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Christmas Day 2020
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Hilbert Kamps
December 25, 2020
Text and Audio: immanuelhamiltonchurch.com click “sermons”
Full Service Audio: bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.Amen
John 1 verse 1 In the beginning, was the word,…..and the Word was with God and the Word was God…..so far our text. Will you please pray with me, and especially for me?
Oh WORD made flesh, be present with us this most Holy Day, and fill each of us with Your limitless grace, mercy and peace! And to that end may the words of my mouth, and the meditation of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight Oh LORD, Amen
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Heavenly Father, and from Jesus Christ His Son, born to us this day in the little town of Bethlehem.
The Gospel of St. John has been called a crown of pure gold, and our Christmas Day’s Gospel reading, has been called “the central jewel-set in that crown.” This opening reading sums up the contents of the entire Gospel of John. He attests to the humanity of the Son Jesus fully and completely as to the divinity and godhead of this same human Jesus, the Christ the miracle of the ages is that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Many find the entire Gospel of John so very impressive, because he uses simple words to proclaim some very profound theology. Using the entire first chapter as an example of this simplicity: The entire chapter has 224 words; just over 200 of them are one syllable words. Less than 10 of them have more than two syllables. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit worked through John’s simple words to proclaim some very sophisticated theology. He proclaimed the WORD so plainly, that even children are able to understand, and comprehend by FAITH. Don’t you just love to hear the very young voices singing Away in a Manger, and O Little Town of Bethlehem? And how about the humble theology of God Loves Me Dearly? The beginning of this Gospel begins with the same, simple, elegant beauty.
Here we learn that there is a Word that is more than simple information. Here we learn that there is a Word that is a living, thinking being. Here we learn of an eternal living Word that has come to live with us. In the beginning was the Word. It is not an accident that the first words of this Gospel account are the same as the first words of Genesis. This special word that John tells us about is eternal. In the beginning……before anything was created…this Word already existed.
The only way to BE in the beginning is to be eternal. The only thing that existed in the beginning…..before anything is created…..is God, this eternal, Christ
Jesus is the reason why we Christians celebrate Christmas – that should probably go without saying. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ, He and He alone is the reason for the season – but remember His reason for the season is you – Jesus wasn’t born for His own good. He was born for you. The part of the celebration of Christmas where people get together with friends and Family is simply, and hopefully, a logical, happy by-product of the celebration of Jesus’ birth for you. However God’s logic and man’s logic are as far apart as the East is from the West.
When we are born into this world, our human reason is very limited. For example, if you hide a toy from a very young child, the child will forget about the toy. He or she hasn’t reasoned that the toy is simply behind your back. But, as the child grows, and his or her ability to reason grows, the child will know that all you did is hide the toy behind your back. The Lord has blessed each one us with the ability to grow in reason and understanding. There are many people who have been blessed with a great deal of knowledge. However, it is unfortunate that many have taken human reason, and placed it above all things, including God’s Word. Such people reason: “If I can’t understand it, then it must not be true.
That’s why so many “scholars” of the Bible question teachings found in God’s Word such as the creation of all things in six days, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead or the fact that one-day all people will rise from the dead.
In verse 14 of John chapter 1, we find another teaching of the Bible that we will never fully understand with our limited, human reason. Listen again as I read this verse of Scripture for us from the Gospel of John: 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.
Today, as we celebrate “that word coming in the flesh”, you and I will see from the Bible that “Christmas Puts Human Reason to the test”, based on this portion of God’s Word, we will see that our human reason is not able to understand fully that Jesus Christ, our One and only Savior, had to be both True God and True Man. BECAUSE-IT COMES BY FAITH! The Lord has given you and me the ability to understand what needs to take place for a new life to be born into this world. But, put your human reason to the test. Are you able to understand fully what the Holy Spirit led John to write here? “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Your human reason would tell you that Jesus was simply a special man, who became “a son” of God, because of the kind of life he lived. But John does away with that line of reasoning back in the first verse, “In the beginning was the Word [John is talking about Jesus as the second person of the Trinity], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” And again… we read about this Word…. Jesus, “and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Gospel writer John was an eyewitness of the fact that Jesus is true God, who has taken on human flesh.
John our gospel writer quotes John the Baptist in verse 15, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.”‘ Both John’s testify that Jesus existed before His incarnation (His birth). One of the major teachings found in the Bible is the fact that this baby born in Bethlehem is not just another human child. He is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. But is this really such an important point that we should spend so much time talking about it?
Let’s put your human reason to the test. How does your human reason tell you that you can get to heaven? It’s because I can do something to win my way into heaven. Now let’s look at that reasoning in light of God’s Word. The Bible tells us that we are sinful from the time we are conceived with-in the bodies of our mothers. Each one of us moments ago confessed to God “all of my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended You” and
Then asked His forgiveness.
How does your human reasoning tell you that this baby born in a stable (????) brings the power of forgiveness??? That same little one in the manger is the one who created grain and grapes and He has promised to give Himself to you in bread made from the grain and wine made from the grapes. His true body and true blood are present; IN,WITH,&UNDER the bread and wine at this altar. Eternal life, the light of the world-it’s so near to you that you can touch it and taste it. God is given into your mouth, taken into your body. He makes Himself known to you with forgiveness, life, and salvation. God’s Word commands our human reason to step aside. The Bible makes it so clear that there is absolutely no way you and I are able to get ourselves into heaven. So, in his great love for you and me, God the Father took action. He sent his One and Only Son, Jesus Christ to be our substitute. Jesus took on human flesh. In our place, the Savior lived the perfect life you and I will never be able to live. Our loving Lord willingly offered up his perfect life as the full payment price for all your sins and all my sins.
Because Jesus rose again on Easter Sunday, because the Holy Spirit has used his Word to put faith in your heart and mine so that you and I believe in Jesus as our one and only Savior, you and I are given the credit for the perfect life he lived. Through the God-Man, Jesus Christ, you and I enjoy the forgiveness of all sins. While Christmas puts human reason to the test, rejoice in the fact that Jesus Christ, your substitute, is true God and also true Man. There are many people today who hear the birth of Jesus at Christmas as just another “story” that is told at that time of year. It is important for you and me to remember that the only way anyone is saved is if they know that Jesus is their one and only Savior. Whether right now, you are sitting in a pew in front of me; or if you viewing us at a later time; each and every one of us knows of someone who needs to hear the message of God’s Word: his Law and Gospel. I am sure you are able to think of someone in your family, a friend, or a neighbor, who needs to hear about their need for a Savior, and how the gracious Lord gave us that Savior, in the God-Man, our Lord Jesus Christ.
May we leave here this morning empowered by the Words of God that we have heard read, the Christmas hymns we sang and go out and share the message of the Christ Child.
The fact that you and I are able to reason is a blessing from our Lord. This morning, while we are thankful for this blessing, if we try to use human reason to understand what Christ’s birth says to us, we will quickly see our human reason fail us. So, put human reason aside. Rather, listen to God speak to you in the retelling of this miracle from some 2000 years ago. As we said, it started long before that. In the beginning was the Word.
So….trust the Lord when he tells you that Jesus Christ is true God and true Man.
Trust the Lord when He tells you the Good News that through Jesus Christ you are forgiven of all of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.