Are you impatient? Last week, my brother told me of an incident at his doctor's office. It seemed that he needed to go into the building a different way because the 'old way' was under construction. A patient drove his car thru the door and into a doctor's office. A lot of damage. I guess either he could not find a parking spot or he was running late for the appointment.
Sometimes, our impatience runs amuck and results in many problems. Impatience causes anxiety and anxiety causes sickness and in some cases, sickness causes death. Other emotions also run the risk of hurting us. Unfortunately the list is long: Anxiousness, anger, depression, discouragement, fear, frustration, guilt, insecurity, jealousy, low self esteem, temptations, stress and worry. There are verses all through the Bible that help us deal with these emotions that plague our souls and our lives.
Some have said that they want patience and they want it right now! Some things, you have to wait for things. You need to wait for them! It would not be healthy any other way. The birth of a baby. It will NEED to take about 9 months for that to happen in a healthy way. Sometimes they come early and sometimes that come 'late.' It will take time.To get a degree, you need to study and take test and write papers and study and take test. It takes time.During Christmas, there is something that took time. In the real sense of the term, Christmas came just at the RIGHT time. Many people were waiting for this event!
Titus 1: 1-3 “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness- a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at His appointed season He brought His Word to light through … our Savior,”
2 Timothy 1:10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.
Galatians 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law,
As it was with the Savior's Birth, it was now time. When you look at Scripture, many times, time is a factor. Such is the case in today's passage. Verse 2…in those days; v6…while they were there; v11…today; 12…you will find; v21…when it was time; v22…when the time.
It was time for this to happen. In the past, we have spoken about how the world was really set for this Message of God's Son to arrive. One language, one set peace plan in place, roads were well organized, education was extensive (many could read), and travel was common. The world was set to also hear of this Message. The Angels called it Great News. The Message was one of Grace and Mercy. It was one of Hope.
People at this time were prone to despair. Advice was to go and die for there was no real hope! That is one of the reasons this message in actuality took off. It gave people Hope.
You could almost read the newspaper headlines!
Hope Has Come!
Christmas Is Now!
Angels Proclaim Great News!
God's Son Is Born!
Few people were unmoved with that news. The shepherds were excited and told everyone. The Wise Men came and were moved to proclaim Him worthy of bringing Godly gifts of Gold; for a King, frankincense; for perfuming a body for the grave, and myrrh; assists in the healing process. An old man in the Temple later said to God that NOW he was ready to die because he had seen the Hope of Israel. Old lady Anna was waiting for this to come and praised God. King Herod ordered his men to kill all the babies in the area of Bethlehem because he felt this boy child a threat to his throne. And since that time, men and women, boys and girls-all-when they hear the Message of God's Great Gift to us, once they hear it with open ears, they too will say that it is indeed good news.
God came to earth in the flesh-the incarnation of God-to bring us salvation and forgiveness of our sins. To set us free.
Luke 13:12 When Jesus saw her (the woman who had been crippled for 18 years), He called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity."
John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Romans 6:18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal.
Romans 8:2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
Galatians 5:1 [Freedom in Christ] It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Hebrews 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
Now is the time for Salvation. For Decision, for New Life, Change, and an awareness of the needs of our hearts.So, here we have the report coming in that the Baby was to be born. Many post cards and Christmas art shows Joseph leading Mary, heavy with child, through the crowed village streets looking for a place-any place to have a baby. Someone 'let's' them use the stable because Joseph was not smart enough to make reservations ahead of time. But that is not how it is written.
Luke 2: 3~ And everyone went to his own town to register. So 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 line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,”
The words to look at are: “While they were there…” Hate to wipe out images of a frantic new Dad, not knowing what to do! Joseph had a lot more going for him than most have given him. If an angel could tell him that his young wife was going to have a baby while she was still a virgin, he would have enough sense to prepare for the birth of that child. The inns at that time were used as a clinic as well as lodging. Take the story of the Good Samaritan. Where did he leave the injured Hebrew? In an inn. (From Luke 10:25-37)
This Birth was so very special. It had been spoken about for many hundreds of years. Not in the “wouldn't it be nice if…” sort of a story. It had been foretold to the finest details as to when and where. And in the fullness of time, He was born.
In the title of today's sermon, I used the words “His Heart Gift”. That is exactly what I mean. It came from His Heart and this birth was a gift. Let me explain.
John 3:16 is most likely the most known verse in the Bible outside of “Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Shall we look at that verse in light of Christmas being NOW? First, from the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 36:25-28 “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be My people, and I will be your God.”
What follows in this book is what is called The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones in which God's restoration of the people is described as bringing the dead men back to life (Ezekiel 37). What was needed back then was a new heart and a new life; that is, the Spirit must give birth to spirit (Jn 3:7). Only those alive in the kingdom of the Spirit by the Spirit will be able to recognize and enter that Kingdom. That same true truth is accurate for today!
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
For God --The Greatest All:
So loved--The Greatest emotion: Motivates His actions
The world --the greatest community
That He gave --The greatest sacrifice: He gave His ALL
His only Son --The greatest relationship: the Savior
That whoever --the greatest number: Open to all who believe.
Believes --the greatest adventure: based on Faith
In Him --the greatest Person
Shall not perish --the greatest separation
But have --the greatest opportunity
Eternal life --the greatest gift: the reward is Great!
One of the greatest gifts you can give to God is your attention. While you are giving Him your attention, you can ask Him any question you want. No matter how wild or forceful or even rude! If your questions are driven by open honesty, God is good to hear them. He is not afraid nor is He offended when we ask. That is how we learn. It is not just blind faith, but a series of questions that are answered to the point of satisfying our heart's need of answers. As we see from the poetry of King David in the Psalms and the wise sayings of his son Solomon in Proverbs, God is looking for people who are open. Open and honest. Open, honest and full of passion.
When was the last time you were passionate with God? When did you cry out to Him with your open hurt and express to Him your need for Him to know your heart? It is ALWAYS good to express your heart to Him IF it is from a position of openness. Blind anger has its place but few get answers going along in that vain.
Maybe the time of your encounter with the God of Christmas is NOW. Realize His Heart Gift for you is His Own Son and that He cares for you. The time for this is NOW!
All Scripture is from the NIV Bible.
Merry Christmas to all of you!