Fourth Sunday of Advent 2018
What part of God’s world do you love?
Last weekend we investigated a two-way relationship with God, “Because He loves to give the gift of making Himself known to you, He also loves it when you give Him the gift of making yourself known to Him.”
In the same manner, “God so loved the world that he gave,” is His extravagant invitation for us to love God’s world as He does and participate in making the Maker known to others.
Pause for a moment and experience the exquisite joy of the angelic declaration first shared with a group of shepherds. Luke 2:8-12
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Embrace the Good News! Jesus’ birth, sinless life, miraculous ministry, death and resurrection are for “all the people.”
At the birth of Jesus, Bethlehem becomes God’s centerpiece of lovingly drawing all people to Himself. God loves to make Himself known and demonstrate His love for all people.
People who have lived rough, messed up lives are included in God’s love story.
- Men – David, the King and King Solomon (Matthew 1:6, 7)
- Women – Tamar (Matthew 1:3) and Bathsheba (Matthew 1:6)
People considered undesirable and unwanted are shown they are desirable, wanted and loved by God.
- The shepherds (Luke 2:8)
People who deny the true and living God are included in God’s loving Self-revelation.
- The magi (Matthew 2:1)
- “even the most pagan of pagans may respond to Jesus if given the opportunity (cf. Jonah 1:13-16; 3:6-4:1, 10-11). For one special event in history, the God who rules the heavens chose to reveal himself where pagans were looking.” Keener, Craig S.. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 100). Eerdmans Publishing Co – A. Kindle Edition.
People who love the true and living God are also recipients of God’s love and Self-revelation.
- Joseph – Righteous (Matthew 1:19), humble, obedient (Matthew1:24), gracious, gift of discernment
- Mary Highly favored, the Lord is with you (Luke 2:28), I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word (Luke 2:38)
The Good News of great joy is for all the people!
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:35-37
“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires (whosoever will) take the water of life without price.” Revelation 22:17
What part of God’s world do you love?
- Do you love people who have lived rough, messed up lives and are waiting for you to explain and show that they are included in God’s great love?
- Do you love people that others consider undesirable and unwanted who long to be included in God’s circle of love through you?
- Do you love people who deny the true and living God and are looking for you to bridge the gap to God’s love?
- Do you love people who love the true and living God and hope you will love them too?
Someone near you is waiting, longing, looking and hoping you will make the Maker known to them.
Jesus’ statement, “God so loved the world that he gave,” is His extravagant invitation for us to love God’s world as He does and do our part in making the Maker known.