December 24, 2017

The Glory Returned

Luke 2:8-11 & Colossians 2:8-10 (NASB)

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

Review: In our Christmas series we have traced “The Glory” of God throughout Scripture. The invisible, immortal God has at times revealed Himself through “light” and “fire” (e.g. “The Glory”) and we have seen that the “The Glory” dwells (tabernacles) with men. First, in the Garden of Eden, then at the call of Abraham, then the Burning Bush and Mt. Sinai (Moses), then the Tabernacle of Israel and later the Temple of Israel. In the days of Ezekiel (6th Century), the Glory departed. Even after the Jews came back from exile and rededicated a rebuilt Temple (517 B.C.), the Glory never appeared. Ichabod (“The Glory Has Departed”) was written across the Temple. The last prophets of the Old Testament longed for a return of God’s revealed presence (e.g. “The Glory”). In the Gospels we have the return of The Glory.

“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and THE GLORY of the Lord shone round about them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:8-11).

  1. God has revealed His presence in this world through Jesus the Anointed One.
    This is the belief that is foundational to Christianity. It separates Christianity from all other religions. God has come to dwell with men (Emmanuel). Jesus is the Glory Returned. Jesus is God incarnate. “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the traditions of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:8-9).
    1. Any philosophy or religion that doesn’t recognize this truth is “empty deception.”
      "If a philosophy of life cannot help me to die, then in a sense it cannot help me to live" (D. Jones).
    2. Traditionalism, materialism and secularism put people in bondage.
      “Takes you captive” translates the Greek word sulagogeo – “to strip, plunder and carry away.” Paul reminds us five verses earlier (Colossians 2:3) that in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom. Don’t let some seductive teaching or mystical practice plunder your treasures that are in Christ.

  2. God has revealed His presence in this world to die in our place and remove our sin and shame.
    Why did the Glory come? “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all your acceptance: Christ came to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15). This is the purpose for the Glory coming. God saves us from death. No sinner could enter the presence of the Glory without the blood of the sacrifice which ATONES. The atonement is “an at one moment” when the gracious and holy God is “at one” with a sinner. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:23).

  3. The love of God is only truly seen and felt through an understanding of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
    I know it seems logical to measure God’s love by material, physical and temporal blessings. But… “God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
    1. Every maladjustment in life is rooted in a deficient view of God.
      Husbands, you can’t be gracious unless you believe God has been gracious to you. Leaders, you can’t tell the truth with grace unless you believe the truth of what God has done for you in Christ. “Does God really love me?” is the question you continually ask. What more could God do for you?
    2. Growth in your Christian life is tied to being rooted in Christ.
      But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).

You can view the video for this sermon HERE.