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In The Fullness Of Times!

Galatians 4:1-7
Larry Farthing shares what Christmas means...

"Christmas means that:
He descended that we might ascend (John 6:38, 14:3).
He became poor that we might become rich (2 Cor.8:9, Jas. 2:5).

He was born that we might be born again (John 1:14, 3:2,7).
He became a servant that we might become sons (Phil. 2:7; Gal. 4:6, 7).

He had no home that we might have a home in heaven (Matt. 8:20; John 14:2).
He was hungry that we might be fed (Matt. 4:2; John 6:50).

He was thirsty that we might be satisfied (John 19:26).
He was stripped that we might be clothed (Matt. 27:28; Gal. 3:27).

He was forsaken that we might not be forsaken (Matt. 27:26; 28:20).
He was sad that we might become glad (Isa.53:3; Phil. 4:4).

He was bound that we might go free (Matt.27:2; John 8:32-36).
He was made sin that we might be made righteous (2 Cor.5:21).

He died that we might live (John 5:24, 25).
He came down that we might be caught up (1 Thess.4:16, 17).

Christmas also means that God is never late.

Our timetable and God's timetable are not always the same.
There are times when we want God to act right now. We understand that in His great wisdom, God chooses not to answer those prayers.
The One who created everything from nothing, who sees the end from the beginning, who embodies
all wisdom and knowledge is never late.
He's always on time.

It may not be our time, but it is always His time.
In the Christmas season we see a great reminder of the fact that God sent His Son to the earth at just the right time.
Verse 4 says, "When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman."

That's an amazing statement!
Have you ever considered that there was a right time for Jesus to be born?
There was one time in all of history when all things were perfectly right for Jesus to be born.
Jesus came at precisely the right time.
Christmas reminds us of God's perfect timing.

Just as God's timing was perfect in the coming of Jesus, His timing is perfect in your life.
Just as the people of Jesus' day didn't understand God's timing then, you may not understand it now,
nonetheless, it is perfect timing. In our Scripture passage, we see how God works out His plan in history.
We will learn how He works His plans in our lives.

The Preparation For His Coming -- Verses1-3

The coming of Christ to earth happened in "the fullness of the time."
All through the Old Testament we find hundreds of prophecies telling of the coming of the Messiah. All these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus.

There was a religious preparation.

All through the Old Testament, God had been dealing with Israel, His chosen people.
It would be through them that the Messiah would come.
But Israel was always going away from God.
They were always following after the gods of other nations around them.

God judged Israel for this idolatry many times in their history.
This culminated in their judgment in the Babylonian captivity.
God allowed the entire nation to be conquered by Babylon and taken from their homeland into that country.

The Babylonian Captivity returned the Jews to monotheism.
During that captivity, the Jews came in contact with the Persians.
The Persians were Zoroastrians.
They were monotheists.

So the Jews were prevented from from following after the idols of the pagan nations around them.

Another thing that happened during the Babylonian Captivity was that the canon of Old Testament Scripture
was completed under Ezra.

So, for the first time, the body of Old Testament literature, which is the Jewish Bible and the Christian Old Testament,
was brought together and this opened the way for the preaching of the Gospel of Christ.

Another thing that occurred during the Babylonian Captivity was that the Jewish synagogue came into being.
Until that time, the Jews had worshiped at the Temple in Jerusalem.
Now, there was no longer a temple, and so the Jews assembled to worship in the synagogue.
The synagogue is the worship pattern for the Christian Church.

All of these events had a role in preparing for the coming of Christ.

There was also a cultural preparation.

In 350 BC Alexander came upon the scene. Under Alexander's influence, the world became Greek in culture, philosophy, institutions, art, drama,
literature, architecture, thought and language. This was important because in 280 BC, the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek.
This is called the Septuagint.

Everything was ready for the preaching of the Gospel.
Religiously, the Old Testament Scriptures were gathered; linguistically and culturally, the lines of communication were opened.
The time was right.

There was also a political preparation.

By the time Jesus was born, Rome ruled the world.
The Romans had conquered all the nations around them. God determined those who would ascend to power in the Roman Empire.
At the coming of Christ, Caesar Augustus was the emperor.
Little did he know that when he called for a census, that he was doing God's will.

Because of his edict requiring all of the people to return to their place of origin and be taxed and counted,
a pregnant woman and her husband made a historic journey to Bethlehem.

Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus, was guided by the hand of God to the place prophesied in the Old Testament
where Christ would be born.

Then there was a spiritual preparation. Before Jesus came, people tried to keep all God's Old Testament laws, and of course, they couldn't.
Verse 24 says "the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ."
Now we know that keeping the law can't save us, and we know we need a Saviour... Jesus Christ!

God's timing tells us that we are no longer under the law.
"The fullness of the time" means that we now live in the full inheritance of God's spiritual blessings!

Jesus came in the "fullness" of time to fulfill the work of the Lord.
There was so much more to that night in Bethlehem almost 2,000 years ago than merely a babe in a manger.

God "sent forth His Son."
Jesus left His place of prominence and privilege in heaven to dwell in the womb of a young woman from Nazareth.
The Creator of the Universe was carried in a woman's womb. In his mother He is absolutely human.
He often referred to Himself as the "Son of Man."
This is vital.

Jesus understood what it was like to be a man. Jesus was "born under the law."
But Jesus was different from all other men. Jesus said in Mat.5:17, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.
I did not come to destroy but to fulfill

God had a great purpose for Christ's coming.
God had planned this event before the world was created.
Now the time was right.
And Christ came. Many people think that God will accept them on the basis of their good works.
They believe that God will measure their good deeds against their bad deeds and that ultimately their good deeds
will be greater than their bad deeds.

But the Bible tells us that no one is good enough.
Isaiah 64:6 says, "All our righteousness are like filthy rags."
That is the point of the Old Testament law.

It is our our teacher that shows us that the best that we can do will never be good enough.
It points us to our need of a Saviour.

We were under the law, and could not keep the Law.
So we stood condemned by our own inadequacy.
Our own works testify to the fact that we cannot be righteous in ourselves.

Then Jesus came! In His death, He accepted the full measure of God's punishment for our sin.
We have one of two choices: When you came to Jesus, you were saved, God received you into His heavenly family.
He has forgiven you of your sins, and has assured you of a home in heaven.

Christmas means, "I'm a child of the King."
Jesus was born in a manger not only to pay for my sins, but also to adopt me into God's heavenly family!

Over 2,000 years ago, in "the fullness of the time" Jesus came

The Shepherds announced: "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger
(Luke 2:11-12)
In the fullness of the time God sent forth His Son.

Angels proclaimed with jubilation, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men."

The fullness of time Jesus came!.
And He is ready to come into your heart right now!.

Sermon By Dr. Harold L. White
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