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Who Needs Christmas? We Do

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It’s Emotional

Christmas is filled with emotion.
Joy, peace, love, hope.
We sing about it and talk about it.
And we desperately want to feel good, always, and especially during Christmas.
Love, peace, joy, hope.
But, the holidays, in reality, don’t always go like this.
Families get together maybe for the only time all year.
There are hard things that elicit more negative emotions.
And we tell and relive the stories that make us family.
But it’s stressful.
We sleep less, eat more, maybe drink too much, and as the year comes to an end we reflect.
And, typically, reflections focus on what we did wrong more than what we did right.
Regrets. Not having what we want now b/c we got what we wanted before.
It’s emotional. We want to feel better. We want to feel good.
If we could just find a way to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
Tough family situations, loss, regrets, financial hardship,

Who Needs Christmas?

Things we wish would have gone better.

The world did.

Then there’s the guilt. Bad decisions we’ve made and we feel the weight of guilt and we just want it to go away.
God made a promise to an old couple that they would have a son and through his line the whole world would be blessed.
So, when the time was right, Rome was imposing their will to civilize the world and strong enough bring peace to the middle east.
When no one was expecting it.
Is it just a cruel joke that we sing about joy, love, peace and hope only to go home to guilt and frustration?
God made a promise to a young couple; that they would have a son who would bless the entire world.
Is it really possible?
The story of Christmas didn’t begin w/ a young couple wondering how they got pregnant and looking for a place to have their baby. The story began w/ and old couple who wondered if they would ever get pregnant and have a baby.
What makes this story so remarkable is that it is so unbelievable.
But, as unbelievable as it seems, God needed for it to happen, He made it happen.

God does

You never know how much someone loves you until you know how much they will sacrifice for you.
Love isn’t known unless it’s shown.
God wanted to do something relational so He did something personal.
He demonstrated it and documented it for us so we could know.
God needed Christmas to show us how much He loves us in way that we could understand and trust Him.
So, when the time was right for us, He sent His son to demonstrate how much He loves us.
As we come to understand how much God loves us, we also come to understand that we need Christmas, too.
Who needs Christmas?
The world did
God does
We do

We do

This is an emotional time and we talk a lot about love, joy, peace, and hope.
Not as a cruel joke in such a stressful time.
But as a real possibility for our lives.
God would never put us in a round room and tell us to sit in the corner.
We need real solutions to the things that stress us. Things that we can control. The ability to avoid trouble that avoidable. To make better decisions.
We need Christmas so that we can live an abundant life free from the destructive power of sin.
This is not just about giving us a process to feel better after we mess up. It’s about being able to not mess up in the first place.
This is what the angel announced to Joseph. Don’t be afraid. Do the right thing. The baby your wife is carrying will give everyone the opportunity to make better decisions.
This is how it happened.

What’s In a Name?

Matthew 1:18–21 NIV
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Name Him Jesus

What? Jesus?
There is no one in Joseph’s close ancestry named Jesus.
But He isn’t Joseph’s son. He’s God son.
And, God wanted to send a message w/ His name.
Jesus is the Latin translation of the Hebrew name Joshua.
In Greek: Yeshua.
Joshua was a warrior, general, military man who delivered Israel from their wandering in the wilderness into the freedom of their own Promised Land.
Moses delivered Israel out of slavery. Joshua delivered them into freedom.
c.1 Jews were looking for their Joshua to deliver them into freedom from their Roman oppressors.
The angel told Joseph in his dream that he was going to have a son, Jesus or Joshua.
The long-awaited warrior king b/c for hundreds of years your people have been oppressed by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and now Romans.
And Joseph, in his dream, would have been thinking
Joseph, tracking w/ the angel in his dream, I can’t believe this is happening to me, but YES! Finally!
You don’t need to tell me why, I know why.
“He will save His people. I know just like Joshua saved his people. Led them into Canaan and conquered the land.
The walls of Jericho fell down and Joshua led them in.
The lived in freedom and prosperity fulfilling the promise.
“Will save his people from...” I know, their oppressors. The Roman occupation!
Will save his people from their sins.
What?! Hold on. Whoa! Not feeling that. Not a felt need.
They already had a system to deliver them from their sins; the animal sacrifices in the temple. They didn’t need another one.
Rome had no system like this.
Rome needed t/b delivered from their sins and Israel needed t/b delivered from Rome.
So, the feeling was they needed a Savior w/ a sword.
They did not need t/b saved from their sins. So they thought.
So, then, why? Why a Savior who saves us from our sins?

Why?!

Another question; why don’t we jump for joy at Christmas?
What aren’t we moved more than we are? Ho-hum.
B/C, if we’re not careful, we reduce Christmas to forgiveness.
The angel said God sent His Son to save us from our sins.
What we hear is God sent His Son to forgive us of our sins.
A huge difference
Our whole Christian experience comes down to, “Nobody’s perfect but God forgives.” We settle.
Jesus did not come to deliver us from the penalty or consequence of our sin. In many cased we still deal w/ the consequences of our past poor judgement even though we’ve been forgiven.
Jesus came to deliver us from the power of sin, slavery to sin.
When the adulterous woman was dragged out before Jesus and all the people, the law required her to be stoned.
This was a test for Jesus, would He keep the law.
Jesus said, “Okay, that’s fine, just one thing. The first ones to throw stones will be the ones whom haven’t sinned. After that, everyone can join in.”
You know the story. Then He said 2 things to her. 1 is famous, one is not.
Jesus asked the woman, “Where are all your accusers?”
They’re gone.
Then I don’t condemn you either, you’re forgiven.
That’s the famous one.
The not so famous one is this:
But, now, leave your life of sin. Go and sin no more.
Is that even possible?!
Yes. It is.
The woman had to deal w/ the consequences of the lifestyle she had chosen. But, she didn’t have to choose it any more.

A Full life, not death

John 10:10 NIV
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jesus came to do so much more than just forgive us of our sins. He came to deliver us from the power of sin.
We don’t have to do it anymore.
Our lives can be so much fuller.
Sin, like a thief, kills, destroys, steals things from us.
Jesus came to deliver us from that.
c.1 Jews were not looking for Jesus, they were looking for Joshua.
Joshua delivered them into freedom.
And, this is exactly what they got.
Jeshua came to deliver them from something, not forgive them of something.
He came to be our King. We have a new Master now.

A New Master

Romans 6:12–13 NIV
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Romans 6:13 NIV
Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.

A better option

Romans 6:12–23 NIV
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans
Do not let yourself live under the authority of sin any more. There is a better option.
Too often our Christian experience amounts to
Sin, get forgiven
Sin, get forgiven
Sin, get forgiven
The Christian experience is not about being forgiven of your sin, it’s about being set free from your sin.
Sin is no longer your master.
So, by taking the better option of your new Master you will feel better b/c you will avoid so much guilt b/c you’ll make better decisions.
“Doctor, it hurts when I do this.”
“Okay, don’t do that.”
We don’t have to any more.

Sin always kills something

Romans 6:23 NIV
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sin kills things.
Marriages, financial security, a rel. w/ a child, self-image.
Always. Something dies when we sin.
Even forgiven sin kills things.
Many prisoners have prayed to be forgiven by God and have been but remain in prison to pay for their crime.
Husbands who have affairs can be forgiven by God but pay a dear price in their marriage.

Life is a gift from God

Jesus cam t/b Joshua and deliver us from the power of sin.
Sin always kills something.
God offers the gift of life. Not just eternal life, but He will bring life back to your marriage, finances, family, and what you see when you look in the mirror.
We have been set free.
We are freed from the power of sin.
Your Christian experience is just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. After wandering all around the land she realized she had those ruby slippers on and could go home whenever she wanted.
Stop wandering.
Sin is not your master.
Lust, no self-control, alcohol Rx, anger, habit, insecurities…not your master any more.
Christmas is a standing invitation from God to enter into a personal relationship w/ Jesus t/b saved from your sin.
The time was right and the world needed Christmas b/c God promised to bless the entire world thru a Jewish Carpenter.
God needed Christmas to show us how much He loves us so we could understand and trust Him.
We need Christmas so that we can live an abundant life free from the destructive power of sin.
This is not just about giving us a process to feel better when we mess up. It ‘s about giving us the ability to not mess up in the first place.
If you’ve never done it before make this the best Christmas ever by accepting Jesus as your new Master.
If you have before, but you’re still struggling w/ Who your master is, you don’t have to any more.
Make your relationship w/ Jesus the highest priority then you will find that whatever you’ve been struggling w/ no longer has power over you.
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