Sermon for the service of Sunday, December 17, 2017 by Pastor Steve Hopkins
“and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.” (Matthew 1:11, NIV)
The Reason We Need Christmas.
“At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him. In the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin prisoner. As the Lord had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed the treasures from the temple of the Lord and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the Lord. He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left…It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.” (2 Kings 24:10-14, 20, NIV)
- A Familiar (Human) Story: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:6, NIV)
- “therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.” (Genesis 3:23, NKJV)
- “Then God turned away from them and abandoned them to serve the stars of heaven as their gods! In the book of the prophets it is written, ‘Was it to me you were bringing sacrifices and offerings during those forty years in the wilderness, Israel? No, you carried your pagan gods— the shrine of Molech, the star of your god Rephan, and the images you made to worship them. So I will send you into exile as far away as Babylon.’” (Acts 7:42–43, NLT)
Δ? What is the fundamental consequence of sin in this world?
- God’s Rescue Plan? “For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”” (Jeremiah 30:3, ESV)
- Consider the Stories…“ Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8 NIV)
- “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4, NRSV)
- “And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20, NLT)
Δ? How do I think God views me, in light of my own sin and exile from him?
- God Comes to Us. “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” (Galatians 4:4–5, NLT)
- “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14, The Message)
- “All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”(Matthew 1:22–23, NRSV)
Δ? Am I still living in Exile from God? What does it mean for me to be delivered from Exile?