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The True Light of Christmas

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
December 24, 2021 7:00 am

The True Light of Christmas

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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December 24, 2021 7:00 am

This world can seem pretty dark, even at Christmas time. But the Bible says that Jesus is the light of the world. Join Dr. Tony Evans as he explains how the clearer we see Jesus, the clearer we see everything else. Find the illumination you’ve been looking for in this special Christmas Eve lesson.

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Jesus is the light of the world and his job is to illuminate you and to let you see the supernatural in the natural. Dr. Tony Evans says seeing the light is about much more than just information. It is your identification with Jesus that brings illumination, not merely the fact you believe in God.

Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. This world can seem pretty dark, even at Christmas time, but the Bible tells us Jesus is the light of the world. Let's join Dr. Evans now as he explores how Christ brings illumination to our lives and our world. Light gives you the ability to identify reality. Light helps you to see things as they really are.

Of course, the opposite to light is darkness, that is, you're unable to see. The people who missed Christmas did so because they couldn't see. They were blind spiritually. You and I are living in a world that's blind spiritually, but Jesus is the light of the world, which means the clearer you see Jesus, the clearer you see everything else.

So let's look at these four illuminating scenarios, and let's learn some principles from our own lives as we move from Christmas into the new year. The first person I want to identify who got illumination is Mary, Jesus' mother. In Luke chapter 1, an angel comes to Mary. He tells her that you found favor with God in verse 30. He goes on to say that you will conceive in verse 31, in your womb, and you will bear a son and you will name him Jesus. He will be great.

He'll be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. Now when this angel shows up, she is, we're told in verse 29, perplexed. She's confused. We're told that she is pondering. She's trying to figure out what's going on here. What the angel has told her does not make biological sense.

It sounds a little bit ridiculous. Mary, you found favor with God, and you are going to bear a son. So Mary says, how can this be in verse 34? Because I am a virgin. So what you just said God's going to do can happen.

I've never been intimate with a man. It's not normal. It's not natural, and it's illogical. An angel is telling her this. He is telling her that God has a supernatural plan, Mary, for your life. She figures, how can this be?

It is a natural question in the natural. The point I want to point out as we go along here is, if you only live your life in the natural, something that fits your box, something that fits your education, your knowledge, your experience, then you will not get all that God has for you. The angel gives her a word, an illuminating word, and it is found in verse 37 of chapter 1, for nothing will be impossible with God.

Oh, that's a Christmas message right there. That the virgin birth of Jesus Christ led to Mary hearing the statement that what does not seem possible in the natural, because you're a virgin, is not to be ascribed to God. Ascribe it to your mama and your daddy, your brother and your sister, and the other peeps in your circle. But when God decides to do something, the supernatural transcends the natural. Don't limit God to your five senses, to what you can see and touch and taste and hear and smell. Don't limit God to what you can figure out, because He is the unfigureable God.

The illuminating message of Christmas is that nothing is impossible, although it looks impossible. So my challenge to you this Christmas is to be like Mary and embrace what you do not understand, to seek God's favor, to ask questions. She had questions. She couldn't figure this out. She's not condemned for asking questions.

It's okay to question God for the sake of belief, not for the sake of unbelief. There's a second group that are affected by Christmas, the shepherds. The shepherds.

We read in chapter 2, in verse 8, in the same region there were shepherds saying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. An angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terribly frightened. They were scared. They'd never seen this before. And the angel said to them, do not be afraid for behold. Somebody say behold. They are scared at what they're seeing.

This is not normal. Something has come from heaven that has shaken their world. But the angel says, do not be afraid, behold. In other words, change what you're looking at if you want to overcome your fear. There's a lot to be afraid of today, a lot of things that we do not understand, but he says at Christmas, behold.

Change what you're looking at. I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. For the day of the City of David there is born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord.

So let me suggest something to you. The more afraid you are of something in your life, the more you need to focus on Jesus. They were afraid the angel says behold, look at Jesus. Because the more you concentrate on Jesus, the easier it is to overcome what's scaring you.

The focus on Jesus, he says, will overcome the insecurity that you are afraid of at this moment. He tells them, there will be a sign for you. There will be a sign for you. That sign you will find a baby wrapped in claws and lying in a manger.

Now there's a lot more to that statement than you might initially recognize. Let me tell you about these shepherds. These shepherds oversaw the lambs that would be offered in sacrifice. The priests would take the lambs and they would provide the lambs for the sacrifices. The shepherds would raise the lambs that would be offered in sacrifices. The Bible makes it clear that when you offered a lamb in sacrifice, it had to be without spot or blemish.

In other words, there could be no flaws on the lamb that was to be offered to God in sacrifice. Well, the way that the shepherds would keep the lambs from not being spotted, not falling over and getting cut or tripped, is they would take the lambs and they would wrap them in cloth. The King James Version, I believe, calls it swaddling clothes. They would swaddle the clothes. I got to see this in real time with one of my, when my great grandchildren were born, and their mother, my granddaughter, would wrap them from top to bottom except their face, and she would wrap them all the way down to their feet. And it became a way of them being oversaw and overseen.

I don't know where she got that from. I had never seen that before like that. But they were totally wrapped as she laid them down. They would wrap the lamb, because the lambs, of course, would be moving about and could easily get a spot or blemish. So to keep that from happening, they would wrap them because they were there for an offering, because those were the only kind of lambs that you could offer to the Lord. So when the angel tells the shepherds, you will find a child wrapped in cloth, that was not just a wrapping of a baby, that was wrapping of a lamb. And the purpose of wrapping the lamb was to offer a perfect sacrifice. So when they say that you will find this sign, it would be a sign of what they did with their physical lambs being applied to the Lamb of God. So they would be connecting it to the purpose of sacrifice. And the reason that that connection is there is because this baby was meant for sacrifice, for he is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. And so it is illumination.

It is seeing things more deeply, and they got to see it. Dr. Evans will come back in a moment to tell us more about the dual nature of Jesus Christ and the detailed prophecies he fulfilled through his life and ministry. Stay with us.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed right now, but God is bigger than any obstacle you face. And we want to encourage you with truth by sending you the best of Tony Evans 2021 on CD and digital download, featuring 20 of Dr. Evans' most popular messages from this year. This series is our thanks for your year-end gift to help the urban alternative stay on the air, bringing messages of hope and life in our confusing, out-of-control world. Go online to tonyevans.org to request yours. That's tonyevans.org. Tony has said the more people who meet Jesus, the more lives will be transformed. And that's the driving purpose behind this ministry. Please visit tonyevans.org today or call us at 1-800-800-3222 and make a year-end contribution to help keep this important ministry moving forward.

When you do, we'll say thanks by sending you the best of Tony Evans 2021. And as a special bonus, we'll also include an additional resource. Choose from the popular Kingdom Men Rising devotional, Tony's children's book, Made by God, or his latest release, Kingdom Race Theology. Make your contribution online at tonyevans.org today or call our Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222.

I'll repeat that information for you after part two of today's message. The third group that I want to talk about is Simeon. We're introduced to Simeon in chapter 2 verse 25. There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. And this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, that is the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. So here is a man looking for Jesus, anticipating Jesus, waiting on Jesus, and living a righteous life.

See, many of us don't find Jesus because we're not looking for him, but he was looking for the consolation. And as he was, Mary and Joseph on the eighth day bring Jesus into the temple for circumcision, and the Spirit leads him into the temple. The job of the Holy Spirit is to lead you into the next step for your life. The goal of the Holy Spirit is to steer you to where God wants you next. But if you're not looking for Jesus, and if you're not seeking to live a righteous life, then the Holy Spirit won't be able to lead you, and even if he's trying to, you won't hear his voice. But because he was looking for Jesus, living a righteous life, the Holy Spirit could guide him into the temple. And when the Holy Spirit guides him into the temple, when the parents brought in the child, Jesus, to carry him out for the custom of the law, that is for circumcision, then he took him into his arms, baby Jesus, and blessed God and said, now Lord you are releasing your bondservant to depart in peace according to your word. For my eyes have seen, verse 30, your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples. A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people is real. The first thing he says is I'm ready to die now.

He says I'm ready to go. I have seen Jesus and I'm ready to go. I have been on numerous scenarios of people passing from time into eternity who were in love with the Lord and who got a vision of Jesus in the transition. Like the end of Acts chapter 7, when Stephen was being stoned to death, he said he looked up and he saw Jesus standing on the right hand of the Father to give him a standing ovation as he welcomed him home. I'd like to suggest this is what happens to every believer who is transitioning, who have been looking for Jesus and living for Jesus.

When God says it's time to go, they're ready to go because they get to see Jesus in the transition of them going. And this is what happens because Jesus makes himself the light. He lets you see things in the supernatural and in the spiritual. Verse 34, And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, Behold, the child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed, and a sword will pierce even your own soul to the end that thoughts from many hearts will be revealed. So I now must give you the downside, the negative side of Jesus, if you want to discover him. Jesus will create conflict, the rise and fall of many, even not only conflict without, but conflict with you, because he says he will be a sign to be opposed and a sword will pierce, verse 35, your own soul.

Now those who've been walking with Jesus for a while understand this. First of all, he will bring you into conflict without. You will not have trouble because you believe in God. You will not have trouble because you talk about God. Jesus is the problem. Jesus is what will bring you into conflict. The reason folk want to stop saying Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays is because of Jesus.

The reason people want to move nativity scenes is because of Jesus. Jesus will bring you into conflict without. And if you're going to experience the light and the illumination, you must be willing to identify with Jesus, not just believe in God. God has placed everything in his Son. Jesus says, if you deny me, I will deny you before my Father.

If you accept me, I will validate you before my Father. It is your identification with Jesus that brings illumination, not merely the fact you believe in God. Believing in God is safe and undefined because you could be talking about any number of gods. But we're talking about the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That is the specific God to whom we are referring. And so Jesus is going to create conflict, but he will not only create conflict without, he will create conflict within. In other words, you gonna have to go against you. If you've been saved for a while, you know what it is to have to say no to you to say yes to Jesus, because you are in conflict with you. Where the flesh wants to go over here and Jesus says no, you go over there and you're battling the war the Bible talks about in Galatians chapter 5, the battle that Paul had in Romans chapter 7. He says the things I don't want to do are the things I do, and the things I do are the things I don't want to do, because I'm in this battle. Because you will have a battle with you to choose Jesus.

But what you will get is illumination. And finally, the wise men. That's in Matthew 1. Now the wise men are technically not Christmas. All these nativity scenes, well you see the wise men around the manger are biblically incorrect. The wise men were not at the manger, and they were not at the nativity, and they weren't on the scene. Chapter 2 of Matthew verse 11, and coming into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They saw the child in the house. They didn't see the baby in the manger. And the Greek word for child means toddler. So this baby's over one years old, heading toward two.

So watch this. They saw the star when he was born. They don't get there until he's close to two years old, because they're traveling from the east on camels and donkeys and horses, so that you can't take that trip in a week.

This is not a 747. We're talking months and months and months. And when they finally arrived, they said, we have come to worship Him. You mean to tell me you're willing to take a year, a year and a half to get to Jesus Christ, because He's worth that inconvenience? And some folk aren't willing to drive 20 minutes to get to Jesus. But they decide Jesus is worthy of my inconvenience and my worship. And when they decided that, the concluding verse in chapter 2, verse 12, it says, the king says, tell the wise men to come back. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the Magi left for their own country by another way. You see, God speaks to dreams to people who paying attention.

He lets you see things that you didn't see before, warn you about people trying to hurt you, take you away from situations that were going to mess over you, because Jesus is the light of the world, and His job is to illuminate you and to let you see the supernatural in the natural. Dr. Evans will come back with a closing thought for this Christmas Eve in just a moment. Before he returns, let me remind you to take advantage of that special year-end offer I mentioned earlier, The Best of Tony Evans 2021, 20 of Tony's most popular messages, plus your choice of one of three well-liked and powerful books and devotionals.

This special package is yours as our thank-you gift when you support Tony's work here on this station and around the world. You can get the details and select your favorite bonus resource at TonyEvans.org, where you'll not only find a huge selection of resources, but can also sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional. That's TonyEvans.org, or call our 24-hour Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222.

That number again, 1-800-800-3222. The Declaration of Independence talks about the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but pursuing something is no guarantee we'll find it. On Monday, Dr. Evans will have some advice on how to make our pursuit of God more productive. Right now though, he's back with a final thought for us to consider as we celebrate Christ's birth. So I challenge you this Christmas to let Jesus be your light in your world and illuminate your understanding so that you see things you've never seen before, because He lets you see everything as He shines His light on your life. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-05 15:18:13 / 2023-07-05 15:26:02 / 8

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