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Summary: 1st in two-part series on Christmas using the Polar Express Movie as a backdrop. (See important note at top of sermon text)

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{NOTE: This series is best used with the clips provided by HomeWord with Jim Burns and Max Lucado. You can find many free resources at this link: http://www.homeword.com/PolarExpress/ You may also be able to secure the clips by contacting them.}

THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON: BELIEVE

GET ON BOARD: WHY WE NEED CHRISTMAS

GENESIS 3:1-15

INTRODUCTION TO THE SERIES:

Hero-boy awakens to the sound of a huge train where there should be no train. He finds, as we shall see, not only a train but a conductor who invites him aboard. But the young man has doubts. You can tell from his expressions that he is wondering: “Is this for real?” “Is this a hoax?” “Is this something I need to do?” The conductor certainly thinks so... Encounter with the conductor CLIP 1:41.

“If I was you, I would think of climbing on board.” As the conductor highly recommends that hero-boy climb aboard the Polar Express, I highly recommend this movie. The story has a great deal to say to us about child-like faith. Although not a blatantly Christian movie it is a feel good story with an important message that says, “Often the most important things in the world are the things you cannot see.” Well, for the next two weeks I want to use some of this award winning story to help us focus on Christmas. Jesus often took modern day issues of his time and used it to make a God honoring point. And today so many people are caught up in the “holiday spirit” without realizing the real meaning of the season. So, like hero-boy, this Christmas season, I want us to climb aboard too. Oh, not on some imagined train but on the real ride.. One that leads not to the North Pole but to heaven. You see, Christmas is all about the way to heaven. For if Jesus Christ hadn’t come, there would be no hope for you or I. So, let’s climb aboard and this Christmas season... believe, in the real reason for the season. (Pray)

INTRODUCTION TO THE SERMON:

I want to begin by talking about our need for Christmas. To do that I want to focus on an O.T. scripture, one that you might not think of when you think of right away for this time of year, but one that from the beginning tells us about our need for Christmas. Gen. 2 & 3 reveals our longing for perfection with God, how we created alienation from God & then our need for reconciliation back to God. All which speaks of our great need for Christmas.

I. PERFECTION WITH GOD:

Genesis 2 describes man’s perfect existence in the garden of Eden. It shows that God created an ideal environment for man to live. 2:8-ff. “Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he placed the man he had created.”(NLT)

Now, I want you to notice at least 5 things that describe the Garden of Eden as the perfect place to dwell. (1) It was a beautiful place, it was gorgeous. I picture it like the Black Canyon, a beach on Maui, & some botanical garden, all wrapped into one- a beautiful place. (2) It was a productive place. The trees were good for food. Adam and Eve didn’t have to worry about chemicals or about insects or worms in their apples, they just picked that luscious fruit every day and it supplied their need. (3) It was an eternal place- In the middle of the garden was the tree of life, and as long as they had access to that tree they did not age, nor did they die. Apparently, in this food were the ingredients that enabled man to live forever; not a fountain of youth but a tree of everlasting life. (4) Eden was also the place of a perfect marriage. God brought man and woman together here and they lived in a flawless, loving, harmonious, relationship: an ideal, perfect marriage. I have a good marriage and a wonderful wife but our marriage isn’t perfect. I’m not always as patient or as encouraging as I should be. Deb isn’t as organized or timely as she’d like to be sometimes. And there are some other problems, some that I will not talk about publicly.. Those of you that have heard me preach know that I’m transparent but I’m not a total idiot. But it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Pastor doesn’t have a perfect marriage because neither do any of you. But Adam & Eve did! There was no past to forgive, no accusations, no baggage, no childhood fears, no lies, no physical flaws, no inhibitions.. it was paradise. 2:25 says, "Now although the man and his wife were both naked, neither of them was embarrassed or ashamed."(LB)


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