The "Fear Nots" of Christmas
I. Zacharias was told, "Fear not, your prayer for a child has been answered. You are going to have a son named John who will prepare the people to receive the Christ."
II. Next Mary was told, "Fear not, you are going to conceive a child by the Holy Spirit. His name will be Jesus and He shall be called the Son of God."
III. After Mary was obviously pregnant, Joseph had a decision to make. An angel said to him, "Fear not to take Mary as your wife."
IV. After the birth of Jesus, an angel appeared to the shepherds and said, "Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy . . . for unto you is born this day . . . a Savior."
His Name Is the Word of God
"He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God" (Rev. 19:13).
Truth/Context: Who is this Man? He is the Child of John 1:1,14, where we began with the mysterious and obscure birth of a child in Bethlehem; but now we're camping out with the King of kings astride His white stallion, judging the nations and waging war in heaven.
Both are about the real Christmas, the Child and the King. The Bible tells us "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" [John 1:14]; if this is true it's breathtaking and worthy of our understanding. Why did God (the Word) do this? The Word itself gives us this reason:
I. He Became Flesh in Order to:
A. ‑Give sight to the blind, mobility to the lame, hearing to the deaf, life to the dead, to cleanse the lepers, and bring the Good News to the poor [Matt. 11:4-5].
B. ‑Pay the ransom for many [Matt. 20:28].
C. ‑Save His own (but they received Him not) [John 1:11].
D. ‑Come in His Father's name [John 5:43].
E. Give abundant life [John 10:10].
F. ‑Bring light into the world's darkness [John 12:46].
G. ‑Bear witness to the truth [John 18:37].
H. ‑Set the downtrodden (captives) free [Luke 4:18].
I. Cast fire on the earth [Luke 12:49].
J. ‑Find fruit of the branches [Luke 13:7].
K. ‑Seek and to save the lost [Luke 19:10].
L. ‑Provide a way of escape [1 Cor. 10:13].
II. He Did Not Become Flesh to:
A. ‑Abolish but to fulfill the prophets & Law [Matt. 5:17].
B. ‑Call the righteous, but sinners [Matt. 9:13].
C. ‑Bring peace but a sword [Matt. 10:34].
D. Be served but serve [Matt. 20:28].
E. ‑Destroy men's lives, but to save them [Luke 9:56].
F. ‑Do His own will but His Father's will [John 6:38].
G. ‑Judge the world but save it [John 12:47].
Application/Challenge: We can see that the child Jesus came to give, not take or get. The most vital components for a proper view of Christmas are: first, giving, which comes from loving; second, loving, which comes from the heart which governs our thinking; third, thinking, which comes from believing (faith); and lastly, believing, which "comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the word concerning Christ" [Rom. 10:17].
J. A. Gillmartin sheepcribtwo.blogspot.com
How to Walk Through a Mess
1 Samuel 30:3-24
Ever had the overwhelming feeling that the future looked so bleak that you mlight as well throw in the towel, turn in your Bible, and move to the woods? Someone has said, "We're either in a mess, coming out of one, or headed toward one all the time." But God says we can face our future with confidence.
1 Samuel covers 115 years. Saul was on the throne for 32 years, until age 72. David was immensely popular, much to Saul's chagrin. King David walked into a mess and had to learn that:
I. ‑God's Plan May Include a Divine Interruption (29:10).
A. ‑David had run from the wrath of Saul into Philistine territory. He was trying to outrun his problems, but God wanted to deepen his faith.
B. ‑The Philistine king, Achish, loved David, but succumbed to pressure and ordered David to leave. David thought it was circumstantial; with God, it was providential.
II. ‑God's People May Never Get Away from Problems (30:3-5).
A. ‑While living in Ziklag, David had raided Israel's enemies while pretending to raid Israel
B. ‑Upon returning to Ziklag, they found the city burned and their families not to be found.
C. ‑Some problems are self-induced; others are not. David was earning his Ph.D in godly rule the hard way.
III. ‑God's Road May Never Be the Easy Road (vv. 6-10).
A. His followers spoke of stoning him.
B. ‑David turned to God and "strengthened himself in the Lord his God."
IV. ‑God's Man Must Never Be for Sale
A. ‑David organized a raid to recover their families and goods from the Amalekites. He left 200 men behind because of exhaustion.
B. ‑Upon returning the spoils which were recovered, some "wicked and worthless" among his men (v. 22), refused to share with those who had stayed behind.
C. ‑David would not hear of it. His character was not for sale.
Closing: In the toughest of times, God's man maintains his character.
David Alan Sylvester, Today's Pulpit, www.todayspulpit.com
Son of Encouragement
Foundational inquiry: What is the profile of an authentic biblical encourager? It is wonderful when you run into an encourager. Often they don't know they are because it's so natural to them. Many who are convinced they have no ministry have the ministry of encouragement.
I. ‑An Encourager Is First a Biblical Christian
A. ‑Being a biblical Christian of course means he is born again (John 3:3).
B. ‑Being a biblical Christian means the Bible is his daily guide (Ps. 119:105).
II. An Encourager Is Christ-Like
A. ‑He is an imitator of Jesus ("Christian" means, "little Christ").
B. ‑He has compassion on the multitudes [Matt. 9:36].
C. ‑He cares for the least of these [Matt. 25:31-46].
III. An Encourager Has an Obedient Spirit
A. ‑He loves the Lord his God with all that he is [Matt 22:35-38.
B. He loves his neighbor.
C. ‑He seeks first the Kingdom of God [Matt. 6:33].
D. He denies himself [Matt. 16:24].
E. ‑He serves others not self [Phil. 2:3-4].
F. ‑He reaches out to others [Matt. 20:28].
G. ‑His focus is on things above and not things of this world [Col. 3:1-3].
H. ‑He makes disciples and teaches God's commandments [Matt. 28:19-20].
I. He is a John 15 disciple:
1. ‑He knows "apart" from Jesus he "can do nothing" [John 15:5a].
2. ‑He glorifies the Father by bearing much fruit [John 15:8].
3. ‑He loves the brethren [John 15:12].
IV. ‑An Encourager Thrives on His Labor's Fruit.
A. ‑He is not satisfied with a moment's elation (e.g., Ananias and Sapphira).
B. ‑He incites and exhorts others to act (Stephen).
C. ‑His reward is a changed life (Paul at the Areopagus).
Application/Challenge: The greatest encourager is the Holy Spirit; He is referred to as the paracletos-one who comes along side, to console and to counsel, to edify and exhort! Encouragement can be done by anyone, who will simply try to see those around them through the eyes of Christ, and there is a great need for people who will lift up rather than put down. It is a gift that we all must cultivate.
Posted by J. A. Gillmartin to The SHEEP'S CRIB - Sermons sheepcribtwo.blogspot.com
Why I Glory in the Cross of Christ
Despite the shame of the cross, I find 6 reasons to glory:
I. ‑Because Jesus Carried His Own Cross (John 19:16-18).
A. The ultimate indignity.
B. ‑Yet the ultimate inspiration: "Behold the man!"
II. ‑Because the Cross Shows Me What True Obedience Really Is (Phil. 2:5-8).
A. ‑We have a real problem with obedience-hence the many admonitions (Acts 5:29; Eph. 6:1; Titus 2:5; Col. 3:22' Heb. 13:17; etc.).
B. ‑Christ is the perfect pattern of obedience for us. (note Rom. 5:19; Heb. 5:8-9).
III. ‑Because the Cross Is the Only Means of My Reconciliation to God (Eph. 2:s14-16; Col. 1:20-22).
A. ‑I, like Adam, was made in God's likeness and enjoyed fellowship with Him.
B. I, like Adam, chose to sin.
C. ‑Christ, through His death on the cross, became my only means of reconciliation.
IV. ‑Because My Preaching of the Cross is God's Ordained Way to Save Men (1 Cor. 1:17-19).
A. ‑Preaching the cross meets with mixed response (vv. 21-31).
B. ‑It should be our main message-what we are known for (1 Cor. 2:2; John 12:32).
V. ‑Because Carrying My Own Cross Is the Badge of My Discipleship (Luke 14:27).
A. ‑Consider the awful implication of NOT being a true disciple (Matt. 16:24-26).
B. ‑Consider the ardent involvement of carrying your own cross (Luke 9:d23; Gal. 6:12).
VI. ‑Because the Cross Shows Me What Real Endurance Is (Heb. 12:2-4).
A. ‑The key to endurance is concentrating on the joy that lies ahead!
B. ‑This will help us endure all things (Matt. 24:13; James 1:12; 5:11).
Victor Knowles Peace On Earth Ministries