- We seem to want so much.
- Different sins may have different levels of offense to God, but the consequences are always the same.
- God is waiting for us to respond.
- Jesus wants to give you forgiveness your sins and make everything right
Complete Teaching Notes without Transcript:
Opening: This year, my extraordinarily well thought out plans to buy my wife the perfect Christmas Gift (at least in my mind it was perfect) were foiled...denied...wiped out...completely turned into the wrong move.... I can't go into how my plan was foiled tonight because it would ruin a surprise for her, but suffice it to say, that I had a great plan, and I have had to readjust my plans... quickly... and I have had since, well... YESTERDAY at this time to put my new plan into effect. And I am happy to report it is going well and (assuming nothing unexpected happens, wink wink) I will surprise her with something I know will please her. ... I am sure many of you have been shopping just like me. It is so much fun to give gifts at Christmastime. But what about you? What do YOU want for Christmas this year? AND WHY? You know, whenever that "and why" is added to a question, it seems to turn it into one of those essay questions I always dreaded as a young schoolboy. I was always looking for the shortest way to express the answer, and those two little words always caused me grief. Of course, as I got older, those words became much more important as I began to think about the meaning of things.
Point 1: We seem to want so much.
(we really do…. Even when we think we don’t.)
Verse – desires of a mans heart
“… human desire is never satisfied. “ – Prov 27:20
ILLUSTRATION: NEW COMPUTER IS FAST
You know how great getting a new computer feels right?
Fast, Light, It just moves…. Clean, No problems.
Google Chrome says all you need is their new browser.
But we all know that computers slow down, they fill up with stuff,
they lose their fast and clean status.
Life is the same way, we start off with such a simple life.
But then things get more and more complex.
Maybe it was the first time you were caught in a lie. Or asked to compromise what you knew was right. Or asked to do something you knew was wrong.
At some point, you KNOW life is complex.
STORY: Mike and The Other Guy: 5th grade (it was the 70s)
Leave school at recess. “Its ok, lets go” - I went (did something I knew wasn’t right) and the drugs came out and I knew that was really bad. I refused and RAN back to school, not even sure I know how I got back to school. But I know I ran. Still didn’t make leaving okay, but I told everyone and said I was sorry.
And as you get older, it gets even harder.
It is like we have better and better “grey vision” – it is not longer so black and white.
But sin is black and white….! (consequentially)
Point 2: Different sins may have different levels of offense to God, but the consequences are always the same…
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
You see, we spend so much of our time looking for the shades of gray.
For ways to make certain behaviors “okay”
We RATINALIZE what we want…. We tell ourselves…"Rational Lies."
We feel we deserve it. (Becareful when you feel like you DESERVE...)
- “I work hard, so I should get some pleasure out of life”
- “It isn’t going to hurt anyone else”
- “I can spend it because I worked hard for this”
- “I am so frugal all year, a splurge isn’t a big deal.”
IN REALITY, WE DO THIS BECAUSE OF AN “UNDERLYING” NEED….
These things never seem to quench the real thirst.
VERSE – we are really looking for God
“Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. - Acts 17:22-28
See, what we are so often looking for is GOD.
The good news is, he is waiting for us….
Point 3: God is waiting for us to respond
“So the LORD must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion.
For the LORD is a faithful God.
Blessed are those who wait for his help.” Isaiah 30:18
Jesus is right there waiting to meet your deepest need.
(whatever it is today, this year, or next year.)
HUMOR: Santa Clause is scary to me…. Not as a child, but as a theologically trained pastor…
Think about the verses of the song…
“He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when your’e awake. He knows if yov’e been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake.”
So Santa is omnipresent and omniscient ?
But the real scary part of this is the last like…. “so be good for goodness sake”
Problem: We can’t be that good.
Once we sin, it is done.
We cannot go back to last year, or last week, or even last night to fix or mistakes.
We cannot UN-BAKE a cake. There is nothing on the front of the oven that you can set that will turn the cake back into the sugar, flour, eggs and milk.... once it is baked, it is baked.... just like our mistakes...
WHAT IF WE HAD A TIME MACHINE TO FIX MISTAKES?
If we had a time machine outside for people to go back and fix mistakes, the line would be as long as we could imagine.
But no such machine exists. There is no UNDO button in life.
SOMETHING BETTER THAN THE TIME MACHINE….
However, something better does!
Point 4: Jesus wants to give you forgiveness your sins and make everything right…
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Ps 103:11-12
Do you want that this year? Right now?
The people waiting in line for the time machine would.
God wants to heal us on the inside.
Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. Ps 103:2-5
You see, while you cannot undo the sins, the lasting consequences CAN be stopped.
They may affect this life, but they do not have to affect eternity!
Review Verse –
He has removed our sins as far from us...as the east is from the west.
Christmas is about THAT gift, THIS gift before us tonight.
It is God GIVING us a way back to him.
All of the bible, from Genesis chapter 4 to the end can be summarized in two words: “come back”
So this Christmas, what if you changed what you wanted?
What if what you asked God for something that met your deepest need?
Not for something temporary, Not for for something that will lose its shine and sparkle (like that new computer…)
But for something only he can give.
The gift of eternal forgiveness. The gift of life. The gift of being reconciled to HIM …
And the gift of being called one of his children…
If you want that gift, all you need to do is accept it.
God is right here, right now – and he wants you to accept what he is prepared to give.
Lets pray together…. If you want that gift this year, I want you to pray silently right now. Just talk to God in your heart and tell him right now.
Prayer: God, we recognize that you created all we know. You created this place we are right now and before we were even born you knew we would be here on Christmas Eve. You set this appointment with us long ago. And we acknowledge that you are here with us right now. We feel your presence and thank you for being here with us.
We pray thanking you sending your baby boy, your only son, over 2000 years ago. May our gratitude now, 2 thousand years later, please you, because we know that it was not easy for you to send him to us. God, with all we have today, we come to celebrate his birth. Thank you for all he taught us while he was here, and for allowing him to become a way to reconcile with you. We admit our wrong, we ask for your forgiveness, and we desire to live well the rest of our years. We place our trust in you Jesus, knowing that we can pray to you, and knowing you will answer our deepest needs. And as we sing these songs, I ask that we are able to understand their meaning with a newness that comes from a deeper understanding of who you are this Christmas.
And as a pastor, I pray that you would bless everyone here in the coming year. Give them exactly what they need to draw themselves closer to you in the coming year. Thank you Lord for all you provide. Amen.