Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Christmas comes every year  And Christmas is new every year.  It arrives at precisely the same time—December 25th.  But Christmas is an old story.  There are hundreds of Old Testament prophecies about the birth, life, death, resurrection and reign of Jesus.  The earliest mention of Jesus’ coming is Genesis 3:15 just after the fall of Adam and Eve.  Scattered across the terrain and pages of the Old Testament we find scores and scores of other prophecies that all point to one night in Bethlehem where the world changed forever.  In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth, Joseph was told that Mary’s pregnancy came through an act of the Holy Spirit and that this child to be was in keeping with what the Lord had said and promised hundreds of years before that one night in Bethlehem (see Matthew 1:18-25).
            We are in the early days of this Advent season.  Yet, we are already starting to recall and remember ancient prophecies and promises that teach us to know that God is the LORD of history and constantly working out His purposes in the affairs of His creation.  As the birth of Jesus was approaching, God was sovereignly at work in a pagan named Caesar Augustus to issue a decree that would bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for the baby’s birthplace.  God worked through Herod’s “horrific slaughter of the innocents” to deliver Mary, Joseph and a very young Jesus to safety in Egypt.  We are amazed at the faithfulness of the Lord’s work to bring forth His gospel message.
            One way we prepare ourselves for Christmas is by remembering that God works in history and in the affairs of the world even now.  Advent is a season for remembering, preparation, anticipation and waiting.  We look back so we can joyfully look forward.  We remember that God was at work in the past and that work assures us that God is at work even now and will remain at work in the days to come.  I shared with you on Sunday that someone once said that coincidences are God’s way of choosing to remain anonymous.  Much of what we write off today as mere chance or coincidence could well be the Almighty at work in your life or mine. 
            Here are some basic truths we want to remember and reflect upon.  God chose the right time for His Son to be born.  God chose the right circumstances into which His Son was born.  God chose the right individuals to carry the gospel message forward.  God chose the right woman to give birth to His Son and the right earthly father to shepherd His Son into manhood.  Even today, God patiently offers the gospel of Christmas to the whole world, to all who will respond in humility, faith and trust.  Is there evidence in your life that the gospel has made an impact or a difference?  Do you see the fruit of the Spirit, (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control), present in how you live?  The absence of fruit should be a cause for concern and alarm.
            Today, reflect on one of Isaiah’s prophecies.  I call your attention to Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  God reigns.  No matter what others may think or believe.  God reigns.  Advent allows us to walk through the prophecies that underscore this truth.  And Advent allows us to return to this truth if we have departed from it.  Be encouraged today by an ancient truth—God reigns.  And His reign knows no end.  All earthly powers, authorities and leaders are subject to Him.  Do not be discouraged by the antics of a defeated enemy called Satan.  The Bible says in Revelation 12:12b-c, “But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”  God reigns.  Be comforted and strengthened for battle by that truth.  Have a great Tuesday and share our worship with others at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.

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