FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT

 

Isaiah 9:6 (ASV):  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called [a]Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, [b]Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

JESUS CAME TO US – FOR US

A little boy and girl were singing their favorite Christmas carol in church the Sunday before Christmas. The boy concluded “Silent Night” with the words, “Sleep in heavenly beans.” “No,” his sister corrected, “not beans, peas.” Just as the little children in this story misunderstood the words to the song they were singing, sometimes people misunderstand the reason behind the season we are now celebrating.

 

 
In 353 A.D. Pope Julius I authorized December 25 to be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus.  Who would have ever thought that it would become what it is today.
Today, in a world choked with commercialization we often overlook the true reason behind our celebration, so this morning we are going to take a look at the true reason for the season. This morning as we focus on the “real” reason for the season we are going to look at three reasons why Jesus came to live among us. The first of these is that…

 

 

JESUS CAME TO BRING PEACE

The concept of peace by itself is a grand idea, but certainly not a new one.   All one had and still has  to do is look at the world around us to see the lack of peace.  It is staggering!   We see it every time we turn on the T.V. Even when it looks as if peace has been reached in one part of the world something comes along to disrupt it.

 

 

I think one of the main reasons for this is because they were looking for peace in the wrong place. They look to man as the guide for the road to peace instead of looking to God.  It is God who can bring peace to any situation, even those that seem hopeless .

Jesus came to bring peace to earth . Jesus was the true “peace child.”   Just look at the angel’s message: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14).   This was not a political peace, but a true peace with God . It was the greeting “Shalom” and chief desire of the Jewish people. Peace cannot be merited or achieved by man;  it is a gift of God.   At this time, as strange as it may sound – Rome was at peace (The Gates Of Janus).   The peace that is spoken of here comes from the forgiveness of sins. “For He himself is our peace, Who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier dividing the wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14).   Peace with God – then peace with man.

On that night in the stable the Prince of Peace was born, but bringing peace to earth was not the only reason Jesus came, for in His life and ministry we see that Jesus came…

  ALSO TO SERVE OTHERS

Service to others was the hallmark of Jesus’ ministry.- One only has to scan the pages of scripture to see this. His life and ministry was service to others. We see him turning the water into wine at the wedding in Canna of Galilee, healing of the Gadaren Demoniacs and the raising of  his friend Lazarus from the dead. This idea of service culminates with an object lesson at the last supper when Jesus washes the feet of His disciples.

Jesus was constantly giving of Himself.- This can be clearly seen through Jesus’ own words. …”Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for man.” (Matthew 20:28).   Here Jesus, the Son of man, presents Himself as the supreme example of service to others. The very essence of Jesus’ task is illustrated by the higher priority of seeking the welfare of others over Himself. He impressed upon His disciples the importance of service to others. He came not to be served but to serve others, and to fulfill the role of God’s faithful servant .

His greatest act of service to us was not in His birth, His life, or in any of the miracles He preformed. His greatest act of service leads us to our final reason for this season, which is that –

JESUS CAME TO BRING US SALVATION.

This is the main reasoning behind the Christmas season. Jesus came to reconcile man with God! He came to save that which was lost. If a man owns a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” (Matthew 18:12). This is the very heart of Jesus’ ministry. The work of salvation and the quest for the lost, this was the “messianic mission.”

Jesus now speaks of the possibility of salvation for all . There is a great gift in freedom from sin; it is  “Eternal Life.”   And the Salvation that Christ brings and offers to us will set us free from our lives of sin and truly set us free! “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36).

So what is the reason for the season? From Jesus’ view point, WE ARE! This serves as a reminder to us of the love of God. He loved us so much he sent His Son for us! “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”(John 3:16)

Ask yourself this morning what you have seen and heard this Christmas Season. When you watched the 6:00 o’clock news DID YOU SEE chaos and strife, or DID YOU SEE sheep without a shepherd. When you went out to do your shopping DID YOU SEE only hordes of people in the stores, or DID YOU SEE the worried expressions on some of their faces–worried because they are facing this Christmas without employment or enough money and they don’t know how they are going to make ends meet?

DID YOU HEAR only the blast of music and carols, or DID YOU HEAR the silent sighs of the lonely and the bereaved who may be dreading Christmas because it accentuates their loneliness?

And in the midst of the sounds of honking horns and people arguing over parking places, DID YOU HEAR faint sounds of laughter coming from the Salvation Army mission projects because of the food and toys for families and children donated by caring individuals?

Chuck Swindoll once wrote concerning Christmas:  some gifts you can give this Christmas are beyond monetary value, like what if you could mend a quarrel, dismiss suspicion, and tell someone, “I love you.” Give something away–anonymously. Forgive someone who has treated you wrong. Turn away wrath with a soft answer. Visit someone in a nursing home. Apologize if you were wrong. Be especially kind to someone with whom you work. Give as God gave to you in Christ, without obligation, or announcement, or reservation, or hypocrisy.

Jesus is the reason we celebrate the season; but His reason this season and every season is US!

Celebrate Christ’s birth by becoming a servant as He was.

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