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Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas 2012


Christmas 2012

I have chosen as my text for this Christmas, 2 Corinthians 4:6

The God who said, “Out of darkness the light shall shine!” is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God's glory shining in the face of Christ.

In this verse we see God, ourselves and Jesus all brought together, connected, made one...... and that is Gods ultimate plan for you and for me and for all humankind......
He wants to be with you, with me, in the garden, as it was in the beginning, when He could walk with Adam, talk with Eve, and be one with them in the creation He had made for them, for us, for you, for me.
That’s where He wants to take us to, even now.

Yes, His plan is to forgive us,.....to save us, .....to strengthen us,.........to bless us, ........to comfort us,.................. but these are all secondary to His primary plan which is to be with us, to be one with us. To be Immanuel, God with us.

Do you want to be with Him….............?

I think one of the reasons God has given us Christmas is so that He knows He has a yearly date with each one of us… and I think He looks forward to it, and longs for it, because He is desperately in love with you and even with me.
And I think each year in His heart is the longing that after this date, the relationship will move to the next level, to a renewed commitment, yes… but more, I think He longs for a deeper commitment, a deeper relationship with Him.

And so:
 The God who said, “Out of darkness the light shall shine!” is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God's glory shining in the face of Christ.

In this verse we are taken right back to the very beginning, and the very first spoken words of God that we have recorded for us in Scripture [in Gen 1:3]: 

And God said “Let there be light”.

This reminds us both of the darkness in creation and in human hearts before God speaks.
There is not a heart here this morning, from the preacher to the organist to everyone one us,............ there is not a heart here that does not have some darkness in it.

Will we let God shine on that darkness today?.............… That’s what He is hoping for on this date.
How does He do this? 

The God who said, “Out of darkness the light shall shine!” is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God's glory shining in the face of Christ.

The God who wants us to fall in love with Him… to be one with Him,..... this God… wants us to know Him and what He’s like.

When someone tries to set up a date for us with someone else, what is our first question ...................... ‘what is she like?’ ‘what is he like?’.
God know this, and so our verse tells us that we see God’s glory, God’s beauty, we see what God is like................ in Christ.

The Christmas story is not primarily about Jesus, it is about God, God who wants to be Immanuel, with us… in us… and the God who desperately hopes that we want to be with Him and in Him, in some new and deeper way from now into the future.

Do you?

Do you this Christmas, want to give God a deeper commitment from yourself to Him?

The answer to that is either yes or no.

What God wants to give to you and to me is the light of His love and His gloryin us ..................... isn't that amazing?

So He says to us this Christmas: ‘Look at the Jesus who was given to the world. Look at His humble birth today, look at His unselfish service to others in His life, in a few months, at Easter, look at His shameful death…................ look at Him, says God, and you see Me,.................... and then decide if you want to ‘go out’ with a God like me… decide if you want to have a relationship with a God like me… decide if you want to take your commitment to me to a deeper level this Christmas and coming year.

You see, the truth of the gospel story is that, through the humble life and shameful death of Jesus, God did His revealing and redeeming work. The divine life we long for and the power of God we long for, are released precisely in the life of unselfish service and of suffering for others. This is what God is like; this is what we are called to be like.

Well… do you want to be like this? 

Once again, the answer is really only yes or no, isn't it?

And then comes the good bad news, or the bad good news:

Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common earthly vessels, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us. We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.

Here we are reminded that we are earthly vessels - which reminds us of Genesis once again, where we learn that we were created from earth ..............and as earthly vessels, clay vessels, we are very vulnerable. (At this point I will drop clay pot, and hopefully it will shatter).
..........we are very vulnerable..........aren't we

And so it is that we have good news and bad news when we decide to enter into a relationship with the God who is revealed to us in Christ.
There is good news and bad news if you decide to take your relationship with Him to a deeper level today.
What do you want first......... the bad news or the good news? 

Bad news first:
                         with God in you and yourself in God, verses 8 & 9 tell us.... 

You will often be troubled, you will sometimes doubt, you will have many enemies and at times you will be badly hurt.

How often do we think in our lives that when these things happen to us, God has left us… as you can see, it is exactly the opposite,...................... these things happen because God is with us, they are signs of His Immanuel presence.

That’s why I called it the good bad news or bad good news.

Don’t commit yourself to God, or make a deeper commitment to Him this Christmas if all you’re looking for is and easy ride in life. 
He doesn't offer you or me an easy ride in life;....... as we see in the life of Christ as it unfolds after His birth. No easy ride or life for the Son of God on earth.

That’s the bad news.

Now for the good news: listen again to verses 8&9. 

We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed.

Isn’t that all.................... good news?

Isn’t that news that will get us through 2013 and whatever it holds?

And how I wish I could say to you all that the very worst news you are going to get in 2013 is the news that your national soccer team didn’t with the African Cup of Nations on home ground!!!
If only that was the worst news we could expect in 2013.

But that is not the worst that is going to happen, especially to those of us who choose today to walk a closer walk with the God who is revealed to us in Christ.

We are vulnerable clay jars going into 2013, aren’t we?

But the good news is we are vulnerable clay jars who remain unbroken even under adverse conditions, even by death, because of the one who we choose to be in.

You or I might die in 2013..... BUT .....even if we die, we will not be destroyed?

Why?... because the one who came into the world invites us to come into Him.

Do you want to come into Him?

So this Christmas, vulnerable clay pots, I urge you to come into Him and I plead with you, as I have with myself, find some way to explore an even deeper commitment in the coming year to the God who in Christ comes and dwells among us.


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