God's truth for today's world

messiahs sacrificeThis Christmas season, our message series is about “Jesus the Messiah.” In this series, we’re looking at prophesies of Old Testament prophets concerning the coming Messiah. The Messiah the prophets spoke of was the Anointed One. He was to be a coming King and the Savior of the people of God. Those aspects of the Messiah were what the Jewish people were looking for, someone to fight their battles, to free them from oppression and to lead their nation.

However, the prophets also spoke of the coming Messiah as a suffering servant. The prophet Isaiah spoke of this messianic suffering servant most extensively in Isaiah chapters 52 and 53. These two chapters are quoted in the New Testament more than any other Old Testament passage. Although the first century Jews had difficulty in reconciling the Messiah as King with the Messiah as suffering servant, we can now understand how they fit together in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to this earth 2000 years ago as the suffering servant, who would give His life as a sacrifice to save sinners who believed in Him. When Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended into heaven as King of Kings. Yet, the fullness of His kingly rule and His Kingdom will not be fully realized until He returns to the earth. Today’s message is entitled “Messiah’s Sacrifice” and we’ll be looking at a prophecy of Isaiah about the Messiah as the suffering servant of God.

Isaiah 52:13 (NIV) See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.

The Messiah, Jesus Christ, is God’s servant. Everything that He does is wise. Even though Jesus was God’s servant and served His disciples on the earth, the promise is that He would be raised and highly exalted.

Isaiah 52:14 (NIV) Just as there were many who were appalled at him– his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness—

Yet, this servant would be attacked, crucified and killed on a cross. But this was no surprise to God or to Jesus Christ, the Messiah. It was part of God’s incredible plan of salvation.

Isaiah 52:15 (NIV) so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

The blood of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, would serve as a sacrifice, sprinkling the nations, providing salvation for all who would believe. So, when Jesus was born 2000 years ago as a baby, He was born to give His life as a messianic sacrifice. His sacrifice would make it possible for the sins of mankind to be forgiven and for people to have an eternal relationship with God.

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messiahs miraclesToday is the first Sunday in December and we all are beginning to think about Christmas. Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in the world, celebrating the birth of Christ. The date of December 25 was set in the 4th century. It was set at exactly nine months after the traditional date for the conception of Jesus, March 25. The celebration of Christmas is not commanded or even mentioned in the Bible. Yet, the Christmas holiday is here to stay. Rather than ignoring it, God would have us redeem the holiday for Him.

As Christians, we should help others reflect on the miracle of Jesus being born. Not just another baby, but God incarnate, fully human and fully divine. Jesus came to be born on this earth on a mission from God. A mission that led to our salvation and the possibility of eternal life for the entire world.

Today, we begin our Christmas message series, which I’ve entitled, Jesus the Messiah. So, let’s begin by talking about what the Messiah means. When you read the Old Testament prophets, you will see that they are looking toward to a coming Savior. A coming King who will bring the exiles back to the promised land. This Savior King is referred to as the Anointed One, which is what the word Messiah stands for. This Messiah would bring the Kingdom of God to this earth. He would bring justice and righteousness, along with judgment on all of God’s enemies.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

We see from the prophet Isaiah, that this Messiah would be a human child who would grow to be a King. From the Messiah’s titles, we see that not only would He be human, He also would be God. The Messiah would reign over the kingdom of God with justice and righteousness forever. So, the true believers in the Jewish nation had been longing for a Messiah for thousands of years.

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the work of the spiritFor many people, the Holy Spirit is the least understood member of the Trinity. Many churches talk about Jesus and the Father, but give little attention to the Holy Spirit. I trust that this series, has given us a better appreciation for the member of the God head that is actively engaged in our lives and in our world today.

Today, our concluding message in the series is entitled “The Work of the Spirit.” We’re going to give an overview about what the Spirit does, so we can get to know Him better. The Spirit has been active in our world since creation.

Genesis 1:2 (NIV) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

The Spirit was the power of God active in creating the physical universe in respond to the Word of God. The Holy Spirit was the power behind the conception of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in the womb of the virgin Mary.

Luke 1:35 (NIV) The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Jesus, God’s Son, was born some 2000 years ago, both fully human and fully divine. His human nature coming through Mary and divine nature through the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the power behind both Jesus’ words and His miracles during His earthly ministry.

Matthew 12:28 (NIV) But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

It was the power of the Spirit working through Jesus that allowed Him to drive demons out of people and set them free. Just as Jesus lived in the power of the Spirit, so we also need to live in that same power. We need the power of the Spirit to be followers of Jesus.

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the order of the spiritWe’re drawing to a close in our Living in the Spirit message series. Next Sunday will be our concluding message, entitled “The Work of the Spirit.” In this series, we’ve gotten an overview of how the Holy Spirit can work in and through our lives. If you’ve missed any messages, you can watch them online on our website. If you’re a regular attender and you miss a Sunday, we strongly encourage you to watch it online, so that you don’t miss out on what God has for your life.

Today, our message is “The Order of the Spirit.” We’re going to be talking about the public use of spiritual gifts in a church or small group meeting. With respect to spiritual gifts, there are two kinds of churches. The first kind believes the Bible regarding the continuation of spiritual gifts to our time. This kind of church may be referred to as a continualist, Spirit-filled or Pentecostal church. Life Church is part of the Assemblies of God, the largest Spirit-filled denomination in the world with about 70 million people.

The second kind of church doesn’t believe what the Bible teaches regarding spiritual gifts. They believe that the spiritual gifts ceased when the Bible was completed. These churches are referred to as cessationist churches. Most denominational churches are cessationist. Religious political correctness today says it really doesn’t matter what churches believe, as long as they get salvation right. One church believes one thing, another other things, it’s just diversity, kind of like what flavor of ice cream you like. It really doesn’t matter. That thinking is completely incorrect. The Bible gives us direct commands regarding what to believe. If a church gets it wrong, it is a serious issue. Lives will be lost for eternity with every issue a church gets wrong and thereby disobeys God’s word. I believe that before Jesus returns, the church will be united in Spirit and in truth.

1 Corinthians 14:1 (NIV)  Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.

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the gifts of the spiritToday, we’re continuing our Living in the Spirit message series. We need the power of the Spirit in greater measure in our personal lives and in our church.

This morning, my message is entitled “The Gifts of the Spirit.” The gifts of the Spirit are supernatural gifts that the Spirit gives to believers to accomplish God’s purposes. The Greek word for spiritual gifts if charismata, which means gifts of grace. These gifts are not optional, they are great importance in your spiritual life and in the life of the church. Yet, they are not well understood and even less utilized in many churches, including ours. What is the purpose of spiritual gifts?

Acts 1:8 (NIV)  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Jesus teaches us in this verse that the power of the Holy Spirit, which is manifested through spiritual gifts, is to equip believers to be witnesses. We see spiritual gifts being used in evangelism in the ministry of Jesus and the early church over and over. Not only are spiritual gifts of great use in evangelism, they are also useful for building up the church.

1 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV)  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

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