God Is Grace

One of the greatest attributes of God is grace. It is not just that God has grace, God is grace! However, there is one problem if we add just 1% of works to grace, it becomes works, not grace. It is not grace plus works that gets us to heaven. If we add works to grace, then Christ died in vain.

There is a popular teaching that’s going around that says, “Grace is divine enablement.” In other words: Grace enables us to live the right way and you better live the right way or we’ll be in trouble. There is a big problem with that line of thinking. Actually, this thinking has been around for centuries. Basically, this is what the Apostle Paul had to combat in nearly all of his letters.

Jesus plus nothing, Jesus minus nothing, equals salvation! It’s all Jesus. What is grace? Grace is unmerited favor. If we ask, “What does grace do?” One of the things grace does is “divinely enable us to walk a new life in Christ!” Do you see the difference? Yes, that’s what grace does, but it is not what grace is. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. It’s the unmerited, unearned, undeserved, unlimited, favor of God that causes us to walk that new life in Christ. So that’s what grace is.

Unmerited Favor

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (Verse 9) not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Is that not clear? We may boast about things while living on this earth, but the moment we see the nail print in Jesus’ hands, we will never brag again. We won’t brag about how hard we worked and did right in order to get to heaven.

The people who have sinned, which we all have, and forgiven of all their sins and get to go to heaven that’s “Amazing Grace!” Grace covers even the stupid sins that we do. But did you know that grace also covers intentional sin? A lot of people don’t believe that. Have you ever done something that you knew was wrong but did it anyway? We better hope grace covers it, otherwise, we’re going to hell all over again.

Grace Is Unearned

Romans 11:6 – And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

Paul is saying there is no way grace can be both. Grace is unearned and works is when we earn it. Grace is a gift that is free and works is when we earn it. So Paul says, “If it’s free, it can’t be earned!” It’s one or the other.

The Greek word for grace is “Charis” pronounced “Har-rece.” This was a cultural Greek word used hundreds of years before it was ever in the Bible. The word Har-rece comes from: It’s a gift given to an inferior from a superior. But there’s one major difference, it involves three persons. The patron, client, and broker. The broker was the person of great wealth, but he chose to live among the poor. He would find the needs that they had, then he would go to the patrons, the ones that had the shoes or clothing or whatever, and would pay for the merchandise himself. This is the word used for grace.

Jesus came and lived among us and paid for what we needed from the Father. He paid for it Himself! He became our advocate – broker.

Grace is unlimited. 

John 1:16 – For of His fullness we have all received,, and grace upon grace. This word “upon” literally means over and over again. So it says, “Of His fullness, we have received grace over and over again. Can you count the number of times you have been forgiven? I can’t! How about even for the same thing? Because God is grace, His grace is unlimited. It will never run out.

This is what Paul had to deal with. They kept trying to add something to grace in order to accomplish its goal end. Paul wrote 13 Epistles and he begins everyone with grace and ends everyone with grace.

We start with grace and we end with grace! I’m confident in this one thing: That He who has begun a good work in you will complete it! We were saved by grace and we stay saved by grace!

Every finish line we cross is because the Father has been pushing us as if we are in a wheelchair. He’s been pulling us and carrying us.

All He asks is for us to get in the chair and let Him guide and love us. That’s grace!

Don’t miss the next post which is on “What is my part?”

 

God Is Faithful and True

Mark 4:35 – On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” (Verse 36) Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. (Verse 37) And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat so that it was already filling.

(Verse 38) But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Verse 39) Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. (Verse 40) But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Verse 41) And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and sea obey Him!”

He is the Sovereign Lord of the Universe

The word “sovereign” is not in the Old King James or the New King James versions of the Bible but is in the New Living Translation. The reason for this is that there is actually not a definition in Hebrew or Greek for the word “sovereign.

1 Timothy 6:15 – which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,…

Potentate, here, means “all-powerful.” King of kings and Lord of lords refers to His sovereignty. Sovereign means He is the supreme Ruler of the universe. There is no king above Him. There is no lord above Him. Jesus is not just the supreme leader He’s the supreme leader of every supreme leader! Jesus has absolute power; He has the right to have that power, and He is actually the One that created that power. He doesn’t get His power from anyone or anything. And because we know He’s good and kind and loving, and faithful and merciful and full of grace, it’s alright that He doesn’t answer to anyone.

Look at this: Mark 4:35 – On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” (Verse 36) Now when they had left the multitude, “they took Him along in the boat as He was.”

“As He was.” And how was He? We have to go back to what had happened that day. Jesus had been teaching all day. He could only teach by parables because that was all they could understand. But watch what happened when He got alone: Mark 4:10 – But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable.

Mark 4:33 – And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. (Verse 34) But without a parable, He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.

Every time Jesus taught the multitudes, He would then get alone with His disciples and explained to them what He had just taught the crowds. So, “as He was” means: Jesus was extremely tired and exhausted so the disciples “took Him,” they either carried Him or helped Him into the boat. So what was the first thing He did when in the boat, He went to sleep. Keep in mind: Jesus is fully God, fully human. God never sleeps or slumbers, but the human part needed rest. As a human, He got tired and hungry.

“Be still” are two words in English, one word in Greek – Phimos – to muzzle. “Be still” (phimoo); to close the mouth with a muzzle. Here is what Jesus actually said to the storm, “Put a muzzle on it!” Jesus is the supreme Ruler, so why in the world would we ever worry about anything if you belong to Him?

He is Faithful and True

Revelation 3:14 – “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God:

Revelation 19:11 – Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True,…

“Faithful” means “full of faith.” But what is faith? The root of the word faith is trust. When we say, “Put your faith in Jesus, ” we are saying,, “Put your trust in Him!”  The root of the word “trust” though is “true.” The reason we trust someone is that they are “true.” People that are not “true” can’t be trusted. Make sense? They aren’t worthy of trust.

So the reason we trust God is that He’s true! God is faithful which means He’s full of truth! Numbers 23:19 – “God is not a man, that He should lie”; Titus 1:2 – in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised; Hebrews 6:18 – it is impossible for God to lie. This is why it’s so important to know the attributes of God, because the more we know Him, the more we trust Him!

Jesus will never lie to us and He’s always faithful. Even when we think He has let us down, He hasn’t! He’s always looking out for our best.

Faith or Fearful

In Mark 4:40, Jesus said, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Have you ever been flooded by fear? I have when I lost my house and couldn’t stop it. Nowhere to go consumed me with fear. The enemy came in like a flood. In the same way that fear can flood us, faith can flood us also, just one word from God is all we need.

Hebrews, Chapter 11, is the “Hall of Faith” and it talks about men and women who built their faith. Hebrews 11:11 – By faith, Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

Faith is judging God faithful! Fear is judging God unfaithful. When something happens in our life, we either judge God faithful or judge Him unfaithful. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Always remember: The first word He gives you and the fresh word He gives you.

The first words that Jesus gave the disciples in Mark 4:35 were, “Let us cross over to the other side.” He didn’t say “Let us get in the boat and drown!” He had already given them a word from God where they were going. So when something happens, go back to what God told you at first because no matter what happens in between, He will bring it to pass! And in the middle of the storm, He will stand up and say, “Put a muzzle on it!” Peace! He will rebuke the enemy for our sake!

The things that happen to us might be beyond us to fix, but they are never beyond God. He is the supreme Being of this universe!

 

 

 

God Is Good!

How important is it to know what you believe about God? Some believe that God is an angry God; some believe that because He sent prophets, and we didn’t listen to them, He got mad and then He sent His Son and we killed Him and now He’s really mad and angry at the whole world. But those who think that don’t know Him according to what the Bible says about Him.

God is good, He’s kind, He’s merciful, He’s gracious, and God is just, but even in His justice, He is merciful. God does good because He is good. Psalm 119:68 – You are good and do good; teach me Your statutes. We are not good because we do good, we’re good because a good God made us good. Every other religion in the world tells people that they have to do something to get to their god. Christ makes us righteous and then we can do righteous.

Do you know the attributes of your spouse or your closest friend? An attribute is a tribute when we tell others some of the distinct qualities and characters of a person. There is another root word in attribute, tribe. Tribe: the distinct characteristics of a group of people who have descended from one person. Because of the distinct characteristics of God and because of Jesus Christ, we now have become a part of His tribe. And because God is good, we can be good! Because God is merciful, we can merciful, because God is loving, we can be loving and because God is kind we can be kind.

Exodus 34:6 – …”The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.” 

1 Timothy 1:7 – Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Because God is immortal, we too one day will be immortal. God is all of these attributes at the same time. God is infinite. Infinite means He has no bounds, no limits, and cannot be measured. God’s goodness has no limits. God’s goodness will never run out. He’s all-powerful so His goodness will never be limited. He’s also omnipresent, and that means His goodness is everywhere.

Mercy and Justice

When we talk about the justice of God, mercy has to be included. Justice and mercy are two attributes of God that many think are contrary to one another. This is because of the summary definition of each: Justice is giving someone what they deserve; mercy is not giving someone what they deserve. So, how can God be fully just and fully merciful at the same time?

Too many times we think God is like our human judges. They want to be merciful, but the law demands justice through the law. We think God’s law demands justice or punishment and it did. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. However, Jesus paid the price of our punishment on the cross, therefore God was just, but gave us mercy because Jesus took our punishment that we deserved.

In Psalm 136 there are 26 verses to this Psalm and everyone says, “For His mercy endures forever at the end. His mercy never runs out! His mercy will never end because God will never end! His mercy is infinite because God is infinite!

In 2 Chronicles, Chapter 5, the glory of the LORD filled the temple when they dedicated it. God’s glory was so strong in the temple that day, that the Bible says the priests couldn’t continue. 2 Chronicles 5:14 – so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God. The Psalm that they were singing when God filled the temple with His presence was Psalm 136. They kept singing, “Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever.”

God’s not willing that any should perish: Ezekiel 33:11 – “Say to them, ‘As I live says the LORD God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

If we look at the “scales” of justice most people think the prosecutor’s evidence goes on one side and the defense on the other. Not so. All the evidence goes on one side and “justice” is on the other side. The evidence is weighed against “justice.”

Some people think that one day God is going to weigh our good against our bad and hopefully our good will tip the scales and outweigh the bad. That’s not how it works: God puts all our good and bad on one side of the scale and He sits on the other side because “God is justice.” In other words; No matter how many good deeds we do, we can’t outdo God’s goodness. So how in the world could we get those scales up to be equal?

God sits on one side of the scales and we are on the other and can’t do but one thing about it. And that one thing we can do is “Invite Jesus into our lives and let Him wash us in His precious blood and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus sits on that scale with us and balances it and justice says, “Equal!”

Some might ask: How can God give us what we deserve and not give us what we deserve at the same time? Simple: Because God gave Jesus what we deserved and punished Him in our place. When we accept Jesus we are fully justified to go to heaven.

The justice of God could never have been satisfied if Jesus hadn’t died for us. The only way we are justified before God is to put our hand in the Father’s hand and Jesus “Arranged” the rest! He died for us so that we could live and have a loving relationship with the Father.

 

 

The Sin of Comparison

John 21:18 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” (Verse 19) This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

(Verse 20) Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” (Verse 21) Peter seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” (Verse 22) Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

(Verse 23) Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”

Jesus was talking to Peter in verse 18, about Peter’s death. Peter understands it to mean that he is going to die a horrible death, but then Peter turns and says, “What about him?” Peter wanted to know that the other disciple (which is John) is going to die a horrible death also. That is exactly what some people do – they compare themselves to others. But Jesus answered Peter if that He wanted him to “live forever,” what’s that to Peter?

The Curse of Comparison

a) It produces inferiority or superiority. When we compare ourselves to someone else, we are either going to feel inferior or superior – insecurity or pride. That’s in comparing anything another person has also. For instance: Their house is better than mine; my car is better than theirs; their job is better than mine and so on. Every time we compare ourselves with someone else, we either feel inferior, insecure, or superior, and prideful.

b) Comparing produces anger toward God. We know that God has everything under His control. We then ask why God would bless others and not bless us. If a person stays on that line of thinking, they will build resentment towards God. Not only will they resent God, but they will begin to resent other people. People will even begin to resent themselves for not having or being what they think God wants from them. We can’t love others until we love ourselves.

I have truly seen other Christians be resentful when blessings are poured out on someone else. They wonder or say, “Well, what about me? Or even, “They don’t deserve that!” That’s just plain wrong! Or how about the ones that are secretly happy when something bad happens to another person? They think they deserved it because of something they did or were not doing.

c) A comparison will open the door to Satan. James 3:14 – But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. (Envy is the root of comparison.) (Verse 15) This wisdom does not descend from above but is earthly, sensual, demonic. (Verse 16) For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. (Comparison is based on the sin of envy.)

Envy will open the door to rebellion and deception. When a person begins to envy what someone else has, they open themselves up for the enemy to come in.

The Cause of Comparison

It’s a lack of acceptance. The person doesn’t accept who God made them to be. 1 Corinthians 12:24 – But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, (Verse 25) that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.

God distributes gifts as “He wills.” There are people that only want the pastor to pray for them to be healed, but the person sitting right next to them may have the gift of healing that God chose to give them.

The reason this happens is that some people do not understand their identity in Christ, not knowing what their own gift or calling is. 2 Corinthians 10:12 – For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

It’s not wise to compare ourselves and this kind of comparison doesn’t descend from above, its earthly, sensual, and demonic! In general: Jealousy has to do with people and envy has to do with things. James tells us that when we allow these two evil things to come in our lives, every evil thing abounds!

Covetousness is another cause that people compare. Covetousness is greed and selfishness with a “mask.” Covetousness is “I want what they have.” It goes a little further; “I want their life because I don’t like the one You gave me!” Covetousness is ingratitude at the highest level! Covetousness puts a fist in the face of God.

Colossians 3:5 – Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

An idol takes the place of God – idolatry. God gives us a person and things, but we want what the other person has. That thing or person becomes an idol. That’s how covetousness becomes an idol.

People don’t realize that by them not wanting God to bless another, could be what is stopping God from blessing them. Those people that get upset when God blesses others, could be what stops their blessing.

The Cure to Comparison

Romans 1:21 – because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

This verse is talking to people “who know God.” (Verse 22) Professing to be wise, they became fools, (Verse 23) and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. (Verse 24) Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, (Verse 25) who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

This is what happens when people take their eyes, their focus, off God and put it on other things or people. They began to lust after what they saw that others had instead of what God was giving them. So what’s the cure for not comparing?

Verse 21, says, Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God,… The number one cure would be to “Glorify God. Number two would be to be “Thankful.” Then they became “futile in their thoughts.” Then they have to “renew” their minds.

When they stopped worshiping and glorifying God, they began to focus on themselves. They began to focus on the creation rather than the Creator. And when they did that, they began to satisfy the lust of their flesh. If you read the rest of the chapter, it will tell you how they even began to do “debase’ things that were not natural.

When we glorify God, we are to magnify Him. We make Him bigger in the same way a “magnifying glass” does an object. We look at God and see how big He is. When a person begins to magnify anything other than God, they are on the path to opening the door to the enemy!

Be Thankful!

Gratitude – grace attitude. Gratitude is an attitude of grace. We will never have a problem with gratitude when we understand that nothing we have we deserve! We have what we have by the grace of God. However, being unthankful will open the door to all kinds of evil. Being unthankful is a habit.

We should have a thankful spirit every day for what God has given us and then tell Him!

 

 

An Attitude Of Rest

Genesis 2:1 – Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. (Verse 2) And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. (Verse 3) Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Why would God, a God that never sleeps, rest? Is it possible that one of the reasons is that like a concerned parent He lies down beside an exhausted child who needs a nap? Is it possible that God knows that we need to rest and therefore out of His love for us He literally lies down one day a week beside us? How many of us are missing the opportunity to rest with God?

Psalm 95:7 – For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: (Verse 8) “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, and as in the day of trial in the wilderness, (Verse 9) when your fathers tested Me; they proved Me, though they saw My work. (Verse 10) For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.’ (Verse 11) So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ “

Now look how the New Testament pulls these two passages together(Genesis and Psalm 95): Hebrews 4:4 – For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; (Verse 5) and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” (Verse 6) Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,

(Verse 7) again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time as it has been said: “Today if you will hear My voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Verse 8) For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. (Verse 9) There remains, therefore, a rest for the people of God.

There should be an attitude of rest more than the “action” of rest. This is more than just taking one day a week off from work. We don’t have to be legalistic about this. If a person has to work on Sunday, then take another day of the week off.

Do you live with an attitude of rest, minus worry and stress, knowing that our God is on the throne and has everything under control? If we want an attitude of rest, we might have to change our attitudes in some other areas.

Our Attitude Toward Work

Does your life revolve around work? We will never appreciate the gift of rest until we understand the gift of work. Work is a gift from God. Genesis 2:15 – Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

God gave Adam a job to do. He wanted Adam to do something that would be rewarding and fulfilling. God gave each of us a gift that we could do something with our minds and our hands and after we do it, we feel fulfilled. God gave us work because He loves us.

The word “vocation” means “the work that the voice told you to do.” Think about your job. Were you called by God to do that job? Is a fireman called by God? Is a nurse, and so on called by God? What comes to mind when someone says, “The work of the Lord?” We think of a pastor or missionary. Whatever we do, as a believer, that is the “Work of the Lord” for you. Everyone is not called to be a preacher or a missionary. God does the calling and God gives the gifts. This doesn’t mean that a person has to have a calling or job outside of the home either. You can have a calling to be a mom and a wife or a husband or father. The best rest we will ever have is after doing what God has called us to do.

We Need To Change Our Attitude Toward Time

Are you one of those people that are always rushing, trying to save time? We cannot make time. It’s already been made. We can’t add one second to our day. We also cannot save time either. Time is like money. We have a certain amount and we have to manage it. Time goes out of our account every second, so we can’t save it. We can only spend time. Are we going to spend it wisely or are we going to waste it? We have a choice every day how we spend our time.

Why do so many of us believe that resting is a poor investment of our time? The fourth commandment is: Remember the Sabbath. Exodus 20:8 says, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” If you read on, God tells us why: It is to remember creation. In Deuteronomy 5:12-15, God says we are to remember the Sabbath because we were slaves and God redeemed us. So there are two reasons to remember the Sabbath: One is that God created us and the other is because when we fell, God redeemed us.

We Need to Change Our Attitude Toward God

If we have a difficult time resting, could it because we don’t trust God? We think God might not be up to the task of taking care of things if we’re not working at it ourselves. Either God is in control of our lives or He’s not. He’s either working all things out for our good or He’s not. The Bible says in Hebrews that “they could not enter His rest because of “unbelief!” Do you trust God to take care of you? All that concerns you?

The Jewish Sabbath begins in the evening. Why? It begins at sunset. Well, what do we do shortly after dark, we go to sleep? When we’re asleep, we aren’t controlling anything. We are not creating, worrying, doing anything but dreaming. And when we’re asleep, we are the most vulnerable. We completely trust when we sleep.

Our rest should start with a good night’s sleep. God wants us to go to sleep and trust Him to work it all out. I personally had to learn to just go to sleep and stop worrying about things I couldn’t change, only He could change them.

Worrying and stressing changes nothing. However, God can be fully trusted with every concern we have. We need to live with an attitude of rest, meaning; An attitude of trust!

When we trust in God for all we need and believe He loves us and will take care of us, we can rest like we’re supposed to. Our heavenly Father loves us and sees all that concerns us, so trust Him and believe it will be better than what we could imagine! Psalm 138:8 – The LORD will perfect all that concerns me,…

 

What’s So Amazing About Christmas?

What’s so amazing about Christmas is the most amazing “fact” in the world! It’s the most amazing fact ever! The whole world, even our history books, talks about “Before Christ” and A.D.,  “anno Domini Nostri,” which means “In the year of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The whole world marks time as before Christ, B.C. and then after He was born, A.D., in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 1:18 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother, Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. (Verse 19) Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.

(Verse 20) But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which she is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (Verse 21) “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

(Verse 22) Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: (Verse 23) “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

This was from Isaiah who gave a “messianic” Scripture foretelling of the Messiah. He gave this prophecy at a time when Syria was besieging Judah. Syria was building up armies for battle. Isaiah gives Ahaz a word, who was the king of Judah, and not a godly king either. The word basically said, “Don’t worry, this isn’t going to amount to much.” Ahaz doesn’t believe it, because he’s been doing a “back-door” deal with Assyria, and going to sell the people of Israel as slaves for his own freedom. This is where we pick up the story:

Isaiah 7:10 – Moreover the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying, (Veres 11) “Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; ask it either in the depth or in the height above.” (Verse 12) But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!” (Verse 13) Then he said, “Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? (Verse 14) “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

Ahaz said he wasn’t going to ask for a sign not because he didn’t want to test God, he said that because he didn’t want to “trust” God! Because, if God gives us a Word, we are responsible to trust Him for that Word, Ahaz didn’t even what to receive the Word.

So then Isaiah prophesies something that’s going to happen 740 years later. How was that a sign to Ahaz and the people of Judah? This wasn’t going to happen for 740 years, so far in the future. so how could this benefit them now?

This is actually a sign to every generation of believers. Here’s what Isaiah was saying; The Messiah is coming and the Messiah comes through the tribe of Judah through the house of David, but the Messiah hasn’t come yet. So the sign that Ahaz has is: There is no way that the enemy can succeed against you because God has a purpose for you and He’s not finished with you yet.

This is the same sign that God has for our lives today: God has a purpose for our lives and Satan cannot take you out! However, only we can throw off the purpose that God gives for our lives. So here’s what’s so amazing about Christmas:

God Became Human

Does that not just blow you away? The study of God is the most fascinating study in the world – Theology. This is why Christmas changes everything. The Bible says that the iniquities of the father’s go to the third and fourth generations. It never says the iniquities of the mothers. Here’s the point of all this: Iniquity is passed “through the seed!” It’s passed through the father. So Jesus was born of a woman but not of a man! Why? So He could be fully human and fully God. The deity and the humanity of Christ.

Religion is man’s attempt to get to God, but Christianity is God’s attempt to get to man. No other so-called religion can say that our “Founder’ is God, accept Christianity!

We know Jesus was born of incorruptible seed. But did you know as a believer and having been born again, we are now born of incorruptible seed also?

1 Peter 1:23 – having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.

There is more today than ever before an attack on the deity of Christ. Jesus was more than just a “good man.” He was more than “one of the prophets!” No! “He was, is, and always will be God!!”

Matthew 16:13 – When Jesus came into the region off Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Verse 14) So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (Verse 15) He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Verse 16) And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Our answer, “Who do you say that I am?” determines our eternal destination. And we know He was fully human and fully God because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit! The “egg” was of a woman, but the “seed” was not from a man. The seed came through the Holy Spirit!

God did not send someone to redeem us, He came Himself! Too many people think that God “dismissed” the charges against us, but He didn’t. He paid them Himself!

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:14 – and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

1 John 4:2 – By this, you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ hs come in the flesh is of God, (Verse 3) and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming and is now already in the world. 

2 John 7 – For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

People that don’t believe that God came in the flesh, don’t believe that He died for their sins either, and therefore can’t be born again. The world attacks this: “He wasn’t fully Man and He wasn’t fully God.”

Jesus Christ died and took all the punishment for mine and your sins and He rose from the grave but had to become human to redeem us.

Hebrews 2:14 – (NLT) Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.

What that means is that death has no power over the believer! Jesus knows what it was like to face death because He did. This Scripture says that God came as a man and also came as God: Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son given;

If we simply believe that God came in the flesh, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again we will be born again! He gave His life so that we might live!

And Christmas is the amazing story that God became a human and died for His creation! That’s why we celebrate Christmas!

 

 

 

 

The Seven Words Of Christmas

God gave seven prophetic words around the birth of His Son. Seven different people either received or gave a prophecy right around that time. It was like a completion – the number seven.

Prophecy is God speaking, so what was God speaking at the time of His Son’s birth? There is one word that jumps out with each prophecy:

1) Salvation (Zacharias)

This is the prophecy given to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. Zacharias is praying one day for his wife, who is barren to have a child. An angel of the Lord comes to him when He’s in the temple and says that his prayers have been heard and that Elizebeth will conceive and have a child.

Luke 1:18 – And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

Luke 1:20 – “But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

Mary had asked the same question but believed. The angel knew Zacharias’ heart. Then the baby is born and she told people his name would be John, but they questioned Elizabeth. Zacharias comes in and asks for a writing tablet and writes, “His name is John.”

Luke 1:64 – Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. 

Luke 1:67 – Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, (Verse 68) “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, (Verse 69) And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David.” 

(Verse 76) “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, (Verse 77 to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins.”

Christmas represents “Salvation!” It’s God sending His Son to save us from our sins. Hoshe’a means “salvation.” Ja, Jahova means God. God saves is what Jashua means. So here is what the name Jesus actually means: “I am God, your salvation!” Jesus is salvation. So salvation is the first word of Christmas and here’s the second:

2) Favor (Mary)

Luke 1:26 – Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, (Verse 27) to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. (Verse 28) and having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord, is with you; blessed are you among women!”

(Verse 29) But when she saw him she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. (Verse 30) Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

What does the word favor mean? The word favor used here is actually the Greek word “Charis.” Charis is also the Greek word for “Grace.” But in this instance, it’s translated favor. However, “favor” is “grace.” God had spoke “salvation” and then He spoke “grace.” The word “favorite” means One on whom favor rests!

3) Blessed (Elizabeth)

This is the prophecy given through Elizabeth: Luke 1:39 – Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, (Verse 40) and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. (Verse 41) And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

(Verse 42) Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! (Verse 43) “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Verse 44) “For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. ( Verse 45) “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

What’s the Greek word for “blessed?” “Makarios,” which means “happy!” Jesus came to make us happy! Satan puts out a lie that says if we give our life to Jesus, we’ll never be happy again. Or they’ll think they won’t ever have fun again.

Happiness and being blessed and comes from Jesus. Acts 3:26 – To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

4) Guidance (Joseph)

This is through the prophecies given to Joseph: Matthew 1:19 – Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. (Verse 20) But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 

Matthew 2:13 – Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

(Verse 19) But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, (Verse 20) saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” (Verse 21) Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. (Verse 22) But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. (Verse 23) And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

One of the things that God was speaking when Jesus came was, He will give us guidance. He even warns us of danger and when to move. God came to bless us, give us grace and salvation, but He also came so that He could guide us every day for the benefit of our families. And Yes, God still speaks through dreams, but they didn’t have the Bible back in Joseph’s day so don’t leave His word out when searching for an answer.

5) Joy (Shepherds)

Luke 2:8 – Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. (Verse 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. (Verse 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.”

The word “joy” in the original language, means “the cause of” or “the reason of.” You’ve heard the old saying, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” well, He’s the cause of our joy! Without Jesus, in the season we won’t have joy. Joy doesn’t depend on our circumstances. Do you know that as a Christian, we can grieve and yet have great joy at the same time? Why? Because we don’t grieve like those who have no hope.

Can we not celebrate Christ’s birth through our circumstances at Christmas? We sure can! We can’t gage our joy on money or any other things that we lack or miss at this joyous time. We can readjust our perspective. Christmas is not about all the stuff!

6) Redemption (Anna)

Luke 2:36 – 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; (Verse 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. (Verse 38) And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord and spoke to Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The Bible says Anna had been a widow for eighty-four years. Let’s say she had gotten married at 14 years of age, which was very common back then, and her husband died when she was 21, then was at the temple eighty-four years, so Anna was at least 105 years old. Tradition tells us that Simeon was 112 years old. You are never too old to be used by God! God chose two very old people to prophesy over His Son. and Anna prophesied “redemption.”

So what does redemption mean? Think about the word “redeem.” Deem has to do with value, how much we value buying or purchasing an item. But when we put “re” in front of it, it means to purchase it again or to buy it back. It’s like the words “renew” or “restore.” Renew our minds – make our minds “new again.”

We were His in the garden, Adam sinned and made all of us lost, so Jesus came to “Repurchase” what had already been His. There is a great example of this in the book of Hosa, Chapter 1 and Chapter 3. God tells Hosa to go buy a wife who is a prostitute. So he takes the woman named Gomer and she has three children with him. After having the three children, she leaves and goes back into prostitution. Then in Chapter 3, God tells Hosa to go buy her “again.” Go redeem her even though she left of her own free-will.  This is a prophetic picture of Israel that they left God for idols and He got them back – Redeemed them!

Here is what this says to us: Even when we leave; even when we make mistakes; even if we go back to the sin we came out of or just blow it big time, Jesus is there to redeem us!

7) Peace (Simeon)

This prophetic word was given through Simeon:

Luke 2:25 – And behold there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just a devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. (Verse 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.

(Verse 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, (Verse 28) he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: (Verse 29) “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word;”… 

God then speaks a prophetic word to Mary through Simeon: Luke 2:33 – And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. (Verse 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 (Verse 35) (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Here is what he’s saying, “Jesus is coming like a fall, a stumbling stone, many are going to fall because of this by revealing the hearts through your Son. And Mary realizes what’s going to happen is going to pierce her very soul. She saw not only her Son’s side pierced but it struck her so deeply, it felt as though her own soul had been pierced.

Even though we still have difficulties during Christmas, we still can have peace if you have Jesus! He came to assure us of that Peace and it’s yours if you choose Him. Here’s what we get when we choose Him: Salvation, Favor, Blessings, Guidance, Joy, Redemption, and Peace! 

The Seven Words Of Christmas!!