23 December 2018 PM – 2 Corinthians 8:9 – Christmas – Scott Childs
Introduction: The birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago is an account of God’s grace or divine help for the human race. Jesus did not leave heaven and became a man for His benefit, but to help us. He was born into a poor family that He might help the poorest of men. He suffered that He might help the suffering. He lived a sinless life that He might die for sinners like you and me. In our text, we read about that marvellous grace. (Read 2 Corinthians 8:9)
Transition: This verse tells us three facts about Christ that should make each of us marvel at His grace and praise Him.
1. Christ Was Rich
a. He existed before Bethlehem – “Was rich”
1) Christ did not begin His existence when He was born of Mary in Bethlehem. He is eternal (Col 1:17). In Bethlehem, He began his life as the God-man, but not His existence.
2) Matthew tells us that Jesus was “God with us.” (Mt 1:23) Jesus has always been God. God is three Persons in one Being. He is a superior and unique being and we cannot fully grasp this.
3) Furthermore, John tells us that Jesus is the Creator of all. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3)
b. In what ways was Christ rich before Bethlehem?
1) He was rich in glory (i.e., praise). (John 17:5) “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”
2) He was rich in possessions – Being God He owns everything. “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” (Psalms 50:10)
3) He was rich in position. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God the Father (Rom 8:34; Heb 12:2).
² The OT tells us that in the days of rich King Solomon “. . . when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built, And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.” (1 Kings 10:4-7) Solomon’s splendour was nothing compared with that of Jesus Christ.
4) He was rich in his power. He is able to do anything. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” (Ephesians 3:20)
² True wealth is living in the presence of God apart from sin and evil.
2. Christ Became Poor for Our Sakes
a. Christ became poor when He became a man
1) The word translated “poor” means beggarly.
2) He took the form of a servant. “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” (Philippians 2:7) The KING became servant to His creation. His human body felt hunger, fatigue, thirst, pain, sorrow, and temptation just as we do. He was born in a stable. His first bed was a manger. His foster-father, Joseph, was a poor carpenter.
² Several times in my life, I have slept on hay in the barn, but never once was it because my parents were so poor that we could not afford anything else.
3) He had very few personal possessions. On one occasion, Jesus said, “. . . Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58)
4) He left heaven’s riches to humble himself to obey the Father’s plan. (Philippians 2:8) “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
b. Christ became poor for you and me
1) He was numbered with the transgressors (i.e., sinners) (Isa 53:12; Mr 15:28). (2 Corinthians 5:21) “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The sinless Son of God took all our filthy sins upon Himself, died, and paid our eternal debt of hell. He was separated from God the Father and from all that is of any worth. He became the poorest of the poor.
2) This was the only solution to our sin problem. For God to rescue man from hell and give him eternity in heaven, the eternal God Himself must become a man and pay the eternal debt of man. Only God could pay that eternal debt for us.
3) There can be no greater love. (1 John 4:10) “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
4) God became poor to provide my salvation and yours. What marvellous grace!
² The depth of all poverty is separation from God in eternal hell. Somehow, Jesus stooped to rescue us from that.
3. Christ, by His Poverty, Can Make Us Rich
a. Christ paid sins’ price so he could offer us his riches.
1) He offers us forgiveness. (Ephesians 1:7) “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” This includes propitiation, redemption, justification, regeneration, sanctification, intercession, cleansing, and resurrection.
2) He offers us eternal life with God. (John 10:28) “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
3) He offers us sonship. (Galatians 3:26) “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
4) He offers us an inheritance in heaven. (1 Peter 1:3-4) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,”
5) He offers to remove the curse of sin forever. (Revelation 21:4) “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
² These riches are priceless riches only God can give. Without these, the richest person in the world is a pauper in comparison. No amount of money can buy them.
b. All these riches and much more might be yours!
1) Our text says, “might” because it is not an automatic deal. Just because Christ became a man and paid sins’ debt does not mean that everyone will go to heaven. In the book of John we read, (John 3:18) “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” To believe “on” Christ is not just believing He existed, but believing He came to this earth to pay for your sin so you can escape hell.
2) Like any gift, Christ’s riches must be received. (John 1:12) “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
Conclusion: Consider God’s grace that He describes for us in this verse. No greater help could be offered you. Christ was rich. Yet out of love for you, He became poor. His poverty was not just becoming a man but taking upon Him man’s sin and paying man’s eternal debt of hell. Having done this, He now invites you to share with Him the riches of glory. If you will humbly admit that your sin deserves God’s judgment, be willing to turn from your sin, believe that Christ died to pay for your sin, then you can simply ask and God will forgive your sin and give you eternal life.
Perhaps you would never leave your nice home to live in a dirty hut to try to reach a poor native with the Gospel, yet Christ left the glories of heaven to live in poverty as one of His created humans to rescue us from hell. Ponder all He has done for you. After all He’s done for me, how can I do less than give Him my best? Praise God for His marvellous grace!
Song: After all He’s Done for Me!