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Sermon of the Week 
Monday, December 21 2020

One beautiful December evening during the holiday season, Ken Chi and his girlfriend Jung Lee were sitting by the side of the ocean. There was a romantic full moon, and Ken Chi said, “Hey baby, let’s play Wee-wee-chu.” “Oh no, not now.      Lets just look at the moon”, said Jung Lee. “Oh, c’mon baby, let’s you and I play Weeweechu. I love you and it’s the perfect time,” Ken Chi Begged. “But I had rather just hold your hand and watch the moon.” “Please Jung Lee, just once… play Weeweechu with me.” Jung Lee looked at Ken Chi and said, “OK, we’ll play Weeweechu.” But only one time….Ken Chi grabbed his guitar and they both began… “Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.”

I have titled my message….”Joy to the World The lord is Come”                             I like the fact that the song by the same name says “The Lord is come”… because He is still coming into the hearts and lives of multitudes, every day around the world!

Luke 2:10-12  “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

In the heavenly realms of God’s glory, there is no sadness that can enter, no disappointment, no sickness and no death. And with all of that atmosphere of Divine perfection, permeating everything, God looked down at earth and saw the dark shadows of turmoil, trouble and spiritual darkness cast across the people of earth.                                                               AND WHEN THE ANGELS PROCLAIMED WE BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY, JOY WAS BORN! Into the earth… The Father in Heaven wrapped up all that Divine wonder, all that amazing atmosphere which exuded from the very presence of the Father, in the womb of a virgin, and He deposited it in a package called “Baby Jesus”…. sent it to earth and laid it in a manger bed….                                                                                                                           

Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that “The Joy of the Lord is my strength..

He came in a time when grief, sorrow and disappointment hung over society like a dark cloud. Hearts were weighted down with heaviness and people’s steps were filled with anguish, as they stopped thriving and were only surviving. It was an atmosphere that was a magnet for every evil work of the enemy. These things not only effected  people’s outlook on life, but it became systemic and faith and hope became the victims. There are few things that Satan relishes more than people who are in despair and bowed down with doubt and discouragement. When people lack spiritual comfort and joy, the Deceiver rejoices because then he can rule them with their feelings and fulfill their fears and negative words.2 Corinthians 2:11 Paul is speaking about someone who is experiencing excessive sorrow, and he gives us this advice….      “encourage and comfort him, lest somehow he be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.... in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes."

When JOY WAS BORN in Bethlehem, a flashing “EXIT” light was attached over the door that used to say “No Way Out”….. Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me”.

Scripture tells us that when Mary who was pregnant with Jesus, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, as the two ladies came together, the baby Elizabeth was carrying, suddenly leaped for Joy in the presence of Jesus, who was in Mary’s womb…. We need more of God’s children to get a visitation of that exuberant, overwhelming, all encompassingjoy, in the presence of Jesus….

Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. v3 You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people rejoice before You as they rejoice at harvest time…”  Now in Isaiah’s day, harvest time was a time of days of celebration, with dancing and loud music, trumpets blaring, along with much shouting and laughter!

Isaiah goes on to say, Isaiah 61:1-3 as He speaks for the lord, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me because He has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord... To comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Can you receive it!!!!

The angels said We bring you G00D Tidings OF GREAT JOY…..                   And FAITH WAS BORN INTO THE EARTH! The words “I believe” are a vital link in every faith journey.  (say it with me… “I BELIEVE”)                                                                                 Mark 11:24 "I say unto you, that all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and you shall have it."

I believe in doctors, and when I put my case into that doctor’s hands, I believe he can keep me well, and cure me of whatever ails me…. I believe in lawyers, and when I leave my case in his hands, I trust him to represent me, plead my case effectively and fight for me. I believe in  bankers and when I put money into their hands, I trust them to protect it, keep it accounted for and make it available to me when I need it with interest.  

I believe that my God sent a Savior, so that when I put my helpless case into His hands, and trust Him to do what I cannot do for myself—He will do exceedingly beyond all that I could hope, ask or imagine!                                  I must come to the place that I accept the fact that when my faith is weak, His faith is strong. If He could stuff God Himself in a baby’s body, what else can He do! I will rely on His faith when my faith is small. I will understand that He has more faith in me than I have in myself. I have come to understand that His faith has already supplied all my needs according to His riches in Jesus Christ. And I am greatly encouraged by the words of Paul….

Galatians 2:20 “I live, but it is not I, but Christ who lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”.                                                                                                         This verse deals with two levels of faith. Experiental faith and Positional faith. Experiental faith will fail you because it only extends to what you have or have not experienced. But it is Positional faith that will see you through, because it is based on the faith of the Son of God.

One of the gifts of the Spirit listed in Corinthians is the gift of faith. That gift is the very faith of God. Or, to receive and operate in the faith of God!

When Thomas asked to touch the marks where the spear went in and the nails pierced his hands, Thomas was relying on experiental faith. He said “except I see it and touch it, I will not believe”…. But Jesus said      more blessed is he that has not seen and yet believes”….                        Jesus encourages us to move from experiential faith to Positional faith in order to receive the greater blessing!

Faith is not merely your holding on to God--it is God holding on to you.

Saint Augustine said “Don’t seek to understand that you may believe, but seek to believe that you may understand”.

He took care of all that I need, before I knew Him. He made every provision for my entire life, before I was born.* All I have to do is receive the faith of the Son of God, and begin to walk in it and watch Him do what I could never do. Watch Him make happen what I could never make happen. 

After being out of town for a week, before Christmas, Tom was rushing to buy his wife a last minute gift to bring to her. “How about some perfume?” he asked the cosmetics clerk. She showed him a bottle costing $90. “That’s a bit much,” said Tom, so she returned with a  smaller bottle for $50. “That’s still quite a bit,” Tom squirmed a bit. Growing disgusted, the clerk brought out a tiny $30 bottle. Tom was getting impatient and said, “What I mean,” he said, “is I’d like to see something real cheap.” So the clerk handed him a mirror.

Don’t have cheap faith……Jesus gives us the gift of faith, but there are attributes which we must add to our faith so that it is deep, and wide, solid and established. Faith must not abide alone….

Our instructions are found in 2 Peter 1:5 “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, (moral excellence), and to virtue knowledge, (insight and understanding) v6 And to knowledge temperance, (self-control) and to temperance patience, (steadfastness) and to patience godliness, v7 And to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity (to unselfishly seek the best for others). v10 Wherefore brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall.” 

The angels announced, we bring you Great Tidings…. So take your faith, deep, and wide and solid and complete, in the faith of God!                                 

When the angels announced Good Tidings…HOPE WAS BORN INTO THE EARTH! Having to hope when things are hopeless….it is then that hope begins to shine it’s brightest.                                                                 Someone said, “Hope is the thing a person must not lose, because when you lose hope, you lose the most important thing of all”.

There was a little town in Arizona named Flagstaff. The town was to be flooded, as part of a Government project which would create a large lake where the town was. For years, the construction of the dam took place. In the years before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the entire town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it were to be covered with water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole village was going to be wiped out? Why build anything, when it would soon be unusable. They even stopped decorating for Christmas. So, monthby month, the whole town became more and more run down, more neglected, and sank more into ruin. *……Someone put up a sign on main street…"Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present."

Jesus came to give us power in the present, because we have hope for the future!

Scripture tells us that wise men from the east made the journey to Bethlehem and they said we have come to worship Him… Were they wise because they worshiped, or did they worship because they were wise. They came in hope, they followed the star in hope. They could have done other things, but they worshiped Him. They could have done many good things, but they did the best thing, they worshiped the hope of the world. They saw with their own eyes what they had only hoped for, because they dared to believe what they could not yet see!

The angels announced that they were bringing great tidings….         PEACE WAS BORN INTO THE EARTH! And with the Gift from heaven, the kingdom of peace entered a war torn and weary world.                                               The world is not the way it’s supposed to be. You didn’t need me to tell you that; you already know as much. People’s lives are not the way they’re supposed to be. God has always had something else in mind. It was on his mind in the beginning when he went about creating the world and everything in it. He always had and still has A vision for shalom…      it means wholeness. Flourishing. Interconnectedness of all things. The way things are intended to be. It means right relationship with God, right relationship with others, right relationship with all of creation. But the shalom was disrupted, relationships became fractured. And up went the walls. Walls all around us; walls between us; walls within us. Our own hearts divided against us. But God laid a sledgehammer in a manger that would break down dividing walls…beginning with the wall between ourselves and our God… He made a way that would allow us to come into His presence, free of all condemnation, shame and guilt. Isaiah called His name….”Prince of Peace”….

Corrie ten Boom told of not being able to forget a wrong that had been done to her in a Nazi prison camp. She had forgiven the person, but the situation kept popping up in her mind. So she went to a local pastor and she confessed her failure. The pastor told her, “Up in the church tower, is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the bell ringer lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. Ding, dong, ding, dong, ding dong. Slower and slower until there’s a final….. DONG, and it stops. The same thing is true of forgiveness. When we forgive, we take our hand off the rope. But if we’ve been tugging at that bell rope for a long time, we shouldn’t be surprised if the old thoughts, and memories keep coming for a while, until the final “DONG”…..The fading memories are just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down till it stops.” Jesus came at Christmas, to cause the old bell of anger, the old bell of resentment, and the old bell of shame and unforgiveness from continuing to ring until the final….”DONG” sounds out                                                                                                                                                              

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.

There is a true story of the famous “Christmas Eve Truce” of 1914. Kaiser Wilhelm the second, had sent thousands of Christmas trees to the front lines in order to boost the morale of the German troops. After the trees were set up over their trenches, in sight of the enemies’ lines, a German soldier began to sing the beloved Christmas hymn “Silent Night” in German. His strong voice pierced the cold, wintery night and all the rest joined in as the opposing enemy armies sat in their trenches gripping their rifles. “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright. Round yon virgin, mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace”. Soon the French and Scottish troops, huddled in their separate barracks, begin to sing along in their own languages. Then something remarkable happened. Slowly, soldiers from all sides began to climb out of their trenches, and meet in the war zone between them, without their weapons. They began to engage each one other in conversation, exchanging gifts, as they participated inhonoring the blessed babe of Christmas!                                                              Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be sons and daughters of God. Let it begin with each of us. Let it begin within our own hearts. What is impossible for us is now made possible with God.

When the angels announced they were bringing Glad Tidings….                         LOVE WAS BORN INTO THE EARTH.                                                                                                                               God is love and so, when Jesus was born love entered into human history in a new and unique way. When a person believes in Jesus, A new level of love is birthed in them by God the Spirit.                                                                                                                                 If you are a parent then you know that the day your child was born, a new dimension of love was born in you. 

My love for David in no way diminished my love for Chris or Karen. I love, each of my children with all my heart. That love does not diminish the love I have for Winnie. As each child was born, a new love was born in me. And I suspect that if we had more (Winnie would kill me) anyway, with every child, the same thing happens. A new love would be born. Parental Love is like that and so is the Christ love that is born in us.

1 John 4:9 This is how God showed his love unto us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

Each one of us has 100% of God’s love. That also means that we all have 100% access to God’s Joy, His Faith, His Hope, and His Peace. 

Christmas means we have 100% access to Christ by the Holy Spirit. And His Love is not pushy, it is not manipulative, and it is not presumptuous. God’s love was revealed in a common birth, to a common young girl, in a remote village, to very ordinary people. I think if I were God, I would have had a 100 foot angel appear in Holigraphic imagery in every major population center at the same time, and announce that God had come in the flesh, whether you liked it or not and you better like it!!!

But God chose to not impose His love on anyone, because then it would not be love given in return. The point was not just that God so loved, but that He wanted us to volunteer our love to Him in return, totally and completely.

God so loved that He gave….. Love gives without strings attached. Love does not pull back it’s expression, if it is not returned in kind. That’s the difference in emotional love and Agape love. Emotional love gives out of obligation, or manipulation. If you don’t love me, I won’t love you. But the Love that was Born on Christmas, is found in ….                                                        1 John 4:10 And this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.…

Love is like an echo, you get back what you send out…..

JESUS IS BORN IN THE EARTH….Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. We have been given, access, favor, grace, mercy, admittance, New life, and a new future by the gift God placed in a stable manger, 2000 years ago. Hallelujah! 

Prayer……”Lord, I thank You for Christmas, when you came into the earth to bring us Your Joy, Your Faith, Your Hope, Your Peace, and Your Love. When I think of the lengths You were willing to go to in order to put my life in order, it makes me want to shout, to celebrate, and to cry with thankfulness. 

You know me so well, and I am so grateful that in that foreknowledge, you provided for all my needs, for all of my life, and in eternity too. Without You, I would still be lost and in sin. But because of everything You have done for me, today I am able to celebrate the real Christmas. 

My life is blessed, You are my Lord, Heaven is my home, and Satan has no right to control me. I am eternally thankful for who I am in Christ. Thank you for Your birth, Your life, Your sacrificial death, Your resurrection, and Your coming again in the clouds of glory. I will praise You for the rest of my life and throughout eternity, in Jesus' name I pray, Amen!

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