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R312 Experiencing God Because Of Christmas

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
December 15, 2021 8:00 am

R312 Experiencing God Because Of Christmas

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

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December 15, 2021 8:00 am

The Daily Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton

Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

Welcome to The Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton and today's message on experiencing God because of Christmas. The Encouraging Word In just a moment Dr. Wilton is taking us to Matthew chapter 2, but I want to take you to our website There you'll find a wonderful 52 week devotional that's The Encouraging Word And now today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton I hope that you have your Bibles with you this morning, if so please turn with me to Matthew's Gospel in chapter 2 The Gospel according to Matthew in chapter 2, our subject is experiencing God because of Christmas What a wonderful time of the year this is and there is so much that we would want to talk about when it comes to Christmas I wonder what kind of gifts there are going to be under the tree in your home I have no doubt there are going to be all kinds of things and a lot of excitement in your homes and how wonderful to have grandparents and moms and dads and uncles and aunts visiting, friends and relatives The other day a precious young lady gave me this, Catherine Davis She gave me this wonderful gift and I want to show it to the choir so they can see it as well Isn't that special? You know it's got my name on it, it says it's from Catherine Davis and I love the picture there because the picture is all about Christmas time and it has the baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph and the wise men and the shepherds in the stable where baby Jesus was born in a manger but you know there's something interesting because down on the bottom here, recognizing that I need a little sweetening up is something that we're all very familiar with and that's what made this so very special to me from a special young lady, it's a candy cane and you know candy canes are all over the place I remember being told about candy canes but I had forgotten about candy canes You know they are special things because the candy cane represents one of the oldest symbols of Christmas It's in the form of a shepherd's staff, a crook, because the shepherds were among the very first people who witnessed the Christ of Christmas, who experienced God because of Christmas and another thing that I've noticed about this candy cane is that it's got different colors and stripes on it and some of these stripes are big thick red stripes and others are just little thin stripes and then there's also some white stripes in there and the thick stripes are the big wide red stripes represent the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ The Bible says for with these stripes we are healed and then the narrow little stripes, red stripes represent our sacrifices, the sacrifices and the giving that we make because the Lord Jesus Christ because of His sacrifice lives in our hearts Then of course there's the white stripes, well you know white represents purity doesn't it? And that's why Jesus was born in the manger Jesus was born in the manger because of purity, because of God's holiness and the Bible tells us that when the Lord Jesus Christ was born in the manger He was born there for a purpose and that was that He would die upon the cross in order that the world could be purified through Him and having been made perfect and pure because the Lord Jesus can forgive us we are then able once again to be reconciled together with God our Heavenly Father which is in Heaven So this Christmas as you eat your candy canes boys and girls I want you to think of the Christ of Christmas, would you do that?

And would you, I'll tell you what you might want to do You might want to, every candy cane that you get from today and tomorrow before you eat it, after lunch, you only eat these after lunch now Only after lunch do you eat them, mums and dads or not like that, thank you After you've eaten these after lunch, what you need to do is you need to break it and you need to share part of your candy cane with someone else because when you break it, you are remembering that Jesus' body was broken for you and for me when He died upon the cross and every time you share it with a friend, you know what you're doing? You are sharing the sweetness of the true meaning of the Christ of Christmas Now I wonder what Christmas means to you Our subject this morning, experiencing God because of Christmas I want us to go to God's Word today and to examine what God's Word would teach us and here's what we're going to do We're going to look at five different passages of Scripture So you're going to need your Bibles this morning I want everybody here to have a copy of God's Word in their hands If you didn't bring one with you, we've provided one for you right there in the pew rack and you can just reach out and take one and turn with us to Matthew's Gospel chapter 2 We're going to look at five different people here in God's Word for whom Christmas had particular significance and I'm going to say to you today that every one of these five different people experienced God because of Christmas and so I'm going to read a passage of Scripture with every one of these five different groups or individuals that we're going to study this morning as we try and understand what it means to experience God because of Christmas Number one, before I give it to you, I want to say something I don't like this point In fact, if I could have my way today, I would much rather not preach on this first point It just doesn't kind of sound right at Christmas time It just is one of those things that we want to try and avoid It's one of those things that bring us perhaps a lot of sadness in our hearts Number four, there were those who hated the Christ of Christmas Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Bible teaches us that there were those who actually hated the Christ of Christmas How could these things be? Let's read together Matthew chapter 2 and beginning at verse 1 I'm going to read a long passage because it incorporates one of our other points in just a moment and I may stop once or twice After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea During the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed Beloved friends, the Bible tells us that there was a man who at the time of Jesus' birth and because of the Christ of Christmas was disturbed in his heart and his name was Herod And do you know that the Bible tells us that because of the sin of the world and because Satan will not tolerate the purity and the holiness of God in Christ Jesus that people today still hate the Christ of Christmas They want to have nothing to do with him And look what happened here to Herod The Bible says in verse 3 When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed and all of Jerusalem with him And when he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law He asked them where Christ was to be born In Bethlehem in Judea they replied For this is what the prophet had written They understood the scriptures In fact, I'm going to submit to you that from the moment that Jesus was born in Bethlehem's manger It was the same religious leaders armed with scripture who had a deep profound understanding of prophecy of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ It was these same Pharisees and Sadducees that began to militate against the Lord Jesus Christ It was the same religious people who couldn't tolerate the purity and the holiness of Almighty God And it was the same Pharisees and Sadducees who had an incredible time trying to deal with the Christ of Christmas It seems very sad my beloved friends When you understand scripture To understand that some of the greatest opposition to the Christ of Christmas Does not come from without the church, it comes from within the church It comes from people who have been born and reared in a place like the United States of America Where we have freedom to proclaim the unsearchable riches of God Where there are churches behind every bush Where people understand the meaning of Christmas The Bible says my friends, even people who grew up in Christian homes Can become men and women sadly Who are those who hate the Christ of Christmas Look what happened, they quoted scripture in verse 4, verse 6 But you Bethlehem in the land of Judah are by no means the least among the rulers of Judah For out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel Then Herod called the Magi secretly Now something remarkable is going to happen here In fact it's a commentary of a modern day and age, listen He called the Magi secretly And he found out from them the exact time the star had appeared You see what the Lord Jesus Christ is trying to teach us my friends Is that those who are opposed to the Christ of Christmas Are so vehement in their opposition Within the context of their religiosity That they are going to be absolutely precise and exact In everything they do to make absolutely certain That they can maximize their hate of the Christ of Christmas And look what he says in verse 8, this boggles our minds He sent them to Bethlehem and he said Go and make a careful search for the child And as soon as you find him, come and report to me So that I too may go and worship him The Bible says man looks upon the outward appearance But God looks upon the heart Please forgive the interruption, we'll be back with the rest of today's message With Dr. Don Wilton in just a moment But it is amazing to think that the Lord would choose To send his son our Savior to be fully divine, fully God And fully human at the same time But when we think about it, it's how Jesus can in some ways know what we've experienced He understands both the highs and the lows And just the other day Dr. Don was talking about How many people we've been praying for That experienced this Christmas holiday both as some of the best moments But also some of the most difficult moments Know that you're not alone God has promised never to leave you or forsake you And we're here as well, 24 hours a day If you call 866-899-WORD You'll find one of us happy to talk or listen or pray with you Jot the number down, store it in your cell 866-899-9673 We love to pray with you or connect you with great resources Like the daily encouraging word devotional That will help you grow in your faith You'll find all those points of contact on our website as well At That's Now let's dive back into today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton I mean here we have King Herod my friends Who unapologetically was telling those around about him That the reason he came to church on Christmas Day Was in order to worship God But meanwhile God knew that the reason he came to church on Christmas Day Was to do anything but to worship God It was because he hated the Christ of Christmas There's an old saying that had been used in military circles If you can't beat them, join them And it's a sad thing beloved friends when we understand the tremendous depths To which this man sank In order to try and erase the Christ of Christmas From the annals of antiquity And yet what he didn't understand my friend Was that he was dealing with the King of Kings And the Lord of Lords He was dealing with the Prince of Peace He was dealing with the Alpha and the Omega The beginning and the end, the first and the last This was and is the Christ of Christmas Look what happened in verse 9 After they heard the king and they went on their way And the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them Until it stopped over the place where the child was And when they saw the star they were overjoyed On coming to the house they saw the child with his mother Mary And they bowed down and worshipped him Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold And of incense and of myrrh And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod They returned to their country by another route And when they had gone An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said get up He said take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt Stay here until I tell you for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him So he got up and he took the child And his mother during the night and left for Egypt Where he stayed until the death of Herod And so was fulfilled what the law had said through the prophet Out of Egypt I have called my son And when Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi I love this part Oh I love this part I mean I would have loved to have been just a fly on the wall Just to have seen Herod He didn't understand folks That he was just a mere mortal king He didn't understand how far removed he was From the sovereign outstretched hand of almighty God Listen what happened When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi He was furious And he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem And its vicinity who were two years old And under in accordance with the time He had learned from the Magi There were those who hated Who hated the Christ of Christmas But let's move on I don't want to spend time on that because That's the negative side of Christmas isn't it That's the group of people who militate against nativity scenes Who do everything they can to remove the name of Jesus From everything that we hold dear They don't believe that it is God in whom we trust Not in these United States of America Who refuse to accept the foundational principles Of these United States of America Which have been founded and grounded Upon the unsearchable unapologetic word Of the living God in Christ Jesus There were those the Bible says Who hated the Christ of Christmas But move on number two There were those who accepted the Christ of Christmas Look at Matthew chapter 1 and verse 18 through 25 Mary and Joseph Listen to what the Bible says Matthew chapter 1 please follow with me There were those who accepted the Christ of Christmas This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph But before they came together She was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit Now because Joseph her husband was a righteous man And did not want to expose her to a public disgrace He had in mind to divorce her quietly But after he had considered this An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said Joseph son of David do not be afraid To take Mary home as your wife Because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit She will give birth to a son And you are to give him the name Jesus Because he will save his people from their sins All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son And they will call him Emmanuel Which means God with us When Joseph woke up The Bible says he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him And he took Mary home as his wife But he had no union with her Until she gave birth to a son And he gave him the name Jesus A dear lady in Taylors South Carolina Mrs. Johnson sent me this article entitled Mary's Dream I'd like to just read it for you Mary's Dream I had a dream Joseph I don't understand it Not really But I think it was about a birthday celebration for our son I think that was what it was all about The people had been preparing for it for about six weeks They had decorated the house and bought new clothes They'd gone shopping many times and bought elaborate gifts It was peculiar though, Joseph Because the presents weren't for our son They wrapped them in beautiful paper And they tied them with lovely bows And they stacked them under a tree Yes, a tree, Joseph Right in their house They decorated the tree also The branches were full of glowing balls And sparkling ornaments There was a figure on top of the tree It looked like an angel might look Oh, Joseph, it was so beautiful Everyone was laughing and happy And they were all excited about the gifts They gave gifts to each other, Joseph But not to our son I don't think they even knew him They never mentioned his name Doesn't it seem rather odd for people to go to all that trouble To celebrate someone's birthday if they don't know him? I had the strangest feeling that if our son had gone to the celebration He would have been intruding Everything was so beautiful, Joseph And everyone was so full of cheer But it made me want to cry How sad for Jesus Not to be wanted at his own birthday celebration I'm glad it was only a dream How terrible, Joseph If it had been real You know, there were those who accepted The Christ of Christmas Can you and I ever begin to imagine What Mary and Joseph must have gone through with this experience? We would have been accepting people as we are And understanding and loving We would have been able to cope and overcome Because we've learnt so much about the grace and the forgiveness of God But Mary and Joseph, this presented to them An unbelievable predicament of immeasurable proportion And yet they were willing to accept the Christ of Christmas You see, as those angels came upon Mary They revealed to her that what was in her womb was the Christ of Christmas I believe that what Mary did She became the purest, the purest expression of what faith is all about You see, my friends, she may not have understood She may have had so many questions about this thing that was happening to her And yet it was Mary, the mother of Jesus Who accepted the sovereign, outstretched hand of God Without question, as did Joseph He followed commandments Not because of bland faith, but because of spiritual faith He followed God's commandments Not out of ignorance, but out of deep and profound love And understanding because of His connectedness Because this man understood what it meant to experience God All because of the Christ of Christmas Oh, there were those who hated the Christ of Christmas There were those who accepted the Christ of Christmas But I also want you to note there were those who ritualized the Christ of Christmas If you have a look with me in the passage I've already read in Matthew chapter 2 And I'm not going to read it again But the Bible tells us there, intertwined with the story about Herod There were these three men called the Magi Remarkable story Historians tell us that Magi were remarkable men I don't know all about them, probably just as much as you do But I know every time I see a portrayal Or a dramatic presentation of what happened at Christmas There the Magi are, they decked out, they dressed up These were the men who had arrived They had basketfuls of gold and of diamond earrings and necklaces They were the people who were the upper echelon of society They were the astrologists and the scientists These were the men who were educated These were the men who knew everything about everything And knew anything about anyone And you could have asked them and they would have told you The Bible says that these men were the men who ritualized the Christ of Christmas You see they came offering only what they knew best to do And that is to give of themselves And the Bible says they brought their gold and their frankincense and their myrrh They brought the ritual offerings before the Lamb of God And I'm going to say to you my beloved friends That what God's Word teaches us about these people Is that there is nothing wrong with ritualizing and symbolizing The Christ of Christmas as long as the focus of the attention Is not in the bread basket It is not in the pile of gold It is not in the gift giving It is in the baby who is in the manger I've heard people say from time to time Pastor is there something wrong with the Christmas tree? I can't find anything wrong with having a Christmas tree We've got one I intend to have one next year as well I mean it's wonderful It's got lights on it And stuff hanging all over it I wouldn't be surprised if it's six o'clock tomorrow morning When Bumper and Nana are there who are flying in tonight to join us If we're not woken up at some unearthly hour With some very precious little person Who is going to get me and say Daddy, daddy, daddy, it's time, it's time And I'm going to say go to bed Oh isn't it great when you get around You pop the eggnog Nine o'clock in the morning who cares And I mean you get it out there And there's papers all over the place And streamers and lights and Christmas trees And I mean lots of food and more food And you just have a great time together There is nothing wrong with symbolizing the Christ of Christmas He is the symbol of the Prince of Peace But I'm going to say to you my friend That these Magi They came into a personal one-on-one encounter With the Living Spirit of the Living God And they prostrated themselves before Bethlehem's manger And the Bible says that they were filled With the joy of the Living Christ And they experienced God through the Christ of Christmas If all Christmas is to you is a commercial brother You're in trouble If all Christmas is to you is what the bottom dollar Is going to mean to your business you're in trouble If Christmas, all Christmas is to you Is what you're going to get out of it You're in trouble my friends The Bible says there were those who hated The Christ of Christmas There were those who accepted The Christ of Christmas There were those who ritualized The Christ of Christmas But I want you to note in the fourth place There were those who investigated The Christ of Christmas Luke's Gospel chapter 2 There were those who investigated it These were the shepherds I love the shepherds don't you? Oh they must have been quite a group I can just see them There they were sitting out The Bible says they were abiding In their fields tending over their flocks And the Bible says that the angel of the Lord Came down upon them And the glory of the Lord shone round about them And these angels brought the most unbelievable news To these shepherds sitting out in the field They immediately got up And the Bible says they went off to go And investigate who this Christ was The Christ of Christmas As we learn about The Christ of Christmas And Dr. Wilton's teaching and preaching I pray you'd open your heart next To what Dr. Don wants to share As he comes into the studio Are you ready to give your heart and life To the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner And I know that Jesus died for me on the cross Today I repent of my sin And by faith I receive you into my heart In Jesus' name My friend, I welcome you today Into the family of God This is exciting news We'd love to hear from you At The Encouraging Word
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-08 23:37:18 / 2023-07-08 23:47:12 / 10

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