Today’s message of December 23, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:
Lord, we pray, during this season, that you guard our thoughts and remind us of the reason that You came into this world.
Christmas time is a time to remember. It is to remember something that God, and God alone, has done. We need the reminder because we can be forgetful. We need to be reminded of those who have loved us and encouraged us. God fits in this same category.
Christmas time is a reminder that God came into the world to reconcile it to Himself.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us.
For God was pleased to have
all his fullness dwell in him,
and through him to reconcile
everything to himself,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace
through his blood, shed on the cross.
All that God is comes through the person of Jesus Christ.
God came to correct behaviors and beliefs that were contrary to Him.
In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!
When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the manger. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
The shepherds were informed about a baby. This baby was Christ in human form. Even as a baby, He was Lord and Savior. The good news was for everyone as He was reconciling all people of the world unto Himself. He was making it possible for everyone to be in a relationship with Him. Anyone can be reconciled to God as his/her personal Savior.
The shepherds (v. 15) went to see what had occurred. They could not begin to know what was being described to them by the angels.
At Christmas time, what do you see? What does Christmas remind you of?
The shepherds were going to see more than a baby…more than what they could even imagine. They would see the Savior, the Christ, the Lord. They also knew that God had spoken to them as to what they would see.
Jesus was His given earthly name. It was given to Mary and Joseph to name Him Jesus.
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.
He was referred to as Savior: the One who is able to deliver us from sin.
This is the story of Christmas.
God knew that we needed a Savior, and He provided Him for us in Jesus Christ. He came to seek and save the lost.
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, I’ll give half of my possessions to the poor, Lord. And if I have extorted anything from anyone, I’ll pay back four times as much.”
“Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”
He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
The world did (and does) not recognize Jesus. It comes down to whoever believes and acknowledges who He is can recognize them as children of God.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Jesus is a Savior for all people, not just for some.
Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
This title or name is not given to anyone, and no one is instructed to call Jesus the Christ. Christ is referred to as the Messiah, the Anointed One, who was prophesied in the Old Testament.
…and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary,
who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Christ.
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations; and from David until the exile to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the exile to Babylon until the Christ, fourteen generations.
Christ is the divine name of Jesus. One has to come to a place to see Him as the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), who is more than just the man Jesus.
Jesus Christ was chosen and anointed to be Prophet, Priest and King.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Christ would be born.
“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah: Because out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Who are the Pharisees and who are they arguing with?
Nevertheless, many did believe in him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, so that they would not be banned from the synagogue.
His parents said these things because they were afraid of the Jews, since the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed him as the Messiah, he would be banned from the synagogue.
To confess that Jesus was the Christ was to acknowledge that He was more than just the promised Messiah…He was now the living Messiah.
The high priest stood up and said to him, “Don’t you have an answer to what these men are testifying against you?” But Jesus kept silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
“You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
God has to remove a veil from a person to see Him as more than just a man…He has to show you that He is the Christ.
How do you picture Jesus Christ in this Christmas season?
So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Who is it you want me to release for you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”
Jesus is always the argument as to whether or not He is the Christ. The term Christ is only used within Christianity.
Jesus is ruler over all.
you are small among the clans of Judah;
one will come from you
to be ruler over Israel for me.
His origin is from antiquity,
from ancient times.
And he has a name written on his robe and on his thigh: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
When you think of Jesus, you should see more than just a baby, or a man. You should see a Savior, the Christ. Lord. The shepherds spread the word as to what they had seen.
What do you see?
Do you see Jesus as greater than being just a man? This Christmas, and every day, we hope that you see Jesus as much more than that. He lived for you. He died for you. He is Lord and Savior. The Messiah. The Anointed One. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.