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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

Charles Whisnant, Pastor/Teacher Sunday December 21, 2014 Sunday Morning Sermon


God's great visit to us is the incarnation of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  LUKE 1:78-79
Charles e Whisnant Pastor/Teacher, 2014

Part Two


Why is it so hard for humans to accept the idea that Jesus’ grace is completely sufficient, while at the same time being completely independent of what we might do to earn it?  Ray Pritchard

Counterintuitive grace.

Pause for a moment on that last one. In what sense is grace “counterintuitive"? The word refers to something that goes against what we would normally expect to be true, i.e. “You must go north first in order to go south later” or “Having fun is hard work.” For a long time I’ve felt that grace is the hardest doctrine to accept. We fight against it because it runs against the grain of everything we instinctively believe. Grace forces us to confront two very difficult truths:

1) There is nothing we can do to contribute to our own salvation.
2) If God doesn’t save us, we will never be saved.

Basically grace says, “You’re a hopeless mess" and “Only God can help you now.” And in our natural state we would rather do anything than admit those two things.

The  reformation slogan "sola gratia", or grace alone, in today's world is under constant attack. What is it about being saved by God's grace alone that is so hard to swallow. The scriptures are clear that our deliverance from hell is due to the goodness of God, despite the lack of good in our fallen nature. Americans, especially, because of our belief in our own good and innate nature to do good, struggle to think of ourselves as totally depraved in our own nature and unable to do good on our own. We carry this democratic ideal into our theology that each individual has the ability to make things better.  To an American grace alone is senseless because the condition of man is not so bad. Without a recognition of the human condition we will find Arminius' opposition to 'grace alone' is much more palatable. It gives a much better view of self.


Christmas is the end of thinking you are better than someone else, because Christmas is telling you that you could never get to heaven on your own. God had to come to you. It is telling you that people who are saved are not those who have arisen through their own ability to be what God wants them to be. Salvation comes to those who admit how weak they are.  Tim Keller

“Christmas is the end of thinking you are better than someone else.” That might make a good banner to hang over the front door of every church. Those of us who believe in Jesus aren’t any better than anyone else, sometimes we seem like we’re worse than a lot of people, but that’s not the point.

God came down to us.  That’s the point.
God’s Sunrise:  the dayspirng or dawn:  Jesus Christ

In Luke 1:78. “the dayspring from on high has visited us.”

Because the heart of our God is full of mercy towards us, the first light of Heaven shall come to visit us—to shine on those who lie in darkness and under the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Phillips)

The picturesque old English word ‘dayspring’ means neither more nor less than sunrising. And it is here used practically as a name for Jesus Christ, who is Himself the Sun, represented as rising over a darkened earth, and yet, with a singular neglect of the propriety of the metaphor, as descending from on high, not to shine on us from the sky, but to ‘visit us’ on earth

The Coming of the New Covenant:  Luke 1:78-79

Luke 1:78 , that brings the Sunrise from on high which shall visit us to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death and it is the New Covenant that guides our feet into the way of peace. John MacArthur also says

Now in the morning the sun rises, of course, from the sky and so there's a clear metaphorical connection, but he's talking about there's going to come a great light from heaven, not the sun, not the morning star, not the glow of dawn that precedes the sun, not the first light of the day physically, there's coming from on high another Sun, a Sunrise who will shine on those who will sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

Isaiah 9, Malachi 4:2, Second Peter 1:19,  Revelation 22:    6