Breaking The Silence Seminar videos 2023

The Christmas Story and the Promises of God

December 5, 2021 Speaker: Allen Snapp Series: Christmas 2021

Topic: Christmas Passage: Ephesians 1:3–5, Isaiah 9:2, Isaiah 9:6–7, 2 Corinthians 1:19–20

The Christmas Story

Allen Snapp

Grace Community Church

Dec 5, 2021


The Christmas Story and the Promises of God

Last Sunday was the beginning of the Advent season. For those of you, like me, who didn’t grow up observing Advent, Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and is a season of preparation, anticipation, and celebration of the birth of Jesus and the return of Jesus in the Second Coming. Over the next four Sundays as a way of preparing, anticipating, and celebrating our Savior’s birth we are going to look at the Christmas story from four different angles:

  • The Christmas Story and Our Story
  • The Christmas Story and the Glorious Scandal
  • The Christmas Story and the Gospel Love of God

This week, we begin with The Christmas Story and the Promises of God. As Christians we have no more precious possession than the promises of God. 2 Peter 1 says that everything we need in life comes through God’s very great and precious promises. Those very great and precious promises find their ground zero in the Christmas story.

As we prepare our hearts for Christmas 2021, let’s pause and reflect on the priceless promises found in the birth of Jesus. The first thing I want to point out is that…

  1. The promise of Christmas is for all time…and more!

We had Janice’s family with us this Thanksgiving, and somehow the subject of time travel came up. It began with a discussion about the best time travel movies and then transitioned to how awesome it would be if we could get into a time machine (or a DeLorean) and travel back (or ahead) in time.

If we could climb into a time machine and travel back in time, and we wanted to set the dial for the beginning of the Christmas story, what year in history do you think that dial would read? Someone might set it for the year Jesus was born, but the Christmas story started long before the birth of Christ. Someone familiar with their Bible might set the dial for year 1, shortly after the creation of mankind and immediately following the entrance of sin into the world when in Gen. 3 God promises that through the seed of woman One would come who would crush the head of the serpent. And it’s true: God promised the birth of His Son right there at the dawn of human history.

But that’s not the beginning of the Christmas Promise. To reach the beginning, we need to set the dial even earlier, to a time before time existed. We can’t comprehend that, but let’s try. We need to set the dial to eternity past before God had created man or the world, maybe even angels. That’s where Paul sets the dial in Eph. 1:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonshipthrough Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will…

Before the world was created, in love God predestined us for adoption. Adoption is a promise. My

daughter and son in law have adopted three precious children and each of those adoptions began before those children were born. Before Asher or Justus or Aliyah drew one breath of air, Jenn and Jordan out of love for them chose to give each of them a lifetime of promises. They would be loved and cherished all the days of their lives. They would be forever family. They would grow up with all the care, provision and nurture that Jordan and Jenn could provide. Adoption is a beautiful, lifelong promise.

Before you or I were born, before the world was born, in love (out of love) God promised to bring those He adopted into His forever family. What a promise! That promise, forged in eternity past, became an unbreakable cable of promise that would run through all of human history.

That promise became the promise to Adam and Eve as they stood ashamed and alienated before God that He wouldn’t leave them or us in that place but He would send a Warrior who would win back all that they had lost to the serpent. The serpent would bruise this Warrior’s heel, but this Warrior would crush the serpent’s head.

That unbreakable cable of promise continued throughout the Old Testament, God promising One who would be all that we needed. God promised to send us a King whose throne would last forever. A shepherd who would care for and protect his flock. A lamb who would be pierced for our transgressions. A Savior who would save his people from sin; a Man who would be God with us.

At a particularly dark point in history, after Israel was conquered by the Assyrians and corrupted by the pagan beliefs of the surrounding nations, in the midst of their anguish and gloom, God gave this promise through the prophet Isaiah:

The people who walked in darknesshave seen a great light;those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
For to us a child is born,to us a son is given;and the government shall be upon his shoulder,and his name shall be calledWonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peacethere will be no end,on the throne of David and over his kingdom,to establish it and to uphold itwith justice and with righteousnessfrom this time forth and forevermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isa. 9:2, 6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. What a promise. And in the fullness of time, on that first Christmas morning, God sent His Son Jesus (Gal. 4:4). Christmas is ground zero of all of God’s promises, as God became a man to save us from our sins. All God’s promises flow from Christmas, but that’s not the end of His promises, because from that first Christmas morning flow future promises that not only affect all of time, but also all of eternity future for those who believe in Jesus.

  • The promise that our sin would be removed as far as the east is from the west from us and never remembered again
  • The promise of the Holy Spirit residing in us
  • The promise that Jesus would never leave us but would be with us forever
  • The promise that God will complete the work He began in us
  • The promise that Jesus will come back for us and take us to our eternal home to be with him forever

Christmas morning is ground zero for all of God’s promises – reaching from that manger back to eternity past when God chose to adopt us as His own, and forward into eternity future

Reaching back to eternity past and forward to eternity future, all of God’s very great and precious promises are possible because of that first Christmas morning. The Christmas story is the story of God’s promises.

  1. The promise of Christmas is Jesus

Every good promise God has ever made was fulfilled in that baby born in a manger. That stable contained an eternity of promises because it contained the precious Son of God. God’s promises are answered yes in Jesus.

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you… was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. 2 Cor. 1:19-20

All the promises of God. It doesn’t say some of God’s promises, it doesn’t say most of God’s promises, it says ALL of God’s promises! They all find their yes in Jesus. God loves to say yes to His promises and when it comes to Jesus – it’s yes! Yes! Yes! Yes to our adoption into the family of God! Yes to our forgiveness of sin, yes to peace with God, yes to eternal life, yes to relationship with God, yes to a king that will reign with justice and righteousness forever, yes to a light that penetrates the gloom of this world, yes to a hope that cannot be destroyed, yes, yes, yes!

The promises of God are all contained in Jesus. There’s no way the shepherds could have understood who that Baby was, but they came to marvel at him. The wise men couldn’t have truly comprehended the greatness of the baby being held in his mother’s arms but they traveled long distances to give that child the gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense.

We can’t fully comprehend all the greatness and glory of Jesus, but let’s take time to silence our minds and hearts and reflect on Jesus, our Christmas Promise.

Christmas is a wonderful time and for many it can also be a hectic time. Christmas traditions like putting up the tree and lights, buying gifts, going to parties, visiting family, and so many other things can fill our time and capture our attention.

The other day I was walking into Walmart and they had Christmas music playing and suddenly the sun broke out from behind the clouds, and oddly my heart felt a nostalgic tug. I remembered when our kids were young and Christmas held such excitement for them, which made the Christmas season more exciting for mom and dad. We saw Christmas through their eyes. But they’ve all grown up, and it’s still great, but it’s not the same. Honestly my heart was a little bit sad.

Our stories change. We’re going to talk more about that next week, but whatever Christmas looks like for you, whether you have a little baby, or young children, or grown children, or no children, whether you spend Christmas surrounded by family and friends or Christmas alone, the true meaning and treasure and promise of Christmas is unchanging and unlosable: it’s Jesus. The promise of Christmas is Jesus! Let’s worship him as our Savior and our Promise. That leads me to the last point.

  1. The promise of Christmas is for children of promise

The Bible tells us that all of humanity is separated into two categories. Not those who read their Bibles and those who don’t. Not those who try to be good and those who don’t. Not those who go to church and those who don’t.

The separating line is those who believe the promises of God and those who don’t. That separation started when God gave Abraham a promise: that he and Sarah would have a child who would usher in the blessing to the nations. Problem is, Abe got old, Sarah got old, and no child came. After a while it got impossible for the promise to be fulfilled so old Abe took matters into his own hands and make the promise happen in a way that was possible. He took Sarah’s younger servant girl and had a son by her. His name was Ishmael.

Years later, when Abraham and Sarah were as good as dead when it came to having children, God fulfilled His promise and Sarah had a son and they named him Isaac. Ishmael represented what the flesh can accomplish, and Isaac represented what God’s promise received by faith can accomplish. Paul wrote to the Galatians:

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise…28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise.

This Christmastime, let’s remember that we can’t save ourselves. We can’t. We could never be good enough, spiritual enough, love God enough, read the Bible or pray or witness enough, to save ourselves. To try to do so is to be a child of the flesh.

Those who believe in the promise of God to do what we couldn’t do, who trust in Jesus to save us from our sin and for eternity, those are children of promise.

There is no Calvary without Christmas. When we stand in the manger and see our Savior and trust him completely for our salvation, when we hear Jesus say as he hung on the cross, “it is finished” and believe with all our hearts that he paid our debt and we are saved and redeemed and adopted by God, we are believing the promises of God and show ourselves to be children of promise.

More in Christmas 2021

December 19, 2021

The Christmas Story and the Scandal-Filled Life of Jesus

December 12, 2021

The Christmas Story and Our Story