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December 25, 2020 2:00 am
When Jesus was born, an angel first invited a lowly and overlooked population to meet the Savior. This invitation previewed Jesus' humble life and death. Discover how Jesus is God's gift to us and we are God's gift to Jesus for all eternity.
This teaching is from the series Christmas Messages.Links:
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So significant that the message was given to all but first to the shepherds because there was a preview of Jesus coming life.
Jesus hung out and was by and to that lowest class of society. So far, when Jesus was God invited the most ordinary people to meet the newborn save demonstrating a great truth that were diving into today on connect with Skip Heitzig is Skip shares a special Christmas message. But before we begin with. Want to let you know about a resource that will help you experience the joys and rewards of a steadfast prayer life, Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China said it is possible to move men through God by prayer alone and down to other nine books on prayer said God shapes the world by prayer, the more training there is in the world that better the world will be and Billy Graham said to get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees here Skip I say you know the Bible says that we will experience God's peace. When we pray, and it tells us to pray about everything. We want to help you know how and what to pray. What to expect.
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Get online securely connectwithskip.com/offer chapter 2 John chapter 17 Revelation chapter 5 for today's study. So let's join Skip in the Philippines and the city of San Fernando hold festival known as the gun powder will turn saying everything wrong in this pronunciation means giant lantern Festival features dazzling lanterns, each holding thousands of spinning lights that symbolize the star of Bethlehem over in China they have a celebration among the believers called Shandong G or holy birth Festival. They put up a tree called the tree of light. The decorated with lanterns, flowers and red paper chains to symbolize happiness. In Japan you heard this tonight, but this is funny because Japan is not a whole lot of Christian believers. There are a minority in Japan and so Western traditions like eating ham and turkey and Christmas that I do that they do however love to go to KFC and get Kentucky fried chicken. It is become a Christian tradition in Japan. Inquiring minds want to know why.
It's because of a 1974 marketing campaign that was very successful.
That went like this Cody Sue Marshall, Miwok, Kentucky, which simply means Kentucky for Christmas, so why not go to KFC and have fried chicken in Ethiopia Christmas is called gone. Not Christians there go to church.
Everyone dressed in white symbolize the purity of the occasion in Poland Christmas Eve meal known as the Delia. It's a word that means to watch and a thin layer of hay's place between the tablecloth and the table to commemorate the Christ child being born in a manger over in Spain at tambourines, rattles, castanets, miniature guitars are sold on the street who occurred singing and dancing with joy and then down in Mexico.
They decorate their homes with lilies, evergreens, and they make final ethos, which we know in New Mexico as illuminati.
Yes, which are there to illuminate the community tonight. What I like to share with you is all about ornaments, one nation, one people or all nations, all people, one message I want you sort of think of it like a Christmas party.
You have the invitation. You have gifts and you have ornaments. Those are the three things I want to focus on the invitation the gifts and the ornaments now. The invitation is given to everyone you remember the angel in the sky outside of Bethlehem in Luke chapter 2 all read that verse.
There were in the same country shepherds living out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were greatly afraid.
And the angel said to them, do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. That's the universal invitation for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord is always noteworthy that Jesus was not born in a large city.
He was born out in the country.
He was not born near Rome, the center of power and influence. He was born in the backwaters of the Roman Empire today. Out of all places Bethlehem of all places.
We know the song we know the importance of Bethlehem to us, O Little town of Bethlehem house. Still, we see the lie beneath the deep and dreamless sleep. The silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets China, the ever lasting light. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in the tonight the question is why there will was mandated.
If you read up into the text.
A few verses prior that Rome demanded a census to be taken and the reason reason that Roman the Roman government or any government for that matter, would mandate a census or registration to be taken is number one militarily find out how many fighting men you have available. In case you need to conscript them for war and never to tax them for all the benefits you so benevolently get to them.
Rome offered peace and enforce peace. It came with a price to put soldiers up at roads which they built connecting large population centers. It took a budget so for military purposes and for the purpose of garnishing taxes. This was done. We however know the real reason it was done it was done because God foretold that it would be done way back in Micah in the Old Testament chapter 5 verse to the prophecy read but you, Bethlehem. A flock though you are small among the cities of Judah, get out of you shall come forth to me, the one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. It was a prediction. The myths that the Messiah was going to be born in Bethlehem. God said that God foreknew that God foretold that in God simply use all that was available to him in terms of the Roman government to get it done.
So the angel showed up and made the invitation to all people. The first ones to hear it were shepherds, no angels I get blazing glory. I get but shepherds now. You wouldn't even care about a shepherd were shepherds not written into the Christmas story because nobody cared about shepherds. They were the lowest rung of the totem pole.
They were overlooked by society. They were rendered ceremonially unclean.
Even from a Jewish perspective. Nobody cared about shepherds so the fact that the Angels gave the message first to the shepherds, but it was to the whole world is noteworthy. Every society has its shepherds.
Those overlooked those that we know are there but we don't necessarily have personal relationships with one is the last time you took a cab, not an Uber but a cab and got the name of the cabdriver or the male person, male or female drops your mail off. You know their name first name you regularly speak to them or the person who picks up the trash once a week.
Who is that person what if it were where they live, what do they like every society has its shepherds and I would say most of the world is in this category of humble and poor and often they feel overlooked. So it's significant that the message was given to all but first to the shepherds because that was a preview of Jesus coming life.
Jesus hung out with, and was attracted by and to that lowest class of society. So often we sought the women who wanted to bring their children to Jesus and the disciples to keep away people, ages 11, that it got such is the kingdom of God. Also the birth of Jesus is a preview of the cross of Jesus the death of Jesus. Jesus was not crucified on an altar between two candles. Jesus was crucified on a cross between two thieves and it was on a crossroads. It was on a place where anybody could come so why shepherds why a major why Bethlehem one easy simple word accessibility. Anyone can come and thus the angel said it is a message for everyone, but now we have the gifts and you know what comes to Christmas time and gifts. This is a source of anxiety to a lot of us are probably not that working to get the perfect gift is much as what I get that guy or should I given this gift. Maybe I gave that same gift to him last year and so we we often struggle to find the right gift and we often get the wrong gift and I'm guilty that I remember being a little kid. One time I went to get my oldest brother something for Christmas so I got a book. The problem was it was his book, but but I swore he never saw I had it was stuck in the back of the closet. I don't even think he knew he had it so I wrapped it up and gave well it predictably was. It was a bad move because he opened it up Christmas morning and said open the front cover with his name and it I forgot to look inside and he said do for she gave me my book so we often give wrong gifts and by the way out. There are polls taken each year on one of the worst gifts you can get they include unattractive socks, cheap perfume, personalize handkerchiefs and executives stressed toys ready to squeeze it for hours, like who does that.
But among the worst gifts, according to most polls is the venerable fruitcake. I remember reading that in several articles.
I got a Mende. I'm glad somebody's calling that out.
I I see a fruitcake is more or less a weapon so Courtney is 31% getting a fruitcake is worse than getting no gift at all. And when asked how do you dispose of bad gifts that are given to you 30% said hiding in the closet. 21% said return it. 19% get upset given away, which to me explains why fruitcakes taste the way they taste. I think it's just the same cake recycle year after year after year. I didn't somebody's closet for the last couple years but when it comes to the gifts that were referring to here. This is where you come in. I don't know if you ever thought of your self as a gift. In fact, I bet you've read this passage but you sort of overlooked what I'm about to point out to you in John chapter 17. That's when Jesus prays to the father very very intimate prayer before he is his crucifixion.
17 times Jesus uses the word give gave or given. But listen to this. I won't read all the verses that speak of this, but in many out of John 17 verse six Jesus said to the father praying to the father. I have manifested or shown for your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world they were yours. You gave them to me and they have kept your word. According to the Bible. Your gift Jesus not from an earthly perspective we say, I've given my life to Christ. On this day at this place at this hour.
I gave my life to Christ, not from Earth's perspective.
From heaven's perspective. When you come to him. God is your life to Christ. That's why you're so safe because God gave you to Jesus and sometimes people will chide you and to get in your face and say what you think you are God's gift to the world next time answer that I say no I don't.
I actually think I'm God's gift to Jesus Christ and you are it's called his church, God the father thought his son should have a very special gift. So every redeemed person is a gift. The father gives to Jesus and he can because Jesus paid the price for that. In the parable of the parable that Jesus gave. He said the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field when a man finds it, he hides it again. But then in his joy he goes out sells all that he has and he bought the field in that same section, Jesus uncoated the parables by saying the field is the world's only one person in history that could buy the world the field and that is Jesus Christ who purchased it by his own blood, and those who are redeemed, individuals are those special gifts of the father gives to the sun and like I just said because God gives you the Jesus your safe. Christ said, I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish can get any safer than that. So we have the invitation to everyone we have the gifts was the receive Christ to take you to the end of the story literally.
And that is the book of Revelation, chapter 5, a couple of verses where I'm calling this really the ornaments.
This is Revelation chapter 5. This has not happened yet.
This is yet future.
This will take place in heaven and in that chapter beginning in verse eight we read now when he had taken the scroll that is the sun, the Lamb taken the scroll, the four living creatures. These are special angelic beings and the 24 elders representatives of the church of Jesus Christ on earth, each having a heart and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sang a new song, saying you are worthy to take the scroll and open it seals, for you were slain, and you have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation all nations, all people, one message and you have made us kings and priests to our God and we shall reign upon the earth. Notice that the lyrics of this future song are all about redemption.
The setting is the future. The theme of the song is all about the past redemption all the people all the nation singing about one thing, the same thing and that is Jesus save me Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so I am redeemed by him. Listen if you want God to anoint songs you songwriters and worship leaders always have songs that center on the blood of Jesus Christ.
Never be afraid to sing about. There's a tendency in churches today to be supercool and leave out all the gospel songs about the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. If you want God to get behind songs sing about redemption. That is what they sing about in heaven and one day we will be gathered there doing that all nations, all people one message so once you're saved and given as a gift to Jesus Christ. Now you have a future with Jesus Christ, and in a sense, you become his eternal ornaments ornaments from every tribe, every nation, every, every tongue all gathered together in heaven adorning his house.
You given your life to him, but he gave your life to Jesus and Jesus keeps you in his father's house as ornaments forever. That's the future back to Bethlehem. Just like I couldn't resist this in Bethlehem when the angel showed up.
What were they doing up in the skies are over.
They doing they were praising and how are they praising their worshiping of okay so you're kind of afraid answer because you're on the kayaks. We are all just don't most people would say they were singing. They were singing after all the Christmas Carol says heart Herald Angels say that and say they were singing in fact in the entire Bible.
There's only two times. It is said that Angel saying and it Bethlehem is not one of what it does say is the angel said that speaking, do not be afraid, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy to all people, then down to verse 13 and suddenly with the angel, the multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying not singing saying, glory to God in the highest presenter of goodwill toward men that would best supper Christmas Carol Burnett Park. The Herald Angels speak that's a sorta hearty meek. What rhymes with that you know that that's so, so we've always thought that the Angels are singing I mentioned is only two times in the Bible where it says Angel saying number one before the fall before creation actually, there's this cryptic text in the book of Job. I think chapter 38 were talked about the morning stars singing together on the sons of God, rendering praise, those are euphemism for angelic beings before the creation before the fall. They were singing the second time we see Angel singing is in Revelation chapter 5 where you have four living creatures that the type of angelic being along with the 24 elders singing. Now that's after the curse on the earth has been removed so you want to really be biblical about it.
You should always want to do that. The only time the Angels are singing is before the fall and after the curse is lifted.
It's as if they are restrained from singing while the curse is on the earth and a minister in silence, though they can certainly speak in their praise until the curse is left while the word is a C income from you. You are redeemed you are not Angels look you look good, but you're not Angels in the Bible tells us over and over and over and over and over again that we should be singing songs of redemption is a lot of other good boys had a cry to camp. Later I looked as if always told me sing in the little kids that will have a bad voice. It was give it back to God. God gave you a bad voice give it back to them, saying, so I'm encouraging you let this Christmas Eve for some of you it's going to be the start when you break the silence. You break the silence and you say every time I get together with God's people and those songs start, do my hardest to learn the lyrics and saying from the bottom of my heart. You are God's ornaments. You and I are meant to adorn his house for all eternity. What a privilege. You are a gift to God the father gave to his son the Lord Jesus Christ because he so loved the world he gave his only son that concluded Skip's Christmas message called ornaments to Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and others to the good news of Jesus.
As believers we receive the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.
But we're also a gift from the father to Jesus, his eternal ornaments, so to speak. As I mentioned today we want to reach more people around the world and bring them into God's family, but we can't do it without friends like you. Your gift not only keeps these messages coming to you, but it also helps reach more people with God's love. Please consider giving a gift today. Here's how you can do that. Give us a call at 800-922-1888 to make a donation. 800-922-1888. Give firstname.lastname@example.org/donate.
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More information on the broadcast connect with.com. Be sure to come back again next is Skip plaintiff resumes are series 2020 shares held God's strength and wisdom can influence your life. So Skip presentation of connection communications to God's never changing truth ever-changing time