- Sermon Notes
Who the World Needs Now
October 18, 2020
ILLUS – What the World Needs Now is Love
1. Fifty-five years later, our country is still divided.
2. In 2020, we have experienced the devastating effects of a global pandemic.
3. We have witnessed the heart-breaking division between peoples of different ethnicities.
4. And in this election year, we have seen how divided our nation is politically, as competing parties seek to determine the future course of our great country.
5. Why has nothing changed? Did love fail?
6. The truth is man’s love does and will fail because the world does not need a “What” we need a “Who.”
7. “Who” the world needs now is Jesus and tonight we are going to look at God’s remedy for our hurting world by looking at the events surrounding the birth of our Savior to discover the extent of God’s love for us and how to experience God’s transforming love in our lives.
I. Jesus was Given to Us in Love (1-7a)
John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
• I am always struck when I read these verses.
• These verses are so simple.
• These verses are so understated.
• And these verses are so majestic.
• Yet, it is easy to quickly read these verses and miss the human drama behind the words.
• If one merely scratches the surface, they will also miss how God’s love was working through many obstacles.
A. God’s love works through our obstacles
1. Mary’s story is filled with obstacles.
a. She was a betrothed virgin who was told by the angel Gabriel that she would be the mother of God’s Son.
b. Who would believe this?
2. News of Mary’s pregnancy would bring disgrace to her family’s reputation.
3. News of her pregnancy would likely bring an end to her engagement to Joseph.
4. News of Mary’s pregnancy could result in her death.
5. Yet, Mary responded to God’s love by accepting His will.
Luke 1:38, And Mary said, “Behold, the bond-slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”
6. Joseph’s story is filled with obstacles.
a. His future wife is pregnant.
b. What should he do?
7. Imagine the personal pain from suspecting infidelity.
8. Imagine the conflict in his heart because he loved Mary and did not want to see her disgraced or harmed, so “put her away secretly.” (Matthew 1:19)
9. Yet, when confronted by an angel Joseph also responded to God’s love with obedience.
Matthew 1:24-25, And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
10.Then there is Caesar Augustus (ruled Rome from 27 BC – 14 AD).
a. Many scholars consider him the greatest of all the Caesars.
b. His name at birth was Octavian which means “Eighth.”
c. He was adopted by Julius Caesar and chosen to succeed him.
d. When he became emperor, calling him “Emperor” was not good enough, so the Roman Senate sought a more regal title for him.
e. So, the title “Augustus” was chosen because it means “Majestic Grandeur.”
f. Then the Senate voted and declared that Octavian was a god and even named a month on the calendar after him, August.
11.But to Almighty God, Augustus was just a “Little Caesar.”
a. God used this Little Caesar to fulfill Messianic prophecy by ordering a census.
b. The Roman Senate required that a census be taken every 14 years to tax all living under Roman rule.
c. So, Caesar Augustus issued a decree which required all people in the Roman Empire to return to the home of their family’s origin.
o It was a dreadful reminder of Rome’s oppressive occupation.
o And it was a financial burden for the poor.
o Yet, through the issuing of the decree, God’s love was preparing Israel for the coming of their King.
Isaiah 9:6-7, For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
12.Finally, there was a long journey.
a. News of the decree eventually reached Joseph.
b. Like Mary, his family tree reached back to King David who was from a place located seven miles southeast of Jerusalem, a little town called Bethlehem.
c. In compliance with the decree, Joseph set out on the 90-mile trip, a journey that would normally take a traveler three or four days.
d. But Joseph knew it would take longer because he was not traveling alone.
e. Mary was with Child, but not his child, for the Child in her womb was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of the words of the angel Gabriel.
Luke 1:35, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
f. With Mary due to give birth, there was no way that Joseph would leave her alone to deliver her firstborn Son, so he brought Mary with him and tenderly cared for her along the way.
g. The road was long, and the way was difficult, but this godly couple was right in the middle of God’s will.
h. You see the trip to Bethlehem was divinely ordained for God had chosen Bethlehem, which means “the house of bread,” to be the birthplace of Jesus, who is also called “the bread of life.” (John 6:35)
i. Over 700 years earlier the prophet Micah declared. . .
Micah 5:2, But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.
APPL – Through it all, God’s love, the kind of love our world needs now, was overcoming all obstacles.
• You see, God is not overcome by obstacles.
• God overcomes obstacles.
• Nothing was going to prevent of the coming of the One Who the world needed then and still needs now.
B. God’s love is humble
1. That is a strong statement, “God’s love is humble.”
2. What does it mean? It means that Jesus Christ came to be the Savior of all by identifying with all, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, the popular and the outcast alike.
Philippians 2:5-8, Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
APPL – Where would you want your child to be born?
ILLUS – Heidi and I looking for the right hospital and the right doctor to care for Malina’s birth.
2. But Jesus, God’s Son, was born in a cave or stable in an insignificant hamlet called Bethlehem.
a. Under the cover of night, Light broke into the darkness for the glory of God had come to earth in a way that would change history forever.
b. Mary and her baby were fine.
c. She marveled as she carefully wrapped Him in linen strips and placed Him in a manger which is a feeding trough for farm animals.
APPL – Why this place? Why this way?
• Because God’s love is humble.
• And God’s love was revealed through Christ’s humble birth, life, and death.
• Through it all God was and is declaring Jesus Christ is Savior for all.
Matthew 11:4-5, And Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind received sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
APPL – It was Jesus who said, “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
• He said, “Let the children come to me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
• He also said, “I came that you might have life, and to have it to the full.”
• And “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
• Jesus Christ did not come to load us up with burdens.
• Nor did Jesus Christ come to place obstacles in our way. He came to remove them.
• Jesus Christ, God’s gift to the world, demonstrated His love when He willingly died for us to take away the penalty of our sin; the greatest burden and obstacle of all.
• May I encourage you to open your heart to the Jesus and receive God’s gift of salvation, the forgiveness of all your sin and the promise of eternal life.
Transition – Why did I phrase what I have said in the form of an invitation? Because. . .
II. In Love God Gives Us a Choice (7b)
• God has given each of us a free will.
• And each of us will be accountable for the choices we make with our free will.
A. Too many people live crowded lives
1. What happened at Jesus Christ’s birth is indicative of human history since the Fall.
2. Sin has filled our hearts so much so that there is no room left for God.
John 1:11, He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
3. Why did “His own” not receive Him?
4. Because man wants God on his terms.
a. Like a genie in a bottle who grants you any wish.
b. Or like an insurance policy when you get in trouble.
APPL – The truth is we live in a world that does not want to make room for Jesus.
• There is no room for Him in our businesses.
• There is no room for Jesus in our schools.
• There is no room for Him even on His birthday.
• And sadly, there is no room for Jesus even in some churches.
Revelation 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 will dine with him, and he with Me.
ILLUS – A need for more worship.
APPL – Why do we live such crowded lives?
• For some it is pride. “I am captain of my ship.”
• For others it is priorities. “I do not have time. I have got too much to do.”
• For still others it is fear. “I do not want to lose control.”
APPL – But it is important that we stop and look at our lives and ask, “What have we gained?”
• “How have we profited from living lives that crowd God out?”
Matthew 16:26, For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
• Has your life become too crowded for Jesus?
B. Please make room for Jesus
1. He is the One the world needs now.
ILLUS – Family prayer time.
2. Life begins when Jesus Christ enters in.
Matthew 16:25, For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.
APPL – Will you please join me, and make room for Jesus?
John 3:30, He must increase, but I must decrease.
1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all [a]the inhabited earth. 2 [b]This was the first census taken while [c]Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.