Christmas 2007

Posted on 12/23/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

Good morning and welcome to Abundant Living Ministries CyberChurch! A special welcome to all our visitors. Be sure to click the welcome sign in the foyer before you leave. And a very special welcome to our guest of honor, Jesus Christ, here by the Spirit of the Lord.

Today we celebrate your birth, and we invite you, Holy Spirit, to have your way here today.

Let's all stand to our feet.

Lord God, thank you so much for this season during which we celebrate the first coming of the King into the world. I ask that you minister to us today as we seek to minister to you. And we ask that as we celebrate and sing and read about the birth of Jesus, that there would be new births here today. Bring those who don't yet know you into the Kingdom, in Jesus' name!

We pray for the two people who have asked us to pray publicly for their needs.

We pray for Sonny and Mary and for their marriage. We know that marriage is sacred, and that it is your will for Sonny and Mary to grow closer and closer to eachother and to you. We ask that anything either of them is entertaining in their hearts that would come between eachother and between you, that you would show them the ugliness, emptiness, and darkness of that thing, and that they would turn to you, turn from anything that displeases you, and turn all their affection to eachother. Work a miracle in that home and that marriage, in Jesus' name.

We pray for Valen's friend Jess and her husband, that you would work in this relationship too. We know the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but you have come to bring us life, to heal relationships, to turn the wayward to you, to take situations that man believes is impossible and completely turn them around. So we ask that you work in the heart of this husband, and that their marriage would become stronger and more beautiful than they ever though possible, as they seek together after you.


GARRON - Kidney Failure


And now Lord, bless this service and everyone here, as we gather to seek your presence, and to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen.


Today we're going to sing a few Christmas hymns and read about the birth of Christ from the Gospel according to Luke, chapters one and two.

You can click the pulpit for a notecard containing the songs and scriptures. Let's sing to and about Jesus, remembering that glorious night two thousand years ago when the Savior of all mankind entered the world as a new-born baby, born to die so that in him we could have everlasting life.

On the night of his birth, angels declared the coming of the king to simple shepherds, and they still declare his coming today, through the mouths of those who await his coming, and by the Holy Spirit which draws us to the cross.


ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

Angels we have heard on high
    sweetly singing o'er the plains
And the mountains in reply
    echoing their joyous strains

Glo - - - - ria
In excelsis Deo!

Shepherds why this jubilee
    why your joyous strains prolong
What the gladsome tidings be
    which inspire your heav'nly song

Come to Bethlehem and see
    Christ whose birth the angels sing
Come adore on bended knee
    Christ the Lord the new-born King

See him in a manger laid
    whom the choirs of angels praise
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid
    while our hearts in love we raise


WE THREE KINGS

We three kings of Orient are
    bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moore and mountain
    following the yonder star

Star of wonder, star of light
    start with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
    guide us to thy perfect light

Born a king on Bethlehem's plain
    gold I bring to crown him again
King forever, ceasing never
    Over us all to reign

frankincense to offer have I
    incense owns a deity nigh
Prayer and praising, voices raising
    worshipping God on high

Glorious now behold him arise
    king and God and sacrifice
Hallelujah, Allelujah
    sounds through the earth and skies


O COME O COME EMMANUEL

O come O come Emmanuel
    and ransom captive Israel
That mours in lonely exile here
    until the Son of God appear

Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

O come thou wisdom from on high
    and order all things far and nigh
To us thy path of knowledge show
    and cause us in her ways to go

O come O come great Lord of might
    who to thy tribes on Sinia's hight
In ancient times once gave the law
    in cloud and majesty and awe

O come thou root of Jessie's tree
    an insign of thy people be
Before thee rulers silent fall
    all peoples on thy mercy call

O come thou key of David, come
    and open wide our heav'nly home
The captives from their prison free
    and conquor death's deep misery

You can be seated.


Luke 1:26 - 2:40

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee  named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.  The virgin's name was Mary.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the  Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what  manner of greeting this was.
30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor  with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall  call His name JESUS.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God  will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the  house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."

34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"

35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,  and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One  who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age;  and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing will be impossible."

38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me  according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
 

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus  that all the world should be registered.
2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to  the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and  lineage of David,
5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be  delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths,  and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
  
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping  watch over their flock by night.
9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord  shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good  tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is  Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling  cloths, lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host  praising God and saying:
14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"


HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SING

Hark the herald angels sing
    "Glory to the new born king;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
    God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
    join the triumph of the skies
With th'angelic host proclaim,
    "Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
    "Glory to the new born King!"

Christ, by highest heaven adored,
    Christ, the everlasting Lord
Lat in time behold him come
    offspring of a virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the God head see
    hail th'incarnate Deity
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell
    Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! the herald angels sing,
    "Glory to the new born King!"

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
    Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
    risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by
    born that we no more may die
Born to raise us from the earth
    born to give us second birth
Hark! the herald angels sing,
    "Glory to the new born King!"


15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the  shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing  that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us."
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a  manger.


O HOLY NIGHT

Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

 

17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told  them concerning this Child.
18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by  the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things  that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.


JOY TO THE WORLD

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
    Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
    Let all their songs employ
While fields and flood, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

No more let sins and sorrows grow
    nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found

He rules the world with truth and grace
    and makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of his love
And wonders of his love
And wonders, and wonders of his love

21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His  name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in  the womb.
  
22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were  completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male who opens the womb  shall be called holy to the LORD"),
24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "A  pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."
  
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man  was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit  was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see  death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the  Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law,
28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your  word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people  Israel."

33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is  destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be  spoken against
35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of  many hearts may be revealed."
  
36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe  of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from  her virginity;
37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart  from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to  all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
  
39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they  returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the  grace of God was upon Him.

So Jesus was born of a virgin, just as the prophets had foretold. His life fulfilled hundreds of prophecies, and his death followed every last intricate detail expressed through the mouths of the prophets millenia ago.

And yet there are prophecies which have not yet come to pass, culminating in his return in the clouds, as a flash of lightning from the east to the west, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. The dead in Christ will rise first, and then we who remain will be caught up to meet him in the air, and so we shall forever be with the Lord.

But for those who have heard the invitation but have not accepted, they will cry out for the rocks to fall on them to hide them from the glory of the Lord. How could the God who created the universe, who measures it by the span of his hand, the God who formed you in your mother's womb, and sees everything from the first man's first breath to the last creature's entrance into eternity, how could this timeless, eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing God love us enough to send his only begotten Son, his equal, that which is part of himself and through whom he created everything that exists, how could he willingly come to earth as a baby, overcome all the temptations to which we all have fallen time and time again, and then take on all the sins of all mankind, taking the blame, taking the shame, becoming those sins just for us, just so we would not have to pay the price of eternal death and darkness and pain; how could he return again in the fullness of his glory, and we who have rejected his gift, rejected life, and counted his blood of little worth; how could we not cry out for the mountains to fall on us to hide us from his face?

But for those who have turned away from all the emptiness and sin of the world and have turned to Jesus, this is a time of joy so great that we cannot put it into words. And today, whether you have a lot of gifts or none at all, whether you are surrounded by family or are here because you are all alone; no matter your situation in life, a door has opened to you today. A door to life. A door to joy. A door to eternal belonging, purpose, peace, and life.

And his name is Jesus.

The ministry team can come to the front now.

I'd like to end today's service with a song the Lord gave me two nights ago, and this is your invitation. Accept Jesus today as your Lord and Savior, and let him make you a brand new creation, as old things pass away, and as all things are made new and alive.

Just talk to him as this song plays. The altar is open if you'd like to come to the front. If you need someone to talk or pray with you, instant message someone on the ministry team.

If you want to start a conversation with someone, please head over to the room on your left where we'll all meet in a few minutes for fellowship.

And whatever gifts you give or receive, this Christmas, today, receive the gift of God's only begotten Son, Jesus, and give him the gift of your life.


THE GIFT

Will the holy is hung in the hallway
    and the lights cast their hues on the tree
All the presents beneath it seem to say
    the only one missing is me

Did the walls of the stable shine with holy light
    or was mistletoe hanging for shepherds to see
Did a king kiss a baby on that holy night
And out of all your presents, was the one
    you came for really me

Out of all the things I remember
    how could something so big I forget
While we seek the things wrapped up in paper
    the biggest gift isn't wrapped yet

You were born to hang brighter than angels
    on a tree that you lovingly colored with red
And the greatest words heaven remembers
    and the words that while looking at my sin you said

While my body is hanging at Calvery
    and my blood flows like rain to the ground
There's one reason I give it so freely
    there is just one more gift to be found

So I wrapped up my life in his grave clothes
    and I fell to the ground under his wooden tree
And as mercy flowed down like pure love from my Jesus
    my heart finally started to see

That the walls of His stable shown with holy light
    God asleep in a manger for all to see
That the King was a baby on that holy night
And of all heaven's splendors, the one that
    He died for was me

So I wrap up my life in your grave clothes
    and I fall to the ground under your wooden tree
Out of all of the gifts I may give and receive
    The gift I give gladly to you is ev'ry part of me