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The Real Story Of Christmas - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt
The Truth Network Radio
December 23, 2021 7:00 am

The Real Story Of Christmas - Part 1

Fellowship in the Word / Bil Gebhardt

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December 23, 2021 7:00 am

The real story of Christmas.

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Today on Fellowship in the Word, Pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ. He says, And all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

The positive and the negative. Everything that has been created, He created. You see, if it wasn't created by Him, it wasn't created as an end to being.

That's His point. He's not the only one who ever says this. In Colossians, the Apostle Paul says, He's the image of the invisible God. And for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and the earth, visible and invisible. Whether thrones, dominions, rollers, authorities, all things have been created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Thank you for joining us today on this edition of Fellowship in the Word with Pastor Bill Gebhardt.

Fellowship in the Word is the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible Church, located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now as once again he shows us how God's Word meets our world. I'm closing in on Christmas, and as a pastor I have a little ambivalence toward that. See, I find the season exciting and yet really challenging. The reason it's exciting for the same reasons you like it. I love the music, I love the movies, I love the lights, the presents, the whole thing. It's great.

Christmas is wonderful. But if you're a pastor, it's challenging as well. And what I mean by challenging is that you have to try to come up with some fresh way to give a message on the Christmas story. You know, I've got to think of a new angle. I don't want to say what I said before.

And over the course of all these years that's become quite a challenge for me. As I was thinking about it though, within this last couple of weeks, it was sort of ironic that I realized that Christmas can be summarized just simply by one word. Emmanuel. Just one word. Emmanuel. God with us. 700 years before the baby was born in Bethlehem, Isaiah the prophet said, Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son. She will call his name Emmanuel.

This morning I want to speak about that. I want to speak about the Christmas story. Without Joseph. Without Mary. Without a stable. Without a manger. Without the shepherds. Without the wise men. Without the star.

Without the angels. I would like to talk about the reality. The truth. Of Christmas. You see, all those characters find their true meaning. In the true meaning.

Of Christmas. I want you to open your Bibles to John chapter one. The Gospel of John chapter one. You see, this is the story behind the story. If you stood where the shepherds stood that night, you'd miss this story.

If you went to the manger and observed the baby born, you'd never experience this story. This story is rich and powerful and profound. These 18 verses in John make up the reality of Christmas. John takes us into eternity. We'll leave time in these verses. He takes us beyond this world.

To experience the reality of Christmas. He introduces the baby born in Bethlehem. With six different pictures in these verses.

The first picture in the first three verses. He says, in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and He was in the beginning with God and all things came into being through Him. And apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being. His first picture is this. He is the eternal one.

He is the eternal one. He starts off by saying, in the beginning was the Word. What do you mean in the beginning? Literally in the Greek, it's anarchy.

There's no article there. He doesn't say, in the beginning. That's good English, but not good Greek here. Anarchy, in beginning. He's talking about a beginning, but not the beginning like Genesis 1. There you have, in the beginning, God created. But this beginning is a beginning before that began.

That's what He is saying. He's saying that when Genesis 1 occurred, the Word already was. In the beginning was the Word. The Logos. In the beginning was the Logos.

And depending on who you were, you'd interpret that perhaps a little bit differently. The Logos spoke differently to Jews than to Greeks. The Jews understood that the Logos meant the Word of God. To the Jews it meant, and God said, and God spoke.

It was revelation. When God spoke in Genesis, the universe is created. They understood that to be the Logos. They understood how important that is for them.

They also understood that the Logos was more than just simply words. It encompassed the wisdom of God. You see, it was the wisdom of God, is what He's talking about.

Something bigger than just simply some words being spoken. Hold your place here and go with me back to Proverbs chapter 8. Proverbs chapter 8. And you'll see a very similar picture that Solomon writes in Proverbs 8 concerning wisdom. He says, let me personify this, the wisdom of God, or the Logos of God.

He says in verse 22, wisdom personified. The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way. Notice, the Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way.

Well, He's eternal. The Lord's always had me. The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way before His works of old. From everlasting, I was established from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there was no depths, I was brought forth, when there was no springs abounding with water, before the mountains were scattered, before the hills I was brought forth, while He had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor this first dust of the world. When He established the heavens, I was there. When He inscribed a circle in the face of the deep, when He made, He said, firm the skies above. When the springs of the deep became fixed, when He set forth, He said, set for the sea its boundary, so that the water would not transgress His command. When He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside Him.

As a master workman, I was daily His delight. He says, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the world His earth, and having my delight in the sons of men. Same idea, the debar of the Old Testament and the Logos of the New Testament. Before anything was created, back to John, in the beginning was the word. The Greeks had a profound view of this. Logos to the Greeks meant something very different. If you were talking to Greek philosophy, the Stoic philosophy, for example, the Stoics viewed the Logos as the cause for everything. That Logos was the essence of everything, the truth of everything is Logos. You even had someone like Plato, and Plato said that the Logos was the reality behind our reality. The Logos was the thing most real, not the things that we see, but the things behind what we see. The Greeks had a very different view than the Jews, but they both had this incredible responsibility toward this word Logos.

What it meant to them. He says, in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and then profoundly, the word was God. John just says it, the word, the Logos, was God.

An amazing statement when you think about it. The word was God. He says in verse 2, he was in the beginning with God.

Now understand something. If you were in the beginning with God in the beginning of the beginnings, then you were what? God. Only God was with God in the beginning. And he said that's exactly it. The word was with God in the beginning. He says the word was with God in the beginning. And he says, look, all things came into being through him.

And apart from him, he says, nothing came into being that has come into being. Notice the pronoun change. Him. He starts out with a neuter, not Logos. Now he's masculine.

It's him. He is the Logos. He says, and all things came into being through him, but apart from him, nothing came into being that has come into being.

The positive and the negative. Everything that's been created, he created. You see, if it wasn't created by him, it wasn't created as an end to being.

That's his point. He's not the only one who ever says this. In Colossians, the Apostle Paul says, he's the image of the invisible God. And for by him, all things were created, both in the heavens and the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, dominions, rollers, authorities, all things have been created by him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things hold together.

What an amazing introduction this is in these first three verses. He is the Logos, the revelation that comes from God. He expresses then the will of God, the mind of God, the power of God, the purpose of God and the plan of God.

What's that mean? In verse four, he's not only the eternal one, he is the revealed one in the next two verses. In him was life and life was the light of men. And the light shine in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it. Two of John's favorite terms, light and life. All the way through this gospel, John talks about the light and the life and what that means. He is the life giver. He is the light, the revelation from God to men. John sees light and life as two things sort of joined at the hip together. The light comes and when you believe in the light you have life.

That's what he says all the way through this gospel. And notice he says the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not, he says, comprehend it. The darkness doesn't understand the light. That's interesting when he says that. He said the darkness cannot put out the light.

The light invades this world of darkness. Hold your place and just go to chapter three with me for a moment after Jesus is speaking with Nicodemus, just verses 18 and 19. After the famous verse in John 3 16, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. He then picks up that same idea and in verse 18 he says, he who believes in him is not judged. He who does not believe has been judged already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten son. This is the judgment that the light has come into the world and men love the darkness rather than the light for their deeds were evil. You can see he's talking spiritually here for sure. The darkness doesn't comprehend the light.

It doesn't want to understand the light. And the reason for it is men live in darkness and their deeds are evil. That's what John says. Now back to John 1. He is the eternal one and he is the revealed one. And now he says, and he's the promised one. He said, there came a man sent from God whose name was John.

It's kind of an interesting statement. John doesn't call him John the Baptist. Everyone else seems to call him John the Baptist. But John says, look, he's the only John I'm going to talk about. In the Gospel of John, John never refers to himself as John. He always refers to himself as the one who Jesus loved. He's sort of very discreet about this and he said, this is about John.

We all know who John is. He said, I want to tell you that there is one, he says, who came from God and his name, he said, was John. Four hundred years of silence. Just imagine like they've been born in that period of time for the Jews. No prophets. No one spoke for God. Just silence and you wait.

Century after century, they wait. And then all of a sudden, John the baptizer shows up. And he starts with his message, repent, repent.

The kingdom of heaven is at hand. He starts to speak. He is a voice crying in the wilderness. He is not like other people.

He draws your attention to himself. Jesus said this in Matthew 11. He said, among those born of women, there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist. That's Jesus' assessment of them.

You'd have to say then he's the greatest prophet of them all. And he says that's who came and he is sent from God. Notice he came in verse seven as a witness to testify to the light. John came to be a witness. What does a witness do? He just simply tells you what he has seen, what he's experienced. His job is to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And he says that's what John did. He came and he said as a witness to testify about the light.

Why? So that all might believe through him. He came to turn the hearts back to God, the people of Israel. He proclaimed this so that all might believe through him. He says in verse eight he was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

John was asked that several times. Are you the Messiah? Are you the Messiah? And John said no, I'm not the Messiah. I'm not the light. I'm here to testify to the light.

And that's what John does. He says in verse nine, he says there was a true light which coming into the world enlightens every man. That's a very difficult Greek construction on verse nine. What does it mean he's the true light that enlightens every man? It could be it means general revelation in a sense that he's come as the truth and the light and he's come to sort of help all men.

That certainly is a possibility. But I think what else he did is he came to shine in the darkness and reveal man to what he is. His light will reveal them. He'll reveal their evil in his judgment.

And his light, he said, will save men from their sins. He comes and reveals everything. He's the revealer of God.

That's what he does. And his light is available to all men. That's what John has already said. So he is the eternal one. He is the revealed one. He is the promised one.

And then verse 10, he is the rejected one. Up till now, it seems like you're anticipating this is great. This story is going to really be wonderful. It's a happy ending story.

It could be a Hallmark movie. You know, it's working in the right way. And then all of a sudden, you find the reality of it all. He said he was in the world. And the world was made through him. And the world did not know him.

What a sad statement that is. Not that he was just in the world, but he made the world. Not that he's just among men, but he made men. And they reject him. He said in verse 11, he came to his own. And those who were his own did not receive him. Not now he moves from the whole world to the nation Israel, specifically Judah. He comes to Israel as their Messiah, and they reject him.

They say, we want nothing to do with you. You're Beelzebub. You're the Lord of the Flies. You're of the devil. And Jesus said, when you did that, you just committed an unpardonable sin because I can't help you now.

There's no help that I can give you. His own reject him. Amazing statement. The eternal one, that's the baby. The revealed one, the promised one, the rejected one. And then it turns in verse 12, he's the saving one. He said, but as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even those who believe in his name. As many as received him. Notice, it doesn't say he gave them the power to be children of God.

They didn't need any power. That'd be exousia. Now, this Greek word is the right. He said, if you receive the son, if you receive the word, if you receive Jesus Christ, that's what this verse says. If you just receive Jesus Christ, he said he gave you the right to become the children of God.

That's been true since then. That's an amazing statement. To the Jews, it was profound, because they never thought of it that way. They always thought of it as what I have to do for God to be pleased with me in order to be a child of God. I have to live out my life through the law the best that I can. There's always some kind of religious antidote to this.

There's always some way of, we have to do this on our own. He says, no, you just have to receive him. If you receive him, he said, you'll be called the children of God. And even though the word here is tekna, which is a sort of a nominal word for children. The Apostle Paul said in Romans that not only are we children of God, but we cry out Abba, Father. Abba, the Aramaic word, which in English would be daddy.

This is profound to the Jews. Wait a minute. He can be my daddy? I can have that kind of intimacy with God because I just received the son? Yes. That's what the word of God says. Yes, you've got the right. You're a child of God.

Wow, what a statement. He said, as many as received them, he gave the right to be children of God, even those who believe in his name. Believe in his name. What's it mean to believe in his name? That I believe that's his name?

You know, I believe, what's his name? You know, in Hebrew, to the Jewish mindset, the name means everything you are and all you do. That's your name. That's how you have a good name. You see, a good name isn't a first name that rhymes with your last name, like it is in our culture. A good name means there you have the character to back up your life. You believe in his name.

And I always have to say this because usually someone's always here and it's profound. And remember what his name is. His name is Yeshua. That's his name.

Bar Joseph. That's his name. His name is not Jesus Christ. Jesus isn't Hebrew. It's not even Greek.

We turn it into a name. There's nothing wrong with Jesus. That's sort of for Joshua or Yeshua. But his last name is not Christ.

It doesn't say that in his mailbox. It doesn't say this where the Christs live. He is Jesus the Christ.

Christos means Messiah. He is Yeshua the Messiah. But all that that means, who he is, he's God. He's the eternal one. He's the revealed one. He's the promised one. He said you've got to believe in all of that in order to be saved. He says and don't mistake this. I love verse 13. Who were born, those who are children of God, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God. You can't inherit salvation.

You cannot. I say this all the time in an application to us. Please understand God doesn't have any grandchildren. He only has children.

This is a decision everybody has to make on their own. You've been listening to Pastor Bill Gebhardt on the Radio Ministry of Fellowship in the Word. If you ever miss one of our broadcasts or maybe you would just like to listen to the message one more time, remember that you can go to a great website called oneplace.com. That's oneplace.com, and you can listen to Fellowship in the Word online.

At that website, you will find not only today's broadcast, but also many of our previous audio programs as well. At Fellowship in the Word, we are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help this radio ministry continue its broadcast on this radio station by supporting us monthly or with just a one-time gift. Support for our ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word 4600 Clearview Parkway, Metairie, Louisiana 7006. If you would be interested in hearing today's message in its original format, that is as a sermon that Pastor Bill delivered during a Sunday morning service at Fellowship Bible Church, please revisit our website, fbcnola.org.

That's fbcnola.org. At our website, you will find hundreds of Pastor Bill's sermons. You can browse through our sermon archives to find the sermon series you are looking for, or you can search by title. Once you find the message you are looking for, you can listen online, or if you prefer, you can download the sermon and listen at your own convenience. And remember, you can do all of this absolutely free of charge. Once again, our website is fbcnola.org. For Pastor Bill Gebhardt, I'm Jason Gebhardt, thanking you for listening to Fellowship in the Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-06 02:00:03 / 2023-07-06 02:09:31 / 9

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