GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM GOD’S SON, OUR ETERNAL SAVIOR!
TEXT: The Christmas story in Luke 2 and Matthew 1 & 2
Fellow Redeemed Worshippers of Christ The King:
AT CHRISTMAS GOD FOOLS SATAN! It was true 2000 years ago and it is still true today. Let me explain what I mean.
You know Satan is a fallen angel. He was created by God with a free will to be used positively to honor the Almighty. But, Satan and the other demons chose to exercise their will negatively. They chose to dishonor God by trying to supplant Him, and when that didn’t work, by corrupting humans like us. As a created being, Satan is not all-powerful, all-knowing, or all-present; only God has those qualities. Satan’s understanding of God’s goodness is also so corrupted by his pride that he doesn’t understand our Lord’s goodness, love, and mercy. To the devil those are foreign concepts. So, let’s see how God used all this against Satan to fool him and protect the infant Christ, thereby insuring our salvation.
- Mary and Joseph both lived in Nazareth. A hidden-away village far out into the countryside. It was the direct opposite of where Satan, who is puffed up by pride, would expect Christ’s earthly parents to reside.
- God sent an angel to both Mary and Joseph to take away any fear they would have over the amazing events to come. That angel announced Christ’s miraculous conception to the virgin Mary, and also dispelled any misgivings Joseph may have had at her amazing story. Both remained quiet when tongues started to wag and Mary started to show her pregnancy. Satan didn’t expect Christ’s parents to act in such a noble way, because He has no honor. But, God fooled him and thereby prevented Satan from finding them and harming both them and the divine fetus.
- Then God also used that famous census to fool Satan. He got Mary and Joseph to leave Nazareth and journey to Bethlehem. Once there, the inns were full. Satan would have expected Christ to be born in Jerusalem, or at least a fine palace or home. But, no, only a stable was found. The demons left hell and searched the city. But, God fooled them through humility and simplicity.
- The angel choirs that appeared to the shepherds on Christmas Eve were there primarily to announce the most amazing event the world had ever experienced: God’s Son taking on human flesh to save corrupted and corruptible humans! Saved by a Baby! Amazing! Babies are powerless and helpless. And yet this Baby has the power to help and protect us! And He has! And yet, Christ was still a Baby. So, those angel hosts were also there to insure Satan could not harm anyone or subtract from their joy.
- Some have wondered why so many cases of demon possession appear in the Bible during Christ’s ministry? The answer is simple. Satan threw everything he had against Jesus, once he realized He was on the earth. Demons scoured the countryside looking for Him. And they tried again and again to destroy Him. Those Bethlehem angel choirs must have gotten demonic attention. And when Satan’s tool, King Herod, heard of the wise men entering Jerusalem, Satan must have rubbed his hands in glee! He would use Herod to do his dirty work. But, again, after finding out that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, and after going there to worship Christ, God intervened and fooled the devil. He sent those seers back by another route. And that same night God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream warning him to leave immediately for Egypt to insure their safety. How angry Satan must have been when his evil minions returned to their hellish abode with nothing to show for their work!
- Did Satan quit looking for Christ? No. All the Gospels testify to that fact and we’ve already touched on it concerning the many cases of demonic possession during Christ’s time. But, God fooled that evil fool! Christ was safely in Egypt. The gifts of the wise men served to provide for the financial security of the holy family during those three years. And once Satan’s ally, Herod, was dead, God brought that holy family back to Nazareth where Christ grew up in the safety of obscurity until He was ready to begin His ministry.
- Tonight we stand in awe of God’s goodness. Tonight we ponder the mystery of how the infinite God could be contained in finite human flesh. We shake our heads in total wonderment over the profound simplicity of His love for us—wrapped up in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. What can we do but rejoice? What can we do but offer our hearts and lives to Him Who offers His all to us? Additionally, we should all ponder the Christmas story keeping in mind the many sub-plots that God authored along the way. Tonight I’ve shared a small sample of one of those subplots—how God fooled Satan every step of the way. Satan expected pomp, luxury, and grandiose accommodations for Jesus’ birth. He expected worldly kings to accompany Him. He expected glamour and glitz. But, God fooled him and sent the direct opposites! He sent angels appearing to shepherds, not kings. A Star which impacted foreign believers, not the pompous practitioners of religiosity in Jerusalem. He gave Jesus humble parents, not rich or famous ones (at that time!). He gave His Son to the meek and lowly, not the proud and arrogant. All this fooled Satan and prevented him from disrupting that first Christmas.
- My Friends, God does the exact same thing for us, right here, right now. Satan is in hell tonight thinking that he has won. He has the delusional belief that he has finally corrupted Christ’s birthday via crass materialism, drunkenness, gluttony, and anything else that will keep people away from Jesus’ birthday party. Satan belittles the humble, the poor of spirit, the faithful Christian. To him we don’t even count because we’re such a minority. And yet, God humbles the proud and exalts the humble. Yes, God is using you tonight to make the devil look very, very foolish. Because you, dear Christian, have willingly chosen to give the Baby Jesus the one gift Satan covets beyond all others—your heart. And in the process, God transforms you into mighty saints by transplanting in its place, the heart of your Savior! Amen
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH…..
Pastor Thomas H. Fox