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Dec 18, 2023

Scripture Reading: Mt 1:20-21; Lk 2:10,11; Acts 5:30-32; Jn 12:47-48; 1 Tim 1:15; 1 Pet 3:18

Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.  God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.  The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.


Sermon Summary:

The grand declaration in 1 Timothy 1:15 captures the central purpose for the incarnation of God the Son.  "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost."

Although Jesus was a matchless teacher to hear … and a sterling example to follow … we do not rightly understand Him unless we understand that He is a Savior.  The human race is lost in the darkness of sin and God is a holy Judge who, in His perfect justice, must punish all deeds of darkness. 

So, Christ has come, most centrally, to save us from the deserved wrath of God.  "Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God" (Rom 5:9).

The way Jesus saves us from the great judgment to come is be our substitute, both in life and in death.  Jesus lived a perfect life of obedience in our place.  His obedience is credited to our account.  And He suffered the wrath of God on the cross in our place.  His payment is credited to our account. 

We are all guilty and the only way to stand in the day of judgment is to have Jesus as the all-sufficient Mediator between us and God.  The birth in Bethlehem is necessary for Jesus to accomplish His indescribable work of saving arrogant rebels … like me.