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Jesus The Gift Of Freedom

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
December 27, 2020 1:00 am

Jesus The Gift Of Freedom

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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December 27, 2020 1:00 am

In the afterglow of Christmas we can rejoice in all that God has provided in His Son. We find in Christ many gifts, including light, life, and love. In this message we consider a fourth gift Jesus brought to us when He appeared on earth so long ago.

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In the afterglow of Christmas, we can rejoice in all that God has provided in His Son. We find in Christ many gifts, including light, life, and love. Today, we'll consider a fourth gift Jesus brought with Him when He appeared on earth so long ago.

From Chicago, we welcome you to The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching under the ministry of Dr. Erwin Lutzer. On this program, we conclude a series on gifts Jesus brought to us. After the music of Christmas, stay with us for Dr. Lutzer's message on Jesus, the Gift of Liberty.

Pastor Lutzer comes now to open our time of worship. Well, in a moment we're going to be singing together, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Of course, during this very special Christmas season, we're reminded of God's goodness to us and the gift that God has given us through Jesus Christ our Lord. And we're glad that you are here to participate with us. You're going to notice that the Advent Candle, we have been emphasizing various countries and continents during the Advent season. We began, I think it was with India, then it was the Philippines, last week it was Romania, today the continent of Africa, because we delight in our diversity here as a church. If you're visiting, may I say once again that we have people from 72 different countries of origin worshiping with us, all serving the same Lord, and heaven, of course, is going to be a very diverse place, as the Bible indicates.

We're glad that you are here. In the midst of the busyness of the season, would you bow your head for just a moment of quietness as we give this service to the Lord. Father, though the stories are so familiar, create them within our hearts again.

Renew them to be reminded of the fact that God loved the world and gave his Son. And Lord, as we think about Jesus being born in Bethlehem, a place of insignificance, we thank you that wherever Jesus is, that there is significance, and that he was born in a little town. Thank you, Father, for the shepherds, for the wise men, for all who worshiped him, and we take our place with them today.

In Jesus' name, amen. Come, let the angels sing Glory to the newborn King Each honor and mercy bond Come, let saints reconcile Join all ye nations rise Join the triumph of the skies Let us proclaim Christ is born in Bethlehem Hark, the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King Christ the highest and the Lord Christ the everlasting Lord Make in time beholding God The spring of the virgin's womb Mailed in flesh the Godhead see Mailed in fire and fealty Jesus, man with man to plow Jesus, now we do have Will the man with friends know peace? Hail that Son of righteousness Light and light are all he brings Risen in his wings God be great with glory high Born then in the holy light Born to raise the sons of men Born to lead the sacred way Hark, the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King Come, sing royally reciting Stir our holy battleship Where a mother may her name Be a wager for his name There he was, the Father now Jesus Christ with a child He came now to birth from heaven Who is come and born of all And his shelter was the Savior And his cradle was the Son He came now to birth from heaven Who is come and born of all Jesus is our child, so much better Day by day like us he grew He was little, weak and helpless Tears had sprouts like us he knew He lived for our sadness And he shared breath in our deafness And our eyes and eyes shall see Him Through his home redeeming love For that tries to be rejected He is our glory forever And he is still in love To the place where he is now Thank you.

Thank you. For unto us a child is born To us a son is given The government shall be on his shoulder And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor Mighty God Everlasting Father Prince of Peace Of the increase of his government and of peace there'll be no end On the throne of David and over his kingdom To establish it and to uphold it In justice and with righteousness From this time forth and forevermore The zeal of the Lord will do this Thank you. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be the ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth, and he shall be their peace. And the angels said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you. You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased. On this fourth Sunday in Advent, we light the candle of peace. O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, is the night of the day of Satan's birth.

God made the world in sin and error blinding, till he appeared and the soul felt its truth. A thrill of hope, your weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks your fire through the thunderstorm. Fall upon your knees, a hymn in the voices of life.

O night, O night, when Christ is drawing, O night, O night, O night, O night divine. Truly he taught us to love one another, his love is love, and his love's love is peace. Change shall he bring, for the Savior to the brother, and in his name all oppression shall cease. See the angels and join the ungrateful chorus raise we, there are within us praise his holy name. Christ is the Lord, all praise his name, for ever his love. Glory ever, glory ever, glory ever, glory ever.

His love and glory evermore proclaim. Well, all of us have birthdays, and I'm sure we are glad when other people recognize that and they acknowledge our age. Some of us are to the point when our kids want to blow out the candles on the cake, they get pushed back because of the flames. But nonetheless, we all delight in the fact that people remember our birthdays, but there is no birthday that has ever been remembered with as much detail as the birthday of Jesus Christ. And that only makes sense because he is a very unusual child. His birth was unusual. He was born of a virgin. Sometimes it is said by those who are critical of Christianity that there are other miraculous birth stories in pagan literature.

That's true, but they're very different. For example, it is said that Alexander the Great had a miraculous birth. Well, after a person becomes famous, people look back and then they invent these mythologies. Jesus Christ's miraculous birth was predicted and mentioned right at the beginning. The other great difference is that these other stories are filled with degrading comments and degrading information about God's having a sexual relationship with women, and suddenly you have a miraculous birth. When you read the New Testament account, you discover that it is bathed in holiness.

The Bible says that an angel came to a virgin and said that which is created within you is of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had an unusual birth. He also had an unusual amount of criticism and hostility.

Imagine what happened. We of course think of the tremendous tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, and yet we have to remember that Jesus Christ's birth elicited so much hostility that Herod, you remember, he killed all of the babies that were in Bethlehem, the baby boys two years of age and under, hoping that he'd kill Jesus. Imagine a king being intimidated by the birth of a baby.

He must have known that this was a very unusual baby, to be sure. Jesus had an unusual upbringing, and then he has an unusual ministry and dies on a cross and then has an unusual resurrection. Well, might we honor his birth? But you know, when you stop to think of it, you realize that when we end with the birth story, we often miss the heart of the Christmas story. Now let's take, for example, Abraham Lincoln, who was born, I believe, in 1809, February the 12th. Let's suppose that his father, whose name was Thomas, his wife, excuse me, his mother's name was Nancy. Let us suppose that all that we did in our history book is look at pictures of where he was born in that one-room log cabin in Kentucky.

And we stare at those, and that's where it ends. The reason that we might be interested in the birth of Lincoln and the date in which he was born and where he was born is because of who he turned out to be and what he did. And that is true also of the story of Jesus. It doesn't end in Bethlehem. And that's why today I want to move beyond the manger to the actual man, Jesus. And this is part of a series of messages, actually the last in a four-part series on gifts that Jesus brought to us. We talked about the gift of light and the gift of life and the gift of love.

Today, the gift of liberty or freedom, that's what I'm going to be speaking about. And this really is an exposition of the words of the angel when the angel came to Mary and to Joseph and said, he shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And then the text says in Matthew chapter 1, he came to save his people from their sins, to bring freedom from sin. And that's why we're moving beyond the Bethlehem story today to an encounter that Jesus had with some Jews, some of those who were the sons of Abraham in the eighth chapter, in the eighth chapter of the book of John.

And this is a very testy encounter, and we're going to be digging into it and seeing what this deliverance that the angel promised is really all about. John chapter 8, I'm picking it up at verse 31. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, and by the way, it's page 894 if you have a Bible that is there in the seat ahead of you.

Page 894. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. They answered him, we're the offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say you will become free? Jesus answered, truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever, the son remains forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you're Abraham's offspring, yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you.

I speak of what I have seen with my father and you do what you have heard from your father. What an amazing statement as we shall see in a moment that Jesus made. Now what we'd like to do in the next few moments is to go on a fact-finding trip about truth that really sets people free.

He shall save his people from their sins. First of all, let us notice that truth exists. Truth exists. Jesus said, you shall know the truth. When I was going to school, it was said that truth is really the consensus of a lot of people.

There's sociological truth. Today, of course, in postmodernism, everyone has his own truth. There's my truth, there's your truth, and my thoughts are true simply because I think them. It's all fraught with contradiction and impossibilities, but people are willing to believe an awful lot of stuff to justify what they want to do, don't they?

And that's where we are at. You know, many years ago, and that's many years ago, I'm estimating maybe 40 years ago, I was talking to a parishioner in another church, and she was sitting beside someone in university who wrote a paper of two pages on why there is no truth, and she gave it to me to read. I answered in about two lines and said, if there is no truth, I know in advance that the paper that you have written is false. As a matter of fact, if you were consistent, you'd never open your mouth because the moment you do, we know that you're saying something other than truth.

So she gave it to him, and she never heard about him. He never said a word to her the entire semester, which was really consistent with his view of truth, I might say. Truth has universality, two plus two is equal to four. That's true in India.

It's true all over the world. Truth has consistency. There's no such thing as a logical contradiction. Contradiction is a charley horse between the ears. Nobody can believe a contradiction.

Truth also has other elements such as objectivity. There could be stars in the sky that we've never seen, but they are up there anyway, and if they are there, that is true whether we've discovered it or not. Parenthetically, not sure that I heard it this year, but other years I heard that you could buy somebody a star for Christmas.

I thought, you know, that's a great idea. Buy somebody a star for Christmas, and then invite them to go check on their property, and if they don't like it, you could guarantee they get their money back. Nobody's making some money on this thing, selling people stars. But anyway, the stars exist whether we acknowledge it or not. Now the truth that Jesus is talking about, the religious truth, is first of all his words. You'll notice what his words say, if you abide in my word, you are my disciples and you'll know the truth. Every word that proceeded out of the mouth of Jesus was a true word. My word is truth. If you want to find some truth, read the Gospels and find out what Jesus had to say. But more than that, he said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. He embodies truth. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. That baby there in the manger in Bethlehem had all of the attributes of God.

And when he was held in the arms of Joseph and Mary and later on Simeon, there was a part of Jesus that was invisible to the human eye, but in their hands they were holding, in their arms they were holding the Son of God, whose nature was God of very God and man, both in one person. You know, I frequently refer to my daughter, our oldest daughter. You know, the average kid asks, I think, a half million questions by the age of about seven or eight.

I think our oldest daughter got to that quota at about four years old. But she said, who was taking care of the world when God was a baby? Very good question. Who was taking care of the world when God was a baby? Well, that baby had the attributes of deity and God was still taking care of the world and Christ was still taking care of the world. No wonder the Bible says, great is the mystery of godliness.

God was manifest in the flesh. Wow. There is such a thing as truth. Look at Jesus, who is the truth embodied.

Wow. Second, truth can be known. You shall know the truth. Truth can be known. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. The knowledge of God, for example, is revealed most clearly through Jesus. So we see the knowledge of God in the Old Testament.

It is in Jesus that we see the Father full of grace and truth. And so Jesus comes to us and says, you can know the truth. Now, you can't know anything exhaustively. In fact, we don't know everything about anything. Our knowledge is always limited and our knowledge of this infinite being called God, our knowledge of God is always limited, but it is meaningful. We can have a meaningful relationship with God, though we don't understand all about him.

And so that's what Jesus offers. You shall know the truth and it's possible to know it. Now, let's look back at the text here. What's happening in the text is he's talking to people who believe in him. And then in verse 33, there are also some who don't.

It's mixed company. They answer him, we are the offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say you will become free? Then Jesus says, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

And then I'm skipping to verse 36. So if the Son set you free, you'll be free indeed. But notice this, verse 37, I know that you are Abraham's offspring, yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my father and you do what you've seen of your father. And they say, Abraham is our father. Now what's going on there in the text?

Think of this. These people are using their religiosity, their pedigree that goes all the way to Abraham. They are using that pedigree and their religion to keep them from Jesus, from the truth, from the truth about themselves, from the truth about God. And they are choosing bondage rather than freedom in the name of religion.

I want to be candid here. Religion can be one of the most deceptive shields that can become a mask that people wear so that they don't really have to deal with the truth about themselves and God and their need for redemption. So you have people say, well, you know, I'm okay. I attend Moody Church or possibly I'm okay because I'm a Baptist or I'm okay because I'm a Catholic. I attend the Catholic Church or I attend the Mormon Church, whatever, and religion becomes a shield. And even though that all may be true that they are committed to these various religions, the problem is that those become a shield to keep them from reality and acknowledging the truth about themselves and their need for a redeemer.

You see, these people weren't able to see themselves. And Jesus said it's possible to know the truth. Some of you do know the truth. Others of you will not receive the truth and you'll use religion to shield yourself from the truth.

That's what's happening here in the text. And it's something that all of us can fall into the hypocrisy of not dealing with who we are in God's presence. So Jesus said, you can know the truth and then he says, and the truth will set you free. If you accept the truth, it'll set you free.

Now let's look at this verse 32 in an astounding statement. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. In other words, if the Son shall make you free, Jesus says now in verse 36, you're going to be free indeed.

You're going to be fully free. Now your Bibles are open and I want you to see two contrasts that Jesus now makes. Two contrasts. The first is between a slave and a son. Truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever.

Why? Because he's not part of the family. He may go to church, but he's not part of the family.

But the son, he remains forever because he is part of God's family. So the first contrast is between slavery and sonship. Now think of how amazingly accurate the Bible is.

The Bible has the most interesting, the most true analysis of human nature available. That there are people today who think they are free and they are slaves to sin. Now if you're a slave, you don't get up in the morning and begin to tell the owner what to do, your master.

The master begins to bark out orders at you and you had better follow through with them. That's the way some people's lives are. They don't have any control over the sins that entangled them. And they may be sins of the flesh that we frequently speak about, and most assuredly those sins bind.

Oh, the depths of that binding. You know, Jesus is using an illustration here of someone who's imprisoned. And you can imagine, you know, during the Middle Ages, there was a man who made chains and who put his signia on every link and took pride in the fact that nobody could break one of his chains. And then he was imprisoned and noticed that he was actually bound by his own chain. The Bible in the book of Proverbs talks about being bound by cords of sin.

Imagine somebody, the chain is coming out of a concrete wall and it's wrapped around his leg and there he is. And Jesus said that if you are a sinner committed to sin and you are actually only a slave and not a son, you are a slave to sin. And it may be the sins of the flesh, it may be the sins of the Spirit. You know, when you look at the religious people of the day, I wouldn't say that they were necessarily bound to sensual sins, but they were bound to the sin of self-righteousness, the sin of anger, the need to be appreciated, the pride of the human heart, and all of those sins of the Spirit. And Jesus said that if you commit and walk in that path, you are going to become a slave to sin.

And what terrible slavery it really is. But if you are a son, well, that's something different, because the son is really truly free. Jesus the Son of God is free and he takes his sons and his daughters and he frees them if they are willing to accept the truth. And this is the message of Christmas, it's the message of Bethlehem, that Jesus came to set us free, even as the angel prophesied. Now that's the first contrast between a son and a slave.

There's a second contrast and that has to do with two different fathers, two different fathers. Jesus said, verse 38, I speak of what I have seen with my father, that's the father in heaven, and you do what you have heard from your father. They said Abraham is our father. Jesus said if you were Abraham's children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Jesus is not what Abraham did, you are doing what your father did. And so they go back and forth with Jesus and they say, well, you know, our father is Abraham and you are born implied a fornication, they say to Jesus. Now you have to brace yourself for this, okay, but Jesus didn't take that course, how to win friends and influence people. That came a little later, that was a little later than Jesus, and you may be offended by how plainly he speaks, but that's exactly why we have to hear what he has to say. He is speaking on behalf of the father, the words that he speaks are true. So are you ready for them?

You can brace yourself a little bit for this. Verse 44, you are of your father, the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has nothing to do with the truth because there's no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he's a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell you the truth, Jesus said, you don't believe me, wow. Jesus is saying, now, what about this imagery of fathers? What's going on there in the text?

That has to do with the nature, you see. In what sense was the devil the father of these people? He was, in this sense, that they had his nature, which is a nature of deception and lies. And these lies, they told themselves so many times over and over that they began to believe lies about themselves that they were righteous in the sight of God because of their works, unwilling to see their need of deep, abiding redemption.

And that's, of course, where the lie really resides. And so Jesus said, you know, there are two different fathers in the world. There's the Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That's one father. The other father is the devil.

And the human race is kind of divided between the two, isn't it? Young woman comes to me and says, you know, I'm in love with a man who's really a nice guy, but he's not a Christian. Well, what does Pastor Lutzer do? He takes her to this text and says, you know, there are two different fathers in the world. There's this father and there's this father, the one in verse 44.

You and he may get along for quite some time, quite well, but eventually you're going to have trouble with your father-in-law. I don't have to repeat that, do I? Jesus is speaking to religious people. And today in this church and across the world, wherever we go—and you know we stream live all over the world and are heard on the radio, etc.—primarily religious people. And Jesus is saying that there is a level of deception that you can enter into as a religious person. And as a result of that, you can miss the fact that you need the kind of redemption that Jesus Christ came to give.

Two different experiences, two different sons, two different contrasts, actually. And Jesus is saying that what we ought to do is to recognize that we need God as our Father. And very clearly, Jesus just puts it out there. As you read the Gospel of John and elsewhere, Jesus is constantly saying that if you don't receive me, you don't receive my Father. You think of the outstanding, the astounding claims that Jesus Christ made. And yet you have people today who say, well, you know, to me he's a good teacher. Well, good teachers normally don't exalt themselves and tell people that their eternal destiny is totally determined by what these people do with him. No, but Jesus did that. And that's what it comes down to, as C.S. Lewis has shown, that either Jesus Christ was a liar or a lunatic or he was Lord, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

And that's really the message of Christmas. Was Seneca who cried, oh, that a hand would come down from heaven and deliver me from my besetting sin. I'm speaking to you now heart to heart, just want you to understand and listen very carefully when I tell you this.

You and I don't need a whole lot more good teaching. What we need is spiritual power to live differently, as the angel said, to deliver his people from their sins. And only Jesus is able to do that. Only Jesus is able to do that. And that's why we exalt him and that's why we remember his birthday.

It is because he is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, God of all gods, the one deliverer, the one savior whom we proclaim to the world. Now a couple of things to help us take these strands and bring them together. I've already made the point, but I want to emphasize that the worst possible slavery is slavery to sin. Now these Jewish people, God bless them, they were not, when they said we've never been slaves of anyone, they were not referring to political slavery because they were under the yoke of the Roman Empire. And of course, the Jewish nation had been under the yoke of Egypt and other countries all the way through. And so they understood all that. But what they were saying is that religiously we've never been slaves to anyone, religiously we have been free. What they didn't realize was because they failed to acknowledge the depth of their need, they were really slaves to their thought patterns that put them in much better light than they were. Something like a little boy who said to his mother, I'm eight feet tall, I'm eight feet tall.

Really? Well, according to the yardstick that he had made. The Bible says that when we judge ourselves by others, we sin and we are not wise. So first of all, the worst kind of slavery you can have is slavery to sin.

It is a bad taskmaster. And I'm speaking to people who think that they are free. They can do whatever they like. They can go wherever they want.

They can indulge in whatever they want to indulge in. And they say to themselves, I am free. And I say to you today, you are bound.

You are bound. You wake up in the morning and it's sin that tells you what to do. And no matter how much you rationalize it, you do it. It's a terrible kind of bondage. And there's bondage to the conscience. Some day at Moody Church, I want to preach a series of messages on the conscience.

I've been gathering material on that for a while. And I think, for example, of a man, true story, who murdered someone when he was basically a teenager, something like about the age of 18. And the police questioned him and all, but he was never charged. He grew up, married, had a family, and became a Christian.

And years later, I mean, I'm talking about 25 years later. He turned himself into the authorities because he said he couldn't live with his conscience. And he said later, and in one of my books I quote him, when he said that, I'm a freer man here behind bars than I was when I was on the outside. There is a freedom of the spirit that can only be given by truth, which sets people free. The worst kind of bondage is bondage to self. I'm told that Alexander the Great, you remember before he died, he wept because there were no more worlds to conquer.

But someone suggested that there was another world that Alexander had not conquered. And that is the world of the heart. And that, by the way, is one of the reasons I'm preaching the series of messages that I told you about, going to preach it, because it was Luther who said, I fear my own heart more than I do the pope. And what we need to do is to recognize that there is a slavery to the human heart. Secondly, the truth sets us free. The truth sets us free. Jesus was saying to these religious people, if you want to be free, you have to take off the mask and deal with reality and see yourself and see God.

You know, it was Calvin, the great theologian, who in the beginning of his institutes and by the way, his institutes became the textbook for Protestant theology for about 200 years. But he begins by saying that there are two kinds of knowledge. There's knowledge of God and knowledge of self, and sometimes it's hard to know which comes first.

But one thing is sure, you can't have one without the other. You can't know who you are unless you're in God's presence. And knowledge of self comes by the knowledge of God. You want to know what our big problem is in our society?

Everything seems to be going haywire. It's people who think they know who they are without any reference at all to God, that they can just on their own find out who they are and find out their own morality and find out their own direction without knowing God. But God sees behind the mask. You know, during the days many years ago of the OJ Simpson trial, the prosecution began one of its defenses or one of its assaults, I guess would be more accurate, saying this, wealth and fame can't change this simple truth.

OJ Simpson is a person. People have a good side and a bad side. We will show you the other side of the smiling face.

Now no matter where you come down on the verdict that was eventually given, that's irrelevant to the point that I'm making. People have a good side and a bad side. And we have to, God sees what is on the other side of the smiling face.

He sees the anger, the envy, the secret addictions, the other part of our life. And Jesus said that when you come to me, you can be truthful in my presence. And when you know the truth about yourself and you know the truth about Jesus and who I am, you can be free. Of course, we continue to struggle with sin, but sin no longer is our task, master. We keep looking to Jesus for the deliverance that was promised by the angel to Joseph and Mary that he will save his people from his sins. And then, of course, the bottom line is that truth has to be received, doesn't it?

It has to be received. As you go through the rest of this text, you'll discover that there are those who rejected Jesus and they want to stone him and they want to kill him, all in the name of religion, by the way. And so there were those who went their way, and then the disciples of Jesus went another way, and so it is that Jesus is constantly dividing people, dividing people.

And that's what he does today, too. You must confront this Christ. Question is, are you going to receive what he has to say? You'll notice that Jesus said that truth has to be received. If you abide in my word—I'm back in verse 31—if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth. It isn't just simply making a decision for Jesus, important though that is, because there is a time when you cross that threshold, but that you abide in the truth, that truth becomes a part of you, that you are reading the truth, that you are allowing the Word of God to impact your life, and then the truth begins to grow in your heart and it overcomes the error. Jesus came to die.

We emphasize Bethlehem, of course, during the Christmas season, but remember that Jesus was really born crucified. And when Simeon held the little baby in his arms, you remember he said that this baby came that the hearts of many would be revealed. And God sees who we are today behind the mask, and He says, if you know the truth and you receive the truth, you'll be fully free—free indeed. Seneca, as I mentioned, O that a hand would come down from heaven and deliver me from my besetting sin!

Seneca, your wish has been granted. Jesus has come to save us from our sins. And may we rejoice in that at this Christmas season. I want to conclude with Phillips Brooks, who wrote that lovely song, O Little Town of Bethlehem. He was there during the winter. This was, I think, back in the 1800s, saw the beautiful town and wrote that hymn that all of us loved. But I choose it because of the last stanza.

I looked at it this morning, and I'll see if I can remember it. O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in.

Be born in us today. If you've never received Christ as Savior, if you've never responded to the truth, give up the mass. Come as you are, but come to Christ, because remember the words of the angel. He shall save his people from their sins. Let us rejoice in the real message of the manger. Let's pray together. Our Father, we ask that even as your word has gone out today, that you might by your Spirit help us to see that Jesus is the deliverer.

That he is not only here to give us orders and to tell us how to live, but actually to reach down from heaven and save us. We ask that those who are bound today as slaves might be freed, that those bonds might be broken. And we ask, Lord, that there shall be a freedom in Jesus even as they face the truth of who they are and who he is. Help us, Father. Cast out our sin and enter in.

Be born in us today. Now before I close this prayer, if God has talked to you, you talk to God. No matter by which means you may be listening, you can bow your head right where you are and say, Jesus, I'm a sinner. Today I receive the truth. Today having heard your word, I give up my defenses and the mask of my hypocrisy. And I receive Jesus as mine. Father, help us to do that with all that we are, with no reservations, we pray, that we might see your glory and your victory, in Jesus' name, amen.

Please stand with me as we sing O Little Town of Bethlehem verses 1, 3, and 4. On today's Moody Church Hour, Dr. Erwin Lutzer spoke on Jesus, the gift of liberty, the last of four messages on gifts Jesus brought to us. This month we have a special gift for all who share their gifts with The Moody Church Hour. Richard and Tina Kleiss have written a daily devotional book called, A Closer Look at the Evidence, Perspectives on Creation, and Why the Bible and Science are in Harmony. This book will be sent when you call 1-800-215-5001 with your gift. Call us at 1-800-215-5001 or write to us at The Moody Church, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Mention A Closer Look at the Evidence when you write or call. Online go to, that's Join us next week at this same time for another Moody Church Hour with Dr. Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-10 23:21:38 / 2024-01-10 23:38:53 / 17

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