Life in perspective Pt. III
The Gift that keeps on giving
Synopsis of Sermon 12/20/09
Text: Isaiah 9:6 says 6For 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 Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
It should be no secret to us that God knows what we need when we need it the most. God is keenly aware of our plight and he always has a divine strategy to get us through. The prophet Isaiah reminds Israel of God’s commitment to them. Though they have not been as committed to God, he is a God of covenant. He always keeps his promises and doesn’t forget his people. When Israel turned from God to serve idol gods, God still loved them and never gave up on them. Isn’t it amazing how no matter what we have done in our lives, God never gives up on us. Even in Israel’s darkest hour, God sends a word to them. It says unto us a child is born, a son is given. Here is a prophetic word uttered 750 yrs before Jesus would come. In the year 740BC, the prophet Isaiah speaks to the people about the coming messiah. Matthew even declares in Matthew 4:16: 6The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.- People were in such a dark place and in need of a revelation of who God was. The word for us today is no matter what you have gone through and no matter what your situation looks like, God has fast forwarded through your further and made plans for you up the road. What we are trying to get to, God has already worked out for us. When you look at this gift, all the gospel writers record what this gift was. John 3:16 says 16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life – So when Isaiah speaks of the gift, he shares how this gift keeps on giving. If you knew what you had in Jesus, you wouldn’t get your feathers ruffled when you didn’t get what you asked for Christmas. It is about moving above rituals. It is really about moving and progressing in the relationship with God, rooted in revelation, that when you know God for yourself, you understand that your blessings are not based on tangible things. It is tied to a relationship with him that has come to save our soul. It is tied to him that can give us what money can’t buy, like peace, joy, goodness, and mercy. This is what Christmas is really all about. We got a gift 2000 yrs ago that keeps on giving. The prophet Isaiah shares with us that unto us a child is born and a son is given and the government shall be on his shoulders. This is really about a gift of grace.
I. The gift of grace
Isaiah 9:6a says 6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
1. Grace is a gratuitous endowment given by God to us. We didn’t deserve grace. There is nothing we can do to ever deserve it. The scripture says unto us child is given. Who is” us” mentioned in the scripture? We are like Israel who is in an interesting predicament. The only way to put grace into perspective is to compare it to who you really are.
2. We were naughty by nature. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:3: 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.- We were by nature the children of wrath. We were messed up. If we could drink it we would. If we could smoke it, we would. If we could sleep with it, we tried to. Whatever we could get away with, we would do.
3. We were laced with:
a. Iniquity-We shouted at church but were still filled with iniquity. All of us have fallen short of the glory of God. Jeremiah 3:14 says 14Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: – It was in our nature to back slide.
b. Inconsistent-We were inconsistent and not faithful. God looked for us and we weren’t there. Thankfully his grace is offered new to us every morning.
c. Individualistic-We thought about only ourself. We were caught up in pride. It never was about you. You dilemma was sent to get a blessing through you. In the midst of all of our flaws of iniquity, inconsistencies, and our individualistic attitude, look at what God has done for us.
4. When you begin to see this, what we received was grace that we didn’t deserve. When we look at what we could have been or should have been, we thank God for his grace. God’s grace to us was a child being born. The bible says he was tried and tempted on every hand, yet he was without sin. He was humanity.
5. The scripture says his son is given. The son deals with deity and the child deals with his humanity. When you look at his “son-ship”, he was born in a manager, but he was the son who was given. He was the son of the living God. Micah 5:2 says 2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.- This scripture reminds Bethlehem that out of them would come the son of God. Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary. He was a younger than and older than her at the same time. He created the woman that gave birth to him. In fact, at one time Jesus tried to explain who he was. John 8:58 says 58Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
6. Jesus didn’t just begin when he showed up in the manger. He was the son of God that was given for our sins. John 1 says 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
7. Son suggests that in order for a mends to be given for our sins, there must be a shedding of blood. Galatians 4:4 says 4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, – Before Jesus, priest had to kill lambs and bullocks and sacrifice them for our sins. When lambs and bullocks begin not to be enough, God said he would send his son and he would become the lamb. Son, in the Hebrew bible had some significance. The only way heritage would or could be handed down was through a son. Remember when God said for Abraham to go up on the hill and sacrifice his son? This had real significance. Remember when Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he wouldn’t let the children of Israel go? When the last plague came and he lost his son, Pharaoh changed his mind. Remember Samuel and Hannah. Hannah prayed so hard for a son, the priest thought she was drunk. Knowing the significance of a son in those days, the mere fact that God would give his son to us shows he gave the best that he had. Knowing this, there should be no reason to be upset because of what you can’t buy somebody for Christmas or to be upset over what you didn’t get for Christmas? God gave us his son.
8. Remember the gate called Beautiful. Peter and John said they didn’t have silver or gold to give the man begging for alms, but they had the son to offer him. Ex- There was a time that somebody interviewed the late James Cleveland. In the interview he said, “I’ve had my share of life’s ups and downs. God’s been good to me, and the downs have been few. I would guess you can say, God has blessed me, but there’s never been a time in my life, he didn’t bring me through. If anyone should ever write, my life story. For whatever reason there might be. You’d be there (God), between each line of pain and glory. Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to me” Rev James Cleveland was trying to say, we have a gift of grace.
II. Greater than the government
Isaiah 9:6b says “and the government shall be upon his shoulder:”
1. The text is declaring that Jesus will be in conflict with government. There is a portion of the text that says, “Government on his shoulders”. Jesus would be in conflict with the principalities of the earth realms and the spiritual realm. Jesus stood before a court that falsely convicted him. Jesus stood there on the deck facing Pilate. Pilate’s conscious started bothering him. Pilate tried to remind Jesus that he had the power to let him live or die if he would just say what he wanted him to say. Jesus reminded Pilate that he would not have that power if it wasn’t given to him by his father.
2. Those of us that are in relationship with God, because he has authority, know that he has authority over everything trying to have authority over us. Colossians 2:15 says 15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.- Jesus embarrassed them openly. John 14:12 says 12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
3. It is funny how the devil tries to attack you on every level. Some of those levels are:
a. Ground level-Demons possess.
b. Occult level-demons empower witches. This folks speaking crazy stuff in your life.
c. Strategic level-territorial demons that come into your life. Demons can be assigned to certain regions.
d. Regional spirits
e. Witchcraft and generational curses.
4. The devil is a defeated foe and we have a gift greater than whatever the enemy tries to bring into our life. 1 John 4:4 says 4Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5. No matter how hard the government tries to think they are better, there will be a day that they too will have to confess. Romans 14:11 says 11For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. – There will be a day they will have to confess. God is in control. Ex- There are people that had to “stuff- its”. You have so much stuff in your closet and you used to get frustrated because you couldn’t get more stuff inside. The last year has taught us not to rely on our stuff, because the stuff we went through turned our focus back to God. The recession taught us that you can have a lot of clothes, a lot of shoes, and a big house but still not have peace. We have to realize that we have a gift that is greater than depression. We got a gift that is greater than low self esteem. We got a gift that is greater than suicide.
III. Glory of God
Isaiah 9:6c and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
1. The text shows what we completely have in Jesus. What did you get for Christmas? This will be the question come Saturday morning. When people ask you what you got for Christmas you can tell them you got a wonderful counselor, a mighty God, an everlasting Father, and a Prince of Peace.
2. You must understand:
a. Wonderful means things will happen that defy statistical analysis. We can’t put a framework around it. It falls in category of miracles that blow our mind. When you look at some things you have gone through in your life and there’re is no reasonable explanation for why you made it through it, then all you can say is it is just a wonder. You ought to give God the glory just because he is wonderful.
b. Counselor-This has a dual meaning. He is the discerning of the thought needs of man. He can put the heart thoughts of man into a framework or program to get us to a place of wholeness. God is a divine counselor. We don’t have to be able to articulate to him exactly what we have need of. The text says that he knows what we have need of before we even ask. God occupies the seat of both Counselor and the counselee. This is why we cast our cares on him. The other side of counselor is that we call attorneys counselors, because they speak for us and defend the oppressed. Counselor/ Attorney stands between the offended and law. You don’t speak for yourself; your counselor speaks for you. Like this, we have a counselor. When the law said I should die, we had someone pleading our case on our behalf. We had somebody there that said drop the charges. We had a rap sheet, butwe had a dream team working on our case (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost). He has power over sickness and oppression. No matter what is going on, he has the power to change our mind and our life.
c. Everlasting father- No matter what is going on, we can cry daddy and give him glory. Ex- Serena William down 0 to 5. Her father was sitting in the rafters that day. He was out of her eye view. Serena’s father came down and sat closer to the side line. Serena came back and won the match. The media wanted to know how she came back and won after being so far behind. She told the media that her daddy was sitting up high and she couldn’t see him, but he latter came down so that she could see him. She said this motivated her to take here game to the next level. Just like this, when we can see the Father, it should motivate us to go to the next level. You can make a comeback! He is the Prince of Peace. You must understand what you have! When you look at peace, you have to understand what you really have in this.
3. Jesus said he was going to leave us with what we need. When Jesus went back to heaven to be with his father, he told us that he would leave us with Peace. Peace reconciles us back to God. Romans 5:1 says 1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:- You won’t have peace with man or with yourself until you have peace with God. The text tells us of an amazing progressive relationship. It is not about religion, but about relationship. A child is born, a son, an everlasting Father. Look at how this relationship grows. When you first get into relationship he is a child, and then he becomes the son of God when you go through some stuff. When you show nuff start to go through some stuff you thank God is is an Everlasting Father.
4. Peace is “enduring tranquility”- it is consistent. How can you preach about Christmas, without telling the story? There is no glory without story. 750yrs after the prophecy Jesus was born. Luke 2:8-16 says 8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. – It is impossible to have encounter Christ and not give him glory. We complain about too much. You don’t realize what Jesus had to go through just to get here. If nothing else this Christmas, thank him for his glory. Joy to the world the Lord has come!
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