Summary: Part 4 of 7 in the teaching series, "Storybooks, Fairytales & the Life God Wants You to Have."

This week we continue our teaching series, "Storybooks, Fairytales & the Life God Wants You to Have" and we also celebrate this morning the second Sunday of Advent. The past couple of weeks, we’ve looked at a couple of areas in our lives that prevent us from living out the life that God wants us to have.

:: Wrap Up: Dragons & Towers ::

• Dragons stand in our way and prevent us from living a life of obedience

• Towers hold us captive and keep us from experiencing a life that is free and full

• Life on our level is lived in difficulty, in oppression, in addiction, in brokenness, and in conflict. Life on our level – with the best that our ideals can offer and achieve – is still a life lived in darkness with manufactured aspects of the life God offers.

:: The Life God Wants You to Have ::

Isaiah 9:2, 6

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. 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.”

• For most of us, these are words of encouragement and affirmation

• They remind us of the faith that we have found, of hope awakened in us by Jesus Christ

:: A Tale of Two Saviors

Luke 2:1-5

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.

Matthew 2:1-3

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem.

Question: If the birth of Jesus was going to be about bringing light into the world, restoring relationship with God, and fulfilling the promise of a Savior who would deliver his people from their oppression, why would this news disturb everyone who heard it?

:: History of the World, part 1

• The year is 27 BC. Julius Caesar had been assassinated about 17 years ago, and the Roman Republic is in a state of uprising and unrest as various factions vie for control and power.

• Up to this point the Republic has been held together by a young man named Octavian, Caesar’s grand-nephew. Octavian was determined to restore order within the Republic, to unify the government and the nations who swore allegiance to Rome.

• Much of this is accomplished through brutal force – Octavian controls the largest forces within the Roman Republic, and his opponents were not nearly as rich or as resourced. He was a man who was both respected and feared. He showed little mercy to those who opposed him – he had over 300 soldiers executed in an afternoon for siding with his political opponent. He was also quick to act against those whom he considered a threat – he ordered Caesarion, the son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra to be killed. At 17, Caesarion was the co-ruler of Eqypt alongside his mother Cleopatra. He was executed by Octavian’s forces with the words sent by Octavian, “Two Caesar’s is one too many.”

• However, Octavian’s objectives to restore unity, peace and leadership were mostly achieved, even if by force and conquest. Because of these victories and achievements, the Roman Senate approached Octavian and asked him to lead the provinces of the Republic, granting him extra-constitutional power and making him the most powerful political figure in all of Rome.

• In 27 BC, the Senate gave Octavian the title, “Augustus” or “Illustrious One,” a title of religious, rather than political authority. According to Roman religious belief, the title stamped Octavian’s authority over all humanity and nature. Octavian quickly expanded this title, proclaiming himself to be, “Imperator Caesar divi filius” or “Commander Caesar, Son of the Deified One.” He chose “Imperator” to be his first name, desiring to associate all of Rome’s victories with himself.

• Caesar Augustus wanted his reign as Emperor of the Roman Empire to be recognized as a new era of peace and prosperity for his people – so he adopted the title, Augustus, Bringer of Peace. He was soon known as the Savior of the Empire, bringing peace and salvation to all its people.

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