This 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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Our message series this month is called “Praying with Jesus.” Did you know that the Bible teaches that Jesus is praying for you right now? He wants us to join our prayers with His in order to see God do great things. So, when He was here on this earth, Jesus gave us instructions on how to pray prayers that get answered. Part of those instructions are found in the Lord’s Prayer, an example prayer to teach us how to pray better.

Today, my message is entitled “The Importance of Forgiveness.” We’re going to be talking about the place of forgiveness in prayer, both receiving forgiveness from God for ourselves and giving forgiveness to those who have sinned against us. A woman named Dawn Smith Jordan learned about forgiveness through a very difficult time. Dawn’s seventeen-year-old sister Shari was kidnapped and murdered just two days before her high school graduation. After the body was found, the killer phoned the family several times and described in detail the killing. Eventually, the murderer was caught and given the death sentence. Dawn and her family thought that this difficult chapter in their lives was over. However, the story wasn’t over. A few years later, the convicted murderer wrote Dawn’s family a letter. He told them that he had become a Christian and asked them to forgive him. What would you have done? How would you have responded?

Today, we’re going to look at the part of the Lord’s Prayer dealing with forgiveness.

Matthew 6:12 (NIV)  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

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We’re in a message series called “Keep Your Dream Alive.” God wants you to have His dream for your life. He wants you to have hope for a great future, both in this life and the life to come. Yet, there are many things that will try to squelch or kill your dream. Many people give up on God’s dream for their lives and live with little to look forward to. Others become angry and bitter at people or even God Himself, when things don’t seem to work out for their dream. Anger and bitterness come from unforgiveness, which will kill God’s dream for your life. Each one of us will need to learn forgiveness in order to keep our dreams alive.

Today, my message is entitled “Learning Forgiveness.” When do we need to learn forgiveness? We need to learn to forgive when someone hurts us or seems to do damage to the dream for the future that we have for our lives. When a person doesn’t forgive, then anger and bitterness creep into and begin to destroy our lives.

Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV) Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

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We’re currently in a message series called “How God Sees You.” In this series, we’re looking at God’s Word to better understand how God sees each one of us. Our goal in this series is to grow in seeing ourselves and others as God sees. I believe that seeing your world correctly begins with seeing yourself correctly. If we don’t have an accurate view of ourselves, then we won’t see others the way that God sees them.

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