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Sunday Message: A Hopeful Christmas

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2020 3:00 am

Sunday Message: A Hopeful Christmas

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 20, 2020 3:00 am

When Christ came to this world as a baby, He took on titles such as “Wonderful” and “Counselor.” As Pastor Greg Laurie helps us discover in this special Christmas message from Isaiah 9, these roles mean hope to a hopeless world. Listen in and discover how to have “A Hopeful Christmas.”

Notes

Christmas is not about presents under a tree, it’s about His presence in your life.

Christmas is about God undoing loneliness.

Read: Isaiah 9:6

The birth of Jesus was not His beginning.

His name is Wonderful: that takes care of the dullness of life.

There is nothing this world offers that will satisfy a person who was created to know God.

His name is Counselor: that takes care of the decisions of life.

His name is Mighty God: that takes care of the demands of life.

Jesus became one of us without ceasing to be Himself.

His name is Everlasting Father: that takes care of the future of life.

His name is Prince of Peace: that takes care of the disturbances of life.

“And the government shall be upon His shoulders.” —Isaiah 9:6

Before taking the government upon His shoulders, Jesus would first take the cross upon His shoulders.

Red is the color of Christmas.

Red is the color of Christmas because that is the color of the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for the sin of the world.

Scriptures Referenced

Luke 1:78–79

Psalm 73:24

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Everybody Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the glory podcast and my objective is to deliver hopefully compelling practical insights and faith culture and current events. From a biblical perspective to find out more about our ministry. Just go to our website harvest.org so thanks for joining me for this podcast, 20, 20 uses only been stuck in the tensioning and the real winter is only just begun on the loom current. The city it's been bleeding some field frozen in fear alone, for God and appearing icing assignments from heaven leaves many wondering this would Karen get things look pretty bleak. 2000 years ago at the first Christmas, but everything was right on schedule. In fact, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist understood this when he said in Luke chapter 1 because of God's tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, yes the Messiah was coming.

You know what this is our first code Christmas. I don't even like to use those two words together. But hey, it is what it is a coronavirus Christmas and everything is different, right member last year. We're rushing to and fro, trying to find a parking space at the mall traffic everywhere out that way right now.

Is it that you can find plenty of parking spaces and most malls and the traffic is not as bad but did you ever stop and think. Wait a second. I was always complaining about all of the busyness of Christmas, but for the first time have a little time on your hands baby for the first time for some of us will realize this could be our best Christmas ever. Because Christmas is not about presence under a tree.

It's about his presence in your life.

That's the message of Christmas you will call his name Immanuel, which means God is with us. Christmas is about God. Undoing loneliness. Now I want to focus on a passage of Scripture that I think really sums up what Christmas is all about and why Jesus came in the first place. It's a passage you probably have memorized Isaiah 96, and here's what it says undo us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder and his name will be called wonderful Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of peace. Have you ever noticed that that verse gives sort of a heavenly and earthly perspective of what happened when Jesus came at the same time.

From our perspective unto us a child was born in a manger in Bethlehem, from God's perspective. A son was given for us. It was an arrival for God, it was a departure but listen to this.

The birth of Jesus was not just beginning. Jesus is part of the Godhead, father, son and Holy Spirit. He always has been. But what happened at Christmas.

The incarnation is it's called as God walked among us as a man, he breathed our air. He walked in our shoes. He lived our lives and ultimately he died are death at such an amazing thing that all of this happen for us and I want to go over those descriptions of Jesus given in Isaiah 96 because it shows how Jesus is sufficient to meet what ever need to have in your life. Let's start with this one is name shall be called wonderful that takes care of the dullness of life.

Bertrand Russell was quoted to have said at least half of the sins of mankind are caused by a fear of boredom." The word wonderful comes from the root word. Wonder and think about all the tech we have today. We've never been more advanced technologically than we are right now we have our smart phones we have are tablets we have our mega screen televisions hanging on the wall.

We have our social media were on tick tack work tic-tac-toe and tick-tock rights were on the ground were on Facebook or on twitter. All of this is going on simultaneously. Why were planar videogames and many young people are seen on board. But Jesus is wonderful, Jesus will take care of the dullness of life. But if you look to this culture or this world to find answers or fulfillment you're going to come up empty. There is nothing this world offers that will satisfy a person who's created to know God read an interesting interview with actor Ethan Hawke the other day when he first started out in Hollywood as a young actor.

One of his contemporaries was River Phoenix and he really looked up to the tragically River Phoenix moved to Hollywood and ended up in the fast lifestyle of that culture and tragically ended up dead of a drug overdose outside of the Viper room in Los Angeles and so Ethan Hawke in this interview, made this statement and I quote drugs, alcohol and depression are formidable opponents all over the world.

People think getting what you want will make you happy. But then he says, but a sense of self purpose and love don't come from the outside you can get so distracted by this culture that celebrates things that sometimes aren't what they seem." That's an understatement. People were caught in the undertow of this culture takes someone like Justin Bieber who said more than his share of fame and adulation and he made this statement, quote hey world this glamorous lifestyle portrayed by famous people and Instagram don't beat Fuld and think their life is better than yours because I promise you it's not." Jesus is Lord God comes in these wonderful the word wonder means he's amazing. He's astonishing these bewildering fees be on our human comprehension.

The best word to describe God.

Going back to the root word wonder is also we as a word a lot, especially here in Southern California you know people like to imitate Californians and it'll sound something like oh that's awesome dude. Nobody in California talks that way.

By the way, but we as a word a lot. All that's an awesome car that was an awesome taco.

I hope you don't think a taco is as awesome as God. This is a word. The really is reserved for the Lord alone. He's on inspiring diesel wonderful and this will add meaning and purpose to your life when you have a relationship with him. Medical science seeks to add years to your life with only Christ can add life to your years.

So for all of us. His name can be wonderful but then Isaiah says his name is counselor that takes care of the decisions of life. Did you know that God Almighty wants to reveal his will to you. He has a specific plan for your life as an individual. Psalm 73 says you guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory, but many will go to the local bar and pour out their troubles to the bartender or anyone who will sit around and listen to them.

Others in desperation will spend thousands of dollars on therapy. Even others will go to a psychic trying to get some kind of an answer. Others might even turn to Google or Siri to try to find the answers to life.

Listen I wanted tell you here's where you're gonna find the answers you're going to find them in the Bible God is a counselor he's not only wonderful, he wants to bring a specific counsel to you. The Bible says if any man likes wisdom, let him ask of God and the Lord will give it you can have an appointment with Jesus Christ when ever you want it. He always has time for you, one dark night amending Nicodemus, a religious leader had an appointment with Jesus. One afternoon a woman from Samaria who tried to fill the hole in her heart with relationships with men had an appointment with Jesus and God is ready to make an appointment with you and be your counselor and he's finally interested in whatever you're facing in the book of Numbers chapter 6 there is a blessing that the Jewish priests were to pronounce over the people and went along these lines, the Lord bless you. The Lord keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. If you ever wonder what that means in the winter. Send the Lord bless you and keep you. But when the Bible says he'll lift up his countenance and means God's going to be teen attention to you. You have God's attention.

He's interested in what you're facing. He wants to be your counselor's name is wonderful, his name is counselor and he is the mighty God that takes care of the demands of life.

As I pointed out Jesus was fully God and fully man.

He was not just a good man. He was the God man, not man, becoming God, that's impossible. But God, becoming a man. It's kind of hard to wrap our minds around the idea that that beautiful little baby born in the manger of Bethlehem was God all mighty he was deity in diapers is my friend Max Aquino put it, and I quote divinity arrived heaven opened herself up and placed her most precious one in the human womb the omnipotent and one instant made himself breakable. God is a fetus holiness sleeping in the womb, the creator of light being created. No silk, no ivory, no hype, no party, no hoopla were not for the shepherds there would not even have been a reception were not for a group of stargazers through were there would've been no gifts God had come near rights. Max Kato. Yes, God came among us and walked among us. Listen to this. Jesus became one of us, without ceasing to be himself.

He became human without ceasing to be God unbelievable but he is the mighty God, which means that he has all the power that you need in life. Whatever you're facing whatever challenge, whatever difficulty whatever addiction the almighty powerful God is taken residence in your heart if you put your faith in Jesus Christ, his name is wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the everlasting father. This brings hope and encouragement to those who maybe grew up without a father, and life baby I'm talking to someone who came from a fatherless home or a broken home or maybe your father never a time for you.

Or maybe he was a harsh abusive father. Regardless of how your father and earth was I wanted tell you you of a father in heaven who loves you. I didn't have a dad growing up, my mom was married and divorced seven different times so I never had that father figure 1 a became a believer in Jesus Christ. Suddenly, Qaeda heavenly father looking out for me that I could come into a relationship with after Jesus rose from the dead. He appeared to Mary at the empty tomb, and he said I'm going to ascend and go to my God and be your God and to my father and your father see because of Jesus dying on the cross and rising again from the dead. Now I can call God Almighty father, how does he teach us to address God in what we call the Lord's prayer. Remember our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

The Bible even takes it a step further and says God is not giving you a spirit of bondage again to fear, but one of adoption, whereby you cry, Abba, father still the phrase Abba father does mean a lot to us today, but it means a lot to someone who speaks Hebrew effective you're in Israel today, you'll see the little children, calling their father Abba and that's their version of daddy to the Bible is not only seen a God to be your father but a scene he can be your all about your daddy. Your Papa if you will. He is the ever lasting father and everlasting reminds us of its eternal and reminds us that he will be my father on earth and he will receive me into heaven where I will go one day because I put my faith in Jesus Christ and it says also here in Isaiah 9 he is the Prince of peace that takes care of the disturbances of life. You know in the storms of life.

We long for peace within, and our crazy culture was so many uncertainties in the air and uncertain economy you're uncertain about your health, your uncertain about so many things. It's great to know that he can be your Prince of peace. When the angels appeared to those shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. Remember what the message was it was glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men with whom God is well pleased the way you have peace is by having a relationship with God when your life is well pleasing to God. You can experience this personal peace. Now, Isaiah shifts gears and he says and the government will be upon his shoulders. This is speaking of a future event and he will be called wonderful Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of peace, and the government will be upon his shoulders. Now there's a lot of time between the birth of Jesus and the return of Jesus. When Christ comes back again will have a perfect government and we want that. Don't wait so much corruption in government, no matter how you vote in one day they'll be a perfect government of righteousness. But I will not happen through political channels that will happen when Jesus Christ returns again to this earth and establishes his kingdom and he will reign righteously as King of Kings and Lord of lords would listen to this before Jesus would take the government upon his shoulders at the future event. He would first take the cross upon his shoulders. He came to die on the cross we don't like to think about that. We like to think of that beautiful little baby in the manger made them blue light for the little baby came with a purpose omission to die for the sin of the world. Remember those wise men became a little bit later in the Christmas narrative and they brought to him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, curious gifts to bring a child about a stuffed camel, no gold, frankincense and myrrh. They had an insight as to the mission of what Jesus had come to fulfill gold because he was a king frankincense or incense because he would be our high priest representing us to God and murder that was an embalming element. They understood that he was coming to die for the sin of the world. So I want to see the you in closing, red is the color of Christmas is a will why because Santa wears red or poinsettias are red, no red is the color of Christmas because that is the color of the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for the sin of the world. That's why he came because God knew way back that we would sin against him. He knew we would break his commandments. And so, in the garden of Eden, the Lord gave the first passage that points to the arrival of the Messiah. When the Lord said to Satan, there is coming one who will crush your head, but he will bruise his heel. And when Jesus came he was born he lived his perfect life and then he went to the cross and he crushed Satan and he rose again from the dead and we can come into a relationship with him right now. The first we have to receive the gift well Christmas is about giving gifts is that I hope you don't know your Christmas shopping. If you're like me you forget some people enough to God and get them a gift at the last minute, but you know you give a Christmas gift to someone you say Merry Christmas. Hopefully, they reach out say thank you very much. In the open it now ladies are usually more polite about a gift. If there's a card with that though the will open the card don't read the card sometimes are visibly touched by what they read the sleep.

Thank you. And then the carefully open it all. Save this ribbon for later in and carefully and do it. You know I'm I use this another time guys are very different now to give card to a guy to look at it, but he's not reading that all right. The only reason he opened it as he is hoping there's gift cards in it. Are there some money don't throw it aside and wrapping paper to a man is a mere obstacle. He just wants to get it off as quickly as fossil doesn't really matter how you open your Christmas gift just opened the sin of this God is a gift for you.

It's called the gift of eternal life. The Bible calls it the unspeakable gift, which is another way of saying the indescribable gift. By the way, this is the only gift that keeps on giving. In fact, I think this gift of eternal life only grows more precious. With the passing of time and when you're young and you're told that if you asked Jesus to come of your life.

You go to heaven one day you think will that's nice but I'm kind of looking for meaning and purpose in this life but as you get older you like me and you realize you're closer to the end and you are the beginning, all of a sudden, that eternal life. Part becomes even more precious to you. This whole that you can spend all eternity with the Lord in heaven will if you want to give to receive.

So God is offering you will get this kit was purchased for you by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. 2000 years ago.

And if you want this hope of heaven. If you want your sins forgiven. You must receive this kit. The Bible says, for as many as received him, he gave them the power to become sons of God. So in the same way firemen offer this gift to you.

You must say, I accept this gift, and God is offering you this awesome gift of eternal life, but you must say, I accept is able. I don't even know what that means and means you say to the Lord in prayer. I need Jesus to come in the my life. I need him to forgive me of my sin. I want to know that when I die I will go to heaven. Jesus born in that manger living there perfect life, dying the death on the cross for our sins and rising again from the dead is standing at the door of your life and he's knocking the scene if you hear my voice, and open the door and come in in the moment. I like to pray with you and pray a simple prayer that a child could understand a simple prayer that your offering to God.

We are seeing Jesus come into my life.

Forgive me of my sin. I want a relationship with you. Listen if you want Christ to come in your life if you want him to forgive you of your sin if you want to discover that all of God that I talked about were his name will be wonderful to you will be your counselor, your mighty God just pray this prayer after me again I'll just pray this prayer you could print out loud after me. This is what you're asking Jesus Christ to come in your life. Pray with me now if you would pray these words Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner but I know that you're the Savior was born in the manger of Bethlehem who died on the cross of Calvary and rose again from the dead. Now Jesus, I ask you to come in the my life to be my Savior, and be my Lord to be my God, thank you for hearing this prayer in answering this prayer in Jesus name I asked this a man, he did you just pray that prayer with me that you feel something, maybe something wonderful great joy and sadness over here since if you're like I was on the day that I asked Christ to come in on my life. He felt nothing. This is not about how you feel. This is about what God is giving you would give you receive that gift to prayer.

I want you to know on the authority of Scripture. Christ is come to take residence in your heart you just pray that prayer this is going to be the merriest of all Christmases for you because you just discovered what Christmas is all about know it's not shop till you drop know it's not let it snow. It's about knowing God would've the wise men say when they came to Jesus after he had been born. They said we have come to worship.

I pray that this is your most blessed Christmas ever.

Thank you for watching our Christmas special Merry Christmas to all of you, and until next time everybody Greg Laurie here. Thanks for listening to our podcast in the learn more about harvest ministries. Please subscribe and consider supporting this show.

Just go to harvest.org. By the way, if you want to find out how to come into a personal relationship with God. Go to know God.org that's key NOW GLD.org


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