Christmas

What if Jesus had never come?

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Merry Christmas friends. While studying for tonight’s message, I came across this piece from Streams in the Desert, a devotional book written in 1925. The message is striking and riveting. Consider what it would be like if Jesus had not come, and then, rejoice oh world, the Savior has come!
A FEW years ago a striking Christmas card was published, with the title, “If Christ had not come.” It was founded upon our Savior’s words, “If I had not come.” The card represented a clergyman falling into a short sleep in his study on Christmas morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.
In his dream he found himself looking through his home, but there were no little stockings in the chimney corner, no Christmas bells or wreaths of holly, and no Christ to comfort, gladden and save. He walked out on the public street, but there was no church with its spire pointing to Heaven. He came back and sat down in his library, but every book about the Savior had disappeared.
A ring at the door-bell, and a messenger asked him to visit a poor dying mother. He hastened with the weeping child and as he reached the home he sat down and said, “I have something here that will comfort you.” He opened his Bible to look for a familiar promise, but it ended at Malachi, and there was no gospel and no promise of hope and salvation, and he could only bow his head and weep with her in bitter despair.
Two days afterward he stood beside her coffin and conducted the funeral service, but there was no message of consolation, no word of a glorious resurrection, no open Heaven, but only “dust to dust, ashes to ashes,” and one long eternal farewell. He realized at length that “He had not come,” and burst into tears and bitter weeping in his sorrowful dream.
Suddenly he woke with a start, and a great shout of joy and praise burst from his lips as he heard his choir singing in his church close by:
“O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels,
O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.”
Let us be glad and rejoice today, because “He has come.” And let us remember the annunciation of the angel, “Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10, 11.)
“He comes to make His blessing flow,
Far as the curse is found.”
May our hearts go out to the people in heathen lands who have no blessed Christmas day. “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and SEND PORTIONS TO THEM FOR WHOM NOTHING IS PREPARED.” (Neh. 8:10.)
Living in Indonesia for a year now, and facing my second Christmas here, I have come to realize that the entire Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu population here as well as the entire countries of China, Thailand, North Korea, and more, do not live knowing that Christ has come. If they do Christmas, it is just another day but it has no meaning and no special reason to think about Jesus Christ. So as you rejoice in your Christmas, pray for those who have never known even one Christmas for they do not know of Christ.
Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Mary’s Great Praise

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Luke 1:

46 And Mary said:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

47    And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

48    For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;

For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

49    For He who is mighty has done great things for me,

And holy is His name.

50    And His mercy is on those who fear Him

From generation to generation.

51    He has shown strength with His arm;

He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52    He has put down the mighty from their thrones,

And exalted the lowly.

53    He has filled the hungry with good things,

And the rich He has sent away empty.

54    He has helped His servant Israel,

In remembrance of His mercy,

55    As He spoke to our fathers,

To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

Take some time today to enjoy the song of Mary after she knew she had been made pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Of all people in her life, I would suppose that she was the only one without any doubts whatsoever. Yes, Joseph believed the angel, but his first thought was to put her away for being unfaithful to him. Later, Jesus was accused of being born of fornication which accusation put Mary in a very bad light. We can assume that Mary would know throughout her life that her first pregnancy was going to raise questions and eyebrows, but Mary knew the wonderful truth.

In this her song, Mary lifts up the name of the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior. God did great things for her and His name was holy. From beginning to end, Mary speaks continued praise to her God. Mary knew that a miracle, a one-of-a-kind miracle had taken place within her womb and she just had to lift up the name of the God whose miracle she was carrying. Notice how she identifies with the lowly, with those who fear Him, the hungry who are filled with good things, and with the servant whom the Lord helped in His mercy.

Mary is well aware that the Lord shows strength with His arm, the Lord scatters the proud, He puts down the mighty, and He sends the rich away empty. Mary was among the poor of this world, yet God had uniquely smiled upon her in remembrance of His mercy. God was fulfilling His promise of a Messiah and Mary was the vessel God was using. While none of this made sense, Mary greatly rejoices in her God-given position, as the mother of God’s Son.

We thank God for Mary, a young faithful woman of Israel, whom God chose to carry the Lord Jesus and bring into this world. Not much more is said about Mary, but she knew that God had done something wonderful in her. We know when God has saved us, we know when the Holy Spirit of God dwells within us, and we too should sing songs of praise that God has mercifully chosen us. Let us join Mary in praising our God and Savior for His wonderful works in us.

 

Thank you for your prayers on Monday, the opportunity to preach Christ at a company Christmas party was wonderful. I am thankful to Rikardo for putting this all together and to the company who allowed it and supported it. We now pray for the fruit of salvation to come from the seed sown.

Take opportunities this next week to speak openly of the Christ of Christmas. People might be a bit more willing to speak of the Savior during this season of the year.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

The Glory of God in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ

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We have looked at the glory of God in different aspects of His salvation. In this message Pastor Steve looks at God becoming man, fully God and fully man. This fullness was necessary for Christ to obtain our redemption.

 

 

All of God and all of man in one Man

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Luke 1:80 So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

Luke 2:51–52  Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

On Christmas Eve I brought a message on the glory of God in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  According to the Scriptures, Jesus was God in the flesh from the moment of His conception for He was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  No other time was a birth foretold 700 years earlier.  No other time has a woman conceived without a human father.  The incarnation of Christ was to the glory of God alone.  The angels in the heavens proclaimed the glory of God to the shepherds crying “Glory to God in the highest!”

The uniqueness of the virgin birth leads us into the uniqueness of the Christ.  Jesus claimed equality with God.  He claimed that He and the Father are one.  Jesus claimed to be the human temple of the Spirit of God when He told the disciples to destroy “this temple” and in three days he would raise it up.  Therefore, Jesus Christ was 100% man with the full DNA of Mary and He was 100% God with full essence of God.  At twelve years of age Jesus told his parents that he must “be about my Father’s business.”

The importance of the incarnation of God into human flesh cannot be understated.  This teaching has been attacked for two thousand years!  The liberal mind that is against God cannot wrap itself around God in flesh.  Yet in order for the sinless sacrifice to die the only begotten Son of God had to have a body capable of being crucified.  Spend some time today glorifying God for the incarnation of the Son, God in human flesh to become our Redeemer, our Savior.

Christmas is past but our tree is still up.  We are still rejoicing in the birth of our Savior.  The Massey family came in last night for two nights.  We are always thankful for their friendship and the time we get together with them.

Our Christmas day was filled with family and friends.  It started Christmas Eve with a wonderful service in the morning, a God-exalting singing and worship time in the evening at my house, then rounded into a fabulous Christmas day filled with contacts from all of our children (we love video calls) and grandchildren.  If a full house is a happy house then we had lots of happiness, and we did.  We ended the day with “A Muppet Christmas Carol” laughing and singing along with the Muppets. 

What special things did your family do this Christmas?  I would love to hear from you.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Oh, What A Name, Jesus

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Matthew 1:20–25

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

 

Every dad gets to name his first-born son. He usually has a choice to name the first son after himself or someone else he greatly respects.   But Joseph did not have that choice for the angel told him the name he was to use. Furthermore, the name “Jesus” had a specific reason for it to be used, the angel said, “thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” And while those who knew the child and the young man Jesus, they did not know him as their Savior; every one of us since the resurrection have equated the name of Jesus with the action of Savior.

How many songs have been written exalting and loving the name of Jesus? How many books have been written about the person of Jesus? How many movies have been watched about Jesus? We call him, the Lord Jesus Christ, and it all flows out in one beautiful name. We study the Lord Jesus to know how we are to live. We surrender to the Lord Jesus as He has promised to live His life through us. We praise the Lord Jesus and worship Him for the gift of salvation that He purchased for us.

Aren’t you glad Joseph obeyed the messenger of God and named his son, Jesus! No other name would have fit and God knew the right name for baby born to Mary. He was to be called Jesus. As we continue our trek toward Christmas day, spend time rejoicing in the Lord Jesus. Look for places and times to talk about the Lord Jesus. People are so hurried and so self-absorbed and in such great need of Jesus. Life is the question and Jesus is the answer. Don’t give out the name of any other potential person who can improve their lives, no, give them the name above all names, tell them about Jesus.

Today is Jared’s 20th birthday! Wow, it has been 20 years of life with Jared and we are thankful to God for Jared’s life.

 

We were out doing some shopping last night and ran into a friend from the community whom we have not seen for three years. We hugged and chatted as we were checking out. My dad and mom were with us also buying some Christmas gifts. This friend knew them as well. As we left the store my mom told me that this friend came over and paid for their purchase! We rejoiced to see how God still takes time to care for His children.

Sunday morning we will have our regularly scheduled church service at 10:30 but we will not be having any Sunday school classes. If anyone would like to sing a bit more on Christmas Eve, come over to my home around 6:00 and join us for a time of family worship.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Born a human to understand us

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Matthew 1

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 4

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 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. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We can put these two passages together today to remind us and to encourage us that Jesus Christ understands our lives. If Christ had not come in the form of a human, through the womb of a human mother, we would hold him at arm’s length when the trials of this life came upon us. We would know that Jesus really did not understand our situations. But we have to take notice here. Mary was found with a child.

We just had a baby born in our family. Amera Grace Schroeder was born last Friday evening. While just a baby, and a beautiful one at that, she was indeed a human baby. We have every reason to expect that when Mary birthed Jesus she had a human baby. In every way the Lord Jesus came in a human body on that first Christmas morning. The importance of this fact is that as Jesus lived a fully human life from birth to death he came to understand us.

The writer of Hebrews says that our High Priest, who ever intercedes for us before the Father, intimately understands every part of our lives for He lived our lives in His own life. We cannot face any trouble in this life that He did not face. We cannot face any pain that Jesus did not face. We cannot face any emotion that Jesus did not face. He was in every way tempted and tried as we are yet He faced them all without sin. What a glorious example our Lord is to us and what a wonderful High Priest He is. Rejoice this season that your Lord Jesus understands everything about you for He lived your life in His own.

 

I challenged the teens last night to ask God for one unique opportunity to talk to someone about Christ this Christmas. Join us. People’s hearts are far more open at Christmas to talk about Jesus. He is on signs, in movies, and on cards. His name is plastered everywhere the greeting, “Merry Christmas” is displayed. Ask God for at least one unique opportunity to speak to someone of the Savior this season.

 Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Why Jesus came

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Galatians 4

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

In the fullness of God’s time, He sent forth His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  When God began the world His clock began to tick.  Over the next four thousand years many events took place by the sovereign plan of God.  He promised a son to Eve who would crush the serpent’s head.  He promised Noah that He would dwell in the tents of Shem, He promised Abraham that through him all of the nations of the world would be blessed, and God promised David that his throne would be established forever.  In the fullness of time Jesus came and fulfilled all of the promises of God.

But why did Jesus come?  We all know this and Paul makes it clear in Galatians 4:5.  God sent His Son to redeem us from our sin, to redeem us who under the law were kept apart from God by the continual breaking of His holy law.  Jesus came to redeem us!  Before the Christmas week ends and before the decorations come down and before the Spirit of Christmas gives way to the regular actions and attitudes of life, remind all of the people you can that Jesus came to redeem us. We, unable to keep God’s law, needed to redeemed from our sin.  Jesus came to redeem us so that we could be adopted as sons into God’s eternal family.

Yesterday was a wonderful Christmas Day in every way.  Our service was filled with Scripture and song exalting the coming of Christ. The people read the Scriptures together.  Our message was a reminder of why Christ came and that He is coming again.  The world that wasn’t ready for the first coming of Christ won’t be ready for His second coming, but we who know Him are anxiously looking for the Savior’s return. 

Enjoy your week with the kids home from school.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS