A Son is Given
Pastor Eugene encourages us to let the good news of Christ’s coming assure our hearts that God is with us and for us.
Many of us would have heard of Augustine, a fourth century Christian whose most famous work, The Confessions, is still read today. But probably fewer of us would have heard of Augustine’s pastor, Ambrose. Although he is not as well known, it is his kindness that was instrumental in Augustine’s coming to faith.
Ambrose’s kindness was undoubtedly a fruit of his love for the Lord. This affection is evident in his hymn, entitled Saviour of Nations, Come. It is worth meditating on the words, especially during this Christmas season.
Saviour of the nations, come,
Virgin’s Son, here make Thy home!
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.
Not by human flesh and blood;
By the Spirit of our God
Was the Word of God made flesh,
Woman’s offspring, pure and fresh.
Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child
Of the virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
Still to be in heaven enthroned.
From the Father forth He came
And returneth to the same,
Captive leading death and hell
High the song of triumph swell!
Thou, the Father’s only Son,
Hast over sin the victory won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be;
When shall we its glories see?
Brightly doth Thy manger shine,
Glorious is its light divine.
Let not sin o’ercloud this light;
Ever be our faith thus bright.
Praise to God the Father sing,
Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be
Ever and eternally.
Indeed, “to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isa 9:6a). But have we become blasé to this blessed truth because we’ve heard it so often? I hope not. As we celebrate Christmas this year, may God’s gift of His Son fill us with fresh wonder, love and praise!
Firstly, the coming of Jesus assures us that God is with us. Jesus is the promised child who was born in our midst. The eternal Son laid aside His glory, took on frail flesh and humbly dwelt among us. He came as a Servant, to serve rather than to be served.
Jesus is Immanuel, which means God with us (Matt 1:23). He is the supreme revelation of God; the clearest indication that God is not far from us. Although our sins have separated us from Him, He has not left us to our ruin. Our God is a gracious Father who lovingly pursues His wayward children. He has sent his Son “to seek and to save the lost” (Lk 19:10).
This has been an exceptionally difficult year for many. In the midst of trials, we can feel quite alone. God can seem indifferent and distant. When our hearts are tempted to distrust, let us preach the gospel to ourselves. God is not far from us; He is not uncaring. In fact, He has drawn near to the undeserving. Jesus came to save rebellious sinners like us, who were intent on running away from Him. He came to bring us back to God.
With the coming of Christ, God has fulfilled what He spoke through the prophet Isaiah: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with Him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isa 57:15) Will we humbly acknowledge our spiritual need and turn to Jesus for help and salvation?
Secondly, the coming of Jesus assures us that God is for us. Jesus is the beloved Son who was given to us. God did not merely grant us forgiveness, justification and eternal life—as amazing as these gifts are—He gave us himself. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:6-8)
Living through a global pandemic, our hearts can be gripped by uncertainty, anxiety and fear. This can cause our faith to shrivel up. Our view of God is diminished as we walk by sight rather than by faith. We urgently need the good news of Christ’s coming to reorientate our distrustful hearts.
God is for us. He has made and kept His promises to send us a Saviour. The coming of Jesus is the greatest evidence that God is true and trustworthy, and that He will unfailingly provide for His people. So, we need not give in to fear, worry and anxiety. Instead, we can trust in our sovereign Lord to provide all things we need for life and godliness. He will sustain us individually and corporately, as His church.
Therefore, we can continue to give ourselves to Jesus and the work of His gospel, secure in the confidence that He will hold us fast. Let our hearts take courage from the holy gospel logic of Romans 8:31-32: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
After our series of Advent sermons from Isaiah, we will be returning to Luke’s Gospel this Sunday. We will be hearing from Luke 16 about how the one true God and His word have the power to turn our unbelief into faith. Let’s prepare our hearts to receive God’s truth.
Our annual Watchnight Service will take place next Thursday (Dec 31) at 8pm. To attend in person, you will have to register beforehand at gracebaptistchurch.sg/watchnight-service. The service will also be livestreamed.
Our next Quarterly Congregational Meeting for members will take place at 11am on Sunday, Jan 3. I would like to encourage us to attend this important meeting, where the elders will talk about plans for 2021 and share how we can all support the work of the gospel. We will also be welcoming a number of new members, who have recently joined us. The meeting will be conducted on Zoom (meeting ID: 863 1354 8017; passcode: 837949).
Our next newcomers’ meeting will happen at 11am on Sunday, Jan 10. Do join us if you are new to GBC and would like to find out more about the church and how you can get better connected with our community.