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God Sent His Son, part 1 - Galatians 4:1-4

If Almighty God sent His own Son into the world, that is reason enough to pay careful attention to everything He has to say.

Galatians 4:4-5; John 3:17,4:34, 5:22-24,30,36-38, 6:29,38-39,44,57, 7:33,28-29, 8:15-18,26,29,42, 9:4, 10:36, 11:42; John 3:16-17

Dec 08, 2013 12:00 PM

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Today marks the anniversary of one of the most significant moments in US history.  Today is the 72nd anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous speech in which he called upon the United States Congress to declare war upon Japan.  He began his speech by saying, "Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."  Within an hour of the speech, Congress passed a declaration of war.

For years, the United States had stood aloof as the conflict between Nazi Germany and the rest of Europe grew.  America was of the mindset that the problems in Europe were Europe’s problems, not ours.  But on December 7th, everything changed.  The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor galvanized the American people and Congress immediately voiced their agreement that it was time to join World War II and defeat the Axis powers that sought to rule the world.

That act of Congress gave President Roosevelt the authority as the Commander in Chief to conduct the war against Japan and Germany as he saw fit.  The entire armed forces of the United States were at his disposal and the time had come for him to deploy them.  He did so, and it is estimated that over 416,000 American soldiers died.  But when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, everyone knew action had to be taken to defend ourselves and the rest of the world from some incredibly evil men.

But there have always been incredibly evil men.  There have always been what is often referred to these days as “crimes against humanity”.  Ever since Adam, we’ve had mad men--lawless, rebellious, proud men--who have felt the need to rule over other men even at the cost of killing them en masse.  In a very real sense, the world has always been at war with itself.  And with God.

Every man is born into conflict with God.  The Scriptures tell us we are “natural born” enemies of God.  Men must be reconciled to God, according to the apostle Paul, or continue in a battle which cannot be won.  No one can overthrow God’s reign over them.  All the nations together cannot do so.  Men must bow the knee, sign the peace treaty, admit defeat, send up the white flag, and surrender to God and to His will and beg for mercy.

Finally, the time came when President Roosevelt had to send American men into battle.  Paul tells us something similar in regard to God:

[4] But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, [5] to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)

For the next few weeks I want to focus our attention on that phrase, God sent forth His Son.  It is December, and all across this land there are sermons being prepared and preached concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus.  It is Christmas time, and within the hearts and minds of millions of Christians, our attention goes once again to the birth of the Lord Jesus.  We again recount the stories of the shepherds and the wise men, of angels and revelations, and of a young woman who is told by God that she will bear the Messiah.

But there is an aspect to this event that seems to seldom get much attention and it is this: The coming of the Lord Jesus into the world was ordered by God the Father.  It is God the Father who sent Jesus to be born of Mary.  God sent Jesus to subject Himself to the Law of Moses and to redeem us who were condemned by that Law, so that the Father of Jesus might become our Father as well.

In other words, God the Father sent His Son so that He might make us His sons also.  That is the huge backdrop behind all the Christmas stories we read in Scripture.  It was God’s intention from eternity to make us His own children.  So when the time was right according to the perfect wisdom of God, He sent Jesus to accomplish that ultimate task.

In the past when I have read the phrase, “God sent forth His Son”, I have not thought much of it.  It seems like a simple statement.  It isn’t really subject to interpretation.  All the various Bible versions I read say almost exactly the same thing.  One version drops the word “forth” and just says “God sent His Son”.

But it is the word “sent”, or the Greek word which is literally translated “sent forth” that gets my attention.  In fact, there are many places in the New Testament which speak of Jesus being sent forth by the Father.  Very many.  In fact, it shows up so many times that it becomes conspicuous.  But because it is such an apparently simple word, we seem to gloss over it and not give it much thought.  God sent forth His Son.  Okay.  I got it.  What’s not to get?

ἐξαποστέλλω (exapostellō) Strong: G1821    GK: G1990

to send out or forth; to send away, dismiss, Lk. 1:53; to dispatch on a service or agency, Acts 7:12; to send forth as a pervading influence, Gal. 4:6

The English word “sent” is found in the KJV New Testament 191 times.  Obviously, not all of them refer to Jesus being sent by God.  But a surprising number of them do.  Here is a sample just from the Gospel of John:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:17 ESV)

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. (John 4:34 ESV)

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, [23] that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father.  Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. [24] Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.  He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:22-24 ESV)

“I can do nothing on my own.  As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.” (John 5:30 ESV)

But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John.  For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. [37] And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, [38] and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. (John 5:36-38 ESV)

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:29 ESV)

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. [39] And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. (John 6:38-39 ESV)

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.  And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44 ESV)

As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. (John 6:57 ESV)

So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from.  But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. [29] I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” (John 7:28-29 ESV)

Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. (John 7:33 ESV)

You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. [16] Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. [17] In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. [18] I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” (John 8:15-18 ESV)

I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” (John 8:26 ESV)

And he who sent me is with me.  He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” (John 8:29 ESV)

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here.  I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. (John 8:42 ESV)

We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4 ESV)

do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? (John 10:36 ESV)

I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”  (John 11:42 ESV)

John 12:44, 45, 49, 13:16, 20, 14:24, 15:21, 16:5, 17:3, 18, 21, 23, 25, 20:21.

This is inspired, divine redundancy.  It is scriptural repetitiveness gone crazy.  At least 38 times in the Gospel of John alone, we read that it is God who sent His Son.  It is God who is responsible for the birth of Jesus.  It is the Father who determined that Jesus should come into the world.  This story of the birth of Jesus is a story about God working and ordering and planning and purposing and bringing to fruition the Father’s plan to redeem us and make us His children.  It is repeated so many times that we begin to ignore it and even tire of it.  But that would be a huge mistake.

I do not say this, or emphasize this in order to diminish the person of Christ or His work on our behalf.  We could never say enough about the Lord Jesus and how He condescended to be born of a woman, leaving the glory of Heaven and the blessedness of being in the presence of the Father to live here in our midst--in the midst of a warmongering race of madmen--in order that He might die for our sins, in our stead.  Who of us would ever want to minimize that in any way?

In fact, this constant repetition of the real origin of Jesus just serves to reinforce the fact that His work is not His own, He does not operate independently, He did not come into the world with any credentials other than those we read of in Scripture that speak of the Messiah.  He is in the world from God, representing God, doing the work of God, as the Son of God, and as God.

I emphasize the glaring fact that Jesus was sent because the Scriptures glaringly and consistently emphasize it.  It should be obvious just from what I have read to you from John’s gospel that Jesus wanted us to know beyond any doubt that He was sent into the world by God the Father.

I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, . . . I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” (John 7:28-29 ESV)

Because Jesus comes to us at the behest of the Father, it is God the Father who gets the credit for our salvation.  Jesus clearly insists upon us knowing that the Father is the One who should receive the glory for our redemption, and our eventual adoption as sons and daughters of God!

But I would suggest that the Father gets relatively little attention at Christmas or any other time for His role in the incarnation of Christ.  Mary gets a lot of attention.  Shepherds, angels, wise men, King Herod, John the Baptist, Zechariah and Elizabeth, and even Joseph who had absolutely NOTHING to do with Jesus coming into the world--ALL of them get virtually all of the attention concerning Emmanuel coming to live with us.  Even the animals in the stable get more press than God the Father.

But in reality, it is God the Father who is the immense backdrop behind it all.  It is God the Father who sent His Son in the first place.  He is the One who has been working throughout history and even before history toward this event.  He is the first Person to get any credit, any glory, any praise for His magnificent plan, and the execution of that plan to save sinners and make them His own.

When American troops were sent all around the world at the command of President Roosevelt, they were not acting on their own accord.  Those troops had no authority to go anywhere or shoot anybody except as soldiers of the United States of America.  In essence, they were sent by the American people to do their will by defeating an enemy that seemed unbeatable.

In a similar fashion, Jesus is sent by His Father and ours to defeat our ancient foe, the Devil.  He is also sent by the Father to defeat the condemning power of the Law by keeping the Law.  He is sent by God to defeat Death itself by dying and raising from the dead.  He does so because He is sent by God, acting for God, with the full authority of God, and with the power of God, and--as we all know--AS God.

What a great and mysterious thing this is, that Jesus, who is Himself God, did not think equality with God the Father a thing to be grasped.  He did not come into the world independently from God the Father or the Holy Spirit.  Rather, He submitted completely to His Father, doing His will, in order to accomplish His--the Father’s--plan for our redemption.

And while the Son is certainly worthy of glory and praise and worship and adoration from us, I believe the Father is worthy of just as much glory and praise and worship and adoration from us BECAUSE it was THE FATHER who SENT JESUS TO US.  He came because He was sent.

When we read John 3:16-17, what is the emphasis of those verses?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [17] For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17 ESV)

This passage isn’t about the love of Christ.  It doesn’t say, “Jesus Christ so loved the world that He gave Himself”.  God loved the world and gave His Son.  God sent His Son that the world might be saved.  Beloved, Christmas is first and foremost about the love of God the Father for us!

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, [5] to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)

To God be the glory!  Great things He hath done!


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