Incarnation talk
1. Please turn with me to John chapter 1 p. ??? of your pew bible.
2. Prayer…
3. Introduction
a. “Slappy holiday” Gene Edward Veith, 2007, World Magazine”
b. “Santa Claus had his origins in St. Nicholas, the fourth-century bishop of Myra in present-day Turkey….
He was also a delegate to the Council of Nicea in a.d. 325, which battled the heretics who denied the
deity of Christ. He was thus one of the authors of the Nicene Creed, which affirms that Jesus Christ is
both true God and true man. And unlike his later manifestation, Nicholas was particularly zealous in
standing up for Christ.
c. During the Council of Nicea, jolly old St. Nicholas got so fed up with Arius, who taught that Jesus was just
a man, that he walked up and slapped him! That unbishoplike behavior got him in trouble. The council
almost stripped him of his office, but Nicholas said he was sorry, so he was forgiven.
d. The point is, the original Santa Claus was someone who flew off the handle when he heard someone
minimizing Christ. Perhaps we can battle our culture's increasingly Christ-less Christmas by enlisting
Santa in his original cause. (The St. Nicholas slap should be part of our) Christmas imagery.
e. Not a violent hit of the kind that got the good bishop in trouble, just a gentle, admonitory tap on the
cheek. This should be reserved not for out-and-out nonbelievers, but for heretics (that is, people in the
church who deny its teachings), Christians who forget about Jesus, and people who try to take Christ out
of Christmas.
f. This will take a little tweaking of the mythology. Santa and his elves live at the North Pole where they
compile a list of who is naughty, who is nice, and who is Nicean. On Christmas Eve, flying reindeer pull
his sleigh full of gifts. And after he comes down the chimney, he will steal into the rooms of people
dreaming of sugarplums who think they can do without Christ and slap them awake.
g. And we'll need new songs and TV specials ("Santa Claus Is Coming to Slap," "Deck the Apollinarian with
Bats of Holly," "Frosty the Gnostic," "How the Arian Stole Christmas," "Rudolph the Red Knows Jesus").
h. Department store Santa’s should ask the children on their laps if they have been good, what they want
for Christmas, and whether they understand the Two Natures of Christ. The Santa’s should also roam
the shopping aisles, and if they hear any clerks wish their customers a mere "Happy Holiday," give them
a slap.
i. This addition to his job description will keep Santa busy. Teachers who forbid the singing of religious
Christmas carols—SLAP! Office managers who erect Holiday Trees—SLAP! Judges who outlaw manger
displays—SLAP! People who give The Da Vinci Code as a Christmas present—SLAP! Ministers who cancel
Sunday church services that fall on Christmas day—SLAP! SLAP!
j. Perhaps Santa Claus in his original role as a theological enforcer may not go over very well in our
contemporary culture. People may then try to take both Christ and Santa Claus out of Christmas. And
with that economic heresy, the retailers would start to do the slapping.”
k. St. Nicholas (that is the real St. Nicholas) was so stunned by the reality of Jesus Christ that he was willing
to take a stand. Are we stunned by the reality of Christ this morning? If we are not stunned by the
reality of Christ we need to take a closer look at his birth and think about the incarnation. The
incarnation is truly stunning.
i. First, the incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus left behind
ii. Second, the incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus became
iii. Third, the incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus accomplished
1. First, the incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus left behind
a. What did Jesus leave behind? A life of perfect joy and peace look with me at John 1:1-2.
i. John 1:1–2 (ESV) — 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
ii. John starts out by saying “In the beginning was the word”.
iii. Who was “the word”? John tells us in 1:14.
iv. John 1:14 (ESV) — 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his
glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
v. The word was Jesus Christ.
vi. Jesus Christ the word was in the beginning with God the Father.
vii. Before God created all things, before the incarnation, before the universe existed there was just
God.
viii. There was nothing but God. No time, no space, no matter.
1. We can’t ask where God was because there was no space.
2. We can’t ask when God was because there was no time.
3. And we can’t ask what God was because there was no matter.
ix. God the father, god the son, and God the spirit. Three persons in one God existing in perfect
harmony and community.
x. Here is what others have said about this life of perfect joy and peace1. Fred Sanders- “In himself and without any reference to a created world or the plan of
salvation, God is that being who exists as the triune love of the Father for the son in the
unity of the Spirit. The boundless life that God lives in himself, at home, within the
happy land of the Trinity above all worlds, is perfect. It is complete, inexhaustibly full,
and infinitely blessed.” (Sanders, 62)
2. Fredrick Faber- “When heaven and Earth were yet unmade, when time was yet
unkown, thou, in thy bliss and majesty, didst live, and love alone.” (Sanders, 63)
xi. When Jesus Christ was born of a virgin he was still a member of the trinity. That will never
change. But when he left heaven and came to earth he left behind him all the glory and many
of the privileges of the triune community.
1. Before the incarnation Jesus experienced nothing but Joy, after the incarnation he
experienced the darkest despair.
2. Before the incarnation he never experienced lonliness, after the incarnation he was
forsaken by his father.
3. Before the incarnation he was rich, after the incarnation he knew poverty.
4. Before the incarnation he never experienced physical pain, after the incarnation he
experienced the pain of the cross.
5. Before the incarnation he experienced no hostility, after the incarnation he experienced
the hatred of a fallen world.
6. Before the incarnation he knew nothing of sin, after the incarnation he took upon his
shoulders the sins of the world.
7. Before the incarnation Jesus lacked nothing.
8. Before the incarnation all Jesus know was perfect joy and peace.
b. The incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus left behind.
c. Illustration
i. “In the family of Microsoft, Paul Gardner Allen is the quirky twin of his boyhood friend William
Henry Gates III, whose $53 billion net worth and public persona tower over Allen's.
ii. Allen is the sixth-richest man in the world and owns an array of toys that would make any
brother jealous. His 416-foot yacht Octopus, with its permanent crew of 60, two helicopters, a
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submarine and a remote-controlled vehicle for crawling the ocean floor, cost him $200 million in
2003.
Allen built a $240 million popular culture museum in Seattle that has a huge collection of Jimi
Hendrix memorabilia. The Experience Music Project was designed in the shape of a broken
guitar by renowned architect Frank Gehry.
Allen's Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame includes a ray gun collection, a model from the
first episode of the TV series "Lost in Space" and Darth Vader's light saber.
Allen owns two professional sports teams -- the NFL Sea Hawks and the NBA Trailblazers -- and
this week bought back Portland's Rose Garden just to keep the team in town.” (ABC news)
If Paul Allen wants something he buys it. He has no material needs. He can have anything the
world has to offer.
We would all be shocked if Paul Allen gave up his fortune, left his Mercer Island mansion, and
took up residence in a cardboard box under the freeway in Seattle.
viii. The reason we would be shocked is because what he left behind.
ix. In a similar but far more stunning move Jesus left his perfect life of joy and peace and became a
tiny baby in a young girl’s womb. He was born into a small backwoods town. He lived an
obscure life that ended in shame and disgrace.
x. The incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus left behind.
d. Application
i. Why did Jesus leave so much behind? Because he loves sinners and he wanted to save them
from their sins. This is stunning!!!
ii. God the Father did not need to send his son.
iii. Jesus did not need to come.
iv. The Holy Spirit did not need to give us faith to trust Jesus.
v. God the Father sent Jesus and Jesus came because god is a god of love.
e. First, the incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus left behind!
2. Second, the incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus became
a. What did Jesus become? Jesus became man
i. John 1:14 (ESV) — 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his
glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
1. The first five words of this verse are perhaps the most stunning words in the Bible.
2. It is simply incomprehensible that the maker of all things would become flesh.
3. Jesus Christ who knows all things past, present, and future, actual and possible became
flesh.
4. Jesus Christ who is everywhere present in his universe composed of 150 billion galaxies
became flesh.
5. Jesus Christ who has existed for all eternity and dwells outside of time became flesh.
6. Jesus Christ who controls every single sub atomic particle in the universe became flesh.
7. Jesus Christ who has unlimited power became flesh.
8. Jesus Christ who is absolutely holy, righteous and just became flesh.
b. What does it mean that Jesus became man? It means that he added to his divine nature a human
nature.
i. In other words, Jesus Christ remained what he was and became what he was not.
ii. The incarnation allowed Jesus to add to his divine nature a human nature.
iii. Theologians refer to this as the hypostatic union.
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Jesus Christ contained two natures in one person.
He was fully God and fully man in one person.
He did not set aside his divinity instead he added to his divinity a human nature.
He did not merely appear to be man he was fully man.
c. Why is it stunning that God became man? It is stunning because he stooped so low.
i. Philippians 2:6–7 (ESV) — 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with
God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born
in the likeness of men.
ii. Jesus Christ made himself nothing!!!
iii. Illustration1. Digging for worms in the garden.
2. My boys love to dig for worms in our garden. Once they find them they play with them
for hours. They chop them in half, pull them apart, put them together in family groups
and then leave them on the sidewalk to bake in the sun when they are done.
3. Please don’t call PETA!
4. Why do my boys have such disregard for worms?
5. Answer- worms don’t live for very long, they have minimal intelligence, they are small,
they don’t have souls, and their fate has very little direct effect on them.
6. In other words worms are nothing to us!!!
7. But here is what we must realize. The distance between us and worms is measurable.
The distance between God and us is immeasurable. Yet Jesus chose to become a man.
Which is far more degrading then us choosing to become worms.
iv. Phillip Yancey1. “The God who came to earth came not in a raging whirlwind nor in a devouring fire.
Unimaginably, the Maker of all things shrank down, down, down so small as to become
an ovum, a single fertilized egg barely visible to the naked eye, an egg that would divide
and redivide until a fetus took shape, enlarging cell by cell inside a nervous teenager…
The God who roared, who could order armies and empires about like pawns on a
chessboard, this God emerged in Palestine as a baby who could not speak or eat solid
food or control his bladder, who depended on a teenager for shelter, food, and love.”
(Yancey, 36)
v. Dirtyiest job
1. There is a show on the discovery channel called dirty jobs.
2. It shows people working some of the dirtiest jobs in the country
a. Bat Cave scavenger
b. Road kill cleaner
c. Worm dung farmer
d. shark repellent tester
e. Shark suit tester
f. Sheep castrator
3. Jesus took on the dirtiest job in the world.
vi. The incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus became.
d. Applicationi. Nothing is below God! He is the humblest being in the universe. The distance he stooped to
serve us is immeasurable.
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How low are you willing to stoop? If you are a Christian it should be very low.
Are you willing to clean up your roommates mess?
Are you willing to clean up your spouse’s mess?
Are you willing to serve behind the scenes when no one is watching?
Are you willing to watch the kids to give your wife a break?
Are you willing to hang out with the kid at school that no one else is willing to hang out with?
Jesus stooped very low for us because he loves us!
e. The incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus left behind.
f. The incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus became.
3. Third, the incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus accomplished
a. The incarnation allowed Jesus Christ to be fully God and fully man and he had to be both to accomplish
our salvation.
b. Jesus had to be fully man to accomplish the work of salvation.
i. Jesus Christ was fully man so that he could fulfill the law as our representative.
1. Romans 5:18–19 (ESV) — 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all
men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by
the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s
obedience the many will be made righteous.
a. Jesus Christ obeyed God’s laws perfectly his whole life.
b. Imagine this for a moment with me
i. He was never angry
ii. He never bit his brothers or sisters
iii. He never complained
iv. He never lusted
v. He never lied
vi. He always honored his parents
vii. He never cheated his boss or his customers
viii. He was never lazy
ix. He never said the wrong thing at the wrong time.
x. He never envied
ii. Jesus Christ was fully man so that he could die as our substitute.
1. 1 Peter 2:24 (ESV) — 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might
die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
a. Since it is human beings who sin a human being must pay the penalty for sins in
order for God to be just.
b. God did not become an angle, a bull, or a lamb he became a human so that he
could die in the place of humans.
iii. Jesus Christ was fully man so that he could sympathize as our high priest
1. Hebrews 4:15–16 (ESV) — 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to
sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we
are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
a. Jesus Christ has been tempted in every way that you have been tempted yet he
never sinned. Therefore he knows what it is like to fight sin and so he is eager
to help those who are struggling.
b. Illustration- john Kershinar helping us throw our battle with William’s brain
tumor…
iv. Not only did Jesus have to become man to accomplish the work of salvation.
c. Jesus had to remain fully God to accomplish the work of salvation.
i. Christ remained fully God so that he could bare the sins of the world
1. Have you ever wondered how it is that one man could take upon himself the sins of all
those who would trust in God for salvation?
2. Have you ever wondered how Jesus was able to absorb the wrath of God for sins in a
couple of hours on the cross?
3. The only reason that Jesus was able to take upon himself the sins of the world is
because Jesus in his divinity is a being of infinite worth and power.
4. Our sins are infinitely offensive to God so only someone who is of infinite worth is able
to take our sins upon himself.
ii. Christ remained fully god so that he could be perfect on our behalf
1. John 8:29 (ESV) — 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I
always do the things that are pleasing to him.”
2. John 15:10 (ESV) — 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as
I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
iii. Christ remained fully god and became a man to be the one mediator between God and man.
1. 1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV) — 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God
and men, the man Christ Jesus,
2. He had to be able to represent us to God and God to us!
d. The incarnation allowed Jesus Christ to remain fully God and became fully man in order to bring
salvation to you.
i. Have you experienced the joy of salvation through Jesus Christ?
ii. Jesus did not come for good people, he did not come for religious people, he came for sinners
like you and me who recognize their need for forgiveness and grace.
iii. You can never be good enough to earn the salvation that Jesus earned for you.
iv. We are not saved by going to church and reading our bibles and giving money to the poor.
v. We are saved when we acknowledge our sin and look to Christ for grace and mercy.
4. Conclusion:
a. The incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus left behind
b. The incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus became
c. The incarnation is stunning because of what Jesus accomplished
d. Are you stunned by the incarnation?
e. Listen to the words of a poet who was stunned by the incarnation.
i. Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
ii. and with fear and trembling stand;
iii. ponder nothing earthly-minded,
iv. for with blessing in his hand,
v. Christ our God to earth descendeth,
vi. our full homage to demand.
vii. Lets pray…
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Incarnation talk Please turn with me to John chapter 1 p. ??? of your