Waiting For Christmas | TBN

Waiting For Christmas

Watch Waiting For Christmas
December 20, 2020
27:29

Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie teaches the simple yet life changing message of the Gospel.,#=#,Greg Laurie,Virgin Birth;Messiah;Prophecy;Christmas;Nativity;Angels;Savior;Promises of God;Trust God,Micah 5:2;Luke 2:9-15;Hebrews 13:5;Romans 8:28,Religion;Series,HD-GLH2052,1237229

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Waiting For Christmas

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  • ♪ This is the day whenthe lost are found ♪
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  • ♪ Can you hear all theangels are singin' ♪
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  • ♪ This is the day, theday when life begins ♪
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  • - Well I want to look at twopeople in the Christmas story
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  • that are often overlooked.
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  • And they were effectivelywaiting for Christmas.
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  • The first Christmas orthe birth of Christ.
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  • They were lookingforward to that moment.
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  • And you know, there's somuch buildup to Christmas.
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  • And I actually dolove Christmas.
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  • But I don't think itcan live up to its hype.
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  • And I think the realityis deep down inside,
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  • we're not longing for Christmas.
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  • We're actuallylonging for Christ.
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  • It's not merrimentwe really want.
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  • It's really the Messiah.
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  • It's not just goodwill.
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  • It's actually God.
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  • It's not presents under a tree.
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  • It's his presence in our life.
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  • And isn't that thepromise of Christmas?
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  • You will call his name Immanuel
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  • which means God is with us.
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  • Now some of you maybe visiting tonight
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  • and this is yourfirst time at church,
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  • or at this church or any church.
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  • And to you I say welcome
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  • and I hope that you willmake this your church home
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  • and join the family of God.
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  • Some of you, wellyou do go to church,
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  • just haven't been for a while.
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  • And my statement to you islike, what's up with that?
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  • No, it's like hey, welcome back.
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  • And we'd like to see a lotmore of you in the days ahead.
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  • So let's talk aboutthese two people.
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  • And it's not Mary and Joseph.
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  • These are two peoplethat are often
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  • forgotten about or ignored.
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  • And their names areFrosty the Snowman
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  • and Rudolph theRed-Nosed Reindeer.
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  • No I'm joking, it's not them.
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  • It's Simeon and Anna.
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  • I bet there's someone herethat's never even heard
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  • of Simeon and Anna.
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  • They don't appear inany nativity scenes
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  • or on any Christmas cardsthat I've ever seen.
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  • But they were there and theywere waiting for Christmas.
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  • And in fact, theypreceded the wise men
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  • who came later tothe home of Jesus.
  • 00:02:06.683 --> 00:02:09.586
  • So in some ways they're morea part of the nativity scene
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  • than even the wise men,
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  • who as I pointed out probablycame one to two years later
  • 00:02:15.258 --> 00:02:18.795
  • to the house where Jesuswas, not to the manger.
  • 00:02:18.795 --> 00:02:23.666
  • So let's kinda get the timeline
  • 00:02:23.666 --> 00:02:25.668
  • and we'll figure out whereSimeon and Anna fit in.
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  • So of course the angel Gabrielcomes to the city of Nazareth
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  • to the young girl Mary.
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  • And he tells her that sheis gonna be a fulfillment
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  • of Bible prophecy.
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  • Mary was a nobodyliving in a nowhere town
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  • in the middle of nowhere.
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  • She also was a godly girl living
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  • in a very ungodlyplace, Nazareth.
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  • A place which renowned forits wickedness and immorality.
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  • Yet this girl lived apure life before the Lord.
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  • So the Lord chose her.
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  • And the angel Gabrielsaid, you're gonna be
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  • the fulfillment of the prophecy.
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  • You're gonna be thevirgin that will conceive.
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  • Mary understandably says,considering I'm a virgin,
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  • and she's a teenagerso she might have said,
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  • like, consideringI'm like a virgin.
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  • Like I'm all like he's all like.
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  • I don't know, whatever.
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  • How's this gonna work out?
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  • And Gabriel says the HolySpirit will come upon you.
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  • The power of the mosthigh will overshadow you.
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  • So the baby to beborn will be holy
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  • and he will be calledthe Son of God.
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  • Then there's Joseph, the unsunghero of the Christmas story.
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  • He could have walked away.
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  • 'Cause here's his bride to be,
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  • they're not marriedyet, who's pregnant.
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  • And she was not the firstgirl to get pregnant
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  • in Nazareth outside of wedlock.
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  • And he thought the worstbut because he loved Mary,
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  • he was willing toput her away quietly.
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  • But he wasn't buying her story.
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  • But she said, oh yes,
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  • I'm gonna be the virginwho will conceive.
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  • He's like, yeah right, sure.
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  • But he wasbrokenhearted over it.
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  • But as he went tosleep that night,
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  • an angel of the Lord came to him
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  • and revealed that indeed she was
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  • the fulfillment of prophecy.
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  • And he decided to stand by her.
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  • Listen to this, Mary and Josephcould have said no to this.
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  • Mary could have said,I don't want this.
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  • This is gonna be hard.
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  • And Joseph could have said,
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  • no guy down at the work siteis ever gonna believe my story.
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  • But he stood by her.
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  • That's why I callhim the unsung hero
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  • of the Christmas story.
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  • So now they're headedto Bethlehem, why?
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  • Because there was a Caesarin charge, Caesar Augustus,
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  • who gave the decree that allthe world should be taxed.
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  • You know, historianssay that this Caesar
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  • was probably around fivefeet seven inches tall.
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  • It's funny, I was tellingthis story to my grandkids.
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  • And when I mentioned Caesar,
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  • my granddaughter Lucysaid, Little Caesar?
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  • (congregation laughing)
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  • And I responded, pizzapizza, right okay so.
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  • Actually he was little Caesar.
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  • But he thought he was a big man.
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  • Even worse, hethought he was a god.
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  • See, the term Augustusmeans of the gods.
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  • He was the first Caesar toactually require worship.
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  • He wanted to beworshiped as a deity.
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  • So this man who thought hewas a god gives a decree.
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  • When in reality, he wasmerely a tool in the hand
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  • of the true God to accomplishthe Lord's purposes.
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  • You know, sometimesGod can use people
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  • who are in positionsof influence and power
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  • to get things thathe wants done.
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  • They may not be themost moral people.
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  • They may not be themost ethical people.
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  • They may not evenbe believing people.
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  • But God's in control.
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  • And the Bible saysthat the king's heart
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  • is in the hand of the Lord
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  • and he'll move it whereverhe wants it to go.
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  • So the Lord moved thehand of Augustus Caesar
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  • to make this decree.
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  • So Mary and Joseph wouldget back to Bethlehem
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  • because the prophecysaid Messiah
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  • would be born inBethlehem, Micah 5:2.
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  • Thou Bethlehem,though you be little
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  • among the thousands of Judah,
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  • yet out of youshall come forth one
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  • whose origins havebeen from everlasting
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  • or literally thevanishing point.
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  • I don't even thinkthey understood
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  • the full implicationsof what was happening.
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  • And they went to Bethlehem.
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  • And there of course therewas no room in the inn.
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  • So they were sent toa stable or a barn.
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  • And there theSavior of the world,
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  • the creator of the universe,
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  • came to us as a helpless infant.
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  • And now the messageis gonna be announced.
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  • Now when you have a baby,
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  • generally you want totell first your family,
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  • then your close friends.
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  • You'll tell them how muchthe baby weighed at birth,
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  • how long the baby is,
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  • what the name of the baby is.
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  • And so now here's the greatestannouncement of all time
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  • of the birth of the baby.
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  • And who is thenews delivered to?
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  • Not to the courtof little Caesar.
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  • Not to the religious leaders.
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  • But actually toshepherds keeping watch
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  • over their flocks by night.
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  • These guys were on the lowestrung of the social ladder.
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  • Yet the Lord gives to themthis great message in Luke 2:9.
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  • Suddenly an angel of theLord appeared among them.
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  • And the radiance of theLord's glory surrounded them
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  • and they were terrified.
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  • And the angel reassured themsaying, don't be afraid.
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  • For I bring you good news
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  • that will bring greatjoy to all people.
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  • The Savior, yes the Messiah,
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  • the Lord has been borntoday in Bethlehem,
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  • in the city of David.
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  • And you'll recognizehim by this sign.
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  • You'll find the babe wrappedsnugly in strips of cloth
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  • lying in a manger.
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  • And then it continueson and says, suddenly,
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  • the angel was joined bya vast host of others,
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  • the armies of heavenpraising God and saying,
  • 00:08:01.070 --> 00:08:03.706
  • glory to God inthe highest heaven
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  • and peace on earth to thosewith whom God is pleased.
  • 00:08:05.541 --> 00:08:09.011
  • When the angelsreturned to heaven,
  • 00:08:09.011 --> 00:08:10.913
  • the shepherds saidto each other,
  • 00:08:10.913 --> 00:08:12.848
  • let's go to Bethlehem.
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  • Let's see this thingthat has happened
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  • which the Lordhas told us about.
  • 00:08:16.719 --> 00:08:19.622
  • So the shepherds make thejourney to the manger.
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  • And there's Joseph,and there's Mary,
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  • and there's the baby Jesus.
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  • What happened next?
  • 00:08:28.497 --> 00:08:30.032
  • Well the wise men showed upwith the three gifts, right?
  • 00:08:30.032 --> 00:08:33.569
  • No, as I told you,they came much later.
  • 00:08:33.569 --> 00:08:36.806
  • They're not even apart of this story.
  • 00:08:36.806 --> 00:08:38.407
  • I'll tell you whathappened next.
  • 00:08:38.407 --> 00:08:40.076
  • Eight days later,
  • 00:08:40.076 --> 00:08:41.677
  • Mary and Josephwent to the temple
  • 00:08:41.677 --> 00:08:44.180
  • to have Jesus circumcised.
  • 00:08:44.180 --> 00:08:47.283
  • And that's where Simeonand Anna enter our story.
  • 00:08:47.283 --> 00:08:52.254
  • Simeon was a godly man eagerlywaiting for the Messiah.
  • 00:08:52.254 --> 00:08:57.259
  • That was no small feat atthis time historically.
  • 00:08:58.694 --> 00:09:01.097
  • Israel by and large hadturned their back on God.
  • 00:09:01.097 --> 00:09:05.001
  • They had not heard fromGod for 400 long years.
  • 00:09:05.001 --> 00:09:08.304
  • Not a single angelic appearance.
  • 00:09:08.304 --> 00:09:10.640
  • Not one miracle.
  • 00:09:10.640 --> 00:09:12.308
  • No prophet stood upand spoke for the Lord
  • 00:09:12.308 --> 00:09:14.910
  • during this 400 yearperiod of silence.
  • 00:09:14.910 --> 00:09:19.649
  • Nothing was really happening.
  • 00:09:19.649 --> 00:09:21.484
  • But God was settingthings into place
  • 00:09:21.484 --> 00:09:24.954
  • for the perfect timing ofthe arrival of the Messiah.
  • 00:09:24.954 --> 00:09:28.357
  • As it turns out historically,
  • 00:09:28.357 --> 00:09:30.226
  • Rome controlledmuch of the world.
  • 00:09:30.226 --> 00:09:33.162
  • They established whatwas called Pax Romana,
  • 00:09:33.162 --> 00:09:36.298
  • which means forced peace.
  • 00:09:36.298 --> 00:09:38.367
  • They established a road systemthat had never existed before
  • 00:09:38.367 --> 00:09:42.171
  • that led to most ofthe civilized world.
  • 00:09:42.171 --> 00:09:44.540
  • Plus a common language, Greek,
  • 00:09:44.540 --> 00:09:47.243
  • that people could now speak in,
  • 00:09:47.243 --> 00:09:48.711
  • instead of many, many languages.
  • 00:09:48.711 --> 00:09:51.180
  • And finally they establisheda sophisticated postal system.
  • 00:09:51.180 --> 00:09:54.817
  • So this was very high techfor the day if you will.
  • 00:09:54.817 --> 00:09:58.954
  • And so the scene was set forthe arrival of the Messiah
  • 00:09:58.954 --> 00:10:02.558
  • and ultimately for thedelivery of the gospel message
  • 00:10:02.558 --> 00:10:06.195
  • around the planetbecause the apostles
  • 00:10:06.195 --> 00:10:08.864
  • walked those Roman roads.
  • 00:10:08.864 --> 00:10:10.966
  • And they wrote scripturein that Greek language.
  • 00:10:10.966 --> 00:10:14.270
  • And they brought the messageto a very needy world.
  • 00:10:14.270 --> 00:10:17.773
  • Meanwhile there's old Simeonhangin' around the temple.
  • 00:10:17.773 --> 00:10:20.576
  • And the Lord revealed tohim that he would not die
  • 00:10:22.044 --> 00:10:23.846
  • till he saw the Messiah.
  • 00:10:23.846 --> 00:10:26.482
  • Sometimes you get boxesahead of Christmas that say,
  • 00:10:26.482 --> 00:10:29.251
  • do not open until Christmas.
  • 00:10:29.251 --> 00:10:31.554
  • God had shown Simeonhe would not die
  • 00:10:31.554 --> 00:10:34.123
  • until the first Christmas.
  • 00:10:34.123 --> 00:10:36.492
  • He was holding on to thepromises of God for a long time.
  • 00:10:36.492 --> 00:10:41.497
  • And the promises arethere for us as well.
  • 00:10:42.665 --> 00:10:45.034
  • He held onto the promise.
  • 00:10:45.034 --> 00:10:46.535
  • In the book of Malachi,
  • 00:10:46.535 --> 00:10:47.970
  • the last book of the OldTestament where the Lord said,
  • 00:10:47.970 --> 00:10:50.973
  • the son ofrighteousness will rise
  • 00:10:50.973 --> 00:10:52.908
  • with healing in his wings.
  • 00:10:52.908 --> 00:10:55.311
  • So he was waiting for that sonof righteousness to appear.
  • 00:10:55.311 --> 00:10:59.148
  • And I tell you what,
  • 00:10:59.148 --> 00:11:00.082
  • God has given a lot of promises
  • 00:11:00.082 --> 00:11:01.851
  • to us as Christiansin the Bible.
  • 00:11:01.851 --> 00:11:04.653
  • The Bible calls themexceedingly great
  • 00:11:04.653 --> 00:11:06.956
  • and precious promises,thousands of them.
  • 00:11:06.956 --> 00:11:10.593
  • For instance theLord has promised
  • 00:11:10.593 --> 00:11:12.194
  • that you will never be alone.
  • 00:11:12.194 --> 00:11:14.096
  • Because Jesus said I willnever leave you or forsake you.
  • 00:11:14.096 --> 00:11:18.033
  • Or a bettertranslation would be,
  • 00:11:18.033 --> 00:11:19.802
  • I will never, no never, noever leave you or forsake you.
  • 00:11:19.802 --> 00:11:24.573
  • He's promised that he willprovide all of your needs
  • 00:11:24.573 --> 00:11:27.943
  • according to his richesand glory in Christ Jesus.
  • 00:11:27.943 --> 00:11:31.580
  • He's promised in Romans 8:28
  • 00:11:31.580 --> 00:11:33.482
  • to cause all things towork together for good
  • 00:11:33.482 --> 00:11:35.885
  • to those that love God.
  • 00:11:35.885 --> 00:11:38.387
  • And he's also promisedto answer your prayers.
  • 00:11:38.387 --> 00:11:42.691
  • Because in Jeremiah33:3, the Lord says,
  • 00:11:42.691 --> 00:11:45.661
  • call to me and Iwill answer you.
  • 00:11:45.661 --> 00:11:47.429
  • So Simeon was waiting forhis prayer to be answered.
  • 00:11:47.429 --> 00:11:50.499
  • To me these promises of Godare a lot like gift cards.
  • 00:11:50.499 --> 00:11:54.603
  • Do some of you give outgift cards at Christmas?
  • 00:11:54.603 --> 00:11:57.973
  • Do any of you everreceive gift cards?
  • 00:11:57.973 --> 00:12:00.509
  • I have to admit,
  • 00:12:00.509 --> 00:12:01.744
  • I have quite a few thathave been left unused.
  • 00:12:01.744 --> 00:12:03.379
  • I read recently thatthere are, listen to this,
  • 00:12:03.379 --> 00:12:05.781
  • you won't believe whatI'm gonna tell you.
  • 00:12:05.781 --> 00:12:07.516
  • There are $45 billionworth of gift cards
  • 00:12:07.516 --> 00:12:11.320
  • that are left unclaimed.
  • 00:12:11.320 --> 00:12:13.422
  • So just sitting outthere, all those cards.
  • 00:12:13.422 --> 00:12:16.192
  • But he was waiting,Simeon, in the temple.
  • 00:12:16.192 --> 00:12:20.696
  • Waiting for thearrival of the Messiah.
  • 00:12:20.696 --> 00:12:23.499
  • And in walked Mary,Joseph, and the baby Jesus.
  • 00:12:23.499 --> 00:12:28.504
  • How did he know it was them?
  • 00:12:30.072 --> 00:12:31.540
  • Well they glowed, ofcourse, that's how.
  • 00:12:31.540 --> 00:12:34.043
  • Or they had halos right?
  • 00:12:34.877 --> 00:12:37.346
  • Jesus had sort of a little babyhalo, little smaller right.
  • 00:12:37.346 --> 00:12:40.616
  • No, not right at all.
  • 00:12:40.616 --> 00:12:42.585
  • I think they looked likeany other poor family.
  • 00:12:42.585 --> 00:12:45.254
  • But the reason heknew who they were
  • 00:12:45.254 --> 00:12:47.990
  • was he was a manwho sought the Lord
  • 00:12:47.990 --> 00:12:50.559
  • and prayed a lotand was waiting.
  • 00:12:50.559 --> 00:12:53.796
  • And when you seek the Lord,
  • 00:12:53.796 --> 00:12:55.030
  • he will reveal things to you
  • 00:12:55.030 --> 00:12:56.565
  • that will not be revealed to aperson who does not know him.
  • 00:12:56.565 --> 00:13:00.035
  • So they walked in, he said,
  • 00:13:00.035 --> 00:13:01.470
  • there he is, there he is.
  • 00:13:01.470 --> 00:13:03.572
  • And he walked over andin Luke 2:32 he says,
  • 00:13:03.572 --> 00:13:08.577
  • he is a light,speaking of Jesus,
  • 00:13:09.712 --> 00:13:11.347
  • to reveal God to the nations.
  • 00:13:11.347 --> 00:13:13.182
  • He is the glory ofyour people, Israel.
  • 00:13:13.182 --> 00:13:15.985
  • Mary and Joseph, the Bible says,
  • 00:13:15.985 --> 00:13:17.953
  • were amazed at what wasbeing said about him.
  • 00:13:17.953 --> 00:13:21.257
  • Then Simeon blessed him andsaid to Mary the baby's mother,
  • 00:13:21.257 --> 00:13:24.293
  • this child is destined tocause many in Israel to fall
  • 00:13:24.293 --> 00:13:27.363
  • and many others to rise.
  • 00:13:27.363 --> 00:13:28.964
  • He's been sent as a sign fromGod and many will oppose him.
  • 00:13:28.964 --> 00:13:32.735
  • Very true, they'restill opposing him.
  • 00:13:32.735 --> 00:13:34.904
  • As a result, the deepestthoughts of many hearts
  • 00:13:36.105 --> 00:13:38.073
  • will be revealed and asword will pierce your soul,
  • 00:13:38.073 --> 00:13:43.078
  • he said to Mary.
  • 00:13:43.679 --> 00:13:44.880
  • It was true.
  • 00:13:44.880 --> 00:13:46.382
  • Mary made a great sacrificeto be the mother of Jesus.
  • 00:13:46.382 --> 00:13:49.184
  • It was the greatest privilege,
  • 00:13:49.184 --> 00:13:50.653
  • but a great sacrifice.
  • 00:13:50.653 --> 00:13:51.987
  • Because Mary went through life
  • 00:13:51.987 --> 00:13:54.223
  • being regarded by manyas an immoral woman.
  • 00:13:54.223 --> 00:13:58.260
  • They didn't believe she wasthe virgin spoken of in Isaiah,
  • 00:13:58.260 --> 00:14:02.364
  • just thought there wasa girl that got pregnant
  • 00:14:02.364 --> 00:14:05.200
  • outside of wedlock andmade up some story.
  • 00:14:05.200 --> 00:14:08.070
  • In fact, the Pharisees saidto Jesus on one occasion,
  • 00:14:08.070 --> 00:14:10.973
  • hey, well at least weweren't born of fornication.
  • 00:14:10.973 --> 00:14:14.476
  • Which is another way of saying,
  • 00:14:14.476 --> 00:14:15.878
  • hey, at least we're notillegitimate children like you.
  • 00:14:15.878 --> 00:14:19.148
  • Hey, those are fightin'words by the way.
  • 00:14:19.148 --> 00:14:21.583
  • But Mary put up with that,
  • 00:14:21.583 --> 00:14:23.118
  • effectively walking throughlife with a scarlet letter A
  • 00:14:23.118 --> 00:14:27.222
  • written on her robe, adulteress.
  • 00:14:27.222 --> 00:14:29.792
  • Very furthest thingfrom the truth.
  • 00:14:29.792 --> 00:14:31.927
  • But she had to livewith that reputation.
  • 00:14:31.927 --> 00:14:34.029
  • And then secondly, when shestood at the foot of the cross
  • 00:14:34.029 --> 00:14:38.167
  • and saw her belovedson hanging there,
  • 00:14:38.167 --> 00:14:41.804
  • those once tiny hands nownailed to a cross of wood.
  • 00:14:41.804 --> 00:14:45.541
  • Those little feetthat she would guide
  • 00:14:45.541 --> 00:14:47.643
  • also nailed to that cross.
  • 00:14:47.643 --> 00:14:49.945
  • The sword pierced her soul.
  • 00:14:49.945 --> 00:14:53.349
  • That must have been a very,very difficult moment.
  • 00:14:53.349 --> 00:14:57.052
  • But she stood there by him
  • 00:14:57.052 --> 00:14:58.954
  • and she fulfilledprophecy and did what God
  • 00:14:58.954 --> 00:15:01.590
  • called her to do.
  • 00:15:01.590 --> 00:15:03.292
  • So now as we come to Christmas,
  • 00:15:03.292 --> 00:15:05.194
  • we want to be likeSimeon and Anna.
  • 00:15:05.194 --> 00:15:08.230
  • Who was Anna?
  • 00:15:08.230 --> 00:15:09.465
  • She was a woman whowas 84 years old.
  • 00:15:09.465 --> 00:15:12.234
  • She hung around in the temple.
  • 00:15:12.234 --> 00:15:13.736
  • In fact, the Bible saysshe never left the temple.
  • 00:15:13.736 --> 00:15:16.872
  • Probably because she was afraid,
  • 00:15:16.872 --> 00:15:18.107
  • if I leave right nowand go to McDavids
  • 00:15:18.107 --> 00:15:20.909
  • and get a burger or a falafelI'm gonna miss Messiah.
  • 00:15:20.909 --> 00:15:24.880
  • So she just waited,and waited, and waited.
  • 00:15:24.880 --> 00:15:29.184
  • And then she sees Simeontalking to Mary and Joseph.
  • 00:15:29.184 --> 00:15:32.154
  • She sees the baby Jesus,
  • 00:15:32.154 --> 00:15:33.956
  • realizes the prophecyhas been fulfilled,
  • 00:15:33.956 --> 00:15:36.525
  • and the Bible says shewent out and told everyone
  • 00:15:36.525 --> 00:15:39.728
  • about the child.
  • 00:15:39.728 --> 00:15:41.397
  • See, she was lookingforward to the day
  • 00:15:41.397 --> 00:15:44.333
  • when Jesus would come.
  • 00:15:44.333 --> 00:15:46.268
  • And we should be lookingforward to the day
  • 00:15:46.268 --> 00:15:49.104
  • when Jesus will come again.
  • 00:15:49.104 --> 00:15:51.874
  • Just as surely as Jesus camein fulfillment of prophecy
  • 00:15:51.874 --> 00:15:55.611
  • and was born in that manger,
  • 00:15:55.611 --> 00:15:57.546
  • Jesus Christ will comeagain to this earth.
  • 00:15:57.546 --> 00:16:00.682
  • In fact, Hebrews 9:28says he'll come again
  • 00:16:00.682 --> 00:16:03.452
  • to all those whoeagerly await him.
  • 00:16:03.452 --> 00:16:06.355
  • Let me ask you a questionthis Christmas Eve of 2019.
  • 00:16:07.790 --> 00:16:12.261
  • Do you eagerly look forwardto the return of Jesus?
  • 00:16:13.662 --> 00:16:16.999
  • I think it's really an indicator
  • 00:16:16.999 --> 00:16:18.567
  • of where you're at spiritually.
  • 00:16:18.567 --> 00:16:20.936
  • I think if you'reright with God,
  • 00:16:20.936 --> 00:16:22.171
  • you will long for,you will desire,
  • 00:16:22.171 --> 00:16:24.606
  • you will want Christ to return.
  • 00:16:24.606 --> 00:16:27.142
  • I think if you're maybe not
  • 00:16:27.142 --> 00:16:28.477
  • where you want tobe spiritually,
  • 00:16:28.477 --> 00:16:30.846
  • you'll sort of dread theidea of Christ coming back.
  • 00:16:30.846 --> 00:16:34.116
  • He'll come to this earth again.
  • 00:16:34.116 --> 00:16:36.452
  • In his first coming he waswrapped in swaddling clothes.
  • 00:16:36.452 --> 00:16:40.055
  • In his second coming,
  • 00:16:40.055 --> 00:16:41.557
  • he'll be clothed royallyin a robe dipped in blood.
  • 00:16:41.557 --> 00:16:44.326
  • In his first coming,
  • 00:16:44.326 --> 00:16:45.561
  • he was surrounded byanimals and shepherds.
  • 00:16:45.561 --> 00:16:47.930
  • In the second coming,
  • 00:16:47.930 --> 00:16:49.164
  • he'll be surroundedby saints and angels.
  • 00:16:49.164 --> 00:16:52.201
  • In his first coming,
  • 00:16:52.201 --> 00:16:53.435
  • there was no roomfor him in the inn.
  • 00:16:53.435 --> 00:16:55.270
  • In his second coming,
  • 00:16:55.270 --> 00:16:56.538
  • the door of the heavenswill be open to him.
  • 00:16:56.538 --> 00:16:59.675
  • In his first coming,
  • 00:16:59.675 --> 00:17:00.709
  • he would be the Lamb of God
  • 00:17:00.709 --> 00:17:02.177
  • who would die forthe sin of the world.
  • 00:17:02.177 --> 00:17:05.047
  • In the second coming,
  • 00:17:05.047 --> 00:17:06.081
  • he'll be the ferocious lion
  • 00:17:06.081 --> 00:17:08.083
  • of the tribe of Judahbringing judgment.
  • 00:17:08.083 --> 00:17:11.186
  • And we like Simeon and Anna
  • 00:17:11.186 --> 00:17:13.422
  • should be lookingforward to his return.
  • 00:17:13.422 --> 00:17:17.426
  • This may surprise youbut death and Christmas
  • 00:17:17.426 --> 00:17:20.829
  • are inseparably connected.
  • 00:17:20.829 --> 00:17:23.432
  • I know that's not a cheeryimage for this time of year.
  • 00:17:23.432 --> 00:17:26.869
  • But actually it's true.
  • 00:17:26.869 --> 00:17:28.871
  • Because this child was coming
  • 00:17:28.871 --> 00:17:31.206
  • to die for the sin of the world.
  • 00:17:31.206 --> 00:17:33.976
  • The wise men got it.
  • 00:17:33.976 --> 00:17:36.078
  • One brought a gift of gold.
  • 00:17:36.078 --> 00:17:37.546
  • Another brought agift of frankincense,
  • 00:17:37.546 --> 00:17:39.781
  • and the third broughta gift of myrrh.
  • 00:17:39.781 --> 00:17:41.884
  • Gold because he was a king,
  • 00:17:41.884 --> 00:17:44.019
  • frankincense or incensebecause he would be
  • 00:17:44.019 --> 00:17:46.421
  • our high priestrepresenting us to God.
  • 00:17:46.421 --> 00:17:50.626
  • And lastly myrrh whichwas an embalming element
  • 00:17:50.626 --> 00:17:53.395
  • because this childwould become a man
  • 00:17:53.395 --> 00:17:55.764
  • and die on the cross forthe sin of the world.
  • 00:17:55.764 --> 00:17:59.134
  • So why did Jesus come?
  • 00:17:59.134 --> 00:18:01.270
  • So we could shop till we drop?
  • 00:18:01.270 --> 00:18:03.939
  • No, he came so hewould die for our sins.
  • 00:18:03.939 --> 00:18:07.276
  • He said himself in Mark 10:45.
  • 00:18:07.276 --> 00:18:09.811
  • I've come to give my lifeas a ransom for many.
  • 00:18:09.811 --> 00:18:13.615
  • It's a gift.
  • 00:18:14.583 --> 00:18:15.851
  • It's the ultimate giftthat God offers to us,
  • 00:18:15.851 --> 00:18:18.487
  • the gift of eternal life.
  • 00:18:18.487 --> 00:18:20.722
  • You know, I've noticedthat a lot of people
  • 00:18:20.722 --> 00:18:22.758
  • are having packagesstolen off of their porch.
  • 00:18:22.758 --> 00:18:25.961
  • It's a thing that's reallygetting out of control.
  • 00:18:25.961 --> 00:18:28.430
  • Because so many peopleare shopping online now.
  • 00:18:28.430 --> 00:18:31.033
  • It's crazy, thehighest numbers ever.
  • 00:18:31.033 --> 00:18:34.269
  • And so these guys or girls,
  • 00:18:34.269 --> 00:18:36.905
  • whoever they are that comeand steal these packages
  • 00:18:36.905 --> 00:18:39.441
  • are called porch pirates.
  • 00:18:39.441 --> 00:18:41.376
  • Heard about that?
  • 00:18:41.376 --> 00:18:42.844
  • So I heard about one ladywho was quite clever.
  • 00:18:42.844 --> 00:18:45.480
  • She took the boxes that shegot from Amazon and others
  • 00:18:45.480 --> 00:18:48.517
  • and took what shewanted out of them
  • 00:18:48.517 --> 00:18:50.452
  • and then filled them withtrash and put 'em on the porch
  • 00:18:50.452 --> 00:18:52.788
  • so the porch piratesstole her trash.
  • 00:18:52.788 --> 00:18:56.058
  • And in one box sheput used kitty litter.
  • 00:18:56.058 --> 00:18:59.728
  • That must have been quitea surprise for them.
  • 00:18:59.728 --> 00:19:02.364
  • But here's the thing thatyou need to understand.
  • 00:19:02.364 --> 00:19:04.700
  • God's gift to youcannot be stolen.
  • 00:19:04.700 --> 00:19:07.736
  • It's a good gift.
  • 00:19:07.736 --> 00:19:09.638
  • And the key is you must open it
  • 00:19:09.638 --> 00:19:12.174
  • like those unclaimed gift cards.
  • 00:19:12.174 --> 00:19:15.277
  • Jesus was born so youcould be born again.
  • 00:19:15.277 --> 00:19:18.313
  • Jesus left heaven soyou can go to heaven.
  • 00:19:18.313 --> 00:19:22.251
  • C.S. Lewis said theSon of God became a man
  • 00:19:22.251 --> 00:19:25.220
  • that men mightbecome sons of God.
  • 00:19:25.220 --> 00:19:28.423
  • Sometimes it's said,
  • 00:19:28.423 --> 00:19:29.658
  • you know, we're allchildren of God.
  • 00:19:29.658 --> 00:19:31.426
  • That sounds nice.
  • 00:19:31.426 --> 00:19:33.362
  • But it's actually not true.
  • 00:19:33.362 --> 00:19:35.230
  • It's certainly nottheologically true.
  • 00:19:35.230 --> 00:19:38.200
  • You're all createdin the image of God.
  • 00:19:38.200 --> 00:19:41.003
  • We're all loved by God.
  • 00:19:41.003 --> 00:19:43.372
  • But we're not allthe children of God.
  • 00:19:43.372 --> 00:19:45.874
  • You only become a child of God
  • 00:19:45.874 --> 00:19:48.110
  • by receiving Christinto your life.
  • 00:19:48.110 --> 00:19:50.879
  • For the Bible says, foras many as received him,
  • 00:19:50.879 --> 00:19:53.248
  • he gave them the powerto become sons of God.
  • 00:19:53.248 --> 00:19:56.351
  • It's a gift of eternallife which I'm telling you
  • 00:19:56.351 --> 00:19:59.221
  • gets more valuableas you get older.
  • 00:19:59.221 --> 00:20:03.358
  • It gets more valuableas you get older.
  • 00:20:03.358 --> 00:20:07.396
  • Tomorrow, when youopen up your presents,
  • 00:20:07.396 --> 00:20:10.332
  • some of you will getthe latest gadget.
  • 00:20:10.332 --> 00:20:13.402
  • The new thing, what is it now,
  • 00:20:13.402 --> 00:20:14.836
  • combination phone, drone,
  • 00:20:14.836 --> 00:20:18.740
  • toaster and vacuum cleaner.
  • 00:20:18.740 --> 00:20:21.843
  • (congregation laughing)
  • 00:20:21.843 --> 00:20:23.111
  • Nobody else has ityet, you'll have it.
  • 00:20:23.111 --> 00:20:25.881
  • But three months laterthey're gonna come up with
  • 00:20:25.881 --> 00:20:27.549
  • a newer version withlonger battery life,
  • 00:20:27.549 --> 00:20:29.618
  • or it'll do something elsethat the earlier one didn't do.
  • 00:20:29.618 --> 00:20:32.587
  • Or you'll get an outfit.
  • 00:20:32.587 --> 00:20:34.323
  • But in time, that outfitwill go out of style.
  • 00:20:34.323 --> 00:20:37.826
  • And then there are somegifts that may not seem
  • 00:20:37.826 --> 00:20:39.728
  • as valuable to you today.
  • 00:20:39.728 --> 00:20:42.964
  • But they'll grow invalue as you get older,
  • 00:20:42.964 --> 00:20:45.634
  • like that sweet little notethat your child wrote you,
  • 00:20:45.634 --> 00:20:48.904
  • or that card that yourgrandchild made you.
  • 00:20:48.904 --> 00:20:51.973
  • Or if your house were on fire,
  • 00:20:51.973 --> 00:20:53.241
  • you'd grab thatbefore anything else.
  • 00:20:53.241 --> 00:20:57.179
  • Or some of you maybehad grandparents
  • 00:20:57.179 --> 00:20:59.981
  • that didn't give yougifts at Christmas.
  • 00:20:59.981 --> 00:21:01.950
  • They put money inan account for you.
  • 00:21:01.950 --> 00:21:05.020
  • And so it's Christmas morning.
  • 00:21:05.020 --> 00:21:06.488
  • You're all excitedand grandma says,
  • 00:21:06.488 --> 00:21:08.223
  • we put some more moneyinto your account.
  • 00:21:08.223 --> 00:21:11.860
  • And you're thinking,grandma, it's so lame.
  • 00:21:11.860 --> 00:21:14.096
  • Now 20 years have passed andyou just checked your balance
  • 00:21:15.530 --> 00:21:17.999
  • and you're saying,grandma, it's awesome.
  • 00:21:17.999 --> 00:21:20.369
  • Because all thosegifts are gone,
  • 00:21:21.570 --> 00:21:23.939
  • but the money'sgrown with interest.
  • 00:21:23.939 --> 00:21:26.575
  • So you see, somegifts get greater,
  • 00:21:26.575 --> 00:21:29.511
  • or you understand howvaluable they are more
  • 00:21:29.511 --> 00:21:32.314
  • with the passing of time.
  • 00:21:32.314 --> 00:21:33.682
  • And that's true of thegift of eternal life.
  • 00:21:33.682 --> 00:21:36.952
  • See, I became a Christianwhen I was a 17 years old.
  • 00:21:36.952 --> 00:21:39.321
  • I was just a kid.
  • 00:21:39.321 --> 00:21:40.188
  • And you know what myprimary interest was
  • 00:21:41.423 --> 00:21:42.924
  • in becoming a Christian?
  • 00:21:42.924 --> 00:21:44.159
  • I wanted to findthe meaning of life.
  • 00:21:44.159 --> 00:21:47.162
  • Because I had tried tofill a hole in my heart
  • 00:21:47.162 --> 00:21:49.898
  • with drugs, and drinking,
  • 00:21:49.898 --> 00:21:51.199
  • and partying and other things.
  • 00:21:51.199 --> 00:21:52.801
  • And I was empty and Iwanted to have a life
  • 00:21:52.801 --> 00:21:55.570
  • with purpose and meaning.
  • 00:21:55.570 --> 00:21:56.838
  • Oh the afterlifestuff was great but
  • 00:21:56.838 --> 00:21:59.274
  • that seemed so far off.
  • 00:21:59.274 --> 00:22:01.176
  • But as you get older,that afterlife stuff,
  • 00:22:01.176 --> 00:22:04.846
  • that becomes moreimportant to you
  • 00:22:04.846 --> 00:22:07.115
  • because you realizeyou're closer to it.
  • 00:22:07.115 --> 00:22:09.050
  • But don't think I'm justpreaching to older people here.
  • 00:22:09.050 --> 00:22:11.787
  • I'm talkin' to everybodybecause you don't know
  • 00:22:11.787 --> 00:22:15.624
  • when you're gonna haveyour last Christmas.
  • 00:22:15.624 --> 00:22:18.293
  • And the reason I say that
  • 00:22:18.293 --> 00:22:19.528
  • is because lastChristmas, last year,
  • 00:22:19.528 --> 00:22:22.831
  • you may have been with someone
  • 00:22:22.831 --> 00:22:24.099
  • that is not with you this year.
  • 00:22:24.099 --> 00:22:26.735
  • See, Christmas is amarker of time isn't it?
  • 00:22:26.735 --> 00:22:30.138
  • It's a reminder we'regetting older not younger.
  • 00:22:30.138 --> 00:22:33.141
  • And it's a reminder that we'regetting closer to eternity.
  • 00:22:33.141 --> 00:22:36.645
  • But here's the great thing.
  • 00:22:36.645 --> 00:22:37.846
  • When you have thegift of eternal life,
  • 00:22:37.846 --> 00:22:39.815
  • you don't have to fear deathbecause when that day comes,
  • 00:22:39.815 --> 00:22:42.818
  • when you close your eyeson earth for the last time,
  • 00:22:42.818 --> 00:22:45.353
  • they'll be opened in heaven.
  • 00:22:45.353 --> 00:22:48.056
  • And you'll realize it wasall true, every word of it.
  • 00:22:48.056 --> 00:22:51.860
  • (congregation clapping)
  • 00:22:51.860 --> 00:22:55.464
  • And you'll realizethat any sacrifice
  • 00:22:55.464 --> 00:22:57.799
  • you made to follow Christ,
  • 00:22:57.799 --> 00:22:59.334
  • any mockery you received,
  • 00:22:59.334 --> 00:23:01.169
  • any hardship you enduredto be a Christian
  • 00:23:01.169 --> 00:23:03.805
  • was more than worth it
  • 00:23:03.805 --> 00:23:05.407
  • because of this gift thatGod has given to you,
  • 00:23:05.407 --> 00:23:08.310
  • this unspeakable giftas the Bible calls it,
  • 00:23:08.310 --> 00:23:11.112
  • this indescribable gift,
  • 00:23:11.112 --> 00:23:13.181
  • the gift of eternal life.
  • 00:23:13.181 --> 00:23:15.884
  • And it's still being offered.
  • 00:23:15.884 --> 00:23:17.686
  • Now let's say I wantedto give you this Bible.
  • 00:23:17.686 --> 00:23:19.588
  • This is a pretty niceBible by the way.
  • 00:23:19.588 --> 00:23:22.123
  • And let's say thatI said, you know,
  • 00:23:22.123 --> 00:23:23.658
  • I've got this Biblefor you, I love it,
  • 00:23:23.658 --> 00:23:26.394
  • but I want you to have it.
  • 00:23:26.394 --> 00:23:27.629
  • And I even had yourname inscribed on it.
  • 00:23:27.629 --> 00:23:29.798
  • So there you go,merry Christmas.
  • 00:23:29.798 --> 00:23:32.200
  • You went oh, it's evengreen like Christmas.
  • 00:23:32.200 --> 00:23:36.037
  • Thank you Greg andyou took my Bible.
  • 00:23:36.037 --> 00:23:38.540
  • I just say enjoy it, use it.
  • 00:23:38.540 --> 00:23:41.042
  • No, you can't do it.
  • 00:23:41.042 --> 00:23:42.010
  • No, I want to do it, take it.
  • 00:23:42.010 --> 00:23:44.779
  • But if I were tooffer you this Bible
  • 00:23:44.779 --> 00:23:46.748
  • and you said, oh that'sreally nice of you,
  • 00:23:46.748 --> 00:23:47.816
  • but I don't really want it.
  • 00:23:47.816 --> 00:23:49.885
  • I say, well actually I putyour name on it though,
  • 00:23:49.885 --> 00:23:51.553
  • so go ahead.
  • 00:23:51.553 --> 00:23:52.854
  • No, I don't want it.
  • 00:23:52.854 --> 00:23:53.955
  • I appreciate the thought.
  • 00:23:53.955 --> 00:23:55.824
  • No really, take it.
  • 00:23:55.824 --> 00:23:57.325
  • No, I don't want it.
  • 00:23:57.325 --> 00:23:58.260
  • Hey, that's a rejection, right.
  • 00:23:58.260 --> 00:24:00.929
  • So God has given you themost important gift of all,
  • 00:24:00.929 --> 00:24:04.432
  • bought with theblood of his own Son.
  • 00:24:04.432 --> 00:24:06.167
  • And he offers it to youand you say, I don't know,
  • 00:24:06.167 --> 00:24:09.971
  • thanks but no thanks.
  • 00:24:09.971 --> 00:24:12.440
  • Don't you realizethat's a rejection?
  • 00:24:12.440 --> 00:24:14.910
  • To not accept thisgift of eternal life
  • 00:24:14.910 --> 00:24:17.445
  • is in effect to reject it.
  • 00:24:17.445 --> 00:24:19.314
  • And this gift is on thetable right now for you.
  • 00:24:19.314 --> 00:24:22.551
  • And I wonder, haveyou all received it?
  • 00:24:22.551 --> 00:24:24.686
  • Are you sure right now
  • 00:24:26.288 --> 00:24:27.856
  • that if this wereyour last Christmas,
  • 00:24:27.856 --> 00:24:30.692
  • if this were yourlast day on earth,
  • 00:24:30.692 --> 00:24:33.261
  • that you would go toheaven when you die?
  • 00:24:33.261 --> 00:24:35.096
  • If you're not sure of this,
  • 00:24:35.096 --> 00:24:37.232
  • let's get this resolvedright here, right now,
  • 00:24:37.232 --> 00:24:40.135
  • so you can receive this amazinggift that God offers you.
  • 00:24:40.135 --> 00:24:44.372
  • Say, what do I have to do?
  • 00:24:44.372 --> 00:24:45.607
  • You have to admityou're a sinner.
  • 00:24:45.607 --> 00:24:48.076
  • You have to be willingto turn from your sin
  • 00:24:48.076 --> 00:24:50.579
  • and you must ask JesusChrist to come into your life
  • 00:24:50.579 --> 00:24:53.949
  • to be your friend, yourSavior, and your Lord.
  • 00:24:53.949 --> 00:24:56.718
  • And in a moment we're gonna pray
  • 00:24:56.718 --> 00:24:58.420
  • and I'm gonna extendan invitation for you
  • 00:24:58.420 --> 00:25:01.590
  • to believe in Jesusand be forgiven
  • 00:25:01.590 --> 00:25:04.459
  • of all of your sin.
  • 00:25:04.459 --> 00:25:06.895
  • I couldn't offer youanything greater than this.
  • 00:25:06.895 --> 00:25:10.131
  • And it's really notwhat I'm offering.
  • 00:25:10.131 --> 00:25:12.467
  • It's what God is offering.
  • 00:25:12.467 --> 00:25:14.002
  • I'm just telling you about it.
  • 00:25:14.002 --> 00:25:16.004
  • I'm just sharing the good news
  • 00:25:16.004 --> 00:25:18.573
  • that you can beforgiven of your sin
  • 00:25:18.573 --> 00:25:20.308
  • and start a relationshipwith the Lord.
  • 00:25:20.308 --> 00:25:22.844
  • Hey thanks for watchin'our TV program.
  • 00:25:24.679 --> 00:25:27.582
  • And I wonder if you yourselfhave accepted Jesus Christ.
  • 00:25:27.582 --> 00:25:31.820
  • You know, a lot of times peopletune into programs like this
  • 00:25:31.820 --> 00:25:34.222
  • who aren't believers andthey're kinda checkin' it out.
  • 00:25:34.222 --> 00:25:36.891
  • Maybe you're laughingat it at first.
  • 00:25:36.891 --> 00:25:39.194
  • Maybe you think it's not real.
  • 00:25:39.194 --> 00:25:41.463
  • But something hashappened and maybe
  • 00:25:41.463 --> 00:25:43.531
  • something that's been said,
  • 00:25:43.531 --> 00:25:45.333
  • you've suddenly discoveredyou need Jesus Christ.
  • 00:25:45.333 --> 00:25:48.136
  • You know, the day I acceptedJesus, let me tell you,
  • 00:25:48.136 --> 00:25:51.039
  • it was the last thingI planned on doing.
  • 00:25:51.039 --> 00:25:53.742
  • I didn't plan on becominga Christian that day.
  • 00:25:53.742 --> 00:25:56.277
  • But that was the day thatwas appointed in eternity
  • 00:25:56.277 --> 00:26:00.115
  • for me to believe in Jesus.
  • 00:26:00.115 --> 00:26:01.783
  • I wonder if this isnot that day for you.
  • 00:26:01.783 --> 00:26:05.220
  • You've been eavesdropping.
  • 00:26:05.220 --> 00:26:06.221
  • You've been checking it out.
  • 00:26:06.221 --> 00:26:07.555
  • But now God's speakingright to your heart
  • 00:26:07.555 --> 00:26:09.391
  • and you realize youneed Jesus Christ.
  • 00:26:09.391 --> 00:26:11.660
  • Would you like to haveyour sin forgiven?
  • 00:26:11.660 --> 00:26:14.496
  • Wold you like asecond chance in life?
  • 00:26:14.496 --> 00:26:16.498
  • Would you like to goto heaven when you die?
  • 00:26:16.498 --> 00:26:19.067
  • Would you likeyour guilt removed?
  • 00:26:19.067 --> 00:26:21.169
  • Listen, it can all happenbecause Jesus Christ
  • 00:26:21.169 --> 00:26:24.205
  • went to a cross anddied for your sin
  • 00:26:24.205 --> 00:26:26.941
  • and then rose againthree days later.
  • 00:26:26.941 --> 00:26:29.010
  • And he'll come intoyour life right now
  • 00:26:29.010 --> 00:26:30.745
  • and be your Saviorand your Lord,
  • 00:26:30.745 --> 00:26:32.714
  • and the best friendyou've ever had.
  • 00:26:32.714 --> 00:26:34.916
  • Let's pray together.
  • 00:26:34.916 --> 00:26:36.251
  • Pray this after me.
  • 00:26:36.251 --> 00:26:37.919
  • Lord Jesus, I knowthat I'm a sinner.
  • 00:26:37.919 --> 00:26:41.923
  • But I believe you diedon the cross for my sin
  • 00:26:41.923 --> 00:26:44.759
  • and I'm sorry for that sin.
  • 00:26:44.759 --> 00:26:46.828
  • And I turn from it now
  • 00:26:46.828 --> 00:26:48.730
  • and I ask you to come intomy life and be my Savior
  • 00:26:48.730 --> 00:26:52.200
  • and be my Lord, and be my God,
  • 00:26:52.200 --> 00:26:54.636
  • and be my friend.
  • 00:26:54.636 --> 00:26:56.738
  • I choose to follow youfrom this moment forward
  • 00:26:56.738 --> 00:27:00.408
  • in Jesus' name I pray amen.
  • 00:27:00.408 --> 00:27:03.478
  • If you just prayed that prayer,
  • 00:27:03.478 --> 00:27:04.979
  • I want you to know in theauthority of God's word
  • 00:27:04.979 --> 00:27:07.082
  • that Christ himself hascome to live inside of you.
  • 00:27:07.082 --> 00:27:10.385
  • The Bible says thesethings we write to you
  • 00:27:10.385 --> 00:27:12.287
  • that believe on thename of the Son of God
  • 00:27:12.287 --> 00:27:14.656
  • that you may know thatyou have eternal life.
  • 00:27:14.656 --> 00:27:17.826
  • But let me say God bless you
  • 00:27:17.826 --> 00:27:20.161
  • and welcome to God's family.
  • 00:27:20.161 --> 00:27:22.197
  • ♪ This is the day, theday when life begins ♪
  • 00:27:22.197 --> 00:27:27.202