Monday, December 8, 2008

The Miracle of Christmas


Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Luk 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Christmas story never ceases to amaze me. It is truly mind boggling to think about the fact that God became man. The miracle of Incarnation is the miracle of Christmas. God wrapped Himself in human flesh and dwelt among the creation (John 1:1, 14). Had he not done this, mankind would be without hope. We would have no hope of eternal life and no hope of abundant life.

The simple fact is this: The Christmas Message is the Gospel Message. Mankind is depraved and desperately wicked. Our hearts are deceived and wicked; our minds are deceived and wicked; and our deeds are deceived and wicked. Because of this, we deserve to go to Hell. But God so loved us that he came and sold all he had to get us back.

Mat 13:44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

We are that treasure!!! We were found in Him from the foundation of the world; yet we were hidden in the world and lost in sin. Christ came and gave up all he had in Heaven: equality with God, riches untold, power, majesty and praise. He was stripped bare, mocked, beaten and ridiculed. He suffered and died to buy the field that we his treasure were hidden in. Friends, he went through that for us! Because of his great love wherewith he loved us. Now, we must serve him and go out and find the hidden treasure.

As you think about the Christmas story, think about the great love that God displayed by coming and being born to die. He thinks you're worth it! So live as a child of the king!

9 comments:

Nicolette said...

Thank you for this blog Pastor Nathan, I too think The Incarnation is such an awesome event that it takes my breath away. To think that Our King, Lord of Lords, Our Mighty God took on human flesh for us,well it just amazes me.
Again I always enjoy your blogs, Niki Spencer

Jason said...

We are NOT that treasure. Jesus said the kingdom is the treasure. And I would argue that He is the treasure that we sell out everything we have to gain. Can't have you being loosey goosey with the text because it preaches well. Don't want you to put words in God's mouth. Just keeping you sharp!

Nathan Wilkerson said...

Where in Matthew 13 does Jesus say that the Kingdom is the treasure? It doesn't! The fact is we have nothing to sell of value to gain the kingdom. If that is what the treasure represents.

Don't get me wrong. When I say that we are that treasure, I am not implying that God saw something of great worth in us to cause Him to say, "Hey, they're so worthy, I'll die for them." The reason we are that treasure is that God saw Himself in us and that by saving us he could get glory for Himself!

Furthermore, the Principle of Expositional Constancy (the principle that states that if something is revealed to be something in one parable, we take it as that symbol in all of the parables) tells us that the man has to be Jesus, because the man sowing the good seed is Jesus as revealed in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares. We see this clearly in the fact that the verse says that "for joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Hebrews 12:2 tells us about Jesus, "For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross despising the shame."

The principle of expositional constancy again lets us know that the field is the world. We do not purchase the world in order to gain Christ. But he did purchase the world to get us (I John 2:2). So I would argue that if you want to be true to the text, you must interpret it this way.

As for it making good preaching, I would say that if I wanted to sermonize before I analyzed, I would preach it the other way. After all, nothing motivates like guilt.

Colvin5776 said...

Amen, yesterday I wrote a statement conserning this...however when I went to go post...well I lost it all and it did not post.

One of the best books that I have on Parables is from Lockyer. It has been of Great value in my studies!...I would suggest if your really wanting to learn more about the Parables of the Bible...that would be a good book to get on your Chrsitmas List!

I would also like to add...that if the Treasure is Christ and we are the one selling all we have to receive the Treasure (Christ, which sounds alot like works salvation)....who are we giving our money too, who is the one who owns the land? I would like to suggest to you that we (the church) are the treasure, Christ is the one who gave up all to purchase us...and the one who owns the feild is our father the Devil.

I can expound more on this if need be...but I got to go to chapel...thought I might just throw that out there!

Jason said...

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure..." sounds clear enough to me. I hope that principle that you sited doesn't require to to equate the son in Mark 12 with the son in Luke 15. I am not saying you interpret every parable in absolute isolation from others. But I also don't think that just because a symbol is used in one parable that it necessarily follows that it must be the same in another parable. Remember this is a principle designed by man, and has its limitations. And if you want to interpret this parable that way, just know that you are going against a bunch of solid biblical exegetes (John MacArthur, Leon Morris, Craig Keener, Robert Mounce, Craig Bloomberg, John Piper, D. A. Carson, John Calvin). Not that I agree with everything these men say, but this is an point at which all their commentaries agree. I can't find a commentary that explains it your way. Did find a website, but you can find anything on the internet to support any position. But we all have a right to be wrong. The kingdom is the supreme treasure, and we must value Christ more than anything to receive it. In Christ,

Colvin5776 said...

Well I would not say that John McArther, John piper, and John Calvin are "solid biblical exegetes " - I personaly would not say that about anyone who holds an understanding of Gods soverinty using TULIP.

As I said if you will read the parable agian. If we are the ones who are selling all that we have so we may obtain Christ...who is the one we are purchising this land from. Does this mean that someone is over Jesus, because this man who owns this land is a possessor of the land, thus owner of the land and all that is in it. Is this speaking of works salvation? Can we realy have anything that we can sell in the first place?

You need to go to LifeWay and purchase "All the parables of the Bible" by Lockyer.

Just because all the commintaries say the same thing does not mean it is correct...it could mean they are equally ignorant on the same point.

Nathan Wilkerson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathan Wilkerson said...

According to John Phillips, Professor Emeritus at Moody Bible Institute and author of Exploring the Scriptures Commentaries, we're both wrong. He says the treasure hidden in the field is Israel and the Gentile Church is the Pearl of Great Price. I'm simply stating that we have nothing to sell in order to gain Christ, whereas He did give up all He had to gain us - equality with God, Heaven, etc. As for the commentators you cited, I find myself going against Calvin and Piper on a number of issues. McArthur, I like ok except when he makes statements like, "It would be absurd for us to think that God loves the non-elect the same as He does the elect" - from His book, The Love of God. One commentator who does support my position is Chuck Smith, founder of the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, CA. Also, Phillips is close to my opinion. We at least agree that the treasure is people and the one searching and finding is Christ.

Furthermore, you quoted the first phrase of the verse and ended there. The entire verse reads, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it goes and sells all he has and buys that field." It sounds alot like Hebrews 12:2 to me, "Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." You'd think that the Calvinists you cited would see that if mankind is totally depraved then we have nothing to offer in which to purchase Christ. Furthermore, we don't purchase Christ and His salvation anyway. The gift of God is eternal life. And it is by grace we are saved through faith. According to the parable, the one finding the treasure sells all he has and purchases the field. Technically, It doesn't say he gives up all and gains the field with the treasure in it in return. Certainly, we forsake all to follow Jesus. That isn't the point being made. The point being made is that there is buying and selling taking place. And we being depraved/dead/etc. can do neither.

Anyway, as a Baptist, I could get offended that you would cite Calvin since during the Reformation and shortly thereafter, the Calvinists killed and persecuted more Baptists across Europe and in England than the Catholics ever did. But I can't get offended, b/c an Arminian I heard one time, John Bevere, preached a sermon entitled Blessed are the Unoffended, and told me I'd lose my salvation if I got offended at a Brother. ;-P

As for the principle being an opinion of man, all commentaries are man's opinion. That's why there's only 1 scholar (The Holy Spirit) and the rest of us are students. I guess this is one we'll have to agree to disagree on.

Lew A said...

Nathan,

Jason actually linked me to this post because I had asked him what his position was on this. I am closer to your position. I wrote a Kingdom of Heaven series on my blog (this is the conclusion http://www.the-pursuit.net/2007/10/02/the-kingdom-of-heaven-conclusion-finally/)

Anyways, as Jason said, the Kingdom of Heaven is the treasure. When you go through each of the "Kingdom of Heaven" parables, every time the Kingdom of Heaven points to the people (or the Church). To me it doesn't make sense for Jesus to elude to the Kingdom of Heaven being the church in 9 parables and it being himself in 2 (the treasure and the pearl).

God's Glory,
Lew