Sermon for the First Sunday of Advent

Special Service with the Year 3 children of St Paul's Lutheran Primary School

Texts:
Philippians 2:7-8
Christ was truly God. … But he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God
and even died on a cross.

Luke 2:16-18, 20
The shepherds … found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay. …. As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.

How awesome!

Outline

Talk about Superheroes – Pictures of these on screen as they are shown talk about what each one does. Ask children (and adults) about the main characteristics of these superheroes.

Superman
Batman & Robin
Spiderman
The Incredibles - (these may need some extra explanation for the adults in the congregation) – Ask children to tell everyone about what The Incredibles are able to do. Mention they are a family of superheroes each one with different super abilities.

Some characteristics are these superheroes is their
strength
ability to fly
swing between tall buildings
run fast
disappear – become invisible,
xray vision,
fight evil,
fight for what is good,
defend the helpless.

What words might be used to describe these superheroes (ask congregation).
fantastic
amazing
incredible
awesome
mind-blowing
astounding
unreal.

Yes unreal because these superheroes started out as cartoon characters, comic book heroes. They are imaginary. They aren’t real. They express the way people want to be - strong, fighting for what is right etc.

The Bible talks about God as being awesome. In fact, we can use any of those words we used for the superheroes to describe Jesus. But there is one main difference between Jesus and the comic book heroes – Jesus is real.

Why do I say that Jesus is fantastic, amazing, incredible, awesome?

I’ve got a couple of Bible verses to help us understand just how awesome Jesus’ love is for us.

Christ was truly God. …
But he gave up everything and became a slave,
when he became one of us.

Jesus is truly God – think of the implications of this – how would you describe God. (Mighty, all-powerful, everywhere, totally committed, just, kind, loving – even when we are unlovable – ready to forgive, never holds back, king, ruler of the universe, creator of everything form the smallest microcosm to the vastness of the universe.

What did Jesus – all powerful and majestic - do? He gave up all of that and became one of us.

(See slide with Jesus the king and the baby lying in hay).

It is amazing that God would do this but what is even more amazing is that he did it for us – for you and me. He gave up everything in heaven, all his powers and authority and became a tiny baby born in a stable in Bethlehem – Bethlehem wasn’t a place of any great world significance – just a small village. He was born to a humble and ordinary couple Mary and Joseph.

Shepherds were told of God's arrival on earth and they found God. This is how the Bible describes the moment.

The shepherds … found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay. …. As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.

(Show slide of Mary, Joseph and the baby).

The angels had told them that God had come to earth and that they would find him in Bethlehem. They were amazed when they saw the baby in the manger of hay. I can imagine them saying, "How awesome!" The Aussie Bible describes it this way, "When they’d seen this they told every Tom, Dick and Harry about what had happened, and everyone was blown away by the story".

But what was truly amazing was still to happen.

Christ was humble.
He obeyed God
and even died on a cross.

(Show slide of Jesus on the cross)

Jesus, God almighty, died on a cross. He suffered the cruelest death imaginable. He didn’t have to. He was God and could have easily escaped. He could have zapped his enemies or called down an army of angels to protect him and destroy those who sought to hurt him. But the amazing thing is this – he didn’t. He died on a cross for us – for you and me. He died to forgive our sin and make it possible for us to be friends again with the holy and perfect God and make it possible for us to go God's holy and perfect heaven.

This is how this is described in the Bible. (show next slide)

This is what love is: God loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.

(Show slide of children with Jesus).

These are pictures of children with Jesus. We are all his children. Jesus has returned to heaven but he is never far away from us and we are all dearly loved by him. He will do anything for us (as we have seen on the cross). He is ready to comfort and help us, hug and hold us close especially those times in life when things aren’t going so well. He is ready to forgive us and not hold our sin against us – especially when we least deserve it.

Next slide.

How awesome is God! That about sums it up.

Show slide of Spiderman and Superman.

Superheroes aren’t real. They are created in people’s imagination. But one thing is for sure. Jesus is real. His love for you is real. Knowing just how awesome Jesus is and how amazing his love is for you, what is your response. How do you and I react to this awesomeness of God as we see this in Jesus? How does this change us?

Jesus is real and his love challenges us to make a difference in the lives of others and in our world.

In conclusion. Don’t look for Jesus only in the great moments of life only. See him in just the ordinary things and events of life. When we were in Malaysia in the middle of the year there were lots of people from Arab countries on holidays. It started to rain, a tropical downpour. For us it was a humbug but for these people it was a moment of pure excitement and joy. They just stood out in the rain and enjoyed the feeling of the water splashing over them. For them that was an awesome experience – just simple rain. They had seen nothing like it before.

Look for the awesomeness of God in the everyday happenings and situations of life. I think you will be surprised at how amazing God really is.

Let’s pray.

© Pastor Vince Gerhardy
27th November, 2005
E-mail: gerhardy65@hotmail.com

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