SERMON GIVEN AT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2018
THE BIRTH OF JESUS!
WE PRAISE THE ETERNAL MAJESTY ON HIGH!
“THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH AND SONG, AND HE HAS BECOME MY SALVATION: HE IS MY GOD, AND I WILL PREPARE HIM AN HABITATION; MY FATHER’S GOD, AND I WILL EXALT HIM” [EX. 15:2].
“LET THE HEAVENS BE GLAD, AND LET THE EARTH REJOICE, AND LET MEN SAY AMONG THE NATIONS, THE LORD REIGNS. LET THE SEA ROAR, AND THE FULNESS THEREOF; LET THE FIELDS REJOICE, AND ALL THAT IS THEREIN. THEN SHALL THE TREES OF THE WOOD SING OUT AT THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, BECAUSE HE COMES TO JUDGE THE EARTH. O GIVE THANKS UNTO THE LORD FOR HE IS GOOD; FOR HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER. AND SAY, SAVE US, O GOD OF OUR SALVATION….BLESSED BE THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL FOR EVER AND EVER. AND ALL THE PEOPLE SAID, AMEN, AND PRAISED THE LORD” [1 CHRON. 16:31-36].
“LIFT UP YOUR HEADS, O YOU GATES; AND BE YOU LIFTED UP, YOU EVERLASTING DOORS; AND THE KING OF GLORY SHALL COME IN. WHO IS THE KING OF GLORY? THE LORD STRONG AND MIGHTY, THE LORD MIGHTY IN BATTLE. HE IS THE KING OF GLORY….” [PS. 24: 7, 8].
“BE GLAD IN THE LORD AND REJOICE, YOU RIGHTEOUS; AND SHOUT FOR JOY, ALL YOU THAT ARE UPRIGHT IN HEART” [PS. 32: 11].
“I WILL BLESS THE LORD AT ALL TIMES: HIS PRAISE SHALL CONTINUALLY BE IN MY MOUTH. MY LIFE SHALL MAKE HER BOAST IN THE LORD: THE HUMBLE SHALL HEAR THEREOF, AND BE GLAD. O MAGNIFY THE LORD WITH ME, AND LET US EXSALT HIS NAME TOGETHER” [PS. 34:1-3].
“WHEN I REMEMBER THESE THINGS, I POUR OUT MY LIFE IN ME: FOR I HAVE GONE WITH THE MULTITUDE, I WENT WITH THEM TO THE HOUSE OF GOD, WITH THE VOICE OF JOY AND PRAISE, WITH A MULTITUDE THAT KEPT HOLYDAY” [PS. 42: 4].
“O COME LET US SING UNTO THE LORD: LET US MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE TO THE ROCK OF OUR SALVATION. LET US COME BEFORE HIS PRESENCE WITH THANKSGIVING, AND MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO HIM WITH PSALMS….. O COME LET US WORSHIP AND BOW DOWN: LET US KNEEL BEFORE THE LORD OUR MAKER. FOR HE IS OUR GOD; AND WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF HIS PASTURE, AND THE SHEEP OF HIS HAND….” [PS. 95: 1-2, 6-7].
THERE IS MUCH TO PRAISE THE MAJESTY ON HIGH FOR; THINK A LITTLE AND YOU WILL FIND ALL KINDS OF THINGS TO GIVE HIM PRAISE FOR! THERE IS THIS DAY AND THE LIFE YOU HAVE AS YOU WORSHIP HIM AND HIS SON, AT THIS FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2018.
TURN TO LUKE CHAPTER ONE 26-35.
IT IS THE ANNUNCIATION TO MARY THAT SHE HAS BEEN CHOSEN TO BEAR THE VERY SON OF GOD.
SOME HAVE RIGHTLY SAID THAT SHE MAY HAVE ONLY BEEN 14 OR 15 OR 16, WHEN GIVING BIRTH TO THE SON OF THE HIGHEST. LIVING IN JUDAH THEN WAS VERY DIFFERENT THAN TODAY’S WESTERN WORLD. THE JEWISH ECONOMY WAS MAINLY AGRICULTURAL, EMPHASIS WAS ON EDUCATION IN THE BIBLE, MARRIAGE AND FAMILIES; IT WAS A FAMILY DISGRACE FOR A JEWISH BOY NOT TO BE MARRIED BY AGE 18 OR 19.
ADULTHOOD WAS AROUND 12 YEARS OF AGE. HENCE JESUS AT THE PASSOVER NOT RETURNING WITH FAMILY AND RELATIVES; MARY GOING BACK TO JERUSALEM AND FINDING HIM DEBATING WITH THE “SCHOLARS”—— HE SAYING TO HER, “I MUST BE ABOUT MY FATHER’S BUSINESS.” THIS WAS NOT BEING RUDE OR DISRESPECTFUL, AS JESUS WAS 12 AND CONSIDERED A YOUNG ADULT.
MARY PRAISES THE LORD— “MY LIFE DOES MAGNIFY THE LORD. AND MY SPIRIT HAS REJOICED IN GOD MY SAVIOR. FOR HE HAS REGARDED THE LOW ESTATE OF HIS HANDMAID: FOR, BEHOLD, FROM HENCEFORTH ALL GENERATIONS SHALL CALL ME BLESSED. FOR HE THAT IS MIGHTY HAS DONE TO ME GREAT THINGS; AND HOLY IS HIS NAME. AND HIS MERCY IS ON THEM THAT FEAR HIM FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION….” SHE CONTINUED WITH OTHER GLORIES OF THE GOD ON HIGH.
MARY MUST HAVE BEEN SO SPIRITUALLY DEDICATED AND STRONG, AS TO BE CHOSEN TO BIRTH AND BE THE PHYSICAL MOTHER OF GOD COME IN THE FLESH.
CHAPTER TWO— 8-20.
JESUS IS BORN, WRAPPED IN SWADDLING CLOTHES, AND IS LAID IN A HORSE OR MULE OR DONKEY MANGER.
THERE WERE SHEPHERDS ABIDING IN THE FIELD WATCHING OVER THEIR FLOCKS BY NIGHT; AN ANGEL OF THE LORD COMES TO BRING THEM GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY…. A CHILD IS BORN IN THE CITY OF DAVID, A SAVIOR CHILD, THE CHRIST, THE ANOINTED ONE OF THE HEAVENLY FATHER.
THEN —— “SUDDENLY THERE WAS WITH THE ANGEL A MULTITUDE OF THE HEAVENLY HOST PRAISING GOD, AND SAYING: GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE TOWARDS MEN OF GOOD WILL” [VERSES 13-14].
JESUS THE CHRIST IS BORN!
WE DO NOT KNOW THE DAY, BUT MOST SCHOLARS ADMIT IT WAS NOT ANYWHERE CLOSE TO DECEMBER 25. IT WAS BY DEDUCTION OF THE 3 AND 1/2 MINISTRY OF JESUS [DYING AT PASSOVER], ABOUT THE FALL TIME; AROUND THE FALL FESTIVALS OF GOD. AROUND THIS TIME WE CELEBRATE THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.
THE SAVIOR OF MANKIND WAS WE COULD SAY, IF NOTING “STAR TREK”—— BEAM ME DOWN FATHER! JESUS WAS THE WORD AND WAS GOD, BUT WAS WITH GOD—— JOHN CHAPTER ONE. HE WAS MADE FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US!
HE WAS MADE A FLESH AND BLOOD BABY!
HE HAD LITTLE BEAUTIFUL HANDS AND FEET; HE HAD TO HAVE HIS DIAPER CHANGED; HE HAD TO LEARN TO CRAWL, THEN WALK; HE HAD TO LEARN TO SPEAK; HE HAD TO BE EDUCATED, BE A YOUNG CHILD, STUDY THE WORD OF GOD, GROW INTO A TEENAGER, THEN BE A YOUNG MAN; HE HAD TO EAT AND VISIT THE TOILET LIKE YOU AND ME. HE WAS FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT ALSO DIVINE.
HE WAS IMMANUEL—— GOD WITH US!
THE FATHER WAS DELIGHTED AT THE BIRTH OF CHRIST JESUS!
THE FATHER WAS LIKE ANY OTHER EARTHLY FATHER [AND MOTHER] OF NORMAL CHARACTER—— DELIGHTED AT THE BIRTH OF HIS SON! YES THIS WAS THE GREATEST HUMAN BIRTH OF ETERNITY! AND THE FATHER IN HEAVEN WAS JOYFUL, AND DID NOT LET THIS BIRTH GO UN-ANNOUNCED OR WITHOUT SOME FAN-FARE AND SOME COMING TO PRAISE IN THE GLORY OF SUCH AN EVENT—— GOD COMING DOWN FROM HEAVEN AS MAN, AS FLESH AND BLOOD MAN…. WOW…. IT LEAVES ME SPEECHLESS!!!
The Childhood of Christ
In Summer days, like you and me
He played about the door, Or gathered, when the father toiled,
The shavings from the floor.
Sometimes He lay upon the grass
The same 'as you and I,
And saw the hawks above Him pass
Like specks against the sky;
Or clinging to the gate, He watched
The stranger passing by.
And when the sun at break of day
Crept in upon His hair
I think it must have left a ray
Of unseen glory there—
A kiss of love on that little brow,
For the thorns that it must wear.
-A. B. Paine
Our blessed Lord combined in one, two natures, both complete; A perfect manhood all sublime, in Godhead all replete.
As man He entered Carta's feast, a humble guest to dine;
As God He moved the water there, and changed it into wine.
As man He climbed the mountain's height, a suppliant to be; As God He left the place of prayer and walked upon the sea.
As man He wept in heartfelt grief beside a loved one's grave; As God He burst the bands of death, Almighty still to save.
As man He lay within a boat o'erpowered by needful sleep; As God He rose, rebuked the wind and stilled the angry deep.
Such was our Lord in life on earth, in dual nature one; The woman's seed in very truth and God's eternal Son.
O Child, O Son, O Word made flesh, may Thy high praise increase: Called Wonderful, the Mighty God, Eternal Prince of Peace.
1. W. A. Criswell, Great Doctrines of the Bible, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982)
Liar, Lunatic, or Lord?
In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis wrote, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on the level with a man who says he's a poached egg—or else he would be the devil of hell; you must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a mad man or something worse. You can shut Him up for a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But don't come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He hasn't left that alternative open to us. He did not intend to."
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: The MacMillan Co., 1960), 41.
The Greatest Question
Television talk-show host Larry King made a very perceptive comment when he was asked who he would most like to have interviewed from across history. One of those he named was Jesus Christ. "What would you have asked Him?" Came the rejoinder to Mr. King. "I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin born, because the answer to that question would define history. "
The Way It Should Be
Pastor D. James Kennedy said in a sermon, "I remember years ago talking to a man in his home about Christ and asking him who he thought Jesus was. He said, 'Oh, He's a wonderful man. He was the greatest man who ever lived, the most loving and gracious person who ever walked upon this earth.' "I said, 'Let me tell you something I believe will startle you. According to the Scriptures, and the historic Christian faith, Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter of Galilee was and is the eternal Creator of the universe, the omnipotent, omniscient, and Almighty God.'
"Instantly, his eyes filled with tears and this man of about fifty-five or sixty said, 'I have been in church all of my life and I never heard that before. But I have always thought that is the way it ought to be—that God ought to be like Jesus.’”
Perhaps you saw the movie about her starring Sigourney Weaver, or read of her exploits in National Geographic. Maybe you saw her book or heard of her death. Dian Fossey was an unusual woman, a California-born zoologist who left the comforts of home to move to Africa. There she lived among the rare, gentle mountain gorillas of Rwanda who were threatened with extinction due to the cruelty of poachers who were tracking them down, one-by-one, and slaughtering them. She began her mission in 1963 on the sides of a 14,000 foot tall, rain-shrouded volcano, and after several years they came to accept her as one of their own. Fossey named them, cradled their babies, cried with them when then mourned their dead.
She once wrote: "These powerful but shy and gentle animals
accepted and responded to my attentions when I acted like a
gorilla. So I learned to scratch and groom and beat my chest. I
imitated my subjects' vocalizations (hoots, grunts, and
belches), munched the foliage they ate, kept low to the ground
and deliberate in movement."
After eighteen years with the gorillas, she became like them,
dwelling among them, and they were her friends. When faced
with the danger, she bravely defended them.
In the early hours of December 27, 1985, she was knifed and
murdered, apparently by poachers whose trade she had sought
to destroy. She died for those she came to live among and to
Two thousand years ago, Christ left the comforts of His home
for the fog-shrouded volcano of earth. He identified with us,
learned our names, wept with us. And He, too, died for those
he came to live among and to save.
The Touch of the Master's Hand
'Twas battered and scarred and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile:
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar; then Two! Only two?
Two dollars, and who'll make it three?
Three dollars once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three—" but no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, And tightening up the loose strings, He played a melody pure and sweet As a caroling angel sings. The music ceased, and the auctioneer, With a voice that was quiet and low, Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?" And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?'
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice,
And going, and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth." Swift came the reply:
"The touch of a master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine;
A game—and he travels on.
He is "going once," and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.
—Myra Brooks Welch, quoted in John R. Rice, Poems That Preach
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior!
—Charles R. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening
At the 1994 Winter Olympics, held in Hamar, Norway, the
name Dan took on very special meaning.
At his first Olympics in 1984 as an eighteen year old, Dan
Jansen finished fourth in the 500 meters, beaten for a bronze
medal by only sixteen one hundredths of a second, and he
finished sixteenth in the 1,000.
At his second Olympics in Calgary in 1988, on the morning
he was to skate the 500 meters, he received a phone call from
America. His twenty-seven-year-old sister, Jane, had been
fighting leukemia for over a year. She was dying. Dan spoke
to her over the phone, but she was too sick to say anything in return. Their brother Mike relayed Jane's message: She wanted Dan to race for her. Before Dan skated that afternoon, however, he received the news that Jane had died. When he took to the ice, perhaps he tried too hard for his sister. In the 500 meters, he slipped and fell in the first turn. He had never fallen before in a race. Four days later in the 1,000, he fell again, this time, of all places, in the straightaway.
At his third Olympics in 1992, he was expected to win the 500 meters, where he had already set world records. For four years he had been regarded as the best sprinter in the world. But he had trouble in the final turn and he finished fourth.
In the 1,000 he tied for twenty-sixth.
At his fourth Olympics in 1994, Dan again was expected to win in the 500 meters, which was his specialty. Again tragedy struck. He didn't fall, but in the beginning of the final turn he fleetingly lost control of his left skate and put his hand down, slowing him just enough to finish in eighth place. Afterward, he apologized to his home town of Milwaukee.
He had one race left, the 1,000 meter. One more race and then he would retire. At the midway point of the race, the clock showed he was skating at a world-record pace, and the crowd, including his wife and father, cheered. But with 200 meters to go, the hearts of the fans skipped a beat. Dan Jansen slipped. He didn't fall, but he slipped, touched his hand to the ice, regained control, and kept skating. When Dan crossed the finish line, he looked at the scoreboard and saw WR beside his name—world record, in his last race, Dan Jansen had finally won the gold medal.
Later that day as he stood on the award stand, Dan looked heavenward, acknowledging his late sister, Jane. Jansen was asked to skate a victory lap. The lights were turned out, and a single spotlight illuminated Dan's last lap around the Olympic track, with a gold medal around his neck, roses in one arm, and his baby daughter—named Jane—in his other arm.
In the closing ceremony of the 1994 Olympics, Dan Jansen
was chosen to carry the U.S. flag.
"Late in the afternoon of February 18,1994," said writer Philip
Hersh, "after Jansen had won the gold medal that eluded him
in seven previous races over four Olympics and a decade,
someone put a hand-lettered sign in the snow on the side of
the main road from Lillehammer to Hamar. The sign said
simply, 'Dan.' It spoke volumes about what the world thought
about the man whose Olympic futility had finally ended in
Sometimes a name, a name alone, says it all. So it is when in
praise we simply say, "Jesus."
Joe Torre had been a catcher and a broadcast announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals. Shortly after he was named manager, according to the Pittsburgh Press, New York Yankees' announcer Phil Rizzuto suggested that managing could be done better from high above the baseball field—from the level of the broadcasting booth.
Torre replied, "Upstairs, you can't look in their eyes."
In Jesus Christ, God also chose to come down on the field and look into our eyes.
David R. Martin (Identification, Viewpoint)
O PRAISE THE HEAVENLY FATHER THAT HE WAS WILLING TO SEND HIS SON TO EARTH; PRAISE THE SON, IN THAT HE PUT ASIDE THE GODHEAD LIFE AND WAS WILLING TO COME AS A HUMAN BABY, THEN AS A MAN WAS WILLING TO DIE FOR SINNERS—— FOR YOU AND ME!
Keith Hunt - Feast of Tabernacles 2018