Meaning Of Incarnation

The Meaning Of Incarnation

The Meaning Of Incarnation

web-design-group

CHAPTER 5

SUBJECT: The Meaning of The Incarnation

SCRIPTURE: John 1:1-14

TEXT: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John 1:14 a)

INTRODUCTION: This is the meaning of the Incarnation – God has stepped out of the picture (Universe) and become a man to live and to die for mankind. Jesus showed us the kind of God that rules the universe – a God who loves and who has come to redeem.

PROPOSITION: At Christmas Time we sing of the coming of Immanuel or Jesus – and Immanuel means 'God with us', or 'God in us', or 'God for us'. It means that Eternity has invaded Time, that God has become a man.

I. God with Us

A. In Sorrow and Pain and Loneliness and Poverty

B. In Joy

II. God in Us

A. To Convict

B. To Forgive

C. To Cleanse

D. To Comfort

E. To Keep

III. God For Us

A. In Making Decisions (small and great)

B. In Meeting Satanic Attacks

C. In Carrying Out Life's Tasks

CONCLUSION: God has stepped out of the picture and is with us now – through the power of the Spirit!

Web Design GroupBack To Top



CHAPTER 5

SUBJECT: The Meaning of the Incarnation

SCRIPTURE: John 1:1-14

TEXT: "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." (John 1:14 a)

INTRODUCTION: "E. Stanley Jones has told a story of a little boy who stood before a picture of his absent father, and then turned to his mother and said wistfully, 'I wish Father would step out of the picture." (Sangster's Special- Day Sermons; page 17)

This is the meaning of the Incarnation – God has stepped out of the picture (Universe) and become a man to live and to die for mankind. Jesus showed us the kind of God that rules the universe – a God who loves and who has come to redeem.

"The Christian faith is not just a little better than other faiths – a little more moral, more free from contradictory elements, more lofty in its conceptions. It is that, but it is more – it is different in kind. Religions are man's search for God. The Gospel is God's search for man. Therefore, there are many religions, but only one Gospel. Religions are the Word become word; the Gospel is the Word become flesh." (E. S. Jones; page 8 of 'Word Became Flesh')

PROPOSITION: At Christmas Time we sing of the coming of Immanuel or Jesus – and Immanuel means 'God with us', or 'God in us', or 'God for us'. It means that Eternity has invaded Time, that God has become a man.

I. God With Us

"The greatest thing of all is this, that when you see this compassionate Christ, you are seeing God. This is the comfort which the Advent tidings bring – and it is all in that one word Immanuel: for Immanuel means 'God with us', with us in Jesus, God going through the darkness with you, God saying, 'My friend, you must not carry the trouble alone any longer – cast it down at My feet: I will take it and carry it, and the hardest part shall be my part.' The word Immanuel means that where we, with all our poor human words of comfort, break down utterly, God begins. Immanuel means that when you feel nobody wants you, God does. Immanuel means that when your heart is crying to every would-be comforter, 'Ah, you don't understand, you can't see things from my side of them, you are outside' – Immanuel means that God is right inside. Immanuel means God with you and in you, God making the pain a sacrament, the conflict a crusade, and the broken dreams a ladder up to heaven. And so, through Christ, God speaks home to the heart of Jerusalem." (The Gates of New Life; page 197, 198; James Stewart)

Web Design GroupBack To Top



A. In Sorrow and Pain and Loneliness and Poverty

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained 
Too deeply for mirth and song; 
As the burdens press, and the cares distress, 
And the way grows weary and long? 
O yes, He cares; I know He cares, 
His heart is touched with my grief; 
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, 
I know my Saviour cares. 

Jesus is called 'a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief". He feels and he knows every burden you carry. The Bible exhorts you "To let all your anxieties fall upon him for his interest is in you." (1 Peter 5:7, Moffatt.)

When Jesus' friend, Lazarus died, and Jesus saw Lazarus' sisters in great grief, 'Jesus wept', and not only wept, but did something about the problem – He raised Lazarus to life.

"The poor mother of Nain, crying as if her heart would break as she stumbled after the pathetic little procession going out to bury her only son – Christ could not bear it!" (Stewart; page 197) So Jesus raised him to life.

An embittered father, who had lost his son in the war, asked a minster: 'Where was God when my son died?' Replied the minister, 'The same place He was when His own son died.' There is no experience that God can't understand.

God is with you in loneliness, for Jesus understands what it means to have his one- time follower's leave and forsake him. Jesus went through His trial all alone – with even his disciples leaving him. You need never walk alone. Jesus said, 'Lo, I am with you always.'

God is with us in times of poverty. Jesus experienced the depths of poverty. Born in a manger, working hard, long hours in a carpenter shop to 'make ends meet' for the family that he was to provide for, after Joseph died, while Jesus' brothers and sisters were still young – these are experiences that enable the poor to so closely identify with Jesus. Said Jesus, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath no where to lay his head." (Matthew 9:20) Jesus left the 'ivory palaces' of heaven, and emptied himself on earth for man. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes be became poor, that ye through

Web Design GroupBack To Top



his poverty might be rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)

B. In Joy

Jesus identifies with us in our joys. In fact, Jesus enjoyed life so much, that his sour critics called Jesus a wine-bibber. "The Son of man came eating and drinking (showing jolly spirit) and they (the critics) say, Behold a man gluttonous, and wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners." Jesus often ate and dined at sinners' homes.

Jesus showed gaiety of spirit at the wedding at Cana of Galilee, and wanted the guests and hosts to be so happy, that he changed water into wine, to save the hosts (who were probably poor people) embarrassment and shame.

The spirit of Jesus is reflected in the writings of Jesus' followers: "Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice." (Philippians 4:4) "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." (1 John 1:4) "Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:18-19)

II. God In Us

A. To Convict

If it were not for the mercy of God's conviction of sin and of our need for Christ, no man would be saved. God is in every man to create a need for Christ. "John Nelsen, weighed down with a deep sense of sin, went to hear John Wesley. Though unknown to the field preacher, Nelson felt that Wesley was aiming his message directly at him, as one standing alone before a preacher. 'As soon as he got up on the stand, he stroked back his hair, and turned his face towards where I stood, and I thought fixed his eyes upon me. His countenance struck such awful dread upon me, before I heard him speak, that it make my heart beat like the pendulum of a clock: and when he did speak, I thought his whole discourse was aimed at me. When he had done, I said, "This man can tell the secrets of my heart"'." (Mavis; Personal Renewal Through Christian Conversion; page 45)

B. To Forgive

God is in us to forgive us all our sins. "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalms 103:12) God has hid our sins in the sea of forgetfulness, never to remember them against us

Web Design GroupBack To Top



again. Says God, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 6:12)

I believe the most important word of the English language is "Forgiveness".

C. To Cleanse

"Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. .. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." (Psalms 51:2, Psalms 51:7)

William Carvosso, saintly class-leader in the Methodist Church for over 60 years, had prayed earnestly for 'inward holiness'. The Spirit directed him to the promise in Ezekiel 36:25-27. At length, one evening, while engaged in prayer meeting, the great deliverance came. 'I began to exercise faith, by believing, "I shall have the blessing now." Just at that moment a heavenly influence filled the room; and no sooner had I spoken than refining fire went "through my heart – illuminated my soul -scattered its life through every part, and sanctified the whole." I then received the full witness of the Spirit that the blood of Jesus Christ had cleansed me from all sin. I cried out, "This is what I wanted! I have now got a new heart." … O what boundless happiness there is in Christ, and all for such a poor sinner as 1." (Entire Sanctification; page 73)

D. To Comfort

Jesus said, "I will not leave you as orphans." The Holy Spirit is in us to enable us to cope successfully with life. He enables us to 'Brave Life Together'. The Spirit imparts courage and rest and power. There is rest for the weary. Said Jesus, "Come to me and I will give you rest – all you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke – for it fits perfectly and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens." (Matthew 11:28)

"True comfort of Christ is a strong, bracing, reinforcing thing. It is like a wind to a boat that has been becalmed. It is like the gift of a job to a man who has been for years out of work. It is like the clasp of a friend's hand in a time of need. This is certainly the root idea of the word 'comfort' in the New Testament; and when Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as the 'Comforter', He is really giving a promise that God will stand by a man in the day of his need, and brace his heart and nerve his arm, and make him more than conqueror." (Stewart page 193; in The Gates of New Life.)

Web Design GroupBack To Top



"A very sensitive and dedicated Christian, after a deep disappointment in some of her trusted colleagues, threw herself on her bed and cried, 'O Jesus, if it weren't for You I'd not be a Christian five minutes'. He held her steady through that letdown." (Word Become Flesh; page 339; E. S. Jones)

E. To Keep

The Holy Spirit is in us to keep us from sin and evil. "The Lord is faithful; he will make you strong, guard you from satanic attacks of every kind." (2 Thessalonians 3:3) Declared Paul: "I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to safely guard all that I have given him until the day of his return." (2 Timothy 1:12) "His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you even until the end of the world."

Says E. Stanley Jones: "For sixty years I've thought of one subject, have spoken about that one subject, and have written about that one subject – that one subject, a Person, Jesus Christ. After thinking and talking about one subject for sixty years, one should be bored and should want a moral holiday, want to get away and think of something else. On the contrary, I was never so excited, so exhilarated, so full of surprise as .now. Something new breaks out from Him every day, a surprise around every comer, horizons cracking, life popping with novelty and meaning – and value. The Truth is making me free, free to find more Truth and yet more Truth. And so on forever and forever." (Word Became Flesh; page 51). "The testimony of Evan Hopkins can help us." The year of his deeper crisis was 1873. In 1913 – just four decades later – he was at Keswick. He opened one of his addresses by saying: 'I think I ought to be the most thankful man in this tent, because I am privileged to testify that the blessings last. It has lasted with me forty years. I shall never forget that sacred spot where the first consecration meeting was held, in London in May, 1873. I had been converted thirteen years, brought to the Lord through a coast guardsman, and I had learned the need of my own heart during those years. At the time that I refer to I was immensely stirred to seek this blessing. We had heard about it and there in Curzon Chapel, Mayfair, under the gallery, sixteen well-known Christian people met together… this was just the beginning of the movement, and I ought to be one of the most thankful men in this tent, because of God's gracious keeping power for forty years. I want to bear testimony to that fact, and give Him all the glory. There have been many failures. I am not glorying in self, but what was revealed to me that day – the all-sufficiency of Christ – as precious to my soul as it ever was.'" (Prayer and Life's Highest; page 87; Rees)

Web Design GroupBack To Top



III. God For Us

The Bible asks the important question, 'If God be for us, who can be against us'? 'Immanuel' means that God is for us.

A. In Making Decisions (small and great)

God promises: "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." (Psalms 32:8) "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:6)

B. In Meeting Satanic Attacks

"The Lord is faithful; he will make you strong and guard you from satanic attacks of every kind." (2 Thessalonians 3:3) "There hath no temptation taken you but such as in common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Luke 22:31-32)

Said Jesus: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16: 33)

C. In Carrying Out Life's Tasks

"Susanna Wesley had a prayer: 'Help me, Lord, to remember that religion is not to be confined to the Church or closet, nor exercised only in prayer and meditation, but that everywhere I am in Thy presence. '" (Barclay's Matthew, Vol. 2, page 180)

God is for us, in helping us to carry out our daily tasks. One college youth was having difficulty disciplining himself to do his college studies, and he made this a special subject of prayer, and discovered that he was able to do a much greater job.

Web Design GroupBack To Top



Brother Lawrence, who worked as a monastery cook in the 17th century, was a simple man who learned to take God with him in the simplest tasks of life. He wrote:

"Lord of all pots and pans and things .... 
Make me a saint by getting meals 
And washing up the plates!" 

He further testified: "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament." (Practicing The Presence of God; page 6)

"Mrs. Billy Graham admits 'that I do most of my praying "on the hoof'. She says that sometimes a busy homemaker simply cannot get down upon her knees often. ' but to know that you can wash dishes, iron, clean, shop, drive, and in whatever you have to do Jesus Christ is there beside you, urging you to talk over your problems with him – that is a joy and a comfort it is impossible to describe.'" (Alive To God Through Prayer; Donald Demaray, pg 89)

"After thirty-five years of service, the superintendent of nurses in a Philadelphia hospital retired. Her service had been outstanding because of her radiant personality, her thoughtfulness, her self-forgetting service, her courage and her hope. A banquet was held to honor her on her retirement. Hundreds of persons, doctors, nurses, other hospital personnel, former patients and friends gathered to do her honor. Speeches gave glowing tribute to her service. Then she arose, and told of an incident that took place thirty-five years before that changed her life. It was the last year as a student nurse. At Christmas time she found the schedule of duty did not permit her to get away from the hospital, while other girls had Christmas leave. She was homesick and irritated, and her attitude was reflected in everything she did. On Christmas Eve, a little boy was brought into the ward where she was on duty. The day after Christmas she was going about her duties, when she entered the room to help the little boy.

Suddenly the lad spoke up and said, 'I guess you never heard of the baby Jesus, did you?' She was stunned by the remark and snapped, 'Why did you say that?" The little boy looked up from his pillow and said, 'Cause you couldn't look so cross and sad if you had heard of the baby Jesus!'

Web Design GroupBack To Top



The now-retired superintendent of nurses said she ran from the ward. In the seclusion of her own room, she fell on her knees and promised God that as long as she was a nurse, she would never give any patient reason to think that she had never heard about Jesus. The incident, she said, changed her life. Her devotion to her work, and her enthusiasm for her task were dated from that hour, now sacred in her hall of memories." (Sermon Builder; page 13, 14 of Dec. 1972)

CONCLUSION: Remember – 'Immanuel' has come – God with Us (in sorrow, pain, loneliness, and poverty), God In Us (to comfort, to forgive, to cleanse, to comfort to keep), God For Us (in making decisions, in meeting satanic attacks, in carrying out life's tasks).

God has stepped out of the picture and is with us now – through the power of the Spirit! Glory!

Web Design GroupBack To Top



The Meaning Of The Incarnation

Questions

  1. From your knowledge of World Religions and of Christianity, give illustrations to demonstrate the truth of the following statements: "Religions are man's search for God. The Gospel is God's search for man. Therefore, there are many religions, but only one gospel."

  2. Based on the fact of the Incarnation, do you really believe that there is a Personal Divine One who truly understands your own heartbreaks, perplexities, loneliness, pain, hardships, poverty, broken dreams, and disappointments? (Read 1 Peter 5:7 in as many translations as possible, and share with other believers how this promise has given great comfort to you during a crisis in your own life). Tell with what degree of conviction you believe the following statement: "There is no experience that God can't understand."

  3. What evidence is there from an observation of the life of Jesus and the writings of Jesus' followers, that God is pleased when believers are full of joy, pleasure, and happiness? (Note John 2:1-25, Philippians 4:4; 1 John 1:4; Ephesians 5:18-19)

  4. Tell why you agree or disagree with the following statement: "God is in every man to create a need for Christ."

  5. Would you agree that the most important word of the English language is the word "Forgiveness"? Why or why not? (Note Psalms 103:12; Hebrews 8:12)

  6. Have you, as a believer, ever had an experience when you felt that the precious "blood of Jesus" was deeply cleansing your inner motives and desires, enabling you to become more committed to Christ and more compassionate toward your fellow men? (Note Ezekiel 36:25-27; 1 John 1:7)

  7. What is the root idea of the word 'comfort' in the New Testament?

  8. Share as many Scriptural promises that you can which assure you of "God's Keeping Power" – i.e., God's ability and desire to keep you safe from evil and to preserve you blameless in godly character until God calls you Home to Heaven. (Note 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 2 Timothy 1:12; Philippians 4:7)

  9. In spite of all your personal mistakes, failures, shortcomings, and sins, can you today personally testify to God's faithfulness in keeping you secure in His love – amidst all the changes and chances of your past experiences?

    Web Design GroupBack To Top



  10. Share from your personal experience, times and ways in which God has given you divine guidance amidst life's decisions, both large and small. (Note Psalms 32:8; Proverbs 3:6)

  11. Share a time in your life when you sensed the protecting presence of God, amidst sore trials and pressing temptations. (Note 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Luke 22:31-32; John 16:33)

  12. Tell to what extent you identify with the prayer of Suzanne Wesley:

"Help me, Lord, to remember that religion is not to be confined to the Church or closet, nor exercised only in prayer and meditation, but that everywhere I am in thy presence."

Have you sensed the reality of God's presence just as greatly while you perform your daily routine jobs, as you have during the times of your Holy Communion in God's sanctuary? What "holy disciplines' are you developing in your Christian life which are helping you to "practice the presence of God?"

"Besides your practice of the "discipline of the Quiet Time" of daily devotions, are you learning regularly and consciously to pray to God throughout the routine of your daily responsibilities – in other words, learning to "pray on the hoof'?

Web Design GroupBack To Top



Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s