He Dwells With You

He Dwells With You

 

In the name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

The apostle John wrote, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

Dwelling

 

Far back before the world was created, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit dwelled with each other. It’s a mystery that we cannot understand – one God yet three persons. We are not meant to understand it, we are to trust that it’s so because God has revealed it to us.

 

If God revealed it to us, there must be a good reason for us to know it. The Trinity, the three in one dwelling together, teaches us that God in not a loner. He does not want to exist apart from a loving relationship within the godhead.

 

God created the world. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Man and woman were created to live together, to dwell with each other, like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwell with each other.

 

The first man and woman were not God, but created in his image, they were to dwell with each other in love. On the seventh day, God created the Sabbath, a day of rest. The Sabbath was a day when man and woman would be reminded that God dwelled with them, that he loved them that he wanted them to be close to him, to dwell with him.

 

Dwelling Shattered

 

Adam and Eve were not God, but they aspired to be like God. They were not happy just dwelling with God they wanted to be God. Their desire lead to disaster. Sin entered the world and through sin death – death that would forever separate God from the sinner. The dwelling between God and man was broken.

 

The sin of that man and that woman is now our sin. You were born with sin in your heart. Do you ever wonder why it is so difficult to live with other people? Why are there so many divorces, why are there so many fights between parents and children, why are there bullies and dictators?

 

Why is it so difficult to dwell with each other in peace and harmony? Why is it so difficult to fear, love, and trust in God at times other than when we have tried every other solution to our problems? It’s because of our sin, our desire to be worshipped instead of our desire to trust in God and to love those in need.

 

God’s Will

 

God never wanted us to be separated from him, to dwell without him in our lives. From even before creation he saw how dwelling without him would be hell for us. As God prepared for the Savior of the world to come through the nation of Israel, he had them build a tent, a tabernacle so that they would know that he wanted to dwell with them.

 

In the tabernacle and the temple that followed, sacrifices were offered to show that without God’s forgiveness man and God could not live together. The tabernacle and the temple were God’s way of showing that he wanted to repair the broken relationship that man created.

 

God dwelled with His Old Testament people in many ways, but these ways were only shadows of what was to come.  These ways were all temporary.  The Tabernacle temporary.  The temple in Jerusalem temporary.  All God’s Old Testament appearances were temporary.

 

God revealed Himself in whatever form best suited His purpose.  He put on and discarded these forms in the same way that you or I might try on a pair of shoes. Human form – burning bush – dream – fire – cloud – tents – stone buildings – they were all temporary.

 

Christ Is Permanent

 

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Today we have not come to sacrifice an animal on this altar. We have not come to have me sprinkle the blood of a lamb on the altar and then on you. We have come to remember that “when the time had fully come God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law.”

 

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This was no longer a temporary sign that God wanted to dwell with us. It was no longer a shadow of the ransom that needed to be paid. The Son of God came down to dwell with us and to bring us good news.

 

The Son of God took upon himself human flesh and blood. He entered history, he took the name of Jesus became he came to save his people from their sins. The Son of God came to dwell with us and to dwell here for us.

 

This past week I was reminded of the phrase “I’m only human.” We usually use this phrase when we have goofed up somehow, maybe when we have forgotten to follow through on a promise, or when we have fallen short of someone’s expectations. “I’m only human” is our somewhat sheepish way of saying “I’m a sinner.”

 

We need to be less sheepish, we need to be bold in our confession that we are sinners, we need to be bold in our “repentance.” We need to remember that we are all beggars before God asking “Lord have mercy.” We need to daily remember that the Son of God came down to earth to take on our humanness the way God first created humanness to be.

 

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus was born without sin. He was born perfect in everyway, not just ten fingers and ten toes, but without the sinful nature that corrupts us and separates us from God. Jesus was born to dwell with us, to live a life as a human being truly in God’s image.

 

Jesus showed love and compassion to those in need. Even his harshness with those who did not except him was meant to lead them to repentance and to the receiving of God’s mercy.

 

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus are all about God desire to have you dwell with him forever. The Word became flesh and sacrificed his life for you. This is the sign of God’s grace, his love for you and for the world.

 

The Word became flesh so that in the forgiveness that you receive from him you might also dwell in peace with those around you. With Jesus dwelling in you, you are no longer able to live with hatred for your enemies.

 

As Jesus prays for you, you pray for your enemies, you pray that through God’s grace there might be peace on earth between you and all those for whom Christ died. The Word become flesh and is dwelling with us. When the Word became flesh it was permanent.  Jesus Christ is forever both God and man in one person, another mystery we cannot understand.

When we meet at His table, we partake of the true body and blood of the same Word that became flesh on the first Christmas long ago.  When two or three gather in His name, He is with us.

The Word who became flesh will always be with us until that day when He takes us to be with Him.  Then we shall live in heaven forever with the Word who became flesh and dwelled among us, the One who came for you. Amen.

 

In the name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

SOLI DEO GLORIA

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