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The Christmas We Weren’t Expecting

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 13, 2022 9:00 am

The Christmas We Weren’t Expecting

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 13, 2022 9:00 am

Pastor J.D. tells the story of Anna and Simeon, two of the first people to meet Jesus. Unlike so many others who missed Jesus, Anna and Simeon were able to recognize the unexpected majesty of the newborn King.

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Today on Senate life with Jeannie Greer if you want God to deliver you if you want this powerful working in your life it will come on the heels of a season of waiting.

God will not disappoint those of you wait for him he will not let you be put to shame. Nobody was ever waiting for God ever in history has been let down.

You will not be the first waiting is an essential even an appointed part of the Christian life. Life the Bible teaching ministry of cancer.

Jeannie Greer, as always, I'm your host Molly bit of edge okay you out there loves Christmas. I know it was a few weeks ago, but sometimes I wish that season lasted a little longer. You will guess what today. Pastor Jenny takes us back to those first days and tells us the story of Simeon.

Two of the first people to meet Jesus. Like so many others in and Simeon were able to recognize the unexpected majesty of the newborn King dear story raises the question for us will be see Jesus if you're new to summit life.

You can always catch up on previous messages, download the complete transcript and learn more about this ministry visit Jeannie Greer.com. Now here's Pastor Jenny with the message he titled the Christmas we were expecting Joshua Bell is perhaps the world's most famous violinist of 39 years old.

He was called America's classical musician, the kind that people would fill up Carnegie Hall, at a minimum of hundred dollars a ticket just to hear him play his Stradivarius violin 2007 news I would put them up to an experiment he was in Washington DC for a concert and so the day after the concert.

They had him go down anonymously into the lifelong Metro station in DC right middle rush-hour history $0.5 million Stradivarius violin in hand and he played for an hour with his hat out to collect tips to the mime thousands of people had just paid hundreds of dollars each for a ticket to hear this guy play the night before over the 43 minutes that he stood there in the lifelong Metro station playing Botkin Brahms and other classical pieces. They say that no more than six people stop and he made a grand total of $32.17 and donations not counting one $20 tip from one person right at the very end, who recognize that you recognize to you was. It is possible, it is possible to miss some of the greatest things in your life because your heart is not tuned to listen for them or look for them. Sometimes our hearts are so dull and so distracted that we don't recognize majesty, even when it's right in front of us. If there were a theme for Luke's rendition of the Christmas story. I think that might be it. Chapter 2 of you got your Bible. If you are with us at one of our campuses here on Sunday morning, for you are one of her home gatherings all across the triangle, joining us somewhere across the country or around the world want to welcome you read your Bible, to the loop to your at home you have the IV privilege of pausing it right now to get your Bible if you are at one of our locations and personalities. You can do that but get your Bible turn it on and get on the loop suits women working our way around the gospel of Luke for a while now and so for the next few weeks were going to look at what Luke says about the very first Christmas course they didn't call Christmas, but that's what it became one of the big themes in Luke's gospel is the first Christmas came and went with most people, totally unaware that anything at all had even happened you ever gotten an unexpected or an unwanted Christmas gift. Think about it for now. What is the worst Christmas gift that you ever received one of our missionaries told me recently that she got a gift from one of her new friends in a new country. She opened it up. She was pretty excited and it was a local variety of candy beef flavored candy. She said I think this is the worst Christmas gift I've ever received. I'm sure it's hard to hide your disappointment in the face of of a gift like that when you're one of my relatives, the kinda relative that you can always depend on for a good gift. How you count on them that the good and the good uncle never opening up the gift in that year they gave me about. I was sure.

I'm sure it was a nice belt.

I'm sure my mom had told them that I needed a belt but still y'all it was a belt side, open the package so expectantly so excitedly and I literally had to fight back tears when I sold was on this last year. By the way, I just I was like 10 years old, God's gift to us at Christmas was unexpected, but if you knew what you were looking for in your heart was to listen to the right things and you could recognize majesty when you saw it wasn't disappointing.

Luke chapter 2 verse 22 when the days of their purification, that is Joseph and Mary's purification after Mary given birth to the baby Jesus. According to the law of Moses were finished, they brought him that is Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, which is the next stage of their of their ritual offering process. Verse 23 Justin this is written in the law of the Lord, every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord. Verse 24 and offer a sacrifice according also to what is stated in the wall.

The Lord pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons in Leviticus chapter 12 when her first the wall the Lord. It's a reference back to Leviticus 12 God commanded each Israelite family to dedicate their firstborn to God by means of an offering that was because in the Exodus, God had spared the lives of all of Israel's firstborn sons if they put the blood of the lamb on the doorpost of their homes. When the angel sold the blood of the Lamb. He would pass over that house and spare their son. So when they gave birth when Israelites and future generations gave birth to her firstborn son. They were to travel to the temple and offer a lamb to commemorate that Passover. Now this text says that Mary and Joseph offered to pigeons instead of a lamb which is a very important detail to note because that was an exception made in the law for exceptionally poor families.

If a family just could not afford a lamb. The law said that instead of a lamp they could offer to pigeons or to turtledoves or a partridge in a pear tree or what not right. What that shows you is that Jesus was not just born middle-class. He was not just born lower middle class. He was born poor once you let that sink in for just a minute a pastor friend of mine Patrick would be on that we lay the assets is what is it mean what does it actually mean that Jesus chose to be born into poverty when he says it means at least five things morning means of poverty by itself is not a sin and is not shameful in and of itself is his number two, it means that poverty is not a sign of God's disapproval or that you done something wrong.

This is number three. It doesn't mean poverty does not prevent a person desist from worshiping God.

After all, didn't God in the law make the provision for them for a poor person to still be able to offer the first and the best my people even when they're on hard times can still offer the first and the best of what they have to God number four. He says it means that poverty now does not necessarily do you do poverty forever. Some of you should be encouraged by that right Jesus life certainly took a turn in the number five.

It also means he says that across that poverty is a cross that God entrusted some of us for season maybe for a lifetime. And it is possible for us to be faithful in that season is listening. If you're poor.

If you feel downtrodden you should not feel second-class Jesus identified with you first God has a plan for you where you are and that plan can turn out very well indeed, we see that Jesus was born poor, but what happens next is totally unexpected. Verse 25. There was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout. He been looking forward to Israel's consolation the Holy Spirit was on him is been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit get a lot of stuff in your Bible, underline that are in a whatever smudge it with lipstick or preconfigured debit blood that's in the portal phrase they would not see death before the Lord's Messiah guided by the spirit. There's a second reference to the spirit of God Simeon enter the temple when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for him. It was customary under the law.

Simeon took him up in his arms, praising God and said now master you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised for my eyes have seen your salvation you have prepared it in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel, and all this is crazy right Mary and Joseph are simply there with hundreds of other moms and dads presenting their babies an old guy stranger and old guy suddenly runs up to them, grabs her baby and start singing Mary and Joseph like a man a mean respect the social distancing. Please nearly how to sanitize before you do that, I mean old ladies do this kind of stuff all the time. My pension babies without asking permission and same weird stuff like hell I could just eat you up right but old men typically don't do this, which leads to another important detail in the story.

Luke says it was the spirit of God that gave Simeon. This insight says it three times and I will pass it right. That's an important insight that is the only way anybody ever accurately recognizes Jesus. The irony here in this whole story is that all of these rituals that the Israelites were going through all the going, the temple, and all the offerings on Passover stuff. Those were all given to them to prepare them for her to recognize the Messiah when he came. The irony is that those Israelites.

Most deep in the rituals were the last ones in line to recognize and I think that there's a very important lesson here for you and for me, keeping rituals and traditions and admin celebrations are great but more often than not they can keep you from seeing Jesus. I think about it right.

If you have already started to just go through the motions of seizing the day after Thanksgiving you bought the tree reset of the Valley View fake tree people are there phrase in your fate prefers. I'm thinking person coming to destroy our environment every year by cutting down a real tree. Once you raise your hand, not arms getting right with you whatever you got the tree you listen to the never ending Christmas music on K love you watch all of the hallmark movies about the big city lawyer girl comes home and falls in love with the tractor driving high school dropout who looked like Matthew McConaughey guy you set up your stockings and your major seeds and even your little heretical elf on the shelf to teach your kid to be little self-righteous Pharisees right.

Maybe you're even doing some AdVent readings that you don't AdVent blocks to be given out to our families through the cemetery for there's very little reflection or very little wonder over who Jesus actually is. You need the spirit of God to open your eyes to the majesty of Jesus is the only way that you can see it when he urged you this season to pray that over yourselves and your families. Pray for your family as you go through your AdVent traditions pray for those to whom you give this book searching for Christmas. I taught a good book and open their eyes to who Jesus is on the spirit of God. You and I never talk to men and women about God until we talk to God about those men, women, the good news is good news for you is that this is the spirits mission on earth is why Jesus said, John 16 Jesus sent the Spirit to earth to teach people to see Jesus. But here's the catch. You want to call to catch you have to ask for his help. He gives the Spirit without measure. He said to all those, but only those who asked for him. Verse 33 verse 33 is that is Jesus's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.

Then Simeon blessed them and told his mother Mary. Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and the rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed in assorted him to pierce your own soul. The thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. We will come back to that just a minute. Verse 36 there was also a prophetess named Anna, daughter of Fannie. Well, the tribe of Asher dancer, vixen, a printer, whatever Jews well along in years having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and there was a widow. She and after that she was a widow for 84 years. She did not leave the temple serving God night and day with fasting and prayers at that very moment at that very moment she came up and begin to thank God and the speak about him, to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Israel is what you got here. You get to people to people who have something in common to both old and they're both hanging around the temple waiting longing for something first. You have Simeon from the text says was waiting for the consolation or comfort or relief of Israel promotions use that referred to a with a pointed they thought to political deliverance because for nearly 700 years Israel had been subject to oppression by foreign powers.

It started with the exiles to Assyria, and then to Babylon, but after that came subjugation to the Persians than the Greeks and the Romans under whose rule the Israelites were now and who were probably the worst of all the oppressors and even even when the Jews were in their own homeland under self-rule.

Their kingdom did not have near the glory that it once had had under King David or King Solomon to Israel was waiting there waiting for consolation for deliverance for justice for restoration. The promised glory. Simeon being old represents for Luke that posture along waiting men beside him.

You got Anna women tells us has been a widow for 84 years after being married for seven.

It is safe to say I think we can say that no girl of 16 years old dreams about her life turning out this way been married for seven years and then having your husband die and in living for 84 years alone, especially in those days because widows usually had very little way of providing for themselves which often meant the widows were lonely and poor, and had nobody to take care of them. I think we can say that for Luke.

She represents somebody for whom life is turned out very differently than what she had expected or hoped hers, I think, is not so much a yearning for political deliverance. She she yearns for what for personal relief. She yearns for personal consolation and comfort to me make a couple of of I think important observations about the story observations that should impact you and me number one number one waiting is a key component of the Christian life. Waiting is a key component of the Christian life.

There is a reason that Luke brings these two characters in the story it is to show you that Jesus comes to those who wait. And there's a reason that both of these characters are old because for Luke that shows that they been waiting for a long time. Sometimes you when I talk about the Christian life as if it is instant fulfillment immediate answers to prayer request. If you say hello. Yes, God will give me, but if you do a good marriage in your marriage and returning to me and if you do a with your kids and your kids will turn out like me, friend. That is, is not always true.

Many of you find yourself in a posture avoiding this Christmas.

Time to feels dark at time of confusion.

Maybe we feel abandoned baby is a season for you of yearning and longing a longing for something to be set right.

Injustice seems to rain everywhere around you.

Maybe you yourself have been the victim of that injustice. Maybe you like an hour yearning for some need to be fulfilled life just has not turned out the way that you would always expected.

Maybe it's a longing for it to have your family put back together or maybe to have a family of your own you are hoping to be married by this Christmas and here we are again entering another Christmas season and you're still single. Maybe you're grieving the death of a child this Christmas maybe you're grieving her miscarriage this year. Maybe you're still waiting on a prodigal who is yet to return home. I don't know. I don't know when here's the thing you tried everything that you know how to try. You try new accounts waving you when got advice you talk to the pastor and you you believe in God and you trusted him and you work hard and and still things have just not gotten better for you. Why isn't the marriage had better why is it the situation changing Simeon and Anna story show you that God sees you. God has not forgotten you and waiting does not mean that you've done something wrong.

Waiting is in fact an essential.

I would even say an appointed part of the Christian life is the prophet Jeremiah said in the book of Lamentations the Lord is good to those who wait for him. The prophet Isaiah agrees. He says blessed are those who wait for him and those that wait for me shall never be put to say if you want God to deliver you if you want his powerful working in your life it will come on the heels of a season of waiting.

God will not disappoint those of you who wait for him he will not let you be put to shame. Nobody was ever waiting for God ever in history has been let down. No one, not even one. You will not be the first waiting is an essential even an appointed part of the Christian life and that's what we're reminded of Christmas. I love how Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who ended up being a martyr and of the Nazi regime. LOL he said it. The Advent season. The Advent season is a season of waiting our whole life or whole life can feel like an Advent season. He says that is a season of waiting for the last admin admin.

This means coming the last coming for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth Christmas reminds us that while we've got a lot to be thankful for. Here a lot of us are still waiting that role waiting for the second coming of Christ were all waiting for the new heavens and the new earth were all waiting for Jesus to come and make things right and for all the sad things in our lives to become untrue job. Just say to you this weekend whether you got a specific need. Mr. waiting on God to do something in whether cystic yearning for heaven. Simeon and Anna show you that God has not forgotten you. The joy in the comfort of Christmas is for you. Even if your situation is not a change this weekend. Which leads me number two number two God's answer did not match their expectations. God's answer did not match their expectations. I think it's safe to say that neither Simeon nor Anna was thinking that a helpless baby born to a dirt poor family was God's answer to their longing, but he was to see what Israel thought they needed most.

What they thought they needed from God was different from what they actually needed most. What they thought they needed most was political deliverance.

What they thought they needed most was a new husband or a restored fortune but what they actually most needed was restoration with God. This Jesus says is eternal life not streets of gold are not perfect health eternal life is to know God in Jesus, whom he has sent you can have that knowledge and pain as well as you can have it in health and that sometimes you have a better and payment again and out using the abundant life that I'm talking about is not a Mercedes-Benz and is not a 5000 square-foot house and it's not second home in Hilton Head and it's not it's not a perfect family. It's not all people around the table you want to know if you don't abundant life is Jesus is knowing me when they're sitting in your life simply yearning for an important truth today on Summit Lane with pastor Jeannie Greer.

We are in a teaching series called In-Stat if you're new to the ministry money be the first to say welcome. We hope you'll join us as often as possible. But if you ever miss a message or Tinley. You can listen online for free when you visit us@jdgreer.com Pastor JB spent day after day here on Summit like dissecting Scripture. Can you member what created this love for the word of God in you and Molly at that. They have told you before that a group in a church where Scripture memory was an interesting thing we did it right memorize verses was a water program. So grateful for the Bible quiz when I was in high school and to be totally frank with you.

I probably most of the Scripture that I memorized as a kid up to high school was memorized not for all the right motives from sometimes it was to get the award to be ghetto trotted out on stage.

Sometimes it was to win the Bible is thing, but they got in their Scripture in your heart never goes to waste.

That's what the psalmist says hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you train up a child. Proverbs in a way that he should go teach them.

Scripture, when they're old they won't depart from it.

Because the Holy Spirit can can bring to my Quicken can make alive. That word of truth planted in your heart that is able to save your soul dish very few things you can do as profitable as memorize Scripture. So we did here it's at Summit like some we did last year we wanted to produce a pack of memory cards 50 of them essentially one for every week of the year of 2022 that you could put in your heart and I can promise you that if you memorize 50 verses of Scripture.

Just one a week how you think and how you counteract out the spare darkness. Deception will be totally different because of the words put in your heart to go to JD grid.com today and and reserve your set connect God's words your heart and mind and appliance your life through prayer and action our world filled with lies, lies come from outside from the world of promising happiness and security, but they also come from within her own sinful heart and I'm sure you've heard it said that the best way to confront the mind can know the truth. We need 11 to fight back and something to keep us from falling prey to the enemy rounds around knowing I am looking to destroy the best wedding we can yield is the word of God. That's why we have to keep putting into our hearts that when knife cut.

We believe the word of God, the Lord calls us to another another and the only way to walk in step with him is to know him and we know him through his word meant to knowing deeper in his word in your heart sure to ask for your set at the rejoice always memory verse financial get five dollars or more, 866-335-5220 telephone number again is eight 663-3520 or go online and I fear that I Molly that eventually today, be sure to tune in Friday we castigated this message to when Jesus came.

When all of eternity is in Friday on Senate life.

Greer


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