December 27, 2020
If you think your life is too messed up for Jesus then you are mistaken.
Hello, my name is Ricky Powell. I am the lead pastor of Fort Caroline Baptist Church in Jacksonville Florida.
Christmas is over and it seems like we’re just left with the mess. We are surrounded by ripped wrapping paper, crumpled up tissue paper, and empty boxes. Just a few short minutes after Christmas morning and it can feel more like Christ-mess than Christmas!
That’s just the reality of Christmas. But there is a more profound mess that many of us dread dealing with. It is the mess of our lives. And sometimes whenever we are cleaning up the mess from our Christmas celebration, and putting all of the Christmas decorations and lights back in the attic, we are tempted to do the same thing with Jesus. We think our lives are too messed up for him. He came for good people, religious people, people with their act altogether, but deep down we know that we are not like that. We are messed up. We have broken relationships to prove it, bad habits to reinforce it, and many regrets, far too many to tell. And in those moments we need to be reminded that Christmas is when Jesus moved into our mess. He doesn’t run away, he doesn’t shy away, he doesn’t turn away. He knows we are messed up, but you are never too messed up for him. This is the Christmas message. Jesus moved into your mess.
There is a verse from the Bible that I want you to think about. I promise I’m not gonna preach to you today. I just want to take a couple of minutes and think through this with you. This verse was written by a man with a past full of regrets. We know him as Paul, the Apostle. Before he came to faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior he did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and he hated those who did. He persecuted Christians in the first century. He was a religious zealot and terrorist. He was happy to see Christians arrested and even killed for their faith. But one day he had a radical encounter with the resurrected Jesus Christ. That encounter with Jesus changed his life forever and he spent the rest of his life amazed by God's grace and telling others about Jesus. In 1st Timothy 1:15 he wrote,
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” 1st Timothy 1:15
This is the Christmas message. Who is Christmas about? Paul tells us. It is about Christ Jesus. The word Christ is not a swearword like we often use it today. It is a title. It means the Messiah, God‘s anointed king that he promised would come and rule in righteousness. God‘s promised king would be holy and perfect. He would be full of love and grace and truth. And who is this promised Messiah? Paul tells us. He is none other than Jesus. Jesus is the Christ. Christmas is about God sending his Son into the world, into the mess of this world with its corrupt political systems, broken relationships, hypocritical religions, racial injustice, and prejudice. Jesus moved into our mess then and now.
Why did Jesus Christ come? There again Paul tells us. He came to save sinners. He came to rescue sinners. What does it mean to save someone? We use that word all the time. We talk about an endangered species being saved by the efforts of conservationists. We talk about a boxer in the ring being saved by the bell. We talk about a dog in a rescue shelter being saved by someone who adopts her and takes her home. In all of these examples to save it requires something or someone from the outside doing something that he could not do for himself. This is what Jesus does. He comes not to condemn you but to save you. Jesus said in
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
And how does Jesus save us? By exchanging his perfect life for our imperfect lives. By exchanging his majestic life for our messed up lives. He died on the cross of Calvary as a man taking our punishment and paying the price for our forgiveness. He rose from the dead on the third day to prove he is the son of God and that you can trust him.
Who needs to be saved? We all do. Jesus came to save sinners, and we are all sinners. Sometimes we put a message on the marquee in front of our church that reads, “No perfect people allowed.“ Every time we place that out front people stop and visit our church for the first time. They tell us, "when I read your sign I knew this was a church for me because I’m not perfect." None of us are perfect my friends. We have all sinned. We have all failed to live by God‘s perfect standard of loving him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, And we fail to live by his standard of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. We have all sinned. That’s the bad news. But the good news is Christmas is about God sending his Son to rescue us. It’s about Jesus moving into our mess. And all you have to do to be saved from the penalty of your sin and to be right with God is to believe in Jesus. Put your confidence, your faith in him, and him alone as your Lord and Savior and you will be saved.
And if you are thinking you are too bad and too jacked up for Jesus to save, then you need to think again. The apostle Paul because of his terrible past described himself as the worst sinner of all. He would go on to say that the reason God saved him was to prove to every other sinner in the world that you are not too far gone for God. If Jesus could save Paul he can save you, and he will if you will trust him right now by faith.
Sometimes people say I don’t know what to do now. I don’t know how to trust Christ. So I ask them to tell me what they would say if Jesus were standing right here right now. Usually, they say something like this, “Jesus, I am so sorry for the way my life is messed up. I know I’ve not always loved God or others like I should. I don’t always do what I know is right. And I am sorry. But I thank you for loving me anyway. I thank you for dying for me on the cross. I believe you’re alive from the grave and you can hear me now. So I ask you to forgive me of my sin and save me. I trust you.“
I then tell the person, "Why don’t you just tell Jesus what you told me?" In fact right now right here why don’t you talk to Jesus pray to him if you want to be saved. Say, "Dear Lord Jesus, I admit I am a sinner. I believe you are God's Son who died for me on the cross, and you rose from the dead three days later. I can’t save myself. I trust you. Forgive me and give me the gift of eternal life. Thank you for saving me, amen.”
Friend, if you just prayed that prayer and meant it in your heart I welcome you into the family of God. The Bible says the angels of heaven are rejoicing today because you have come to God through Jesus. I rejoice with you. In fact, if you will let me know that you have trusted Jesus, it would be my joy to send a free gift to you that will help you learn more about Jesus and how to live for him in your new life as a follower of Jesus. There’s no cost, no tricks, no hidden agenda. Our church just loves coming alongside people like you to help you reach higher for the best life God has for you. Visit our website FCBC.life and use the "Let’s Connect" card. Let me know that today you committed your life to Christ. We will send you that free book. We are also here if you ever have any questions about Jesus. If this message has been encouraging to you, I would encourage you to share it with your family and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!