Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 1 Study # 7
Thesis: God will finish what He has begun.
Introduction: Within seven days, the majority of the world will, at the very least, acknowledge the reality of the claim that God has accomplished a redemption that He promised more than 4,000 years before He actually moved into history with a vast host of angelic warriors to bring the Redeemer onto the stage of human history. That is not to say that anywhere near the majority of humanity believes the claim; it is merely to say that there is no escape from the sights and sounds of "Christmas". This "lack of escape" is a fundamental aspect of God's dealings with a creation that has gone significantly astray. In the very beginning of the apostle Paul's detailed explanation of the "Gospel of God", he set the stage by saying that God has left man with no "excuses" -- from the beginning. It is imperative that men find themselves with "no excuses", for until man comes face to face with the fact of God and the fact of his own estrangement from God, there is no application of "redemption" to the soul of man.
There is a noticeable parallel between these facts on December 25, 2005 and Luke's declaration regarding John in Luke 3:4. It is a parallel that we are planning to explore this morning.
December 18, 2005
- I. The Parallel of the "Inescapability of Confrontation".
- A. On December 25, 2005 the world will have to, once again, "deal with" the claim that God has already sent His Redeemer.
- 1. Even when we grant the fact that "Christmas" has been corrupted in almost every way that it can be corrupted, the fact remains that there is no escape from the declaration that "Christ" has come (if the issues weren't so critical, it would almost be funny to watch the culture do its best to eliminate the references to Christ while cashing in on the reality of His coming).
- 2. That men do, and will, use the "corruptions" to argue that the "claim" is ludicrous, there is still no escape from the presence of the claim.
- B. In Luke 3:4, Luke declares that John came upon the scene in Judea as a "voice" which was "crying".
- 1. The term "voice" is used by Luke to refer to "an inescapable sound" -- as Matthew 12:19 and 24:31 clearly imply.
- 2. The term translated "crying" simply heaps up the sense of a very loud sound that makes it pretty much impossible to not "hear".
- II. The Parallel of the "Inescapability of Longevity".
- A. On December 25, 2005 the world will have to, once again, "deal with" the fact that the "claim" has been both a "watershed" claim and an "on the scene" claim for hundreds of years.
- 1. There exists, in the clamor of claims that vie for man's attention, a distinction between those claims which make little, if any, difference in the lives of men, and those claims that posit such a fundamental "reality" that no man can embrace, or reject, the claim without it making an eternal difference to the life of man.
- a. Those claims which make little to no difference to men are simply a part of the natural flow of life for mankind.
- b. But, those claims which posit a "fundamental reality" are what I have chosen to call "watershed" claims.
- 2. There exists, even in the Bible, this same distinction to a lessor degree.
- a. Since the Bible is true down to the jots and tittles, one can never really say that a claim can be ignored without significant consequences, but the fact remains that there are some claims that have more impact than others.
- b. There are, in the Bible, certain "theological watersheds" that make such a fundamental difference in man's "grasp" of "truth" that they can only be ignored if one has no interest of any kind in how eternity will play out.
- 3. "Christmas" is a "watershed" claim in 2005.
- 4. But, "Christmas" didn't just come into play; it has been "on the scene" on an annual basis for over 1,500 years.
- B. In Luke 3:4 it is Luke's claim that "repentance" is both a "watershed" doctrine and a dogma that had been around for, at a minimum, 700 years by the time John came on the scene.
- 1. Luke says that John's coming was the fulfillment of the Isaiah 40 prophecy.
- 2. Luke says that John's message was the heart of the grace message that has its focus upon Jesus, the Christ.
- 3. Luke's claims made "repentance" a "watershed" claim 2000 years ago.
- 4. But, Luke's claim that this watershed dogma was "standing written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet" is a claim that the truth had been on the scene in uncorrupted form for at least 700 years.
- a. Even the extended terminology of "the book of the words of ... the prophet" generates a deliberate focus upon the "message".
- b. And that it is a "book" puts the focus upon the uncorrupted state of the specific terms of the "message".
- III. The Parallel of "Inescapable Human Depravity".
- A. In 2005 we have so much evidence of man's penchant for ungodliness that there are multiple voices that prophesy the inevitability of human self-destruction.
- 1. The evidence is found in the "secular" world of a rising conflict that will not be side-stepped -- not on the world-wide stage of nations in conflict, nor on the individual stage of individuals who will not submit to righteousness and, thus, will generate conflict continuously in a rising tsunami of inevitable destruction.
- 2. The evidence is also found in the "religious" world of shattering dogmas that serve as harbingers of a final denial of all truth.
- B. In Luke 3:4 it is Luke's claim that man is a "wilderness" of humanly incurable depravity.
- 1. Even though there is normally little likelihood that a voice raised in the wilderness would be heard by anyone, Luke tells us that God ordained that the voice of John in the wilderness of Judea resounded throughout that nation so that there was no escaping the sound of it.
- 2. The deliberate compelling of people, by God, to go out into the wilderness to hear John's voice was a powerful statement that God was not going to let men "slide over" the impact of the "wilderness": they are the wilderness.
- IV. The Parallel of "Undiminished Hope".
- A. In 2005 we have in "Christmas" the inescapable declaration that the God of the Word is a God of Integrity -- it may have taken 4,000 years for the plan to come to the fulness of the times, but it came.
- B. In Luke's appeal to Isaiah 40 we have the fact that when all "hope" seemed to be gone, God introduced His "grace" so that no "hope" had really disappeared.