Summary: A Christmas Sermon
Sermon for 12/22/2002
Rejoice, Hear, Follow
A. Around Christmas time the post office has to hire temporary workers to deliver the Christmas cards. Business goes up for them around this time of the year.
B. Also business goes up for the Card Makers. Big cash cows for them.
C. A love getting Christmas cards.
D. Get great sermon ideas from Christmas cards. If I keep them a few years, can white out the name and sign my name and send them again.
A. A good one from Christine Yates. A mother and beautician from Durham, North Carolina who moved to Greenville. Daughter who was secretary for a time.
Thesis: May the celebration of Christmas cause us to rejoice like the angels, hear like the shepherds, and follow like the wise men!
I. Rejoice like the angels
A. Luke 2:8-14
B. Alan Perkins- God wants us to rejoice in the birth of His Son, and we can rejoice, even though our circumstances are far from perfect. You may be stressed out, cranky, emotionally raw, and sleep-deprived; your credit cards may be maxed out; you may not be able to find the one toy your children say they absolutely must have; the toy without which their Christmas will be hollow and empty; you may be disgusted at the crass commercialism that has taken over the holidays; and you may be anticipating Christmas at your in-laws with more dread than delight – but you can still rejoice in the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There has never been a perfect Christmas, not even the very first one. But that shouldn’t keep us from rejoicing.
C. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ; if you have confessed your sins and trusted in His death as payment for sin; if you have been buried with Christ in baptism for salvation and eternal life– then you have all the reason in the world to rejoice this Christmas, regardless of your circumstances. There is no such thing as a perfect Christmas, and there never has been. But we do have a perfect Savior, and we can rejoice in that.
D. (John 16:22 NIV) So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
II. Hear like the shepherds.
A. Luke 2:15-20
B. The Shepherds listened and obeyed.
C. A man went inside a telephone booth and dialed the number of a friend. When the connection was made, the friend kept saying, “I can’t hear you; speak louder; I can’t hear you.” All he could hear was the roar of the traffic in the background. “Shut the door so I can hear,” he said to the caller. In order to hear Goid’s voice speaking to you, you’ve got to shut the door to the outside world so that its enticements won’t distract you. Doing this could change your whole life. Then when you go back into the crowd, you’ll not only be able to listen to what the world has to say, but you’ll have something to say to the world that you’ve personally heard from God.
D. (Mat 13:13 NIV) This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.(Mat 13:14 NIV) In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "’You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.(Mat 13:15 NIV) For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’(Mat 13:16 NIV) But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.(Mat 13:17 NIV) For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
E. (Rev 1:3 NIV) Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
III. Follow Like the Wise Men
B. Follow Me and I will make You fishers of men.
C. (1 Pet 2:21 NIV) To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
D. (John 21:18 NIV) I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."(John 21:19 NIV) Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"(John 21:20 NIV) Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?")(John 21:21 NIV) When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?"(John 21:22 NIV) Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."