The Miracle of Christmas – the Method!
December 18, 2011
Romans 11:33-36 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Two weeks ago we looked at “The Miracle of Christmas, the Moment” and realized that God sent His son to earth at just the right moment. What we discovered is that in our lives God shows up at just the right moment and sometimes when we least expect it.
Last week we looked at “The Miracle of Christmas, the Message” and we discovered that God does indeed want to speak to us but that too often we have closed our ears and have failed to listen when He speaks.
This week we will look at the “The Miracle of Christmas, The Method.” We will discover that God works in amazing ways and that we will never understand or comprehend why He does what He does and why He uses who He uses the way He does.
To understand this let us look at a couple of things this morning:
The first of these is the fact that God’s methods transcend us and are so often beyond our ability to understand or comprehend. The prophet Isaiah sheds some light on this when he states “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV).
Imagine with me for a moment that you are God. What would you have done differently in terms of the Virgin Birth? How would you have announced His birth? Would you notify the local papers and run an ad? Would you have chosen someone else other than Mary and Joseph? After all, they had no position or rank and they certainly did not have the social standing that warranted giving birth to the Savior. Would you have made Jesus more like William Wallace from Brave Heart or Maximus from Gladiator? My guess is that if we were God that we would have done things much different.
As we look at many of the Bible stories we see that God’s methods of doing things always seem to be beyond us and beyond our comprehension and understanding. Think about it for a moment:
- Gideon’s army was whittled down from 32,000 to 300 and then they were to use a few trumpets, empty jars and torches to cause confusion to come upon the enemy.
- For Moses God used a rod.
- David used a sling and a stone to kill the giant.
In the Christmas story we see God uses a young woman with no significant social status or major riches to be the mother of Jesus, the King.
The second idea here is that God’s sovereignty means that God can do what He wants to when He wants to, to whom He wants to but God also has chosen to include us. The idea here is that God often uses ordinary Individuals to achieve extraordinary things.
Paul understood this when he wrote, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:25-29 ESV) .
The fact is that throughout history God has used ordinary individuals to achieve extraordinary things. Think about this for a moment, God does not need us but He chooses to use us to accomplish His will. Let’s look at a few of those who God used in the Old Testament.
- God chose Abraham and Sarah to give birth even though they were far beyond their child bearing years and even though Sarah doubted that God could make this happen.
- God chose Moses who stuttered and was not a very good speaker. He also felt rejected because he was downgraded from living in a palace to herding sheep in the desert.
- God used Joseph who was a “snot nosed” kid who had a chip on his shoulders.
- God chose David who was the smallest and youngest of his brothers.
- God used Gideon who had to be brought out of the winepress because he was so afraid.
- God used the jaw bone of a donkey.
How do you feel? Do you feel ordinary? Do you feel unqualified? If so that is right where God wants you because you a candidate for God’s blessing and that is exactly the kind of person God’s wants to use.
The third idea here is that God not only includes us but He invites us to participate in what He is doing. God’s methods transform us and sanctify us in ways we cannot comprehend. The reason that he not only involves us but He invites to participate is because in the process of God working is us, we are transformed. The experiences of life and the circumstances we face all serve to transform and shape us. God takes these things and uses them to mold and shape us into the person He wants us to be.
Paul reminds us that God wants to be shaped and formed like Christ. It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you (Galatians 4:18-19 ESV)!
Whatever God sends your way God uses it to transform us and make us like Him. When we face difficulty there is a part of us that is revealed and we therefore begin to see a part of us that needs transforming.
The final thought is that God is working but we can miss it because:
- Our focus is on what we can get as we are selfishly motivated. When we are selfishly motivated, we tend to do things that satisfy and not change us.
- We fail to live with thankful and grateful hearts. When we are ungrateful and not thankful we will miss the good that God is doing because we are not content or satisfied.
- We don’t understand what He is doing. Sometimes God works in ways that we will not understand because it is beyond us.
- We forget that all things work together for the good for those who are called to his purpose (Romans 8:28). This does not mean that everything is good it simply means that God’s plan will be good for us.
So where are you? How is God working in you today? How is God using you?