God counted the cost of Christmas and said, “Yes, I will do it!”
It’s good to be here. Uh, got to focus yet. Cause it’s Christmas time. Yeah, really? I mean, we still celebrated a couple of days ago, but I still want to focus on who Jesus says, so let’s do that together.
All right. Rejoice in who he is. And I’ve got a couple of things we want to look at here, but again, let’s just look at the Lord and thank him for all that. He is. Father, I do want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, for the great love that you have for us. Thank you for the time that we are able to spend together here and online that we can again, look to you, look into your work word.
God, I pray that you’ll take your word, take it and burn it into our hearts. Cause us to remember again, who you are and change our hearts. God. By your spirit and by your grace in Christ’s name. Amen. I was thinking as I was preparing this and doing some of the things is what, when you think about Christmas, one of the things know if you’re like me kind of greedy, you think about the presence that you get or, or the things that you’re going to give.
Cause I do like to give one of my great joys right now is just being able to give. Uh, some sort of gifts to people that I know, I just really, really enjoy that. But, you know, and I know that as you look at Christmas and the way things have happened down through the years is that, um, there has become quite a cost to Christmas.
I think it happens some because there is a commercial aspect to it. And we know that, and we understand that. I think it also happens because, uh, people just. You know, this time of year, they just kind of gather things together and, and, and they spend their money is spent as you look at things. And I was looking at a couple of statistics, how much money is spent during Christmas time.
Now this year might be a little bit different, but money is spent on gifts, spent on vacations, uh, spent on lights, uh, all sorts of things. I did see one thing. That may be not as much was spent in stores, but Amazon evidently did really well. A lot of things. So I was looking here and I think I’ve actually done this before, but, uh, people do a research, you know, the 12 days of Christmas, right.
Nod your head this way. This song called and somebody has figured out, okay, how much does it actually cost in order to do that? And every year, I don’t know who has this much time to figure out how much it really costs. And this year it was different believer or not. The cost went down financially for the 12 days of Christmas, they look at each thing.
And so, you know, for instance, here, a Partridge in a pear tree, it was $210 and 18 cents. That’s pretty precise. The whole cost for the 12 days of Christmas was considerably less this year. It was $16,168 and 14 cents. The reason it was less though is because they didn’t do anything from day eight on because those could not be socially distanced.
No, I know it was awful. I looked at that. What are you talking about? Uh, that’s a lot of money. That’s the cost. There’s a cost of Christmases, some people too, this far worse. So some people go into debt. Some people have guilt, there’s family, discord, there’s loneliness, and that that’s a cost to that certainly is part of it.
What I want to do is take that thought of what a cost is because we all did something probably for this Christmas. I want to look at it this way. I want to look at it through the eyes of God, if we can do that. Uh, what was the cost to him? What did it mean to him? And we’re going to do that. Looking at a very familiar passage of scripture.
Now it’s really wrapped up in two things. He says about himself. We’re going to look at Matthew chapter one verses 18 to 25. It’s familiar. I I’m sure too. Probably all of us, he says this, this is just how the birth of Jesus Christ came about his Mary mother, his mother, Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy spirit because Joseph, her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace.
He had in mind to divorce her quietly. Okay. And then, but after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, Joseph son of David do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy spirit, she will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet. The Virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel, which means God with us. When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife, but he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son and he gave him the name.
Jesus. That’s a great reading, isn’t it a great story, remembering of all the app and, and I wanted to focus on two things. What the cost is to God, what the cost of Christmas is to him wrapped up in the two names that he uses here. The one name is, and as in verse 23 here, you know, the word Emmanuel.
Emmanuel God with us. I mean, we have to remember that. We have to remember who he is. Remember in John one and John one, it says this in the beginning was the word and the word was with God. And the word was, God, the word is talking about who Jesus is. He is, he is God with us in Philippians. He says this.
Talking about Jesus, who being in very nature. God did not consider equality with God, something to be used to his own advantage or grasped. Rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. Remembering that, that whole idea, Emmanuel God with us. Remember who he is?
He is God, isn’t. He. Uh, he, he is co equal with God that, that passage in Philippians, he says, uh, equality with God was not a thing to be grasped after because he already was God, he has all the attributes of God. He has all the character of God. He has got Emmanuel God with us. And we’re going to look at that.
It was really significant. It was a John McCarty, Arthur, who said it this way, the old Testament repeatedly promises that God is present with his people to secure their destiny in his covenant, the tabernacle and temple were intended to be symbols of that divine presence. Just remembering who he is. And he goes on to say and remind us that the th this child, this Jesus was born to be the Shekhinah the glory, the true tabernacle of God, God, with us, in a sense and reality far greater than the temple or tabernacle, every good be.
And the people of Israel would understand that. And so the cost of God with us centers, I’m going to suggest three things. First of all the cost is that he left Kevin. I don’t know if you’ve had to leave a place that you really enjoyed. I, I was reading, uh, actually my, my daughter, Carrie sent me a little thing for my birthday and it was 70 remembrances of her with me.
And one, a few of them were early remembrances in Pagosa Springs in Colorado, and one of them was leaving. The Rocky mountains, leaving mountains to come East and the tears that were there. And that was really true. I remember watching those mountains reside and knowing that I was not going to be going back there to live, at least as I had hoped.
And it was sad cause I love the mountains. Can you imagine how much more, what it must have been like for Jesus? For God to have Jesus leave heaven there, to leave where he was eternally loved and incredibly honored far beyond anything that we can imagine to leave heaven, to go to a place where he would be looked down on the spiced, rejected and killed.
That’s a cost, isn’t it? The cost of Christmas, Emmanuel God with us is that he left heaven for us. Another part of that is he became man. I mean, just to understand just a little bit, and I think maybe in our frail human minds, we may not get the whole. Whole gist of it, but the truth is the God of the universe became like you and me.
He took on flesh and Philippians. Uh, uh, again, we, we looked at that in Philippians. It says that rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And he’s he did that. He talks about he emptied himself as is the phrase that is often used there. It, it, it didn’t, he didn’t become less God, but he did set aside certain of his attributes, for instance, what are some of the things God with Jesus would have had to set his omnipresence.
He, as a human, he couldn’t be present everywhere. Right? There was a, he set aside the, the vast glory of God, because if we would see the glory of God all the time, we would be blinded. We probably wouldn’t live. Remember when Jesus was, uh, w with three of the disciples as they went up and, and what we call the, um, um, the transfiguration, when Jesus in a, in a very real way, began to show his glory.
That was the only time the disciples saw that. Yeah. He had emptied himself with those things, but he was absolutely man. He still understands us. He still knows us. Someone had said, how would you get somebody? Who is God? How would you have someone really understand you? And they use the analogy. What if you saw this ant pile?
We all probably despise ants, but then, and pilot, and say, I want these ants to do something particular. I want them to go to this place. How would you do that? Well, you could like put things in their way to make them go around, but aunts being what they are, they either just go around or they move what you put there.
You don’t like what they’re doing. Is there a stomp on him, but that’s not what you want. I mean, and the person who gave the illustration is that how would you really get ants to understand what you wanted and the way to do it would be to become an aunt yourself so that you can go among them and say, however, it’s taught lot.
This is why they need you to do this as what I want for you. Now, it may be a silly illustration, but, but it’s really true. I mean, that’s what God did for us. He became a man that he might direct us in the way that he wants us to go. He absolutely understands us. He absolutely knows us. And again, in John, as John writes there, he’s talking about this word a little bit later, he says the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son who came from the father full of grace and truth. He dwelt with us as he became became man. He emptied himself and he dwelt with us. The word that’s used there, that Jesus came and pitched his tent among us. He lived among us. That was the cost. You are mafia writer from many years ago, wrote this the, in the incarnation that is Jesus becoming man in the incarnation.
Jesus Christ was wed to the human race forever and ever. That was the cost. Jesus became, man. Forever for you. And for me, that’s what he did. That’s the cost, the cost is he left heaven. He became man. And I would suggest one other thing. And whether this is a cost or, or park one of the two, the truth is that as he became, man, he revealed the father.
He revealed what God is really, really like. Perhaps when I’ve read lots of little illustrations, one was a little boy he’s furiously drawing and picture. And his mom asked him, what are you drawing? He says, I’m drawing a picture of God, mothers as well. Uh, Johnny, you know that nobody knows what God looks like.
Johnny looks up. They will, when I’m through,
you know what? We can know what God is like. Because of Jesus. He revealed who the father is showing on human terms, what God is really like in the old Testament, God reveals himself and power and majesty. I do think he shows a great, yes, he does show judgment. And when Jesus came, he reveals what God is like on human terms.
For instance, He shows what unconditional love really looks like when he talks to Peter. And he says, Peter feed my sheep. This was after Peter had denied him. That was after he had been traded or not be trading, but denied. He ever knew him. The love that Jesus had for him, he reveals. What it means to have vast compassion on people.
Remember when Jesus, it was walking through the crowds and there was this woman with some sort of issue of blood. It says, we, we don’t even know for sure what it was, but, but Jesus heals her just out of compassion because he cared. That’s what God is linked. He reveals a hatred of sin, a true godly righteous hatred of sin.
On one thing. Remember when he drove the money changers from the temple, it wasn’t, Jesus just was checked off with those people. It wasn’t that he thought, ah, what are you doing it? What was happening is those people is you read it and you understand where they were. They were preventing people from coming to the place of worship.
They were preventing Gentiles from coming to the place of worship. And, and Jesus said that can’t be. And so he drove them out.
He reveals a deep desire for people to come to God. Remember when Jesus was SAF and just wept over Jerusalem because he wanted them to know him. Emmanuelle, it’s a powerful name and it reveals certainly something of the cost of Christmas to God and Jesus had to leave heaven. He became, man. He reveals the father.
It’s a rich name. It’s a good name. And then the other name that. Matthew records here by the spirit of God. The second cost wrapped up in the name. Jesus, the name Jesus simply means savior. That’s what he talks about. That’s who he is. You will call his name. Jesus. Because he will save his people from their sins.
Again, it was John MacArthur who said it this way, and I thought it was really good. All other men who had those names, Joshua Joelle, uh, Josiah names like that, that all talked about, uh, uh, the savior of God being savior, all other men who had those names testified by their names to the Lord salvation. So every time you said the name, you remember the Lord’s salvation, but this one who would be born to Mary, not only would testify of God’s salvation, but would himself be that salvation?
That’s amazing. I want to give you a quick little history lesson to help walk through this. I know that you know this, but I want us to think about what it means as, as Jesus came at the beginning and remember God created. God traded the heavens to the earth. And remember, what did he say? It was good. It was very good.
Uh, Adam and Eve had fellowship with God. There was harmony. There was completeness. There was life. That was the garden of Eden. That was what was there. And it was so rich and so full. And I don’t think we begin to have a clue as to how wonderful it really was. But then, you know, sin entered the world.
We’ve done it here for, with the living nativity. As that we had acted here and Eve takes that fruit and she takes a bite. She gives it to Adam and he takes a bite. I don’t know how many years you sit there. I sit and I feel like yelling at me. No, don’t do that. But they did. We would have, and the Bible says sin, enter the world.
Romans five 12 says therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin. And in this way, death came to all people because all sin. The awfulness of what we call the fall sin enter the world. Fellowship is broken, is discord between people between God and man. There is a great goal for really between there is emptiness.
There is death where have been separated from God. Absolutely. Because of our sin. That’s the awful fact of what has happened. Mankind was unable to change the fact of the sin, the penalty of sin, which is death, the deadliness of sin. It’s an awful, awful story, but. And this is where the class comes in and this is where Christmas comes in.
Well, the joy comes in God declared that he would provide a way of escape. He said he would do it through a blood sacrifice. And you remember in the old Testament, he had arranged a way for sacrifices to be made of lambs of bulls of goats and all sorts of ways. But those things never actually took away the sin.
Did they. Uh, the writer of Hebrews says day after day, every priest stands reforms, his religious duties again and again, he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. Those sacrifices didn’t take away. It pointed ahead it was a covering,
but then something happened. Jesus came. Christmas was here and in John one, John, the Baptist talks about on verse 29. He says this the next day, John, that is John. The Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, look, it’s a strong word, behold, take a look. Don’t miss this. The lamb of God. Who takes away the sin of the world.
I would suggest you that may be the most powerful earth-shaking statement in the Bible because suddenly hear John, the Baptist is saying, look, here is a lamb who actually takes away sin. Doesn’t cover it. Doesn’t look ahead. This is the lamb who takes away the sin of the world. That’s an incredible thing.
This is going to happen. The lamb of God takes away this into the world. That means that lamb had to die, which Jesus, the savior did. He died for us, Romans five. Again, he says this, you see at just the right time when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person though, for a good person, someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Jesus, who is the lamb of God became the lamb of God that he might pay that sacrifice for sin that was required. That the beginning of time began to show the need. That’s who he is when he says Jesus, that’s who he’s talking about.
That is the cost of Christmas. There’s Jesus. He becomes the lamb of God. And I would put with us, he also becomes love incarnate. That is loved, completely wrapped up in showing himself. Years ago, there was a guy Dawson Trotman. He was the guy who began navigators that whole ministry there. And he was, this was in 1956.
He was up at strewn Lake at the we’re life there. He was out in a boat with Jack works in a couple of, uh, other, uh, campers actually in one of the campers, a girl, uh, suddenly fell overboard, knots and jumped in. Slammed down, not a good swimmer, swam down, grabbed her, brought her up and held her up. And they took her and put her back in the boat, saved her, and then he sank beneath the water.
And at his funeral, it was Billy Graham. He said that was just like DAS, always lifting others up. But you see, he didn’t plan on that. He didn’t plan on perishing that day, but Jesus savior, the lamb of God love incarnate. The cost of Christmas. God knew he was sending his son to die. He knew that death was going to take place.
He understood being God, the agony. You understood the heartbreak. I look up my boys. I look at my grandsons. There’s no wait. I could offer them for someone else. And yet God love incarnate. The separation that was going to happen on the cross as Jesus became sin for us. That was the love, the cost. Well, the cost he left heaven.
It costs the life of his son. It costs the precious blood of the son of God, because he was the only one who could be a perfect sacrifice. You hear the. Phrase or you hear the song. Jesus is the reason for the season. It’s absolutely true. Absolutely true. But we need to remember there is a cost of Christmas and I know that some of us probably got it very well.
Some of us have not gotten our bills yet and we’ll see it. We, um, we think of it, you know, often think of Christmas in terms of giving and receiving gifts, you know, how much. Uh, can I spend how much will be spent on me? Can I afford it? What’s the cost. I remember I was, uh, I think it was first grade. I live in a little town called the heart soul, Colorado, and we were given, uh, $5 to go and buy presents for everybody in the family.
And that, for me, I was alone money and ISO. I have two sisters. I have a brother, mom and dad. And I had to take that $5 and buy something for them for Christmas. And we would go to the town of saliva and I can remember so much Oh, wow. Looking around wagon and me being the greedy little guy that I was, I always made sure I kept a little bit of that $5 so I could buy something for me.
Rather than just monetary. And I know it’s there and I’m not even being a little in that, but what I really want us to think about we wind up this year is we wind up towards the end of what we call Christmas season to think about the real cost, what it costs God, what it cost Jesus. Because that really is what’s important.
That really is where our worship goes. We worship him because he was willing to pay such a high, high cost for me personally, for you, because he knows you,
a guy named Alfred E O lacak wrote in the daily bread. Many of you read the daily bread. He wrote this a few years ago, we can become so charmed with the story of a baby that we grow sentimental about it. It does not ask that we do anything about it. It does not demand any vital change in our way of thinking or living.
The great question for us is this is our Christmas still only a story about a baby, or is it more. Um, a story about a person into whom this baby grew, who can and does redeem the world from its sins and who calls us into partnership with his great and mighty purposes. It’s true. We want to focus on who he is.
That gift wrapped up for us in two names. Uh, an immense, an immense cost of Christmas to God being Emmanuel and Jesus. And for us to immerse ourselves again in that cost take time to worship the savior, not just a little baby, as sweet as that is. And his dear is that is to us. But as Emmanuel God with us, Jesus savior for, he will save his people from their sins.
I wrote this, God counted the cost of Christmas and said, yes, I will do it. Let’s worship him for that. Father as we take time here again this morning, just to reflect again on who you are on who Jesus is on, what Jesus became for us. God, help us again to worship you because the cost was great far more than we can imagine.
And yet you paid it. Help us to understand our own desperate need and Christ came to pay that God help us, even as we go through the rest of this week into a new year to take time to worship you deeply to hold you dearly because you paid the cost for us. In Christ’s name. Amen. So now go and serve the Lord.
Love him and take time to worship him as Emmanuel and Jesus.