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What’s in a Name? | Christmas Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 19, 2021 3:00 am

What’s in a Name? | Christmas Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 19, 2021 3:00 am

In this special Christmas episode, Pastor Greg Laurie teaches on the meaning of Jesus Christ's name and why it gives us hope!

Notes

At the name of Jesus Christ, every knee will bow!

Isaiah 9:6

The Christmas story is about more than a birth but also a gift.

1. Jesus’ name is wonderful (this takes care of the dullness of life).

Only God is awesome!

2. Jesus’ name is Counselor (this takes care of the decisions of life).

3. Jesus’ name is Mighty God (this takes care of the demands of life).

Jesus Christ is Mighty God.

4. Jesus’ name is Everlasting Father (this takes care of the future of life).

5. Jesus’ name is Prince of Peace (this takes care of the disturbances of life).

The incarnation was for the atonement; the birth of Jesus was so there would be the death of Jesus.

Red is the color of Christmas because Jesus’ blood flowed from that cross for us.

God offers a gift to you: Eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Have you received the gift of Christmas yet?

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Hey there, thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. So the title of my Christmas message for you is What's in a Name? What's in a name? Well I guess it depends on what your name is. I heard the story of a guy who had the very unfortunate last name of Odd.

Imagine the ridicule and mockery he had to deal with when he went to school. Oh your name is Odd? That's Odd.

You're so Odd. Oh he hated it. So literally he decided when he died and was buried that they would not put his name on the tombstone. So he gave specific instructions, do not put my name on the tombstone, I want it blank. And so sure enough that's what they did and people would walk through the cemetery and they would read the names of the deceased. And they came to this blank tombstone and people were overheard to say, wow there's no name here.

That's Odd. He couldn't escape it. I want to talk to you about the most important name in all of the universe. The name that is above all names. The name of Jesus Christ. The name of Jesus Christ is so powerful that even people who say they don't believe in him use it to make a point. They use it as a form of profanity.

Why do people do that? Because in a backhanded way even the non-believer is acknowledging there's power in the name of Jesus. The Bible says at the name of Jesus Christ every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord to the glory of God the Father. I want to talk about a very familiar passage we often read this time of the year. Isaiah 9 6 which says, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father.

In every one of those descriptions of the name of Jesus we learn something really important about this time of the year because it's so easy in the busyness of Christmas to miss the point. And I don't want us to do that because I know I'm talking to somebody right now that is really lonely. I'm talking to someone right now that's depressed.

I'm talking to somebody right now that is wondering what their life is even all about. So you hang in there because I have some encouraging things to share with you from the Word of God. Let's go back to what that verse says. Isaiah 9 6, unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. The real Christmas story is not just a story of a birth, it's a story of a gift. You have both heaven's perspective and earth's perspective. Unto us a child is born.

That's how we saw Christmas. God came to us born in that little manger in Bethlehem. God became a man. God put skin on and walked among us and he breathed our air. He walked in our shoes. He lived our lives.

Ultimately he would die our death. Unto us a child is born. But from heaven's perspective, unto us a son was given. God gave his son to us.

It's a gift. Jesus summed it up perfectly when he said, for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son and whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. God sent his son on a rescue operation to planet earth.

Why? Because we sinned against God. Do you know what the first Christmas scripture is? The first messianic passages in the Bible? No, it's not Isaiah 9 6. No, it's not from the Christmas story in the Gospel of Matthew or the Gospel of Luke.

The first passage that talks about the arrival of the Messiah is in Genesis chapter 3. It's after our first parents sinned against God and God's judgment came upon them and sin entered the world. Sin wrecks everything. If Adam and Eve had not sinned we would have never grown old. If Adam and Eve had not sinned we would have never been sick. If Adam and Eve had not sinned we would never die.

If Adam and Eve had not sinned I would have hair. Sin affects everything and so God needed to send a solution. And the solution was he would come to this earth and walk among us as a man and then die on the cross. And that first passage is in Genesis 3 when the Lord says to Satan there is coming one who is going to crush your head but you will bruise his heel. The Bible says he was bruised for our iniquities. Jesus died for our sin.

It's the departure from heaven and the arrival on earth. So let's break down what Isaiah 9 6 says about the name of Jesus. Starting with this one, his name is Wonderful.

Let's think about that. And his name shall be called Wonderful. You know that root word wonder comes from a word that means amazing, awe-inspiring or a word we use a lot today, awesome. People associate that with California, right?

That's so awesome dude. People in California don't actually speak that way but you know we do use the word awesome a lot. We'll say oh that's an awesome car.

Oh that was an awesome meal. Or another thing is awesome but when you really get technical only God is awesome. Because what is awe? Awe is just I don't know how to respond. I'm overwhelmed.

God is awesome or God is wonderful. You know we have never been more advanced than we are right now technologically. We spend endless hours looking at these phones, right? And tablets and watching television screens and binge watching this and entertaining ourselves with that. It was philosopher and author Bertrand Russell who once said quote the two greatest sins of mankind are caused by a fear of boredom.

I think it's amazing you can think young people today they can be watching TV, playing a video game, watching Netflix or maybe YouTube and then say I'm bored. Oh listen God is awesome. God is wonderful. You know we put so much focus on these presents we get under the tree. But we have to think about the ultimate gift of Jesus coming to this earth because that is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

As we said earlier you're going to forget about the gifts you're going to open under the tree this year. But if you look to the Lord and let him be the wonderful awesome God in your life it can change everything. Because when I see God in this awesomeness I see everything else as I should see it. You see if you have big problems maybe the problem is you have a small God or at least your view of God is small.

But if you have a big God well you still have problems with a relatively small compared to this awesome wonderful God that we can know through Jesus Christ. This is why this psalm is said oh magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together. Remember those wise men who came to bring their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the child Jesus.

What did they say? They said we have come to worship him. His name shall be called wonderful. Take a moment to contemplate the fact that this wonderful awe inspiring God loves you and cares about you. And he has great plans for your life. One of my favorite passages is Jeremiah 29 11 where the Lord says I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the Lord.

Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. It just blows my mind that God would even think about me. If God said I know the singular thought I had about you for a fleeting second I would be happy with that. To think that God almighty the awesome creator had a fleeting thought about me.

But that is not what God says. He says I know the thoughts plural more than one. I know the thoughts that I think toward you. So there are multiple thoughts, many thoughts. Well how many thoughts are they?

Well let me illustrate. God says his thoughts toward us are more than the sand and the sea. That is a lot of thoughts. I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the Lord. Wait are they good thoughts? Is he like thinking bad things about me?

No. He says thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. Listen to this. Whatever you are going through right now God has got this.

God is in control and he is awesome and he is bigger than any problem you are facing. And you should call his name Wonderful. And his name shall be called Wonderful.

That takes care of the dullness of life. And his name shall be called Counselor. His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father.

He is our Counselor. That takes care of the decisions of life. You know we are faced with all kinds of decisions that we have to make each and every day. Have you been to a Taco Bell lately? What is with all the options on the menu now?

I look at all these new things, crunchy, gordido, cheesy, whatever and I always default back to I love a taco and a bean burrito. But those are not important decisions. There are big decisions like who am I going to marry? What career path should I follow? What ministry should I pursue?

What should I do with this other area of my life? His name is Counselor. That means that God has a plan for your life and he wants to reveal his will to you. Romans 12 one says, Paul speaking, I urge you therefore brothers by the mercies of God, present yourself to God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable. Don't be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Listen, and then you will know what is the good and perfect will of God.

I love that he puts in good. God's will is good. I know it doesn't seem that way at times. I know there are things that happen that don't seem good. But I think when we get to heaven one day we will look back and see that maybe some of the things we thought were bad were actually good. But having said that, he has a plan for your life.

And how do we discover it? By opening the word of God. Opening the Bible because it will show you God's plan and purpose for you. People go to so many crazy places to get direction today. They will go to Google, Google, you know, what is the meaning of life?

Or they go to Siri on their phone. Let's just do a test and see what Siri has to say about the meaning of life. Hey Siri, what is the meaning of life? I can't answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens.

Okay, she can't answer that now, but give her time to write a very long play in which nothing happens. Well, listen, you open up the Bible and you will find out what the meaning of life is. I will tell you what it is right now. The meaning of life is to have a relationship with the God who created you. And to bring glory to his name. You can spend your whole life missing that simple truth. But his name shall be called Wonderful. Again, that takes care of the dullness of life. Counselor, that takes care of the decisions of life. God wants to guide and direct you.

But as they say in those commercials, but wait, there's more. So let's go back to Isaiah 9-6 and review. His name shall be called Wonderful. That takes care of the dullness of life. His name shall be called Counselor. That takes care of the decisions of life. And then that verse says, he's the mighty God.

That takes care of the challenges of life. He's the mighty God. That baby born in the manger was God incarnate.

That's hard to wrap your mind around, isn't it? Fully God and fully man. Here's an example of the deity and humanity of Jesus on display. They're going across the Sea of Galilee and a great storm comes. And Jesus is asleep in the boat.

What could be more human than being tired and being sleepy? Yes, Jesus got sleepy. Jesus got hungry, just like you do. The Bible says he was on all points tested as we are, yet without sin.

So that was as human as could be. But then they say, Jesus, we're going to drown. He comes up on the deck of the boat and he turns toward the storm and says, peace be still. And the word that is used there for still is a word that can be translated muzzled, like you're talking to a wild dog.

Peace be muzzled. The storm is swirling about, just stops. What could be more divine than that?

He's the mighty God walking among us. But it also reminds us that we have all the power we need to live this Christian life. You know, sometimes people say, it's so hard to be a Christian.

I would beg to differ. It's not hard to be a Christian. It's impossible without the help of God.

I can't do this without God's help, nor can you. Apart from me, Jesus said, you can do nothing. But then the apostle Paul wrote, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Jesus said, all power on heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go into all the world and preach the gospel. That power that he has can flow in your life and it can help you overpower any addiction.

It can help you overpower any challenge that you're facing. Whatever you're facing, he's the mighty God. But then it goes on to say, he's the everlasting father. I love that, the everlasting father. I watched a TV special last night about fathers. And it just reminded me of how important a father is in the life of a child. Maybe I'm talking to somebody now that doesn't have a father in their life. I never had a dad growing up. My mom was married and divorced seven times. I remember one Christmas that's pretty depressing, but I was a little boy. I actually got what I wanted, which was a bicycle. And my mom was passed out from a night of drinking.

There was no dad anywhere to be found. And we had one of those white trees, those artificial trees as white. And it had one of those little color wheels that slowly turned. So the color wheel is turning on the white, fake Christmas tree.

The room smells of tobacco and booze. And even as a young kid, I looked at all of this and I said, it's got to get better than this. Well, it got a lot better.

It got a lot better for me when at the age of 17, I heard who Jesus was and made a commitment to follow him. And finally, I found the father I'd been searching for. No, not an earthly father, a father in heaven. And we all can have this relationship with God as a father. You know, after Jesus rose again from the dead, he appeared to Mary Magdalene and she grabbed hold of him. And he says, don't cling to me, Mary, for I am going to ascend to my father and your father, to my God and your God. Do you realize how revolutionary of a statement that was for Jesus not only to say God was his father, but he said to Mary, a disciple, and he's your father. See, because of what Christ did on the cross for us, we can now go directly to God the Father. And he's the everlasting father. You should call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father.

So Isaiah 9-6, you should call his name Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. That takes care of the disturbances of life. And life is filled with disturbances, isn't it? Oh, man, look at our world right now. Look at the turmoil. Look at the violence that we see in the streets of America.

I can't remember a time when we have seen more violent crime than we're seeing right now, conflicts around the world. There's a turmoil maybe in your home or maybe in your neighborhood or in your family, and we need peace. Do you remember the message of the angels to the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night? The angels appear to the shepherds and they say glory to God on the highest and on earth peace among men. So we think of that angelic statement and we look around at our world and we're going, okay, where's the peace? We need to see turmoil and war and conflict. Well, if you translate that more accurately, it explains itself.

It would better be translated this way. Glory to God on the highest and peace on earth among men with whom God is well pleased. See, when you're walking with God and your life is well pleasing to Him, you have peace. It's a personal peace.

The Bible describes it as a peace that passes all human understanding. Before you can have the peace of God, you have to be at peace with God. In other words, stop fighting with God. Maybe as you're watching this right now, you're filled with turmoil and worry and anguish and panic, and I want to encourage you to turn your panic into prayer and turn your worry into worship because here's what Philippians says.

Don't worry about anything. Pray about everything. And the peace of God that passes all human understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. And the word that is used there for keep means guard it. And it's sort of the idea of like a Roman guard being mounted in front of your heart like protecting you. God's peace will keep you in your times of turmoil. You should call His name Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. And then it says, and the government will be upon His shoulders.

That day is coming in the future. One day Christ will return to this earth and establish His kingdom and rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but before the government would be upon His shoulder, the cross would be on His shoulder. And friends, that's really what Christmas is all about. It's about the baby born in the manger who went to the cross to die for our sins. You see, red is the color of Christmas. Not because Santa wears red or because we wrap our packages in red. Red is the color of Christmas because red is the color of the blood that flowed from the veins of Jesus as it was nailed to the cross for our sins. Oh, I know we don't want to think about the sweet little baby being crucified, but he was born to die that we might live.

C.S. Lewis said the Son of God became a man that men might become sons of God. This is what it was all about. It was Jesus being sent on a rescue operation for us. The Prince of Peace who would take the cross upon His shoulder. So as I bring this message to an end, I want to make sure that you have peace with God.

I want to make sure that this is the best Christmas of your life. So let's come back to the idea of a gift. Remember I told you it was the gift of the Son of God coming down from heaven to this earth. God offers a gift to you. It's called the gift of eternal life. I love how the Bible describes it as the indescribable gift.

What is it? It's the gift that God gives you where you know that when you die you will go to heaven. Is there any more important thing to know than where you will spend the afterlife?

Listen, you decide in this life where you will spend the afterlife. So God offers this gift to you. Now, have you ever noticed how men and women open gifts differently? Now if you give a gift to a man with a card, he'll take the card, he'll open it, and he'll read it. And then he'll tear the paper away to get at the gift you gave him.

Now let's get real. The only reason he's reading that card is to see if there's money or a gift certificate inside. And he really could care less what the card says.

He just wants to get to what's inside of the box. Oh, you give a gift to a lady with a card. She'll read it.

She might be visibly moved by what you wrote to her. And then she'll very politely and nicely open the gift and say of the ribbon, I'm going to save this for later. Look, I don't care how you open this gift that God is offering to you.

Just receive it and open it. The Bible says for as many as received him, he gave them the power to become sons of God. Here's the big message of Christmas. You're separated from God because of your sin. Christ was born in a manger in Bethlehem and then went and died on a cross for your sin and rose again from the dead.

And he is alive and he's here right now. And he's standing at the door of your life and he is knocking and he is saying, if you'll hear his voice and open the door, he will come in. Jesus Christ can come into your life right now and forgive you of your sin. He'll fill that void in your life you've been trying to fill with things, with relationships, with accomplishments, maybe even with religion.

What you're longing for is a relationship with God himself. I love that old Christmas hymn. We sing, hark the herald angels sing. It says, let every heart prepare him room.

Let heaven and nature sing. Will you open your heart and make room for Jesus? He's just a prayer away.

I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to pray a simple prayer. And I'm going to ask it if you want your sin forgiven, if you want to find the meaning and purpose of your life, if you want to know his certainty that when you die you will go to heaven, I want you to pray this prayer after me. You can pray it out loud, you can pray it in the quietness of your heart, but pray it and God will hear you. Just pray these words with me. Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, but I know that you're the Savior who was born in that manger, and died on that cross, and rose again from the dead. Now come into my life. I turn from that sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-07 19:04:58 / 2023-07-07 19:14:24 / 9

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