Sunday, December 25, 2022

Messiah Jesus born in a manger to King of the Universe

“Mother and daughter looked more like twin sisters. Both were grossly overweight, and together they couldn’t have possessed more than eight teeth. Both had spent too many nights in jailhouses and skid row missions. As they lugged garbage bags full of their meager possessions past our church, Wanda and Lucille decided that it would be a good place to get religion again.

Their presence embarrassed me, especially when our paths crossed in public. They would waddle up, throw their pudgy arms around me, and loudly proclaim, “He’s our pastor!” One night, I reluctantly went to their little house for dinner. They sat me on a wooden crate at a card table surrounded by stray cats and décor rescued from a junk heap. We ate fast-food fried chicken, fruit cocktail straight out of a can, and Wonder Bread served on worn plastic plates. Later that little shack became a house of evangelism. Almost weekly, they would phone me to come and share the gospel with bikers covered in tattoos, homeless drifters, or runaway teens —many high on drugs or reeking of booze. In five years, I led many people to Christ in their place on the poor side of Tulsa.

Had Jesus come to Tulsa, Wanda and Lucille would have bullied their way past everyone to be first to host him. I would have found a polite way to steer Jesus toward a more impressive home. But he would have said, “No thanks, I want to stay at Wanda and Lucille’s place. They’ll wash my feet with tears of gratitude and wipe them dry with their hair. By the way, I’ve already been there a thousand times before. I slipped in with every down-and-outer they ever invited into their shack.” The amazing story of Wanda and Lucille is a reminder that there was no room for Jesus in the inn. As a result, he was born among barnyard beasts to an unwed teenage mother so he could be crucified between two criminals. Surely, none of us can be so far gone that he won’t come to our house. Are you part of the Inn crowd, or the Stable few?”
-James Petterson, The One Year Book of Amazing Stories (abridged)

Just like Wanda and Lucille, when you really get down to understanding how to really know Jesus the Christ in close relationship, to have Him as your friend, your savior, your Lord, your King, it comes down to one simple key truth: You must be willing, open, hungry to receive Him, humble enough to desire Him deeply.

A humble desire for the Lord of all. Simple, pure, truthful, meek, lowly, humble. That’s what it takes. Maybe in the end that’s a gift from the Lord himself.

Maybe that’s why the beginning of the greatest sermon ever written, the sermon on the mount, Jesus tells us that, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.”

We’ve been looking at the promises of God, the incredible hope we find in our faith, the gospel message we’re given to share with others, and last week the abundance, the abundant life of a believer, and all of these things surround one central truth, one perfect truth, one perfect reality, indeed, one perfect person, our Lord, our Savior, our Friend, our Creator, Jesus the Messiah, which brings us to our codeword, codeword Messiah.

Who is this being, who is this person, this infinite God who made us? Who is Jesus really? He provides all these things to us. He gives us hope, a future, promises, a message, an abundant life. And it all comes to us through Jesus.

The one who said I am the way, the truth, and the life. The one who said I am the resurrection and the life. The one who said I don’t condemn you, but go and sin no more. The one who said I am the light of the world. The one who said Woe to you Pharisees, hypocrites! The one who said If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. The one who said blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God. The one who said you will be my witnesses to the ends of the Earth.

We know this savior, this mysterious infinite being, through the words he spoke to us. Indeed in John 6 63 What gives life is God's Spirit; human power is of no use at all. The words I have spoken to you bring God's life-giving Spirit.”

The words about Jesus bring God’s presence, the life giving Spirit. That’s why it’s so important to study your Bible supernaturally. To encounter God.

It’s vital.

Who is Jesus? He is the Messiah. The one who brings life to us. Apart from Him we are nothing. With Him living inside us, we have all these precious promises, hope, a message, and an abundance.

The messiah was promised to come to help us all the way back in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, when humanity turned against God and rebelled. Humanity fell into sin, and the world became an evil place. This was God’s judgment on humanity for their willful disobedience. But God also promised that in the future, a descendant in the line of Adam and Eve would be born that would bring lost humanity back to God.

This promised one, this anointed one, this promised savior, this messiah, would be born, to change history forever, to deliver us from our own sins, and bring us into peace with God. That’s what we have now, is peace with God.

But I think we have to be careful to always keep our eyes on Jesus. Indeed it Hebrews we’re told to fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12). We have all these promises, hopes, abundance. But we have to always be reminded of where it came from, it all comes from Jesus the lover of our souls.

One of the churches of Revelation had grown to fight evil so much they had lost their love. It says in Revelation 2:4-5

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”

Let us return today to our first love, the loving close relationship with Jesus our savior, who is the bread of life, the light of the world, the gate for the sheep, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way the truth and the life, and the true vine.

So I was asking myself late last night, how do I help each of these wonderful saints to do something as simple as know Jesus the messiah more deeply? To really know Him and love Him and walk with Him. How simple. What a thing! To know Jesus deeply.

(Hope) One, very simple, believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is really your savior. To believe in your heart, really believe, that God raised Jesus from the dead, and that he’s alive right now.

So simple, child-like faith, to really believe, to really trust, to really know in your heart Jesus is your personal savior.

So simple, yet so profound. The mystery of faith, do you personally believe and know that Christ Jesus is your savior? If so, amen, praise the Lord!

(Abundance) Two, very simple, seek the Lord, time and again, Jesus will call you to himself in your life. As you get busy, life happens, you start to drift off a bit, your prayer life gets a bit stale, your bible study time gets a bit repetitive, and Jesus will call you afresh to himself.

And that’s your opportunity to seek Him, and wonder in your heart: Who are you really Jesus? What does it mean that you are infinite? You hunger and thirst in your heart to know the mystery of His glory. And the mystery of His glory and perceiving it begins with asking the question to God: Who are you, really? God, show me your glory.

(Promise) Thirdly, very simple, love Jesus. Love Him deeply. Reflect on His gift to you. Reflect on His promises. Reflect on His nature. Reflect on His character. Reflect on the words of Jesus and their complexity and yet, simplicity.

The word of God says that to love Jesus, if we want to show our love for Jesus its very simple, Jesus said he who loves me obeys my commands. (John 14:15) Trust and obey, trust and obey, for theres no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

(Gospel) Fourthly, if we’re to believe in our hearts that Jesus is our savior and is alive, the other part of that is to share the message with others. Are you doing that? One study found that only about 2-3% of Christians actively share their faith! That’s crazy! That may just be reflecting people who go to church. Just because you go to church doesn’t mean you’re an active Christian. But real Christians share their faith. Share the gospel. They get the message out there because they are desperate for others to find what they’ve found in Christ. Redemption! A new life!

(Maranatha) Fifthly, long for his coming. Israel had longed for the coming of the messiah. And he came as a little baby. They didn’t expect that. Jesus will return. He will set up his kingdom. He will smash the nations to pieces like pottery. Jesus may have come two thousand years ago as a servant king, a servant suffering savior, but when he comes a second time he’s coming as all powerful king of kings and Lord of lords. He is coming to rule. He is coming back as the Lion of Judah. Let us long for his return. That is our calling today.

Know Him deeply. Seek Him. Believe in Him. Trust and obey Him. Share your faith. Long for his return. For He is the messiah. And everything is about Jesus. Life is not about stuff. It’s not about people or countries or power or wealth. It’s not even about you or me. It’s really about Jesus. Everything is about Jesus. He is our creator. God dreamed us up. He comes before us, always, forever, God bless you, Merry Christmas, Jesus was born to give us life. He came. Come again Lord Jesus, amen!