Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

The Gift of God

December 28, 2016

Many gifts were exchanged during the Christmas season.  Some were appreciated, some were not.

God has offered to us the greatest gift conceivable.

I.  Their Inheritance:  Ezekiel 44:28

 “It shall be, in regard to their inheritance, that I am their inheritance. You shall give them no possession in Israel, for I am their possession.

Every time that I read this portion of scripture I am impressed with the idea that God Himself, is their possession.  Now, obviously, no one actually possesses God, but the priests under the Law of Moses had a unique relationship with God.

Since Jesus died on the cross and the veil in the temple was torn, those who believe in Jesus are offered a very special relationship with God.  This relationship is more precious than anything this world has to offer and it is God’s gift to us.

II.  With All Our Heart:  Jeremiah 29:13

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

I wonder sometimes whether we appreciate the gift that God has offered to us.  Do we seek God with all our heart?  With most of our heart?  Or maybe just a little bit?  I am concerned that for far too many, our relationship with God is mere fire insurance.  We don’t want to go to hell, so we proclaim a faith in God, but our hearts are really set on enjoying all the pleasures that the world has to offer.

That is not how it is supposed to be.

God is meant to be our first love,  the most important thing in our lives.

III.  Draw Near:  James 4:8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

On a daily basis we should seek to draw near to God.  As we spend time in the presence of God, we will be made aware of the changes that we should make in our life.  We will want to stop doing those things that are displeasing to God.  We will want more and more to be the people that He has called us to be in thought, word and deed.

IV.  Fullness of Joy:  Psalms 16:11

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

If we make God the top priority in out life, God will guide us by His Word and His Spirit.  He will show us the path of life.  The life that God has for us is indeed an abundant life.  (John 10:10)  The greatest joy that we can find this side of eternity is to be found in the presence of the Lord.  That opportunity has been made possible because of Jesus Christ.

So as we celebrate the Christmas season, let us always remember, be thankful for, and appreciate the gift that God has given us in Jesus Christ.

 

These are the sermon notes from 12/17/16.  Any advertisements that appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.   

 

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The Real Christmas Message

December 7, 2016

There are a lot of Christmas movies on television these days.  The vast majority of them are completely missing the mark because they make no mention of Jesus Christ.  He is the real message of Christmas.

I.  God Loves You:  John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

This is the basic message that we share with the world.  God loves you.  At Christmas we see the love of God demonstrated through sending His son Jesus to be born of the Virgin Mary at Bethlehem.  We know that Jesus did not come to earth to reign as king, but to be the lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world.  He did not come to judge the world, but to provide a means of saving the world.

Through Jesus, God offers to us the gift of eternal life.  That is the greatest gift of all!

II.  Turn and Live:  Ezekiel 18:31-32

Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

A.  Turn

We are called to turn back to God.  We have made wrong choices, wrong decisions and are going the wrong way.  We are called to turn back to God, which is the true meaning of repentance.  Like the prodigal son, we have lost our way, but when we come to our senses and return to our heavenly father, we will find Him waiting for us.

B.  Live

God offers to us a new heart and and new spirit.  God desires that we would turn to Him and live.  I get very upset with people who think that God hates people and that He takes delight in sending them to hell.  God loves us and offers us a new life.  That is our message.  It is not “Turn or burn!” but rather “Turn and Live!”

III.  Born Again:  John 3:1-6

 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

We are born of water, which is a reference to the physical birth.  We also have the offer of a new birth, being born of the Spirit.  These verses are where the concept of being born again originated, although they go along nicely with Ezekiel 18:31-32.

We also read in II Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

This is again the message that we share with the world.  II Corinthians 5:20-21

 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

With our limited understanding we will never be able to fully appreciate what God did for us through Jesus Christ, but we can believe in His name, and say “Thank you, Jesus!”

IV.  In Our Hearts:  Ephesians 3:14-19

 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

It is from these verses that we can know that Christ can dwell in our hearts through faith.  That is the way that we are born again, when the Spirit of Christ comes into our hearts through our faith in Him.  This faith is a gift from God, by His mercy and His grace.

This gift is offered to us all, but all do not accept it.

Even after Christ dwells in our hearts there is yet more to come.  We grow in our understanding of the love of Christ and are filled with the fullness of God.  This is an ongoing process which God continues to work in us throughout our lives here on earth.

As we grow in our knowledge of the love of God, our lives will become increasingly more what God would desire.  We will be more and more molded into the image of His Son.

Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

God loves us.

He is at work in us.

He wants to work through us.

That is the real message of Christmas.

These are the sermon notes from 12/4/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

 

 

The Best Present

January 25, 2016

Every Christmas we read the Christmas story as told by Luke.  This year is no exception.

Luke 2:1-20

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year.  It seems as though most of humanity is willing to accept, for a time, the peace and good will that God offers to us in Christ.  Of course, the world spins the good news of Christmas into something else.  The focus goes from the birth of the Christ, to a man magically distributing presents.  Or, to a focus on love, family and friends; which certainly is better, but if Christ is excluded, the main point is missed.

This year my message is going to focus on a different portion of scripture.

I.  In The Beginning:  John 1:1-5

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

In Him was life.  In Christ we find, not just eternal life, but abundant life.  Life as it is meant to be.  As Christians we have purpose, hope, strength, love, peace, joy and much more.

I very much enjoy the lights at Christmas.  Our family will normally go for a ride around town to look at all the light displays as least once during the season.  Jesus is the true light of the world.  The light of His love shines in the darkness.  His love reaches out to us in many ways.  It truly is peace, good will to men.

Unfortunately, the darkness does not comprehend it.  There are many people who reject the love of God.  They do not understand.  They do not appreciate.  They are unwilling to receive the love that God has for them.

II.  Word Became Flesh:  John 1:14-18

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”

16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

The Word, which is God, became flesh.  The birth of Christ was a truly remarkable time in history.

Grace and truth are personified in Christ.  The grace of God offers to us riches that we did not earn, nor do we deserve.  Jesus is the Truth. Our world today is especially lost, as many question whether there even is such a thing as truth.  Yet Christians have a firm foundation.  The truth is found in Christ.

Christ is the declaration of God.  In Christ the Father is revealed.  In Christ we find who we were meant to be.  We have an opportunity to receive of His fullness.  We do not fully understand or appreciate what that truly means.

Jesus Christ is truly the best present the world has ever received.

These are the sermon notes from 12/25/15.  All scripture quotes are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

Make Room

January 15, 2015

The Christmas story never grows old.  Each time that we read it something different stands out to us.  Today is Christmas Day and the scripture reading is from Luke chapter two.

Luke 2: 1-20

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

I.  Peace, Goodwill to Men

Peace to Earth.

Humanity deserves judgement.  We have sinned.  We have turned away from God.  We have abandoned His laws and denied His existence.   Yet God so loved the world that He sent His son into the world to be our savior.  God offers us forgiveness, instead of judgement.  He offers us a peace that this world does not understand, and that this world cannot take away.

Goodwill toward men.

God offers us an abundant life.  To choose to follow God is to choose the better path.  God loves us and wants what is best for us.  Part of that life is learning how to live and act justly.  This past year in our country there has been much unrest, much turmoil, much conflict in the pursuit of justice.  God offers us a better way.  We are not to detach and let the world go its own way.  We are to engage, to be salt and light in the world.  We are to be the hand of God extended to those who live in darkness.  We should pursue peace and justice in our world.  May God help us to express His goodwill towards humanity.

II.  No Room for Them

This is an eloquent symbol of many people today.  Just as there was no room for Mary and Joseph in the inn, so there seems to be no room in people’s lives today for Christ.  We are busy with so many activities that prayer, scripture, and church are frequently squeezed out of people’s lives.

Our government, in the name of separation of church and state is busily pursuing the removal of religious symbols.  It is all that much more important that Christians do all that they can do to keep Christ in the forefront of their lives. The light should shine in the darkness.

We should make room in our lives for Christ, so that we can be a living source of peace, goodwill towards all people.

These are the sermon notes from 12/25/14.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Christmas Lights

January 13, 2015

Every year we take at least one evening to drive around looking at the Christmas lights that are displayed on homes and businesses.  There is a lot of work and a lot of expense that goes into these beautiful decorations and we do enjoy them.  The colorful lights also serve as a wonderful symbol of the the work of God in the world.

I.  The Word Became Flesh:  John 1:1-5,14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

I have many favorite verses in the scriptures.  This passage is one of them.

When we celebrate Christmas it is more than just a story.  It is a proclamation of our belief that God came into the world and became a human being.  Jesus was not just a prophet, a good man, or a teacher. He was God incarnate.

Through Jesus, God revealed Himself to the world.  “The Light shines in the darkness.”  Unfortunately, most of the world did not comprehend it.

II.  Drawn to the Light:  John 3:16-21

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

There are two responses to the light of Christ.  Some reject the light and move deeper into darkness.  Some are drawn to the light.  This is an individual response to the grace of God offered in Jesus Christ.  John 3:16 is the most well known scripture in the world.  It is the gospel in a single sentence.  Yet not all believe in the Son of God.

III.  You Are the Light of the World:  Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

As Christians, we believe that God has given us of His Spirit.  It is the Spirit of God that dwells in our hearts that makes us the light of the world.  “People are drawn to Christians, and then to Christ.”  This is something I was once told by a young minister and I was quite offended by the statement at the time.  I thought that it meant that, as Christians, we should seek to be popular.  Now, many years later, I understand that what was meant by the statement is that people are drawn to the Christ that they see in us.  Our lives should be different.  The Spirit of God should make a difference in our lives that people are able to see.  Our words, deeds and attitudes should be different because of Jesus Christ.

Christmas lights shine in the darkness, lighting up the winter nights.  The light of Christ should shine through the lives of His followers, offering hope to those who dwell in darkness.

These are the sermon notes from 12/21/14.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

Joyful Giving

January 6, 2015

Deciding what to give your friends and family for Christmas can be a difficult decision.  Knowing that the greatest Christmas gift is the one that God gave us in Christ is relatively simple.  Recognizing that we should give something back to God should be natural, just like we exchange gifts on earth with our friends and family.  God gives to us.  We give back to God.  Of course, we cannot literally give to God, but we are able to give to God by giving to the local church, missionaries, and various humanitarian organizations.

I.  Sow Bountifully:  II Corinthians 9:6-7

 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

A.  Be generous.  This does not mean that we give the rent money to the church, but we should establish our budgets in such a way that we are living well within our means so that we are able to give, and we should give generously.

B.  II Corinthians 8:12-13

 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened;

I believe that Christians should tithe on their income to their local church.  A tithe is ten percent.  I believe that when we are faithful to give God the tithe, He will enable us to live on the rest.  What we give beyond the tithe is our offerings.  Our offerings are given according to our ability.

C.  We should pray about what we give in offerings.  God will direct us if we have an open mind and heart.

D.  Be happy that you are able to give.  Do not worry if the amount is small.  If each person does what they are able to do the need will be met.  If we give only a small amount, we are still participating in the effort.  We should do what we can, not what we cannot.

II.  God is Able to Supply:  II Corinthians 9:8-9

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”

The grace of God abounds towards us.  My wife and I plan our offerings into our budget.  We have a set amount of money that we set aside each month so that we have money available to give in both tithes and offerings.  We give the full tithe each month and the offerings we give as the Lord leads.  When Gloria left her secular job we did not reduce the amount we give as offerings and God has enabled us to continue to live within our budget.

III.  The Greatest Gift:  II Corinthians 9:10-15

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

    A.  God supplies in ways that we do not always understand.

    B.  There is much giving of thanks.  Both those who give and those who receive, give thanks to God.

    C.  To God be the glory!

    D.  It is natural to give God both thanks and praise.  It is also natural to offer prayers for the people who have generously met the need.  Prayers are powerful and we should never underestimate their value.

    E.  All of this talk of giving reminds us of the greatest gift which is, of course, the salvation offered to us through Jesus Christ.

Even as God has given to us so richly and generously, in so many ways, so we should look for ways to generously and joyfully. give back to God.

These are the sermon notes from 12/7/14.  Any advertisements that may appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

New Every Morning

January 2, 2014

I.)  The Birth of Christ

I never have to wonder what scripture I will start with on Christmas day.  It is always Luke 2:1-20.

 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Most of us have either read, or heard, this passage of scripture many times.  I am reminded about something that I have read about Indian epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge).  They make a distinction between something that is remembered, and something that is happening in that moment.  In this way, hearing it in the moment, it is new, not something remembered.

II.  New Every Morning:  Lamentations 3:22-25

I’m guessing that not many of you have heard a Christmas message with scriptures from Lamentations.  Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah after Jerusalem had been conquered by the Babylonians.  However, I believe these verses will work today.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

The fact that Christ came to earth to be born in Bethlehem is proof of God’s love for us.  “The Lord is my portion” is a wonderful expression of what God should be to us.  We should not find our fulfillment in the things of this world, but in God.  To truly celebrate Christmas, we must celebrate Christ.  To truly celebrate Christ, Christ must be present in our lives.  For Christ to be present in our lives, we must believe in the Christ who came to earth for us.

III.  Peace, Goodwill Towards Men

The peace and goodwill that has been extended to humanity is not meant to be just once in a lifetime, not just once a year.  It is meant to be for every day.

Our relationship with God can be more than a memory of what God did once upon a time.  It can be new every morning.  The Lord is good to those who seek Him.  Seek Him every day.

These are the notes from the message preached 12/25/13.  You are welcome to ask questions or make comments.

Any advertisements are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them.

My Redeemer Lives

December 23, 2013

Job is an unusual book to begin a Christmas message, but that is where my message is starting today.

I.  My Redeemer Lives:  Job 19:23-25

“Oh, that my words were written!
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
24 That they were engraved on a rock
With an iron pen and lead, forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;

Job is considered by many to have lived about the same time as Abraham.  That would place him about 2000 BC. In his misery, as he is arguing with his friends he blurts out this statement of hope.   “My Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth:” .  At the time it was  a deeply held conviction that God would somehow redeem him.   As we look back, we know that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer, and that he did indeed stand upon the earth about two thousand years ago.

Job looked forward to the time of Christ and professed his hope.  We look back to the the time of Christ and profess our belief.  Still today, we can cry out “Our Redeemer lives!”  and “He shall stand at last on the earth”.  The difference is that we look back to the time when Christ came as a servant, and we look forward to the time when He returns as King.

II.  The Word Becomes Flesh:  John 1:1-5,14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

We know that Jesus is our redeemer.  I love these verses in John that speak of the incarnation of Christ, here called the Word.  It is one of the scriptures which clearly identifies Christ as God.  That is, of course, what we truly celebrate at Christmas, that God became a man, and dwelt among us for a time.  He was the light that shines in the darkness.

Not everyone understands.  Not everyone is drawn to the light.  We should not be surprised when people reject the message of hope that we offer.  We should not be discouraged, but continue to allow the light of Christ to shine through our lives.  Some will reject that message, but some will receive it.

III.  I Shall See God:  Job 19:26-27

And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

The Old Testament does not speak frequently about life beyond the grave, but in this instance Job cries out a conviction that we share, that after death, we shall see God.  I am reminded of the verse “to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8)

Christ came to earth to be our redeemer.  We celebrate His birth at Christmas, but more importantly we proclaim our faith in Him as the Messiah, the one who saves us from our sings, the one who reconciles us to God, the one in whom we have the hope of everlasting life.

Our redeemer lives!

These are the sermon notes from 12/22/13.  You are welcome to ask questions or make comments.

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The Best Gift Ever

December 27, 2012

These are the sermon notes from 12/23/12.

We probably all have gifts that we have received in the past that stand out from all the other gifts that we have received.  God himself, has given us the very best gift.

I.  Make the Right Choice Isaiah 55:1-3

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.

It is easy to get caught up in the pursuit of material things.  Material things, however, will not satisfy the longing in our soul.  We have been created to live in a relationship with God and unless that relationship is healthy, we will not be content.  We must remember to “seek first, the kingdom of God”.

II.  Restoration Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

God offers us forgiveness for our sins.  He longs for us to return to Him.  Remember the story of the prodigal son.  God, our heavenly father, is waiting for us to come to our senses and return to Him.

III.  The Word Isaiah 55:10-11

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Once we have been restored in our relationship with God we need to make spending time in the Bible a priority in our lives.   God’s Word will have a lasting, favorable impact on our lives.

IV.  Blessings Isaiah 55:12-13

For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

As we live our lives in a relationship with God we will experience the blessings of the Lord.  These blessings come in a whole variety of different forms, but we can be assured that God is good to His people.

Jesus said that He came that we might have life, and that more abundantly.  That is the best gift ever!

The Coming of Christ

December 20, 2012

Here are the sermon notes from December 16th, 2012.

We are in the season of Advent.  Advent is a time of preparation.

I.  Prepare the Way Isaiah 40:3-5

The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

During the ministry of John the Baptist, he was asked if he was the messiah.  He replied that he was not the messiah, he was the “voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord…”.

The Lord, of course, is Jesus.  At Christmas we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world.  We prepare for Christmas in a whole multitude of ways.  We make our plans and travel arrangements.  We shop, and bake, and wrap presents.  We decorate our homes; inside and out.  It is a busy time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

II.  More to Come

At Christmas we celebrate that Christ came into the world, but there is more to prepare for than the celebration of the first Christmas.

Christ promised to come again someday for His people.  We can prepare for that coming in two ways.

Proclamation:  Mathew 24:14

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

There are still people who have not heard the message of Jesus the Christ.  We can share in the proclamation of the gospel by sharing it ourselves with those whom we come  into contact.  We can also support those who go around the world preaching the gospel.  We can support them through our prayers and through our financial support.

Cleansing: Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

We help to prepare for the coming of Christ by cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He works in our lives the work of sanctification.  As certainly as a bride prepares for her wedding day, we should prepare ourselves for the Lord’s return.

There is one more coming of Christ that it is appropriate to think about during the advent season.  That is the coming of Christ into the hearts of new believers.  This coming of Christ is very important to each one personally because without Christ, we cannot be saved.  We help to prepare for this coming by living out the lives that Christ would have us to live.  By our actions and our words we can help to either draw people to Christ, or drive them away.

I Corinthians 3:5-6

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

We recognize that the success of our efforts ultimately is up to God, but we are still asked to faithfully do our part.

May God help us as we seek to prepare, not just for Christmas, the celebration of the first coming of Christ into the world; but also for the return of Christ, and even more important, the coming of Christ into the hearts of the unsaved.