Summary: God began His process of bring us pleasure at Christmas. This sermon shows us the four step process.
“Christmas – the Process of Pleasure”
December 7, 2008
“..Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”
TEXT: “…to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”
This morning we officially enter the Christmas season – at least at our church. This year I heard Christmas music at some stores before Halloween. I remember when it was startling to hear it before Thanksgiving. In our recession, there is fear that you won’t have enough money to spend a lot around Christmas – so the plan is to getting you shopping over a longer period of time – that way the load is dispersed over a longer period of time – and they can still separate you from you money - all in the spirit of Christmas, of course.
Some churches started advent last Sunday. This is actually the second Sunday of advent – so we have to catch up a little. I don’t know about you – but Christmas kind of snuck up on me this year. It’s been kind of an unusual year with the election and the economy and all the emotion and angst of it. But if you think THIS Christmas is a little tough – imagine what it must have been like that first Christmas. The country was under a foreign powers rule. People, whether they had the money or not, whether they had the time or not, whether they had problems or not – had to pack up and travel to their home town to register with the government for a census.
Can you imagine the difficulty? Poor Mary, full term pregnancy and she still had to travel – or be in violation of the law. It was a dark time in history for God’s people, physically, emotionally, economically and spiritually. But at this dark and dangerous time, at this least likely of times, God was sending Light and Salvation and Hope and Freedom from sin. A baby was to be born in Bethlehem who was to save His people from their sin. Our Scripture says He was to rescue us from our enemies and “…to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”
Do you understand that – that is God’s will for you today? He wants to enable you to serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness, all your days. I think every Christian ought to realize that God’s will is for us to serve Him – without fear. We are to serve Him in love. Understand this: Your life is not your own to do with as you wish. You belong to God. Listen to the Bible:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19 -20
He created you physically, David says, “You knew me in my mother’s womb”, but more importantly, He created you spiritually. You were born again – and as Rick Warren says in the first line of the first page of his book, “It’s not about you!” It’s all about God. We were created to bring Him pleasure. Paul puts it this way:
“For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Phil 2:13
God works on our will so that we do “His pleasure”. Now, some people will have a problem with that. They may say, “Well, I want to do what pleases ME! I’m all about MY pleasure – not God’s or anyone else’s pleasure.
They forget (or don’t realize) that God made us. He created us in a certain way. We were created to please Him. We were designed to please Him – and we can not please ourselves any other way. Have you ever known any really happy selfish people? Any self-centered, egotistical people you know that are really happy? I don’t know any. Sometimes we may see movie stars or rock stars that are totally self-centered and users of others, who appear to have it all. But then they turn to drugs and/or alcohol to fill the void – or even end up killing themselves, and they reveal that their way is not the way to happiness. We were created for God’s pleasure – and it is a pleasure, a joy, a delight, to serve Him. The end result is an eternity of unimaginable delight.