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Sign was Given

iShare the Purpose of Christmas - Sign was Given  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What is the real purpose of Christmas? It's interesting when you ask people this question and receives varying answers that points to shopping, vacationing, family gathering, gift giving and partying. It is not surprising that many now a days aren't really sure, or worst, not completely aware of the true purpose of Christmas. Everyone is saying that this is the best time of the year and yet, people tends to become crazy during this season. Traffic are jammed, flights are overbooked, prices are surging, phone networks are busy, social media are flooded with posts, shopping malls are filled with hot-tempered people and crimes against property are rising. This is what happens when the world steals the reason for this season. When the world removes Christ from Christmas. When people replaces Christ with "X". When people say happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas. When people argue about what is politically correct and incorrect. Every year we hear preachings about Love, Peace and Hope. But the picture we see surrounding us today doesn't look very loving. It doesn't appear to be peaceful. And surely does not project hope. This season, I'm not going to preach on those things. Why? because, you already heard significant amount of information concerning those things. We need to hear something different. Something that leads to transformation. But before any transformation could ever take place, there should be preparation. Information, preparation then transformation is the the cycle of growth. One cannot go ahead of the other. It should always be in this order. After Mary received the information from the Angel sent by God, let’s learn from what she did for her preparation to become the mother of Jesus that ushered transformation to mankind. Preparedness starts with willingness. Are you READY to? Reach out to your community? Educate people about the truth concerning Jesus? Assemble a Life Group in your neighborhood? Dedicate your time, talent and treasure for the works of God? Yield your heart to Jesus?

Notes & Transcripts | Sermon Questions

Opening

Have you pondered on the question, “What is the Purpose of Christmas?”
I mean, seriously..
What is the “Real” Purpose of Christmas?
It’s a very very interesting question that we should ask ourselves, why?
Because this is the time of the year when people and the world gets crazy
Traffic Jam
Overbooked flights
Surging prices of commodities
Very busy phone networks
Flooded social media
Shopping Malls are filled with hot-tempered people
Crime rates shoots up, specially crime against properties
And many many more
Isn’t that crazy?
BREATHE!
Despite that every year, what is preached is about Love, Peace and Hope
But the picture that we see surrounding us doesn’t look loving
It doesn’t appear to be peaceful
And surely doesn’t project hope
See, these is what happens when the world tries to remove Christ from Christmas
When people replaces Christ with “X”
When people say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”
When people argue about what is politically correct and incorrect
Have you ever been to a birthday party where the celebrant is not around?
Worst is, the celebrant himself is not even invited!
BREATHE!
With my curiosity to hear what people has to say about the purpose of Christmas, I came across this video
Take a listen (show video)
There’s some interesting response we heard from there, right?
BREATHE!
That’s why today, the Lord doesn’t want me to preach on Love, Peace or Hope, why?
Because you already know them
You already received significant information about those things
And it’s time for us to hear something different
Something that leads to transformation
But, before any transformation could ever take place, there should be “Preparation” (everyone say “preparation”)
Cycle of Growth is:
Information
Preparation
Transformation
One cannot go ahead of the other, it should be in this order
BREATHE!
We had celebrated Christmas for the past different number of years depending on how old you are
But, have you ever, truly, considered the “true” purpose of Christmas?
Was there an instance that you’ve used this similar time of the year to Retreat, Reflect and Refresh your sense of reason for the season?
refresh your sense of reason for the season?
Reasons may be easily forgotten specially when living in this culture that finds its center on the things that are seen
But the Bible has this to remind us
2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
BREATHE!
So Church, this season, I’d like to highly encourage you to do something different
Something extra ordinary, in other words, extra from the ordinary
Something beautiful, in other words, full of beauty
I’d like y’all to look at Christmas differently
Not the way how the world sees it to be
But the way how the Bible says it to be
After all, it is not the world who invented Christmas
But instead, it was God who actually created Christmas
It was the day appointed by God that changed everything, literally everything
It even changed the way how your write or cut a check
Every time you put a date on those checks of yours, your reckoning year is the year when Christ was born
BREATHE!
In this month long series entitled “iShare”, we shall discover the true purpose of Christmas
And not just to discover the true purpose of Christmas, but what is rather more important, is to share the real purpose of Christmas
Everybody say “iShare”
Let me begin with this question
What is Advent?
What is the Purpose of Christmas?
Arrival of a Notable Person, Thing or Event
Commemorated by most Christians during the four Sundays that precedes Christmas
There were actually two advents in the life of Christians:
First, is when God incarnate in Jesus, the birth of Christ, the first coming
And second, refers to the second coming of Jesus, the rapture
BREATHE!
This practice may have begun in some churches as early as the late 4th century
It began as a time of fasting, praying and meditating
A time when Sermons are focused on the wonder of Incarnation
BREATHE!
When
How do you Prepare when someone very important is coming to your home?
My story when I visited some folks in the remote village of the town of Jones in the province of Isabela
However, there is a huge huge difference between preparing to receive a “guest”, and preparing the receive a “resident”
Jesus, our life giving Spirit, does not only want to visit you, He wants to live with you!
So, how do you Prepare when someone truly important is coming to your home? not to visit, but to stay for good...
Well, I’m pretty sure you can come up with a long list of things that you can do
But, what is the first thing that came to your mind?
Who says? will do the groceries! Raise your hands..
Who says? will cook your special recipe! Raise your hands..
Who says? will post a welcome banner! Raise your hands..
Who says? will clean the house! Raise your hands...
BREATHE!
When was the last time you had a general cleaning of your home? Last spring?
Supposed it has been twenty years since you moved in to your current home and it’s time for a total make over
To allow for this major major renovation, you’ll be needing to move things around
Like for example, you have to pull the fridge
Unhang the TV from the wall
Transfer the dining table
Empty your garage
Those things has been sitting on those same spots, same corner of your kitchen for many years and no one has ever swept underneath them
The floor might be caked with layers of grime, dust, stray nutshells, specks of rotted food, lost hair bands, dog hair, and unidentified stains that have been there for more than two decades
The floor might be caked with layers of grime, dust, stray nutshells, specks of rotted food, lost hair bands, dog hair, and unidentified stains that have been there for more than two decades
I will not be surprise when you will utter the word, Yuck!
BREATHE!
This would require a thorough clean up to get your house ready for its new resident
It is a scary thought that we may have these areas in our lives that needs cleaning
Sometimes we hide our secret sins in our private compartments
We mask our ugliest attitudes
It is a scary thought that we may have these areas in our lives that needs cleaning
But, Jesus did not come to scare us, but instead He came to save us
Romans 8:1 NIV
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Paul said these words when he tried to help the believers in Rome to understand the things concerning the law and sin, and the saving grace of God through the Lord Jesus
So, just imagine how dead we are to sin if God the Father decided not to send and give His only Son
Our glorious days started when the Sign was Given
BREATHE!
700 years before the birth of Jesus was foretold, it was prophesied by Isaiah
BREATHE!

Text: The Sign of Immanuel (Isaiah 7:1-17)

Isaiah 7:14 NIV
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
After the kingdom of Solomon was divided in 931B.C. (show map of divided kingdoms)
The Southern Kingdom of Judah comprised considerably less territory and had a much smaller population than the Northern Kingdom
During the reign of Ahaz as the king of Judah, Aram and Israel joined forces to rebel against the Assyrian Empire
And they are trying to force Judah to join the rebellion
If Ahaz is not going to cooperate with them, Aram & Israel threatened to tear Judah apart and to topple Ahaz and install Tabeel to replace him
So the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken like the trees of the forest that are shaken by the wind (v. 2)
BREATHE!
But then the Lord spoke to Ahaz through Isaiah, saying it will not take place, it will not happen (v. 7)
prophet Isaiah maid this prophecy
Take note that Ahaz is a descendant of David, and the promised Messiah will come from this line
This prophetic assurance Isaiah made in verse 14 is to affirm that the kingdom of Judah will not lay in ruins, and it was surely so
Ahaz is a descendant in the line of David
BREATHE!
Some 700 years later, the prophecy became a reality

Sub-Text: The Birth of Jesus Foretold ()

Alongside with the pregnancy of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist and a relative of Mary, the virgin
God sent Angel Gabriel to Mary and gave the information about her to conceive the Son of God through the Holy Spirit
The Angel told her that she is to call Him Jesus (v. 31)
And that, He will be great, and the Lord will give Him the throne of His father David (v. 32)
And the Angel ended by saying, “For no word from God will ever fail” (v. 37)
BREATHE!
However, this is a huge huge difference between preparing to receive a “guest” and preparing the receive a “resident”
Does is it make you ever curious to know your ancestors whenever you think of your birth
Or have you made an attempt to build your own family tree?
Have you heard about ancestry.com?
It is a website that provides services to help you find out about your ancestors just by providing them your DNA
I’d like to show you the family tree of Jesus, not from ancestry.com but from the Bible (show slides)
Show
Some other time I will show you the genealogy of Jesus from Adam to Noah, then Noah to Abraham
But today let me just share with you their family tree from Abraham to Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus
Abraham to Judah
Judah to David
David to Rehoboam
Rehoboam to Asa
Asa to Jehoram
Jehoram to Uzziah
Uzziah to Ahaz
Ahaz to Amon
Amon to Jeconiah
Jeconiah to Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel to Eliakim
Matthew 1:17 NIV
Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
BREATHE!
Isn’t that Remarkable? Isn’t that Stunning?
True indeed that no word from God will ever fail!
The prophecy that the Messiah will come from the line of David was fulfilled
The prophecy that a virgin will conceive the Son of God through the Holy Spirit was likewise fulfilled
Despite the odd looking chances and many preventing circumstances, still, the word of God never failed
What appears impossible to us, is very possible to God
Luke 18:27 NIV
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Next time you find yourself in a seems-like dead end situation, pause for a while and turn to Jesus, and remember His words
BREATHE!
After information comes preparation
Let us look how Mary responded to all these
Let’s see how she started preparing to be the mother of the Son of God
And here is what she said, take a listen
Luke 1:38 NIV
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
This may be reduced to one word, and that is the word “willingness” (everyone shout willingness!)
Preparedness starts with Willingness
At first, Mary was greatly troubled with the information she received from Gabriel the Angel
We all know that Mary was engaged with Joseph but still, she never had sexual intercourse with him or with anybody
And to be pregnant out of wedlock in their culture, is punishable by death through stoning
Isn’t that Terrifying?
It will be a great scandal, and yet, she accepted God’s will
This is Mary’s greatness - that she is “completely willing” for God to use her life
Despite physical pain and social embarrassment
BREATHE!
What about you? How are willing are you?
How willing are you to be used by God
There could be sets of reasons why you wouldn’t welcome Jesus in your home
It could be the guilt that you’re harboring for a very long time
Or the feeling of embarrassment because you’re thinking of what other people will say about you
How willing are you to receive the Lord in your home?
Will Jesus be comfortable in your house?
Will He not be awkward with the conversations that you’re having there?
With the attitudes that are evident there?
With the entertainment there?
BREATHE!
How willing are you to be used by God?
Are you prepared to do the works that God had intended for you?

Are you ready to:

Reach out to your Community?
Isaiah 11:11 NIV
In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean.
Isaiah 11:11
We are the hands & feet of God
He intends to give people their second chances
He wants to reach out to them through you
Educate People about the truth concerning Jesus?
Saul stayed with the followers of Jesus in Damascus for a few days. 20 Soon he began to preach about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “Jesus is the Son of God.”
Acts 9:19–20 NCV
After he ate some food, his strength returned. Saul stayed with the followers of Jesus in Damascus for a few days. Soon he began to preach about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “Jesus is the Son of God.”
Anon, 2005. The Everyday Bible: New Century Version, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Soon after the conversion of Paul, after regaining just enough strength, he started preaching about Jesus
Are you ready to teach the Word of God?
Assemble a Life Group in your Neighborhood?
Deuteronomy 31:11 NLT
you must read this Book of Instruction to all the people of Israel when they assemble before the Lord your God at the place he chooses.
Moses instructed the people to read the Bible at the temple courts and at their homes
To guarantee the preservation, integrity and faithful transmission of the sacred books through the ages
Dedicate your Time, Talent & Treasure for the works of God?
Numbers 8:13 CEV
The Levites will stand at my altar in front of Aaron and his sons, who will then dedicate the Levites to me.
The Levites are dedicated to God
The ceremony shows that the Levites are different from the other Israelites and belongs to God in special way
After they have been made acceptable and have been dedicated, they will be allowed to work at His tent
The levites are in charge of the holy items at the tabernacle
Are you ready to sing with the worship team?
Are you ready to be the face of this church and join the ushers & greeters?
Are you ready to be the face of this church and join the ushers & greeters?
Are you ready to sweep the church’s floor, decorate the altar or stack up the chairs?
Joshua 24:23 NIV
“Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
Yield your heart to Jesus?
Joshua 24:23–24 NIV
“Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”
After Joshua addresses the people citing key events in the past
The Israelites perform a ceremony at Schechem to renew their covenant with Yahweh
Are you ready to reach out to your community?
BREATHE!
Are you ready to share the true Purpose of Christmas?
BREATHE!
Maybe you’re following Jesus for many many years now, or at least it feels like it
But still you haven’t figured out your priorities
Or maybe you figured it out but, you’re missing the things that truly matters in life (Matthew 6:33)
Always saying, but ending up not doing
Always promising, but keeps on forgetting
Always planning, but never fulfilling
If you feel like you’re circling a roundabout
It’s time to cut off to one of those exits
Pick the exit that leads to Jesus
With Jesus, you’ll never go wrong
Because He is not just the way, He is not just the truth, but He is also the life
Jesus does not only want to visit you, He wants to live with you!
BREATHE!

Prayer

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