'Christmas Means That God Was In Christ'
by Travis Wiginton
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Sub Title: "How God makes Himself known to us"
If God could be defined, He would not be God.
He reveals Himself as God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
Dr. Viktor Frankl said,
"Man can only find meaning for his existence in something outside himself."
Henry J. Schmidt (Nov. 1971 Decision Magazine) wrote:
"Only as man brings his life into harmony with God, does that life have balance and meaning.
He then finds that he is not simply 'a mass of dancing dirt', coming from nowhere and going nowhere; he finds meaning in life.
He learns that he is not the orphan of an ape, here to make a monkey of himself for
Instead he is a child of God, placed on earth by God to do His Will.
God through His Holy Spirit then directs and uses us to point others to the only relevant, ultimate answer in our search for meaning, namely Jesus Christ."
With Christmas in mind, I wish to share different ways that God makes Himself known,
keeping in mind that His supreme way is Christ in you! (Col. 1:27)
1) CREATION -
"The Heavens declare the glory of God and the expanse shows the work of His Hand."
See also Romans 1: 20-23 and Isaiah 40:21-22)
We can argue that God is....or is not....but sometime in life, we need to realize that every effect must have an adequate cause.
The universe and people are 'effects' and we believe God is the only adequate cause!
Some today are calling it 'Intelligent Design'. We believe God was (and is) the Intelligent Designer, the only One big enough behind all that we see in the design and order of the Universe.
2) CONSCIENCE -
The moral nature within us...where did it come from? Was it created...or 'by chance'?
Romans 1:19, "That which may be known of God, is made plain in them, by God."
Romans 2:15 speaks of the Law written in our hearts.
Some refer to this as 'august oughtness'.
Paul writes of this in Romans 7:
"The things I ought to do, I do not and the things I should not do, I do."
He seems to say that the war or peace within us, comes from saying 'yes' or 'no' to our God-led conscience.
He closes this discussion in verse 25:
"I thank God Who gives us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Our conscience must be FED by the Word of God (Psalms 119:106) and...
LED by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:12f)
C.O. Chambers said, "If I am in the habit of steadily facing myself with God, my conscience will ALWAYS introduce God's perfect law and indicate what I should do."
3) CHOSEN PEOPLE - ISRAEL
God chose a people to make His presence, power, provisions, and plan known.
(Otherwise, how can we explain the miracles of preservation in Egypt and 40 years of wanderings?)
He gave the Law in Exodus 20 and guided all the way,
but Hebrews 7-10 tells us that there is a new covenant (blood) and a new way.
We Christians are now chosen to make Him known and....
He is still the same 'Miracle God' that the Israelites had.
4) CANON (SCRIPTURES) -
The Bible is 66 love letters from God through 40 different people,
over a period of 1500 years.
The Baptist Faith and Message of 1963 speaks of the importance of THE WORD:
"The Bible is a perfect treasure of Divine Instruction.
It has God for it's author...Salvation for it's end...and Truth
(without any mixture of error)... for it's matter."
If you wish to make yourself 'known' to someone, letters would be a good way.
However, the best way of all, is to go yourself....and....
this is what God did, in Christ, supremely revealing Himself to us.
5) COMFORTER (THE HOLY SPIRIT) (John 16:7-15)
In this passage, Jesus spoke before He ascended about the descending of the Holy Spirit...to reveal, redeem and guide into all truth.
The Holy Spirit is God's telephone to us, but many times, our receiver is off the hook.
(Selfishness and our own way)
Other times, there is too much static inside us...and outside in the world..for us to hear God clearly.
Psalms 46:10 says, "Be still and know God."
Isaiah 30:15: "Quietness is necessary to know God."
How is your receiver working these days?
6) CONVERSION -
It is hard for us to really know God....
until we have been converted through repentance and faith.
Then we experience what Jesus called 'the new birth' where old things are passing away....and all things are becoming new.
The spiritual good that is done in this world (and much else) has been done by 'converted' people, who allow Christ to live more and more through them.
7) CHURCH -
In the Old Testament, the Glory of God, came down on the tabernacle in a unique way...
to make Himself (and His way) known to the people. This is still happening in churches of the Lord today.
After pastoring local churches for over 50 years, I still see God's Glory come down!
He is made known better in churches (I think) than anywhere else.
At least people ought to give it a try.
We're talking about changed people - the testimony by life (and by lip) of millions,
is making Christ known to millions.
Who motivated the modern Mission Movement?
The only answer is 'changed people' by way of salvation.....whose message is 'Jesus'.
C.S. Lewis in 'Mere Christianity' (pg. 55) wrote:
"I am trying here to prevent anyone the really foolish thing that people often say about Jesus...'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a good moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God'. That is the one thing that we must NOT say.
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said, would NOT be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on the level with a man who says that he's a poached egg....or else he would be the devil of hell. You MUST make your choice....either this man was (and is) the Son of God or a mad-man or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feel and call him 'Lord and God'.
But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a 'great human teacher'. He has NOT left that open to us... He did not intend to!"
Next week, we will deal with 'Jesus, the One and Only' from John I.
I've had a copy of a poem for many years, so I do not know the author...but would like to share the poem.
CHRISTMAS MEANS SO MUCH
He came in a way that fulfilled so much...
Walked in a way that taught so much...
Died in a way that provided so much...
Rose in a way that conquered so much...
Lives in a way that gives so much...
Loves in a way that means so much!
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...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19
Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38
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Corin. 5:19-that is, that GOD WAS IN CHRIST reconciling the world to Himself, NOT imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to US the ministry of reconciliation. John 3:17-For God did NOT send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world THROUGH HIM might be SAVED. Wow! What a message and we are ambassadors of Christ and co-laborers together. Thank you Travis, for this wonderful CHRISTmas message! Blessings, Sharon