Teaching Series

Series: Overflow
Message: Incarnation
Preacher: Mark Johnson
Reflection: Mark Johnson
Live Wonder: Jessyka Dooley
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Philippians 2:5-11  in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: It is almost impossible to “get one’s head around” the Incarnation of Christ.  Actually, it is impossible.

This subject is so crucial, and yet so fraught with danger, that we have many warnings that we are to address it with great caution. A couple of these are as follows:

Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. (SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, p. 1128)

Avoid every question in relation to the humanity of Christ which is liable to be misunderstood. . . . In treating upon the humanity of Christ, you need to guard strenuously every assertion, lest your words be taken to mean more than they imply, and thus you lose or dim the clear perception of His humanity as combined with divinity. (Ibid., pp. 1128, 1129)

And yet, there is great promise if we approach this subject with deep humility.

As the worker studies the life of Christ, and the character of His mission is dwelt upon, each fresh search will reveal something more deeply interesting than has yet been unfolded.  The subject is inexhaustible. The study of the incarnation of Christ, His atoning sacrifice and mediatorial work, will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last” (Gospel Workers, p. 251).  However, “. . . without the help of the Holy Spirit we cannot hope to comprehend this subject. (Review and Herald, April 5, 1906)

Traditionally, journalists have used what has been called the Five Ws when dealing with difficult stories: who, what, when, where, and why. This is to help ensure that they address the fundamental questions that they hope every story will be able to answer.  

This week we are reporting on the “Greatest Story Ever Told,” so I will attempt to be a good reporter and use, to the best of my ability, the Five Ws of journalism.  Through the rest of the week, we’ll attempt to cover the who, what, when, and where of the Incarnation of Christ. On Sabbath, in the sermon, we’ll address the why.

Recalibrate: Is your understanding of the character and mission of Christ growing more and more interesting?  If not, why not?

Respond: Pray for growth in your relationship with Jesus and in a deeper understanding of His mission.

Research: Read about the conflict between Arius and Athanasius regarding the nature of Christ.  If you have time, read Athanasius’s treatise, On the Incarnation. Link 1 and Link 2.  

Remember: “Jesus has always been as God is” (Philippians 2:6a, NLV).

Mark is executive director of the public health department in Jefferson County, one of the most populous counties in the state of Colorado. He received his medical training at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University and is board certified in preventive medicine and public health. He is chair of the vision board at Boulder Adventist Church where he is a regular preacher. Mark is married to Diane and they have two adult children and three granddaughters.

Merry Christmas! What is one Christmas tradition that you hope to pass down to your child? Whatever that tradition might be, I’m sure it is one filled with love, joy, and Jesus. Turn on a favorite Christmas song with your child and worship! Today is a day to celebrate Jesus coming to this earth. What a great thing to sing and dance about!

Merry Christmas! What a day full of love and joy! What has been your favorite part of Christmas so far? Why is that your favorite part? Christmas is all about Jesus. When we think about Jesus it makes us want to sing and dance! Play your favorite Christmas song with your family today. If you want to get really creative make up your own song about the Christmas story.

Merry Christmas! Today is a day that is full of family time, and abundance of food, celebration, and gift giving. When I was a kid, I had a huge Christmas list. I would ask for an abundance of American Girl doll items, new books, and things I could draw with. It would always be a mad rush Christmas morning to open all the presents and see what I got. Of course I would only get a few things, but I was still excited for those few presents. After a while, however, those presents lost their buzz and they quickly lost their value. The same goes true for Christmas now that I’m older (although I have learned to control myself when it comes to opening up presents in the morning). There is a huge anticipation for Christmas day, but then soon the buzz is over. However, I find so much joy in the fact that Jesus has given us the ultimate gift that never loses its anticipation, buzz, or value. Christmas is a reminder that Christ gave us the gift of salvation and eternal life. And this is a gift that is yours to keep forever. It can’t be returned or given back. It’s yours. Take some time today to thank God for this gift and to think about what this gift means to you.

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