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Sample Seasonal Sermon

KODAK MOMENTS IN

THE LIFE OF CHRIST

(Christmas)

 

Preached: ______________________

Text: Luke 2:8-14

Introduction: Christmas is a very special time of the year. It is one of the happiest times of the year for most folks. But it is not only the happiest time of the year for some folks, it is also a very sad time for others.

Illus: The statistics tell us that suicides rank high at this time of the year.

WHY IS THIS A SAD TIME OF THE YEAR FOR SOME FOLKS?

It is especially sad for some folks for two reasons:

(1) SOME HAVE SUFFERED A DIVORCE

This Christmas is the first year they have had without their marriage partner. THIS IS TRULY A SAD TIME FOR THEM.

(2) SOME HAVE SUFFERED A DEATH

This is the first Christmas for some who have lost a companion to death. While we are rejoicing in the true meaning of Christmas, our hearts and prayers go out to those who have lost a companion to divorce or death. THIS TRULY IS A SAD TIME FOR THEM.

I mention these things, not to make you sad, but because we who are here today, want you to know that you are not forgotten. And if we can be of help to you in any way, please do not hesitate to call on us.

But for the majority, Christmas is the happiest time of the year. Especially those who know that Christmas is not just a happy holiday as the lost world tries to portray it, it is because they know that HE IS TRULY THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!

Today, let us take some time and look at SOME KODAK MOMENTS IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST.

In Luke chapter two, I would like to show you some snapshots of His marvelous life.

I. BEHOLD THE BABY

Look at verses 8-11, we read, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

What a beautiful snapshot this is of the Lord Jesus.

Illus: There is a song called, "The Wonder of Wonders!" The song expresses this thought: she held in her arms the one who created her.

Childbirth is absolutely amazing. If you get a group of mothers together, they all would have some exciting stories they could tell of their experience with childbirth. But so could some of the dads.

Illus: Such is the case of the man who rushed his wife to the hospital when she was having a baby. The father-to-be drove his wife, Betty, quickly to the hospital, speeding past the admitting entrance. "Bill, that's where we're supposed to go," Betty said. "No, Honey," Bill said. "I saw a sign that said ALL DELIVERIES IN THE REAR OF THE BUILDING." (Robin Greenspan, Chester, Massachusetts, Christian Reader, "Lite Fare.)

Yes, you can put all the mothers who have ever lived in one room, and they all could share their experiences with childbirth. Some would say:

"I had my child in the back seat of a taxi."

"I had my child on an elevator."

"I had my child at home."

Many would say, "I had my baby in the hospital." And many could say, "Yes, so did we," to all these things.

But if you had all the mothers in one room sharing their childbirth experiences, when Mary began to tell how she gave birth to baby Jesus, they all would have to hush and listen with awe! Not a mother on the face of this earth could say to Mary, "Yes, the way you gave birth to baby Jesus is the same way I gave birth to my child."

Never has there ever been a birth like His, nor will there ever be.

The first snapshot of the Lord Jesus in the Bible is a snapshot of him as a Baby. The Bible gives us this KODAK MOMENT in His life.

Look at Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

Look at Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Never has there ever been a birth, nor will there ever be, like the birth of the Lord Jesus.

We have looked at BEHOLD THE BABY, but let us look at the next snapshot of Him -

II. BEHOLD THE SON

The Bible does not give us a lot of snapshots of his growing up, but it does give us some. The Bible is a photo album of the life of Christ.

Look at the life of Christ in Luke 2: 41-48. We read, "His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing."

Notice, when they found Him, after searching for Him for three days, they had mixed emotions about finding Him.

(1) THEY WERE AMAZED

They were amazed because they saw the boy Jesus. WHY WERE THEY AMAZED? Look at verse 46, "And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions."

Notice, the Bible says He was in the midst of them, HEARING THEM and ASKING THEM QUESTIONS. He was not trying to flaunt His wisdom before them, but He is asking questions that were astounding some of the most intelligent men of that age!

If these learned men only knew who it was they were talking to, they could have asked Him any question they wanted to ask, and regardless of how difficult a question it might be, HE COULD HAVE ANSWERED IT!

Illus: They could have asked Him:

"What is the cure for cancer?" And He could have told them.

"What is the cure for AIDS?" And He could have told them.

"What is the cure to race relations problems?" And He could have told them.

"What is the answer to the school problems this nation is facing?"

They could have asked Him anything they wanted to ask Him, and He could have given them the answers.

He amazed all of them and He was the center of attention.

When Joseph and Mary found Him, they were amazed at the wisdom that came forth from His lips. You talk about some PROUD PARENTS; they had to be proud! Along with everyone there, they were amazed. But also the Bible shows us-

(2) THEY WERE ANGRY

Look at verse 48. We read, "And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing."

It is clear in the scriptures that the disciples did not fully understand what the Lordís mission was. But also it is clear that His own mother, Mary, did not understand what His mission in this life was.

She is rebuking the Lord very sternly. In her ignorance and sorrow, SHE FORGOT WHO HE WAS! She certainly had a responsibility to teach Him and direct Him, but by the law He was now considered to be a young man at the age of twelve. He was exactly where He should have been.

Look at verse 49, we read, "And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"

When He said "I must be about my Fatherís business", He was not talking about Joseph, he was talking about His heavenly Fatherís business. And Mary did not fully understand that, or else she would not have been so upset.

We have looked at these KODAK MOMENTS IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST. We have looked at the snapshots of THE BABY and THE BOY, but let us look at the next snapshot in the scriptures-

III. BEHOLD THE MAN

The Bible gives us a wonderful snapshot of Christ as a man. We see that so clearly in the scriptures. WHAT KIND OF MAN WAS HE? The scriptures tell us:

Look at John 19:4-6. We read, "Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And [Pilate] saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify [him], crucify [him]. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify [him]: for I find no fault in him."

Look at Isaiah 53:5, "But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

Isaiah 53:6, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Some amazing men have lived and walked here on earth, and have done some amazing things. The world is a better place because they were here.

Illus: One of the greatest moments in recent history was when President Ronald Reagan stood by the Berlin wall.

The Berlin wall had separated families and friends from 1961 to 1998. The Communists built it in the mid-20th century to keep the people of East Germany from fleeing to West Germany.

President Reagan stood by that wall and said, "Mr Gorbechov tear these walls down."

Through the wisdom of his leadership, Ronald Reagan had those walls torn down.

We have had some great men on this earth. And the world is a better place to live as a result of these great men. The history books hold these men in high esteem. But if you take all the great men and their accomplishments and put them all together, they canít come close to doing for mankind what the Lord Jesus did in about thirty years.

Larry Farthing says it this way:

He descended that we might ascend (John 6:38, 14:3).

He became poor that we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9, James 2:5).

He was born that we might be born again (John 1: 14, 3:2,7).

He became a servant that we might become sons (Phil. 2:7).

He had no home that we might have a home in heaven (John 14:2).

He was hungry that we might be fed (Matt. 4:2- John 6:50).

He was thirsty that we might be satisfied (John 19:26).

He was stripped that we might be clothed (Matt. 27:28; Gal. 3:27).

He was forsaken that we might not be forsaken (Matt. 28:20).

He was sad that we might become glad (Isa. 53:3; Phil. 4:4).

He was bound that we might go free (Matt. 27:2- John 8:32-36).

He was made sin that we might be made righteous (1 Cor. 5:21).

He died that we might live (John 5:24-25).

He came down that we might be caught up (I Thess. 4:16, 17).

We have had some great men do some great things, but all together they canít match His accomplishments. For example, in Mark 4 and 5 we see some amazing things that took place in the life of THIS MAN JESUS. In these two chapters, they give us some KODAK MOMENTS in His marvelous life on earth.

In Mark 4:35-41 He told the disciples to get into the ship and said, "Let us pass over unto the other side." A tremendous storm came and almost sank the ship.

But the Lord stood on the deck of that ship and spoke to the wind and the waves and said, "Peace, be still", and the Bible says in verse 39, "ÖAnd the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."

The disciples who were there saw it, and the Bible says in verse 41, "ÖAnd said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

If you continue to read in Mark 5, you see that not only did nature have to submit to him, so did demons, diseases, and even death itself.

WHAT MANNER OF MAN IS THIS? In Mark 4 and 5, we see KODAK MOMENTS in the life of Christ. Never has there ever been a man like the man called Jesus.

But let me show you another snapshot of the life of Christ in the scriptures.

IV. BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD

We have seen the Lord Jesus as: A BABY, A SON, A MAN. But now we see Him as THE LAMB OF GOD. He was truly A MAN, but also He is God in the flesh.

Illus: The Christmas hymn, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" says it best, "Veiled in the flesh the God-head see, Hail the incarnate deity!"

He WAS NOT 50% man and 50% God as some believe He was. The Bible declares to us He was a 100% man and 100% God. Look at-

John 1:29, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

John 1:36, "And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!"

He was the Lamb that Abraham talked about in Genesis 22:7-8, "And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here [am] I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where [is] the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together."

He was the Lamb of Exodus 12:3, "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth [day] of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of [their] fathers, a lamb for an house."

When the Lord Jesus walked among men, He probably looked like most men. But in actuality, He was flesh like you and I, but He was God in the flesh. HE WAS THE LAMB OF GOD who took away the sins of the world.

V. BEHOLD THE KING

Kodak can give us pictures of yesterday and today, but only God can give us a picture of the future.

When the Lord was here on earth, He was rejected and despised by evil men. But look at these snapshots that are yet to be taken.

Jude 1:14, "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,"

Revelation 1:7, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."

Revelation 1:18, "I [am] he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

How do we know these things are going to happen? Listen, everything about His: Birth, Childhood, Manhood, Death, Burial, and His Resurrection, occurred just the way that Godís Word said it would.

Now if you are betting He wonít come back, you have a problem. He fulfilled everything this Bible said about Him up until His resurrection, why would you not think He is going to fulfill the rest?

THE KING IS COMING...AGAIN!

Revelation 3:11, "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."

Revelation 16:15, "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed [is] he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."

Conclusion:

The gifts that we exchange at this time of the year are nothing compared with the gift He has given. He gives us gifts every moment of our lives:

In the midst of trouble, His gift is peace

In the midst of sorrow, His gift is joy

In the midst of guilt, His gift is forgiveness

In the midst of sickness, His gift is health

In the midst of death, His gift is life

Yet, like any human gift, the love of God needs to be received.

Illus: Imagine the reaction of our loved ones if they had spent all that they had on the most perfect gift that money could buy, and we turned it down.

God gives us not only His Son, but also the free choice as to whether or not we accept Him. We can enter into the most wonderful gift of all this Christmas, a real and personal relationship with God.

We need to BEHOLD all the snapshots of the Savior in the scriptures if we are going to really get to know Him.

Illus: A Spanish artist was hired to paint the Last Supper. It was his goal to throw all the dignity of his art into the figure and face of the Lord Jesus; but he put on the table in the foreground some ornamental cups, the workmanship of which was exceedingly beautiful.

When his friends came to see the picture on the easel, every one said, "What beautiful cups!" "Ah!" he said, "I have made a mistake: those cups draw the eyes of the viewer to themselves and away from the Lord."

So he took up his brush, and blotted them from the canvas, so that the figure of Christ might be the chief object of attraction.

Today, the distractions of gifts, parties and Santa Claus have certainly drawn all the attention away from Christ. We need to clear our lives of these things and focus in on the real meaning of Christmas.

Someone said, and we agree:

The true meaning of Christmas is that the same Jesus Christ, who we see as a cute little baby in a stable, was the same Jesus Christ of the Easter Story.

The same babe in the wooden manger is the same man nailed to a cross to die for us.

The same babe, humble, meek and mild, is the same man, who was raised from the dead and who will return as King.

As that carol puts it: "Not in that poor lowly stable, with the oxen standing by. We shall see Him, but in heaven, set at God's right hand on high."

I. BEHOLD THE BABY

II. BEHOLD THE SON

III. BEHOLD THE MAN

IV. BEHOLD THE KING

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