Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Doctrinal Christianity needs to Celebrate Christmas Truth Everyday

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

In thinking on this idea of Jesus Christ as the truth of Christmas, I asked this question in yesterday's blog: Why must the truth of Christmas, Jesus Christ be celebrated everyday by Christians? We explored how practical Christianity feeds from Him who is the truth of Christmas, Jesus Christ in 1 Timothy 3:14-16a.  If you will recall, we noted that Practical Christianity entails how one treats others (conduct) as well their own personal relationship with the Lord (godliness).  We also noticed too that Biblical Christianity rests upon three legs: the practical, the doctrinal and the supernatural.  Then finally, due to the fact that Paul specifically mentioned Jesus Christ as God manifested in the flesh demonstrates the Christmas truth to which He wrote about  namely Jesus Christ Himself. 

With that review in mind, we turn our attention to the second reason as to why we need to celebrate Christmas truth everyday: Precious Doctrine is Framed by Him who is the truth of Christmas, Jesus Christ.   We will be looking at the 18 words that Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:16b to discover how much the doctrines associated with Christ's first coming are to drive our everyday Christianity.

A rich and profound statement about Jesus Christ being the heart of Christianity
1 Timothy 3:16 is an example of one of the first Christian hymns ever written.  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul takes up this hymn and utilizes it to exhort his young protege Timothy to remain faithful to his calling.  Doctrine that changes lives is equally elegant and exact.  In 18 words in the original text Paul lays down some of the most incredible truths about Jesus Christ.  Note how the structure of these six statements begin and end with similar themes, focusing the reader's attention on the middle two lines of the text: 

1. Wonderful Christ coming from Glory. "God was manifest in the flesh."  As "God" (KJV, NKJV) or "He who" (other English Translations) being revealed in human flesh, Jesus Christ made the journey from Heavenly glory to earthly humiliation. (Philippians 2:5-11) 

     2. Work of the Spirit in the Virgin Birth.  "justified in the Spirit"
     The word translated "justified" in the KJV speaks of the Holy Spirit
     deeming the humanity of Jesus Christ, conceived by Him in the
     virgin's womb, to be without sin.  As God He could not sin and
     as a sinless human being he would not sin. Because of Jesus'
     virgin birth conception, He did not inherit the sin nature that is
     passed down  from a male bloodline. (Matthew 1:20,23; Luke
     1:35; 1 Peter 1:17-18, 2:21-22) 
            3. Witness of Angels. "seen of angels"
              We know that in the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke,
             angels were present to proclaim that in the City of David 
             had been born a Savior.  What makes this statement of
             Him being "seen by angels" is the fact that the Old
             Testament portrays the angels veiling their eyes with their
              wings, never having looked directly upon the Deity of God.
             (Isaiah 6).  Their song in Luke 2:14 is their proclamation of
             the Deity of the Son who now lay in the manger: "Glory to
             God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward

             4. Witness of Men. "preached unto the Gentiles"
             By the time Paul wrote these words in 1 Timothy, the early
             church's mission had spread from Jerusalem to Judea and
             Samaria to the Uttermost parts of the earth. (Acts 1:8)  The
             "preaching" or "proclamation" of the Gospel took place after
             Jesus had ascended.  What is interesting about the last
             three lines of this text is that we will go backward to the point
             where He had ascended into Heaven after giving His
             disciples the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20 and
             Acts 1:8-11. 

      5. Work of the Spirit in the New Birth of believers. "believed
      on in the world"
      Just as we saw the work of the Spirit in Christ's Virgin birth in the
      second line of this text, we see His work in convicting sinner's
      unto salvation in thise second from the last line of the text.  As
      the Gospel about God who came in human flesh to die on the
      cross and be raised from the dead was preached, people
      believed!  Focusing on Jesus Christ, the truth of Christmas,
      should stir Christians to share the Goodnews with their unsaved
      loved ones and friends.

6. Wonderful Christ taken up into Glory. "received up into glory"
With this last line of the passage we see a parallel with the first, namely that the Christ who came as God in human flesh from glory is being received as the resurrected Lord into glory.  Jesus had prayed in John 17:1-4 that He would once again get to share in the Glory He had with the Father from all eternity.  In Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:8-11 we see our Lord ascending into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father. 

The first three lines detail the reality of Christmas truth from the standpoint of God's activity in the Heavenly realm, whereas the last three lines deal with His same activity in the earthly realm.  Truly in Jesus Christ we see the Eternity of Heaven and history meet in One person.  Would we be a people who celebrates Christmas truth everyday.  Would we be a people who in noting the rich doctrines of the Bible, as they pertain to the Lord Jesus Christ, be so moved to love Him more and tell others about Him.