Summary: A Christmas sermon looking at the main characters in the Christmas story, Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, and the Magi, and how they followed and served God's purposes despite the consequences, difficulties, and hardships they faced.
Serving God Regardless of the Consequences
As we prepare for Christmas I thought I’d start up with where we left off during the Thanksgiving holidays when we looked at being grateful during the inevitabilities of life, and how to maintain the ministries graciously given by God. Therefore, with Christmas and New Years are right around the corner I’d thought it appropriate to look at those within the Christmas story and how they, despite the consequences, served God.
Consider the price Jesus paid when He came down that Christmas morning thinking more about you and me than He did Himself. He truly is love personified. Listen for a moment to the extent of that love.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NKJV)
“(Jesus) made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:7-8 NKJV)
But it’s what Jesus said, as He washed the feet of the disciples, that has tremendous significance as we look at the Christmas season and what lies beyond.
“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.” (John 13:15-16 NKJV)
What did Jesus do? Simply put, He came to seek and save the lost regardless of the consequences. He came to serve no matter what it was going to cost Him, which we all know was His life, as He took our place and died the death we all deserve.
And if we are called upon by Jesus to follow His example, then what we need to decide once and for all this Christmas is to serve God regardless of the consequences. We need to let this Christmas be the turning point where we decide not only to follow Jesus, but also to serve God no matter what the cost may be.
This is what we see in those who were such an integral part of the Christmas story. I think we’ll be amazed at the heart of those God saw fit to bless. And hopefully we’ll come away with our minds made up to serve God in the same way.
In His parable of the tower, Jesus said we are to count the cost and then move forward and build, not back away because the cost may be too high. When we get this firmly settled in our minds then we can truly live out what Jesus tells us, taking no thought as to our lives, what we will eat, or what we will wear. In fact we’ll give no thought on what tomorrow may bring, but instead we’ll seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness knowing that He will supply all our needs, Matthew 6:25-33.
Maybe think about it like this. Let’s say you ask someone to marry you, and they say yes. But then everyday you have to re-convince them they made the right decision. Or they say yes but they want to continue living with their parents, and you have to convince them that it’s not a great idea, or even a viable option.
Now consider how the Lord feels when we, who claim to be Christians, who have accepted His proposal to be His bride, argue about everything He tells us to do?
• Yes Lord I’ll follow, so long as it isn’t overseas or in some bad neighborhood.
• Yes Lord I’ll follow, but do I have to tithe?
• Yes Lord I’ll follow, but do I have to do it this way? Can’t I do it my own way? Why can’t I just text or e-mail them? Do I have to go over to their house?
Every time there is a chance to serve God we put it under a microscope and check it once and then check it twice to see if it’s good or nice. It’s like trying to decide whether or not to come to a Sunday morning or evening worship service, or being a part of a Bible study, saying we’ve got something else we want to do.
I mean if we were God, how would we respond when we ask a friend to come over to our house to meet with us only to have them question whether or not it is something that they really want to do?
We need to settle in our hearts to serve God regardless of the consequences. It’s where we’ve counted the cost and have decided that following Jesus and His calling upon our lives is worth it.