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Author:Rev. Sjirk Bajema
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Congregation:The Reformed Church of Oamaru
 Oamaru, New Zealand
Preached At:Reformed Church of Mangere
 South Auckland, New Zealand
Title:God Came Down!
Text:BC 18 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:The Incarnation

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Sjirk Bajema, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


(Reading: Isa.11:1-16; Matt.1:18-25; Gal.3:26-4:7)


God Came Down!



Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ...


     There is this story told about the famous preacher John Brown of Haddington.

          He was in his last illness and so very close to death.


     At that time he heard the bells ringing.

          They were the bells ringing to proclaim the King of England’s birthday.


     When he realised this, John Brown said, “O, blessed be God, however worthy our Sovereign be, we have a better King’s birthday to celebrate.

          “Unto us was born, in the city of David, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord!

              “On account of that event the gospel bells have been sounding for ages past, and they will ring louder and louder still.

     “O the Saviour!

          “The Son of God our Saviour!

              “O His kindness, His kindness!

                   “A Saviour, a husband to sinners, to me!”


     The testimony of John Brown is the Church’s witness today.

          For the promise of old was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

              This is the confession of Article XVIII.

     The Word became flesh!

          God came down!


     Congregation, let’s really delve into the treasure of this.

          With three aspects found in this Article let’s be blessed in this most amazing love.


     The first of these is that GOD THE SON CAME AT THE RIGHT TIME.

          This is “the time appointed by Him,” in the words of the Article.

              So while Isaiah 11 verse 1 prophesied that “a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse,” Galatians 4 verse 4 declared that this time had been.

                   For “God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”


     Congregation, all that had to be fulfilled was done.

          The time which had to happen according to God’s mysterious decree was complete.

              It was the right time.


     And looking back at that time now how much can’t we see exactly how good God’s timing was!

          For when Jesus was born there was one universal language – Greek.

              There was a unified roading system throughout the Roman Empire.

     There was the ‘Pax Romana,’ the rule of Roman law which ensured peace.

          And there was a spiritual vacuum.

              People looked forward to a Saviour.


     But however the physical and psychological factors seem to add up, they didn’t mean the automatic acceptance of the gospel.

          For sure, they helped.

              But only if God was pleased to use them.


     You see, when the Bible speaks of the “fullness of time,” it’s not about us being ready.

          It’s actually about the sovereign pleasure of God.

              As Jesus said in John 12, verses 31 and 32, “Now is the time for judgement on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

                   “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”


     So God sends His Son in His time.

          That’s the time set by His Father, as Galatians 4 verse 2 says.


     The phrase “at the time appointed by Him” also tells us how definitive Christ’s incarnation is.

          This was a specific historical event.

              It is not a continuing incarnation of Christ as some promote.

                   And it doesn’t depend on us to make it real either, as still others have taught!


     This is a suitable point to also compare Christianity with other world religions.

          For while Buddhism and Hinduism have long histories, they place God out of this time.

              In fact, they say, you can only really attain to God if you yourself become totally unconcerned about what’s happening here.

     They look for the answer to life’s problems beyond the range of time and space.

          Which is no answer, really, is it?

              For it can only be if God came down to the here and now that we would be even able to see Him as He really is!


     So while the Bible stressed that God is high and holy, He is also pictured as being loving.

          This Creator-creature relationship is only understood through our salvation.

              That’s why there are key events that happen in history.

     This is what Paul declares to Timothy in his second letter chapter 1, the verses 9 till 11.

          As he says there, “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of the Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

              “And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.”


     We don’t drag God down by speaking of His being involved in and with time.

          It actually shows how much He uses all time for His glory!



          Next, we note from Article XVIII that GOD THE SON CAME IN OUR HUMAN NATURE.

              Our second aspect.


     Congregation, this is “the mystery of godliness” the apostle speaks of in 1st Timothy 3:16.

          He who was without a mother in heaven was without a father on earth.

              Christ, in the words of Article XVIII, “assumed” our human nature.

     So His birth was His idea.

          He took on “the true human nature with all its infirmities.”


     Romans 8 verse 3 says that God sent His own son in the likeness of sinful man.

          And Philippians 2 verse 7 declares that he took on the “very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

              You see, He didn’t came as Adam before the fall, perfect as He then was.

     He came in our sin-affected human existence.

          He was susceptible to suffering and death.


     That’s why those of His time could say, in the words of Mark 6 verse 3, “Isn’t this the carpenter?”

          “Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon?”


     Though He was made like us in every respect, however, He was yet “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15.)

          He did not share in original sin.

              As He was with His Father, He didn’t fall when the whole human race fell in Adam.

     And since He wasn’t created in Adam, no human father could be involved in conceiving Him.

          He was conceived of the Holy Spirit.


     You see, by His birth His divine nature didn’t change into human nature.

          He stayed what He had been – God.

              And He became what He wasn’t – man.

     The divine Person of the Son, who has the divine nature from eternity, took on the human nature.

          He did that completely.

              Article XVIII says that He “did not only assume human nature as to the body, but also a true human soul, that He might be a real man.”


     Congregation, this is why “the mystery of godliness is great.”

          This is why John’s Gospel begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God.

              And then just fourteen verses later it says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

                   “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”


     Can you understand this?

          Can anyone comprehend it?


     No, not fully.

          For here you are called simply to worship and adore Him.

              Nothing more than that.

                   But also nothing less than that too!


     We praise God that He fulfilled His Word.

          Because the eternal Son of God was born of Mary He is also the true seed of David.


     This is the promise first given in Genesis 3:15, which we saw in Article XVII.

          This has come through the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12.

              Then it was given through Jacob’s blessing of Judah’s tribe in Genesis 49.

                   And finally through Nathan’s prophecy to David’s house in 2nd Samuel 7 it comes to this One.


     Article XVIII goes on to explain this through what it is not.

          That’s why the heresy of the Anabaptists is mentioned.


     Here Guido de Bres has specific men in mind.

          The main one was Menno Simons.

              His name lives on through the Mennonites whom we know about because of their unique communes in America.


     What Simons taught was that Christ was not born of Mary.

          He said that if the cells of Christ’s human body had grown from Mary’s, He would have been contaminated with sin.

              So he taught that Christ was born in Mary.


     Can you see where that would lead?

          Well, if redemption wasn’t the renewal and salvation of this world but a whole new life, what kind of attitude should you have to this world?


     You would want to keep right away from it, wouldn’t you?

          So those Anabaptists kept away from the world as much as they could.

              They declined to do military service, they rejected the authority of civil governments, and they refused to swear civil oaths.


     Their beliefs showed themselves in the time of de Bres in the small German town of Munster.

          There Anabaptist refugees took control of the city and totally changed it around.

              But it certainly wasn’t for the better!


     This is one reason the Reformers were very sharp in opposing the Anabaptists.

          It wasn’t just a minor doctrinal difference.

              It was denying all vital connection between Christ and the human race He’d come to save!


     It’s in this way we come to our third aspect this afternoon.

          For we see now that GOD THE SON CAME THROUGH THE PERFECT WAY.


     Congregation, this is about the virgin birth.

          A crucial doctrine.

              But a doctrine which man has attacked very viciously.

     And don’t believe it when they say Scripture is not clear about it.

          For they will claim that.

              They will say that the two passages which declare this – Matthew 1 and Luke 1 - are a little dodgy.

     It’s not said in Mark or John, they say.

          And Paul doesn’t write about it, they also say.


     Well, Matthew 1 and Luke 1 are far from dodgy.

          That the virgin birth is mentioned only twice doesn’t throw anyone who takes the Bible seriously.


     Nor should we be surprised that Mary didn’t tell anyone about the angel’s message to her.

          Her family and friends and neighbours would hardly have believed her.

              It wasn’t until after Christ’s death and resurrection that the Holy Spirit made it clear to the believing church the uniqueness of who Christ’s is and what he did.


     What we actually find in all those opposing arguments is the natural hostility of man against salvation by God alone.

          That really does go against the grain!


     But it should be no surprise for the believer.

          For ever since the beginning the devil has been busy at work.

              He who tried to prevent the virgin birth right throughout Israel’s covenant history has stopped now.

                   And He who fought so fiercely against Christ when He was on earth is still trying to destroy what is His today.


     In the words of Hebrews 4 verse 15, Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are yet was without sin.

          This was the way it had to be.

              Because it can only be through “God with us,” as Article XVIII ends, that we can be saved.

                   Only by He coming down are we able to go up!


     There was a missionary once amongst the North American Indian tribe of the Oneidas.

          His name was Kirkland.

              One Sunday, though, he was sick and so he was unable to preach.

     So he told Peter, one of head men of the Oneidas, that he must address the congregation.

          Peter modestly and reluctantly consented.


     After a few words of introduction, Peter began to preach about the character of the Saviour.

          “What, my brethren,” he said, “are the views you have about the character of Jesus?”


     “You will answer, perhaps, that He was a man of true kindness.

          “You will tell me, that He proved this to be His character, by the kind of miracles which He did.

              “All those, you will say, were very charitable.”

     “He created bread to feed thousands, who were ready to perish.

          “He raise to life the son of a poor woman, who was a widow, and who needed her son for her support in her old age.


     “Are these, then, your only views of the Saviour?

          “I will tell you they are lame.

              “When Jesus came into the world, He threw His blanket around Him, but the God was within.”


     Yes, Jesus was divine though He came in a human form.

          For He was everything He needed to be so that He would provide for our greatest need of all!





Let’s pray…

     O Lord God, please help us keep this precious doctrine always before us.

          Much as there are those who want to look to Jesus being the good teacher and a fine man, may we never forget who was wrapped up in that blanket.

              Indeed, make us to always confess that by proclaiming nothing less and nothing else than the gospel.

     For it is in Jesus’ Name alone we pray, Amen.








* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Sjirk Bajema, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
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(c) Copyright 2008, Rev. Sjirk Bajema

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