Summary: Like preparing for Christmas, God wishes to prepare us for Jesus by providing to us a Spiritual Cleansing, a Re-Decorating of the Heart, and an Exchange of Gifts
Time is close! Down to the last few moments – “The Final Preparation” for Christmas?
What do YOU HAVE YET TO DO to prepare for Christmas?
In MY HOUSE, Deb has a certain formula for preparing for this special season. In fact, of all the special times of the year, this the one she enjoys most. And while SHE MAY KILL ME, the way SHE PREPARES for this special season is my sermon today!
3 Steps in Preparing For Christmas at My House!
1. First Is The Cleansing
First, you have to get everything ready for the Christmas Tree. But the placement of the Tree, TO DEB ANYWAY, gives her the excuse to REDORATE the entire room!
You have to move furniture. And when you move that furniture, it exposes all the covered up dust and dirt and Grandchildren toys. So the FIRST thing that takes place at my house as you get ready for the Tree is a REAL CLEANSING!
Not only for the tree in the Great Room, but Fireplace, Windows, and the Table!
2. Now The Re-Decorating
Now the RE-DECORATING of the house! The fireplace becomes a stocking holder. The windows become candle light holders! The tablecloth becomes the Christmas Tablecloth you don’t use! The tree goes up, the lights go on, the ornaments go on, and then the grandchildren add the final touches! Close to the big day!
3. Finally, Christmas Day & The Exchange of Gifts
This is Deb’s favorite part As she buys presents during the several weeks up to Christmas, you begin to see that special gleam in her eye. As she wraps the gifts, she gets more and more excited. She’s like a child that won’t quit even after the parents threaten!
C. Does it sound like your Christmas Preparation?
Well, actually, my sermon this morning shows that just as we prepare for Christmas, Christ wants to prepare us for Himself! And since Deb is gone, I’m using her for my main illustration of HOW GOD WANTS US TO PREPARE for the real Christmas – when we see Jesus face to face!
1. A Cleaning of the Heart
2. The Decorating of the Heart
3. The Exchange of Gifts
I. THE CLEANING OF THE HEART Matthew 5.8
First, Deb gets ready for the Christmas Tree by doing a thorough cleansing. Jesus wants to do the same thing.
READ MATTHEW 5.8
3 Parts To This Verse:
1. “Blessed” = from the Grk - mak-ar’-ee-os—it’s meaning is to be fortunate – to be happy
So Jesus begins by saying “Happy is the pure in heart”
2. “Pure” – means to be cleansed! But it describes an on-going Cleansing!
One is spiritually cleansed at the moment of salvation. But that’s only the beginning.
Notice how John describes it in…
1 John 3:2-3 (NIV)
“2 … what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies (CLEANSES) himself, just as he is pure.”
As we are cleansed we become like Jesus and the more like Him we are, the more our thoughts, our desires, our actions and our prayers agree with His thoughts, desires, and actions – His will. And the closer to Him we become, the more we are able …
3. “they shall see God” – The promise!
Through the eyes of faith, they shall SEE God!
Ps 51:10 “create in me a pure (clean) heart O God, and renew (a ongoing process) a steadfast spirit within me”
Like David teaches, we can’t do this cleansing. God has to. But we allow Him by making Him Lord of all. “Happy are the cleansed in heart. Through eyes of faith, they shall see God”
II. THE REDECORATING OF THE HEART (Exekiel 36:25)
As God CLEANSES the heart He is now able to REDECORATE THE HEART with things of God – a NEW HEART full of things of God.
READ VERSE 25 (Again it begins with a cleansing)
READ VERSE 26
1. “I will give you a new heart”
New appetites – new desires – new passions. And like the cleansing – it’s a process that is ongoing!
2. “will put a new spirit within you”
I will renew your minds, also enlighten your understanding, your judgment, and your will, so that you shall have a new spirit from within.
3. “remove the stony heart”
A stony heart of coldness – one that is hard and un-teachable.
Do you possess a TEACHEABLE heart with God.
ILL: In 30 + years of ministry, I have seen staff (administrative and ministerial), leaders, and workers come and go because of a lack of teachable spirit!
4. “give you a heart of flesh”