The Certainties of 2012
1. We can be certain of God’s love for us because of Jesus’ birth. (John 3:16; Phil 2:6-7)
"Jesus--a simple name with so much power and meaning, but on that night so long ago, the tiny baby, wrapped by Mary in swaddling clothes, waving little arms, hungrily sucking a fist, was like any other newborn baby. He was helpless and dependent, and Mary was His hope of survival, His nourishment, his very lifeline. God entrusted His most priceless gift to a very human, very young, earthly mother. Why? Because God so loved--that He gave. He relinquished His hold on His Son and placed Him in fragile human arms. (Janet Oke, in "Reflections on the Christmas Story".)
2. We can be certain of God’s forgiveness because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. (2 Cor 5:21; Phil 2:8; 1 Cor 15:3-8; John 1:10-13)
He was condemned that we might be justified.
He bore our sin that we might be set free.
He died that we might live.
He suffered that we might be redeemed.
He was made sin, that we might be made righteous.
3. We can be certain of God’s ultimate triumph because Jesus is coming back. (Phil 2:9-11; Rev 19:11-13, 16; 21:1-8)
a. Jesus return is certain. (John 14:1-4; Acts 1:10-11)
b. Jesus return will be sudden and unexpected. (Matt 24:36-41; 2 Peter 3:10; 1 Thess 4:15-18)
c. Jesus return will divide. (Matt 24:36-41; Rev 20:11-15; 21:1-8)
4. How should we then live in the light of these certainties?
a. For believers: they bring us joy and comfort, even in our sorrows.
"The immense step from the Babe at Bethlehem to the living, reigning triumphant Lord Jesus, returning to earth for his own people--that is the glorious truth proclaimed throughout Scripture. As the bells ring out the joys of Christmas, may we also be alert for the final trumpet that will announce his return, when we shall always be with him." (Alan Redpath in "The Life of Victory".)
They bring a challenge to holy living.
"The primitive church thought more about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ than about death or about heaven. The early Christians were looking not for a cleft in the ground called a grave but for a cleavage in the sky called Glory. They were watching not for the undertaker but for the uppertaker."
(Alexander Maclaren, 1826-1910)
"The best way to prepare for the coming of Christ is never to forget the presence of Christ." (William Barclay in “You Can Say That Again”)
"The only way to wait for the Second Coming is to watch that you do what you should do, so that when he comes is a matter of indifference. It is the attitude of a child, certain that God knows what he is about. When the Lord does come, it will be as natural as breathing. God never does anything hysterical, and he never produces hysterics." (Oswald Chambers, 1874-1917)
They bring a hope for the future (Phil 3:20-21)
For not yet believers: They bring a warning for the future (Heb 2:1-3)