Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

God's Uses the Unusual at Christmas
1 Cor 1:18-20 & 26-28

18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? . . .

26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, NAS
 

Introduction
Have you experienced some children who know little are nothing about church Sunday School and the Bible? Recently I was talking to a child and she saw my Bible and asked what's that book. I told her this is a Bible and she said what is that. I asked her don't you go to Sunday School and she said "I am not old enough to go to School. She just had not clue about the Bible and Church.

It reminded me of the following story: The Real King?

Each Christmas our Church presents a concert featuring a live nativity scene. My Five year-old nephew was up in the balcony, not paying much attention. As the Wise men began marching down the center aisle toward the manger, my brother leaned over and whispered to my nephew,

"Curtis, look! You're missing it! Here comes the king!"

Curtis jumped up, looked over the balcony and asked, "That's Elvis?" -- Julie Loomis To me those stories are unusual. But you know God
 
 

1.    God Used the Unusual in the. . Credentials of Jesus.   Matt 1:3 & 5


1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 To Abraham was born Isaac; and to Isaac, Jacob; and to Jacob, Judah and his brothers; 3 and to Judah were born Perez and Zerah by Tamar; and to Perez was born Hezron; and to Hezron, Ram; 4 and to Ram was born Amminadab; and to Amminadab, Nahshon; and to Nahshon, Salmon; 5 and to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab; and to Boaz was born Obed by Ruth; and to Obed, Jesse; 6 and to Jesse was born David the king. NAS

A.    It is Unusual that JACOB In the Lineage of Jesus.

[JAY cub] (a supplanter)-one of the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. The brother of Esau, he was known also as Israel (Gen 32:28).

Jacob was born in answer to his father's prayer (Gen 25:21), but he became the favorite son of his mother (25:28). He was nicknamed Jacob because, at the birth of the twins, "his hand took hold of Esau's heel" (25:26). According to the accounts in Genesis, Jacob continued to "take hold of" the possessions of others-his brother's birthright (25:29-34), his father's blessing (27:1-29), and his father-in-law's flocks and herds (30:25-43; 31:1). (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

        1.    Jacob does not have a clean record, He is not blameless.
        2.    God used him in the Lineage of Jesus.
 

B. It is Unusual that JUDAH Is In the Lineage of Jesus.

Judah had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah (Gen 38:3-5). Er and Onan were killed by divine judgment because of their sins (Gen 38:7-10). Judah also fathered twin sons, Perez and Zerah, by TAMAR, Er's widow (Gen 38:29-30). The line of Judah ran through Perez to David and thus became the messianic line (Luke 3:30; Judas, KJV). (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
 

Judah refused to do what was right with Tamar and committed Adultery.

God used him in the Lineage of Jesus.
 

C.    It is Unusual that TAMAR Is In the Lineage of Jesus.

[TAY mur] (palm)-the name of three women and a city in the Bible:
 

        1. The widow of Er and Onan, sons of Judah (Gen 38:6-30; Matt 1:3; Thamar, KJV). According to
            the law of LEVIRATE MARRIAGE, Judah's third son, Shelah, should have married
            Tamar;   their first child would have been regarded as his brother's and would have carried
            on his name. However, Judah withheld his third son from marrying Tamar. Undaunted, Tamar
            disguised herself as a harlot and offered herself to Judah. Twin sons, Perez and Zerah, were
            born of their union. Judah and Tamar became ancestors of Jesus through Perez (Matt 1:3).
            (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright
 

        2.    Tamar in the real sense "Played the Harlot"
                a.    God used her in the Lineage of Jesus.
 

D.    It is Unusual that Rahab Is In the Lineage of Jesus.

[RAY hab] (spacious)-a harlot of Jericho who hid two Hebrew spies, helping them to escape, and who became an ancestor of David and Jesus (Josh 2:1-21; 6:17-25; Matt 1:5). Rahab's house was on the city wall of Jericho. Rahab, who manufactured and dyed linen, secretly housed the two spies whom Joshua sent to explore Jericho and helped them escape by hiding them in stalks of flax on her roof (Josh 2:6).

This Canaanite woman's declaration of faith led the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews to cite Rahab as one of the heroes of faith (Heb 11:31), while James commended her as an example of one who has been justified by works (James 2:25).

According to rabbinic tradition, Rahab was one of the four most beautiful women in the world and was the ancestor of eight prophets, including Jeremiah and the prophetess Huldah.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
 

        1.    Rahab was a harlot .
                a.    God used him in the Lineage of Jesus.

Illustration
The First Baptist Church of DuQuoin, Illinois use the drama Judgment House. The Chief of Police was involved in the drama. One night he saw some of the meanest kids in town pull up in a pick up and start towards the line waiting to go through the Judgment House.

The chief hid so they would not know he was involved and he went to every room where the different scenes were and told them to be on the look out for these kids. While in the scene about heaven the meanest of the mean began to cry. Counselors came and helped him understand how to get saved. He yielded hs life to Christ.

The next night he took a part in the play as the person who opened the gates of heaven. They say he had a smile that went ear to ear. God does the unusual.

Application

God Cleans up sinners. He uses the unusual.

He can use me and you.

Yes God used the unusual in the Credentials of Jesus
 
 

2.    God Used the Unusual in the. . Conception of Jesus.   Various Text


A.    Hand Maiden for the Mother. Luke 1:38
38 And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. NAS

        1.    If you were God would you use a simple girl to be the mother your Son?
 

B.    Carpenter for His Father and His Trade. Mark 6:3-4
3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him. 4 And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his home town and among his own relatives and in his own household." NAS
 

        1.    A Carpenters trade is honorable but note the surprise in these people.
                    "Is not this the carpenter, . . . " v 3 a

                    ". . . And they took offense at Him." v 3 c

        2.    God used the unusual for the King of Kings
 

C.    The reaction of her aunt Elizabeth. Luke 1:43-44
43"And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44"For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. NAS

        1.    Elizabeth called an unborn child her LORD.
                a.    This was illustrated last week in the musical.

D.    The Birth In A Stable. Luke 2:7
7 And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. NAS

        1.    Would you think God would have His Son born in a stable.
        2.    Where were you born. God can use the unusual.
 

E.    The Visit of the Gentile Wise Men. Matt 2:1-3
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him." NAS

Illustration Baby Smothered
The story is told of a baptism that was to be held many years ago by a very wealthy European family. Many guests were invited to the home for the occasion and came in the very latest fashionable garb. Their wraps and coats were carried to a bedroom and laid upon the beds.

After the usual conversation and commotion, they were ready for the baptism ceremony and someone asked, "Where is the baby?" The nurse was sent upstairs to look and returned in alarmed distress. The baby was nowhere to be found! After several minutes' search someone remembered that the child had last been seen lying on one of the beds, and after a frantic search the little child was found smothered under the wraps of the guests. The chief reason why they had come had been forgotten, neglected, and destroyed!
 

Application

God used the unusual in the conception of His Son

Let us make sure we do not smother the true meaning of Christmas with all our festivities.
 

God used the unusual in the Credentials of Jesus

        God used the unusual in the Conception of Jesus
 
 

3.    God Used the Unusual in the. . Conquering Jesus.     1 Cor 1:18-20 & 26-28


18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? . . .

26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, NAS

A.    Conquered in what he . . Destroys. v 19 a
            ". . . "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, . . . "
 

B.    Conquered in what he . . Sets aside. v 19 b
            ". .. And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside."

Illustration Atheistic Christmas
During the holiday season, an atheistic organization put a sign alongside the community Christmas display in Madison, Wisconsin. It blatantly declared: "In this season of the winter solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our material world. Religion is but a myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

On the back of that sign was the warning: "Thou Shalt Not Steal." That warning, of course, is one of the Ten Commandments. How ironic that people who don't believe in God's existence would use one of His laws to keep some one from taking their sign!
 

C.    Conquered in what he . . Makes Foolish. v 20 c
            ". . . Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?"
 

D.    Conquered in who he . . Calls. v 28 b
        ". . . God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, . . ."

Illustration
A lady of nobility once said I was included in the grace of God by the letter "M". It does not say "not any" but "not many" v 26 " For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; "
 

Illustration God conquered through His Baby Son
I read about a grandfather who found his grandson jumping up and down in his playpen, crying at the top of his voice. When Johnnie saw his grandfather, he reached up his chubby little hands and said, "Out, Grandpa, out."

It was only natural for the grandfather to reach down to lift him out, but as he did the mother of the child stepped up and said, "No, Johnnie, you are being punished -- so you must stay in."

The grandfather was at a loss to know what to do. The child's tears and chubby hands reached deep into his heart. But the mother's firmness in correcting her son must not be taken lightly.

Love, however, found a way. The grandfather could not take the grandson out of the playpen, so he climbed in with him.
 

Application God Used the Unusual
 

In the. . Credentials of Jesus.
 

        In the. . Conception of Jesus.
 

            In the. . Conquering Jesus.