SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 2010-12-19: "God's Arrival"

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Pastor Phil Roland, Sheepfold Ministries

December 19, 2010, Fourth (Joyful) Sunday of Advent


LUKE 1:68-75

"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born
  of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law,
  that we might receive the adoption as sons."
          A. Society's Fullness of Time was ready for Jesus
                    1. SCRIPTURES - Jewish monotheism and Old Testament
                        Scriptures with scores of prophecies regarding Messiah
                         prepared the way
                    2. LANGUAGE - Alexander's koine Greek provided a language
                        that is the most precise instrument for the conveyance of
                        human thought the world had ever known.
                    3. PEACE - Rome's domination gave humanity a time of peace
                        and a marvelous transportation/communication system.
            B. Mankind's Fullness of Time was NOT ready - Acts 1:6-8 (NKJV)
"Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord,
                will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them,
               "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in
                His own authority.
                        But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;

                and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
                Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
                    1. MAN'S TIME - CHRO-NOS - "Will you at this chronos. . ."
a. Lub-lub-lub-lub - "chronological time"
                              b. Mankind is obsessed with time
                        a. Mankind was looking for a Present-Day Messiah - King
                        b. Mankind was and is seeking a political solution
                        c. Mankind is obsessed with controlling their external                                         environment
                         d. Mankind has always been looking for shortcut schemes
                         e. Mankind wants to purify the culture EXTERNALLY
                    2. GOD'S TIME - KAI-ROS
                       "It is not for you to know times or kairos. . ."
                        a. It was time for mankind to receive a Savior / Redeemer
                        b. Time to save men from themselves
                        c. God was preparing an INWARD solution: saving mankind
                            one person at a time
                        d. God offered a plan of salvation, not a scheme
          C. In the fullness of time, God was/is ready to purify the human heart
                    1. Step One: Realize / accept personal helplessness
                    2. Must possess a heart of faith

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." NIV
A. Has Isaiah's Prophesy come true?
                    1. Jesus is Light - John 8:12
                       "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of
                             the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but
                             will have the light of life."
                    2. Jesus / His Spirit is called Counselor - John 14:16, 17a
                           "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor
                             to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth."
3. Jesus is God - Hebrews 1:3
                           "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact
                             representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful
                             word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at                                     the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."
                    4. Jesus and the Father God are One - John 14:7-10
                          "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one
                            comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me,
                            you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know
                            him and have seen him." Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father
                            and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Don't you know
                            me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?
                            Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say,
                           'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and
                           that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my
                           own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work."
                    5. Jesus is from David's family - Matthew 1:1
                       "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the
                            son of Abraham:"
                    6. Jesus' Kingdom will never end - Luke 1:32,33
                        Angel Gabriel's message to Mary
                        "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The
                              Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will
                             reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never
B. Isaiah foretold Jesus Virgin Birth - Isaiah  7:14
                "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with
                  child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."
            C. Micah pinpointed WHERE Jesus would be born - Micah 5:2-4
               "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of
                 Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel,
                 whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Therefore Israel will
                 be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and

                  the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and
                  shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the
                  name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his
                  greatness will reach to the ends of the earth."

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."
          A. Is this your "Appointed Time?"
                    1. Don't just turn your fear/anxiety over to Him
                    2. Turn your whole life, being and purpose
          B. God's Arrival in your own heart is by your invitation - Rev. 3:20
                "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and
                 opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
                    1. Doesn't happen by Church Attendance
                    2. Doesn't happen by ritual, incantations / meaningless words
                    3. He comes to dwell with you and in you by your intention
                    4. Is He welcomed in your heart today?









Luke 1:68-79 (NIV)
Zechariah's Prophesy after his tongue is loosened
68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us--
72 to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Think about all the prep that goes into making an airline trip. . .
Call travel agent. . .Purchase tickets. . .Pack bags. . .
Arrive at airport 2 1/2 hours B-4 flight. . .Screening
Airport arrival of special guests
waiting w/placards w/name of person

Operation Arrival
Luke 1:68-75
For the longest time I didn't understand the new-car industry. I had always thought it worked like this. When a guy wanted a car, he dropped by the local dealership, kicked a few tires, slammed some doors, and fiddled around with radios, hoods, and trunk lids. Then he would rap with the salesman, dicker over prices, choose his favorite color, and place the order. I figured that when headquarters got the specs, they'd scurry around the shop finding the right steering wheel, engine, chrome strips, and hubcaps, then make sure all that stuff got stuck on correctly before it was shipped. You know, kind of like whipping up a last-minute meal with grub from the kitchen.
But that's not the way it is at all. To my amazement, I discovered that a computer card puts into motion dozens of contacts all over the country. One spot makes only engines. Another, the glass and plastic parts. Some other outfit does the steering wheels, and yet another the carpet and vinyl. As the order is placed, it triggers action in all these related areas. And---hopefully---at just the right time the special things arrive at the assembly plant where it all comes together---everything from bumper bolts to windshield wipers. And within a relatively short period of time, a shiny new car is punched out, rolled onto a transport truck, and sent to its proper destination.
What a remarkable arrangement ingenious Americans have devised! And none of it was even thought of two hundred years ago.
Now then---if man can come up with an organizational plan as complex as all that, think of how much more efficient God's arrangement was . . . over two thousand years ago. I'm referring to the perfectly synchronized events surrounding the Savior's birth. For sure, it was no afterthought. Scripture assures us that
when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son. (Galatians 4:4)

Fantastic statement! At just the right moment, precisely as God arranged it, in keeping with a plan we might dub "Operation Arrival," enter Messiah.
Micah said it would be in Bethlehem, Judah. It was. But I thought Joseph and Mary were of Nazareth, Galilee. They were. Aren't those places miles apart? Yes, in those times days apart. Then . . . how? Well, you see, that's just a small part of the plan, nevertheless amazing. Especially when you consider Mary was almost "term" in her pregnancy. To get them down south in time required fairly good roads---unheard of prior to the Roman takeover. And they certainly needed to be forced to travel . . . hence a required census from Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1) that forced Joseph to register in person in the city of his family roots, Bethlehem (2:4).
But before a Savior could be born, there also needed to be some natural means of common communication---a familiar tongue that would quickly spread the news. No problem. Thanks to Alexander the Great, the father of koine Greek, that language was ripe and ready for rapid dissemination of the gospel message through the pen of the evangelists and apostles from then on.
Thanks to good roads, a decision in Rome, and a bothersome census, it happened at just the right place. At just the right time . . . with an articulate language as the perfect verbal vehicle. A little baby that the world hardly noticed arrived. Rome was too busy building and conquering. Augustus thought he was hot stuff prancing about the palace demanding that census. In reality he was little more than a wisp of lint on the prophetic page . . . a pawn in the hand of the Commander of "Operation Arrival."
The things God pulled off to get His Son delivered on time twenty-one centuries ago would make the pride of American ingenuity look like an organizational afterthought by comparison.
Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.








Discussion regarding the impact of accurate prophecy

The reason why prophecy is an indication of the divine authorship of the Scriptures, and hence a testimony to the trustworthiness of the Message of the Scriptures, is because of the minute probability of fulfillment.
Anyone can make predictions. Having those prophecies fulfilled is vastly different. In fact, the more statements made about the future, and the more the detail, then the less likely the precise fulfillment will be.
For example, what's the likelihood of a person predicting today the exact city in which the birth of a future leader would take place, well into the 21st century? This is indeed what the prophet Micah did 700 years before the Messiah. Further, what is the likelihood of predicting the precise manner of death that a new, unknown religious leader would experience, a thousand years from now - a manner of death presently unknown, and to remain unknown for hundreds of years? (Crucifixion was invented by the Romans about 200 B.C.).Yet, this is what David did in 1000 B.C.




Again, what is the likelihood of predicting the specific date of the appearance of some great future leader, hundreds of years in advance? This is what Daniel did, 530 years before Christ. If one were to conceive 50 specific prophecies about a person in the future, whom one would never meet, just what's the likelihood that this person will fulfill all 50 of the predictions? How much less would this likelihood be if 25 of these predictions were about what other people would do to him, and were completely beyond his control?
For example, how does someone "arrange" to be born in a specific family?
How does one "arrange" to be born in a specified city, in which their parents don't actually live? How does one "arrange" their own death - and specifically by crucifixion, with two others, and then "arrange" to have their executioners gamble for His clothing (John 16:19; Psalms 22:18)?
How does one "arrange" to be betrayed in advance? How does one "arrange" to have the executioners carry out the regular practice of breaking the legs of the two victims on either side, but not their own? Finally, how does one "arrange" to be God? How does one escape from a grave and appear to people after having been killed?

Indeed, it may be possible for someone to fake one or two of the Messianic prophecies, but it would be impossible for any one person to arrange and fulfill all of these prophecies. Note: This material extracted from web site, unknown author.
This study highlights the Messianic prophecies. One should know, however, that much of the Old Testament, (estinated around 50%) is prophecy. Much of it was prophesied in the earler writings and later writings then recorded the various fulfillments. And of course much of these are yet to be fulfilled in the future.
There are many prophecies recorded in the New Testament. Some are fulfilled, i.e. Jesus told the disciples that the temple would be completely destroyed in Matthew 24:1-2. This was literally fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Roman General, Titus crushed the Jewish rebellion. Dozens of NT prophecies are yet to be fulfilled during and after the return of Christ.
With the Bible, literally, littered with fulfilled prophecy, we can confidently know that the ones yet un-fulfilled will be fulfilled in due time!

The Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy

The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner in Science Speaks (Moody Press, 1963) to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to just eight prophecies, 'we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled just all eight prophecies is 1 in 1017." That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that "we take 100,000,000,000,000,000 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas.

They will cover all of the state two feet deep. "Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing only these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man."
This information regarding Peter Stoner was taken from the book Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.