What if the Manger had been empty?

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning December 16th, 2018.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

Luke 2:1-14 NIV
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

This is the Christmas story as reported by Luke. A story that is under attack today in America and all around the world. A story that many deny as truth and a story that many neglect as truth.

Many Christian homes have nearly removed Christ from the celebration...

Does this seem like an inaccurate statement?

Think about the average home and what the celebration has become... Santa, reindeer, frosty the snowman, the grinch, gifts.. you get the point. Where is Jesus in all of this?

But seriously, if Christ had not been born, if God had not given us His son, the world would be far different than it is today – in ways you may never have imagined.

I was watching “It’s a Wonderful Life the other night and thought, about the alternative world where the manger was empty, where “Christ Didn’t Come.” The world would be a very different place. Life would be harder, funerals unbearable...

You see, Christ came and taught us, His followers, what it really looked like to love God and love your neighbor.

Can you think of some examples, organizations, that began out of a compassion to love the marginalized, the down and out?

Without their compassion, the world would be a very cruel place, full of desperate, hopeless people.

If Christ had not been born, much of the good in this world would be missing. Much of the good you’ve experienced would be missing. Everyone of us has a story of God’s goodness and love. Think about yours right now.

What would your life look like without experiencing God’s love, His care, His comfort, His compassion, His mercy, His redemption, His presence?

Without Christ, our lives would be a mess and our future hopeless.

Think about it for a minute.

John 1:1-5 NIV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Here was the creator, there from the beginning of time, the one that everything was made for and nothing was made without...and He chose to come to earth as a fragile, vulnerable human.

Why would such a sovereign being do that for us? What possible motive could He have had to come and endure such scorn and ridicule. To go through the pain of the cross, only to be rejected by the very people He died for.

Only one reason that I can think of and it’s found in John

John 3:16-17 NIV
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

It was purely the love of God that brought that baby to earth 2,000 yrs ago. It was His desire to have His creation dwell with Him and worship Him. We cannot understand the depth of God’s love for us. But He does, He does love us that much. God desires for us to embrace His great gift of love so that we may be filled with all the fullness of His presence and power working through our lives.

Paul to the Ephesians explains the riches of God’s love:

Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

The manger wasn’t empty and I am glad… aren’t you? When sin entered the garden of Eden through Adam and Eve, mankind was separated from God. But God, who is full of mercy, extended His love to mankind… He reached through the veil of our unholiness, our sin, and gave us the love of Christ. This love was laid forth in a lowly manger and ended on a shameful cruel cross. Buried in a borrowed tomb but was raised back to life. His life was given so that we might live.

The manger wasn’t empty. Jesus came… we need to always remember, embrace and proclaim who Jesus is.

Today as we take communion, reflect on who Jesus really is in your life. How is your life different because the manger wasn't empty?

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NIV
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

In 1 Corinthians 11:24, Jesus said, "This is my body, which is for you..."
This lowly baby was for us...
His life was for us...
His death was for us...
His resurrection was for us...
Now we live in Him and for for Him...we proclaim,
Hallelujah, Jesus reigns!!!