WORD OF THE FATHER, NOW IN FLESH APPEARING…
VEILED IN FLESH THE GOD-HEAD SEE…
The Lord asks us to sing with understanding, so let us look at the carols with discerning eyes, for they are filled with truth from godly men and women of old who were immersed in the Word.
We must teach our children Christian doctrine. We ourselves must remember Christian doctrine. Why? Isn’t doctrine a set of musty old creeds?
No. Doctrine is a set of beliefs that shapes who we are and how we react every moment of the day. Everyone, even atheists, has a doctrine by he lives.The Christmas carols, if sung with understanding, can revive those beliefs and change us, giving us power, power to wait on Him, to trust Him, to resist our idols.
“O Come All Ye Faithful” & “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” each proclaim the vital doctrines of the Incarnation and the Trinity. These are doctrines the cults do not believe, nor do other world religions. No other world religion has a God who is a loving Trinity. The world religions have a monolithic or warring gods — not a loving God who has been in joyful fellowship, each worshiping the other, from all of eternity. The early church fathers had a name for this: “perichorises” — a dance, a chorus of love. Here is a visual picture of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit in a joyful dance of worship:
Now, consider, “Why did God the Son leave this joyful fellowship of love that first Advent and take on flesh?” He was, as Luci Shaw puts it: “Eternity walled in a womb.” “The Word stern-sentenced to be nine months dumb.” Why would He leave paradise for confinement and eventual death on a cross?
If you answer this doctrinal question correctly, it will shape how you respond to events today. And for those of you who went through our Song of Songs study, I am eager to show you how this truth: “The Word became flesh and dwelt (or tabernacled) among us,” is relevant to The Song of Songs. And hopefully for the rest of you, it will arouse your curiosity to The Song of Songs!
1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
2. How would you answer this doctrinal question: “Why did God the Son leave that joyful fellowship of love that first Advent?” How could this truth help you with your idols this Advent?
Monday/Wednesday Advent Bible Study
I sung the carols as a child, in church, in school, and at my mother’s piano as she played. The seed of the Word was planted in my heart through the carols. When my sister came to me when I was a young mother, when she followed me around asking me who I thought Jesus was, and I didn’t know — she quoted John 1. This is where it says, in verse 14, that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The lyrics of O Come All Ye Faithful came back to me, and I thought: I’ve sung those words, I’ve celebrated Christmas — now I must find out if the message is true.
3. Watch Ann Voskamp’s second video for Advent and comment here: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/12/advent-devotionals-week-02-peace-video
4. In John 1:1-3, find all the “doctrine” you can about Jesus. IF A VERSE QUICKENS, YOU STOP — AND LET, AS JILL PUT IT LAST WEEK, HIS SUN
John 1 is similar to Genesis 1 in showing us the Trinity. Consider:
In the beginning God (the Father)
In the beginning God (the Spirit) hovered over the face of the deep
In the beginning God (the Son, the Word) spoke the world into existence
5. The cults, for example, don’t believe in the Incarnation or the Trinity as Scripture defines them. They may believe Jesus was a prophet, an example, or even call him a son of God, for they may consider all of us to be sons of God. How does believing that Jesus is God, that He has always been, that He is very God of very God, impact how you live your life today?
6. Tim Keller says, “Why did Jesus give up paradise? For us! To gain a Bride!” Our own Jill said, “Sometimes I sit during study and just absorb the “rising sun”, not literally, but Christ’s love coming to me through study and meditation on His word. I can physically feel warmth upon my face.” Now read 1 John 1:1-4 and let the Sunrise from on high come to you. Share whatever pops out and quickens you.
7. FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THE SONG OF SONGS: (I realize this might be too challenging for those who have not studied The Song — but feel free to give is a good try — I think it is fascinating.)
Why is The Song of Song’s Solomon’s song? It mystifies us that God would choose a man with 700 wives to be the representative of the faithful Bridegroom. I am convinced that it has to do with his association with the temple. God chose Solomon, a man of peace, to build this beautiful temple where man could enter into intimacy with God. Read this from Ellen Davis:
Look behind the Temple building itself to the spiritual reality for which it stands. The Song of Songs points to the possibility of an intimate encounter with God in this world. More than that, it attests that such an encounter is necessary for a truly human life in this world. …The incarnation of God in Jesus Christ affirms the same spiritual reality. Indeed, as the Gospel of John shows, there is a sense in which the body of Jesus is the Temple, that is the body of Jesus represents the physical presence of God in this world.
Her commentary gathers overwhelming evidence throughout the Song. But for those of you who studied, with us, simply read the following few descriptions of the Temple and see if you can find a parallel in The Song of Songs:
A. 1 Kings 6:8 and The Song 1:17
B. 1 Kings 6:29 and The Song 2:3
C. 1 Kings 7:18-19 and The Song 4:13-14
There is so much more — but that is a taste. The Temple was made to look in many ways like a garden and The Song is a garden. Ellen Davis writes:
“The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s” — could this title be phrased specifically to evoke in our minds Solomon’s other “superlative achievement,” that place of ultimate sanctity and deepest awe? Further, perhaps the title suggests that the Song is one way of entering that holy place — even, the only way.
8. What thoughts do you have on the above? What do you think about her comment “perhaps The Song shows us the only way to enter the presence of God?”
Thursday/Friday (By popular demand — a Keller sermon — and one of my ten favorites!)
(You may already have purchased it if you have been with us for a while)
Myth Became Fact. It is 2.50 but worth every penny: Link
9. Listen and share your comments.
10. What’s your take-a-way and why?