Friday, December 29, 2023

Christmas Eve Service: 2023

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Christmas Eve Service

Christmas 2023

By Rev. Bruce A. Shields

 

This document is a Sermon Outline. You may hear the full audio of the sermon by following the link Online Audio Files located above for this and other Full Sermon Audios. For a complete list of Sermon Outlines, visit TruthDigest.org or Truth Digest on Facebook; for our Official Church website, visit PS127.org, or find us on Facebook at House of Faith Church. #worship #godheals #newtestament #jesuslovesyou #churchfamily #godsword #loveoneanother #holy #godislove #church #jesus #god #bible #christian #love #faith #worship #jesuschrist #gospel #prayer #christ #christianity #pray #holyspirit #godisgood #hope #blessed #armorofgod

 


INTRODUCTION

Today is Sunday. December 24th, 2023

 

          Today, we will examine the birth of Christ in a different way and see how celebrating is not pagan, nor should it be frowned upon by believers, but embraced, shared, and used as an opportunity to share the reason Jesus came as a man so that He may save because He is God.

 


SCRIPTURE READING

Luke 1:26-33 (Legacy Standard Bible)

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.

 

And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and was pondering what kind of greeting this was.

 

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.

 

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of His kingdom.”

 

 

Today’s Topic: Christmas


TODAY’S MESSAGE: Christmas

I.            GABRIEL BRINGS MARY A MESSAGE

a.   Who is Gabriel?

                                  i.    He is an angel, which has various meanings

1.    An angel can be a heavenly being or a human who is a messenger of God

2.   We see the term used in scripture for both

                                ii.    Though some believe Gabriel to be an archangel, he was never called so in scripture.

1.    Archangel comes from the Greek, meaning “chief angel.”

2.   This attribute was only ever given to Michael in the scripture.

 

b.   So, is Gabriel a heavenly being or a human messenger?

                                  i.    Gabriel first appears in the Old Testament in Daniel 8:16 to explain a vision to the prophet.

                                ii.    Here we read in the New Testament, Luke 1, Gabriel is here to explain to Mary what will take place with her in the near future.

1.    This reveals to us in the Word that Gabriel is a heavenly being

2.   It also reveals his job is to explain spiritual and godly things to humans that may be hard for us to understand.

3.   In both examples, we see God sending Gabriel to make sense of things that may be difficult to understand by human standards.

                              iii.    When Gabriel describes himself to Zacharias (the father of John the Baptist) in Luke 1:19, he uses the word translated “stands,” the Greek word paristánō, which means “to wait before a superior,” when he “stands” in the presence of God.

1.    Luke 1:19 “And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands before God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.”

2.   Again, we see Gabriel appearing to explain complex things that would be hard to understand, as well as future events.

 

c.    What else is known from scripture about Gabriel?

                                  i.    According to Daniel 9:21, Gabriel is described as looking like a man.

1.    This is probably why Mary was confused at his greeting, without being terrified at his presence.

                                ii.    Unlike the Seraphim of Isaiah 6:1-3 “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is Yahweh of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory.”

                              iii.    Or Cherubim of Ezekiel 1:5-11

                               iv.    Though Gabriel appears as a man, he is still intimidating and scares some people.

1.    When Daniel meets Gabriel, he Is frightened and falls on his face

2.   When Gabriel greets Zacharias, his first words are, “Do not be afraid.”

3.   Mary’s greeting, “Greetings favored one, the Lord is with you,” is followed by, “Do not be afraid.”

                                 v.    Gabriel gives the prophecy concerning Jesus, “Messiah the Prince” to Daniel.

                               vi.    Gabriel also tells Zacharias that John the Baptist will be a forerunner before the Lord.

                             vii.    And, of course, he tells Mary her son will be called “the Son of the Most High.”

                           viii.    So Gabriel is a heavenly messenger of the Lord who appears human. However, he can be very intimidating and is sent to give understanding to humans about spiritual and godly matters that confound us.

1.    He is a created being who serves God and is mentioned throughout scripture in the Old and New Testaments.

 

II.          THE MESSAGE ABOUT JESUS

a.   The greeting and the message to Mary

                                  i.    “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and was pondering what kind of greeting this was.

1.    I would have been confused by this statement as well

2.   But as if to answer an unspoken question about the greeting, the angel spoke again

                                ii.    “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.”

1.    We know the exchange between them, Mary’s proclamation of virtue and innocence, and Gabriel's explanation. 

 

b.   The description of Jesus

                                  i.    Gabriel states;

1.    He will be great

2.   Called the Son of the Most High (Yahweh)

3.   Lord God will give Him the throne of His father, David

a.   Both Joseph and Mary were from the house of David

b.   Gabriel states Jesus is the Son of Yahweh

c.    And now says Jesus’ father is David (meaning the bloodline)

4.   This is culturally so because Jesus would be born with Joseph as His earthly father.

a.   Also, Mary, being of the line of David, and Jesus being born a human, would have Davidic blood in His veins.

b.   This would also be socially so because when one is adopted, they take on the family name and line as if they were born of the blood.

5.   This statement by the angel Gabriel about Jesus tells us Jesus is fully God and fully man. A challenging concept for our finite human minds to accept.

a.   Maybe not for much longer, though, with the discovery of quantum mathematics/physics and mechanics.

b.   Human understanding is getting to a point where they are beginning to grasp some of the more difficult concepts of the universe.

c.    In the quantum world, a switch can be on and off simultaneously.

d.   Therefore, though difficult to understand, something can be fully this and entirely that simultaneously.

                                                                                  i.    Jesus is not God diminished, but fully God and fully man.

6.   Gabriel continues, He will reign over the House of Jacob forever

7.   There will be no end to His Kingdom

                                ii.    When will this Kingdom begin? When Jesus was born.

1.    When will it end? Never.

2.   When can we enter it? After the cross, it is made available to all through the New Covenant purchased through the precious Blood of Jesus.

 

c.    Why do we celebrate the Birth of Jesus?

                                  i.    Because with His birth, He reclaimed the Hebrews by taking the throne of David and reigning over the House of Jacob, and by His crucifixion, he made a way for all to enter His Kingdom.

                                ii.    The crucifixion created the ability for the New Covenant, but this could not have taken place if there had been no birth.

                              iii.     So, we celebrate the coming of Jesus to allow us to reconcile with God the Father through this New Covenant.

 

III.       ISN’T CHRISTMAS PAGAN?

a.   Every Christmas and Passover (Easter), it’s the same thing

                                  i.    First of all, we know that the devil tries to counterfeit and steal everything for his own.

                                ii.    Why? Because he cannot create. He can only steal, kill, and destroy.

                              iii.    Even the word pagan was stolen and turned into a made-up religion by wicked people.

1.    The word pagan is a Latin word meaning villager, rustic, civilian, or rural.

                               iv.    The Old English used a word (heathen), meaning dweller on the heath. A heath is an untilled land or wasteland.

                                 v.    So, pagan and heathen refer to people who live in a village or out in the fields away from modern or cultivated cities where they would have access to the church or religion.

                               vi.    Paganism claims to have its roots in the 19th-century British Order of Druids. However, most pagans can only trace their heritage to the 1960s. Most have no formal or uniform belief or worship.

                             vii.    Christmas, or Mass on Christ’s Day, began in Rome around 336 AD (according to religious documents and the Britannica) and became a major Christian festival around the 9th century.

1.    So, the short answer is, No…Christmas is not a pagan holiday.

2.   The word holiday comes from Holy Day, and there are no Holy Days in a pagan cult that began in the 1960s.

 

b.   Aren’t the tree and other symbols and practices from paganism?

                                  i.    Again, no. Most of these things were done in celebration for hundreds of years before they were stolen for cult use.

                                ii.    In Paul’s time, believers were afraid of false religions and idols and “accidentally” sinning against Yahweh.

1.    Paul addresses their fear in I Corinthians 8

2.   Paul says in verses 4-5, “So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

a.   So-called gods, whether in heaven (spiritual realm) or on earth, have no power greater than the TRUE GOD, from whom ALL THINGS COME.

b.   No power is greater than the True God, Yahweh, and no other has power over you that you do not first submit.

3.   Everything belongs to God because He is the creator

                              iii.    Just because something wicked uses something for their sinful behavior doesn’t in itself make the thing evil.

1.    Satanists eat food…does that make you satanic if you eat food? No.

 

c.    We do what we do in celebration of the Birth of the Savior!

                                  i.    Remember Romans 14

1.    Some thought you could ONLY eat vegetables or certain clean foods, even though God says in Acts 10 That ALL food is now OK to eat. There are no longer “clean” and “unclean” foods.

a.   God instilled food laws to teach the Hebrews about the Gentiles and how God is the one who makes the unclean clean.

2.   Also, in Romans 14, some thought certain days were greater than others (like the Sabbath Day, totally missing that Jesus said He is the Sabbath, and we find our rest in Him – Mark 2:24-28).

                                ii.    So what was Paul’s answer to those who thought some foods were forbidden or certain days greater than others?    

1.    Romans 14:14 “I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is defiled in itself;”

                              iii.    In other words, these things used to worship anything other than God is defiled BECAUSE they are used to worship something other than Yahweh.

                               iv.    If eating or celebrating a certain day is FOR THE LORD, nothing is defiled about it!

                                 v.    If you purchase meat from a market that sacrificed that animal to satan, the meat itself is not defiled in any way, and you can eat it. The act committed was defiled, and as scripture states about this matter in Romans 14:12 “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.”

                               vi.    So if you eat only salad, and it's for the Lord, then you are OK, and no one should give you a hard time because your heart is right, even though in Acts 10, God said all food is now clean.

                             vii.    And if you want to celebrate a certain day (such as Christmas) for the birth of Jesus, and it’s for the Lord, there is nothing wrong with that.

                           viii.    We celebrate the Birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, sent by God the Father to reconcile sinful men to Himself through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and Salvation in the work of Christ Jesus.

 

CONCLUSION

          Christmas is not the first time Satan has tried to steal what is for God. Satan has done it with marriage, sex, religion, miracles, and the rainbow. In Revelation, we read he will even try to create his own version of the Holy Trinity with the beast, false prophet, and antichrist.

         

Romans 14:16-18 “Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be slandered; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves Christ is pleasing to God and approved by men.”

 

Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. Serve the Lord Christ.”

 

In conclusion, Merry Christmas!

 

May you, your family, and loved ones be blessed by the Birth, receive Salvation through the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and celebrate the Holiness of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit of God. Amen.

 

Next week:

The Spiritual Gifts

 

 

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