Summary: We can look at the steps of preparing for Christmas to explain the necessary steps of "preparing for a spiritual celebration". a) a cleaning b) a rearranging c) the redocorating and d) the celebration.
A. SERIES: Preparing for Christmas 2007
1. Part 1: The Truth About Traditions
A Reminder not to allow our Customs and Traditions to Cover up the Real Celebration!
2. Today: Preparing the Heart
B. What do you do to prepare for Christmas?
Deb loves to decorate at Christmas. The first thing, in getting ready for the tree, is a real cleaning. Everything has to be cleaned to get ready for the tree.
Then the house/room is re-arranged. You have to make room for the tree, decorations, and gifts.
And What decoration!. The fireplace becomes arranged with decorations and greenery. The tablecloth on the dining room table is changed and now is no longer a table. Finally, the tree goes up, all of the lights and ornaments!
The PREPARATION is COMPLETE! The shopping begins making multiple trips to various stores and shopping centers. I admit that I can’t stand to shop with Deb, but I love to watch her wrap and put all of the gifts under the tree. She’s like a child!
THEN THE DAY OF ANTICIPATION – THE CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION!
C. How Is Your House
Does it sound like your house? It may be a little different here or there but the process is the same!
Today, I want us to draw from that process and think about the steps necessary to have a SPIRITUAL CELEBRATION!
WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS for a SPIRITUAL CELEBRATION?
Debbie and her Steps of Preparing for Christmas is our illustration!
1. The Cleaning
2. The Rearranging
3. The Decorating
4. The Celebration
So today, let’s truly prepare for Christmas.
I. THE CLEANING
To get ready for that special TREE, it begins with a real cleaning getting everything ready for the decorations. Likewise in order to have a real Spiritual Celebration, there must be A SPIRITUAL CLEANSING!
KEY VERSE FROM SERMON ON THE MOUNT!
READ MATTHEW 5:8
Two KEY Words:
1. “Blessed” means “HAPPY” - “Happy” are the pure in heart…
2. “Pure” means “to be cleansed” – It has the thought of being “spiritually cleansed” and is a process that continues!
The “Pure in heart” are the “happy in heart” and the promise is that they shall SEE GOD!
A. EASIER SAID THAN DONE!
I don’t know about you but there are a lot of days when my heart seems more polluted than pure.
1. I still get angry when things don’t go the way I expect them to go.
2. I get frustrated when I try my best at something and still get second best results.
3. I still lose my temper over stupid and insignificant problems that don’t matter.
I mean there are days that I don’t feel “pure”.
B. THINK ABOUT YOUR LIFE!
Maybe none of this applies to you. Maybe you aren’t like me and you have your life completely together. Maybe you have no problem with this “pure in heart” issue.
But for those of you like me and still struggle with being pure in heart, I have a question?
…HOW CAN WE BECOME PURE IN HEART THIS CHRISTMAS?
- Have you heard the expression: “I have GOOD NEWS and BAD NEWS”?
- The BAD NEWS is that there is NOTHING you can do to make your heart pure.
- The GOOD NEWS is that GOD CAN.
C. DAVID had the same problem.
1. Days that his heart was pure and clean and happy and blessed.
2. Days that he was in torment, confusion, loneliness and anything but pure.
(it’s easy to see this in his writing especially in Psalms)
DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT HE DID? He asked God for A CLEANSING!
Ps. 51:10 he asked God for this exact thing – He wanted a “Spiritual Cleansing”: “Create in me a pure heart and renew in me a steadfast spirit within me”.
WE CAN REQUEST A SPIRITUAL CLEANSING!
(READ THE NIV 1ST – THEN THE NLT)
Hebrews 10:22 (NLT)
22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
II. THE REARRANGING
Not only is there a serious cleaning at our house but also a rearranging. Sometimes, to find real happiness, we need to REARRANGE THE HEART!
READ MATTHEW 6:33
Just as Debbie rearranges the house for Christmas, sometimes our schedules, our priorities, and our focus need to be rearranged to give God the Room to Work.
1. The LAODICEAN CHURCH
READ REVELATION 3:20
This verse was written to the Church from Laodicea. It was a town that was built on wealth – very rich in material possessions. Jesus warned them because of the CHOICE OF PRIORITIES.
READ REVELATION 3:15-16
2. Do you need a REARRANGING OF YOUR PRIORITIES?