Bob and Michelle know, I am not a fan of reality TV shows. They are. While I would rather watch Notre Dame football, a movie on Netflix, an anime on Crunchyroll, or a series I like without commercials; they will turn on Survivor or Masked Singer, Bob is also a fan of game shows. I watch for a little while, but then I will go up to my room and turn on something else. Whether it’s Masked Singer, or the votes at tribal, or a mystery series, there is usually a big reveal. Built up with suspenseful music, or six commercial breaks, or a myriad of guesses; there is always that moment. One episode of Masked Singer caught me by surprise when the performance was done by Jerry Springer, I never would have guessed. But then you wonder, how much of this was staged. During one reveal, one of the people supposed to guess said to the performer, “We had been talking a little bit ago backstage, but I never thought it was you in that costume…” Why are the people guessing even getting a glimpse of the secret performers backstage? Let alone having a conversation with them? Then you get the big reveal that is flat wrong. In the Tournament of Champions on Jeopardy, the contestants were asked which letter from Paul in the New Testament has the most Old Testament references. The correct answer that we know without a doubt was written by Paul is the Letter to the Romans. However, Jeopardy producers say it is the letter to the Hebrews, which is anonymous. It caused a firestorm of comments online, including many people, me included, writing about how no one knows which human author wrote Hebrews, even though it does have the most Old Testament references. The Jeopardy producers justified their answer by saying, all our contestants know we use the King James Version as our official text at Jeopardy, and the King James notes Paul as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews. We, in our flawed and limited humanity, may never know who wrote the letter to the Hebrews, but without a doubt, it was inspired by Holy Spirit along with the rest of the scriptures.
For several weeks now, we have been looking into the scriptures and seeing the miraculous, supernatural, unexplainable power of God in making promises, predictions, and prophecies hundreds and thousands of years in advance, and keeping his promises. We have a promise keeping God! Amen?! He tells us what he is going to do, and he does it!
Over 7,400 promises made to mankind, over 1,800 prophecies including 300+ made regarding his coming Messiah; and so far God has kept them all, and we look forward to more to come. We have a promise keeping God. We’ve briefly looked at tons of passages over the last several weeks, and the big reveal although you should have caught on by now; they all had to do with Jesus. One of the very first promises God made to humanity was words he said to the serpent in Genesis 3:15, and it foreshadowed the coming of a Savior the Messiah from the seed of the woman, who would bruise the head of the serpent. Oral history passed down several thousand years until the time of Moses, written over 1,500 years before the birth of Jesus. Yet, God’s promised redeemer, our Savior, the one to conquer sin and death came in the flesh, Emmanuel, God with us, Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One of God, Son of God and Son of Man, the one Isaiah said would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We have a promise keeping God, and his promises are kept in the little baby that showed up in a manger in the little town of Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. How do we know that little baby, the one we celebrate at Christmas, is the promised one? Most of the Jewish people living then missed the big reveal. Most of the Jewish leaders, the teachers of the Law, the self-righteous church people of the day, the ones who went to Bible study week after week missed it. How do we, 2,000 years after the fact, know this baby we celebrate is the one? We must put our faith in the words Holy Spirit left us. Believe he is the one the Bible tells us he is. Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16,
‘We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.’
1 Corinthians 2:6-16
When we have the Spirit of God, the mind of Christ, the Spirit of Truth, the indwelling Holy Spirit inside us, then the words we read stop being foolishness and start explaining the spiritual realities to us with Spirit-taught words. In those words, in the words of scripture, we find Jesus. We find the child, born of a virgin, prophesied for ages, come to live a perfect life as a man, die a sacrificial atoning death on the cross, be buried and rise again to bring us eternal life in a relationship with our Eternal Father. All the prophecy fulfilled is a stamp of authenticity on the Word of God being exactly what it claims to be. And Jesus’s resurrection is the proof he is the Son of God, God in the flesh of man, who came to save us.
What does the disciple whom Jesus loved, the Apostle John say about who Jesus is? 1 John 1:1-3
‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. ‘
1 John 1:1-3
Based on John’s eye witness testimony, as one who walked with, talked with, ate with, slept near, lived with the man named Jesus; John says our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
John tells us in chapter one of his gospel… John 1:1-5, 9-14, 16-18
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.’
John 1:1-5, 9-14, 16-18
John told us the reason he wrote his gospel is John 20:30-31
‘Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’
And in 1 John 5:9-13
‘We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. ‘
1 John 5:9-13
We are believing in the testimony of the men who wrote the scriptures, and we are accepting the miraculous nature of the scriptures that foreshadowed, prophesied, and promised hundreds and thousands of years in advance the coming of the Messiah, in having faith in Jesus as the Son of God, and in that faith, we become children of God ourselves. We are not just here to celebrate a baby being born 2,000 years ago. We are here to celebrate the coming of the king of glory, the creator of our universe, God who has stepped into his own creation in order to have a relationship with us. A relationship more personal than any other relationship we could possibly have with any spouse, child, friend, or parent; because in this relationship with God, his Spirit lives inside of us.
My question for you this evening, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, is this: “What steps do you need to take starting this Christmas to live your life in the Spirit of Christ to its fullest?”