Finding Hope Through the Eyes of the Father
- This morning, we are beginning a 3 part series of ABF lessons on the subject of Christmas.
> we’re continuing our theme for 2009: Finding Hope
> in this case: Finding Hope Through the God the Father’s Perspective
- Sometimes it’s good to STOP and look at a situation from someone else’s perspective:
Q: What are some advantages of looking at a situation from someone else’s perspective?
> you may end up seeing things that are important to that person, but not important (or as important) as things are to you (maybe you need to change)
> you may end up seeing things that are NOT important to that person, but are very important to you (maybe you need to change).
Note: This is especially true when you consider something from the perspective of God the Father
Input: What are some of the reasons why His perspective is so important?
1) He’s the Creator – Gen 1 & 2 – we are, and life is, HIS IDEA
2) He’s holy – so He not going to be wrong like us – His view is perfect!
3) He’s omniscient – He knows everything there is to know about ANY situation – He has all the facts, we don’t – yet how often we act like we know everything!!
4) He’s the Final Judge – His opinion will be the final opinion for all ETERNITY
[many other reasons – thinking about the attributes of God and the impact on His perspective
- I think you would agree with me on the following statements:
1) Our thoughts produce actions! (i.e. what we tend to think about is what we tend to)
- Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”
- it is good for us to think about Christmas from the perspective of the individuals most closely associated with the event
2) Our tendency is to be selfish instead of being a servant!
- it is so easy to get wrapped up in the WRONG reasons of Christmas.
> we look for what we can ‘get’ out of it, instead of what we can ‘give’
- the Christmas season can mean a lot of different things to different people, and …
3) We want to make sure we have a biblical perspective on these events
- since God’s Word is inspired (God breathed) and sufficient – we need to listen to what God the Holy Spirit has given to us:
- Psalm 81:13 "Oh that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways!”
- Proverbs 8:32 "Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, for blessed are they who keep my ways.”
4. Turn to LUKE 2 and let’s begin to see “Christmas from the perspective of God the Father – The Giver of Christmas”
- I say the GIVER of Christmas because it was God’s idea – John 3:16 makes that clear:
- John 3:16"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
[READ LUKE 2:1-20]
- This morning, we want to study 3 ways we need God the Father’s perspective on this special event called Christmas
I. God’s Perspective: His Love for People (2:10)
- Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be FOR ALL THE PEOPLE.
- The FIRST Christmas and every Christmas ought to be about PEOPLE and loving them
> that is the 2nd greatest commandment – to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’
- Part of God the Father’s focus @ the birth of His Son was the PEOPLE who needed Him –
> He ordained Christmas because He loved us – that’s the point of John 3:16
NOTE: His love for people who don’t deserve the love
- it’s easy to love people who are nice to you, but what about loving somebody who wants to kill you?
- when we talk about love, it’s important how we define it
Input: How would the world define love?
(various answers – love is a feeling!)
Input: How would that differ from God’s definition?
“love” = self-sacrificing, an act of the will; giving to others without having as my motive personal reward
- Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
- John (the Beloved Apostle) wrote:
- 1 John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.
Input: What are some things we can do to help us focus on PEOPLE and not THINGS during this Christmas time? How can we help our children focus on PEOPLE not THINGS?
- think about the JOY of giving
- remember to pray for those who don’t’ know Jesus Christ
Point: Christmas is especially a time for us to show love for people – and what we think about people and what we think about things really comes to the surface at this time
II. God’s Perspective: His Plan for Salvation – (2:11)
- Christmas didn’t just “happen”
A. Christmas was part of God’s plan of Redemption
- all this started back in Gen. 3 when Adam sinned
- Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.
- in Gen. 3:15 – God’s promise gave Adam and Eve hope (i.e. Christmas was coming!)
- Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."
- then in our text we read, Luke wrote:
- Luke 2:11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord
- Paul put it this way:
- Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
- obviously, the first Christmas didn’t have a tree, presents, and a big dinner – the focus was on providing salvation for sinners
- God was in the process of fulfilling His plan to redeem us
‘redeem’ = literally – to “buy back” (for us, from the slave market of sin)
ILLUSTRATION: The little boy who made a ship – put it to sail on the lake, lost it, and found it again in the toy store window – and paid for it twice – “You’re mine because I made you, and you’re mine because I bought you back”
- it’s one thing to KNOW truth, it’s another to LIVE it and to SPREAD it to others!
B. Christmas is especially a time to focus on presenting the Gospel – Why Jesus came!
- The Babe in the manger was the Son of God given to be sacrificed on the cross for our sin!
- Christmas was the ‘official’ beginning of God’s redemptive work
- John 1 makes that very clear:
* READ John 1:1-14 – Great Passage – esp. v. 14
- John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Point: The manger represented a lot:
- God’s love
- God’s plan of salvation
- God’s trustworthiness – could He or would He keep His promise back in Gen 3:15
Note: The manger cries our YES – God keeps His promises!
III. God’s Perspective: His Goal of Being Glorified– (2:13-14)
- Luke 2:13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
- remember, the word glory has its root in a Hebrew word: opinion
- so these angels were giving the right opinion of God
A. NOBODY could glorify God like Jesus!
- When Jesus was born, we were given an EXACT picture of God the Father’s character/glory
- John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
- John 14:9 Jesus said to Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, 'Show us the Father'?”
- that’s why it’s so important that we have God’s perspective because ….
B. We need to learn to think like Christ and act like Christ
> so we can bring glory to God like He did
Q: What area in your life needs to improve so you can give a better opinion of God?
- this isn’t confession time, but at least think about the question – if you can’t come up with an answer – ASK YOUR SPOUSE or ASK ONE OF YOUR PASTORS!! J
INPUT: What are some unique ways that Christmas gives us an opportunity to glorify God?
- Handling Problems
- Thankfulness @ Christmas (opening gifts – Suggestion: Pray FIRST & at the END)
- at the first Christmas, there were a lot of people praising and glorifying God:
- Mary glorified God
- Angels glorified God
- Shepherds glorified God (Luke 2:17 And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.)
Point: * Because of the affects of the curse of sin on our mind’s ability to think and reason, it’s not always easy to keep the right goals during the Christmas season
- So let’s close our time together in PRAYER, and pray for some specific issues:
- Our personal growth in seeing this event from God’s perspective
- The Living Nativity (cards/posters available in foyer)
- The Christmas Musical (Dec. 20th – NO ABF that Sunday)