This past Sunday I was given the opportunity to share one of our Christmas messages. I am grateful for any opportunity to share but there is always something special about Christmas messages and what you can accomplish in them. Sharing of the baby Jesus and what it meant for humanity to have a saviour come and go through life just as we do. To see God as a human suffering splinters and embarrassment and walking through temptations. Or what it meant when in the narrative when Mary and Elizabeth were together and the baby in Elizabeth's womb leapt at the presence of Jesus in Mary's womb.
My choice was to present the idea that our original gift at Christmas was not only Jesus who is our saviour but was the Word. What we know as our bible is in fact a gift we received long before we were on this earth. Confused, join me as I break it down a little.
I read from Matthew 1:18-23 and briefly outlined the importance of the Old and New Testaments coming together in verses 21-23. An angel appears to Joseph and instructs him to go forward with the marriage for the baby that Mary is carrying is conceived of the Holy Spirit, she is a virgin. Joseph is instructed to name the baby Jesus - for he will save his people from their sins. Then we are told of the prophet in the OT that told the message 'Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and he will be called Immanuel meaning, God is with us.'
The relevance of these two names for the baby and the meaning of them is what we next explored, outlining what it meant for the nation of Israel on that original Christmas morning and what this all means for us now, some 2000 plus years later. The third name that we explored is The Word. In John 1 Jesus is referred to by the title, the Word. Which I will go into more depth shortly.
The importance of Jesus as 'Immanuel' and as 'Jesus' in name will never be lowered, will never lose function, will never cease to have power. God is with us and He saves. If the Christmas narrative ended here, with the prophecy and naming of Jesus, his majesty would not lose value, his character would hold its worth and he would still have the classification among all people that he does. But the narrative continued, and we learned more, but thats another post, for another time.
Next I spent a few minutes on 4 titles we have either given the Word or titles that have come from scripture. First the good news. The bible is, in general terms, the story of how we are being drawn back tot he arms of God, through his workings in our life. But in broader terms it is also the story of emotions, actions, various lives lived out, how God interacted with them, and how he is the only one who causes ALL things to work together for GOOD. This is good news. The bible is the story of many other things as well including the second title we have, God's story. As mentioned it's the story of how he is bringing all his children back to him, it's how he is leading us from a people of no hope to realizing we are his children bought by a blood sacrifice and made new in Him. It's the story of the Spirit coming to earth, being made accessible for all who would believe that we may walk in the power of God. It's God's story that he wants to write on our hearts, it's his love story for the lost.
Life's guidebook, have you ever turned to those pages in the bible that are outlined as an index, with scripture passages to turn to when you are in need, when you are lonely, when you're feeling tempted, confused, lost, abandoned? Life's guidebook.
Finally truth. The bible is God breathed, it can be used for teaching and preaching, the words within it can be taken to any part of any country in this world and can be shared as truth because it is truth, and in that those words will change lives. It isn't partial truth or somewhat truth or even mostly truth, it's absolute truth and that alone is what changes people. You can take any system of living, any belief pattern and introduce the absolute truth of God's word to it and you will see the measure of the others, and which one changes lives more abundantly.
We finally studied a few things God himself called the bible. In the pages of the Word there are titles God used. Ephesians speaks of it being the 'Sword of the Spirit'. What makes a difference in the spiritual realm is not how spiritual you are, it's how powerful the bible is.
John 1 paraphrased reads "In the beginning was the word, He was with God, He was God.... He became flesh". So Jesus is the Word, he is the second person named in the Trinity and he is the living breathing Word of God. Here's why the bible is powerful, it is Jesus in text. He was there in the beginning, He was there during the flood, He was there with David hiding in a cave, He came and walked among us, and He is the WORD. That first Christmas morning we were given a gift that will change our lives for the better, He is Jesus and He can be found in the pages of the bible, but he is also literally the Word, the bread of life. When Jesus said man does not live by bread alone but on the Word of God, on the bread of life, he was referring to himself. We do not live only by what we eat but we are found alive in the person and activity of Jesus Christ. Which led to my last point.
Hebrews 4:12 - the Word is alive and active/strong. Depending on what version of the bible you use one of these two words will be found, active or strong. Both have the same relevance to this point. Jesus being the Word, is alive, the Word being Jesus is alive, and He is active and strong. If he is active and alive, that means he is among us, that means he is in us. the conclusion can and must be made that we are changed by the truth of the bible because the Word is Jesus, and He is alive, and active.
The conclusion can also be made that when we are active in the Word, it is active in us. When we are active in the things of God, He is active in us, and these two thing make our spiritual life stronger. Ever found your self saying, God just doesn't speak to me, I don't think he does speak anymore. My question in response to that comment will from this point forward be "How active are you in Him and the Word?" If we expect God to be active in our lives but give no time to improve our journey with Him, how will he be active? James 4:8 says "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you", the initial action is placed on us. So the point is made in that statement, if we want God active in our lives, blessing us, interceding for us, changing us, we must be active in Him. And to dispel the thought that maybe just maybe God is silent I leave you with a quote from AW Tozer.
God is not silent.
It is in the nature of God to speak.
The second person in the Trinity is called the Word.
Jesus is alive, the Word is alive, God does speak, sometimes loudly, sometimes softly, sometimes in dreams and visions or through others, but he is always speaking, and he is always active.
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