- This event has passed.
Downtown Sunday Morning Service (9:30)
December 23, 2018 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Announcements & Meditation
– Call to Worship –
Minister: The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who are in awe of Him.
Congregation: He will hear their cry and save them. Amen.
Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord!
Sussex, bulletin p. 8
– Confession –
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
CONFESSION OF SIN
Congregation is invited to kneel if able
+ ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Minister: Your sins are forgiven through Christ.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
Minister: Christian, what do you believe?
Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord
teach men to acknowledge
one and the same Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood,
truly God and truly man,
consisting also of a reasonable soul and body;
of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead,
and at the same time
of one substance with us as regards his manhood;
like us in all respects, apart from sin;
as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten,
for us men and for our salvation,
of Mary the virgin, the God-bearer;
one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten,
recognized in two natures,
without confusion, without change,
without division, without separation;
the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature
being preserved and coming together
to form one person and subsistence,
not as parted or separated into two persons,
but one and the same Son
and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ;
even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him,
and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us,
and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.
Minister: Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness:
Congregation: And cleanse me from my sin.
Minister: For I acknowledge my transgressions:
Congregation: And my sin is ever before me.
Minister: Create in me a clean heart, O God;
Congregation: Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation;
Minister: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
Congregation: A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Magnificat, pp. 416-419
– Consecration –
+ SCRIPTURE READING
2 Samuel 7:1-13; Luke 1:26-38
Reader: The Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God!
CC 1st: Ingrid Amelie Zornes, Peter Sebastian Ehud Joiner
Congregational Charge: Little child, for you Jesus Christ came to this earth, struggled and suffered; for your sake He crossed Gethsemane and went through the darkness of Calvary; for your sake He cried: ‘It is finished’; for your sake He died and for your sake He overcame death; indeed for your sake, little child, and you—still—know nothing of it. And thus the word of the apostle is confirmed: ‘We love God, for He loved us first.’ (Taken from an old French Reformed Baptism Rite)
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, p. 241
Opening: Joel 2:27
Thanksgiving: Joel 2:26
Petitions: Joel 2:32
Angels We Have Heard on High, p. 230
CC: Christmas with Both Feet on the Ground (Douglas Wilson)Sermon
One of our great temptations is to project doctrinal anachronisms back into the past. When Jesus was living among us, and teaching His disciples, it is pretty easy for us to take post-resurrection realities, or post-ascension realities, or even post-Nicene realities, and project them back into the minds of the disciples. Now these were realities at these earlier times, but they were not known or confessed realities. Yet.
The disciples had a dim and hazy understanding of who Jesus was, but it did not really come into focus for them until after the resurrection. And even the understanding that Jesusgrew up into, as He grew, was an understanding of His own identity and mission which increased.
“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:40).
Summary of the Text
Speaking of the Lord Jesus as a child, Luke tells us some very interesting things. First, as a true child, He grew. His spirit grew stronger, which means that it grew stronger than it had been before. The child was filled with wisdom, and you could see that wisdom growing in Him. In all of this, it was clear that the grace of God, meaning the favor of God, was resting upon Him. There is an echo here of what was said centuries before of Samuel. “And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men” (1 Sam. 2:26).
Away in a Manger
The sum of what I am saying here is that the baby Jesus was not lying in the manger, thinking something like “well, thirty years to go.” That conception is far too much like “God in a man suit” to be orthodox—assuming infinitude inside and finitude outside. Remember that we are confessing that Jesus is fully God and fully man, and these natures are fully united together in one person, Jesus the son of Mary.
But to say that Jesus is fully God and fully man is to say that He was fully infinite andfully finite, which means that infinitude and finitude must somehow be added together, and not finitude somehow subtracted from infinitude. Jesus was fully omniscient andtruly limited in knowledge. Now what is the psychological import of all this? What was Jesus thinking and experiencing? Fortunately, the Bible tells us.
The Experience of Finitude
In His divine nature, Jesus was fully omniscient. But in the lived experience that Jesus had, this was a knowledge that He did not “tap into.” How do we know this? There are several instances in Scripture where Jesus confesses that He does not know something. Being omniscient and experiencing omniscience are not the same thing.
“And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?” (Mark 5:30).
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32).
And Yet . . .
At the same time, we know that Jesus had to have known of His divine vocation from early on. Luke almost certainly got his knowledge of the early events of the life of Jesus from Mary—he says he got his accounts from eyewitnesses (Luke 1:2). He says pointedly that Mary treasured all these things up in her heart (Luke 2:19). And there was that back closet at their house with three chests containing gold, frankincense, and myrrh. An angel had appeared to her. Mary knew that she had conceived Jesus when she was still a virgin. I mean, something was up.
We know that He had a strong awareness of who He was by the time He was twelve. “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). Jesus knew at this point that He had to be about His Father’s work. He did notknow why Joseph and Mary were frantic with worry. And yet, it says, He was submissive to them (Luke 2:51), and this is part of what Mary treasured up in her heart. And right after this is our text, saying that Jesus flourished under the grace and favor of God.
Jesus presented Himself to John the Baptist for a reason, and that reason had to do with His understanding of the Scriptures. Jesus already knew when He came to the river. And yet, in a special and miraculous sense, what He knew was divinely communicated to Him.
“And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).
And what was confirmed to Him at His baptism is the very point of the assault from the devil in the temptation immediately following (Luke 4:1). This was the point of the devil’s spear. “Ifyou are the Son of God, if you are the Son of God . . .” Thatwas the truth that Jesus was being tempted to test. That was what He was being challenged to doubt and independently confirm.
Anointed by the Spirit
Jesus did not do the great miracles that He did, and He did not know what He miraculously knew, because He was “God inside.” He did all that He did because the Holy Spirit empowered Him to do so. He did what He did throughout the course of His ministry as a Spirit-empowered man.
To be tempted is to be limited and finite. And Jesus knows what it is to be tempted. He has that experience, which is strong consolation for us. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15). The word rendered here as “touched” means to “suffer together with.”
Apostle and High Priest
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (Heb. 3:1).
Jesus is fully God, and fully man. As God, He is the sent one from God, the apostle of God coming to us. As man, He is our high priest, coming to God on our behalf. He is the perfect bridge that crosses the chasm between a holy God and sinful man. And thatis the entire point of Christmas.
CCD: Christmas: God’s Solution to Fear and Bitterness (Matt Meyer)Sermon
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6-7
How does the political and social conditions of Isaiah’s day reflect possible fears that we could have for our own nation at present?
What are two ditches of temptation that we can fall into related to our concerns for the future or distress for the past and present?
Fear of the Future?
What role does prophecy play in establishing God’s sovereignty over the future? Isaiah 41:21-24
What are some of the major prophetic promises made by God concerning this promised Son? Genesis 3, 12, and 16, Deuteronomy 18, 2 Samuel 7, Isaiah 7 and 9, Daniel 2.
Bitterness for the past?
What are the character qualities of the promised Son? Isaiah 9:6
What does it mean to be the Prince of Peace? What is the extent of His rule/kingdom? Isaiah 9:7
Have you made peace with God or are you standing in the way of His zeal?
Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
What Child is This, p. 250
– Communion –
Psalm 96, bulletin p. 9
While Shepherds Watched, p. 7
– Commissioning –
+ CLOSING DOXOLOGY
The congregation may raise hands
Savior of the Nations, Come (v. 6), p. 225
CHARGE & BENEDICTION
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14