AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH – December 18, 2005
A BIRTHDAY COLLECTION FOR THE REBORN
Luke 2:11, Colossians 1:9-10, I Corinthians 1:30 and Job 28
I WHO HE IS
First, note that the shepherds were told this most important advice, leaving atomic secrets as nothing by comparison: “For there is born to you this day, in the city of David, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.”
For millennia His coming had been prophetically inscribed, as was His mission, with ever increasing divine detail. It was the one event which would restore the heart of Israel and provide salvation for all in any nation, who would come where He was to be found. It was in the place appointed, at the time appointed by Daniel in the prophecy given to him, and this was the Messiah, on whom all hope for this world depended, whose suffering and glory to follow would comprehend for the human race, the delight of divine destiny in place of the stinging shame and rebuke for sin, and with this, the condemnation of self-assertion, of ignoring the God of creation, or creating ‘Him’ at will, instead of acting as one of His creations, worshipping in vain, a mere idol of the mind.
Now it had happened. He had come. Time could not focus too much on such an event, more select than any mathematical formula, than any power hidden in the material of the universe: Here was the Creator come as the Saviour Himself as He said in Ezekiel 34, in person for persons!
II WHAT HE DID
Job 28 has posed the question; Where is WISDOM to be found, and saw that there was no place but in God; and HERE and NOW was this WISDOM FOUND, for Christ, the Creator took the form of man in the flesh. I Corinthians 1:30 shows us that here, in Him, is the wisdom of God, and in fact, HE BECAME FOR US THE WISDOM FROM GOD, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS AND SANCTIFICATION AND REDEMPTION. In Him, we are complete (Colossians 2:9-10), who is the Head of all. If you need it, HE has it!
Small wonder that as He did His great works, never failing in what He declared would be – so that if He had done so once His work would have ended, whereas it merely expanded, for God does not fail, and knowing His mind, keeps His word – they declared that famous word: HE HAS DONE ALL THINGS WELL! (Mark 7:31ff.).
“Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came through the midst of the region of Decapolis to the Sea of Galilee.
“Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly. Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
What was at least as important as the healing was the picture, the pattern, the identikit for the Messiah fulfilled, for it was precisely such things that He had been scheduled to do, as announced by Isaiah many centuries before (Isaiah 35:5, following on from the Messianic appearance in Isaiah 32, where He would be as a hiding place, the shadow of a mighty rock in a weary land, and rule as King). He was the FULFILMENT, and hence the ANSWER. There was no limit to the expectation of many, who saw in Him, the answer to all things.
In particular here was the wisdom of GOD, not of man, and in Him was salvation from sin, redemption from its debt, righteousness in person, who making it a gift, by the Gift of Himself, became the source of eternal redemption and sanctification alike, moving and working in His people as leaven, as light in darkness as re-creation in the midst of desolation.
III WHAT FOLLOWS
Having come as God from God, God the sent from God the sender as in Isaiah 48:16, and having done all things well, and having brought redemption and sanctification, righteousness as a gift (as in Romans 5:17), salvation as a free gift (as in Romans 6:23), so that there is no condemnation for those who are in Him and believe in Him who sent Him, following His word (John 5:24, Romans 8:1), He has provided now for all.
In Colossians 1:9-10, we see some of these things in detail, as applied by the Holy Spirit.
Firstly, we see Paul praying for the Christians that they might be FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL, and that IN ALL WISDOM AND SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING. This meant that you should now have ACCESS to what He wants you to do in His body and in His world, and be groomed like an athlete or spiritual scholar, to become aware of the meaning of His will and word, to delve into the Bible and to apply its wisdom in your life, with an alert liveliness as befits those who are reborn into His kingdom. This is for the Christian, his or her heritage, and it must be sought with the same faith and keenness by which you have been saved (as in Ephesians 2:8). Neither should you flutter like a little bird wondering how to fly, nor flit, like a fast fox wondering how to escape, but fly like an eagle, knowing your course and purpose.
In Colossians 1:19, Paul proceeds further in the RESULTS of salvation, wrought in the Lord whose magnificence came in a lowly birth, in order that we might be born into His kingdom, not too high, since He came so low, and not so low, since in coming low, He did not fall!
Now comes the admonition of Paul, that Christians should WALK WORTHILY of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him in all things and increasing in the knowledge of God. Thus Christ was born into this world to be the Leader of the Saved, the Commander (Isaiah 54:6). The WAY He came showed Him not only Saviour from sin and for eternity, but the MODEL and the MAESTRO, the MESSIAH with the MANDATE, into whose body all Christians are engrafted, baptised by the Spirit of God into their place (I Cor. 12:13). It is HE who is the Captain of our Salvation, leading many children to glory (Heb. 12:1-2, 2:10):
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation complete through sufferings..”
What follows ? WE who are HIS follow HIM (John 10>27-28), whether in example or in submission to our calling, whether in hope or in faith, in purity of heart, or delight in His goodness, to know it and to show it: since it is HE who is the centre from whom power and peace flow like a river (Isaiah 48:17), and from Him comes grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16). USE this coming to FIND what is AVAILABLE in Him, until He comes again; for it is there, and He has it. Would you pass a service station when running out of petrol, when the fluid was free ? How much more must we have high aims, ideals and expectations, fearing nothing, gathering from Him all our need by faith!