Text: Mat. 1:23

Title: "The Condescension of Jesus Christ"

Intro: Is it Christ's Mass, Christmas, or the babe in a manger? What is the Scriptural import of the birth of Jesus Christ? What is true and what is folly in the season to be jolly?

Most of us are aware that Christ was not born in December, but most likely in April. We also know the "holiday" itself is of Roman Catholic origin, rooted in paganism. Further, no verse of Scripture instructs us to "celebrate" the birth of Christ. Neither the apostles, the disciples, nor the church fathers leave any evidence that they ever marked this event. Though most of us cringe at the secularism, commercialism, and the prominence of Santa Claus, none of these have done as much harm as the insidious reduction of the coming of God in the flesh­­to a helpless babe in a manger. I mean this. If simply considered as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, of what importance to a sin-sick world is the birth of Christ? It is just another syrupy story to sweeten this secular season.

If the outward show of Christmas is false, then what is the truth concerning His coming? Scripture reveals two distinct and indispensable truths regarding the birth of the Christ-child. The second is that God took upon Himself human flesh that He might share the lot of man­­yet without sin­­that He might be our Substitute, and our Propitiation for our sins and the sins of the whole world.

The first truth is the truth I wish to consider tonight. This truth precedes the birth of Christ, yet is bound to it. It is a truth that was much discussed in the 1800's, and wholly forgotten in our day. This truth is called THE CONDESCENSION OF CHRIST. This truth is not discovered by simply looking for the word in a concordance, though a form of it is used in Rms. 12:16, but it is a concept taught throughout the Bible. The word "condescension" means, "A voluntary descending or lowering one's self from a position of higher rank or dignity to an equality with an inferior" (Hunter). Synonyms include "assumption of equality" (Phil. 2:7), "humbleness" (Phil. 2:8), "humility" (Mat. 11:29), "modesty" (Mat. 12:18), "self-abasement" (Isa. 53), "graciousness" (Lk. 4:22), "deference" (Heb. 10:7).

I would like to direct your attention to the condescension of Christ as discovered in His birth. Our text will be taken from Mat. 1:23.

Mat. 1:20-25 ­­ "The Condescension of Christ" ­­ pray

Note: Two aspects of the Condescension of Christ must be considered. First, His grandeur and glory, which must be just touched upon. Second, His condescension as revealed by His birth.

I. AS TO HIS GRANDEUR & GLORY

Ps. 113:4-6 "The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens. Who is like unto the Lord our God, Who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth."

In Jn. 17:5 Jesus says of Himself, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine Own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was."

Phil. 2:6 in speaking of Christ says, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God."

II. AS TO HIS CONDESCENSION (Mat. 1:23)

A. His Condescension Fulfilled Every Prophecy of His Coming (The prophecy before us is Isa. 7:14.)

Ps. 138:2 "I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy Name for Thy loving kindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy Name."

Note: He Who was equal with God, condescended to fulfill all that God had beforehand written. He Who was the Word in the beginning, the Word with God, the Word the God, became flesh and dwelt among us! He fulfilled not a new thing, but condescended to fulfill an old thing. When Christ came, what had been written aforetimes was that which He determined to fulfill.

How about us? Is what has been written good enough for us, or do we seek a new thing? Is the old Book good enough for us or do we seek a new book? It is time to get back to an old-fashioned reliance on the Word of God and the God of the Word!!

B. His Condescension Protected His Purity ("virgin")

Hab. 1:12-13 (in part) "Art Thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One?...Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.."

Note: Purity only belongs to God, and only God is pure. Yet our Lord condescended to leave the realms of unsullied glory to be exposed to the depravity of this earth. But to be able to propitiate (satisfy) God on the cross of Calvary, He had to be protected. He had to be sinless to die for the sins of the world. He Who needed no protection from sin throughout eternity, condescended for you and for me to enter this world in a supernatural birth and a sinless state. In this we see that He was:

1. Conceived by the Holy Spirit without the intervention of a human father.

2. Knit together by the Father. Heb. 10:5, where the passage "a body hast Thou prepared (knitted) for Me" is found.

3. Born of a virgin

Note: How vile and odious must sin be to God for Him to so protect His Son against its ravages? How horrible must the consequences of sin be for the Son of God­­eternal Purity­­to condescend to this divine protection?

Yet we continue in the very sins that nailed our Saviour to the tree! We give no thought of the One that had to come and die because of our sins. Though God knows the dilemma of the sin-nature, He is still displeased with our sin.

Ps. 4:4 says (part), "Stand in awe, and sin not..."

1 Jn. 1:10 says, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us."

1 Jn. 1:7 says (part), "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin."

So we are not to sin, but we do sin, so we must have utter dependence on the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse us. You see, the stream is only as pure as the fountain from which it flows! Where is your water coming from? The Saviour or your sin-nature?

C. He Condescended to Become a Man ("a child")

Note: Our God is "immense"; a theological word used to describe the omnipresence (everywhere presence) of God. Jesus Christ as God inhabits the totality of space and beyond space. No boundaries can hold Him, there is no limitation to His Presence.

Ps. 139:7 "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy Presence?" You can not and you may not!

Yet for our sakes, the God of all-presence condescended to our lowly estate by compacting His immensity, and veiling His glory within human flesh.

This act of God was:

1. Voluntary.

Owen says, "It did not befall Him by lot or chance, it was not imposed on Him against His will, it belonged not unto Him by any necessity of nature or condition, He stood not in need of it, it was no addition unto Him; but of His own mind and accord, He graciously condescended [to assume our nature]." He became perfect man, for the eternal benefit of imperfect man.

2. Closed the infinite distance between Deity and humanity.

God became man that man might see God, and thereby be reconciled to God. Owen said, "He became what He was not, but He ceased not to be what He was" (Jn. 3:13). Certainly if this great gulf was to be bridged, it must be bridged by God becoming man, for man can never attain unto becoming God. This chasm could only be crossed by Christ.

3. For His Own glory, and our benefit.

Jn 17:24 "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I Am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world."

Note: What eternal benefit to us that Christ condescended to assume human flesh. He willingly took upon Himself our nature, but are we willingly being conformed to the image of His dear Son? We rejoice in His condescension, yet the Lord commanded that we, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father Which is in heaven is perfect" (Mat. 5:48). Jesus Christ, the Man, was full of God. Are you full of Jesus Christ?

D. He Condescended to be a Son (Deity)

The Bible teaches one God manifested in 3 Persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Who are coequal and co-eternal.

1 Jn. 5:20 "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him (God) that is true, and we are in Him (God) that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This (Son) is the true God, and eternal life."

There is no division in the Godhead, yet the Second Person chose to condescend to freely subject His human will totally to that of the Father. He did this that His Father might be glorified and that we might see the ultimate example of Godliness, and selflessness.

For Jesus Christ this was condescension, for us it is exhalation! We do not lower ourselves when we are obedient to God! We are elevated from glory unto glory as we seek to serve the Master. What a blessing to hear our Lord say, "thou good and faithful SERVANT, enter thou into the joy of the Lord." Are you a servant to self or to the Saviour?

E. He Condescended to be Emmanuel (God with us)

Our God is a God Who is Self-existent, having need of nothing, and there is nothing that can add a whit to His Being, despite the excellency of His creation.

Job 35:6-8 (part) "If thou sinnest, what doest thou against Him?...If thou be righteous, what givest thou Him? or what receiveth He of thine hand?"

1. He condescended to be "with us."

a. "With us" as the physical Christ.

b. "In us" as the Person of Christ.

c. "Beside us" as the Spirit of Christ.

d. "Before us" as the Word of Christ.

2. He condescended to be "with us" in all His fulness

a. "God" = Elohim (triune God)

Note: What excuse for disobedience can we possibly give in the light of this truth of the possessed totality of the Person and power of Christ in every believer? What is your excuse?

Concl: Our Lord condescended to fulfill the very prophecies that He spoke, that we might have complete confidence in God's Word.

He condescended to leave a place of perfection for a pit of perversion, yet He retained His purity, that we too might learn to hate sin and all its consequences.

He condescended to become fully man, contained in human flesh while wholly God, that we might gaze on His Person.

He condescended to be a Son, subjecting Himself completely to the will of the Father, that we might see the perfect example.

He condescended to be Emmanuel, God with us, that we might have the benefit of His Presence and power, not only to save us IN our sins, but save us FROM our sins.

Are you grateful tonight for what you possess in Christ? Do you love Him, not because He came as a cuddly Babe in a manger, but because He left the realms of glory and honor to condescend to our likeness? Do you love Him enough to elevate yourself to the service of Him Who condescended for you?
 

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