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Christmas Message 2016: Jesus

  • Christmas Message 2016: Jesus

     

    Christmas Message 2016: Jesus from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

     

    Today is Christmas, and I want to talk about Jesus. Who exactly is Jesus, and why is He important to us today. Over time things can become distorted and forgotten when passed down by word of mouth, so I want to refresh our minds on what the birth of Jesus means for us in a simple, biblical way. Here are some facts about Jesus that we must always remember:

    1) Jesus is not a created being, but is eternal just as God the Father and the Holy Spirit. We celebrate Christmas day as the birthday of Jesus, when he was born as a man, but He was already here when God the Father created the earth. John told us this:

    (John 1:1–3 NKJV) “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.”

    The “Word” is referring to Jesus. We can then read in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The word used for “God” there is “Elohim” and it is plural, referring to more than one. Each time “God” created something, the word used is plural. Also the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters, so the Holy Spirit was there as well.

    2) Jesus appears throughout the Bible, from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation. He is included in the first verse in Genesis 1:1 and He is the subject of the last verse in Revelation 22:21.

    (John 8:58 NKJV) “Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” In other words, Jesus said that He was around before Abraham who lived about 2,000 years earlier. Also the “I AM” is the same name that the “Angel of the Lord” used when He appeared in a burning bush and spoke to Moses.

    Sometimes, especially around Christmas, people just think of the poor Baby Jesus lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling cloths. I am sure that Jesus was adorable, and cuddly as a little Baby, but don’t let that become your image of Jesus.

    That was a tiny blip on a really, really long timeline and we are talking about the King of all kings. The next time that the earth sees Jesus, it will be as its reigning King. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

    Jesus appeared many times in the old testament scriptures. “The Angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament with a capital A is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. He is called God, given attributes of God, seen by people, worshiped, and distinguished from the Father and Spirit. The word angel is not capitalized when referring to others like Gabriel in Luke 1:29 and Michael in Revelation 12:7.

    Here are some examples of Jesus appearing on earth before His birth:

    In Genesis 16:7 an Angel appeared to Hagar as she ran away from Sarah and told her to return home. In verse 13 it reads: “Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You–Are–the–God–Who–Sees”. This plainly tells us that the Angel was indeed the Lord.

    In Genesis 22:11 it was Jesus that stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. The scripture reads:

    (Genesis 22:11–12 NKJV) “But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

    The “Angel of the Lord” said that Abraham had not withheld his son from HIM. The “Angel of the Lord” is Jesus. Also, pay attention to the differences between “AN angel of the Lord” and “THE Angel of the Lord.” It is not a blanket statement and not all appearances of angels refer to Jesus.

    In Exodus 3:2 it was Jesus that appeared to Moses in the burning bush. (Exodus 3:2–4 NKJV) “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”

    See the Angel of the Lord appeared, but spoke as the LORD.

    In Joshua 5:15 Jesus appeared as Commander of the Lord’s army and Joshua called Him Lord.

    In Judges 6:11 it was Jesus that appeared to Gideon and called him a “Mighty man of valor.”

    In Judges 13:2 it was Jesus that appeared to Manoah and his wife and told them that they would have a son who would be a Nazarite, and they named him Samson.

    In Daniel 3:25 it is Jesus that saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Nebuchadnezzar said “The fourth is like the Son of God”, how right he was…

    There are many other examples, but that is enough to establish my point that Jesus has been here from the beginning. Which brings up a question:

    “If Jesus appeared so many times in the old testament, then why did He need to be born as a man?“

    When Adam and Eve broke the one commandment that God had given them in the garden of Eden, mankind became alienated from God. A rift came between them, basically Adam and Eve decided to follow satan’s advice rather than Gods.

    It was really a cheap trick, satan told them in Genesis 3:5 that they could be like God and learn the knowledge of good AND evil. See they already had the knowledge of good and pleasant… all that he offered them was evil, and they took it. What makes man desire evil… or rather who… satan.

    In Genesis 3:15 God came up with a plan to redeem mankind. God told satan: “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” The Woman’s Seed is singular and would bruise satan’s head. As I understand it, this is referring to the coming of Jesus to redeem mankind.

    Jesus was born as a common man, in the flesh just as we are, and experienced the same things that we go through: (Hebrews 4:15 NKJV) “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

    Jesus ate, drank, laughed, at times He had to relieve Himself, He had friends, He experienced betrayal, He attended weddings, He wept, He prayed, He sang hymns, He asked questions. Jesus lived on earth as a common man for about 33 years, then He died, and rose again. In other words, Jesus understands us because He has walked in our shoes, yet without sin.

    (Hebrews 10:4 NKJV) “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.”

    (Hebrews 10:10–14 NKJV) “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”

    Where the old testament sacrifices could not take away sin, the offering of a perfect, sinless man did.

    (1 Corinthians 15:21–22 NKJV) “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

    One man led mankind into sin, and one perfect man redeemed them back. Jesus is our Redeemer and we are saved only by our faith in Him:

    (John 14:6 NKJV) “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

    Now as I was putting this message together, I felt that the Holy Spirit wanted me to share something and I am going to call it “Straddling the fence”:

    Paul wrote to the Galatians in chapter 1:6–12 NKJV: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

    Paul said that there were people who “wanted to pervert” the simple good news of Jesus Christ. The word “pervert” means: “To alter something from its original course, meaning, or state, to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.” It would be started from the original gospel, but end in a twisted gospel. Continuing on:

    “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”

    Paul was adamant that we stick to the original plan and not be deceived by men adding extra rules to the gospel. He was so upset at the Galatians for listening to men who mixed the gospel of Jesus, with parts of Judaism. One example of that was requiring Christians to be circumcised in order to be saved.

    Paul wrote in Galatians 3:1–3 NKJV: “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”

    In other words, the Galatians had started out being saved by grace, but then turned back into a religion mixed with works. In Galatians chapter 5 Paul really came down hard on the Christians who had listened those mixing the gospel with law, he called it bondage:

    (Galatians 5:1–4 NKJV) “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

    Paul said that those that were trying to keep the law as means of justification had fallen from grace, they were estranged from Christ. “Estranged” means “alienated, no longer close or affectionate to.”

    The Grace of Christ is the unmerited favor of God. It is completely free, and by definition, cannot be bought nor earned period. Jesus Christ died in order to redeem us, the bill is now paid in full. On the cross, Jesus said: “It is finished” and there is nothing that we can add to it.

    After the Father watched His sinless, beloved Son die a horrible death by crucifixion at the hands of “religious” men in order to redeem mankind, when we think that our little good deeds will pay our way, it is offensive and filthy rags.

    Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

    It is very clear that we are not saved by works, but of course good works should follow us. We should try to imitate Jesus and not steal or kill… Simple.

    Mixing in works as a requirement to be saved was what “perverted” the gospel of Christ. Paul said that if you do this, “Christ will profit you nothing.” You cannot earn salvation, it is a free gift to be accepted, and not a purchase that can be made by us.

    In Galatians 5:12 Paul wrote that he wished that those who were teaching that Christians must be circumcised would go the whole way and cut themselves off, emasculate, or castrate themselves. Now that is strong language in the Bible.

    The essence of the gospel of Christ is in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

    Jesus put on our sin, and we put on His righteousness. That is the glorious exchange that happened at the cross. There is nothing more to add to what Jesus has done for us. It is finished.

    In closing I want to read these words that Paul wrote. He told us:

    “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:8–13 NKJV).

    Believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord is how we are saved, and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.

    If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you should. Here is a prayer of repentance that is used by Billy Graham. If you want to accept Jesus, say it out loud and mean it:

    Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name.

    Amen.


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11 comments
  • 3
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Thank you so much for this wonderful word and your ministry

December 26, 2016
  • 1
Dion Todd
Dion Todd

Thank you Celeste for taking a moment to encourage us!

December 27, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

Thank you very much, Celeste, hope you had a blessed Christmas :)!

December 28, 2016
  • 3
Roseanne Braverman
Roseanne Braverman

Thank you for your Christmas service.  Wishing you and Sylvia a blessed day.

December 27, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

Thank you so much, Roseanne, and hope you had a wonderful Christmas :)!

December 28, 2016
  • 3
Paul Boore
Paul Boore

Thank you for your sermon for this Christmas season.  I really appreciate being able to catch up even though I couldn't be here for the Sunday service.

December 27, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

We completely understand that people had plans for Christmas Day, but glad you could catch up, Paul :)!

December 28, 2016
  • 2
Scott Riegelmann
Scott Riegelmann

Thank you pastor Dion for all your knowledge of the written word, I can say with all honesty I have never heard a Christmas service like this before and even though you lost me a few times, in the end the message was heard very clear and it was good thank you sir, without RHM I would have zero in the way of Godly people in my life whom I could trust not to have an agenda other than saving souls for Jesus, So again I say from the bottom of my soul thank you Pasto Dion and all of RHM. sincerely Scott Riegelmann, Amity Or USA

December 27, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

Thank you so much for your beautiful comments, Scott <3! (((HUGS)))

December 28, 2016
  • 3
Tyler Velau
Tyler Velau

Thank you for this wonderful message, Pastor Dion. This answered some questions but brought up some more. I find this kind of stuff so confusing, but this was a wonderful message and I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and will have a wonderful beginning to 2017. May you be enriched in the blessings of our Lord. 

December 29, 2016
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

May the Lord also bless you richly for 2017, brother, and praying for His wisdom, guidance and discernment <3!

December 29, 2016