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Mary, Did You Know?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 24, 2021 3:00 am

Mary, Did You Know?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 24, 2021 3:00 am

At Christmastime, we celebrate the babe in the manger. And for many people, even unbelievers, a baby is a comforting, sentimental image they’re comfortable with. But Jesus came with a mission. His mission was to give His life, so that we might live. He came to save sinners from their sin. And today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us reset our perspective on our celebration of Christ’s birth. We’ll see He wants to have a close, personal relationship with each of us.

View and subscribe to Pastor Greg’s weekly notes.

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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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We're glad you're joining us for A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at Harvest.org. I love that Christmas song, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Let every heart prepare Him room.

You have to prepare Him room and invite Him in. At Christmas time, we celebrate the babe and the manger. And for many people, even unbelievers, a baby is a comforting, sentimental image they're comfortable with. But Jesus came with a mission. His mission was to give His life so that we might live. He came to save sinners from their sin. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us reset our perspective on our celebration of Christ's birth.

Well see, he wants to have a close, personal relationship with each of us. The title of my message is Mary, Did You Know? And we're going to look at Luke chapter 2 if you'd like to read along. I've told you this story before of a small boy who was writing a letter to God about Christmas presents he badly wanted. And so he started his letter by saying, Dear God, I have been good for six months now. He thought about it for a moment that I'm writing this to God. I have to be truthful. So he crossed out six and put three months.

Thought about that a little bit more and crossed out three months and put two weeks. Then he crossed that out and he walked over to the little manger scene they had in their front room and took the little figurine of Mary and set it next to him and then began to write these words. Dear God, if you ever want to see your mother again. I want to revisit this beautiful story. I've been preaching now for many years.

I've preached many, many Christmas services over the years. But I have to tell you, I never tire of this story. Do you? I never tire of it. I love to read it. I love to think about it.

I love to contemplate its meaning to us. I would like to focus on this story and look at three main things in our message tonight. Number one, when did Jesus come? Number two, where did Jesus come to? And number three, and most importantly, why did Jesus come? So number one, when did Jesus come? Jesus came at the right moment in human history.

The right moment. The people were waiting. The Jewish people were praying. They were saying, Lord, where is our Messiah? And to make matters harder, they had not heard from God for 400 long years. Not a single prophet. Not a single angelic appearance.

Not a single miracle performed. And they're waiting and waiting and waiting. Now I don't know about you, but I don't like to wait. How many of you are patient people by nature?

Raise your hand. You're patient people. There's a few of you. How many of you are impatient people?

Raise your hand. Well, a lot more. A lot more of you. Okay, I'm one of you, okay? That's me. You ever drive down the freeway and you see one person weaving in and out of the lanes? That's me. That's me. When I'm in the market, I will try to size up the shortest line.

It's like a race to me. Oh, that line's going a little faster. Maybe I'll switch over. I'll even go to the 12 items or less line when I need more stuff.

And I'll be counting the number of items of the person in front of me, by the way, as well. I don't like to wait. That's why I don't like to go to amusement parks. When you went to Disneyland, and there would be huge crowds, and it seems like whenever I went, they would say to me, you should have been here yesterday.

It was like a ghost town. Well, I'm always there on the busy day. And they have these little signs on the rides now where it'll say something along the lines of, if you're standing here, you will be on this ride in one month.

Right? So I don't like to wait. I'm impatient by nature. When I order a pizza and I'm bringing it home, half of it will be gone by the time I get home.

I might need some kind of oral surgery because I burned the roof of my mouth out in the process, but it doesn't matter because I don't like to wait. I remember when microwaves first came into being, and I'm old enough to remember a time when we didn't have microwaves, and I thought, this is like a miracle. It's like, instead of waiting 30 minutes, I can have it in three minutes.

Now when I put something in the microwave, I'm like, are you serious? Two more minutes? I have things to do. So I don't like to wait by nature.

People were waiting a long time. And if you're a kid, you can't wait until Christmas to open your present. And if you're a parent, you can't wait until this is all over with.

Right? Well, God had his perfect timing for the first Christmas. It was not an accident. It was an appointment. Galatians 4 says, when the time was just right, God sent forth the Son, born of a woman, made under the law to redeem those that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of children, whereby we cry Abba, Father.

So everything was quiet on the home front. No prophets, no miracles, no anything. And suddenly, who appears? Gabriel. Now when Gabriel shows up, something big has gone down because Gabriel is one of those high ranking angels. There's Gabriel and there's Michael.

And by the way, Lucifer was a high ranking angel as well. And so when Gabriel shows up, this is a big deal. We read about Gabriel in the book of Daniel. Gabriel describes himself as this angel that stands in the presence of God. So Gabriel shows up and he comes to a man named Zacharias and tells him that he's going to give birth, or not him, his wife actually. Let's get this right.

That'd be a miracle for sure. He tells Zacharias that his wife, Elizabeth, is going to give birth to the forerunner of the Messiah, who is of course John the Baptist. So if the forerunner was close, Messiah is coming.

And this is a big thing now. The whole Christmas story is starting to unfold. The Christmas story starts with a tree.

Not a Christmas tree, a family tree. Both Luke and Matthew's Gospel story starts with a genealogy. You see, for the Jews, a genealogy was a big deal. It was sort of like a resume. So the first Christmas story does not begin with the words, once upon a time, but rather it begins with so and so begat so and so, and so and so begat so and so.

Why is that? Because it's a factual, historic event, pinpointed in time. Yet the Christmas story has all the pageantry, the pathos, the magic, if you will, of the best fairy tales. We have shepherds bowing, wise men worshiping, angels singing, and a brilliant star.

But it's a real story. Christmas starts in heaven and unfolds on earth. Luke chapter 2 verse 1. It came to pass in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

This census first took place when Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, every one to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth into Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife who was with child. And it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered, and she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and they laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the end. So we already talked about when Jesus came. He came at the right time, the time appointed in human history. It was not an accident.

It was an appointment. Now, where did Jesus come to? Well, he came to the little town of Bethlehem. I heard a story of a young boy whose father was away at war, and he missed his dad horribly. So his mother would take him to a photograph, a large photograph of his father that was framed hanging in the hallway.

Every day she would take him there to look at that photo of his dad, and one day the little boy said to his mom, Mom, wouldn't it be great if Dad could step out of that frame? And that's exactly what happened at Christmas. People were longing for a relationship with God, and God stepped out of the frame, if you will, and came to walk among us. Caesar Augustus is mentioned, but he's just a passing figure in the most important story ever told. We wouldn't even know if Caesar Augustus were not for the Christmas story. But God wanted Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem because the Scripture said that's where Messiah would come from.

Micah 5 to you, you Bethlehem, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth one whose origins have been from everlasting. So here is Caesar Augustus, and I've told you before, Augustus means of the gods. He thought he was a god, but he wasn't a god at all, but he was a man that was going to be moved by God, and it's a reminder that God can move people in power if they're godly or not, if we voted for them or not.

God is in control of kings and queens and emperors and pharaohs and prime ministers and presidents, and Proverbs 21 one says the king's heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord, and he guides it wherever he wishes. So the Lord said, okay, Caesar, I want you to help me accomplish my purposes. He gave this decree, and now Mary and Joseph show up in Bethlehem. And what happens?

We know this story well. Verse 7, there was no room for them in the inn. No room in the inn became prophetic of the reception that Jesus received while he was on earth. Ironically, it was Jesus who said, I have many rooms for you, but there was no room for him.

He said, and my father's house are many mansions that were not so. I go to prepare a place for you. Jesus left his home in heaven so we could have a home in heaven. Jesus left his home in heaven to make a home in your heart. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here, encouraging you to join us this weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's worship. It's a message from the Word of God.

You can watch it with your family, in your front room, or you can watch it on the go, on your tablet, on your phone, or your computer. Take it with you. Take the Word of God with you and join us for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well today, on the special Christmas Eve edition of the program, Pastor Greg is presenting his message called, Mary, Did You Know? Now imagine this story for a moment here as the innkeeper, and we don't know anything about it. We always think of him as some evil guy.

The Bible doesn't portray him that way. It doesn't even identify any particular individual. Hey, here's a thought. What if it was a woman? It could have been. I don't know if it was a man or a woman, but whoever answered that door, there stands up for him what we sometimes call the Holy Family. And if they looked like they do in religious art, they had halos over their heads. And probably a spotlight coming down on them as well.

A little music swelling in the background. Not at all. They looked like any other poor couple. And this man could find no room in the inn. Now surely he could have rearranged a few people to accommodate an obviously very pregnant woman who was ready to give birth at any moment. But he wouldn't do it. I guess there was no money in it. I don't really know what the reason was.

But instead of vilifying him, I think in some ways he reminds me of a lot of us. He was sort of preoccupied. He was too busy to take time.

And is that not us? Rushing about. So frantic. So stressed. So irritated.

So agitated. Saying we never hear the voice of God. Here was opportunity knocking. Here was the greatest moment in history for him.

But yet he didn't have time. You know we should take a lesson from the birds. The birds don't stress out. The birds don't worry.

I have a little bird feeder hanging in front of my kitchen. But I've watched the birds. And they're never stressed.

I've never seen a bird taking a volume. They're just chill. They're just relaxing.

Jesus said, look at the birds. They don't worry. Why do you worry? Reminds me of a poem written many years ago.

Goes along these lines. Said the robin to the sparrow. I should really like to know why these anxious human beings rush about and worry so. Said the robin to the sparrow. Friend I think that it must be that they have no heavenly father such as cares for you and me.

Birds don't panic. Why do we panic? But we're running around so busy and we can forget about God all together.

And I wonder how many of you feel that way right now. Maybe you've come here carrying a great burden. Maybe it's a burden of a sin that you've been struggling with. Maybe it's a burden of physical pain. Maybe it's a burden of problems in your family. Maybe it's a burden of grief. Because there's a loved one that was with you last Christmas.

It is not with you tonight. And it hurts really bad. We're all collectively stressed out by COVID for sure. It's affected our families. It's affected our economy. It's affected our livelihood. It's affected our churches.

And in some cases I think it's affected some people's sanity. But here's what Jesus says to us. Familiar verse. Come unto me all you that are laboring and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Or as the modern translation puts it, are you tired, worn out, burned out in religion? Come to me and get away with me and you'll recover your life.

I'll show you how to take a real rest. I like that translation. That's what we need to do. We need to come to him and lay those burdens down. But this innkeeper, he missed it all. He had so much going on. But he didn't have time really for God.

Let's review and then conclude. When did Jesus come? Jesus came when the time was just right.

Right on schedule. Where did Jesus come to? He came to Bethlehem to fulfill Bible prophecy. Now the big question. Why did Jesus come on the first Christmas? Answer. So we could all get ourselves in debt, right? No. He came to teach everyone how to be good.

No, no. He came to die an agonizing death and to ransom us from an eternal death sentence. The shadow of the cross lay over the beauty of the first Christmas night.

This is why that baby was being born. He was born so we could be born again. Jesus came to heal broken lives and to restore shattered hopes. So at Christmas we decorate our trees. But the real Christmas tree is not decorated in different colors with bulbs. The real Christmas tree was the tree that Christ died on. The Bible says cursed is every man that hangs on a tree.

He went and died on the cross for our sins. That's the ultimate Christmas tree and that's why red is the color of Christmas. It's the color of Christmas because it's the color of the blood that was shed by Jesus.

And you know what? I have a favorite. I have a lot of favorite Christmas songs.

My favorite of all time is I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. That's just so. No, that's not it. Jingle Bell Rock. That's it.

No, that's not it either. A Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney. That might be my least favorite Christmas song. And that one by Wham! That's really my least favorite this Christmas or whatever it's called. Can't stand it.

But whatever. Now my favorite, one of my favorites is White Christmas. And I like it when Bing Crosby sings it, you know. That's just, I love it. Well we don't usually see a lot of White Christmases here in California.

Maybe up in the mountains or other parts of the country. But I love that idea of a White Christmas. We love the idea of snow gently falling. Well this idea is pulled right out of scripture. Isaiah 118, the Lord says, Come now and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are red like scarlet, they'll be as white as snow. Red is the color of Christmas because that's the color of the blood that Jesus shed for us. And if we turn from our sin, we will have a White Christmas. Because we're white as snow. We're clean. Clean. And God says that He can make you as white as snow.

How? Through the shedding of the blood of Jesus. When did Jesus come?

When the time was just right. Where did Jesus come? To the little town of Bethlehem to fulfill Bible prophecy. Why did Jesus come?

He seemed to have a relationship with you. Again, Jesus left His home in heaven so you could have a home in heaven. Jesus left His home in heaven to make a home in your heart. So I have the choice. I'm just like the innkeeper.

He turned them away. No, no room in the inn. Go out to the barn. Go to the cave. Wow. Missed out. But you have an opportunity.

Jesus Christ who was born in the manger, died on the cross, rose from the dead, is standing at the door of your life and He's knocking. Now you can be like the innkeeper and turn them away. No, no. Go away.

Don't bother me. Or you can say, Lord, come in. I love that Christmas song. Hark the herald angels sing. Let every heart prepare Him room.

You have to prepare Him room and invite Him in. Would you like Jesus Christ to come into your life right now? Would you like to have a fresh start as you enter into a new year?

Would you like to put your past behind you and become a new person on the inside? If so, I'm going to give you an opportunity to do that as we close in prayer. And if you don't know Jesus Christ or have the assurance that you'll go to heaven when you die, respond to this invitation as we pray now together.

Okay? Let's all bow our heads. Father, thank You for loving us. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, on a rescue operation to planet earth for us.

Lord Jesus, thank You for coming. Thank You for the great sacrifice You made to leave heaven, to leave Your home in heaven, to make a home in our hearts. And now I pray for any person here and any person who's watching right now, if they don't know You, if they don't have a relationship with You, we pray that this is the moment they believe. We pray that this will be the moment they accept You into their life, that this will be the moment they change their eternal address from a place called hell to a place called heaven. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Amen. about Jesus go back decades, but it seems they're more common now than ever before. That's true.

Why do you think that is? I think people have a real interest in the Bible, and I think when you visualize it, when you cast people to play parts, and it's directed well, and you add music, and you know what you're doing, it can be a powerful way of getting people into the greatest stories ever told. And I'll pretty much watch any dramatization of the Bible.

I've seen some okay ones, I've seen some pretty good ones, but we are offering you right now, which I think is the cream of the crop. I don't know if you've seen it yet, but if you haven't, you're going to see it now. It's a special series on the life of Jesus called The Chosen. It's directed by Dallas Jenkins.

Dallas is the son of author Jerry Jenkins, who wrote the Left Behind books, and Dallas has got lightning in a bottle here. He has just cast this series so perfectly. Peter and Andrew and Thomas and Mary and Nicodemus. He's made these characters come to life, but his crowning achievement is the casting of actor Jonathan Rumi and the role of Jesus. I've seen many cinematic portrayals of Christ of the years, and I think this is the best I've ever seen.

In fact, I was speaking with actor Jonathan Rumi, who plays the role of Jesus and told him how powerful his portrayal of Christ was in those scenes of The Chosen. I did not come to deliver the people from Rome. And from what? From sin.

From spiritual death. God loves the world in this way, that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. So this has nothing to do with Rome. It's all about sin. God did not send his son into the world to condemn it Nicodemus.

He sent him to save it through him. So I'm very excited to announce that here at Harvest we are offering season one of this amazing series in the life of Jesus called The Chosen to you for your gift of any size. Is this not the perfect time to watch this with your children? And I'm telling you, your kids are going to love it. My grandkids love it. You're going to love it.

Older people are going to love it because it's done so well. The New Testament stories will come to life for you in a way like you've never seen before. So for your gift of any size to us here at Harvest Ministries for the month of December, we want to send you The Chosen. Some of you can give more. Some of you can't give as much. But whatever you send will be put to use to continue teaching the word of God as you hear it here in A New Beginning and giving people an opportunity to come into our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Yeah, that's right. And it's the most strategic time of the year for that investment. Not only are there tax deduction benefits at the end of the year, but this is when we determine how far we can reach with the Gospel in the coming 12 months. And we have huge plans for 2022, including a large Crusade outreach and a film documenting the Jesus movement.

We're praying God sends another revival like the Jesus movement. So your donation couldn't come at a better time. And with your investment, be sure to ask for Season 1 of The Chosen on DVD. You can donate online at harvest.org. Or write us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime. Again, dial 1-800-821-3300. Well Pastor Greg, you mentioned our need to come to Christ for forgiveness of sin in today's broadcast.

Yeah. Maybe there's somebody listening who'd like to do that. They'd like to take that step.

Maybe you could help them with that right now. I'd be delighted to. Listen, if you would like to accept Jesus Christ into your life right now, and by that I mean if you would like your sin forgiven and have the assurance that you will go to heaven when you die, would you pray this prayer with me? Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner. But I thank you for dying on the cross for my sin and rising again from the dead. I'm sorry for my sin, Lord, and I turn from it now and I put my faith in you to be my Savior, my Lord, my God, and my friend. Thank you for loving me and calling me and accepting me. In Jesus' name I pray.

Amen. Listen, if you just prayed that prayer in a minute, I want you to know on the authority of God's Word that Jesus Christ has just come to take residence in your heart. The Bible says these things we write to you that believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. Listen, we want to send you some resources that will help you grow spiritually.

So here's Dave with some details. And let me say God bless you and welcome to the family of God. Yeah, and those resources Pastor Greg just mentioned are all contained in what we call our New Believers' Growth Packet.

It will help you get started living for the Lord. And we'll send it at no charge. So just ask for the New Believers' Growth Packet when you write a new beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or you can call us anytime 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.

Or go online to harvest.org. Well, next time after the holiday weekend, we'll dig into the most requested messages of the past year. Our Best of series kicks off next time. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-05 13:24:27 / 2023-07-05 13:35:22 / 11

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