(Cross-posted to YouVersion)
Message #1 of "Surprised by Christmas"
Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church; Federal Way, Wash.; www.oursaviorsbaptist.org
Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 (My notes from the 10:45 am service, I pray they will be helpful to you. Would love your prayers for me, our church and our pastoral staff)
"They Didn't Get It"
For over 100 years, ulcers were thought to be caused by stress, spicy food or alcohol. In 1982, scientists who claimed it was an infection were laughed at. A new truth is sometimes hard to accept when you've lived so long with what, until then, was to believed to be the truth.
--- A People in Trouble (Isaiah 9:6-17) ---
700 years before Jesus' birth. The king of Asyria was bent on destroying every inhabitant of Jerusalem. They asked for a sign that God had not abandoned them.
Isaiah's Sermon High Points - this is what they were supposed to get
* A Child would be born
* A Son
* His Name - he would be called by some amazing names
* His Greatness
* On David's Throne
* King of an unending Kingdom
God's message: God is sending you a KING! (All he wants is to rule over your life.)
Judea heard: God is sending us a RESCUER. (Then we can get on with life as we please.)
Thier complication: SPIRITUALLY INDEPENDENT - Access to God when they wanted. "God is here for me, but I don't have to be there for God." "I'll look into this God thing later near the end of my life." "I can do things on my own."
--- A Girl in Turmoil (Luke 1:26-33) ---
Gabriel's Sermon High Points
God's message: God is sending you a GOD! (God Himself.)
Mary heard: God is sending me A BABY?
Her complication: PERSONALLY DISTRACTED - Baby Jesus is simple and sweet and harmless. Stays in his place in the manger. Lord Jesus wants to be Lord of your life. Lord Jesus overturns tables. Lord Jesus changes lives.
--- A Leader in Tension (John 18:33-40, John 19:1-16) ---
Pilate is in a no-win situation. He's in hot water with his supervisors and the Jews know it. Without any laws to charge Jesus, the Jews thrust Jesus upon Pilate, knowing they could force his hand, lest they otherwise cause an uprising which could cost him his job.
Jesus' message: I was born to bring THE TRUTH.
Pilate's concern: I can't AFFORD THE TRUTH. (I may lose my job or life. He philosophized his way out of the truth.)
His complication: SELF-PRESERVATION
Are you afraid to take a step towards Jesus because you're worried you might have to give something up?
--- A Teacher in Transition (1 Timothy 1:12-14; Philippians 3:4-6; 2 Corinthians 8-9) ---
Paul was a smart man. Why did he call himself ignorant? He was unknowing. His background (devoutly religious) taught him to think this (that Jesus was the truth) wasn't possible.
Paul's complication: His RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND
Paul's understanding: Jesus is God's AMAZING GIFT.
Is there something in your background that makes it difficult to consider Jesus is God? Paul tried to kill those who believed because he didn't want to face the truth. But one day he met Jesus and truth won out.
--- A Learner in Testing ---
Which of the four am I like?
Concerned with the need for self-preservation?
Trapped by my religious background?
Mary and Paul: Jesus is simply amazing.
Don't miss Jesus because you have your own life to live and He might change something. (if one were to think about their life - would the God of love make it worse?)