This week I continued our Christmas series entitled, “A Christmas Story.” We started in Luke 2 noting some things about the story. Mary took a tough journey to make it to
because of the
census requirements that Joseph return to his home tribe of the line of David. An angel appears to shepherds. Why shepherds? Jesus is the shepherd (pastors help the
shepherd but are not the shepherd). His
job is to keep the Word out there and keep the sheep straying into
darkness. These particular shepherds in
this particular hill just outside of Bethlehem
kept the flocks that were used as sacrificial lambs in the temple. This was kind of like their notice that they
would be out of a job soon. Bethlehem
In light of the events in
last Friday, I included some
additional thoughts to the sermon I planned.
Whether we are asking ourselves
the question or are being asked the question by others, when things like this
happen we attempt to reconcile the “why?” I saw a friend post on Facebook that
he understands that God created us with free will, but shouldn’t He reserve the
right to do something to stop things like this from happening? At Living Word we, without a doubt, believe
that God is ALWAYS a good God. So, then how do we explain something like this? Connecticut
The Christmas story itself helps us understand a little bit about how God has established His interaction with man and the earth. As I was praying in preparation to teach the Lord showed me something about His character that literally brought tears to my eyes. That gut-wrenching feeling we have over senseless loss; He has felt that EVERY time any man suffers, dies, is devastated, is sick, or lives hungry and in poverty. It is just as senseless to Him. When God created this earth and put man here, He gave man dominion and authority. He knew what would happen when Adam and Eve chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But mankind chose it.
God is bound by His own Word. Look at every time that God needed something big to happen on earth. He has always had to find a man willing to be obedient to His Word – because that is how things operate on earth. It was that care and concern that God has for us that drove Him to do what HAD to be done to begin to fix what man broke. He came to earth as a MAN to set things straight. Could God just have thrown Satan in the fiery pit and been done with it? Yes, He has to power to do it. But He would have acted in opposition to His Word in doing so. His Word is the very power that holds the universe together. His Word is Who He is. He is bound to His Word or nothing He says is true.
The good news is that the enemy has the same limitation. You know that Satan cannot not simply kill anyone he desires. If he could none of us would be here. He also works through man like God. There are two kingdoms at work on this earth and all of mankind is empowering one or the other with every thought, word, and action. Whatever we do in agreement with God’s Word will empower His kingdom. Whatever we do that is contrary to His Word will build the enemy’s kingdom. The main things that empower the enemy’s kingdom are fear and lies. It is as simple as that.
We must also settle on the idea that God had nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with what happened in
. It wasn’t part of His perfect
plan and He didn’t need a few more angels in heaven (that’s not how it works
anyway). The enemy’s victories become greater when we take what he does and
attribute it to the One Great God. God
will redeem and use everything Satan does for good, but God would never take
people’s children or “take someone because He needed them in heaven.” These statements may make us feel better, but
really they build misconceptions about God as a doer of evil. He cried even before it happened because He
knew it would before it was ever conceived.
Until the day that Jesus comes back and the enemy is thrown into the lake of fire, horrible things will continue to happen on this earth. But God is not the one doing the destroying. He is full of light and life. Jesus was sent to be a light in this world – to push back the darkness. Darkness cannot exist where there is light and it cannot drive back light. Darkness is simply an absence of light (like cold is an absence of heat). The ONLY thing that will push back this darkness in our world is more light shining through God’s people – not more religion, judgment and condemnation, but more light, grace and love.
In Luke 2, the Angels speak to the shepherd in the fields about a great and joyous light that had entered the world. Their first words were “do not be afraid.” Joshua 1 echoes this same charge. John 1 tells us why meditating on the Word was important, as well as being strong and courageous. The good news was that the advancement of the enemy’s kingdom could be halted. This Christmas, take hold of that light and let it shine through you and to a world in darkness.
To listen to the entire sermon go to http://ahwatukeechurch.com/ and click on online media. To learn more about Living Word Ahwatukee, visit http://ahwatukeechurch.com/.