Christian Fellowship Church's Sermons

The Gift of a Message

Advent - 2018

December 16, 2018
Phil Schaefer
Luke 1: 26-35

Description

Let’s talk about angels for a moment. Angel means messenger – God’s messenger. A being who arrives in our midst directly from the presence of ultimate cosmic authority and undiluted power. That is hard – really, impossible - for us to comprehend.

In ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, Clarence is the hapless angel trying to earn his wings. I love the story - Jimmy Stewart - His sacrifices and sense that he is unappreciated. But let’s be crystal clear: Biblical angels are nothing like Clarence.

The angel is frightening because he comes from the immediate presence of God to earth. This is how you can know if you have been in the presence of an angel – you are terrified, overwhelmed, undone, feel very small.

The angel of God brings news. He is telling Mary that God is breaking into this world order with power and authority from another sphere altogether.

Ultimately, everything we believe - our hope, our love, our very existence depends on this. This world cannot save itself. It is hopelessly lost. It cannot be healed. We sit under Powers too strong for us to overcome.

But the angelic proclamation is not within this sphere at all. It is an announcement of an in-breaking event from somewhere else. It comes from a kingdom which is without end. All other kingdoms will have their end. This one does not.

Mankind is mostly trying to bring Christ down so we can make sense of Him. Even we his followers work hard to get Him to fit our mold. Jesus is not a creature created. He is not man created.

This is the mystery of Christmas: Jesus is the Incarnation of the Creator God Himself. It was and still is a profound and unfathomable mystery.

In Revelation 1:13 – when John encounters the ascended Christ: His head and His hair were like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and his voice as the sound of many waters; He had in his right hand seven stars, out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at his feet as dead. This child in the manger is this One. John is trying to describe the indescribable.

We will never be fully able to wrap our minds around the God who lives in unapproachable holiness, unapproachable light, unapproachable beauty, goodness, purity, and love.We can only embrace the un-embraceable. We can only grasp this by faith thru grace.

And in this season, we have the gift of a message.

The message of the angel is that the Course of human History is now being reversed by the only One Who has the Power to reverse it. This is the gift of the message: God has made His Move.

And His Throne and His Kingdom will be established forever by the only power in heaven or earth that is able to do such a thing. ‘and of his kingdom, there will be no end’ – the angel declares.

He has given the gift of Himself for us. He has stepped into the world of Adam – the source of sin, death, and condemnation. And He is establishing the world of Christ - the source of Righteousness and Eternal Life. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

We need to hear a message from somewhere, someone, someplace beyond the realities of this harsh world - and we have! Not just a message, but a move. God stepped into our world, into our failure, heartbreak, tears, uncertainties, shame, guilt, fears, and death.

God has entered our sphere and has planted a kingdom that has no end; where sadness will be turned to joy; sin will be vanquished by righteousness, and death will be overcome by resurrection.

But God has not entered our sphere via propositions, or formulas. He has entered via a story. The story gives meaning to everything around us. God is weaving a story that will tie all the pieces together. We are all living in a redemption story.

Where are you in this story? Are you one of the redeemed? Do you know this God who has come to deliver you from all your sin and give you eternal life? Do you know that God is on your side?

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