By Stephen Wong
11 Dec 2011 Sunday
Worship song: There is a Higher Throne
|Verse 1||There is a higher throne
Than all this world has known,
Where faithful ones from ev'ry tongue
Will one day come.
Before the Son we'll stand,
Made faultless through the Lamb;
Believing hearts find promised grace Salvation comes
|Chorus||Hear heaven's voices sing;
Their thund'rous anthem rings
Thru em'rald courts and sapphire skies
Their praises rise.
All glory, wisdom, pow'r,
Strength, thanks, and honor are
To God our King, who reigns on high Forevermore.
|Verse 2||And there we'll find our home,
Our life before the throne;
We'll honor Him in perfect song
Where we belong.
He'll wipe each tear-stained eye
As thirst and hunger die.
The Lamb becomes our Shepherd King
We'll reign with Him.
Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:8-15
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,“Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Good morning, let us pray:
Father, you are indeed the God of glory, and your Son is the exact representation of your being. He is the radiance of your great glory; He is the one who inherits all things; He is the one and who is fit all things have been subjected to; He is the one and only true savior of the world. And you are God the eternal King, your righteousness reigns forever, your kingdom is forever, you are the same yesterday, today and forevermore. The sovereign God, and we as your worshipers have come humbly to your throne to offer the gifts and sacrifices of our time, talents our treasures, and our lives. We pray, oh God, that you will fill us with your Holy Spirit and we will be under absolute control of our sovereign Lord, and that our life will be used by you, to bring the seed of life to all around us, so that this nation of China will be your kingdom, where your Son, the Seed of woman, reigns glorily, majestically, and in holiness. So bless the time of word of God. We lift up our voices, we lift up our hearts. All glory, all honors, all power, and all wisdom belong to you. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
OK. So good to see you all here today. We read the passage that the title is The Christmas Seed. You are wondering. I did not see any seed in this passage. Last year, on January 12th，not too far from where I was born, there was an earthquake that rocked a country. According to local reports, this earthquake measured 7.0, and probably ranked the third deadliest in history. This earthquake left approximately 300,000 people dead, with about the same number injured. And about 1.8 million were without homes. People lost their lives and their families; they lost their health…they lost everything! Relief agencies came to their aid and it was reported that amongst the aid was 4 million dollars worth of seed. The seed would provide food for the hungry, provide jobs for the jobless, provide some measure of dignity and life back to these people who have been rocked by this earthquake.
Our seed is the Christmas seed; the name of the seed is Jesus; the seed of the woman. He’s much more valuable than 4 million dollars, and the life that He gives is not temporary but eternal.
Our story today comes from the book of Genesis; it’s the first book written by Moses in our Bible. And we can look at this book of Genesis as a story from paradise to the patriarchs. We can see that the story divides into two: the human-race story and the Hebrew-race story; four events on one side and four great men on the other side. From verses 1to 11, we have Creation, the Curse, the Catastrophe and the Confusion--human race. On the other side, we have the Hebrew Race, verse 12 to the end: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph. God called Himself “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”. And this is God who gives us the Seed.
Our passage Genesis 3 can also be divided as: the serpent, the sin, the sentence and the sword. The first verse of Chapter 3 tells us: The serpent was craftier than all wild animals, this is the devil in four D’s (Deception, Doubt, Denial and Delusion),. How does he work and why things happened the way they happened? It’s the devil in four D’s. He comes to us in Deception, as the most cunning and the most crafty of all wild animals of God’s creation. He comes to us with Doubt. “Did God really say that?” “Is God’s Word trustworthy?” Then he comes to us with Denial. “You shall not die if you sin, it is ok. You shall not die.” “God is not trustworthy”. And then the last D is Delusion. “If you eat, if you do what I say, you will have opened the eyes, you will be like God! And you will know everything!” “Don’t you want to be God?” Unfortunately for us, our parents Adam and Eve, they fell for his deception, this doubt, this denial and this delusion. And this resulted in "the sin.
The sin can be divided into 3 parts: She saw the fruit “and it was good for food”-- the lust of the flash. She saw the fruit and “was pleasing to her eyes”--the lust of the eyes. She saw and realized that this fruit was “desirable to give her wisdom” so she can know everything and elevate herself above everybody, even God.
This was her sin: She took it and ate it, and she gave it to the man who took it and ate it. This resulted in shame—the eyes were opened, not to glory, not to beauty, but to shame, sadness and sickness, to the stench of sin. They saw that they were naked and they sewed these fig leaves together to try to cover themselves. In vein! When they heard the Lord God walking through the garden, fear filled their hearts! Shame and guilt drowned them. Oh, no, our Dad is coming and we have done an evil thing! Our parents hid. The shame and the disobedience let them desire the fellowship with God no more. It separated them from God and it separated them from each other. They started to blame one another: “Adam, why did you do this?” “That woman you gave me, she is the problem! I am innocent, she is the problem! She gave it to me. If she wasn’t there, I’d be ok!” Ha ha~ “Adam, you know that you were the one who took it without deception. She was deceived. But you took it, Adam.” “Eve, why did you do it? Don’t I love you? Don’t you know that everything that I tell you is right and true?” “That’s serpent!! He deceived me!!”
So the devil in four D’s results in disobedience and death, spiritual death. Man wanted his independence and man gets his independence. You are now independent of God and independent of all the good things that God has for you. So in this very dark time of our history that our passage moves on and tells us God’s sentence. To the serpent, a curse: “you are going to crawl on your belly for the rest of your life! You eat dust and you are defeated and you are good as dead, you are no good for anything, for you allowed yourself to be used by Satan”. The second He turned to Eve and He said “because of your sins, you will have labor pains when you bring forth the child”. Then to Adam, one of the things He said is “you too will labor in pain. The earth is cursed and will bear thistles or thorns, and you will sweat, and you will hurt, and the ground will yield and resist. with resistance.
Such was the landscape of a sin-stained world: cursing, punishment, and separation… what can we do? Is it hopeless? Is there nothing for us to look forward to? Well that’s where the seed comes in, in verse 15. We are going to divide the verse into 3 parts! Can you imagine dividing a verse into three parts? Well, today we are going to divide the first part into Hostility, second part into Humanity and the third part Victory.
The first part in Chapter 3:15 reads: I will put enmity between you and the woman. Why are we suffering? Why is life so hard? Why is it so difficult? Why is it not perfect? There are three things: the world is under new rulership! We as human beings have voted with our hearts and we have said we want no other king but the King of the air, the King of this world!! The Serpent. By sinning, we have said that He is our King. Why are we suffering? We live in a fallen world ruled by a rotten wicked fallen master; why do you suffer? Because of our sinful choices. We are easy and quick to condemn Adam and Eve. Had we been in the same situation, we would have done the same, we would make similar choices. Why do we suffer? Because of our sinful choices.
For those of us who are believers, “why do we suffer” becomes a question of purpose because God redeems everything. If you do not believe in Jesus, you will find that life is suffering and life is meaningless. But as a Christian, God tells us something really neat. He says: I will not just allow you to suffer by yourself, but I will send my Son and He too will suffer, He too will go to the extremes of suffering, because He knows how broken-hearted you are, He knows how much pains it causes you in this life; He knows how deeply hurt you are. And so God says: you’re suffering in this world, you shall not be surprised, it should not surprise you, when trials, testing and tribulation come, it should not surprise you, for Jesus Himself experienced that suffering.
The principle for our section is that trials intensify intimacy with God and increases fruitfulness. For a believer, we know that typically it’s when we are in great need, when we are going through the most difficult of times, that is typically when we look to the only One who can save us, the only One who can deliver us from death, the only One who has the power to do the impossible, the only One who knows everything, who knows your heart, who knows your situation, who knows your feelings. It’s when we are in great need that you and I turn our eyes from worthless things to the living God. And we’ll say: Lord, we depend on you! We will depend on you!! You are that Rock that we can find safety and security in; you are the refuge for us.
So in the mist of our time of testing, you are drawing closer and closer to God; in the mist of this very dark journey, this dark turning that you are experiencing, God says” I am pulling you for greater fruitfulness; I am pulling you to become more and more pure and holy, you will become more and more like Jesus. There’s nothing greater and more blessed than being close to God than being close to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ. What more do you want? That is the source of true satisfaction!
So the question that comes to my mind then is: How are you going to change the way that you respond to trials and to suffering? What are you going to do now that you know testing and suffering and trials have a purpose? What are going to change? How will you face your challenges differently now?
I want to go to the next slide and it will tell you a few things that you can do when you are suffering. The first thing is your adoration. You are going to adore God and please say this with me: I adore you for being my sovereign Lord; I confess all my disobedience and compromises; I thank you for your perfect purposes for me and I pray to you to awaken me to your greatness. I believe when you pray this prayer from the bottom of your hearts, you will see life and life’s challenges and testing, trials and new light. The glory of God will shine brighter and your challenges will dim. The strength of God will fill you and you will no long be under the pain, but you are able to rise, to straighten your shoulders, your confidence is not in yourself but in the strength of God Almighty, the strength of the Almighty Infinite God. It is He who lifts us up and puts us on a high rock above our enemies and above the storm; it is He who lifts us up into His arms, closes us to His bosom and says “everything will be alright! You are in my hand”!
Our next division we call it Humanity. Life is so difficult, but it is not difficult because we have the One who is with us! Emmanuel--God with us! The God who is with us. It’s the God who said” I love you extremely! I love you infinitely! I love you unconditionally! I will love, I will love you, I will love you”! Do I have to behave well first for Him to love me? Do I have to please Him? Do I have to do great exploits so that He will love me? The Bible tells us: God demonstrates His love towards us while we were friends? While we were best buddies? No, while we were still sinners still rebelling (Romans 5:6). God sent His Son; God delivered His only beloved treasure—His Child into the sin-stained world, to become one of us.
The part of this scripture that we were in says that this enmity is between the offspring of the devil and the offspring of the woman. In the original text, it tells us this is the Seed of the woman. This is the Seed. He is not going to be born of a man, a male ; He is going to be born of a woman. This is the prophecy and the promise of the virgin birth conceived in Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. And His name will be Jesus (Matthew 1: 18-25)! He will come and live with us; He will suffer with us and He will die for us, stretching His arms on that cross, the same hands that call “where are you, Adam? where are you Eve?” The same Father who stretches out His hands “where are you?” and the same arms stretched out and received those cruel nails. This is the Seed that prophesized thousands of thousands of years before Jesus came. This is the Seed that brings life and this is the Seed!
To become a man, He gave up everything! He gave up Heaven—His home, to become homeless; He gave up His riches and He put side His glory; He gave up that fellowship with His Father and Spirit. He gave up everything so that He could have a better place on this earth? I wish it was so. What did He receive on this earth? He came to His own and His own knew Him not. They mopped Him; they ridiculed Him; they said terrible things about Him; they even plotted to kill him. Horrid! Murder! Murder! Every child under two years old, every male child sentenced to death so that the Christ will die. They then put a betrayer, a traitor, Judas to sell our Savior. Then they put the Jewish leaders to rise up against the Messiah that they have longed and waited. The Jewish leaders hanged Him over to the Romans and then Pontius Pilate cowardly released Him into crucifixion. He left everything for that? For crucifixion? And He left everything to die? For you, for me, for us. And you know what He says: It was worth it. It was worth it! You are worth it! And so that is why the Bible says: for the joy that was set before Him, He was able to empty himself for everything and then became obedient onto the cross, death like a criminal. He even became a curse for you and me.
So the principle that we have in this section is that the Son of Man that didn’t come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. He came to serve the God of the heaven and earth; the God who throw the stars in the sky; the God who sits and enthrones in the heavenly places; the God who makes earth His foot stone came to serve. He bowed down very low so that he could be with us, Emmanuel. So how we are going to respond to this? The same thing we will do it again: Our adoration, our confession, our thanks and our prayers. We are going to the next slide. It says “I adore you for being my Emmanuel. I confess all my pride and selfishness. I thank you for living with me and in me and I pray to you to intensify my desire for you and for others and my love for others”. That is what services are all about. I pray that you know that you were set free and you were saved to serve. I pray that you will look with open eyes on what God may be calling you to do in our body here to serve. To serve in praying, in welcoming, to serve in worshiping, and to serve in some way to build the body here at Haidian.
Our last division is entitled Victory. I am going to read that last part in the chapter 3:15 and it says: “he will crush your head and you will strike his heel”. The serpent will strike the heel of Jesus. It is very painful, but it is not deadly, as deadly as being crushed. That what Jesus does on the head of serpent. He crushed the head of the serpent, so that he will rise no more. Satan said I got you! I kill the Author of life on the cross. I win God. I win! Three days later, the tomb was empty. Three days later, the tomb was filled with light. Three days later, Jesus’ followers saw the risen Lord Jesus. All glorified, all powerful, all wise, all knowing, all loving, and then He rose and ascended to the right hand of the Majesty where He lives to see you and I, where He lives to tell the Father this is my son, this is my daughter. I love them very much and I have given them new clothes for the wedding that‘s going to have. We had such a beautiful wedding last week, didn’t we? Must we? A wonderful, wonderful wedding and this is when Jesus was inviting us. But He says we who come, though， must put on some special clothes--my righteousness. So even though in this world, we will have struggles, we will have trials, even though it may seem as though we are losing. It seems we are losing the fight. Be encouraged that even though Satan may strike the heel. God will have the final word, the final victory and He will crush our enemy.
So how are you going to respond to this? What changes do you think you need make in your life to start living in the victory of Jesus Christ. He has all the power and all the wisdom that you need to live victoriously. How are you going to respond to this?
Well, we have a verse that says: Greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world (I John 4:4). If you want true victory, you’ve been fighting: I sin so repeatedly and I do so many mistakes and I do the same things. I get up I feel brand new and then I fall again. How come I cannot live victoriously? Why I am so entrapped and chained? Is there no way out? Yes, there is. This verse tells us: it is about indwelling. It is not imitation but it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. It is the indwelling of God's life, His Son's life in us. The dying to self says no to me, but say yes to Jesus. It is the obedience. If there is a key, a secret to spiritual life, it is obedience! How do we overcome that?
The Bible tells us in the Revelation, it says: They overcame the Satan by the blood of the Lamb and then they overcame by the Word of the Testimony (Revelation 12:11). The blood of Lamb and the Word of God. That is the secret of spiritual maturity and spiritual progress; that is the secret of spiritual victory. It will change your life. So how we are going to respond? We read it together: I adore you my shield and my reward; I confess all my limiting of your power and I thank you for your protection and prevision, and I pray to you to increase my faith and my dependence upon you.
As we move from disobedience to obedience, God has a promise for us. And it’s found in the last section here. It says that: Jesus Christ is the Word of God and His name is the Word of God. And out of His mouth will come sharp sword--the Word of God, with which He will use to strike down our enemies and all the nations that against Him.
What does God tell us about Himself in these three sections? In this world of hostility, He tells us: I am the Prince of Peace, you’ll have no conflict and you’ll have a soul that’s restful but more importantly, you’ll have peace with God. You will live in harmony and with God. What does God tell us when He talks about His humanity? He says “I am with you. I am in you and I am living for you. I am standing up for you. I am there for you. I am your high priest. I offer sacrifices for you. I offer myself for you”. And then in victory. He is our prefect prophet. He is the Word of God; He speaks the Word of God and He obeys the Word of God. And that should be the example and form of our lives.
How are all of these going to take place? We need to have a new heart. How can we get a new heart? Well the Bible tells us: We can get a new name and a new nature. He called his wife Eve the mother of the living, right? We get new clothes, right? God killed the animal to cloth Adam and Eve with the skins of the animals; He gave them new clothes and then He gave them a new way. He closed off the Garden of Eden with the sword and cherubim so that we would not go back to eat the tree of life and live in sins for the rest of our lives. But He opens up a way for us to Himself through the tree of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the living Way and He is the living Truth and He is the living God, so my brother and sisters, this is the will to have in your heart.
I was told about a man. His son was playing some sports and collapsed. They found out at the hospital that the son had a heart problem. It was a very dire situation and he did not have long to live and the father said: you know I want to give my heart to my son. I cannot let him die; I want him to live. I think we have a match. He and I are the same. Take my heart and give it to my son. And I think this is a little picture of what God does. He says “I will come in your place and I will give up my life and I will write my lays and my words in your heart and mind, so that you no longer have to stand under the penalty of sin. You no longer have to be under the power of the sin. You no longer have to be in the presence of sin. You have a new name. You have new clothes. You have a new way and a new home in heaven above. And this is what the Christmas Seed brings--a new heart to love God, to desire God and to live for God. And I pray brothers and sisters that as we celebrate Christmas together, that God will move you to desire Him more and to give you more victory in your life so that you will be able to sing: all glory, all power, all wisdom, and all honor belong to you my Christmas Seed! God bless you!
|Sermon: The Christmas Seed||video||audio|
|Worship song: There Is A Higher Throne||video||audio||lyric|