The Night of Miracles

Sermon delivered on December 6th, 2015

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

Scripture Reading: Matthew 1:18-25

 

Introduction

Albert Einstein said, "There are two ways you can live your life: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; or you can live as if everything is a miracle."

 

According to Einstein you can live your life as if everything is completely ordinary, that there is nothing particularly amazing about life and  existence, which by the way is a boring way to live, or you can live your life consciously aware of miracles around you. 

 

I don't know about you but I choose to live my life as if everything is a miracle. 

 

Miracles still happen today. I believe miracles happen all the time, all around us, even though it is hard to notice sometimes.

 

Flowers are miracles

Just look at the flowers, every time a flower blooms, it's a miracle. I cannot look at a beautiful flower closely and not be amazed by its beauty and symmetry?

 

"The miracles of nature do not seem miracles because they are so common. If no one had ever seen a flower, even a dandelion would be the most startling event in the world" — Unknown Author

 

The Heavenly bodies are miracles

Look at the starry sky this evening and marvel at all the twinkling stars all around us. Just how do those big balls of fire just stay there? And who put them up there?

 

What if the stars only appear once in every thousand years what would you and I do? I like what Ralph Waldo Emerson said when he was asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. Listen to his response, "No one would sleep that night, of course.... "

 

We would be overwhelmed, excited, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.

 

It is true the stars can be ignored. But may it lead us to wonder and to their Maker.

 

Life and Human Beings are Miracles

Miracles occur every second, every millisecond of every day. They surround us. The very fact that something is alive, living is a miracle. Life in and of itself is a miracle. How do two cells know to combine and to create all that is you? 

 

Look at the brain; how it works. It's a miracle that you and I are able to engage in conversation and have the ability to process and express thoughts and ideas.

 

Look at your hands and feet; are they not the most amazing tools in the Universe? 

 

Look at your eyes. The human eye is extremely complicated. It has 40 million nerve endings, the focusing muscles move at about 100 thousand a day, and the retina contains 137 million light sensitive cells that respond to light and send messages to the brain. 

 

The most complicated supercomputers in the world cannot do what our eyes can do in seconds.

 

"Men go abroad to wonder at the height of mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the long course of rivers, the vast compass of the ocean, the circular motion of the star, but they pass by themselves and they don't even notice." - Augustine

 

We often get caught up in the busyness of our lives, in routines and schedules, that we fail to realize that we are miracles. You and I are miracles.

 

This morning I would like to look at three miracles, two of these three miracles took place more than 2000 years ago, on the first Christmas night. The first Christmas night was a night of miracles. It was a night that changed the world. It was a night of glad tidings and of great joy!

 

There are many miracles that took place that night but we will only look at two this morning. 

 

I - The Conception and Birth of Christ

There are at least four accounts in Scripture, of births that are the miraculous, such as, Sarah; Hannah; the wife of Manoah and Elizabeth. These women who were infertile and/or past the age of child bearing, conceived and gave birth. Their conception and giving birth are miraculous but the conception and birth of Jesus is completely amazing and unique.

 

The conception and birth of Christ is presented in Scripture as a great sign, a miracle.

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Behold a girl who is not presently pregnant will  conceive and give birth to a son. All these will take place without a human father. That's a miracle! 

 

Matthew 1:18 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. 

 

Matthew 1:23 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. 24: Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

 

I know this is a familiar truth to most of us, but don't stop to be amazed of this truth. The virgin birth is an essential belief of the Christian faith because it gives us some very important information regarding the mission and nature of the Christ. Without the virgin birth there is no forgiveness and salvation. This doctrine is as important as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

 

The virgin birth shows that Jesus was not born in sin; that is, He had no sin nature. Scripture teaches that our sin nature was passed down through Adam.

 

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

 

Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

 

Because the Holy Spirit was responsible for Jesus' conception, Christ did not inherit a sin nature.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

The Virgin Birth circumvented (found a way around) the transmission of the sin nature and allowed the eternal God to become a perfect man.

 

Hebrews 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

Jesus Christ is our High Priest who truly meets our need, because He is perfectly and completely holy, innocent, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

 

May we never get over the great miracle  conception and virgin birth of Christ.

 

II - The Incarnation of Christ

The next miracle of Christmas is the Incarnation of Christ. I said incarnation, not reincarnation. Reincarnation is an eastern religion teaching that the soul or spirit, after death, can begin a new life in a new body.

 

The term "incarnation" means "to become flesh." The incarnation is that event where the second person of the Trinity, the Word, became flesh and dwelt among us.  

John 1:14 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. 

 

When the Word became flesh, He dwelt in the womb of Mary and was born as Jesus. Jesus is the incarnation of God. He is God in flesh.  

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

 

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

 

The Incarnation is the process by which God became man while fully retaining His nature as God.

 

"In the one person, Jesus Christ, there are two natures, a human nature and a divine nature, each in its completeness and integrity, and these two natures are organically and indissolubly united, yet so that no third nature is formed thereby." - A. H. Strong

 

His Name affirms this.

Matthew 1:23 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. 

Emmanuel is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew word Immanuel. The word is found three times in the Bible: Isaiah 7:14, 8:8, and Matthew 1:23.

Immanu - with us

El - God

So Emmanuel literally means with us, is God. To be with Jesus is to be with God.

 

Matthew says that the birth of Jesus by the virgin Mary is to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by in Isaiah 7:14.

 

Matthew 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23: 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. 

 

The name Emmanuel, which means "God with us" is the embodiment of all of God's promises to Israel and to all who will trust in him. It speaks of God's plan, promise, desire, longing for man is to be with us ...

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

 

Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this theme, both in His identification with humanity by becoming a man and by His death on the cross for sin. In this sense, the word "Emmanuel" truly does embody the meaning of Christmas. The birth of Jesus, the Holy One of Israel, the Messiah and Savior of all men, has made a way for God to be "with us."

 

Here is another miracle that I cannot get my head around that the Son of God would choose to be made flesh and to dwell among us for eternity. When the Jesus Christ joined Himself to a body at Bethlehem, it was a permanent arrangement. He will continue to manifest Himself in this body (in its resurrected glorified state, of course) throughout the ages. Now, that's a miracle!

 

III - The Crucifixion of Christ

Christmas is a night of miracles. Christmas is just the beginning. There is another miracle that took place about 33 years after Jesus Christ, our Emmanuel was born. It is the miracle of Crucifixion. To me that's even a greater miracle that He was willing to die for you and for me. If you think of what kind of people we are — that is even a greater miracle that Christ was willing to come down and lay aside His glory to rescue us. It is a greater miracle to me that He loves you and me. He loves us so much that He offers every one of us forgiveness. He loves us so much that He wants to give us eternal life that we may live with Him in Heaven for ever. He loves us so much that He wants to be with us.

 

Every time Christmas comes the question is posed to us. Who is Jesus Christ? Why did He come? What would we do with Jesus?

 

Jesus our Saviour. Our Emmanuel. He came to us. He came to save us from our sins. 

Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

 

But how is He going to accomplish that? 

He will accomplish that, at a great price, at a great cost, not to us but to God. He had to be born and He had to die. There had to be the Calvary, the Cross and the Crucifixion!

 

Born to die upon Calvary,

Jesus suffered my sin to forgive;

Born to die upon Calvary,

He was wounded that I might live.

 

The Incarnate Christ destroyed the works of the devil

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

 

The Incarnate Christ destroyed the devil himself

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15: And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 

 

The Incarnate Christ reconciled man to God

Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17: Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18: For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

 

Closing Appeals

The greatest miracle has already happened. The birth of the Saviour. His conception and birth, His incarnation and His crucifixion. But miracles will continue to take place. The lowly shepherds saw and heard the announcement of the birth of the Saviour, that was a miracle! The wise men from the east came and worshipped the Child, that was a miracle! Every time a sinner comes to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation, miracle takes place. Like the Shepherds, many will come to Jesus. Like the wise men, many will worship Him. 

 

Have you become one of the Miracles of Christmas? May God perform a miracle in your heart this Christmas, causing you to be born from above by putting your complete faith and trust in the One who was willing to come and manifest Himself in the flesh and suffer and die for sinners like you and me.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

 

Come in faith to Jesus and know the Miracle of His Salvation!

 

To the Christians.

Dear Christians, you know that there is no other greater motivation for obedience and good works than our love and adoration for Christ. 

 

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;

Hail th'incarnate Deity,

Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,

Jesus our Emmanuel.

 

Hark! The herald angels sing,

"Glory to the newborn King;

Peace on earth, and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled!"

 

 

Come to Bethlehem and see

Him whose birth the angels sing;

Come, adore on bended knee 

Christ, the Lord, the new-born King.

Gloria in excelsis Deo. 

Gloria in excelsis Deo. 

 

Glory to God in the Highest! 

 

May the Lord enable us to be continually be faithful to our precious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, our Emmanuel. Amen!