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Summary: CELEBRATE A WONDERFUL LIFE AT CHRISTMAS KNOWING THAT SERVING MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

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It's a Wonderful Life

Rediscovering it this Advent Season

Because Serving Makes a Difference

2nd Sunday of Advent 12/7/08

INTRODUCTION

What do you think of when you hear the word service?

Military?

Waitress?

Tennis?

Tea Service?

Car Service?

Church Service?

This Christmas I want to suggest we all think of George Bailey.

George Bailey has a dream. He wants to travel and see the world, and then he wants to settle down in a big city to school, become an engineer and build things. He has been saving for that day when he can just get away from Bedford falls.

But he has learned a valuable lesson from his father. He doesn't know it yet, but he is about to learn that it is a wonderful life because serving makes a difference. What this video clip with me.

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George Bailey will learn that he's got a wonderful life because of serving others. Paul in the letter to the Philippians leads us to that same truth.

Turn with me to Phil 2:1-11.

Phil 2:1-11

2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

NIV

t.s. Paul would have understood that at Christmas . . .

CELEBRATE A WONDERFUL LIFE AT CHRISTMAS KNOWING THAT SERVING MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

I. Serving is a reflection of what Jesus did. 2:5-11

There are some shocking things about Christmas. It centers on a sacrifice so great that we struggle to comprehend it.

Most kingdoms do anything they can to protect their king. This is the unspoken premise of the game of chess. There is a rule, you cannot move the king and place him in check. If he is in check you must defend him. for example. When the king falls, the kingdom is lost. You lose. Christmas is just the opposite the King, Jesus moves into check and will ultimately die. He loses and we will.

That Example is at the heart of Christ.

Paul wrote:

Phil 2:5-11

Who, being in very nature God, . . . made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. . . , he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross.

A. Demoted -- Because of our need

* Jesus went from the glory of angelic adoration, to birth in a manger.

B. Humbled -- Because of our sin

* The second person of the Trinity is beaten, humiliated, and nailed to a cross.

C. Submitted -- Because of God's Plan

* Jesus started in heaven and came down to earth, in flesh, as a servant, submitting to death.

* Our sin was the reason why Christ willingly experienced demotion.

The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity--hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory--because at the Father's will Jesus Christ became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later he might hang on a cross.

J I Packer

* The problem we all face is the gap between our moral standing and the perfection of God.

Illustration: A prisoner cannot serve another inmate's time, because he has his own sentence to serve.

* Only Jesus could be the bridge between our sin and God's holiness.

Serving others makes a difference.

II. Serving is a Statement that others matter.

At Christmas we can easily fall into the trap of believing that "it's all About Me"

My Christmas list, my fantasies, my plans, my hopes.

* Paul challenges us to remembering that others matter.

Phil. 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

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