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December 25, 2020 3:00 am
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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.
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The following message from Pastor Greg Laurie is made possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God check out virtue our website for Christian women go to harvest.org/virtue was evenly waiting for Jesus to come on we should be eagerly waiting for Jesus to go. The second zone coming up with new beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie points out, Christmas is a good time to remember that Jesus is coming back and we need to be ready for when he was surrounded by holes in Schober, the second coming will be accompanied by saints and angels are you looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ were so happy to celebrate Christmas with new beginning. Pastor Greg Laurie all the team want to wish you a very Merry Christmas such a heightened sense of patient is especially all of us should be a heightened sense of anticipation for Jesus second coming as well. After Greg takes us back to the very first Christmas letter along that are sort of unknown folks in the Bible that were waiting for the first Christmas, Simeon and Anna never heard of them before Simeon and Anna believe it or not they're actually a part of the Christmas story. Even the Nativity story and in some ways, the more a part of the Christmas story than the wise men more because the wisemen came quite a bit later, maybe up to two years later the Bible says they came to the house where Jesus was about the manger where he was born. So let me show you where these two fit in to the Christmas story, big picture timeline member, the angel Gabriel came to Mary living in the city of Nazareth, the city rundown for its wickedness.
She was a nobody in a nowhere town in the middle of nowhere, and though it was known for immorality. Mary was a godly girl living in an ungodly place. It was revealed to her that she would become the mother of the very Messiah she was trying to wrap her mind around how this would happen, and Gabriel gave her this message. Told her the Holy Spirit will come upon you the power of the most high will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy and he will be called the son of God, so Mary agreed. She said let it be according to your servant. I'm in a great all do it to go to said no. She said no thank you to get somebody else. But she said yes and so now the son of God is come into the world. The message is given to the shepherds so let's see what they said. Luke chapter 2 verse nine. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared among them and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them.
Imagine they were terrified and the angel reassure them. Don't be afraid. She said I bring you good news that will bring great joy to wall people. The Savior.
Yes, the Messiah of the Lord has been born today about the him the city of David, and you'll recognize him by this sign you'll find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth lying in a manger. Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others armies of heaven, praising God and saying Laurie to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth. Of those with whom God is pleased, the shepherds said to each other. Let's go to Bethlehem let's see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about. There so the shepherds come they find Mary and Joseph and the baby in her arms. No doubt the wisemen appeared a little bit later. I already mentioned a couple of years later. Listen to this. The next event in the Nativity story is eight days later after the birth of Christ. When Joseph and Mary dig Jesus into the temple there. He was circumcised and now we come to the first of two people who were waiting for Christmas are waiting for Christ.
The first was Simeon who was he was a godly man was waiting for the Messiah to hear his old Simeon hanging out in the temple waiting the Lord revealed to him he would not die until he saw the Messiah one day who walks in Mary Joseph and the baby Jesus and Simeon knew they weren't how to be no glow right where they had halos. Jesus had a little baby hello that's always in the religious art. Honestly, I don't think they look any different than any other peasant family, but Simeon knew they were because he was a man of God because he spent time in prayer and God reveals things to those who seek him, that are not revealed to those who don't.
So he sees him and he knows right there and that's what this is the one. This is the Messiah. We read in Luke chapter 2 verse 32. He thank God he had seen the Messiah and he prayed.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations.
He's a glory of your people Israel. Mary and Joseph were amazed what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed somebody said to Mary, the baby's mother.
This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall many others to rise.
He's been sent as a sign from God, and many will oppose them. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very well what about me them in the Mary would make a great sacrifice to be the mother of Jesus, you might so I wish I could've been married do you Mary had to go through life with a reputation of an immoral woman to a lot of people just didn't buy the whole supernatural conception story. They believe she had sex before she was married was some guy in fact, on one occasion the Pharisees said to Jesus, what a lease we were born of fornication, which is another way of saying fillies were not illegitimate like you wow are fighting words. But the point is, that was a reputation. Mary lived with and the irony is this is a very moral virtuous godly girl who had to live without reputation effectively. A scarlet a written on her robe for adulterous, but she hung in there, but the hardest thing of all is what she looked up on the cross and saw her son hanging there. Those hands nailed to the cross were once tiny little hands and she guided as a mother those feet that he knew he would run and have such a fun time as a little boy were now nailed to a cross and it was so painful. How could we even imagine such a thing as sword pierced her soul. Simeon told her that would happen so the Lord fulfilled his promise to Simeon. Whether was someone else hanging out in the temple to her name is Anna.
She was 84 years old. She never left the temple. The Bible says she just pray constantly never left the devil shooting guard get a burger up McDavid's or whatever. You know what I miss Messiah so she just waited one day she sees Simeon talking to Mary and Joseph.
He sees the baby Jesus. She knows the prophecy has been fulfilled and we read that she rejoiced and told everybody about the child while what a story this is, but how easy it is for us to just missed the whole point of Christmas heard about a family that was going out of town for Christmas and they got the SUV loaded up tucked all their luggage, let the dog over at a friend's house got their playlist Christmas songs to listen to pull it out of the driveway going down the street and suddenly the mother realizes and says to the husband. We forgot the baby so they had to go back and collect their baby that they had left in the house that's Christmas for many people. We trim our trees. We hang our likes. We go to endless events, but we forget the baby right.
Simeon was eagerly waiting for Jesus to come the first time and we should be eagerly waiting for Jesus to come the second time because Jesus Christ is coming back again to this earth. That's what the Bible says the first time he came in a manger. The next time you come back in glory in his first coming. He was wrapped in swaddling cloths in the second coming will be clothed royally in a robe dipped in blood, in his first coming. He was surrounded by animals and shepherds in his second coming will be accompanied by saints and angels in his first coming.
There was no room for him in the end and a second coming door of the heavens will be open to him in his first coming.
He was the Lamb of God coming to take away the sin of the world and the second coming will be the ferocious line of the tribe of Judah, bringing judgment me ask you this. Are you looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ should be just as the godly Simeon and Anna look forward to his first arrival we should be looking forward to his second coming.
And that's really all marked up your spiritual state. If you're like all reluctant apprehensive. I don't want to hear this. That would indicate to me you're not doing well spiritually, but if your heart would jump a little bit and say yes Lord come tonight.
Lord, that shows me you are where you to be Anna and Simeon were waiting for the Messiah. Mr. Greg Laurie will have the second half of this message in just a moment, everybody Greg Laurie here in finding you to join me every weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's a church service. It's a worship service. It's a Bible study and its wherever you wanted to be in your home in your car sitting on a beach walking down the street watching it on your phone wherever you are taking with you and be ministered to every weekend. Join us for Harvest at Home@harvest.org were glad you're joining us for pastor Greg's message today called waiting for Christmas. Let's continue why did Jesus come why so we could chop.
That's why I write so we could spend too much money the whole of course not, he actually came to die.
I know that's not a pleasant thought to think of a beautiful little newborn it's a here that they became to die but actually Jesus came with the express purpose of dying on a cross for our sins because the Bible says Jesus speaking I came to give my life as a ransom for many years and think that is all point of it. He came to bring life to us to bring the ultimate gift to you now to receive some give some of you open your presents in the evening. How many of you open presents on Christmas Eve razor. Your Christmasy people. How many of you have to wait to Christmas morning. It's more of your target so you can open your presence and some you like and some you'll have to figure the little let's be honest know we gave the gifts to our grandkids today. You know the girls were delighted by their pajamas. My grandson was not so excited he was waiting for a toy. So when he opened up his little R2-D2 remote control robot.
He was finally happy. So you'll get something to go whole Muslim greatly are not really that happy liver world gift card.
Whatever. But here's what I want to remind you of your probably not going to remember next year what you got this year, just as you don't remember this year what you got posture probably certainly not five years ago and whatever you get. No matter how cool it is.
It'll be dated and taught you know maybe you got the latest gadgets cell phone combination sulfone drone toaster and robot right just came out it's frame you and Ahaz you know 80 inch screen that comes out somehow with the most megapixels given three months of the noses, and anything to be dated for your outfit, no matter how cool it is. Styles change you will remember those sites and there might be some things that you have been given to the don't mean that much to you now. Maybe a drawing by your child or a card written by your grandchild, but then as years pass and those other gifts are forgotten and you pull that little card out it touches your heart if your house was on fire. You would take that thing out of there may be before anything else because it's valuable to you. Some gifts become more valuable with the passing of time when you're young person and someone says if you become a Christian you go to heaven when you die like right but that's a long ways away because I'm young and your old so maybe you're excited about it but I don't care.
All right, I get that knowing I became a Christian to be the most appealing thing was I could have life in all of its fullness, and I've experienced that life but as I get older that whole eternal life thing is starting to become a little more interesting to me now because pretty soon I'm in a be cast in that one in and I have loved ones that have already gone to receive the reward from God, so that becomes more precious gift. With the passing of time. You know some of you are grandparents that didn't buy you gifts or toys they put money in an account every Christmas.
Grandma said we put some money into your Christmasy count and you are thinking grandma Celine when no. 20 years later, you just check your balance and you said grandma was awesome right because it accrued dated interest made a larger sum it's more valuable and as you get older you realize this gift of eternal life.
Want to cash this card, and pretty soon I don't know when. Because Christmas is a marker of time is reminds us are getting older. Remember last Christmas. Wow I can't believe years passed already. You remember that there were some people with you last Christmas that are with you this Christmas so there's some pain in your heart over it.
It's a marker because in a way and I know that sounds a little bit morbid, but Christmas is sort of connected to death when I see it's connected to death. I'm simply saying it reminds us that on Christmas. The first one death was going to now be defeated in it ultimately was defeated when Jesus died on the cross. You see death died when Christ rose, I don't want us to miss this point because God is offering to you the most amazing gift of all the gift of eternal life, and I wonder if you have this gift you say what you mean. I mean knowing that you're a child of God, you know, sometimes evil safe for all children of God brought God's children. I know that sounds very nice but I beg to differ. In the Bible begs to differ as well. Actually, we are all children of God were all loved by God, were all created by God were all made in the image of God but to be technical and theologically correct. We are not all the children of God. The only way you can become a child of God is by accepting the gift of eternal life because the Bible says, for as many as received him, he gave them the power to become sons of God. So there has to be a moment where you admit to God you're a sinner. That's what he said the Savior, and you have to churn friend that said and asked Jesus to come into your life and I wonder, have you done that yet US Jesus to come into your life and you know with complete certainty that if this were your last Christmas. Let's be honest, it could be if this were your last Christmas you know with certainty that you would go to heaven. The greatest tragedy of all would be if you didn't know that because this kept on talking about is greater than any gift under your tree and I don't care how amazing it is to see those commercials are people who give cars with giant bows to their spouses. I don't know anyone who's ever done that.
By the way, what I would be a pretty good gift.
I'll admit, but you know what, it's better than a car with a ball, it's better than something you put in your finger wear around your neck, it's better than money that grandma put into an account if the only gift that keeps on giving the gift of eternal life in God will give it to you right now and all you have to do is receive it in our grandkids are opening their gifts.
They do what kids do they attack it'll say things like oh this is so nice. I'll save the ribbon for later dental care they want to give and really that's the way to do it. Just go for it.
Receive and accept it. Enjoy it. The gift card, redeem it, start living it out. Got offers you this gift and I want to close with a prayer that I want to extend an invitation I'm offering you something better than anything this world can offer you innocently me offering it. It's just me telling you about the offer.
It's really God who offers but I'm limp. I'm telling you right now about the ultimate offer of all times. That is like that unused gift card that for many sits unused unaccepted the gift of eternal life the gift of the forgiveness of sin. The gift of finding the meaning and purpose of your life the gift of a relationship with God. Have you received this gift if not you want to receive it right now. Let's do that together.
Let's all bow our heads and everybody pray with me if you would father thank you for loving this so much that you sent Jesus to be born in that major then to die on the cross and the rise from the dead, Lord Jesus, thank you for coming and laying your life down for us. And now I pray for every person here every person watching, listening, wherever they may be. If they don't know you yet. Let this be the moment they believe and receive the gift of eternal life. We ask it now.
Jesus met prayer pastor Greg Laurie and if you like to make that kind of change in your relationship with the Lord pastor Greg wants to help you do that before we wrap up today's addition of a new beginning. So stay tuned. If you like a permanent copy of the message pastor Greg Broadus today get in touch for the study called waiting for Christmas will give you the details when you call 1-800-821-3300. You can call anytime 24 seven. Yes, even here on Christmas day. That's 1-800-821-3300 or go online for an instant email@example.com pastor Greg there's a lot of talk about voting this year. Yes, our listeners may not realize it but they vote to keep this study coming their way.
They vote by partnering with us yet their support is what helps these programs keep coming their way and we just want to say, the polls are open. That's right, they are open and that is a way that we know that were impacting you when you write us when you contact us when you communicate with doesn't say I'm listening I been impacted by what you're offering and also when you support us financially because that enables us to reach even more people I know so many of you listen every single day or every other day and it's a part of your life and you share these broadcasts or our podcasts with other people were thankful for that and we want to continue to be able to come into your home into your vehicle wherever it is your listening to us and we want to come in to other people's lives as well because people need to hear the word of God. Don't you think Simon ask you as we come to the end of 2020 to prayerfully consider making a financial contribution to harvest ministries when you do this, you share in the spiritual fruit of what were doing.
The apostle Paul wrote to the believers knee said I did something I want to give but I want fruit to abound to your account. So when you give toward this ministry. That's what's going to happen for you too, and we have seen thousands of people come to Christ well over 100,000 people made a profession of faith to follow Christ through our online ministry through our outreach through our film, a rush of hope and of course our radio and television and so forth were praying. Then next year will even be greater. So listen with that gift that you send our way would ever it can be.
I want to say thanks by sending you a copy of a brand-new resource that we have never offered before. It is the DVD version of a rush of hope. You sought online and many reset all I want my own copy.
Now you can have one you can watch it as many times as you want to watch it and you can show it to as many people as you want to show it to and you can do it wherever you want to do it and you'll have your own copy, along with some special resources we've developed a booklet that's called answering life's most important questions that you could give out to a nonbeliever that you know also a piece that we wrote that will show you how to host a watch party. In other words, how do have the maximum impact. If you bring people over to your home to have a viewing of this cinematic crusade that we call a rush of hope. So will send you a copy of this DVD for your gift of any size I want to just say in advance. Thank you for believing in what we do and let's pray that next year is our greatest year ever. Amen. And in that regard. Your gift couldn't come at a more strategic time so I hope you will contact us today for your copy of a rush of hope along with all the extras not only are we offering this on the DVD, but there's also a special digital download code. We will provide for you. What that means is to let the DVD that showed wherever you want to show to but you can downloaded to your phone you can downloaded to your tablet device or to your computer and then watch it or show it when ever you want carried around with you event and you can have an evangelistic crusade in your pocket and its rights or contact us today with your generous your intonation at a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300 1-800-821-3300 and we can take your call 24 seven or just go online to harvest.org pastor Greg another seminar audience who felt God speaking to them today for your message and they want to make a change in a relationship with the Lord. And what better day to do that than Christmas Day. That's right, could you help them with that. Yeah, you know, Dave. The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved so I will lead you in a prayer we you will be doing just that.
Calling on the name of the Lord solicit if you want your sins forgiven. If you want to know that when you die you will go to heaven if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life and take away your guilt and your shame. Then just stop what you're doing and pray this prayer with me right now pray this after me if you would, Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I have broken your commandments.
I have fallen short of your standards but 2000 years ago you died on the cross for me, then you rose again from the dead. So Jesus come in the my life and be my Savior and my Lord and my God, my friend. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. Thank you for calling me and accepting me and for giving me in Jesus name I pray, amen man listen. If you have just prayed that prayer along with pastor Greg and you meant those words. Sincerely, God is heard you and forgiven you of your sin and we want to send you some materials to help you as you begin your new life as a follower of Christ, it's a collection of resources called the new believers] will send it without charge. If you made a first time commitment to the Lord today. Just ask for it when you write a new beginning. Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514 or call us at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300 or go to harvest.org and click on know God. Next I pastor Greg offers an important look at the life of Samson. We know him as the Bible's great strongman great was the fall of the great strongman Samson with the new year upon us will learn to plan our steps in a way that avoids his mistakes.
That's next time will pastor Greg, I saw I saw social media post, wishing me, snowflakes, friendship and winter cheer while your wish for our listeners is a little more substantial business. Yes my wish is that they would have a blessed and happy and fulfilling Christmas not in the obtaining of presence, but by experiencing his presence.
Immanuel has come. God is with us.
Listen, don't put your hope in Christmas put it in Christ you have a blessed Christmas and possible by harvest partners, helping people everywhere know God sign up for pastor grades free daily email devotions and harvest.org