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Christmas 2017 // Part I

He's Promised




Anyone decorated for Christmas yet? You will be visiting with family. Celebrating with friends. You will be shopping for gifts. And, somewhere in the midst of all that chaos you will celebrate one of the greatest parts of the Christian faith - the birth of Jesus. But, in order to really understand the birth you have to understand the backstory.

•Jesus was born to a Jewish family living in Israel during the time when Romans ruled the world.

•Before the Romans there were numerous other non-Jewish rulers. The Greeks overthrew it at one point, the Egyptians, and Babylon.

•For a 1000 years or more the Jewish people had been ruled by other nations.

•Throughout that time God promised that He would send a new King.

•In order to believe in a promise you have to have hope. Hope is that belief in something even when you don’t see the evidence of it.

Have you ever hoped for something to happen?


Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

 
Mary

•She was promised that she would have a son even when it seemed physically impossible. She hoped that the promise would be true. She believed even when she had not seen the evidence.

•She was promised that this son would be the Son of God. She continued to believe and hope.

•Before that promise would ever take place she would face overwhelming pain.

•She would nearly be divorced by her husband.

•She would have to ride on a donkey 9 months pregnant!

•She would nearly see Jesus killed as a baby at the hands of an angry Herod.

•She would lose Jesus at the age of 12 years old.

•She would watch him die.

•So much pain. And if we were in Mary's shoes would we have held on to the promise? Would we have given up hope?

 
Us

•You've faced your share of pain.

•And you have hope.

•You hope that your marriage will be restored and healed. And you believe and hope even though its rough right now.

•Your hope may be about your kids. You've watched them make one bad decision after another. You believe that God has a plan for their life, but you're not seeing the promise fulfilled.

•Your hope might be about your work. Some have an issue going on at work, and you believe God is going to work it out, but its tough right now. And you’re not seeing evidence of that hope being reality quite yet.

•You've got that thing going on at home and you're trying to hold onto hope, but it feels like its slipping.

•Today, I want to encourage you that the story of Christmas is a story of hope fulfilled. It’s the story of the promise that a teenage girl continued to believe in, even when there was little evidence.

•Mary faced a pivotal moment.

 
What hinders us from holding onto the promise?

1. Fear keeps us from holding onto the promise - "She was greatly afraid"

a. Mary was afraid. She was afraid of the angel. She was afraid of what being an unwed pregnant teenager would mean. She was afraid that no one would believe her. She was greatly afraid.

b. We are afraid that we'll never see God work in our marriage. Afraid that that situation will never work out. Or, that God will never work in that person.

c. Being alone.

d. We will miss out on life.

e. Loss of control.

f. Look what Mary did when she was afraid. She embraced her fear and chose to walk into her fear, not away from it.

g. Don't let the fear push you away. Hold onto that hope that God, who is able to do big things, is able to work in your situation.

2. Doubt keeps us from holding onto the promise - "How will I know this is true?"

a. It took 33 years until Mary had the proof. Jesus was resurrected. 33 years. But she still held onto that promise.

b. There was tension in the waiting. There was tension in wondering how it could happen, but still hoping.

c. In our difficult situations we start out believing that God is going to work that situation out, but after time passes and the situation remains the same doubt creeps in.

d. God are you ever going to heal me? God are you ever going to mend this relationship? God are you ever going to provide?

e. Mary dared to believe. And everyday she acted as if it was true, even when she didn't see proof. She believed.

f. Keep believing. Keep trusting. And, live as if its true.

3. Our closed hands keep us from holding onto the Promise - "Here am I, the servant of the Lord."

a. For Mary, the pain was great. She faced big obstacles. And at any point we would not have blamed her for giving up. But she kept holding on.

b. She faced every obstacle with open hands and saying ," Here am I."

c. The only thing she has is a promise, but promises change the world

d. She decided to open her hands and trust in the promise of God.

e. Here's what we do, we close ourselves off and say He wont' do it that way. Or He would provide through them.

f. Don't face your obstacles with closed hands. Face them with open hands unto God.

g. I don't know how God will resolve this issue, but I believe he can and he will use me.

h. I don't know how God will bring them back, but I believe he can and he will use me.

i. God how will you use me to accomplish this? Here I am.

 
What promises were fulfilled when Jesus was born?

1. I will be with you

a. "The Lord is with you"

b. Matthew 28 - And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

c. God's promise is to be with you.

d. No matter what you go through in life, God walks with you.

e. Our problem is that we don't live in the present. We're too busy reliving our past failures to believe God is with us in the present. Or we're too busy looking to the future. But Jesus came to bring God's presence in the present. In the here and now.

f. Can I tell you what it looks like to live in his presence?

i. It looks like loving every person - that's what Jesus did

1.Even your spouse. Even your x-spouse.

ii.It looks like pointing others to God - that's what Jesus did

iii.It looks like getting back to the idea that this is good news - not bad news

g.God's promise is to be with you. And I think what God wants you to know right now, is that you don't go through that tough place alone. He is with you.

2. I will free you from your sins

a. Matthew 1:21- And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

b. Now this would have been a shock to Joseph. Most Jews would not have thought they needed saving from their sins. They thought they needed saving from the Romans. But Jesus came to save them from their sins.

c. That's what we think. We think we don't need saving from our sins, we're good. We're comfortable with the way we're living. We need saving from our struggles, saving from the hardships, saving from pain.

d. And Jesus didn't come to save us from struggles. He came to walk with us through the struggles that he might save us from our sin.

e. You don’t have to serve sin anymore. You don't have to serve those powerful things in your life that bring you guilt, shame, those things that push you away from your family and that push you away from God.

i. Sometimes we serve the sin of our past, by living with the regrets of our past. But Jesus came to abolish that.

f. And today if you find your life serving sin, Jesus came to give you freedom.

 3. There is no limit on my love

a. John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he sent His only son that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.

b. Stop limiting his love. Jesus didn't put a limit on his love.

c. We put limits on his love when we say, "but I've done too many bad things."

d. With Jesus there are no limits.

e. It doesn't matter how much money you have in the bank. He loves you.

f. It doesn't matter your race or gender he loves you.

g. It doesn't matter what you've done he loves you.

h. There's not limits at the cross.





Worship Set


Joy To The World 

- Isaac Watts and G.F. Handel Arr. by Joel Mott

Verse 1

Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev'ry heart, prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heav'n and heav'n and nature sing

Verse 2

Joy to the world the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods rocks hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

Verse 3

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nation prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His Love

Misc (Tag)

Joy to the world
The wonders of Your love
The wonders of Your love


The Lord's Prayer

- Lowell Mason

Chorus 1

Our Father who art in heav’n
Hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heav’n

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil

For Thine is the kingdom
And the power and the glory
Forever and ever
Amen


He Shall Reign Forevermore 

- Chris Tomlin and Matt Maher

Verse 1

In the bleak mid-winter
All creation groans
For a world in darkness
Frozen like a stone

Light is breaking
In a stable for a throne

Chorus 1

(And) He shall reign forevermore forevermore
And He shall reign forevermore forevermore
Unto us a Child is born
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords
And He shall reign forevermore forevermore

Verse 2

If I were a wise man
I would travel far
If I were a shepherd
I would do my part

But poor as I am
I will give to Him my heart

Misc 1 (Bridge)

Here within a manger lies
The One who made the starry skies
This baby born for sacrifice
Christ the Messiah

Into our hopes into our fears
The Savior of the world appears
The promise of eternal years
Christ the Messiah


How He Loves

- John Mark McMillan

Verse 1

He is jealous for me loves like a hurricane
I am a tree bending beneath
The weight of His wind and mercy

When all of a sudden I am unaware of
These afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

Misc 1 (Pre-Chorus)

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so
(REPEAT)

Chorus 1

(Yeah) He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves
(REPEAT)

Verse 2

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking

So Heaven meets earth
Like a unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way

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