What brings us together in cooperate worship is Jesus and what He has done, continues to do and has promised to do!
Christmas is a time to not only rejoice in what Christ has already done but to remember that there is far more to come!
I. PREPARE TO WELCOME THE KING
The true fulfillment of Christmas doesn’t happen on Christmas day, we have something much bigger and better to look forward to; the baby points to the coming King!
Jesus came the first time as a lamb slain for the sins of the world but he is coming the second time as a lion to judge and rule the world!
II. A NEW SONG FOR A BROKEN WORLD
The world needs to hear the sound and songs of hope from people who have peace and joy in world that is hurting and hopeless!
People who have been set free, SING!
III. GOD IS WORKING ALL THINGS FOR HIS GLORY
Romans 8:22, 23
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
“Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.”
All the ways of man are going to be proven wrong!
IV. EXPERIENCE THE WONDER OF GOD’S LOVE
I John 3:1
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:”
The wonder of Christmas is that the love of the Father can be experienced right now!
Joy to the world the Lord has come and joy to the world He is coming again!
Self-control is the spirit given ability to control our sinful passions and pursuits.
II Peter 1:5-9
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
Self-control is not some higher form of behavior modification, it is the moment by moment reminder that we are to be living under the control of the Holy Spirit.
I. Self-control Is Activated Through Submission To The Spirit
Self-control does not happen automatically but is an action produced within us as we yield control to the inner working of the Spirit.
“Self-control does involve effort of the will, but it is an effort inspired and empowered by the Spirit of God as His will bears fruit in our will.” C. Wright
II. Essential Areas Of Self-control
The tongue has caused more damage and done untold destruction to the cause of Christ and testimony of the Church.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
For the believer we are to be living for the Lord and under the control of the Spirit.
“God’s purpose is to make us like Christ, and God’s way is to fill us with His Holy Spirit.” John Stott
While it is certain that we are not Christ and can never be Him; we have been given the Holy Spirit and we have all we need to be like Him.
God placed the glorious message of Christ’s birth into the mouth of the most unlikely messengers.
I. The Good News Of Christmas
The good news of Christmas is that God loves the most unlovely and lowest of people.
While the world may label you the good news of Christmas is that God loves you!
“And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”
“For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.”
II. The Great Joy Of Jesus
Joy is never found in human presents but in the Heavenly gift of God’s Son Jesus!
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
On that first Christmas night God was fulfilling His promise and making it possible for us to experience eternal and life changing Joy!
Eternal and everlasting joy becomes our reality the moment we accept God’s greatest gift!
Christmas is the proof of a promise fulfilled in Jesus and the hope of a greater future for all mankind.
"Mild he lays his Glory by
Born that Men no more may die
Born to raise the Sons of Earth
Born to give them second Birth"
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Jesus in his humanity and deity came to Earth to fix once and for all the sin problem!
III. The Gospel Message Still Needs Proclaimed
The message of the Gospel must still come through the mouths of normal everyday people whose lives have been changed by Gospel!
II Corinthians 4:5-7
“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
Before we can truly celebrate the joy of Christmas we need to understand the deep sadness that preceded it.
“”Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
We typically want God to come through for us so long as it doesn’t inconvenience us.
“And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?”
I. THE CRY
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Life without Jesus is empty!
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
II. THE COMING
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:”
Only humble people will receive and recognize Jesus as King.
A. He came to ransom.
“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
B. He came to redeem.
I Peter 1:18, 19
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
C. He came to restore.
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings;”
D. He came to recalibrate.
Salvation is not the end of our story it’s the beginning!
III. THE COMMISSION
“And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.”
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
Only in Jesus is the key of eternal life and heaven!
The greatest glory of Heaven is Jesus!
Our commission is to be on mission with Jesus and proclaim the Gospel of peace.
Immanuel gives our life meaning and purpose and it is Immanuel who makes Christmas worth celebrating!
What part will we have in the Gospel continuing to impact our world?
II Timothy 4:16
“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”
II Timothy 4:6, 7
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”
The mission of the church continues on and the message of the Gospel is still being proclaimed by God’s messengers!
I. OPPOSITION AND OBSTACLES TO THE CHURCHES MISSION AND MESSAGE REMAIN
We are not to be superstitious people but Spiritual.
There is no truer test of our claim to Christianity then how we react and respond to calamities.
II. GOD ORDAINED OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND
"For all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been’! ”
“Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.”
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”
I Thessalonians 5:5, 6
“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”
1. Take the opportunity to invite!
2. Take the opportunity to invest!
3. Take the opportunity to get involved!
4. Take the opportunity to increase!
Philippians 1:9, 10
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;”
*Gracious warnings often come through the most un-likely people and are not to be ignored.
*When you choose to go against the gracious warnings you end up in situations and circumstances beyond your control.
I. GOD’S PURPOSE IN THE STORM
*When God wants to grow you in your faith and reveal to you what your heart is like, He will place you in circumstances and situations that you are not accustomed to and cannot control.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
*The storms of life may seemingly hide God’s face but they never hinder His purpose.
*Storms are not punishment, they are a part of the brokenness of this world that God is controlling to eternally bring about good.
II. GOD’S PRESENCE IN THE STORM
“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
*God’s ever abiding presence in our life gives us the calm we need through the storm.
*Storms are often opportunities for God’s children to give hope and strength to those who have none!
*The presence and peace of a merciful God was experienced through the testimony of a faithful servant.
III. GOD’S PROMISE IN THE SHIPWRECK
*God has placed you where you are in life for His purposes and so that you would proclaim Him and point people to Him reminding them of His faithful promises!
*God uses the storms and the shipwrecks of our life to show us that the safest thing we ever cling to is the promises of God!
*Our Saviour is Lord of every storm and shipwreck!
*God’s primary purpose is us giving and becoming generous people is not so that He can get the money out of our wallet but so that He might get the idols out of our heart.
*The deeper we come to experience the grace of God the greater our generosity grows.
*Until you are overwhelmed by the liberal love of Jesus you will always be legalistic in your giving and never live a generous life.
I. GENEROSITY IS NOT JUST HOW YOU GIVE IT’S HOW YOU LIVE
*What is clear is that God has chosen to advance the Gospel through giving to the local church. When we give to missions and the local church we give to the central institution for the mission of God.
*Hearts that have been radically changed and flooded with God’s grace respond by giving generously and sacrificially.
II. GRACE GUIDES US TOWARD GIVING GENEROUSLY TO MEET THE NEEDS OF OTHERS
*When the church is mesmerized by materialism and consumed with affluence we will fail at impacting people with the Gospel.
- $27.9 billion on candy in 2005
- $92.9 billion on refreshment beverages in 2004
- $59.4 billion on jewelry in 2005
- $48.3 billion on travel and tourism in 2004
- $100 billion plus on fast food each year in the early 2000s
*We do not give because we cannot afford to give it is because we choose to spend our money elsewhere.
*The proof of our love for the unfinished work of missions is measured by our giving.
*Generosity is never a onetime momentary act but an ongoing attitude and continual action of grace that gives sacrificially.
*Liberal givers live to show grace and give so that others may experience firsthand what the love of Christ looks and feels like.