Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 27, 2011
*What is the first Christmas you can remember? -- How far back can you go?
-I remember the year I got the Roy Rogers guns, hat and vest, plus Roy Rogers footie pajamas. I also got a stick-horse like Roy’s horse, “Trigger”. And Roy’s dog, “Bullet,” followed behind on wheels.
-I was about 5 years old at the time, but I remember.
*It doesn’t take a lot to make a 5-year-old happy at Christmas. -- But what about when you’re 25 or 55 or 85? -- And what if you’ve had a tough year?
*Can we still celebrate the joys of Christmas?
-The answer is yes! -- And this wonderful prophecy shows us how.
1. First, this Christmas: celebrate God’s generosity.
*God is generous beyond measure. James 1:17 tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above.”
-But of all the gifts God has ever given us, the greatest of all is His Son!
-“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
*And here in Isaiah 9:6, we can celebrate that “unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.”
 But who are the “us” in that verse? -- Well, for one thing, we are typical people.
*Jesus Christ the Son of God is given to typical, ordinary, everyday people.
-Two thousand years ago, it was a typical, young carpenter, forced by the government to take his very pregnant bride on a trip to Bethlehem. Then there was no room in the inn. And then the baby came, born in a manger.
-So unto young men facing the challenges of life “a Child is born, a Son is given.
*But also think about His mother. She was a typical teenage girl in many ways. Yes, Mary was full of faith and obedient to God’s will. But at the same time, she was overwhelmed by the work of God in her life. Mary didn’t begin to understand it all.
-So unto young women facing an uncertain future “a Child is born, a Son is given.
*Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is given to typical people like you and me.
 But He is also given to troubled people.
*The words of this prophecy were first written to a troubled people over 700 years before Jesus was born. Isaiah 7:2 helps us see the trouble, because there: “. . . it was told to the house of David, saying, ‘Syria's forces are deployed in Ephraim.’ So his heart and the heart of his people were moved as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind.”
*In other words, people of Israel were shaking like a leaf!
-They were troubled. They were in trouble, because enemy armies were marching against them. And in this case, it was their own fault, because they had been rebelling against God.
*But troubled people can say, “Unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given!”
-Jesus Christ the Son of God is given to troubled people.
-To the sick, weak, lonely, sinful, downhearted and lost He is given.
*Jesus is given to me, to you, and to all who will believe.
-So this Christmas celebrate God’s generosity.
2. And celebrate God’s glory.
*There is so much glory to celebrate in vs. 6, so many extraordinary things about the Son who was given to us! Nobody is like Jesus Christ! He is astonishing and miraculous, great beyond the bounds of human ability.
 First, we see that one day “the government will be upon His shoulder.”
-Jesus Christ is strong enough to carry the weight of the whole world on His shoulder. He is strong enough to rule the universe in perfect goodness and wisdom. And one day He will! All rebellious evil will be put down forever.
 But also in vs. 6, His name shall be called “Wonderful,” because He IS wonderful in every way!
*Think about the wonders of Jesus Christ.
-Travis Moore reminds us that the Lord’s birth was wonderful.
-His life was wonderful.
-His teaching was wonderful.
-His miracles were wonderful.
-His transfiguration was wonderful.
-His death was wonderful.
-His resurrection was wonderful.
-His return to Heaven was wonderful. (1)
*Jesus is wonderful in His goodness, in His teaching, in His power and in His mission. Everything about Jesus is wonderful!
 So His name shall be called “Wonderful” and “Counselor.”
*Jesus Christ wants to be your Counselor.
-And what a counselor He is!
-He sees all -- He knows all.
-And He cares like no one else can. -- No one can guide you like Jesus.
*Travis Moore gave great insight when he said:
-As your counselor Jesus is always available.
-As your counselor He gives you His undivided attention.
-And He will always guide you in the right direction. (1)
*This is extremely important as we live in a world with 24/7 media influence on our lives. Most of the people in control of our media messages are so-called “progressives” or “secular progressives.”
*Here are some core beliefs of secular progressives:
-They deny the deity of God, the inspiration of the Bible & the divinity of Jesus Christ.
-They deny life after death, salvation and heaven, damnation and hell.
-They deny the biblical account of creation.
*They believe that there is no absolute truth or right and wrong.
-They believe in unrestrained sexual freedom between regardless of age or gender.
-They believe in homosexual marriage.
-They believe in abortion, mercy killing, and suicide. (2)
*Don’t get your guidance from the mainstream media. Don’t be led by people like Oprah or John Stewart or Lady Gaga for Pete’s sake!
-Let Jesus be your Counselor.
*There are many decisions to make in life, and you will never get better guidance than from the Lord. So seek His wisdom and guidance every day. Follow His Word. I guarantee that you will have a better Christmas, if you will seek guidance from God.
 His name shall be called “Counselor” and “Mighty God.”
*Make no mistake about it: Jesus Christ IS the Mighty God!
*Listen to the LORD Himself, as He spoke in Job 38:4-10. This paraphrase is from “The Message,” where the LORD asked Job:
4. “Where were you when I created the earth? Tell me, since you know so much!
5. Who decided on its size? Certainly you'll know that! Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
6. How was its foundation poured, and who set the cornerstone,
7. While the morning stars sang in chorus and all the angels shouted praise?
8. And who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb?
9. That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds, and tucked it in safely at night.
10. Then I made a playpen for it, a strong playpen so it couldn't run loose,
*This is our Mighty God! And His name is Jesus Christ. In all of these names we see an amazing display of His glory. So this Christmas celebrate God’s glory.
3. But there is more. We can also celebrate His tranquility, because He is the Prince of Peace.
*If you are searching for peace this Christmas. Don’t focus on your problems. Focus on the Prince of Peace. Jesus is the only one who can give us real peace.
-He can give you peace in your heart.
-He can help give you peace in your home.
-But most of all, He can give us peace with God.
*One of the things we see at Christmas is mistletoe, those little bunches of green leaves and white berries that grow in oak trees. Of course, the custom is that when you are under the mistletoe with someone, you’re supposed to kiss.
*Pastor James Moore says, “I have at home a very special Christmas headband. It has mistletoe above it on a spring. When you wear it, everywhere you go you’re under the mistletoe.
*Do you know where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe came from? -- Actually, it came from the Druids in Northern Europe. They believed mistletoe had the power to cure lots of things, including separation between people. So when two enemies happened to meet under an oak tree with mistletoe, they took it as a sign from God that they should drop their weapons and be reconciled. They would stop their hostility, and embrace each other under the mistletoe.
*When missionaries moved into northern Europe, they saw this mistletoe custom as a perfect symbol for what happened to the world at Christmas. . .” (3)
*Jesus Christ came to give us peace! -- And He can give us peace with God, because He was born at Christmas to die on the cross for our sins.
*And Jesus Christ did die to take all of the punishment for our sins, but He rose again from the dead. Now we can get all of the peace we will ever need, if we will turn to Him and trust in Him.
*If you will open your heart to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you will have peace with God. And you will begin to have peace in your heart.
-Make Jesus Christ the Prince of your peace, and begin to celebrate His tranquility.
4. But this Christmas also celebrate God’s eternity.
*We see God’s eternity in one of the Lord’s names in vs. 6. His name will be called “Everlasting Father.”
*This name is not meant to confuse Jesus with our Heavenly Father. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God, but we can see the uniqueness of each.
-The Father sent the Son. And the Son came into the world to die on the cross.
-Then there is that wonderful scene in the New Testament when Jesus was baptized. The Holy Spirit came down on Him in the form of a dove. And the Father spoke from Heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
*Jesus is not the Heavenly Father. But His name shall be called “Everlasting Father.” Matthew Henry explained it like this: (Jesus) is “the everlasting Father”, or “the Father of eternity.” He is God, one with the Father, who is from everlasting to everlasting. He is the author of everlasting life and happiness to them (who are saved), and so is the Father of a blessed eternity to them. He is the Father of the world to come . . . the Father of the (everlasting) work of redemption. . .” (4)
*Jesus is the “Father of Eternity” for all who will trust in Him and what He did on the cross for us. So in vs. 7 we see that: “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
*God’s burning desire will bring the increase of His government and peace forever. Therefore, this promise of eternity is not based on man’s puny ability. It is based on God’s indestructible passion, power and promise.
-And this eternity of perfection is for you!
-It’s for me! -- It’s for everyone who will trust in the Lord.
*Peter Marshall was one of the great preachers of the last century. He served as a Chaplain in the U.S. Senate, but he died of a massive heart attack in his mid-40s.
*In Peter’s biography his wife, Catherine, remembered the last time she saw him alive. He was being carried from his house on a stretcher on his way to the hospital. And she said to him, “Darling, I’ll see you in the morning.” (5)
*That’s what death means for us if we know Jesus Christ as the Father of Eternity. It’s a wonderful morning that will last forever. Everyone needs to trust in the Lord. It will make the difference on Christmas Day, and every day for all eternity. So this Christmas also celebrate God’s eternity.
5. And celebrate His humility.
*The heart of Christmas is the humility of Jesus Christ, for though He is the “Mighty God,” -- “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”
*God Almighty humbled Himself to become a man. Just like you He learned to walk and talk. He got hungry and tired. He laughed and He cried.
*Isn’t it amazing that the God who holds the universe in His Hand humbled Himself to become a man?
*God’s Word describes the Lord’s humility in Phil 2, where the Apostle Paul said:
5. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6. who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7. but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
*Jon Allen was a pastor in Arkansas, when he met a man named George Pressman. Brother George was one of the finest Christians Jon had ever met. And at age 72, he still lived in the farm house where he was born.
*Jon drove by George’s house every day on the way to the church. One winter morning he saw George come out of his house and head to the barn. Jon turned in and followed George into the barn to feed the animals.
*As the old man fed the calves and chickens and turkeys, Jon had second thoughts about visiting in the barn. It was cold and smelled so bad he almost lost his breakfast.
*Just when that thought crossed his mind, Jon stepped right in the middle of a fresh cow patty! It oozed up on his newly shined dress shoes.
*George chuckled and said, “Come on out on the grass and we’ll clean you up.”
-They headed toward the door, but after a couple of steps, George stopped in his tracks, turned to Jon and said something the pastor will never forget: “Preacher, Jesus was born in a place like this.”
*Jon looked around in stunned silence. A few feet away, the calves were licking up the last of their grain. They were eating out of a manger. (6)
*What an amazing thing that the King of the universe humbled Himself to be born in a place for animals. -- Much more amazing that He humbled Himself to die on a cross for our sins. But He did!
*That is why we celebrate Christmas. -- And I hope you can celebrate with us.
-Joyfully welcome Jesus into your life.
-Let Him have your heart. He will be your Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Father of your eternity and your Prince of Peace.
*Let Jesus be all of these things for you.
-That is the only real way to celebrate Christmas.
1. Adapted from SermonCentral sermon “His Name Is Wonderful” by Travis Moore - Isaiah 9:6
2. Adapted from “What is Truth?” - John 17:6-19 - John 17:17b - by Adrian Dieleman - Mar. 13, 2005
3. Adapted from ChristianGlobe.com sermon “Let Us Go Over To Bethlehem And Find The Peace of Christmas” by James Moore - Luke 2:1-7; 8-20 - 2002
4. Adapted from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible - Isaiah 9:1-7
5. “A Man Called Peter” by Catherine Marshall, Copyright 1951, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. - p. 260-261
6. Illustration Digest – Number 4 1995