2017-12-23 – Galatians 4.4-7 – Christmas Joy
December 23, 2018

2017-12-23 – Galatians 4.4-7 – Christmas Joy

Series:
Passage: Galatians 4.4-7

2017-12-23 – Galatians 4.4-7 – Christmas Joy   Christmas Eve Eve

Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.

As we are now in the final preparations for Christmas, we will be going through short series that is meant to condition our heart. As we sang this morning the hymn Joy to the World, Joy is the topic and theme, and today we are going to talk about Christmas Joy. Next week will continue with The Building Blocks of Joy as we prepare for the New Year. I pray you will enjoy this time of reflection and preparation for the coming savior Jesus at Christmas. I also want to remind you that we will be having a brief Christmas-Eve candle-light service at 5 p.m. tomorrow tonight. Please consider inviting a neighbor to join us.

Please turn now to Galatians 4:4, page 1033 in your pew Bibles, which is the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. But first let us pray..

The Apostle Paul wrote these words in Galatians about Jesus being born:

When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir.

Again, today’s theme is on Joy. If you read and believe in that Galatians verse then it should give you great joy as you should realize you are saved for eternity because God sent His Son Jesus to make a way for you to join Him in heaven.

About Timing – Paul said “When the time came to completionor at the Right Time, God decided to send His Son.

About 2,000 years ago, Jesus came to earth in a very humble manner. The Savior of the world and the God of all creation put on humanity to be born as a babe, giving hope of salvation to all who turn from their sin and believe on Him.

Billions of Christians around the world as a result now choose to celebrate the birth of Jesus during this time of year. Great joy is shared at Christmas time.

This was no accident.. it was an execution of a plan with Godly intent.

Hundreds of prophecies were written in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ and His ministry. The Jewish believers were waiting for the coming messiah savior.

The prophet Micah in Micah 5:2—Prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, and that is exactly where it happened.

The prophet Isaiah wrote about the Messiah some 700 years before Christ’s birth:

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel [God with us]”.

Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.  Some think that is just a song, but it is prophesy written 700 years before Jesus came to earth.

That is why it is important and profitable for us to be reading our Bibles.
And those are just a few examples of the prophesy written in the Old Testament.
We need to be reading our Bibles. In the New Testament, Apostle Paul wrote:

2 Tim 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.

2 Tim 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. We should know God’s word so we can apply it rightfully to our own ministries and our own lives. About Christmas,

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all talk about the birth of Jesus, as well as the life, death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. They are most valuable for us to read and to reflect upon, weather you are a Christian or not.

If you have been struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, I challenge you to consider reading at least one of the Gospels yourselves, and I invite you to take one of the little new testaments home with you as a gift if you would like.

The main take away message today and the central theme of the whole Bible is that God loves you my dear brothers and sisters. He really, really loves you. That is the most important truth that He wants you to know.

Being that it is Christmas time, you should know that Jesus being born is one of the most significant events in all human history and it should bring us true joy!

When God physically came into our world in the form of His Son Jesus Christ, Matthew’s Gospel says that these events took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophets. But that is not the first time Jesus came to earth.

What is commonly referred to as pre-incarnate Christ or God actually appears throughout the Old Testament. We see “God with us” in the story of the Garden of Eden, where God conversed with Adam in the cool of the day. And right after the fall, God told satan that His Son would one day crush him in Genesis 3:15. We also see pre-incarnate God in the burning bush and the pillars of clouds and fire that led Moses and the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land;

Then in the New Testament God’s presence took on a whole new meaning in the incarnation, (God in the flesh), with the physical embodiment of God in the birth of Jesus. His Holy conception was like no other before or after. His mother Mary, was a young virgin, betrothed—but not yet married—to Joseph a Jewish carpenter. Mary received a visit from an angel who announced that she would conceive and bear a son who will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The angel said that the Lord will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

Nine months later, the unique holy person who was both God and man was born—Immanuel, which means “God with us.” True Joy to the World indeed.

Jesus Emanuel “God with us” is seen throughout the Gospels. And nobody can deny that His actions clearly reflected the attributes of God, such as:

  • God’s compassion by healing those with leprosy, paralysis, blindness, fever, deafness, and demonic oppression.
  • God’s care and provision for all of humanity and concern for the poor and hungry, manifested by feeding the crowds of 5,000and 4,000.
  • Jesus showed God’s power over nature as He walked on water and commanded the wind and storm to cease.
  • He showed His power over death even by raising the widow’s son, a twelve-year-old girl, and His friend Lazarus from the dead.
  • Jesus showed over and over God’s mercy by forgiving sins.
  • And God’s love by His willingness to be hung on the cross to die so as to make it possible for us to enter an eternal relationship with God in heaven.

Through His teachings, Jesus showed us the true character of God. This is seen in particular in the parables, which portray various aspects of God’s nature, such as:

  • A loving and forgiving father in the story of “prodigal son.”
  • Compassion in the parables of “the lost sheep” and “the lost coin.”

This “God with us,” Jesus, showed us the lengths to which God would go in order to reconcile humanity to Himself—by ordaining that He Himself, in the form of God the Son, would take upon himself the punishment for all the sins of humanity

Christmas is intended to be a joyous celebration of “God with us,” the birth of God’s incarnate Son, who lived and died in order to make it possible for us to come into a right relationship with Father God and we could dwell with Him forever. Oh what a joyful reason to celebrate indeed. Praise the Lord!

Now back to the verse here in Galatians 4: I will read it again,

When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir.

Have you ever watched the old Shirley Temple movies? Do you remember the one where she is eventually adopted, and you feel the joy she had realizing that she was no longer an orphan, that somebody loved her enough to adopt her? Well that is the same we as Christians should feel; Joyous because we were “redeemed” (or purchased) by Jesus and adopted into His family. If we truly realized how great that is, our hearts should be filled with love, joy and compassion for Father God and what He did for us who really don’t deserve it. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we are considered adopted children of God and an heir to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords. And according to this verse, God even gifted us with His Holy Spirit and put Him into our hearts.

Brother’s and sisters, God loves you. And for that reason alone we should have an abundance of Christmas Joy today.

At Christmas time especially, all of us within whom the Spirit of God now dwells, are in a sense an extension of the term “God with us” in our community—to our friends and neighbors, our coworkers, the people who serve us in shops and restaurants, and to strangers whom the Lord brings across our paths. The love we show through our interactions with others, the words we speak and actions we take, the kindness and generosity we show, the helping hand we offer, reflect the Holy Spirit of Jesus dwelling within us. Others should be able to sense something uncommon and special in us. And when we explain the miraculous joy we now have, and that it can be with them as well, we then help to fulfill the ultimate purpose of Christmas, which is to bring His joy and love to the world.

This is a wonderful time of year to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. To let them know what Jesus said, as written in John 3:16, that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” We are each called to do all we can do to share the news of “God with us” with those who truly need Him. Share in His joy, brothers and sisters, share in His Christmas joy.

I am not going to ask you to rise today, but please pray with me, then we will hear another song by Jason. If God has moved you today to take up His cross, to become an adopted child of Father God, I give you this opportunity right now. Come forward and allow me to pray with you now.

 

Reminder again, we will be caroling tonight at 5PM, and we will be enjoying a Christmas-Eve Candlelight service here at 5PM as well.

Please bring a friend and join us. God bless you all.

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