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The Greatest Words of Christmas

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What are words that we tend to associate with Christmas?
Allow for responses before going on to the next question.
What are the greatest words of Christmas?
Allow for responses before continuing.
I would offer that the greatest words of Christmas are: faith, hope, and love. And, I can give you Biblical support for that. Turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 13:13.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, Paul expounds upon the virtues and the characteristics of charity - love. But, then, at the very end he states...
1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV 1900
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
“And now abideth...” As Christians, we deal in all three of these on a daily basis.

Faith: We are saved by faith.

Romans 5:1 KJV 1900
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Faith: We live by faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV 1900
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

Hope: We could not continue if we did not have hope.

Hope is that desire to experience some good and having reasonable expectation that we will receive it.
Romans 8:28 KJV 1900
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Noah Webster wrote this:
A well-founded scriptural hope is, in our religion, the source of unspeakable happiness.

Love: God loves us!

1 John 4:10 KJV 1900
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Love: We are to love others!

1 John 4:11 KJV 1900
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
How do these three - faith, hope, love - relate to one another?
Allow me to give you an odd illustration to explain how they relate.

Love is the vehicle that carries us to our destination.

As Christians, we will either love the Lord or we will love this present world. That will set the direction of our life.
Matthew 22:37 KJV 1900
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
1 John 2:15 KJV 1900
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
The Lord and the World are going in two different directions. That’s why Christ said...
Matthew 6:24 KJV 1900
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
We see an example of this in 2 Timothy 4:10:
2 Timothy 4:10 KJV 1900
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
May I say this? Love will cause us to separate. If we love God and the things of God it is going to cause us to separate from those who love this world and the things of this world. If we love the world and the things of this world it is going to cause us to separate from those who love God and the things of God. It is just that simple.
We must each choose “what” or “who” we will love. It sets the direction for our lives.

Love is the vehicle that carries us to our destination.

Faith is the fuel which powers the vehicle.

Regardless of the “vehicle” that you are riding in, it is powered by faith. It is faith which keeps us headed towards our destination.
Each of us here this morning are living by faith. We all live by faith. The difference, though, is that we either have faith in God or faith in something else.
Have you ever seen this sign?
Have you ever stopped to see that that sign says:
Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
As Christians, though, we should take to heart Christ’s admonition to the disciples in Mark 11:22
Mark 11:22 KJV 1900
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
And, I absolutely love the words which are recorded for us in Mark 5:36; words which Christ spoke to a distraught father after he had been told that his daughter had died.
Mark 5:36 KJV 1900
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
That father had to decide, “Am I going to believe - have faith - in what my servants told me or am I going to believe - have faith - in Christ?”
We all have that same decision to make - Will we believe God or will we believe what others are telling us?
However, we all struggle, at times, with having faith in God and faith in ourselves. When we find that our “vehicle” has run out of “fuel,” it is because we are trusting ourselves instead exercising faith in God.
We are sometimes like the Apostle Peter who literally took a step of faith and got out of the boat and began walking on water. Then, when he took his eyes off of the Lord and began looking at the waves, he began to think, “I can’t do this; it’s not physically possible for me to do this; I shouldn’t be doing this.” He then began to sink.

Faith is the fuel which powers the vehicle.

Either faith in God or faith in something or someone else.

Hope is the destination.

What is your destination?
Is it spiritual or is it physical?
Where is your destination?
Is it in this life or in the life to come?

Hope is a desire to experience some good with at least a slight expectation that you will obtain it.

Romans 8:28 KJV 1900
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Is the desire that you have a desire for some spiritual good or physical good?
Romans 8:29 KJV 1900
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Hope is confidence in a future event.

Is the future event that you are hopefully for a spiritual event or a physical event?
Is that future event that you are hopefully for located in this world or in the world to come?
Unfortunately, I believe that most of the future events that we all - myself included - “hope” for are physical and not spiritual and they are located in this world and not in the world to come.
We shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves, though. Even the disciples had it wrong. They “hoped” that Christ, the Messiah, would set up His earthly kingdom. And even though Christ had told them how things were going to turn out - He was going to die - they were still shocked and bewildered when He actually did die on the cross!
Our hope - confidence in a future event - should be spiritual, not physical; it should be in the world to come, not in this world. Notice...
1 John 3:2–3 KJV 1900
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
What John is talking about here - this hope - was a spiritual event, not a physical one and it was an event that would take place in the world to come, not in this one.
Notice also...
1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV 1900
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
And...
Titus 1:2 KJV 1900
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
All of these are spiritual events; all of these will take place in the world to come, not this world.

Love is the vehicle that carries us to our destination.

Faith is the fuel which powers the vehicle.

Hope is the destination.

We’re going to talk more about faith and hope next week but we must first answer the question:
Why is “love” the greatest?
1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV 1900
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Once we have reached the destination, we no longer have to hope for it.
Romans 8:24 KJV 1900
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
One day, hope will be done away with!
Once we have reached the destination, we no longer need faith to continue the journey.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so—it is well with my soul.
One day, faith shall also be done away with!
But, once we have reached our destination, we will enjoy the love of God for all eternity! That’s why love is the greatest!
Until then, what must we do?

Stay in the love of God!

Jude 21 KJV 1900
keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Don’t allow yourself to fall in love with this world and the things of this world.

Keep walking by faith!

2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV 1900
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
As we have already seen this morning, everyone lives by faith. The question is, “What is the object of your faith?” Keep walking by faith - faith in God; faith in God’s Word!

Hope!

Titus 2:13 KJV 1900
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
2 Corinthians 4:18–5:1 KJV 1900
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
Remember, our ultimate hope is spiritual, not physical and it is not in this world; it is in the world to come!
The greatest words of Christ?
1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV 1900
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
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