River Church NOLA
Dec 20 Sunday How to Have your Best Christmas Ever
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        Christmas Eve Eve Service

        December 23, 2020 - 7:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Forever
  • Joy To The World (Antioch)
  • Silent Night
  • We have been in a series titled Best Christmas Ever. We have learned about peace, joy, hope and love.
    Today I want to talk more about How to have Your Best Christmas Ever. I think it’s a great time to do this especially since we have been out of being able to meet together for 3 weeks due to the COVID pandemic.

    Christmas is an event that occured 2020 years ago in a small town called Bethlehem.

    It happened there because Ceasar ordered a census so he could raise taxes and everyone had to go back to their place of birth and Joseph was from Bethlehem. While it happened 2020 years ago, nativity scenes still stop traffic today.
    pic of Trinity’s nativity Scene

    Why is Christmas the most celebrated holiday on the planet?

    Why does it shut down work for days and schools for weeks? Why do people gather for parties at home, at work and at church? Why do we give gifts for Christmas?

    Why is Christmas the most celebrated holiday on the planet? Jesus birth was the most significant event in human history.

    BC & AD … if you write a check it has how many years months and days after the birth of Jesus on it.
    This morning, we want to learn how we can have the Best Christmas Ever… even in 2020.
    We can have the Best Christmas ever by understanding some of the reasons for the season… and we will do that by understanding three words… rejoicing… redemption… reconciliation.
    When Jesus was born, there were shepherds in the fields watching over their sheep and an angel gave them this announcement.

    1. The first reason for Christmas is to Rejoice at the birth of Jesus.

    Luke 2:8–10 NLT
    8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
    Think about it. Christmas is actually a birthday party for Jesus. BTW, we will have birthday cake after church Wednesday. The angel brought the shepherds and us… good news that would bring great joy.
    We have the rejoicing thing down. There are more parties at Christmas than at any other time of the year. The problem is that most of the time, we leave out the guest of honor. It’s His birthday. That’s why we say Merry Christmas. Parties are great… they actually have a party in heaven every time someone repents and is born again.
    So Christmas is a time of rejoicing…
    Why do we rejoice?

    A. We rejoice at Christmas because God loves us.

    John 3:16 NLT
    16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
    God loves you and created you to have a relationship with him.
    Psalm 139:13–14 NLT
    13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
    John 17:3 NLT
    3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.
    He loves us even when we do not deserve it.
    God’s love for you is based on who he is, not on your actions.

    B. We rejoice at Christmas because God is always with us

    Matthew 1:23 NLT
    23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ ”

    Immanuel: God with us

    Hebrews 13:5 NLT
    5 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
    He said he will never leave us.
    How many of you have ever felt abandoned? Maybe through divorce… death… quarantined? God will never abandon you. If you are feeling that way, it may be that you are not plugged in.
    God doesn’t want you to be lonely. Remember he said it’s not good for man to be alone in Gen. God will be with you no matter what you no matter what you are going through. You are never alone.
    If you are lonely this Christmas, you need to turn to Jesus and his family… experience that relationship with Jesus this Christmas.

    C. We can rejoice because God is for us and not against us

    He wants you to succeed. Morris Bart used to say, I’m on your side. Listen to me. God is on your side.
    John 3:17 NLT
    17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
    A lot of people believe that God sent Jesus to tell us what we are doing wrong… to condemn us. They carry around tons of guilt and shame....
    Jesus did not come to condemn the world … you and me… He came to save us. He loves you… he is with you always… And He is always for you… He came to save the world and our job after we become followers of Jesus is to point people to Him.
    So that’s the first purpose… to rejoice at the coming of Jesus. It’s great news and it brings joy… no matter who you are or where you are from.

    2. The second reason for Christmas is Redemption

    Luke 2:11 NLT
    11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
    If we did not need a Savior, God would not have sent one.

    What does it mean to be redeemed?

    It means to be saved.

    Saved - rescued; delivered; set free; released

    A little girl in a car seat one time leaned out of the window and yelled, “Oh God, get me out of this.” How many of us have been in a situation where we cried out… God help me? You needed God to save you from something…

    A. Redemption means we are rescued from our sins.

    He rescues you from your past, your sin, your worry, depression, selfishness, self pity...
    Jesus rescues us from our sin. Look what the Angel told Joseph.
    Matthew 1:21 NLT
    21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
    Jesus will save people from their sins.

    What is sin?

    You know the list… don’t lie… don’t steal… don’t cheat. But is that all?

    Sin is an attitude!

    It’s saying to God, “I don’t need you in my life. ZI can do just fine without you.” Before you look horrified, we have all had this attitude at one time or another in our lives.

    Sin separates us from God

    This is why God had to send a Savior. We were separated from God by our sin. Everyone of your problems is a result of sin… yours or someone else’s. Sin causes confusion in your life… guilt… shame … bitterness… resentment… anxiety… fear… depression.... fear of death… stress… emptiness… separation…
    Jesus came to set you free from all of that… to set you free from your sin. Truth be told, most of us are our own worst enemy. We cause most of our own problems and often we wish we could change but we can’t. Paul couldn’t.
    Romans 7:24–25 The Message
    24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? 25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
    Most of us have felt this way at one time or another. Most of the time it’s because we are looking to fill that empty spot in all of the wrong places. marriage… divorce; get a job… change jobs; have kids… get the kids to move out … We look in all the wrong places.

    Redemption comes from a relationship with Jesus

    B. We are redeemed for a reason

    2 Timothy 1:9 GNB
    9 He saved us and called us to be his own people, not because of what we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace. He gave us this grace by means of Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
    God created you for a reason.
    John 10:10 NLT
    10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

    C. We are redeemed by God’s grace

    Someone said...

    Grace is God’s Riches at Christ Expense

    Ephesians 2:8–9 NLT
    8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
    We cannot do anything to save ourselves… to earn our way into heaven. You simply cannot be good enough. But you don’t have to. Redemption or Salvation is a free gift from God.

    Have you ever wondered why we give gifts at Christmas?

    We give gifts because God gave Jesus.
    God wants to save everyone… he wants to save you, but you have to stop trying to save yourself. You have to give up.
    Lifeguard … wait until the person gets too tired to keep fighting and gives up, then you can go save them.
    God wants to save you but you have to give up…

    3. The third reason for Christmas is reconciliation

    Reconciliation bring peace… look at this.
    Luke 2:13–14 NKJV
    13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
    That’s reconciliation.

    What is reconciliation?

    What is reconciliation? It’s when a relationship is restored

    There will never be peace in the world until there is peace within the nations… not within the nations until there is peace in our communities… not with our communities until there is peace in your families… not within your families until you have peace in your heart.
    Where do you need peace this Christmas?

    What kind of peace does Jesus give?

    Peace with God… of God and with others… Let’s look a them.

    A. Jesus gives us peace with God

    If you are living life without God in your life, you are war with God.
    Romans 5:1 NLT
    1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
    If you have not made peace with God, I hope you will today. You will be happier and one day, you will have to face him one day.

    B. Jesus gives us the peace of God

    The peace of God comes to us when we make peace with God. Stress goes down… things don’t upset you as much… Not as angry as usual...
    Philippians 4:6–7 GNB
    6 Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. 7 And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.
    Once you make peace with God and experience the peace of God, you can begin making peace with other people.

    C. Jesus brings Peace with each other

    Luke 2:13–14 NLT
    13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
    Jesus offers peace on earth. If everyone was loving and following Jesus, there would be no crime… no wars… no ugly politics… no cancel culture… no sin…
    Jesus not only want to bring peace on earth, but he wants you and I to help with that…
    Matthew 5:9 NIV
    9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
    Jesus wants to use us to make peace with others. He wants you and I to be peacemakers. And Christmas is the perfect time to show love and grace to others because Christmas reminds us of the mercy and Grace that’s been shown to us.
    Who do you need to rebuild relationships with this Christmas season?
    You may say that you can’t do that. The person has hurt you too much… they took advantage of you. Guess what you are right. You can’t forgive someone with your own power, but you don’t have too. Jesus will give that power to you… you just have to let him.
    I want you to realize that this Christmas,
    you can rejoice because God loves you, is with you and is for you.
    You can experience redemption because Jesus was born into our world. He saved us from our sin by his grace for a purpose.
    You can have peace with God, the peace of God and peace with others through Jesus Christ.
    If I were to give you a Christmas present and you never opened it, it would be worthless because you never opened it or used it.
    Jesus is God’s gift to you and to me.
    Acts 10:35 The Message
    35 It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open.
      • Luke 2:8–10ASV

      • John 3:16ASV

      • Psalm 139:13–14ASV

      • John 17:3ASV

      • Matthew 1:23ASV

      • Hebrews 13:5ASV

      • John 3:17ASV

      • Luke 2:11ASV

      • Matthew 1:21ASV

      • Romans 7:24–25ASV

      • 2 Timothy 1:9ASV

      • John 10:10ASV

      • Ephesians 2:8–9ASV

      • Luke 2:13–14ASV

      • Romans 5:1ASV

      • Philippians 4:6–7ASV

      • Luke 2:13–14ASV

      • Acts 10:35ASV

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