THE SUPERLATIVES OF THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST

Philippians 2:5-8; I Timothy 3:16  In this Christmas sermon, Pastor Streeter explores the Sweetest Name ever given, the Greatest Person in the universe, the lowest place ever taken, the most important mission ever undertaken, the brightest unveiling ever seen, the Best Given, and the Greatest Power ever unleashed. (141221)

LUKE 18:9-14

Verses 9-14 “9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
The Pharisee, in the parable of the publican and the Pharisee, is an example of one who does not pray because he is not saved.  He only thought that he was praying; but in reality, he was praying to himself.  Like so many in our own day, there is with him no humility, no repentance, and no dependence upon God.  The Publican, a hated tax collector, went down to his house justified (declared righteous by God) because he was humble enough to admit that he was a sinner who needed a Savior.

 

LUKE 7:1-10

Verses 1-10 “1Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
2And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.
3And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.
4And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:
5For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
6Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
7Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
8For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
9When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
10And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.”

There are several indications that the centurion was a saved man, an Old Testament Saint, a Gentile God-fearer, who had looked for the Messiah, and that now that Jesus had come he had embraced Him as the fulfillment of Israel’s hope.  First is the fact that he, though a man of power and authority, held a lowly servant as dear and valuable.  Truly saved people tend to look upon their fellow human beings as having intrinsic worth because they were made in the image of God, people for whom Jesus died.  Second, the centurion’s friends (the elders) thought that he was worthy, but the centurion did not think so.  He said in his message to Jesus, “neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee.”  A saved person tends to humble himself before the Lord, and the more the saint knows about God’s holiness the more humble he becomes.  Thirdly, the most important indicator of the centurion’s salvation are the words of Jesus when He said, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”  Can a person have so great a faith in Jesus for his daily needs of life and not have saving faith? It is doubtful.

The important lesson for us in this passage is that Jesus does not have to be physically present in order to bless us and answer our prayers. From His seat on the right hand of God the Father, He hears our prayers and is able to act on our behalf by “long distance.”