Christmas

The Book of Luke

Three Miracles of Christmas – Part 3

The second miracle of Christmas announced to Mary by the angel Gabriel is the Virgin Birth. Strangely, this miracle was not a problem for the ancients. At least no strong opposition to its being possible has been recorded. It is only in recent times, in the earlier decades of this century, that the Virgin Birth has been discounted.

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The Book of Luke

Three Miracles of Christmas – Part 4

Theme: Belief in Gabriel’s Message
This week’s lessons help us to prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ by
focusing on three miracles seen in the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary.
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

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The Book of Luke

Three Miracles of Christmas – Part 5

Theme: “Be Born in Us Today”
This week’s lessons help us to prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ by
focusing on three miracles seen in the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary.
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

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The Book of Luke

The Birth of the Savior, Scene 2

Theme: The King in a Manger
 
In these lessons on the birth of Christ we focus on its paradoxes, and how these show that Jesus’ coming is for all who will receive him.
 
Scripture: Luke 2
 
There are other paradoxes besides the two mentioned yesterday.  The one that is most apparent to anyone is that the Lord of glory came in humble circumstances and was presented to us in His first moments upon earth in a manger.

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The Book of Luke

The Birth of the Savior, Scene 1

Theme: The Most Important Birthday of All
 
In these lessons on the birth of Christ we focus on its paradoxes, and how these show that Jesus’ coming is for all who will receive him.
 
Scripture: Luke 2
 
Birthdays are usually very happy times. For that reason we generally try to remember the birthdays of close friends. We who have children cannot forget birthdays; the children will remind us.

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The Book of Luke

The Birth of the Savior, Scene 3

Theme: No Room in the Inn
 
In these lessons on the birth of Christ we focus on its paradoxes, and how these show that Jesus’ coming is for all who will receive him.
 
Scripture: Luke 2
 
Another related paradox comes in at this point: When Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem, there was no place for them to stay. As a matter of fact, there was no room even in the inn.

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The Book of Luke

The Birth of the Savior, Scene 4

Theme: Angels and Shepherds
 
In these lessons on the birth of Christ we focus on its paradoxes, and how these show that Jesus’ coming is for all who will receive him.
 
Scripture: Luke 2
 
We talk about there being no room in the inn.

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The Book of Luke

The Birth of the Savior, Scene 5

Theme: How to Celebrate Christmas
 
In these lessons on the birth of Christ we focus on its paradoxes, and how these show that Jesus’ coming is for all who will receive him.
 
Scripture: Luke 2
 
I notice something else at the end of the story. It is what I would call instructions on how to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ.

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The Book of Mark

Getting Ready for Christmas, Part 1

Over the next few days everybody will be making final preparations for Christmas, and it is not exactly something we look forward to. At least I don’t. I admire people who do it weeks or even months in advance, like people who have all their gifts purchased, wrapped, and even mailed by Thanksgiving.

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The Book of Mark

Getting Ready for Christmas, Part 2

This is why John the Baptist is so important. John was what we would call a charismatic character. He was a prophet in the tradition of the great Jewish prophet Elijah, and he lived in the desert like a “holy man” or monastic, wearing rough clothing made of camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist. He ate the food of the desert, locusts and wild honey (v. 6).

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The Book of Mark

Getting Ready for Christmas, Part 3

The first part of John’s message was sin and the need for forgiveness. The second part is the person of Jesus Christ. The first verse of the Gospel already has told us who he is. He is “the Son of God.” John tells what this means when he says, “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie” (v. 7).

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The Book of Mark

Getting Ready for Christmas, Part 4

The first two parts of John’s message are sin and the need for forgiveness, and the person of Jesus Christ. The third part is the work of Jesus Christ. The third and last part of John’s message points to the work Jesus was coming to do, and that was to achieve our salvation. In Mark this is summarized by the contrast between John’s preparatory work and the greater and more effective work to be done by Jesus. John says, “I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (v. 8).

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The Book of Luke

Three Miracles of Christmas – Part 2

Theme: That God Should Become Man
This week’s lessons help us to prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ by
focusing on three miracles seen in the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary.
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

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The Book of Mark

Getting Ready for Christmas, Part 5

Thus far in this message I have been talking about the preparation by John the Baptist for the coming of Jesus Christ. I have made a few helpful applications along the way. But I am sure you know that the important thing right now is not how John the Baptist prepared people for Jesus’ coming or even what you can learn from that incidentally, but rather how you can prepare yourself spiritually this Christmas. How are you to do this? Let me suggest three important things.

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The Book of Luke

The Birth of Jesus Seen through Ancient Eyes, Section 2

Theme: The Savior of the World
 
We see the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Joseph, the innkeeper, the shepherd, Mary, and the angels.
 
Scripture: Luke 2:1-20
 
The innkeeper is not mentioned in the story, so it is a bit forced to speak of the birth of Jesus through his eyes.

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The Book of Luke

The Birth of Jesus Seen through Ancient Eyes, Section 3

Theme: The Wonder of God’s Grace
 
We see the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Joseph, the innkeeper, the shepherd, Mary, and the angels.
 
Scripture: Luke 2:1-20
 
Of course, the most wonderful human character in the story is Mary. Who can do justice to her experience and to the way she saw the birth? I know I cannot. Joseph saw the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Jewish tradition and expectation. The innkeeper regarded the birth through the eyes of bland indifference.

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The Book of Luke

The Birth of Jesus Seen through Ancient Eyes, Section 4

Theme: The Divine Messiah
 
We see the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Joseph, the innkeeper, the shepherd, Mary, and the angels.
 
Scripture: Luke 2:1-20
 
With the exception of the innkeeper, who saw nothing important about the birth of Jesus, each of the other characters in the story saw something that was both true and significant.

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The Book of Luke

The Birth of Jesus Seen through Ancient Eyes, Section 5

Theme: The Need for Saving Faith
 
We see the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Joseph, the innkeeper, the shepherd, Mary, and the angels.
 
Scripture: Luke 2:1-20
 
It is most common in our day to look at the birth of Jesus as a charming little story, somewhat like the story of Peter Rabbit or Peter and the Wolf. People who think like this would regard it as something we tell children but that no one is expected to take very seriously.

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The Book of Hebrews

Birth Announcement, Part 1

Theme: A Shoot from the Stump of Jesse
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we look at five Old Testament prophecies and see what details they reveal about the Messiah’s birth.
Scripture: Hebrews 10:7

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The Book of Hebrews

Birth Announcement, Part 2

Theme: A Child Born, A Son Given
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we look at five Old Testament prophecies and see what details they reveal about the Messiah’s birth.
Scripture: Hebrews 10:7

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The Book of Hebrews

Birth Announcement, Part 3

Theme: The Virgin Will Conceive
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we look at five Old Testament prophecies and see what details they reveal about the Messiah’s birth.
Scripture: Hebrews 10:7

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The Book of Hebrews

Birth Announcement, Part 4

Theme: Out of Bethlehem
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we look at five Old Testament prophecies and see what details they reveal about the Messiah’s birth.
Scripture: Hebrews 10:7

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The Book of Hebrews

Birth Announcement, Part 5

Theme: When the Messiah Will Be Born
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we look at five Old Testament prophecies and see what details they reveal about the Messiah’s birth.
Scripture: Hebrews 10:7

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The Book of Luke

First Christmas, Part 1

Theme: What the First Christmas Was Not
From this week’s Christmas lessons, we look at how God’s promises were fulfilled at the first Christmas, and what everyone must do in response to them.
Scripture: Luke 2:6, 7

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The Book of Luke

First Christmas, Part 2

Theme: The Fulfillment of God’s Promises to Joseph and Mary
From these Christmas lessons, we look at how God’s promises were fulfilled at the first Christmas, and what everyone must do in response to them.
Scripture: Luke 2:6, 7
Well, then, what was the first Christmas if not a time of laughter and family fun and decorations? Do you know what it was? It was the fulfillment of a promise. It was the fulfillment of God’s promise to send his Son, a Savior, to the world.

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The Book of Luke

The Birth of Jesus Seen through Ancient Eyes, Section 1

Theme: The Birth of Israel’s King 
 
We see the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Joseph, the innkeeper, the shepherd, Mary, and the angels.
 
Scripture: Luke 2:1-20
 
The first twenty verses of Luke 2 are the longest scriptural account of the birth of Jesus Christ, but twenty verses are not many and at first glance we might wonder why a story of such historical and spiritual importance is told in so brief a space.

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The Book of Luke

First Christmas, Part 3

Theme: The Fulfillment of God’s Promises to Israel and Beyond
From these Christmas lessons, we look at how God’s promises were fulfilled at the first Christmas, and what everyone must do in response to them.
Scripture: Luke 2:6, 7

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The Book of Luke

First Christmas, Part 4

Theme: The Promise Accepted and Believed
From these Christmas lessons, we look at how God’s promises were fulfilled at the first Christmas, and what everyone must do in response to them.
Scripture: Luke 2:6, 7

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The Book of Luke

First Christmas, Part 5

Theme: Have You Responded?
From these Christmas lessons, we look at how God’s promises were fulfilled at the first Christmas, and what everyone must do in response to them.
Scripture: Luke 2:6, 7
This brings us to the last of the four categories of those to whom the promises were made, as I presented them. It brings us to the human race at large and particularly to ourselves. The issue is: Have you accepted the fulfillment of God’s promise of a Savior who came to deliver you from your sins? Have you put your trust in him?

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The Book of Psalms

Monday: Isn’t It Absurd?

Theme: Questions about Christ’s Birth
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we reflect on the wonder of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of God’s great love for lost and helpless sinners.
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

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The Book of Psalms

Wednesday: Isn’t It Absurd?

Theme: Why the God-Man?
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we reflect on the wonder of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of God’s great love for lost and helpless sinners.
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38
The great medieval theologian, Anselm of Canterbury, wrestled with this idea of the necessity of God becoming man. In fact, it is the title of his well-known book, Cur Deus Homo (Latin for “Why the God-Man?”).

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The Book of Psalms

Thursday: Isn’t It Absurd?

Theme: Our Need for Redemption
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we reflect on the wonder of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of God’s great love for lost and helpless sinners.
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

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The Book of Psalms

Friday: Isn’t It Absurd?

Theme: Why Did God Do It?
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we reflect on the wonder of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of God’s great love for lost and helpless sinners.
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

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The Book of Psalms

Monday: The Word Incarnate

Theme: A Startling Idea
From this week’s Christmas study, we look carefully at the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how it fulfills the Old Testament tabernacle.
Scripture: John 1:14

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The Book of Psalms

Tuesday: The Word Incarnate

Theme: The Tabernacling of God
From this week’s Christmas study, we look carefully at the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how it fulfills the Old Testament tabernacle.
Scripture: John 1:14

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The Book of Psalms

Wednesday: The Word Incarnate

Theme: Jesus and the Law
From this week’s Christmas study, we look carefully at the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how it fulfills the Old Testament tabernacle.
Scripture: John 1:14

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The Book of Psalms

Thursday: The Word Incarnate

Theme: Revelation and Sacrifice
From this week’s Christmas study, we look carefully at the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how it fulfills the Old Testament tabernacle.
Scripture: John 1:14

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The Book of Psalms

Tuesday: Isn’t It Absurd?

Theme: Questions about Christ’s Life
In this week’s Christmas lessons, we reflect on the wonder of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of God’s great love for lost and helpless sinners.
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

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The Book of Genesis

Monday: Christmas in Eden

Theme: God Gives the Promise
This week’s lessons teach us that God’s plans cannot be thwarted.
Scripture: Genesis 3:15
Our focus this week is on Christmas, and I want to begin by saying that if the birth of Christ is the center of the Word of God, together with his death and resurrection, then we should expect to find it everywhere throughout the Bible.

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The Book of Psalms

Friday: The Word Incarnate

Theme: Glory and Worship
From this week’s Christmas study, we look carefully at the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how it fulfills the Old Testament tabernacle.
Scripture: John 1:14

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Because He Lives

Monday: Because He Lives

Theme: Resurrection in the Old Testament
In this week’s lessons, we look at the amazing trust that Job had in his coming Redeemer.
Scripture: Job 19:25-27

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The book of Job

Tuesday: Because He Lives

Theme: Job’s Faith in His Redeemer
In this week’s lessons, we look at the amazing trust that Job had in his coming Redeemer.
Scripture: Job 19:25-27

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The book of Job

Wednesday: Because He Lives

Theme: The Redeemer’s Appearing in the Flesh
In this week’s lessons, we look at the amazing trust that Job had in his coming Redeemer.
Scripture: Job 19:25-27

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The book of Job

Thursday: Because He Lives

Theme: Job’s Belief in His Own Bodily Resurrection
In this week’s lessons, we look at the amazing trust that Job had in his coming Redeemer.
Scripture: Job 19:25-27

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The Book of Matthew

Thursday: The Gifts of Faith

Theme: Salvation Achieved
In this week’s lessons, we look at the three gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men.
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-2
We looked at the spiritual significance of each of the three gifts given to Jesus by the wise men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh—gold for royalty, frankincense for the purity of his life, and myrrh for suffering. And yet the study would be incomplete unless I were also to take you to one other verse that bears upon the gifts of the wise men.

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The Book of Luke

Tuesday: The Men Who Missed Christmas

Theme: Guarding Against Distraction
In this week’s lessons, we examine people in the Christmas story who did not respond to the birth of Christ as they should have.
Scripture: Luke 2:1-7
Yesterday, we concluded our study by saying that even though the birth of Christ happened so near to the innkeeper, he nevertheless missed it, apparently being too concerned about running his inn.

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The Book of Luke

Thursday: The Men Who Missed Christmas

Theme: The Need for Both Knowledge and Love
In this week’s lessons, we examine people in the Christmas story who did not respond to the birth of Christ as they should have.
Scripture: Luke 2:1-7
We concluded yesterday’s study with the observation that perhaps the religious leaders missed the birth of Christ because of their pride in being summoned by Herod to answer his theological question.

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His Name is Wonderful

Monday: Wonderful Prophecies

It is appropriate at Christmastime to think together about this wonderful person Jesus, and consider why He was given this name that, so far as we know, is given to absolutely no other man or woman. I want to mention a number of things.

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His Name is Wonderful

Tuesday: Perfect Man and Fully God

We talk about our Lord’s conception and we say, yes, His name is Wonderful, for our Lord’s divine nature is wonderful. Jesus was a true man; we confess that and we confess it gladly because He became like us in His humanity. He identified with us in all of the sufferings that we know. The Bible says He became like us in every respect, except in the fact that we are sinners and He was sinless.

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His Name is Wonderful

Wednesday: His Life and Teaching

Jesus’ teaching was truly unparalleled. On one occasion, the chief priests and Pharisees sent the temple guards out to arrest Him, and they came back a while later not having done it. When the religious leaders heard this, they asked, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” The guards replied, “No one ever spoke the way this man does” (John 7:45-46). Can you imagine a policeman refusing to arrest someone whom he was sent to arrest because the man spoke wonderfully? Yet, that’s what happened in the case of Jesus Christ. So wonderful were His words, so wonderful was His teaching, that His enemies were unable to effect His arrest until He Himself brought about His own arrest in order to line things up for His own crucifixion.

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His Name is Wonderful

Thursday: His Atoning Death and Triumphant Resurrection

Seventh, the Lord Jesus Christ is wonderful in His death for others. First of all, it was a voluntary death. He didn’t need to die. At His arrest, when one of the twelve disciples drew a sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, Jesus rebuked the disciple and said that if He wished, He could call forth legions of angels. God would send them to His aid to defend Him. We read in the Bible that death is the penalty for sin. Jesus was sinless, and therefore didn’t need to die. Yet He did die, nevertheless, for the sins of others. He did it voluntarily and He spoke about it on numerous occasions.

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God's Gift

Friday: Wonderful Impact and Love for Sinners

I commend this wonderful Jesus to you, and I ask, are you His follower? Do you know Him? Is he your Savior? If not, don’t let Christmas go by without making what is the greatest decision anyone can possibly make in this life, the decision to follow Him faithfully as your Savior and your Lord. And if you are a Christian, rejoice over the wonderful Savior you have. Moreover, don’t merely rejoice privately, although we all need to do that. But go out and tell the world that the wonderful Savior, indeed, has come!

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God's Gift

Monday: Wonderful Counselor

There are many wonderful texts in the Old Testament that prophesy the coming of Jesus Christ. But one of the most remarkable of all is Isaiah 9:6. It’s part of Handel’s Messiah, so we have heard it sung and no doubt we’ve recited it. We have heard it read many times at Christmas: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

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God's Gift

Tuesday: Acting Wisely

When you begin to ask even the simplest of questions about your own identity, you’ll soon find yourself plunged into a realm that goes far beyond anything you and I could answer by ourselves. Where are we going to find a counselor who can help us with those questions? Isaiah says that there was to be a child born who will give us counsel. Moreover, this Messiah is God come in human form.

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God's Gift

Wednesday: Mighty God

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be our Counselor and be with us. And John writes that Jesus is also our Counselor as He reigns in heaven. I should point out here that this word parakletos, one who is called alongside another to help, is the Greek equivalent of the Latin word from which we get our word “advocate.” Jesus comes alongside as our advocate, as a lawyer does when he represents his client. Both the Son of God in heaven and the Holy Spirit present here in us on earth act as our divine Counselors, always acting wonderfully toward us.

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God's Gift

Thursday: Everlasting Father

Someone might conclude that all of this is interesting, but ask how it is that this term “Everlasting Father” is used of Christ. After all, Jesus is the Son, not the Father. What is Isaiah talking about when He speaks of the coming Messiah as the “Everlasting Father”? By using this name of the child who will be born, Isaiah is identifying this child with Almighty God. We need to remember that toward the end of Jesus’ ministry Philip asked Him to show the disciples the Father. And Jesus’ response was, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). Jesus was affirming the unity of His divine nature with the Father.

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God's Gift

Friday: Prince of Peace

And then finally there is the title Prince of Peace. That title more than any other is associated with Christmas because it’s what the angels were talking about. They said “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” You and I need wisdom. We need power. We need this kind of all-embracing home. And we also need peace, because in ourselves we are not at peace. James describes the wicked—which is what we are apart from the work of Christ—as a troubled sea that has no rest. Somebody has said that the chief problem with the human race is that human beings don’t know how to sit in their room and be still. We’re always up to something. We’re always restless. We’re churning around inside. We just cannot sit quietly and contemplate God and be content. Jesus is the One who comes to bring peace because He Himself embodies peace, and give His peace to us.

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Four Gifts for Christmas

Monday: The Need to Know

What happens when a baby is born? Well, if you’re close to the family, you often bring a gift. Here’s a case where the child Himself brings gifts because, by virtue of who He is and what He should do, He brought gifts to men. What’s very striking about these gifts is that they match our needs, which is what I hope to show as we look at them one at a time.

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Four Gifts for Christmas

Tuesday: Power from God

When Jesus came to be a wonderful counselor and then by the resurrection and ascension return to heaven, He did not leave us without wisdom. Rather, He continues to provide the wisdom we need. James talks about it. He says, “Do any of you lack wisdom?” Any of us who have any wisdom at all at that point say, “Indeed we do! We lack it a great deal.” And then he says “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who upbraideth not but giveth to all men liberally (or generously), and it will be given him.” And he goes on in that same chapter to say, “Every good gift comes from God.” If you value wisdom, ask God for it, and He will give it to you. It comes through Jesus Christ, our Wonderful Counselor.

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Four Gifts for Christmas

Wednesday: Everlasting Father

In a sinful and increasingly unrighteous world, we may feel that we lack power. It can seem as if the evil all around us is winning. But before Jesus’ ascension, He told his disciples, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8). And with that message and that assurance they literally went out and transformed the world.

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Four Gifts for Christmas

Thursday: Family Privileges

One of the great privileges that comes from being made a member of God’s family is prayer, because now we can come to God not as aliens but as sons and daughters. Because of this, we’re encouraged to come to God in prayer, knowing that our Father knows all about us and loves us and cares for us and encourages us to come. Furthermore, He promises to answer our prayers that are pleasing to Him. The Holy Spirit helps us in our prayers by interceding for us before God, even when we do not know what we should pray for, or how.

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Four Gifts for Christmas

Friday: The Gift of Peace

Sermon: Four Gifts for Christmas
Scripture: Isaiah 9:6
In this week’s lessons, we look further at the four names of Christ seen in Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the child to be born.
Theme: The Gift of Peace

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A Celebration Psalm

Monday: A Celebration Psalm: Psalm 98:1-9

In this week’s lessons, as we prepare for Christmas, I want to look at one of the greatest of the Christmas carols—not the carol itself, of course, since it is only a human composition, but at the text from which it is drawn. “Joy to the World,” by Isaac Watts, is one of my favorite carols, and it would probably be among the most favored carols on any list that might be drawn up by English-speaking Christians.

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A Celebration Psalm

Wednesday: The King of All: Psalm 98:1-9

The second stanza of Psalm 98 praises God as King. The first stanza praised God as Savior and called on the people of Israel to sing a new song to Him. This stanza views Him as king not only of Israel, but of all people everywhere. Therefore, it broadens its call to worship to engage the whole world in singing God’s praise.

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A Celebration Psalm

Thursday: Creation’s Future Liberation: Psalm 98:1-9

The final stanza of Psalm 98 calls on the entire creation to praise God. In the first stanza the appeal was to Israel. In the second stanza the Gentiles were called to join in. In this last stanza the psalmist calls on what we would call the cosmos. And the reason is that God is coming to “judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity” (v. 9). In other words, the psalm ends by looking ahead to that future day when the ills of this suffering world will be set right. We know this as the day of the return of Jesus Christ.

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A Celebration Psalm

Friday: Waiting for the Second Coming: Psalm 98:1-9

As we noted in yesterday’s lesson, the final stanza of Psalm 98 calls on the entire creation to praise God. The Bible’s teaching about nature is threefold. First, this is God’s world. Second, the world is not now what it was created to be. Third, one day this fallen suffering world will be renewed.

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A Mighty Ruler from a Little Town

Monday: A Little Town with a Great History: Micah 5:2

When the Wise Men came to Jerusalem in those early months following the birth of Jesus Christ, they asked to see the new king. Those who heard the Magi’s questions were disturbed—particularly King Herod. It was because Judea already had a king, and Herod was that king. Herod was a crafty old politician. He did not know who this king was, but that did not mean that no king existed. He set about to find where the “pretender” was so he might kill him. Who would know about his birth place? If anybody would know, it would be the chief priests and teachers of the law. So Herod called them together and asked where the child was to be born.

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A Mighty Ruler from a Little Town

Tuesday: Out of Bethlehem: Micah 5:2

Bethlehem was a small town among the many towns of Judah, but with a great history. And yet the history of Bethlehem was to become even greater, for it was out of Bethlehem that He who was to be a divine and everlasting ruler over Israel would come.

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A Mighty Ruler from a Little Town

Thursday: Born a King: Micah 5:2

When the Wise Men came to Jerusalem inquiring after the new ruler and were directed to Bethlehem on the basis of Micah’s prophecy, they asked for “the one who has been born king of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2). That is, they were asking for one who was a king from the very moment of His birth.

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A Mighty Ruler from a Little Town

Friday: Born in Us: Micah 5:2

At this point, the prophecy of a ruler given to the Wise Men becomes quite personal. For the issue is not merely whether the one born in this small Judean town so long ago really was a great ruler, but whether He is your ruler. The question is, Are you his subject? Have you bowed your knee to him?

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Christmas in Eden

Monday: God Gives the Promise

Our focus this week is on Christmas, and I want to begin by saying that if the birth of Christ is the center of the Word of God, together with his death and resurrection, then we should expect to find it everywhere throughout the Bible.

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Christmas in Eden

Tuesday: A Gracious Prophecy

It is not surprising that we find a prophecy of Jesus in the Old Testament. But what is surprising is how gracious this is. Here is God speaking in grace in the context of the judgment, and I want you to remember that about Christmas. Christmas is God’s grace to people who deserve his judgment. Now what this verse speaks of is enmity. And it speaks of this enmity, or warfare, on three levels—between Satan and the woman, and presumably all human beings; between his offspring and hers; and then, finally, a conflict between the woman’s great descendant Jesus Christ and Satan himself.

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Christmas in Eden

Wednesday: The Raging Battle

What God has said here in Genesis 3 is that he is giving a divinely established struggle between the woman and her descendants and Satan. We are terribly depraved, but we don’t automatically assume that Satan is right. That is a blessing that results from the warfare that goes on. We have a fallen spirit within, and that is why we are in dreadful danger all the time of being drawn after Satan—because that within us inclines in his direction. But, you see, it isn’t wholehearted, and there is a struggle involved even when we sin as sinners.

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Christmas in Eden

Thursday: Salvation through the Cross

This struggle between Satan and God’s beloved Son is evident throughout the life of Jesus. Probably the devil worked upon Joseph at the very beginning to suggest to him that Mary was pregnant by another man, and that he should therefore expose her. However, we are told that Joseph planned instead to put her away privately, but nevertheless to turn away rather than provide the protection that God put Joseph into the story to do. It required an angel to come to Joseph. God intervened so Joseph would take Mary under his wing and protect her from the kind of things that would be said and done if she were exposed in that manner.

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Christmas in Eden

Friday: Delivered from Satan’s Power

To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray—that is why Jesus came. Make sure that you also trust in Jesus, as Adam and Eve did. You will find that this great purpose of all the ages, focused in Jesus Christ, is also accomplished in you. If you trust him, if you believe in him, if you place your faith in him, it is for you that he came on that first Christmas Day.

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The Word Before All Words

Monday: Jesus as the Word

Each year in the weeks or months before Christmas I look over the list of what I have preached about on previous Christmases to see if there are any significant texts I have overlooked and to pick a new set of topics. And when I did that this year I made an interesting discovery. I discovered that in all my years of preaching I have never preached a Christmas message from the opening chapter of John’s gospel, the chapter that begins: “In the beginning was the Word” (v. 1).

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The Word Before All Words

Tuesday: The Preexistence of the Word

Yesterday I spoke of how brilliant and amazing the preface to John’s gospel is, but let me add now that this is not only because of John’s use of the philosophical Greek term logos. In the first verse of the prologue John also tells us three important things about him. We’ll look at one of them today, and the other two tomorrow. The second verse summarizes those three things.

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The Word Before All Words

Thursday: Jesus as Life and Light

Silent Night is probably the best known and most deeply loved of all the Christian carols. But the greatest of the carols at least from the point of view of its splendid theology is Charles Wesley’s Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Do you remember the words of the last verse? They say,
Hail, the Heav’n born Prince of
Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.

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The Word Before All Words

Friday: Jesus as the Last Word

I began this week’s study of John’s version of the Christmas story by speaking of Jesus as the Word before all words, and I want to end by adding to that in this way. Jesus is not only the first word, that is, the Word before all words. He is also the last word in the sense that he will have the last word.

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The Alliance is a coalition of believers who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today’s Church.

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