Twelve Reasons for the Incarnation POHFW

Twelve Reasons for the Incarnation POHFW

Preparing our Hearts to Worship

 

In an effort to help you prepare for the December 24, 2017, Sunday morning corporate worship gathering and to aid you in your own reflections on the The Incarnation of God. I wanted to pose a few questions and provide a few resources to prayerfully consider over the coming days. Our sermon is entitled, “12 Reasons for the Incarnation” There are a variety of Scriptures in use today. Consider reading one of the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1-3, Luke 1-2, or John 1. The other passages are either referenced in the message or provide additional insight for reflection. 

 

(Pick and choose from the many resources and options, which I have tried to make available for your devotional life.)

 

From the Scriptures

We will look at 12 main passages that give 12 different reasons or benefits of the incarnation: John 1:9, Matthew 1:21, 1:23, 2:6, John 1:12, 1:14, 14:9, Hebrews 1:1-3, 2:14-15, 2:17-18, Philippians 2:5-8. Luke 1:32-33.

You can listen to or read them here.

 

From the Creeds and Confessions 

Heidelberg Catechism Q35-36

 

Q35. What does it mean that he “was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary”? 

 

A. That the eternal Son of God, who is and remains, true and eternal God, took to himself, through the working of the Holy Spirit, from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary, a truly human nature so that he might also become David’s true descendant, like his brothers and sisters in every way except for sin.

 

1 John 1:110:30-36Acts 13:33 (Ps. 2:7); Col. 1:15-171 John 5:20
2 
Luke 1:35
3 
Matt. 1:18-23John 1:14Gal. 4:4Heb. 2:14
4 
2 Sam. 7:12-16Ps. 132:11Matt. 1:1Rom. 1:3
5 
Phil. 2:7Heb. 2:17
6 
Heb. 4:157:26-27

 

Q36. How does the holy conception and birth of Christ benefit you? 

 

A. He is our mediator and, in God’s sight, he covers with his innocence and perfect holiness my sinfulness in which I was conceived.

 

1 1 Tim. 2:5-6Heb. 9:13-15
2 
Rom. 8:3-42 Cor. 5:21Gal. 4:4-51 Pet. 1:18-19

 

 Belgic Confession Article 10

The Deity of Christ

We believe that Jesus Christ, according to his divine nature, is the only Son of God— eternally begotten, not made or created, for then he would be a creature. He is one in essence with the Father; coeternal; the exact image of the person of the Father
and the “reflection of God’s glory,” being like the Father in all things. Jesus Christ is the Son of God not only from the time he assumed our nature but from all eternity, as the following testimonies teach us when they are taken together. Moses says that God created the world; and John says that all things were created through the Word, which he calls God. The apostle says that God created the world through the Son.

He also says that God created all things through Jesus Christ. And so it must follow that the one who is called God, the Word, the Son, and Jesus Christ already existed before creating all things.

Therefore the prophet Micah says that Christ’s origin is “from ancient days.”  And the apostle says that the Son has “neither beginning of days nor end of life.” So then, he is the true eternal God, the Almighty, whom we invoke, worship, and serve. 

 

Belgic Confession Articles 18-20

 

Article 18: The Incarnation

 

So then we confess that God fulfilled the promise made to the early fathers and mothers
by the mouth of the holy prophets when he sent the only and eternal Son of God into the world at the time appointed.

 

The Son took the “form of a slave” and was made in “human form,” truly assuming a real human nature, with all its weaknesses, except for sin; being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, without male participation.

 

And Christ not only assumed human nature as far as the body is concerned but also a real human soul, in order to be a real human being.  For since the soul had been lost as well as the body, Christ had to assume them both to save them both together.

 

Therefore we confess (against the heresy of the Anabaptists who deny that Christ assumed human flesh from his mother) that Christ shared the very flesh and blood of children; being the fruit of the loins of David according to the flesh, descended from David according to the flesh; the fruit of the womb of the virgin Mary; born of a woman; the seed of David; the root of Jesse; descended from Judah, having descended from the Jews according to the flesh; descended from Abraham—having assumed descent from Abraham and Sarah, and was made like his brothers and sisters, yet without sin.  In this way Christ is truly our Immanuel—that is: “God with us.”

 

Article 19: The Two Natures of Christ

 

We believe that by being thus conceived the person of the Son has been inseparably united and joined together with human nature, in such a way that there are not two Sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in a single person, with each nature retaining its own distinct properties. Thus his divine nature has always remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life, filling heaven and earth. 

 

Christ’s human nature has not lost its properties but continues to have those of a creature— it has a beginning of days; it is of a finite nature and retains all that belongs to a real body.  And even though he, by his resurrection, gave it immortality, that nonetheless did not change the reality of his human nature; for our salvation and resurrection depend also on the reality of his body. 

 

But these two natures are so united together in one person that they are not even separated by his death. So then, what he committed to his Father when he died
was a real human spirit which left his body.  But meanwhile his divine nature remained
united with his human nature even when he was lying in the grave; and his deity never ceased to be in him, just as it was in him when he was a little child, though for a while it did not so reveal itself. 

 

These are the reasons why we confess him to be true God and truly human— true God in order to conquer death by his power, and truly human that he might die for us in the weakness of his flesh. 

 

Article 20: The Justice and Mercy of God in Christ

 

We believe that God— who is perfectly merciful and also very just— sent the Son to assume the nature in which the disobedience had been committed, in order to bear in it the punishment of sin by his most bitter passion and death. 

 

So God made known his justice toward his Son, who was charged with our sin, and he poured out his goodness and mercy on us, who are guilty and worthy of damnation, giving to us his Son to die, by a most perfect love, and raising him to life for our justification, in order that by him we might have immortality and eternal life. 

 

From the songs, hymns and spiritual songs of the Church

 

Manger Throne (Third Day): Lyrics, Video

What kind of throne (Joel Payne): Lyrics, Video

Hark the herald Angels Sing (Rend Collective): Lyrics, Video

 

For Thoughtful Reflection, Prayer, or further Study

 

Read and reflect on this blog post connecting the great Christmas Carols to the Great Ecumenical Creeds of the Early Church.

 

For those with more time to devote to study this week, consider reading Augustine’s On the Incarnation of the Word.

 

 

 

The Sermon will be available online on December 24, 2017 at 12:30 pm.

 

 

Disclaimer: Reference to a particular article or website does not constitute endorsement or agreement with everything in that article or on that website.

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