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Unwrapping Christmas #2

Unwrapping Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This time of year there is always much attention brought to the giving and receiving of gifts. We refer to this time of year as the “Season for Giving.” But what we often overlook is that this season also offers us gifts. In this series, we will unwrap God's gift of acceptance, security and significance, gifts far more valuable than anything you can buy. Join us for this Christmas Series as we look at "Unwrapping Christmas."

Notes
Transcript

Intro:

Grinch Video -
What about the song? He is a mean one Mr. Grinch… WITTY tune.
You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch You really are a heel You're as cuddly as a cactus You're as charming as an eel
The three best words that best describe you Are as follows, and I quote" Stink Stank Stunk…
What caused him to turn into the hateful, bitter, resentful person? He was not always like that… He wanted to fit in, feel loved, put himself out there… REJECTION not being ACCEPTED… this rejection pulled the dysfunction out of him.
Trans: To unwrap God’s UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE we need to understand that CHRISTMAS HAS A CONTEXT, we should GIVE GOD TO CONTROL OUR NATURAL DRIFT and FOCUS ON PLEASING CHRIST THIS CHRISTMAS.
Bottom Line: Unwrapping Christmas Means Receiving Unconditional Acceptance. We Cannot Try To Please People & God And Truly Experience This Gift.
1. UNDERSTAND CHRISTMAS HAS A CONTEXT
If we are going to truly UNWRAP CHRISTMAS and experience all the gifts that Jesus brings, we need to look at the creation account and the fall of humankind Gen 3.
Genesis 2:18 NLT
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
not good for man to be alone
So pre dysfunction man didn’t have to seek acceptance. Adam enjoyed intimate, one-on-one communion with God. “It was not good for man to be alone.” He was loved, known, cared for and then Eve just enhanced that. Adam & Eve established human community. A community of acceptance is beautiful! Define weaknesses and defer to strengths...
In dysfunction enters the world.
Genesis 4:6–7 NLT
6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”
Genesis 4:5–7 NLT
5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. 6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”
angry, dejected, you will be accepted, BUT, BUT
You will be accepted
Man cannot gain God acceptance. We cannot gift our way back to God.
John 1:14 NLT
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
the Word became human
[logos in the greek] Greek philosopher, logos represented the highest form of philosophical knowledge. Ultimate knowledge became personal and relational.
God was announcing to the world through John that the true knowledge of God, which can only be discovered in an intimate relationship with God, is now available to the world through God who came in the flesh— Jesus Christ. In Christ we are able to unwrap the gift of unconditional acceptance.
Ill - There is a difference between The Grinch and The Gospel. The Grinch is a cartoon and movie where he had acceptance, lost acceptance and got it back when his heart grow three sizes bigger.
The Gospel -
Ezekiel 36:26 NLT
26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
give you / give you
MERRY CHRISTMAS - the gospel is life on earth and eternity. Watching a feel good Christmas movie will not heal your deep rejection but the heart transplant Christmas brings will! GOOD NEWS
Trans:
Trans: To unwrap God’s UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE we need to understand that CHRISTMAS HAS A CONTEXT, we should GIVE GOD TO CONTROL OUR NATURAL DRIFT and FOCUS ON PLEASING CHRIST THIS CHRISTMAS.
Bottom Line: Unwrapping Christmas Means Receiving Unconditional Acceptance. We Cannot Try To Please People & God And Truly Experience This Gift.
2. GIVE GOD CONTROL OF YOUR NATURAL DRIFT
Bottom Line: Unwrapping Christmas Means Receiving Unconditional Acceptance. We Cannot Try To Please People & God And Truly Experience This Gift.
This Christmas you will have to fit the drift toward pleasing people. Have you ever had a moment where you put yourself out there. Hoping to be loved… experienced REJECTION - pulled the pain out of you. You became ugly.
You ever have a moment like that? You put yourself out there. Hoping to be loved… experienced REJECTION - pulled the pain out of you. You became ugly.
What does the pursuit of ACCEPTANCE look like for you this Christmas? Buy the right gift, look the right way. There are a couple of indicators that can bring the dysfunction out of us.
Indicators That We May Be Searching for Acceptance in Unhealthy Ways:
1. We spend excessive amounts of money on Christmas gifts.
In 2016, Americans spent $465 billion on Christmas gifts. - American Research Group
Parents trying to buy back relationships. They try to purchase back their children’s acceptance.
2. We overextend ourselves in an attempt to see and please everyone.
As a pastor I’ve noticed something. December’s weekly attendance bottoms like July’s. Why? Because we overextend our calendars. The crazier your schedule gets the crazier you get. This unhealthy dysfunction causes confrontation, bitterness and ugliness to be pulled out of you.
I’m not sure what it looks like in your life but here is what I do know. The very first Christmas was also filled with dysfunction like ours. We fill the pressure of Christmas, and the need to engage in people pleasing activities that will fuel us with a false acceptance.
Bottom Line: Unwrapping Christmas Means Receiving Unconditional Acceptance. We Cannot Try To Please People & God And Truly Experience This Gift.
Because of Christmas we have ACCEPTANCE! In we see the gift of acceptance lived out in a supernatural and a natural way.
God
Because of Christmas we have ACCEPTANCE! In we see the gift of acceptance lived out in a supernatural and a natural way.
Matthew 2:1–2 NLT
1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
Matthew 2:1–6 NLT
1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” 3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: 6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ ”
Matthew 2:7 NLT
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared.
Matthew 2:1–2 NLT
1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
Matthew
Why is Herod trying to find out when the star appeared? He is trying to find the age of the child. To gain acceptance in unhealthy ways we will use manipulation.
This is not a good question to ask?
Matthew 2:3 NLT
3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem.
Herod is disturbed! His desire for acceptance is unhealthy. It is threatening him.
Why is Jerusalem disturbed? Background on Herod - killed two of his sons. Historians wrote that it would be better to be Herod’s pigs than a family member.
Matthew 2:4–7 NLT
4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: 6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared.
Matt 2:4
Matthew 2:4 NLT
4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
Why is Herod trying to find out when the star appeared? He is trying to find the age of the child. To gain acceptance in unhealthy ways we will use manipulation.
Matthew 2:8 NLT
8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
Matt 2:8
Age and location… so he can eliminate this threat to his acceptance.
Matthew 2:9–12 NLT
9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
Matthew 2:9-12
This is part of the original Christmas story but it’s also part of our story today. You see Herod struggling with his dysfunction because he is feeling threatened. He was unhealthy and drifting toward the natural.
The Magi also struggled with people please tenancies. We can network with the king. These wise men went the other way because that heard from God. They were healthy and drifting toward the supernatural.
Matthew 2:16 NLT
16 Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance.
Herod wanted to remove the threat. In the moment - the Wise Men were faced with a decision of pleasing men or pleasing Christ.
Bottom Line: We cannot please men and please Christ and fully experience the gift of acceptance.
Bottom Line: We cannot please men and please Christ and fully experience the gift of acceptance.
Bottom Line: Unwrapping Christmas Means Receiving Unconditional Acceptance. We Cannot Try To Please People & God And Truly Experience This Gift.
This Christmas season I want to call you to unwrap God’s gift of acceptance and please Him instead trying to please people. The question is how?
Galatians 1:10 NLT
10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
Galatians
Trans: To unwrap God’s UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE we need to understand that CHRISTMAS HAS A CONTEXT, we should GIVE GOD TO CONTROL OUR NATURAL DRIFT and FOCUS ON PLEASING CHRIST THIS CHRISTMAS.
Bottom Line: Unwrapping Christmas Means Receiving Unconditional Acceptance. We Cannot Try To Please People & God And Truly Experience This Gift.
This Christmas season I want to call you to unwrap God’s gift of acceptance and please Him instead trying to please people. The question is how?
3. FOCUS ON PLEASING CHRIST THIS CHRISTMAS
Receive Jesus
John shares some interesting details about Christ coming.
John 1:11–12 ESV
11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
John 1:11–12 NLT
11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
John 11:
Ex: did not receive him; receive him; children of God
did not receive him
receive him
children of God
When the motive of our life is to please people we will jump through hoops and it will never be enough. God gives us a gift! We need to unwrap it. A relationship with God’s son Jesus is the ultimate gift of acceptance CHILDREN OF GOD!
We cannot find acceptance through avenues of the world. HIS OWN DID NOT RECEIVE HIM. We have been hurt deeply by people who are close to you. Your attempts to please them where never enough. Jesus knows how you feel...
The closer the relationship the deeper the cut.
Hebrews 4:15–16 NLT
15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
understands our weakness, faced all of the same testings
Even a deep cut by family - Jesus knows how you feel. Come to him in a time of rejection.
2. Remember Jesus’ Acceptance
There are 10 truths that are benefits of receiving God’s unconditional acceptance. I need to remember these as I prepare to face the dysfunction of Christmas. I’m going to need some help here. Coach crowd with responses...
I am God's child.
I am God's child.
I am Christ's friend.
I have been justified.
I am united with the Lord, and I am one spirit with Him.
I have been bought with a price. I belong to God.
I am a member of Christ's body.
I am a saint.
I have been adopted as God's child.
I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
I have been forgiven of all my sins.
I am complete in Christ.
Bottom Line: Unwrapping Christmas Means Receiving Unconditional Acceptance. We Cannot Try To Please People & God And Truly Experience This Gift.
React = Re / in / act - Gifts, jabs, comments. As Christ followers we don’t react to the mess we respond to God. We move from the natural to the supernatural.
Conc:
Conc:
Honor your father and mother.
Speak the truth in love.
Be angry, but do not sin.
Conc:
To unwrap God’s UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE we need to understand that CHRISTMAS HAS A CONTEXT, we should GIVE GOD TO CONTROL OUR NATURAL DRIFT and FOCUS ON PLEASING CHRIST THIS CHRISTMAS. Empowered by God make this Christmas different than the ones in the past where you experienced the pain of rejection.
Next Move Prayer: Will you commit to a NEXT MOVE today. I desire to see you move into a more dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ.
Imagine what your life will look like if…
Prayer for those that made this commitment. Pray through the Truths.
First Move Prayer: For some of you your NEXT MOVE into a more dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ will be a FIRST MOVE. If you’ve never asked Jesus to be the forgiver of your sins and the leader of your life I want to give you that opportunity today. Sinner’s prayer. Repeat.
First Move:
Would you lift your hand right now and say, “I asked Jesus to be the forgiver of my sins and the leader of my life.”
Let’s celebrate these NEXT MOVES and these FIRST MOVES.
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