Saturday, December 29, 2018

Christmas 1

Christmas 1 – Series C
December 30, 2018
Luke 2:25-40
"Would You Recognize Christ If You Saw Him?"

Would you recognize Christ if you saw Him? After all, what is one baby among so many? Don’t they all look alike? If nobody told you who the baby was or who the parents were, would you know this child? Here is the marvel and miracle of Simeon. The baby Jesus, according to Luke’s account, is only forty days old. Simeon had never met the baby’s parents. Yet, in this baby Simeon recognized the Messiah. How many see Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and the Savior? What does one have to have to recognize the Christ in this child Jesus? That my friends, is the question we will consider this morning.

To recognize the Christ in Jesus there are three things that are necessary.

1. To recognize the Christ we must first look for Him in hope. “Now there was in Jerusalem a man called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him…"

Simeon had looked for the Savior’s coming for many a year. We have witnessed His coming and we anticipate His Second Coming on the last great day. Like Simeon we need to look for Him in a hope that He will come at just the right time. As He came the first time at just the right time he will also come again in glory at just the right time. There is still a time for us to wait for Jesus. It is not in the anticipation of the celebration at Christmas but rather it is in living in anxious expectation for Him to return at just the right time to take us to be with Him in glory. Like Simeon Live in that hope.

This Jesus took your flesh. He became one of us, so that He might understand you all the better, share in the same experiences that you had, live out life like you do. For if He had not become human flesh. He could not redeem human flesh. For that which He cannot touch, He cannot heal. And if He cannot heal it. He cannot redeem it. [Gregory of Nazianzus] [1]

2. To recognize the Christ we must live close to God. Luke tells us something about Simeon’s character. He was "…righteous and devout…" (v.25)

Isaiah 45:22-25 tells us to "turn" (v.22) This is a common word in the Old Testament. Often it is used as "return". It means to repent, to change one’s mind, and make an about face from serving Satan to serving God. To turn indicates that a person has sinned by going away from God, by being faithless in serving false gods and rebelling against the true God. To turn means grace. God asks us to come back to Him and if we do, there is forgiveness and acceptance. Simeon remains for us an excellent role model of what it means to remain faithful. It does not mean that one remains perfect in every respect but rather that we see in Christ the reason for our salvation and then in repentance and faith we turn to Him for life. That’s what it means to be devout. That’s what it means to live close to God. To have our focus on Christ is what is needed today.

3. To recognize the Christ we must be led of the Spirit. "Moved by the Spirit, he went to the temple courts…and took the child in his arms…"

Simeon was a Spirit possessed man. He did not have to wait until Pentecost to get the Spirit. This reminds us that the Spirit is as old as God is, for the Spirit is God Himself. When and how Simeon received the Spirit, we do not know. It is enough that we see that the spirit possessed Simeon, for the Holy Spirit gave him the revelation that the baby Jesus was the Christ.

It was the Holy Spirit that inspired him to enter the temple at just the right time to see and behold Jesus. Likewise the same Spirit has directed you to behold this baby and for you to recognize Him as the Christ.

This is the last worship service in the year of our Lord 2018. What can we say? Man has been wounded. Christ has come to heal. Man has been lost. Christ has come to find and return. Man’s greatest enemy is death. Christ has come to conquer it.  Christ, the Divine, stooped to be human, and when he stood back up, He raised us up too.

Having seen the Christ Simeon was now ready to depart from this world in peace. For Simeon, death had no terror because, having seen Christ, Simeon was sure of his salvation. You have seen the Lord’s salvation. The future has no terror because we have seen the Lord’s Christ and thus we too are assured of our salvation. May the prayer of Simeon be your prayer too as we say farewell to 2018 and hello to another New Year. Having witnessed Christ we are now free to face the future with the same assurance as Simeon. You can be at peace. For Christ is at peace. He is the Prince of peace.

Passive Sentences-7%
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[1] Christmas Eve 2018 Homily Pr. Ken Kelly, Johnstown, PA 

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