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Abraham's Christmas Joy

December 23, 2018 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series: Christmas

Topic: Christmas Verse: John 8:56–8:56

“Abraham's Christmas Joy”

John 8:56

Theme: Whereas Abraham rejoiced in the promise of the Messiah, we rejoice in the provision of the Messiah.

I. The GOSPEL IS A PROMISE PROVIDED BY GOD – “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day …”

A.The Disclosure of the Types of Christ

  • As Christ was engaged with the faithless Jews, He emphasized that their response to Him displayed how estranged they were from God.
  • He makes the point that since He is from God, those who are of God would receive Him – recognizing the compatibility between Christ Jesus and the Father Who sent Him – cp. vv. 37-38, 42
  • Jesus’ point is that those who know God receive insight from God concerning the truth – cp. v. 47
  • He then appeals to the way in which God had been disclosing the truths about Christ throughout the Scriptures and that His arrival ought not to have taken people by such surprise – cp. Luke 24:25-27
  • God had allowed the promise of the future Deliverer to be highlighted throughout the Old Testament Scriptures – from the skins in Eden, to the ark, to the ram caught in the bush, to the Passover lamb, to the scapegoat, to the thousands of sacrificial lambs slaughtered God was disclosing the coming of the final substitute who would take away their sins – the Lamb of God.
  • God had provided Abraham specific disclosure of His redemptive plan – cp. Psalm 25:14

B. The Determination in the Realization of Christ

  • Abraham – given that He possessed faith in God – recognized the teachings that God provided Him about the coming Messiah.
  • He benefited from the specific instructions from God and grew in His appreciation of God’s promise.
  • Abraham was determined in his learning the lessons of faith – consummated in his confidence in God’s commitment to save even through resurrection – cp. Genesis 22:5-8; Hebrews 11:17-19
  • Abraham had received the promise of God that through His seed “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” – cp. Genesis 12:3
  • As God disclosed the truths concerning His redemptive plan, Abraham seemed determined to realize the significance of these disclosures.

Application:

  • The Gospel is a message that is not an innovation in the New Testament. What is your favorite Old Testament type of Christ and the Gospel and why?
  • As Jesus interacts with the unbelieving Jews, what caused them to be so totally blind to the Gospel? (cp. Romans 10:1-4)
  • What effort on the part of a believer is necessary to grasp the truths of Scripture; how can you improve in this effort?

 

II. THE GOSPEL IS A PROMISE PERCEIVED BY GRACE – “… and he saw it …”

A. The Discernment of the Theology about Christ

  • The Scripture declares that Abraham “caught on” and understood what he was being taught.
  • This is essentially the point that Christ is making to the unbelieving Jews – that a man of faith listens to the Word of God and embraces it.
  • Even when they didn’t fully understand things, they studied and attempted to put into context – cp. 1 Peter 1:10-11
  • Thus to say that “he saw it” means that he came to understand it and anticipated it with the eye of faith – cp. Ephesians 1:18
  • They didn’t have all the details, but they did comprehend that there would be a future day where God would allow the Redeemer to stand upon the earth – cp. Job 19:25-26.

B. The Distance to the Tenure of Christ

  • However, Abraham realized that the day of Christ was yet future – Scripture indicating that having “seen them” he “welcomed them from a distance” – cp. Hebrews 11:13
  • Thus Abraham looked ahead with the “eye of faith” and anticipated the work of the Messiah and relied upon it with as much confidence as we look back at the work of Christ and rely upon it.

Application:

  • What role does personal faith in Christ have in accepting the truth about Christ?
  • How great a faith is needed?
  • Why is faith in the right thing essential instead of merely having a lot of faith?

 

III. THE GOSPEL IS A PROMISE PERSONALIZED WITH GRATITUDE – “… and was glad”

A. The Delight in the Teaching about Christ

  • Scripture states that Abraham “saw it and was glad”
  • “glad” [ἐχάρη] – is from χαίρω which refers to being in a state of happiness and well-being; to rejoice.
  • It is an Aorist Passive – meaning that his exposure to the truth about Christ and his faith in it caused him to rejoice.
  • Again, God had promised Abraham that through him and his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed.
  • As God fulfilled the promise of giving Abraham his son Isaac, Abraham caught that Isaac was merely the immediate fulfillment of God’s ultimate plan.
  • He saw in Isaac the beginning of the work of God to provide the Messiah long-promised.
  • He rejoiced in God’s faithfulness, but possessed true joy in gaining the approval of God by means of faith – cp. Hebrews 11:2, 6, 39
  • He became the point of focus for all of the faithful to follow – cp. Romans 4:1-3

B. The Dependency on the Triumph of Christ

  • He relied upon the future Messiah and the work of Christ even as we do.
  • Even as Simeon was convinced that he had seen the “salvation” of God when he saw the Lord Jesus, Abraham also believed that the Promised Messiah was his own means of salvation – cp. Luke 2:29-32
  • As for us, we have a clearer view of Christ than Abraham – yet he placed his entire eternal destiny in the hands of Him in Whom he could only hope to come.
  • We know that He has come, has triumphed over sin and death, has raised from the dead and gives eternal life to all who trust in Him.
  • He believed through faith in prophecy yet to come, we in the faith of history now past – to our great accountability.
  • This is the point of Christ’s citation of Abraham’s faith – He blames the faithless Jews for not having a faith equal to or greater than Abraham’s given the presence of the Son of God, the Messiah, in their very midst.
  • How can we hope to escape God’s great disdain and judgment should we neglect the knowledge of salvation through Christ given His indictment of these Jews? – cp. Hebrews 2:3-4

Application:

  • When your joy is squelched, what factors can you identify that contributes to the regaining of your joy?
  • Think about the excuses that people give for a failing faith – discuss how much greater our responsibility is since we have so much more truth available to us than those in the OT?
  • How is your gratitude for what Christ has done reflected in the following venues:
    • Your family?
    • Your neighborhood?
    • Your church?
    • Your job?

 

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