A Marvelous Promise Fulfilled

Gal 4:3-5

. . . before Christ came. We were slaves to the spiritual powers of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. (NLT)

This message was preached December 15, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at toulonbaptist.com  

Have you ever had someone make you a promise and then years later finally do it. One time I loaned someone several hundred dollars and in all reality I considered it a gift. About 5 years later, they give me a call and low and behold they had my money and they wanted to pay me back.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, it was a promise kept.

What for you and me seems like ancient history, was for them a long awaited day.

In the Jewish mind and heart there was a longing for the Messiah, the Anointed one of God, the One long anticipated. For a people oppressed and afflicted and persecuted as the Jews had been for over 600 years, the Messiah was the subject of every serious Jew.

  1. God promised a deliverer long ago
    1. A promise because of our needs
      1. We needed a deliverer to rescue us from the power of darkness, from the snare of the wicked one.
      2. Today most of the modern world do not think we need a savior. Their idea is that man has done a fair job of taking care of himself. As a matter of fact a good number of people think they can do well without God, as their life demonstrates.
      3. But I have been reading some history lately. History is a testimony of man's unbelievable capability of cruelty. Down through the centuries mankind has slaughtered the weak and defenseless. And it is no different today. Read about the recent history of the Congo and Sudan. Some of you can remember Auschwitz.
      4. Read about the Soviet Russian Gulag. The Gulag system is believed to be responsible for over fifty million deaths. http://msms.essortment.com/historyrussiag_rfpb.htm
      5. Rwanda In 1994, the Hutus in Rwanda murdered 800,000 Tutsi in just 100 days. http://history1900s.about.com/library/world/blxrwanda.htm
      6. The examples could go on and on. Bosnia, North Korea, Indonesia, China & Vietnam.
      7. Why do I talk about such horrible things. Well it all started in Genesis. Man chose to sin and rebel against God and has been in rebellion ever since. As the writer of Galatians says, "We were slaves to the spiritual powers of this world." Oh how we need Christmas, the promise of a Savior. But what are the chances?
      8. Satan has been the god of this world since it aligned with him. He has wrecked the perfect creation that God gave us and corrupted all of mankind. But God promised a deliver who would crush the head of the serpent. One who would finally bring an end to the reign of terror and murderous destruction. But what are the chances?
    2. Beginning in Genesis
      1. Genesis 3:15 From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
        1. The reference here is to Satan striking or bruising the heal of Jesus which took place at Calvary.
        2. But Jesus won the victory through the resurrection.
        3. But one day He will finally crush the head of Satan.
      2. Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you."
        1. This promise given to Abraham was speaking of the only person of the Jewish race who could be said to have blessed the whole world.
      3. Gen 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will obey. (NLT)
        1. Here as Jacob, Israel is dying he pronounces a blessing on the twelve sons, reserving this distinction for the Judah.
        2. The one to whom it belongs refers to Jesus as the king of kings and lord of lords .
      4. We could fill a year with sermons on the prophicies that Jesus fulfilled in his life.
    3. But what are the chances (if this was a statistical problem)
      1. The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner in Science Speaks to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies (1.-- No. 10; 2.-- No. 22; 3.-- No. 27; 4.-- No. 33 & 44; 5.-- No. 34; 6.-- No. 35 & 36; 7.-- No. 39; 8.-- No. 44 & 45 [crucified),"... We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1017." That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that "we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.

"Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 1017 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ.

"This means that the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 1017 of being absolute." 27/100-107

Stoner considers 48 prophecies and says, ".... We find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10157.

"This is really a large number and it represents an extremely small chance. Let us try to visualize it. The silver dollar, which we have been using, is entirely too large. We must select a smaller object. The electron is about as small an object as we know of. It is so small that it will take 2.5 times 1015 of them laid side by side to make a line, single file, one inch long. If we were going to count the electrons in this line one inch long, and counted 250 each minute, and if we counted day and night, it would take us 19,000,000 years to count just the one-inch line of electrons. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and we tried to count them it would take us, counting steadily 250 each minute, 19,000,000 times 19,000,000 times 19,000,000 years or 6.9 times 1021 years. Evidence that Demands a Verdict, McDowell p 167

Those are the Chances

  1. In the fullness of time God kept His promise
    1. That is what the writer of Galatians is telling us.
      1. Just as he had planned from all eternity, Jesus came as a babe to humble parentage in an obscure country in an insignificant village.
      2. God was not late, but right on schedule.
      3. The end of His promise was sure before He ever made it.
    2. We know that He always does but we become impatient.
  2. What about His other promises?
    1. For you and me they often seem just a little out of reach.
      1. We have experienced the fulfillment of His promise in our own lives.
      2. But there are still those trials that we face each day and those that are still ahead of us.
    2. This Christmas put your trust in the One who loves you and came to earth to save you from your sin.
    3. This Christmas give your life to Him.
    4. This Christmas humble yourself and exalt Him in your life.