- Date: December 24, 2017
- Teacher: Pastor Star R. Scott
- From Emmanuel
The Lord's good. His presence is always such a blessing and a great gift-something that we should never take for granted; amen? Just always that precious anointing and peace, assurance that comes with that visitation. Father, we do ask that, by Your Holy Spirit, You would refresh Your people this morning. We ask, Lord, that by Your visitation, we would truly be changed here this morning, that we would see today as our day, the day of that visitation, the day that we've been praying about, the day that we've been seeking. That today would be the day that the coal would be removed from the altar and placed upon our lips, that today would be the day that that fresh wind would blow into this place, that great rushing, mighty wind, and we would be filled again with the Holy Ghost, that we would be shaken to our very foundations with the awesomeness of our God and struck dumb before You. Let us not take Your presence for granted, Father, but to see it for what it is, the great gift, that great gift, that great and unspeakable gift: God in us, the hope of glory. For it, Father, we will give You all the praise, we will give You all of the honor, in Jesus' name, amen. Amen.
Here on Christmas Eve, the day before Christmas, let's turn back to that Christmas story we've-most of us-got memorized. We hear it every year by our children in different forms; they bring that same familiar Christmas message to us. But as we think into the depths of what conveys that little, seemingly simple message told by children in Christmas plays all over the world over the years, it's actually the greatest story ever told. We sit and sometimes become so familiar that we lose the true value of it.
In Matthew's Gospel-we will turn over there for just a moment this morning-and in Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 1-we're all familiar with this verse, but just to let our eyes fall upon it and be thankful for what the Spirit of God is saying to us at this hour and doing in our lives, that preparation as His bride for His soon coming. All of that expectation started with this revelation of Himself in that little baby Jesus, born of a virgin, prophesied in Isaiah, Chapter 7, "a sign will be given unto you, this virgin will conceive and bear a child, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (verse 14).
Matthew, Chapter 1, verse 23, tells us-referring back to that-well, let's begin at verse 21. As the ministry is going forth and the revelation of the fact that this great miracle of conception being by the Holy Ghost, that which within you is born of the Holy Ghost, and a child is going to be brought forth, and "His name shall be called Jesus: for He shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:20-21). He goes on, and he says that prophesy which has been spoken in Isaiah 7, "…a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matthew 1:23). We stand in awe and amazement, and of course we've heard so many times, but the genius of God to be able to redeem man-fallen humanity-back to Himself, originating this method to be able to inject Himself into humanity and fulfill what the first Adam had lost-that communion and fellowship with God, that ability to not only walk in communion with God but to walk as His representative and in His very image. The first Adam, created in the image of God, after the likeness of God. The Bible says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, which is the Word of God" (1 Peter 1:23). When Adam sinned, all of that communion and fellowship and revelation became dull and lost in his understanding. That death that Adam experienced in the transgression was the loss of the presence of God. A loss of fellowship-not an awareness of God, not a knowledge of God, but communion with God, fellowship with God. There's nothing worse than having known Him, be out of fellowship, know about Him and no longer have that communion. What a tragedy that so many people find themselves in that position today, but the good news is there's still time for them to be reconciled and brought back to Father; amen? That's our responsibility in this hour, and as the Holy Spirit's been stirring us up to go out and share this great message.
We want to take just a minute this morning and remember what it was and how consequential that sin of Adam was. "…for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17). We know that he didn't physically die; he lived for nine hundred years. But he lost communion, he lost the ability to hear from God, he lost a desire and a delight to be in the presence of God. When he heard the voice of God in the garden, the Scripture tells us that he went and he hid himself-ashamed, ashamed to look on Him who created him in His own image and after His own likeness. Man, given great power and authority to rule over all of God's creation, and here he is now: a beggar, broken, lost, without knowledge, without intimacy to the One who loved him. How mistaken people are when they think about the creation of man and God's creation, and that God created man, you know, because He needed someone to fellowship with and someone to lavish His love upon. That's just not the truth. God is all-sufficient within Himself. The Three-in-One had great communion and fellowship and needed nothing external. God, for whatever reason (and the Scripture does not tell us), created all that we see and know today, spoken from His very heart into creation and called it good, and then He made man in His image and called him very good, this is good, this is very good. The tragedy of that broken relationship, and God somehow-because God is love, because God is immutable, He doesn't change-His plan for man had to be completed. God wasn't caught off guard. We know God had already made provision before the sin occurred, for the Lamb of God was slain before the foundations of the world. Take that concept into your own life this morning as we're going to share just a few of these great thoughts that the Holy Spirit has given us. There's nothing that is going on in your life right now or that shall come to pass in the days ahead that God has not already made provision for your deliverance. Amen? What a blessing! What a love story!
And here, man-in all of his rebellion and in all of his ignorance and in all of his fears-the Scripture says no man sought God; God sought us, praise God! We can't comprehend it, but whatever took place on that day, the Jehovah God, the great Three-in-One, purposed for the Son of God to leave His holy throne, to step out of His majesty and purity, His holiness, and-by the power of the Holy Spirit-to be germinated in the womb of that young girl to become the God-man. Henceforth, the prophet speaking and the angel declaring, "His name shall be called Emmanuel," God with us.
We read on, and the further revelation that He came and fulfilled as the last Adam that which the first Adam failed in: living that pure, sinless life. In His innocence and in His purity, He offered Himself up as a living sacrifice to God, the sacrifice, the appeasement to a righteous, holy God and a righteous, holy law. Man, who had sinned, had to justly experience the wrath and judgment of the law of God. Jesus on the cross said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do-put it on Me, put it to My account. I've come and I've lived perfectly and sinlessly. The law does not condemn me; my flesh was never dominant." This sinless servant of God, very God and very man, lived as a man-sinless, innocent, pure, righteous, holy and knew no sin but was made sin with our sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. He volunteered; while we were yet sinners, He loved us. That's what Christmas is about. It's not about Santa Claus, it's not about being kind to humanity, it's about the awareness of the unfathomable love of a holy God for a lost, broken, rebellious people. He came to be one of us. He came to become our leader, the firstborn from the dead, praise God!
So, as we just take time and enjoy the holidays and the traditions that so many of us do enjoy, but-let's not forget what Christmas is all about. Let's be bold in our declaration as we go out into the highways and the byways and let people know what this season is all about, praise God. Let's be thankful, ever grateful for that unspeakable gift that God has given us in the sacrifice of Jesus. Oh, we're a blessed people, hallelujah! Let's not lose Jesus in the midst of all the wrapping paper and the traditions. Our children hear it over and over, they're so well taught. Take time to reiterate it tomorrow morning before any gift opening takes place or involvement of tradition, just take a moment and remind them of how blessed we are and that God came into our midst and invaded humanity for the purpose of redeeming us and delivering us.
We see the little baby, we understand redemption from the spiritual aspect, but turn over to First John for just a moment. And as we think about Emmanuel, "God with us," let's remind ourselves this morning that God is in us; amen? God is in us. Christ in us, the-what?-hope of glory. The hope of glorification. Are you hurting in your body this morning? Those of us that are in some of the latter stages of our aging, I want you to know something, praise God! We are going to be glorified, we're going to take on a new body, praise God-we're going to have a new, spiritual, eternal life that manifests itself. Some day real soon; amen? Hallelujah! Christ in us! Emmanuel, God with us, God in us, the hope of glory! That's what Christmas is all about.
First John, Chapter 3, verse 8, tells us, makes it clear-a powerful, powerful statement about sin and its power and its consequences. We know the devil and he's a liar from the beginning; he is that one that birthed sin, if you please. Sin, transgression of the law, all unrighteousness is sin, for he that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, it is sin-sin is rebellion toward the sovereignty of God. Rebellion and sin is the taking and removing of our eyes from God's glory and preeminence to become self-involved. Start worrying about yourself, your own status, your own condition in life. Those that are tormented over all of the centuries with the great mysteries of life; people are tormented over those things: "What is my life going to be?" "Is it going to be a life of vanity?" "It's a vapor, it's going to pass." "What mark can I leave?" Let me tell you the whole duty of man: love God and keep His commandments; amen? Don't worry about anything else.
I was just-I like how they say this-I was just watching a thing on ESPN, the life of the Pittsburgh Steelers receivers, of Stallworth and Swann, and an interesting conflict between those two guys and their lives and contrast. At the very end as they're both enshrined into the hall of fame, and I like what they say in those inductions: to be remembered forever. Can I share something with you? Football will not be remembered forever. All of the shrines will come down. Ultimately, the memory of all that was outside of the kingdom of God and living for the purpose and the glory of God, the remembrance of these things are going to be wiped away. He will be all in all, praise God. Our lives are vanity if we're not living them for the glory of God. Our investments are vanity, there's not a thing we're going to take with us. All of the prestige that you have in this life you will not take with you. That rich man who faired sumptuously in this life went into torment, and the beggar who sat outside his door looking for crumbs became exalted and became one of the great ambassadors and representatives of God's mighty kingdom. To live forever, singing praises unto God and declaring, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty."
Talking about Emmanuel, "God with us." The Scripture, then, this little baby came, and we went over to 1 John, Chapter 3. I can't remember how I got sidetracked on that story, but we'll pick up John, Chapter 3, verse 8. John says, "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning." But look at this next phrase, "and it was for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil," praise God! Emmanuel, God with us.
What's Christmas all about? Christmas is all about Jesus coming into the world and destroying the works of the evil one, making sure that as He comes and moves mightily through the anointing of the Holy Ghost, that He would come and destroy the works of the devil. "The devil sinneth from the beginning" (1 John 3:8). What are some of the works of the devil? One of the things we know that he does is he's the accuser of the brethren, isn't he? Jesus is here this morning for you to get out from under that guilt once and for all. Some of you have carried things that continue to rise up at different times in your life and had accusations of the evil one. To continue to hold onto that is pride, and you need to let it go. I speak as someone who knows. That pride that would think, "I can understand other people, but not me getting in this, not me being a part of this, not me being overcome by the enemy. I understand it happens to lesser people, but God can't forgive me; my standards are higher. God expects more of me." God has a gift for you this Christmas, and that's complete justification and freedom from all condemnation. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1); amen? Just let it go, praise God! Come to truly believe-as we've been sharing over these last number of years-the fact that you've not only been forgiven, the sin has been forgotten; the sin-as far as God's records show-never was committed, praise God! There are no accusers but the devil. He's a liar from the beginning and there's no truth in him, praise God!
Emmanuel, God with us. He came to destroy the works of the devil, hallelujah! That's what that little baby is all about. Satan's power has been overcome. Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him. That sickness in your body that you've been fighting for so long, that lingering disease, that pain that is so chronic, Emmanuel, God came and took it on Himself. Isaiah 53 says it pleased Him to be your sin-bearer, your pain-bearer, your disease-bearer, God with us, the hope of glory. Why don't you just receive it this morning? The healing of God, that's what that baby was all about, that's what Christmas is all about. You being free from your sin this morning, you being free from your pain this morning, you being free from your disease this morning. Reach out in the inner man even now and just receive that and take it to yourself; it's a free gift, praise God. You don't have to work for it. You don't have to study anymore, you don't have to go spend one more hour of prayer. God has that free gift for you now, praise God! He came to destroy the works of the evil one. Hallelujah!-that's what Emmanuel's all about, that's what this great story is all about.
First Timothy 1:15 says "Christ came to save sinners." We know that that was the primary purpose of that incarnation, as God came and invaded humanity. John 10:10 says "He came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly." How about that this morning? Just receive that abundant life, amen? Why do we allow the worries and the sorrow and the pain and the condemnations? Why don't we just let it go away and experience that abundant life, a life that knows the presence of God, a life that knows the peace of God, a life that begins to understand our purpose for being, an abundant life that knows that we're not subject to the fates, but every step that we take is ordered of God? That He's leading us in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake, hallelujah! Oh, Christmas is about abundant living! Christmas is about experiencing the fullness of God who has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Hallelujah! That abundant life!
You want to live an abundant life? Begin to embrace the humility of God and stop living a life of competition. That's what motivates the world. I was thinking last night as I was watching that little excerpt on those men-some say the greatest receiving tandem of all time-actually, they were the second, though, behind Taylor and Rice, but we'll give them their due. But the thing that stood out to me was very interesting. Both of them said that though they had a relationship, they considered themselves even friends, but they said that the moment that Stallworth finally slipped on his gold jacket-having it one year after Swann, though all of his records were better than Swann's. PR helps, being flashy helps. Swann made the most flashy catches; Stallworth made a lot of very crucial, important catches as he finished the course out. But I like this thought. They were sitting there, and it was kind of interesting that they actually did this thing with both of them at the same time-that's how closely their lives were joined together. One from the poorest slums of Alabama, the other one a middle class Southern California boy. One very outgoing and the other quiet. As they sat there at this table and made this one comment as they looked and laughed and said they realized that after they had put those gold jackets on, the competition was over. They never competed, they said, against any other team, they said their competition was always the guys who are in the same uniform they were in. They said they came to find out they actually liked each other. We compete with siblings; we compete throughout our lives in different areas, whatever it might be, and different pursuits of relationships, our vocations, our status in life. Whoever the Joneses are, we're always in competition with them.
You want to live life more abundantly? Follow Jesus' ministry and example in His life, become servant of all. Enter into a spirit of meekness that's ambition-free, that's only here to do the will of the Father and to speak the things that He sent us to do and realize this life is a vapor; it's going to be gone in a moment, and only what we lay up in the heavens is going to last. Oh, there will be a day of reckoning, of recognizing; there will be a day. But tragically, the Scripture says, in that day much of what was counted important in this life is going to burn and be gone. Emmanuel, He's come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. A spiritual life. A life that's pleasing to the Father, a life that makes us servant of all. An abundant life, one that grasps the heart of God and seeing all the Law and the Prophets fulfilled in this: love God with all of your heart and your neighbor as yourself. What a gift that would be, this morning-to truly be able to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Oh, we get spurts of it. We strive toward it. But the Greater One wants to come and dwell within us and cause us to walk in it. To walk in the Spirit, He says, is to not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. What an abundant life, the life of the Spirit! The life that steps back and really begins to understand all the baggage and all of the weights that the cares of this world, the vying for attention and position, prestige, honor… bring us. Abundant living, to be free of the fear of men's faces. Wouldn't you want to live that way completely? Don't fear man, fear God Who's able to destroy body and cast soul into hell, the Scripture says. I've come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.
As we finish this morning, we want to just look at a couple of the other things that that little baby came to do, Emmanuel, God with us. John 3:17 says "He didn't come to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved," praise God. As we're out sharing the love of Jesus, don't bring a message of condemnation, bring a message of salvation. Amen? That John 3 passage makes it very clear: Man knows he's condemned, we're already under the condemnation of sin, those of us that don't know Him and have not known Him, those of us before we knew Him and were redeemed. Nobody had to tell you that you were a sinner… Oh, we know that the striving of religion and that through the centuries, you know, the false doctrines of good works have deluded some men's minds and have created a spirit that lies and would cause man to be self-righteous in his own works, in his own being. But we know what the Scripture says: The knowledge of God is within every man (Romans 1:19-20). "There is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Romans 3:12). "There is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:11). Every man is like his father Adam. The moment they hear the voice of God, they run and hide. It's hard to get people in church. People are running from God! That's why we need to win them on the job. We need to win them in the market place. We need to win them on the streets, praise God! Then we can bring them into the body and be taught and discipled and prepared to go out and minister for the kingdom. He didn't come to condemn. He came to save, praise God.
John 12 just says it this way in John 12:47: "He came not to judge the world, but to save the world." We're talking about Emmanuel, God with us. The Christmas story-you see, this is the Christmas story. Don't you love it in its entirety? You can't really know it until redemption is the reality to you, until the big picture of this incarnation comes into place. Matthew 18:11 says "He came to save which was lost." Luke 19:10, "He came to seek and to save that which was lost," praise God!
As we wind up this morning, we think about Christmas and we think about the little baby. Why did He come? "To seek and to save that which was lost." Aren't you glad He found you? Aren't you glad for the parable of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-13 and Luke 15:4, 7) and that you were the one that He came after? Aren't you glad for the parable of the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10) and the diligence of God to continue to sweep and to clean and to illuminate? No man seeking God-God sought you, praise God, and He found you; amen? That's what Christmas is all about. That little baby, that little baby Savior, His name is Jesus, He will save His people from their sins.
As we just wind down for this morning and we realize that Jesus Himself, that little baby, came not to destroy but to fulfill the law, to be the appeasement of God, to give you life more abundant. There's no reason for us to walk out of here in any kind of bondage this morning-spiritual, psychological, or physical. He invaded humanity in that manger, and He finished His course on the cross and cried, "It is finished," praise God. Then He sealed it as He burst forth from the grave on that Easter morning, the first fruits of resurrection from the dead. God's Christmas gift to you and me: eternal life.
Father, we thank You this morning for Your great love and Your mercy to us. We thank You this morning for causing this to be a reality in our hearts as individuals. Don't let it just remain there, Father, stir us with this love for the broken and lost humanity in which we live, Father, stir us and cause us to become those that promote this message in power and authority in the Holy Ghost; believing, Father, for signs to follow this Word that we bring. Anoint us with that same anointing.
For greater things as You await us at the right hand of God the Father and intercede for us that we would finish this work, that we would represent Your Kingdom purely. We just say thank You, Father, in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
Turn to somebody next to you and say, "I'm so glad He came," praise God. Amen. Go in peace, God's love go with you.