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About this series
What Child is This?
The Baby that Changed the World
At Christmastime, if we think about Jesus, most people focus on Him as the baby in the manger. Have you thought about what it took for Him to leave the splendor of heaven and come to earth in the form of a human baby? And if He did that, that He and His Father had specific purposes in that grand plan? Chip gives a very clear explanation of who Jesus is and who He wants to be in our lives. If Jesus really is God, and if He really did come to die for our sins, have you considered that maybe there’s something He wants from us? Chip helps us understand what that is, but he takes it further to explain that there are lots of things God wants FOR us!More from this series
There is absolutely no getting around it, Christmas is about a baby. And not just any baby, but one little baby that came into the world and that changed everything. He reoriented, He redirected, He literally redefined all of history on earth.
The God of the universe intervened on the planet that He made, for the people that He loves, and in ways that are just hard to fathom, He decided He would be as vulnerable and as helpless and as humble as a little baby. The Spirit of God, in the womb of Mary – fully man, fully God – without confusion.
Now, for two thousand years, we celebrate this event called “Christmas,” and it goes something like this. You’ll notice on the front of your notes. An angel tells Mary about the baby. Mary couldn’t comprehend having the baby, for obvious reasons. Joseph’s problem with Mary was the baby. He knows it’s not his and that story she is telling him makes no sense.
And the angel tells Joseph, “You may not be the dad, but you are to raise the baby.” A manger becomes the birthplace for the baby. Angels and shepherds come and worship the baby. Wise men, scholars project, probably were two years in following the star to find the baby.
And in a fallen world, when the baby and His rule threatened, Herod tried to kill the baby. Now, I have spoken on Christmas a lot of times and one year you think, Let’s talk about it through Mary’s eyes. And next year, How about through Joseph’s eyes? And, maybe, I wonder, let’s see, the Wise Men’s eyes or the angels’ eyes. Because you all know the story.
But this year, I’d like to redirect our focus, rather from just the story, which you know, I’d like us to move to the next level and ask ourselves the profound questions the story raises, like, In a little baby like this, why did He come? In a little baby like this, who is He really?
Some thought He was just a teacher, some thought a prophet. What does the Scripture say? What does God say? And finally, what did that baby want when He grew up, became a man, and lived a perfect life?
What I want to talk about is Christmas from heaven’s perspective. And there are three questions, at least, that come to my mind that demand an answer. And question number one is: So, why? Okay, God created the world. Why did He come?
If you turn in your Bible to the book of Colossians, it’s a very small book toward the back. And in this little book, written by the apostle Paul, in about A.D. 61, he’s in his first imprisonment and the town is a little town about a hundred miles off the trade route from Ephesus.
It’s an affluent town. It has a deposit of minerals. It’s near bigger towns called Laodicea or Areopolis. And at the time, it was a very key city. The church was planted by someone named Epaphras, and Epaphras has come back to Paul in prison and given a report about this little church, this Gentile church. And it’s growing and it’s flourishing and it’s exciting and it’s multi-cultural, because there are Jew and Gentile and on this trade route and they have these minerals and great pasturelands.
In fact, they had such a quality of wool that they would dye it a special color and it became known as Colossian wool it’s multi-cultural. They had resources. They had a lot of ideas, a lot of backgrounds, a lot of religions.
And the apostle Paul is going to write, because a problem arose. This early church, some false teachers came. And these false teachers had an interesting mix. They were Jewish in origin and so they were demanding and if you read the whole book, they demand that people keep the Law, which no one can keep. and all these religious festivals and holidays and external religious activities.
But there was also a mixture of Greek philosophy, the beginning of what is called, “Gnosticism.” It’s just the Greek word for, “knowing,” – “gnōsis.” And Gnostics believed that the spirit is pure but everything material is evil.
And so, in other words, God couldn’t create the earth, because the earth, in its matter, is evil and God is spirit. And so you had these emanations or series or stages of angels to get between Him and this evil matter.
And, heaven forbid, there is no way that God could come in the flesh, because if flesh is evil... And so they were telling people they needed to keep all these new rules, that Jesus wasn’t God, that God didn’t directly create the earth, that you need to worship angels.
And then there was this sense of elitism, this sophistication of the higher knowledge. And so the apostle Paul is going to write to this new church in this multi-cultural, affluent area, with all these religions and false teachers.
And embedded in the first chapter, he is going to tell us why Jesus came as a little baby, why He would grow up, and why, in fact, Jesus left heaven.
Notice the introduction is the first couple of verses. And it just outlines, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus,” and then he tells them, “By the will of God, and Timothy our brother.” And then he addresses them, “To the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossi, grace and peace to you from God our Father.”
And then he gives us the first reason why Jesus left heaven. Jesus left heaven to give us a hope that will never disappoint. He left heaven to give you and me and them and all people a hope that would never disappoint.
It’s embedded in a little prayer of thanksgiving. Follow along, verse 3. He says, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,” well, here’s the reason, “because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all the saints – the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the Word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world, this gospel is producing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you, since the day you heard it, and understood God’s grace in all its truth.
“You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant who is a fellow minister of Christ on our behalf, who also told us about your love in the Spirit.”
Now, the apostle Paul, I love him. I love what he has to say. It is inspired by God. But he uses the longest sentences in the world, right? And, in fact, in the New Testament Greek, the grammar has to be supplied.
So if you try and outline his grammar, he is just, “So that, for that.” And so what I try and do is I rewrite the text. And after I have studied the grammar, I have put it for you.
So, basically, it goes like this. He gives thanks to the Father for two reasons: Their faith in Christ and their love for other believers. And so it’s very positive. He is praying, he is thankful, he has gotten a report from Epaphras.
This faith and love, literally, spring out of, it’s a very interesting word, it’s a tiny little Greek word but it has to do with the idea of agency. It’s the idea of something that comes or causes something to happen.
And he says, “This faith that you have, this new relationship with Christ, and this new love, the way you treat one another, actually, it is rooted,” or it sprang up, or it came to be, “because of this hope that you have.”
And then he describes the hope as something that is sure, it’s laid up for them in heaven. And he says that you learned about it when you received the gospel of grace.
Now, when we use the word, hope, we don’t use it the way the Bible uses it. It’s not wrong or it’s not bad but we use hope like, “I hope I get married someday.” Or, “I hope I get a better job.” Or, “I hope we can have children one day.” Or, “I hope someday we could own our own home.” Or, “I hope that the 49ers win.”
In other words, hope is almost a desire of the heart or even wishful thinking. “I hope it doesn’t rain.”
The Bible never uses the word hope that way. In Scripture, the word hope is that which is absolutely certain, unchangeable, definite, and true about a future event. And so what he is saying is, “I have heard about this newfound faith and relationship with the Father through Christ and your love that you have for one another that is growing and increasing. And it is rooted in the hope,” and then he says, “This hope can’t change and it’s protected.”
It is actually stored up for you! It’s laid up, literally, for you in heaven. Why? Because that’s where Christ is.
And their hope is because they have heard the gospel. The hope is that Christ is going to return. No matter what you are going through, no matter how hard it is or how difficult or what people are teaching, I want to remind you that Christ is going to return.
And I want to remind you, also, that before He left, He told His disciples then and now, “I am going to prepare a place for you. And if it weren’t so, I wouldn’t say it. Let not your heart be troubled. Do you believe in God? Believe also in Me.”
And the rooting of the gospel, this amazing pronouncement and message was: There is a hope that will never disappoint. We are not made just for a time. It’s time but inside of all eternity, Christ in heaven will return, heaven is real, and you learned that – how? By the gospel.
Now, sometimes the word gospel, again, some of these words we get used over the centuries and so gospel is like, “Hey! Well that is the gospel truth.” Or, “That’s Southern Gospel music.”
There are all kinds of ways we use gospel. The gospel, the literal meaning of gospel is, literally, good news. By the way, it’s not even an appeal. It’s a declaration. It’s an announcement.
A gospel would be, even before it was used in Scripture, if a king had a victory over another country, he would send envoys throughout his kingdom and they would give a gospel or a good news or a declaration, “That group has been defeated; our king has won!” Euaggelion. “Good tidings,” or, “news.”
And the apostle Paul says, “This good news is, first of all, it’s true, contrary to these false teachers. It went all around the world.” He says it is consistently bearing fruit. In other words, lives are changing, love is growing, needs are met, joy and peace are replacing conflict and bondage and addictions.
He says that, “It came through your brother who shared this message.” And the message, clearly, of the gospel that is the very power of God is that God came in the form of a little baby – fully man, fully God. He grew up and lived an absolutely sinless, perfect life. He revealed what the Father is like: “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father – full of truth and grace.”
And then He taught. And then He healed. And He fed. And He fulfilled seven hundred Old Testament prophecies. And then, for no crime that He committed, He would hang upon a cross and die. And He didn’t die for His sins, He died as a sacrificial substitute for you, for me, and to atone or, literally, the word means to cover, or pay for, the sins of all people of all time.
And then to prove that it was true, He would rise from the dead after three days, having defeated sin, death, and Satan. And then He would walk around in a resurrected body, where you could actually see the holes, touch His side.
Five hundred eye witnesses for forty days. And then, in broad daylight, would ascend up to heaven and the good news is the free gift of the forgiveness of sins and a new life and the assurance of heaven is for whosoever would believe and trust in Him. That is the gospel. And he says it is rooted in a hope.
When I was in China, I met a young guy that I really, really liked. And we had all these leaders and he was thirty-one years old from Montana and his name was Levi. And we sat on a bus together and he said, “So why are you here?” I said, “I don’t know!” He said, “Well, if you don’t know, I sure don’t know. Here are all these leaders. I’m thirty-one years old!”
And I said, “Well, Levi, tell me a little bit about your life.” He said, “Well, I got to be involved in a church. It was pretty neat. And I just thought God wanted to help people in Montana someday, some way. So when I was twenty-three, I just started a little Bible study.”
I said, “Well, what happened?” He says, “Well, we have five sites all over Montana and five radio places and it’s just taken off. It’s crazy, man!” He was thirty-one. Had his skinny jeans on and everything.
And he just had this, I don’t say this about many men, he just had this sweet spirit. And a little bit later, I said, “We are going to have to take the train later. I’d love to get some time with you.” He said, “Oh, that would be great.” And so we sit and talk and I said, “Tell me a little bit about your life.”
And I don’t know why I said this. I said, “What is the biggest challenge that you’re facing?” And he got really quiet.
He said, “Last year, it was just a few days before Christmas,” and then he pulled out his phone and he showed me a picture of a little four or five year old girl. And he said, “That’s my daughter. And she had asthma but had medicine and under control and she never had a really terrible episode. And last year, a few days before Christmas, she had this outrageous asthma attack. And we called 911 and the EMTs came. But before they got there, she stopped breathing. And I gave her mouth-to-mouth and I did CPR. And I did it, and did it, and did it, and did it. And I went to the hospital and my little girl died in my arms.”
And I said, “Well, how are you doing?” He said, “I am living on the sheer reality of the hope that is laid up for me. My little girl is in heaven.” And he said, just because, “That whole group, I have only been there eight years, but from twenty-three to thirty-one, that group, they have been our family. And we did Christmas Eve together and then we did Christmas. And they got around us and they prayed for us and they have loved us and we took some time away.”
But he said, “What I can tell you is anything and everything can let you down, but I live daily,” and he showed me this picture, “Jesus said that He is coming back and Jesus said there is a heaven, that is real. And that hope is what I am hanging my life on. And I have some really bad days, but I always go back to, What lens am I looking at life through? Is it just now through a little time? Or is it through eternity?”
And I want you to know this: That little baby, filled with the incarnate God, He left heaven so you could have a hope that would never disappoint you. Because I’ll tell you what, you put your hope in money, it’ll disappoint you. You put your hope in fame, it’ll disappoint you. You can put your hope in good things like your kids or your marriage and you know what? As wonderful as they are, they will disappoint you. You could put your hope in your skills or your dreams and they will disappoint you. You can put your hope in a church or pastors and they will disappoint you.
As sitting before you right now, just saying, I could make the most sincere commitments and I really want to keep them, I just don’t have the power to. I let my own wife down, I let my kids down, I want to do what’s right, I find myself not doing what is right all the time. Can anyone relate to that? Well, if that is true, if you put your hope in something or someone other than the Savior of the world, a day is going to come and I hope it’s not as tragic as Levi, but you’ll just ask yourself, Where is the hope in life?
See, everyone puts their hope in something. And it’s not what you say your hope is in. What we do is we open up your schedule, and we open up your brain and we see what you think, and then we follow the money trail. And when we see your time, and we open up your brain, and we follow the money trail, there is a big “equal” sign. Those things tell you where your hope is.
I really have an easy time memorizing certain things, but there are certain things I just have a mental block. The words of songs I can never remember. I was reviewing a song that we sing every year about this time. People have been singing about the hope of this little baby since 1865, by the writer, a pastor called Phillips Brooks when he visited Palestine.
See if this doesn’t ring a bell and maybe you will sing it differently this year. “Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie. Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by; Yet in thy darkness shineth the everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in you tonight.”
Jesus left heaven to give you a hope that would never, ever disappoint you. As you celebrate Christmas this year, get that on the forefront of your mind, in your heart, in your thinking.
I remember my oldest son was being mentored by a guy. And he was talking about this amazing time with this guy and how it’s helping him. He was newly married at the time and making such a difference.
And then he shares this story, this guy that was mentoring him and helping him, who, every morning, this guy got up and made coffee and brought it to his wife in bed.
And my son is telling me this and I’m thinking, at the time, I’ve been married twenty-eight years, How many times have I done that? Um, uhhhh. I heard that and I thought, Are you kidding me? And then I thought, Well, why not? And then I thought, I think I’ll try it.
And on a fairly regular basis, I started doing that. And you know what it is? You know the delight it is to see someone’s eyes open up and just realize you pleased them? That’s what it means to walk in a manner worthy. It’s not about this rule or that rule.
Of course we keep the rules out of love and obedience. But it’s pleasing Him. And that is our motivation.
But notice, then, it’s how we relate to people, “Bearing fruit in every good work.” Our series on doing good, that’s it. That’s our exact word. It says that the way you walk in a manner that is worthy, you’re good to people, you’re kind to people, you’re generous to people, you put them first, you love them. And you do it in real actions.
He says, “That’s how you walk worthy.” And then, in your relationship to God, “increasing in the experiential knowledge of God.” He says, “When you walk worthy, it’s not like, Okay, thank you for forgiving me. I’m doing my own thing.” You become the kind of person that says, “I’m not just trying to figure out, Should I read a chapter a day to keep the devil away? I want to know You, I want to talk to You.”
When a verse speaks to you, you write it on a little card and you memorize it. And you begin to pray in the car and you look for opportunities. And pretty soon, you are interacting with God and you are growing in the real, intimate, experiential knowledge and He gives you these little thoughts and these little promptings.
And, at times, He convicts you. But that’s how you walk in the manner worthy of the Lord. And as you do that, you realize that it’s based on, not your strength, but supernatural power.
“Strengthen with all power, according to His glorious might.” Underline, if you will, strengthened and the word power. Same root word. He is really trying to make a point.
We get our word: dynamite. The Greek word is dynamis. You can hear it. He says, “There is a supernatural power of the Holy Spirit that has taken up residence in you and walking worthy, pleasing Him, these good works, they don’t flow out of you trying to be a good person. They flow out of you abiding in Christ, and seeing others through the lens of Jesus and saying, God, I want You to live Your life through me, and His Spirit empowers and strengthens. And then, by His glorious might, His exceeding majesty.”
And then he says, “This produces something, because the real test of walking worthy isn’t when things are going well.” The real test of walking worthy and pleasing God is when it’s really, really hard.
And so he uses two words. One is endurance. And the other is patience. And the adjective behind it is: With great endurance and great patience. Great endurance? Hupomeno: being under, pressure. It means putting up with impossible situations, circumstances, difficulties, health issues, the economy is going upside down, unfairly being fired.
Just situations, the brother-in-law, the sister-in-law, the parent who abused – difficult situations. God gives you grace by His power, as you are walking with Him and one day at a time, you endure, you persevere.
And two things happen. One, people can’t understand how you do it. And the other is you, in the midst of that pressure cooker, become more and more like Christ. You become more gentle, more sensitive, more understanding.
And it’s not just impossible situations but impossible people. The word patience is different from the word endurance. We learned this earlier. Makro – broad – thymeōs. Remember in 1 Corinthians 13 where you absorb the blow and give a hug? This is that word where you absorb the blow. Your reactions, impossible people, difficult people, people that you want to punch them, they make you so mad.
And you ask God for the grace and the strength to love them in a way Jesus loves them through you.
And so what you have here is, these are graphic pictures and Jesus would say to you and me, This is why I left heaven. I left heaven to give you a hope that would never disappoint. And I left heaven to show you something. I wanted to show you exactly what the Father’s perfect individual plan is for you.
Because when you live this life that is pleasing to Him, it’s amazing what happens in you. It’s amazing what happens around you.
We did what was called our First Prime Movers Group. And it’s kind of a Bible study for some executives and some people that have done well in life that are asking, What do I do with the rest of my life?
And it was the very first one, it was an experiment, I literally did it in the basement of my house in Atlanta. And there was a young guy there named Michael. And everyone else was older and grown some companies or run some companies or built some companies or sold some companies. And they had time, affluence, and influence and they really wanted to be used for God and so we spent twenty-four hours talking about what that would look like and then a number of them went on for six months and met and talked about, How could that happen?
And this guy, at the time, was late thirties. He did some sort of thing with a medical device and it went public and he ended up being part of the team and got a bunch of money from it. And he was this driven, overextended, up early, up late, two small kids.
And as we went through the time, his marriage was completely out of whack, his kids were being neglected, he wasn’t getting much sleep, he was this type A, driven, over the top.
And so we had this time where we are sharing, because each guy had to share what was going to happen. And it wasn’t like someone is leading, the group actually helps one another.
Well, most guys that are really high capacity have never been in a group with other very, very high capacity people. And so, number one, no one is intimidated. Everyone has lots of zeros or letters or whatever makes you super-duper.
And so it became this really safe place. And he starts talking and making all the excuses and these older guys, I still remember, literally, these grown men, some of them are crying in my basement. And they are looking at him and saying, “Michael, ten million, twenty million, it won’t mean squat if you lose your marriage! It cost me mine! I was an idiot. I was sounding just like you right now.”
And they were just, I just stepped back, I thought, I’m not going to mess with this one. I let those guys talk. And Michael went on a journey. For the next six months, with a group, he started getting his marriage, little by little, and a couple steps forward and a few backward, make some progress.
And then what often happens when you’re the guy that takes something public and you’re the guy that has the invention, whatever it was, and it goes public and they hire a board and then someone else gets to run it and then they let you know they don’t need you anymore. Well, that happened to Michael.
And so he was given a year or two of severance and I think a pretty good sum of money to leave. And he said, “I spent that whole year getting reacquainted with my wife. And what is God’s holy ambition, what is His perfect plan for me? And what does He want me to do?”
And he and I were talking on the phone Thursday and just something came up that got us on the phone. And I said, “Well, how are you doing?” He said, “Chip, I just have to tell you,” he’s probably mid-forties now, “this is the sweetest season of my life.”
And I said, “Why?” He said, “I have peace like I have never experienced, my wife and I are at a place that we have never been, it’s rich, it’s good.” And I said, “How did that coffee thing go?” Because he shifted his gears and he had this idea that, you know all the free trade coffee and how that goes and these farmers that are getting ripped off?
So he created this thing and went around the world and so he created this brand and he said, “Well, we sunk most of our money into that that I got from the last deal. And we got down to almost nothing. But we did it together as a couple, we felt like it was really God’s will.” And he said, “Last week, and I can’t tell you who it is, but last week, one of the major chains, fast food chains,” he said, “this summer we will supply coffee for all of their chains all across America. And on every cup, it will have our logo and it’ll have a little website where people can go and help out these guys.”
And he said, “Whether that happened or not was immaterial.” He said, “I would never want to go back to the way I was living.” You know what Michael learned? God revealed His perfect plan for Michael and it wasn’t about money and it wasn’t about impressing and it wasn’t about getting ahead. It was about being a man who walks worthy of God.
And when you do that, as described here, and you endure as we all will, great difficulty and circumstances and people, then you experience, you get to experience what we sing every Christmas, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her king. Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing. And heaven and nature sing. And heaven and nature sing. Joy to the world, let the earth receive her…”
You know what this passage says? That little baby grew up – fully man, fully God – every knee will bow and every tongue will confess He is the King of kings, He is the Lord of lords.
And when He is the Lord, now, of your life, when you live in a way that the knowledge of His will and what that means and He is the King of your life, heaven sings and earth sings and circumstances align.
It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it means there is peace. It means there is joy. It means all that anxiety and all that stuff and all those hopes and all those people and all that frenzy that we live with, dissipates. That’s why He came.
Reason number three is Jesus left heaven to rescue us from the power of darkness. I put the passage right in your notes. “He joyously gives thanks to God the Father,” Paul is still praying. He says, “I want you to know God’s will,” – why? “I want you to know God’s will because of this hope that can never disappoint.
And now I am joyously giving thanks to the Father,” and then he talks about what the Father has done through the Son, “who qualified us to share in the inheritance of saints in the kingdom of light, who rescued us from the dominion of darkness, who bought us and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
I just want to make the point, He rescues us from this domain or power of darkness. And I just want to remind you that you live in a very, very dark world.
You live in a day where there is corruption and greed and evil and darkness. And it’s corporate and it’s embedded in business and in government and in churches. It’s embedded in families. It’s embedded in individuals. And it’s dark! And what is scary, in the words, it’s so timely, of Nelson Mandela. Someone asked him, “How could you come out of prison and do what you did and forgive and bring about reconciliation?” He said, “Everything I did I learned in twenty years, by myself,” you should read his book.
He said, “It was in twenty years, all by myself, in that cell, that what I understood was all the evil in the world also resided in my heart. It was in my heart. And all the evil and all the tragedy and all the anger and all the bitterness and all the things I would do back to other people that they have done to us is in my heart and if we were in power, we probably would have done the same thing. And I realized what needed to happen was I needed to change. And no one can bring about change until they change.”
And I want you to know that He came to rescue, not just the world, but you, from the evil in your heart. What you are capable of and what I am capable of, given the right circumstances, in the right way, at the right time.
Underline the word qualified; put a circle around rescued; put a circle around dominion; put a box around brought us; and another box around redemption. Did I go to fast? Yes. Okay. Underline qualified; underline inheritance; circle around rescued; circle around dominion; a box around brought us; and then a box around redemption.
So how did he rescue us? This is so exciting. He qualified you! This word means He made you fit. In other words, the evil in your heart, the sin, the debt that you had before God, what Christ did on the cross and the resurrection, He qualified you, He made you competent, He made you fit by what He did on the cross.
It’s a picture of: Your account has been approved. You know when you go for a loan? You want to buy a house or something? And you submit all your stuff and they look at you and they go, “Oh, yeah, you’re approved.” Well, when you try and submit a loan to heaven, no one is approved on their merit, but Jesus says, “Because of what I have done, you are approved.”
And what did He qualify you for? He named you as an heir. You are in His will. You’re an heir in the saints of light. The moment you turned from the kingdom of darkness, He rescued you out of darkness, if you put your faith in Him, places you in the kingdom of light, and now He says, “You are an heir.” Everything that is true of Jesus becomes true of you. His reigning, His power, His blessing, His forgiveness, His place, His heaven, His purpose. He says, “You are an heir, you are in My will.” He died. The will is open. It’s called a testament.
We call it, “The New Will,” or, “The New Testament.” And all the promises there are, “Whosoever would believe and trust in Him.”
Third, He defeated sin, death, and Satan through the cross and resurrection. That is how He did it. That’s how He rescued you. There is an enemy. Evil is real, sin is real, death is real, energized by the enemy Satan.
And he says, that little phrase, you put a box, “He brought us,” literally, the word is, transferred. He brought us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. That little word, “brought us,” you could write the word transferred in your notes.
In the ancient world, this Greek word was used of someone who would conquer a people and he would transfer them from this city, this colony, over to this other city.
And the Spirit of God takes that and says, “That’s what happens to every single person, because of what Christ did in your place, if you, by faith, have believed the declaration of the gospel, that reality is true. And the result is you are redeemed.
He defeated sin, death, and Satan. And number four, He purchased you out of the slave market of sin and released you from your sins. That word, redeemed comes right out of the ancient world.
If you were downtown in the ancient city, on any given day, there would be a small platform and there would be slaves in chains. Sometimes families, sometimes individuals, and you could walk in and say, “I’ll give you fifty dollars for that one, or twenty dollars for that one.” And you would buy them out of slavery to be your slave.
And the word used for buying a slave out of there, is the word, redemption. And then so you don’t miss it, he goes, “The forgiveness of your sins.” Literally, the release. The sending away of your sins that God holds you accountable for, because He is holy, and he says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far God has removed your sins from you if you are in Christ.
And that is the declaration of the gospel. That’s why He came. He came to give you a hope that would never disappoint, He came to reveal God’s perfect plan for your life, and He came to rescue you.
Literally, it’s a picture of, if you’ve ever seen the documentaries about the little girls that are rescued out of prostitution, like in Thailand? I have a friend who runs a ministry that does that.
And he says, “We will go in there and we will find out what all the laws are, and most of them aren’t ever kept and we will work with the legal people there. And then we will set up a sting operation. And then we will go in and we will rescue ten, eleven, twelve-year-old little girls that are locked in rooms, some of them hang themselves.”
And he says, “We rescue them. We deliver them out of that. But once we do that, what we realize, that’s just the beginning. Then we have homes for them. And they need to know they are valuable because they have been hurt, they have been abused, and they need to be loved.
And we teach them they have value and we teach them a skill. And we give them a new life. That’s what God has done for you. It’s what He has done for me.
So the question. Why did He come? The answer. He came because He loves you and wants you to have a personal, intimate relationship with Him forever. That’s why He came. It’s why we celebrate the baby.
“Oh come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant.” I never saw that before. You are triumphant! You are delivered from darkness and the domain and the power of death and sin and Satan. So come and behold Him, your King.
Well, as we wrap up the Christmas story, you can tell it through a lot of different eyes. But there seems like there are a couple of big responses. When some shepherds hear about this baby, they leave everything. They are the low people on the totem pole. They are the social, as low as it gets, vocationally.
And they leave the sheep and they come and see and they worship and they are the first to go share.
Or if you’re a wise man, they are sort of the upper crust. They had a lot of resources. They realigned their life and their time to go on a journey, whatever it takes, so they can see and find and worship this new King, and they do it.
And then there is the innkeeper. And it’s just another day. It’s just a young couple. It’s a census. “I wish I had room, but I don’t! She looks really pregnant, but a lot of people get pregnant. God bless you two. There is no room in the inn.”
And so the Creator of the world is born in a manger. And every year, when I read this story, I realize, I am either a shepherd, a wise man, or an innkeeper. And the question I have for you: Is there room in the inn of your heart, not just for that baby, but for the risen Christ who has a hope that won’t disappoint, who has a plan that He wants you to follow, and wants to rescue, if you’ve never been rescued out of darkness? Or my experience is, there are a lot of us that, even after we come to know Jesus, we get trapped in darkness.