Faithlife Sermons

God Is Still With Us

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During Herod's regin, the life of the Jews was so consumed with political tension, that wise men from the east had to remind the king that the one born king had come. Our society is also experiencing racial and political tension. It is possible to be so consumed that we miss Jesus' second coming.

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Introduction:

Christmas is finally around the corner!
Most of us are probably more ready for Christmas to end then anything!
A time to spend with my family and dearest friends. A time to express my gratitude and gratefulness through gift towards my wife, my daughter.
A time to show my gratefulness for the gift of grace, by extending grace and goodwill.
And in just a couple of days many other families will be doing the same; waking up early Monday morning to tree bottoms filled with gifts.
Children will tear into perfectly wrapped presents, and parents will be smiling from ear to ear with accomplishment knowing that they nailed it and got the perfect gift.
*In that moment we all would have forgotten that 2017 brought...
Displaced and struggling families effected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
That 58 people were shot dead at an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas
That 6 people were killed when a terrorist drove a car into pedestrians in London
*In that moment we won’t think about
The sexual misconduct in Hollywood, seeing postings of hashtag MeToo on our social media timeline.
We would have long forgotten that only one day after the President’s inauguration, an estimate 500,000 women and men protested, sending a strong message to the president in regards to his comment on the Access Hollywood Bus.
NFL players taking a knee on the sideline as the National Anthem plays would be as if it never happened.
*We wont’ think about those moments that shaped 2017, because for 364 days, our community both christian and non-christian, have been and will be consumed with politics and social issues.
And in this one day out of the year, the majority of society will be focused on only two major things, faith and family.
Politics and social injustices have a way of consuming our day and effecting our productivity.
It has way of stirring emotions and the heart; testing ideologies, beliefs and values.
Two people can be talking politics in the morning over coffee, and never notice that time has slipped away from them.
We get this way, because as citizens we demand that certain threads weaved into our civil blanket are protected, such as:
Equality, Women’s rights, Fair trial and freedom of speech.
But can we get so consumed with the latest headline, that we miss the most important news worthy event?

The Unexpected King

It was an unexpected turn of event.
During the campaign trail, it wasn’t taken seriously, when Donald Trump put his ticket in to run for President.
America went into shock, when it was announced that the real estate billionaire and reality show celebrity has not only won the presidential election with the promise of making America great again, but has also flipped states that traditionally voted for the other party.
It didn’t fit the mold.
America was looking for a politician and law-maker that could match and surpass what former president Barak Obama was able to do. But a politician isn’t who they elected.
It wasn’t the first time that we as a country elected a celebrity.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan, who was a film star credited with acting in films from 1937 - 1965, was elected president over Jimmy Carter in a land slide, gaining 489 electoral votes.
However, this would have been the first time that a celebrity with no governmental experience would be elected into the highest office in the land.
The Bible also talks about another unexpected election into office.
There was another person elected into an office unexpectedly.
I can only imagine how the people and leaders of Jerusalem felt when it was announced that Herod, son of the previous King of Judah, Antipater, would be appointed King of Jerusalem.
For 475 years, Jerusalem anticipated the prophecy of Micah, that the Messiah was to come from the lineage of David; therefore every king, until the end of the Davidic Dynasty, came from the seed of David… that is until Rome came into power.
The Romans chose Herod to serve as King of Jerusalem, and although he came from Jewish ancestry, he was an Ediomite from the lineage of Esau.
So his rise to power came about though questionable political alliances.
Most historians would consider Herod great king. In fact he’s known affectionally as Herod the Great, because he’s known for making Jerusalem great again.
One of his most notable accomplishments was rebuilding the temple for Jerusalem under the approval of the Roman government.
But biblical scholars suggest that his motive for building the temple was for political savvy rather than for glorifying God; an attempt to make his capital city more impressive than other cities under the Roman Empire.
And although, he was careful to enforce ritual laws while constructing the temple, he unemphatically included an eagle’s head atop the temple gates, representing a collaboration with God’s government and Roman government.
Showing a complete disregard for religious sensitivity.
A clear illustration of having the form of godliness, but denying its power.
Historians would also say that there was a high level of peace throughout Herod’s reign
But spiritually, Jerusalem was in a tailspin.
Because Every waking moment was focused on voicing to Herod or to the Roman government local representation the disapproval of the political, social and racial issues Jerusalem was facing.
Every waking moment was focused on voicing the disapproval of the political, social and racial issues Jerusalem was facing.
The Jewish priestly class were especially irked because now more then ever, pagan monuments were being erected left and right.
There was a feeling that maybe God had forgotten his daughter Jerusalem.
Maybe God wasn’t with them anymore.
ILLUSTRATION:
Have you ever been there?
Have your days ever been consumed with so much problems, so many issues that it seemed like God was absent?
You pray over and over… looking up towards heaven asking, “God, do you even hear me?”

A New King Is Born

There was a remnant who was still faithful to God, a woman who still focused on God.
A young Mary, blessed among all women, is told that she was going to be impregnated, without human intimacy, through the magnificent power of the Holy Ghost and give birth to a Son;
Only this Son was going to be the Savior of His people.
There had to be a sense of being overwhelmed.
Here is a Jewish girl living in the era of an unwanted political allegiance.
Yet she’s being told that the solution that’s been anticipated for more then over 500 years was going to happen through her. Talk about pressure.
And of course you know the story… Joseph takes pregnant Mary to Bethlehem; couldn’t find a suitable place for his pregnant fiancee to give birth to God’s only begotten Son except for a manger, an animal filled barn.
ILLUSTRATION:
Can I say something here… your beginnings, no matter how easy or how difficult it was, does not determine your future.
It doesn’t matter where you came from or how you were raised.
God formed you and designed a plan for you.
Knew what you were going to be before you knew letters existed...
and if you accept the calling He has placed on your life, He will make a way for all things to come to fruition.
Never think that you can’t have a fruitful future and be a blessing to someone because of your past.
Remember that God is the author and the finisher our faith.
Once Jesus was born, in that same night, angels approached shepherds watching over their flock, proclaiming to them that in the city of David a Savior was born for us all.
They went to see for themselves, and reported to all they could that the long awaited Messiah had finally been born.
The child was named Immanuel, as a reminder to the nation that God was still with them.
ILLUSTRATION :
When we announced that my wife and I were pregnant, the word spread like wild fire.
People from Nashville, parts of Alabama, North Carolina, Florida and New York were calling and sending gifts. Letters as far as Haiti we’re being sent to celebrate our good news
But this good news didn’t travel far enough, because Matthew writes about these wise men approaching Herod asking “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?”
The question, both confused and angered Herod, to the point to where he requested validation from his theologians, and plotted to kill the new born king.
Many people don’t realize that these wise men weren’t Jews.
These were, as the Bible says, men from the east… which could be from Arabia, Persia, or even Mesopotamia.
You see the people of Jerusalem had to be reminded that a savior had come. That God’s promise was fulfilled
ILLUSTRATION:
We as seventh-day adventist have a unique message that must be shared.
We have the unique responsibility of being the watchman and watch-woman.
We must balance knowing what’s going on in the world with what’s going on beyond it.
If we’re not careful,
If we let CNN, FOX and other news reporting fill our head, we too could miss out on experiencing the what will be the biggest headline; “PROMISE FULFILLED, JESUS RETURNS AGAIN”
And then we will be reminded, that GOD WAS ALWAYS WITH US.
The kids are driving you
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