Surprises (Luke 1:30-31)

Appearance by an Angel
We don’t know what time of day or night the angel appeared, but we do know she was startled enough to be confused about what was happening.
The sudden appearance of the angel is perhaps the least surprising event of this encounter, because as soon as he gets her settled down he delivers a more shocking surprise.
Announcement of a Pregnancy
Mary’s conception, contrary to the response of her parents and neighbors, is indication of favor with God.
Remember, the theme of this sermon series is counteracting the claims of the modernists that miracles don’t happen. In order to excuse the miraculous claim of Virgin Birth...
Some have tried to diminish this miracle by concluding there was some sexual sin with her fiancé.
Some have tried to dismiss the supernatural by suggesting that Roman soldiers pillaged her hometown and assaulted the girls without historical record.
Because of last week’s message about the Inspiration, Inerrancy& Infallibility of the Bible, I’m just so trusting as to believe what it says. Because the angel describes Jesus in following verses in terms that I have observed elsewhere.

Son (Luke 1:32-33)

The Son would be Righteous (32a)
Even Jesus’ enemies admitted that he did things requiring superhuman ability.
They attributed much to demonic activity, but Luke records the source of his greatness.
The Son would Reign historically and eternally (32b-33)
The angel promises that Jesus would fulfill their most pressing expectation – the coming Jewish Messiah.
Then he takes it further by broadening the kingdom to one that is endless (in scope & time). The Son that Mary would bear would be king over Jews and Gentiles until after the end of time as we know it.

Surrender (Luke 1:34-35)

A concern that acknowledged reality – Mary is trying to reconcile in her mind the surprising supernatural experience with her practical and natural understanding.
A conception that would be accomplished by God. The natural and supernatural came together in the person of Jesus unlike any other merger of history. Never before and never since have the natural and supernatural collided as they did in the incarnation of Jesus
In verse 38, Mary admits that she still doesn’t understand it, but she’s willing to participate best she knows how.
Transition: Likewise, I can’t fully comprehend why some people are onery until the day they die, or that God would chose some evil, rebellious, selfish kid like I was for His family, but if God could miraculously become a man, and God could miraculously conceive in a chaste girl, then God can supernaturally...

Miracle #3 - God Adopts us into His family (John 1:12)

Receive it (v.12a)

God’s adoption of you is a free gift that cannot be earned, but must be accepted.

Believe it (v.12b)

1. This belief is not a mental exercise, it is an act of the will – transfer of reliance
All of us have seen a space suit or a hazardous materials coverall. Our Astronauts who have done space walks each encountered a time when they were safely inside of the Rocket capsule, they put on the suit and helmet, then they had to decide to open the door and trust the suit to protect their breathing. Emergency and Laboratory personnel put on special clothing and choose to trust that suit to keep them safe from whatever toxins might be in the environment.
2. It is one thing to receive the clothing that is provided to you, it is another to trust the suit to do what it was intended to do.
3. Likewise, you must receive the righteous covering for sin that God offers, then believe it is adequate and rest in the safety that He provides.

Repeat it (v.12c)

This verse is directed to you, but it doesn’t end with you! Notice the plural of children.
The act of receiving and believing are individual acts. Nobody, not your parents, not your spouse, not your preacher, can believe it for you.
But the offer is plural! God offers the same personal choice to others as well and we have the privilege of explaining and inviting others into this same family.
Transition: Each of these miracles is an act of sacrifice for another. My prayer is that each person in reach of my voice would 1) Believe and Receive, and 2) Tell others of the miracle available to them.


God set aside His comfort in order to become a man and die for you. Mary set aside her reputation to allow God to work through her. Each of us must set aside our fears and insecurities in order to invite others to join God’s family.
A song that I heard my mother sing during my childhood reminds us of the great miracle of God in creation, but the GREATEST miracle is when He saves a lost child, cleanses and heals his or her brokenness. It takes a miracle of love and grace to adopt each of us into His family.
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