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R415 The Christmas Message Pt.1

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2021 8:00 am

R415 The Christmas Message Pt.1

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

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December 20, 2021 8:00 am

The Daily Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton

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Merry Christmas and welcome to The Encouraging Word, featuring the Bible-based teaching of Dr. Don Wilton as we study the Christ of Christmas. We'll be headed to Luke chapter 2 and John chapter 3 in just a moment as Dr. Don opens God's Word with us. But speaking of opening God's Word, heaven, life, and resurrection, that's a wonderful leather-bound devotional that we're making available on our website right now to launch us into 2022. Weekly devotions by Dr. Don and other pastors. All the details are on our website at www.tewonline.org. Our commitment is not just this opportunity to study God's Word by listening to Dr. Don, but by studying it ourselves. Again, that's just one of the many tools available online at our website www.tewonline.org.

That's www.tewonline.org. Now today's message with Dr. Don Wilton. Blessed is the name of our God. We humble ourselves in your presence. We cry Abba, Father. And we worship you as the Prince of Peace.

We crown you with many crowns. And Father, we thank you for the manner with which you have present yourself in our lives for answered prayer. We thank you for answered prayer. We thank you, Lord Jesus, that during these moments together, no matter where we find ourselves and under whatever circumstances we may be in, that your presence is with us because you are God. And now, Father, as we come to the preaching of the unsearchable riches of God in Christ Jesus, we pray that you would open our hearts by the ministry of your Spirit. We pray, O God, that we might see things that within ourselves we cannot see. We pray that you would open the eyes of our understanding, that you would deepen our walk with you, and that our Father, when we leave this place and when we enter into the pilgrimage that you've called us to lead, that we might do so with a spirit of urgency and a deepening sense of love, a profound sense of commitment, an overwhelming sense of your grace which is upon us. Father, we pray now that you would speak to us, for we ask these things in Jesus' name and for his sake alone.

Amen. I'm going to ask you to first of all turn with me to the book of Luke chapter 2. Just yesterday I was speaking to someone very close to me and I said to them, I wish that somehow this Christmas that I could do something a little bit unique.

I wish that I had it within my means to be able to present something different to my people. And this person said to me, okay, well, let's start with Jesus. Why don't we call him by some other name? I thought to myself that won't do because it's at the name of Jesus that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

And so they said to me, well, if we're going to try and be a little original, do something perhaps a little bit different. Why don't we dispense with the manger and have him born in something else? Perhaps the general hospital in Jerusalem. Well, that won't do because it's not part of God's plan. Well, why don't we this Christmas just do something else? Let's not have Bethlehem. I think we may be getting tired of Bethlehem. Let's have Jesus born in Rome or Athens.

Or how about in Spartanburg? What exactly was it that happened when God acted the way that he did? I want us to read first of all from the Luke's account in Luke chapter 2 and verse 1. I'm not going to be preaching from this passage, but I want us to place this the message of Christmas in its correct context. In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree. Now, if we can just hold on a moment there, sometimes perhaps somewhat we overlook the significance of what that first verse tells us about.

When we narrate the story, we just mention it in bypassing. By the way, Caesar Augustus did what Caesar Augustus was supposed to do. Perhaps we pay somewhat glib attention to the monumental edict that was issued forth from the world's King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. You see, friends, in Jesus' time, Caesar Augustus was the imperial hierarchy epitomized.

This was the White House in the best expression of the day. The only difference was that he had no Congress. He had no Senate or House of Representatives to act as a system of checks and balances despite the Roman Senate. The Roman Senate were rubber stampers of the decrees that were issued from within the heartbeat of Caesar Augustus. This imperial giant who peered from the top of the portals of his earthly kingdom and tried to establish decrees upon mankind. In fact, the Bible tells us most distinctly that here in these days that Caesar Augustus issued a decree. If you'd asked the average person in Jesus' time who was most important in their scheme of things, there would have been a vast number of them that would have said, we owe our homage only to Caesar. There would be others who would say, we despise Caesar but we have no alternative because we live in a military dictatorship and Caesar Augustus is indeed the Sun King and he peers down from the portals of his imperial palace. And if we even venture to disobey his royal decree, we would stand for fear of losing our own lives.

But God had a different perspective on things when it came to Christmas. And so it was here in Luke chapter 2 and verse 1 that in those days, the King of Kings, so he thought, issued a decree. And while he was issuing this decree, what perhaps Caesar Augustus didn't understand was that from before the foundation of the world that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords had determined within the holiness of his character and born on the wings of his wonderful sovereign grace and his love, God himself had issued a decree. But let's just for a moment give Caesar Augustus the benefit of the doubt, shall we?

Let's elevate him to some kind of human lofty height. Let's pay homage to this man. Let's rally the troops around and determine within our hearts that there is none like under Caesar Augustus. Let's within our hearts place the message of the Christ of Christmas on the wings of an Augustan stamp of authority that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. Caesar didn't leave anything out. This was the first census, the Bible tells us, that took place while Cyrenius was governor of Syria and everyone went to his own town to register.

Disobedience was not to be tolerated. What Caesar didn't seem to understand but perhaps Herod the King pondered in his heart was that there was something happening, there was a tremor that was occurring, there was an earthquake that was beginning to erupt across the vaults of this earth that God had created, that there was someone about to make an appearance. That not even John the Baptist would be worthy to tie his shoelaces. And so it was that within this mix Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea to Bethlehem the town of David because he belonged to the house and to the land of David and he went there to register with Mary who was pledged or as we find recorded in the King James Version, she was espoused to him, she was promised to him, she was committed to him. It seems to me that commitment seems to be a hallmark of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. The world was committed whether they wanted to or not to Caesar Augustus and Mary was committed to Joseph and God was committed as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords to expressing the love of the great I Am in Bethlehem's manger. The message of Christmas, she was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. Now while they were there the time came for the baby to be born and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger and there was no room for them in the inn. The message of Christmas and then there was Caesar. Would you turn with me to John's Gospel chapter 3 and verse 16. The Christmas message, for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him.

Hold on a minute now, one and only, just if we could just hold on just a second here. Wasn't it Caesar Augustus who issued the decree? If we took a survey, wasn't it Caesar Augustus who occupied the place of absolute preeminence and prominence as the son king, but God so loved the world that he gave his only one and only, his only begotten, the one who is unique, who is one of a kind because there is none like unto me, said God, because I Am. Hold on a minute, it seems to me perhaps that Caesar Augustus has taken one or two steps down from the portals of his lofty ladder in the perspective of humankind. Perhaps Caesar Augustus doesn't occupy the position that his Lords pay homage to, for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only, the unique, the imperial son of the living God, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. God so loved that he decreed from before the foundation of the world, God gave. Excuse me, Caesar, that whoever believes in him shall not perish. Oh, I love this part, don't you?

I've got such good news for you today. The message of Christmas, did you hear that? God gave his son because of his love and he loves us so much that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but shall have eternal life. Perhaps this morning, my friends, the Christmas message is best expressed in perhaps this the most well known of all texts in Scripture, one that we learned a quote from Awanas on up, one that Steve Skinner learned on the knee of his beloved father and mother, for God so loved the world, perhaps this is the great metropolis of God's eternal truth, perhaps there is no other single statement that so aptly sums up God's redemptive purpose in Christ for the human race, perhaps this is the real meaning of Christmas, don't you think? And so Caesar issued a decree, sweet little baby boy, perhaps somewhat in my own heart I may have an inkling as to the nervousness of King Herod, don't you think?

The uncomfortableness of the Roman garrison, perhaps in my own human heart, my own sinful heart, perhaps I have a renewed sense of the urgency of the shepherds who watched over their flocks by night and the wise men who were endowed with all the riches and wealth of this world yet made track in a beeline to kneel at the feet of this sweet little baby boy, and so Caesar Augustus issued a decree, did he? What is the message of Christmas? Perhaps, beloved friends, this morning, ladies and gentlemen, perhaps this Christmas we need to have a fresh understanding that this verse in John chapter 3 and verse 16 makes up the constellation of the Redeemer in the firmament of divine revelation. Oh, I love the Word of God. You can go back into Genesis chapter 1 and verse 1 and you're going to find a summary of the creative work of God and you can page through the beautiful pages of this book and get into Exodus and you're going to move from a summary of the creative work of God to the book of Exodus and see a summary of the legislative work of God and then you come headlong into John chapter 3 and verse 16 and here we find a succinct summary of the redemptive work of God in Christ Jesus.

Why? Because God's redemptive plan is embodied in the Christ of Christmas. Amen? Just think about it for a moment. God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to himself.

How can this be? And so Caesar Augustus issued a decree. All of a sudden the ballot box pales into insignificance.

All of a sudden party affiliation has no grounding. All of a sudden the White House becomes darkened in a pit of oblivion. All of a sudden all the aspirations and the dreams and the directives placed upon mankind by their own human intuition begins to dissolve within the face of God's marvelous redemptive plan because this is the Christ of Christmas. This is the Christmas message.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but will have everlasting life. Isn't that great? Isn't that great? Isn't that great?

Indeed it is great. Please forgive the interruption. We'll be back with the rest of today's message with Dr. Don Wilton in just a moment.

But I want to share with you some exciting news. Friends of the ministry at The Encouraging Word have given $200,000 here at the end of the year as a challenge and matching gift. The challenge is for each of us to give our best gift. Now for them it's $200,000.

For you it might be $2 or $20 or $200. Whatever the gift might be, the challenge is that we would determine how we might give into the ministry of The Encouraging Word. Since January 1 of this year, 135,000 people have called in or text in or connected with us to share with us how God is using the ministry of God's Word, The Encouraging Word, in their lives. We encourage you to consider being a part of it. Again, you can call right now, 866-899-WORD, and share your gift in this wonderful matching challenge.

I pray that you'll consider praying about it, talking with your sweetheart, and consider giving. You can discover more on our website as well at www.tewonline.org. Now back to today's great teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. What was it about God's reconciling man to himself in Christ Jesus? What is it about the Christmas message? May I submit to you this morning that if we really understand and if our hearts are opened to the illumination of the Spirit of God within our hearts and souls, we're going to understand first of all that the Christmas message has both God the Father and God the Son standing side by side in the Christmas manger. God the Father and God the Son standing side by side at the birth of Jesus.

Just think about it for a moment. God, are you serious? Are you telling me that God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to himself? God eternal, self-existing, uncreated member of the Godhead? Who is God?

Who is this God that would allow himself to become a man? Who is God? God the Son, God the Father, for God so loved the world that he gave this eternal one, self-existing, uncreated, having need of nothing, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, Elohim.

Jehovah Jireh Adonai has revealed himself by many names, but now reveals himself by love. For God so loved the world. What is the message of Christmas for you and for me today?

God, now wait a minute theologian, wait a minute church, wait a minute Bible. God, you're saying to me that God was born in Bethlehem's manger, he who sits high and lifted up, worshipped by adoring angels, by cherubim and by seraphim, and in whose presence they hide their wings behind their wings and cry holy, holy, holy, and from whose presence even the prophet Isaiah fell to his knees as the doorposts began to shake and cried out woe is me for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts. What is the message of Christmas? And so Caesar Augustus issued a decree, did he?

That all the world should be taxed and the world jumped at his command and they obeyed his decree. Just think of it, God the Father and God the Son, because God was in Christ Jesus reconciling himself to the world. On the one hand you have the giver of life, on the other hand you have the very gift of life, on the one hand you have the author of life, and on the other hand you have the finisher of life, and here they are in a manger, he who gazes upon galaxy after galaxy so that even the stars and the moon and the winds and the waves obey his voice. But Jesus said to his disciples not once but repeatedly, never forget that I and my Father are one.

Such powerful teaching from Dr. Don Wilton. There's more to come and we'll share the rest of this message on the next edition of The Encouraging Word, but as you've heard Dr. Wilton teach, perhaps you would open your heart now as he steps into the studio with the most important question of the day. 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. Welcome to the family of God. I'm convinced that some of you were praying along with Dr. Wilton moments ago and gave your life to Christ for the very first time or perhaps rededicated your life and have come home to the family of God.

Welcome. We have wonderful resources Dr. Don wants you to have absolutely free if you'll call us at 866-899-WORD. That number is 866-899-9673. Or join us online at www.tewonline.org. As a matter of fact, Dr. Don would love to know how God's using this ministry. You can email him, don at tewonline.org. He'd love to hear from you. That's don at tewonline.org. And I mentioned earlier, if you haven't heard, there's some exciting news about opportunities for growing the ministry of the Encouraging Word.

Here's Dr. Don with the details. Wow, God has done incredible things again this year through the Encouraging Word broadcast ministry. Do you know that over 135,000 people have called us telling us what this ministry means to them in their spiritual life and so many are coming to know Jesus. A friend has just given a $200,000 challenge gift to this ministry and we are asking as he is asking that our listeners will give an additional $300,000 to this ministry by December 31st so that God's Word can continue to go out across the world.

In London recently, someone came up to me and said, thank you for the Encouraging Word and for what it means. Would you help me do this? If all of us participated, even at $2 to $3 to $4 each, God will help us to reach this goal together. Yes, we can do it. Again, the number to call is 866-899-9673 or meet us online at www.tewonline.org to share your gift. That's www.tewonline.org. The Encouraging Word
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-07 09:36:04 / 2023-07-07 09:44:32 / 8

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