Sermon by Dr. E. Dale Locke
Series: Welcome Home, Week 1 – “When ‘Normal’ Doesn’t Work”

  1. What images come to your mind when you hear the phrase “Welcome home”?

2. “Incarnation” is theological term that means that God came to us in human flesh.  E. Stanley Jones writes in his book The Word Became Flesh that John 1:14 is the most important verse in all of Scripture, because it divides Christianity from all the other religions of the world and changes everything.  Think about that as you read John 1:1-14:
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. 6  There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9  The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

  1. Some religions view it as undignified for a god to have direct contact with human beings. What does the fact that the God of Christianity was willing to leave His throne and come to earth in human flesh say about God?
  1. What does it say about us as humans?

The incarnation gives us a new view:

  1. Pastor Dale said that “we’re not human beings having a temporary spiritual experience; we’re spiritual beings having a temporary human experience.” What’s the difference?
  1. Pastor Dale said that the incarnation is an invitation to see that God is at work in our lives in ways that we often don’t realize or don’t understand. Looking back over your life, what are some ways that you now realize God has been at work in your life that you didn’t see or understand at the time?
  1. People who “leave the faith” sometimes do so because they had tried to live it in their own wisdom and power. In contrast to that, what does God intend our faith walk to be like?

The incarnation gives us a new do:

  1. In verses 9-13, notice the following three things, and let each one draw out a question for you to consider in the coming weeks of December:
    1. Jesus came to His own people, but they didn’t recognize Him.  What can you do over the coming weeks of Advent to recognize Jesus and His work in your life more than you have in the past?
    2. John 1:12 speaks of “all who receive” Jesus.  What can you do over the coming weeks of Advent to receive Jesus in new ways?
    3. John promises that all “who believe in his name” will be children of God. What can you do this December to strengthen your belief in Jesus and in the power of His name?

A New You

  1. How does the incarnation make it possible for us to become new people?
  2. Rather than bemoaning the way our culture does Christmas, Pastor Dale encouraged us to take part in all the festivities, but just be sure to remember the meaning behind all of it. After Scrooge’s life transformation, it was said of Scrooge that “he knew how to keep Christmas better than anyone else” – and that’s a beautiful thing! How are you “keeping Christmas” well this year?

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