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TH171214/Red is the Color of Christmas

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2017 6:50 pm

TH171214/Red is the Color of Christmas

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 20, 2017 6:50 pm

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The title of my message is red is the color of Christmas. Now you know what we think of Christmas and passages that pertain to it certain stories from the Bible come to mind Luke's amazing poetic descriptive account of the birth of Jesus probably pops in first. And of course unique to Matthew's gospel we have the wise men are.

John comes out of from a different perspective altogether, but I'm not going to use any of the Gospels to tell this particular story we want to look at the book of Revelation in what it says about Christmas or more to the point. The birth of Christ, so you think will wait Revelation what is and how to do with Christmas and as were introduced to the doctor going to look at it a few moments.

We have a woman being pursued by a powerful Dragon seeks her death and he hovers over her as she prepares to give birth to this child and he wants to destroy her baby is a no wait, that is not the Christmas story. We need wise men and and shepherds and angels know what that's true to but this is the Christmas story from a different perspective, a member number of years ago I bought a nativity set online a one that lit up the could put in front of my house. First of all, it was much smaller than I expected that it was very large and there was this big. So it was, it did make a huge know is a little larger than that, but you lights up and I tell you people I saw people standing there just looking at it stones like who are these people and what does this mean and were sent and route often frosty right that mean so many people don't even know the basic Christmas story, but really, if we were to have an expression of the story were about to read.

We would have a little baby with a fire breathing dragon hovering over it. That sounds like something from Halloween, but actually that is a part of the Christmas story as well.

But one thing will see in a few moments is Christmas was in Christmas is a time of conflict. You look at just the tension in the year. This is supposed to be a time to enjoy ourselves to spread good cheer to be considerate, not quite what to see just gonna try to find a parking space in a mall right now in it's that mentality of shop till you drop Marshall Cohen, chief industry analyst for a retail firm recently said, quote retailers are brewing every holiday they commercialized every single holiday by creating a good reason to promote something and drive traffic now for a long time Thanksgiving was pretty much untouched until retailers came to the conclusion. We can wait until Good Friday's usually Black Friday so we need to open our stores now and Thanksgiving and that's a new custom and every year when you read about Black Friday you read crazy stories of what happened. I googled strange Black Friday stories and there were so many things that actually happened. One told the story of the store opened its doors in the little old lady sprayed pepper spray on some of the get towels a little old lady. I want those tasks, you know, and also another article pointed out that a customer sprayed mace behind Jen as he ran toward the electronic section on the other lady ladies what's going on here. Another lady was in the shoe department and the salesperson couldn't get the shoot in her size so she insulted her and threw the shoe at her and split the person's lip open. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas going on here. And then there's all the conflicts with family right because we all have families that are well dysfunctional. Just a little bit right on. There's a lot of broken home a lot of divorce happens and so now at Christmas time. You're expected to go visit everyone you have to go visit mom and her new husband and dad. It is new hot girlfriend half his age that maybe you're even older than and then you have all these weird step relatives you've never heard of before and and it makes Christmas very what's the right word. Nikki comes to mind, instead of looking forward to a church spreading it. All I have to go to this and after go to that they can be a time of conflict, but the conflict of the original Christmas was far more severe than that. The fact of the matter is Satan did not want there to even be our first Christmas he did everything in his power to stop Jesus from being born and there were some pretty close calls. I might add.

And it's good to know that God always has the last word. So let's read Revelation chapter 12 verse one know a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and honor.

He had a garden of 12 stars then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth and another sign appeared in heaven. Behold a great fiery red Dragon, having seven heads and 10 horns and seven diagrams or crowns on his heads.

His tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and threw them to the year, then the dragon stood before the woman was ready to give birth, to devour her child as soon as it was born. She bore a male child, who was to rule all the nations of the rod of iron in her child was caught up to God and his throne stop there.

I know what you're thinking. This is the weirdest Christmas message ever but it actually is a Christmas message because we find out what the real purpose of Christmas was and is the story of the Grinch who tried to steal Christmas right this is a story of the devil who tried to stop Christmas.

In fact, he tried to stop Christ altogether. So were introduced to this wonder woman in Revelation chapter 12 know who you think she is so into works.

Clearly, the Virgin Mary will I would not agree with that. And I'll tell you why I don't think though Mary was the mother of Jesus woman hand selected by God to bring forth the Messiah to carry God in human form in her womb. I don't think this is referring to Mary at all. I think the woman in this story is the nation Israel and the child she is bringing forth is yes, Jesus Christ. So let me start by explaining why believe that a verse one speaks of a garland of 12 stars. You may remember back in the book of Genesis, God gave Joseph a dream and Israel was described as having the sun and the moon and the 11 stars and as it turns out Joseph was the 12th star and from Israel, the Messiah came in one day Jesus will rule over all of the earth. And what do I believe this child been spoken of in Revelation 12 is Jesus verse five she bore a male child, who was to rule all the nations with a rod of iron in the second Psalm the Lord says to the son is the object begotten you. Ask of me and I'll give you the nations for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the year for your possession.

You'll break them with a rod of iron and that's exactly what we read about with this child. It's been born. He rules with a rod of iron. By the way this is speaking of the millennial. But not dropping too much stuff on you once, but basically in the prophetic scenario.

The next event on the calendar would probably be the rapture of the church were all true believers are caught up to meet the Lord in the air after this comes the Antichrist who inaugurates the tribulation. The tribulation period ends with the battles of Armageddon and the second coming of Jesus Christ and then we have this wonderful time coming to the earth, called the millennium millennium is a word that just means a thousand, and it's the 1000 year reign of Christ, for he rules the earth with a rod of iron is a wire rod of iron is in everybody's stoked that Jesus is in charge. No, actually, because are survivors of the tribulation. The descendents of the descendents of the descendents who are not believers at all and we come back with the Lord in the second coming in our new glorified bodies, and we will rule and reign over them. Because after all, did Jesus tell us over in Matthew 25 that were faithful to him will one day rule over other things and that's what this is all about and then ultimately Jesus will trade his rod for a staff and leaders like a shepherd but you can get around the significant place of Israel in history. The Jewish people are God's chosen people, by the way, I completely support what we have just done and move in moving our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Some of your symbol great don't get political will look to be biblical when I biblical.

Sometimes it would be political because some people want to politicize everything. I'm sorry if you perceive this political but always stand what Scripture says God gave the niche in the land of Israel to the Jewish people in Jerusalem always has been and always will be capital by the way were not making Jerusalem the capital that has been there capital we just put our embassy in the wrong city so were going to the city where government business is done and I were an embassy should be and so I think it's a great step in and I'm really happy about that city been taken lately to forge a stronger relationship with Israel. Not only is she not only the not only is she the only real democracy in the Middle East. But the reason we should support Israel is because it's the homeland of the Jewish people that God had returned to this piece of real estate after the horrific Holocaust and they fulfill Bible prophecy, and there's a special blessing promised of those that would bless the Jewish people. God said to Abraham and his descendents are bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you, they believe is our country has blessed are the homeland of the Jewish people.

God will bless us as well because they are the Apple of his eye. That's what the Scripture says so back to Revelation 12 pierces an enormous red Dragon with seven heads and 10 horns now some of you are getting visions of Godzilla movies right will Dragon all these horns and were small for it. You have to really obscure Godzilla movies to know what I'm talking about one of the Godzilla movies.

There was a giant mob called mantra and he was one of my favorite creatures because he was just stupid. He just sort of flopped in the things and stuff. And like marshaling months are so dumb you know they get drunk on light. They don't know what's going on. My wife hates mods because she has this fear that mods are going to fly into her hair. I don't know where she got that sofa month comes into the house. She's screaming and I have to find the month I have to either remove the moth or kill them. So years ago. We were in China and I'm walking on the street and I see a bird on the street and I while that wasn't Burgess sitting there. Then he moved his wings and realize that's on a bird that is the biggest moth they've ever seen in my life, I'm serious this month was like this bit while and so this is not good.

I don't recommend this for Kathy was walking toward me. I said Kathy come see the cute little prayer because I knew what she saw this creature take fly she would never forgive me for that. So in them. And sure enough, the mouth starts moving the wall.

He started to move and just as Kathy is right on top of the month.

Some guy just comes in a number of the hospitals. This is no connection to our story. This is only because I mention the word month and this is the way my brain works okay but if any moth deserve to be called mantra. It was that moth ice on the street in China, but it's interesting because it says here that this creature, this Dragon has many diet Dems are crowns understand Revelation crowns are symbols of authority and power, reminding us that the devil is powerful and the devil has authority never let that freak you out because it's power is nowhere near equal to the power of God, but he does have a certain authority.

That's where the Bible says he's the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience, and he blinds people to the gospel. Now these horns would most likely represent the 10 nations Confederated under the Antichrist. Now I know when we talk about the devil we wonder why why why is there a devil. Why would a God of love create the devil. Well, actually, our God of love as we like to call and sometimes did not create the devil God created angels and he created one angel in particular, whose name was Lucifer. He was called the son of the morning. He was a beautiful, powerful angel, maybe even an archangel on the level of Michael and Gabriel and this angel Gabriel rebelled against God in heaven, and let her rebellion among other angels who eventually became demons and that's reference numbers for his tail. This is the Dragon to 1/3 part of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth and so when the double rebelled against God.

One third of the angels followed them so the devil is lots of demons doing his bidding. The bad news is is 130 B angels went well. The good news is two thirds are still on our side. So we got the advantage of right most important week of God is more powerful than all the angels and Lucifer in all the rest.

And so here we see really the heart of the devil as he wants to devour this child. He comes of this woman Israel bringing forth this child is really the Messiah he wants to stop it.

Satan hates the Jewish people. Satan hates the Messiah of the Jewish people.

Jesus. Satan hates all followers of the Messiah, let me personalize this Satan hates you and he wants to destroy you and he wants to wreck your life and bring misery to you in contrast, God loves you and wants to make you one of the matter woman he's called you to be. But here we get a real glimpse now into what the devil wants to do. He wants to stop Christ from coming and the and we see this going back to out the pages of Scripture. So here's the first messianic Scripture and all of the Bible.

When I say messianic I mean the first person talked about the Messiah coming is not Isaiah 96 and was a child is born, unto us a son is given, that's not my cup. Five. Do you Bethlehem though you belittled among the thousands of Judah get out of you will come forth. One his or did the been from everlasting. No, the first messianic Scripture. The first Christmas verse, if you will, that tells us crisis coming is Genesis 315. After Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruits and the curse came upon the devil. God said output entity speaking to Satan between you and the woman in between your seed and her seed and he will crush your head, and you will bruise his heel. Effectively, Lemme loosely paraphrase double saying our God is saying to the devil game on some is going crush your head, so the devil new Messiah was coming and he wanted to do everything he could in his power to stop Messiah from coming in. Satan is portrayed in Genesis as a snake.

By the way, that's how you kill a snake you crushed its head.

I used to collect snakes. I don't know why I would go and catch them in the wild eyed by them from pet shops.

I was bitten by so many snakes that the other day I my grandchildren asked me how many animals I've been bitten by and I realize I've been bitten by a lot of creatures and I been and I don't going to put but I've been bitten by a lot of snakes and and when you're going after a snake cures what you don't do if you want to Just make you don't pick a snake up by its tail is why he can spin around and bite you. You certainly never grab a rattlesnake by its tail.

So would you want to do a possible is get your foot your your shoe on the neck of the snake.

If you want to catch them. You get them right behind the head support his weight and put them in the back. You want to kill and you crushed his head and that's what God is saying. Some is going to come in, crush your head, so the double knee okay Messiah is common and is coming to the Jewish people. So the first attempt from the devil to stop. Christmas is in the book of Exodus, when the Pharaoh gave the decree that all the Jewish boys be put to death. Remember that God's providence.

One of those babies was preserved and taken in the Pharaoh's court and that beautiful little baby grow up to be the deliverer of Israel and the giver of the law, also known as Moses that was Satan's first attempt to wipe out the Jewish people during the period of the judges Satan used Israel's neighbors to destroy them. Yet God preserved his people and raised up judges to deliver them. People like Samson and Deborah and Gideon and then even when the story of David and Saul member King Saul was trying to kill David and David die. That would be a problem because the Messiah was going to come from the root and offspring of David, both Mary and Joseph's genealogies trace back to David. That's why when the decree that everyone should be taxed should go back to their original hometown Joseph and Mary went to Beth again because I was the hometown of who David so in the attempts to kill David.

That was an attempt to stop Messiah from coming without fail. Then in the book of Esther.

We had that incredible plot for that prepayment who wanted to wipe out all the Jewish people in his plot backfired and he ended up hanging on the gallows he had built for someone else. Now fast forwarding to the New Testament we have the Magi as we call them the wise men coming from the east and are always three and they ride camels the different colored outfits but the Bible doesn't tell us there were three tells us they were had three gifts there might've been nine and they all pitched in guys do stuff like that is her cheat doesn't say they wrote camels they might've probably rode stallions and they were sort of astrologer astronomers and very influential people currently scheduling to get over this cold. They come into Jerusalem, Satan were looking for the king of the Jews, or gets to Herod, who by the way, went by the title, the king of the Jews, and so to say that the Herod was crazy. Now he's a loser, King of the Jews were as he what we we believe were following the star, and so he got his scholars together and Jewish rabbis and said well is there something in the Scripture about a Messiah yes over and again the Messiah will be born its own. Herod goes in murders all of those little baby boys, ages two and under hoping to stop the Messiah from coming to this is the Dragon trying to stop Messiah from arriving attempt after attempt and so we see very clearly.

He never wanted Christmas to happen. You know, I think that when you really get down the Christmas we've taken the raw powerful message of this season, and in many ways. We've got it in some ways I think we've made it. How shall I put it to beautiful noticing that you know we have this the carriages and we have the snow falling and we we have the fireplace and and even the beautiful biblical images of of Joseph and Mary in the manger and the animals and that's all Creighton that happened, of course, but we take something that was very wrong and make it maybe a little too pretty and it was beautiful but it was sort of a beautiful mass to have a baby in a manger are in a barn surrounded by animals is not the most sanitary environment and that does not diminish the Christmas story to me.

In fact, it only enhances it, because it shows me the incredible sacrifice that God Almighty made leaving the glories of heaven and coming to such a horrible situation, but he did it because he loves all of this and the devil tried to stop Jesus from coming and then as the Messiah was born it was revealed to Mary that this one that she loves so dearly was going to die a very horrific death.

You might see the shadow of the cross layer over the beauty of the first Christmas night because when Mary took her a little newborn Jesus to be dedicated there was a man there named Simeon who had a message from the Lord.

He said a sword skin appears your own soul is St. Mary's is going to be painful. What's gonna happen then yes. That's why Jesus came he came really to Diana Cross and we want to think about that.

We want to think of the sweet baby in the manger and it's fine to think about that to some degree, but don't forget why he came. He was born to die, that we might live, and that is why I titled this message. Red is the color of Christmas is not red because Santa wears red if not red because we rub our packages in red.

It's red because of the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross because the Bible says cursive is every man that hangs on a tree and Jesus hung on the tree or on the cross for us.

So if you want to get Realtek to go the real Christmas tree if not the pretty ones we light up with the decorations and lights know it's a tree that Christ hung on for all of the sins of humanity and his blood flowed from that place.

But there he crushed the head of the devil and it is here at this tree. The tree that Jesus died on that the ultimate gift is offered to humanity, and I don't about you and I'm out buying Christmas gifts right in toys or grandkids trying to think what to get this person or that person and and you know if you get something that is a gadget night. I have to admit I have a weakness for electronic gadgets. They all require batteries or they have to be charged and they have instructions and all that God offers you a gift that is so amazing it will only get greater with the passing of each year, some gems, the novelty wears off. I bet you can't even remember what you got last Christmas. It's already passed from your mind.

In some cases that passes from your mind, you know. Days later, but this is a gift, the gift of eternal life purchased for you by Jesus at the cross that grows more valuable. With the passing of time wife because as you get older you get closer to the day we going to take full possession of this gift in this gift is eternal life.

The whole of heaven. I have a lady that's work with me for many years. Her name is Carol Faulkner she's been with me for over 30 years as my secretary and personal assistant and she just went to be with the Lord a few days ago Carol was the hardest working, most faithful worker congregants friend that I've ever known.

She was just absolutely amazing and she had a crazy sense of humor and got my weird sense of humor and spent a lot of her time trekking up things. I left all around the country for getting this and that hotel room and this other thing somewhere else and she was just so great at what she did and loved what she did and did it as unto the Lord, she got cancer and number of years ago and I actually fought it with chemo and made a full recovery and had a two more very productive years.

But then the cancer came back. And sadly, this time she wasn't able to overcome it to so we have a lot of conversations and she was waiting to go to heaven. She knew she was going to have and so we were talking and we would talk about what's on the other side in care and Carol said to me, I I can hardly wait to see Christopher that's my son is been with the Lord for almost 10 years now. She was very close to Christopher and she was so excited about heaven and you know her body had completely broken down.

I wasn't working right anymore and she said and I just want to go to heaven and that's when you realize how valuable eternal life really is. I don't know what to comparative maybe with grandparents that didn't buy you toys but they put money away in an account you thought that was so lame. Within 30 years later, when all those friend you had about all those toys are all broken and then he saw how much money had accrued in your account.

Thanks to grandma and grandpa you said thank God for grandparents right then that just gives you a glimpse of a God is done. It's like the gift of eternal God's call, but I'm living this life right now and I'm enjoying this life. Will you help with this gift of eternal life. When you come to the end of this life and in your lien on your deathbed or you might be taken suddenly from the side. Now you realize that is the greatest of all gifts, joy, keys, fulfillment, those are great things that God gives to us as Christians but you know what their fringe benefits.

The biggest gift. The main event. It's eternal life, and that's what Jesus came to bring you. That's his gift to you and it is really the gift that keeps on giving class to going carpet out of her pocket for her to give credit to this lady who First rest of you, whatever okay so here's my question. In closing, do you have the gift of eternal life. So I was a look like when you can't see it with your eyesight but you know when you have, you know it when Christ is living inside of you. If I say to someone, are you a Christian and they say will I'm not sure that would indicate to me they're not a Christian is able who are you to judge me just say this is the creator of the universe is taken residence in your heart.

I think you'll know so we just moved into your house in the middle of the night. Would you be aware of that yet.

I think you would. How about of God came in, you'd know and so when he lives inside of you. You know, and if you don't know if he lives inside of you the chance he does. So when we get that settled right here right now you can receive the gift of eternal life, probably receive a gift. We just take it. Is take it you wanted take it and say thank you. That would be nice, open it, enjoy it, live it, embrace it and discover why the Bible calls it the unspeakable gift or a better translation would be the indescribable gift the gift the global grows more glorious. With the passing of time. You can have this gift you see will how do you receive it. The Bible says, for as many as received him, they became sons of God, so it's not just following a credo or or seen even a prayer or attending church, reading your Bible. Those are all important things willing to become a Christian one asks Christ to come and live inside of them. You have to admit you're a sinner you have to be willing to turn from your sin and then you need to ask Jesus to come and take residence in your heart, and he will. This is why he came. This is why the devil tried to stop him from coming, but the devil fail.

Christ came. He died on the cross he paid for our sins. And he rose again from the dead. That's right.

And he stands right out the door of your life and the nonsense as if you'll hear his voice and open the door. He will come in.

Would you like to ask him in your life right now. Would you like all of your sins forgiven were going to close in prayer to give you an opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life. Listen to me very carefully given her, but also said just Jeremy. If you're not sure if you'll go to heaven when you die if you're not certain that Jesus Christ is living inside of you, or if you're not right with God by that I mean maybe you made a profession of faith. You said yes I believe in Jesus but your living a life that you know is contrary to what God wants. This is a time to get right with God.

This is what Christmas is all about. It's not about finding a parking space at South Coast Plaza fashion Island or whatever place you go shopping, target or Walmart or Costco or whatever it's it's not about the next party were going to go to is not about any of those things that it's all about the gift under the tree of eternal life For you and the greatest thing you could receive right now is a gift of your life.

So let's pray father I pray for anyone here who does not yet know you.

I pray that you will speak to the hearts that they will see their need for Jesus that they will believe in you now and follow you all a heads up dog.

Her eyes are closed and were praying. How many of you would say that I Greg I don't know if I have the gift of eternal life. I don't know if I'll go to heaven when I die, but I want to I want my sins forgiven. I want Jesus to come in the my life.

So pray for me at that your desire. If you want Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sin if you want to know you'll go to heaven when you die if you want a big hole in your heart filled are few fallen away from the Lord, and you need to come back to him or get right with him tonight wherever you are, what you raise your hand up and I'm in a pray for you. You want Christ to come in your life you want your sins forgiven you want to go to heaven.

Raise your hand up and I'll pray for you wherever you are.

Raise it up. I reckon see it come bless you.

God bless you, bless you there in the back of the she was well anybody else Jesus Christ was born in the manger who died on the cross rose from the dead is here with you right now ready to come into your life but you must ask him if anybody else God bless you.

Anybody else raise your hand bless you to. Yes, come bless ask for more time. Anybody else want to make this commitment or recommitment to Jesus you want to know you go to heaven when you die, bless you. God bless you yes is each one of you, bless you, bless you in the back there. Bless God bless all of you now listen, here's what I want you to do every one of you that just lifted your hand I want you to stand your feet nominally doing a prayer stand your feet, you heard me right.

You raise your hand.

Even if you did not put you want Jesus Christ to come in your life, stand up to pray together. Don't be embarrassed.

Bless you that are standard hello by the way, others are standing right now, stand up, bless you.

Even if you did not raise her habit you want Christ in your life. Let me lead you in this prayer.

Trust me you will not regret pray this prayer you'll regret it if you know but you don't you won't regret it. If you do anybody else stand up and let me lead you in a prayer of asking Christ to come in your life forgive you of all of your sin and what warmer moment anybody else stand now, we pray with you, bless you. Yes anybody else stand now will pray together. God bless all of you standing away one more second anybody else to know. Let's get this resolved, bless all of you write you that are standing. I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me again as I pray pray this out loud after me right where you stand. Okay, pray this after me, Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner but I know you're the Savior who was born in the manger who died on the cross for my sin rose again from the dead, Jesus I choose to follow you from this moment forward is my Savior, my Lord is my God and friend. Thank you for calling me and accepting me in Jesus name I pray. Amen. God bless all of you standing. God bless you guys. All of your MS

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