What Does the Birth of Christ Teach Me?

Pastor Mike will be speaking on What Does the Birth of Christ Teach Me. He will be reading out of Zephaniah 3: 14-20.

But I want to remind you what the birth of Christ means to you. Not only that we have a Savior who suffered for us in dying on the cross, but we have a Savior who is with us. He does not abandon you.

Hello, this is Pastor Mike Sanders with Hope Worth Having we are excited about being able to broadcast the gospel of Jesus Christ to you and we certainly want to wish you a very Merry Christmas. There’s so much for us to learn about the coming of our Savior.

So this morning we want to encourage you to go to Zephaniah chapter 3 and we want to learn about what the birth of Christ taught me. So let’s get our Bibles and begin our study together. When we come to our text this morning in Zephaniah chapter 3 in verses 14 through 20.

We see in chapter 1 and chapter 2 that Zephaniah is calling a people back to God. He is calling a nation to turn from their sins to repent of their sins and to put their total faith in God Almighty.

Zephaniah is challenging the people to get rid of their idols and get rid of the things that have come between them and God and to make God number one in their lives. In this prophecy to Israel Zephaniah is expressing to the people how God relates to those who turn back to Him, to those who believe in Him, to those who trust in Him.

And that is what chapter 3 is all about in the Bibles. of Zephaniah, and I want you to pick up with me in verse 14 of chapter 3 of Zephaniah. Sing, O daughter of Zion. Shout, O Israel. Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

The Lord has taken away your judgments. He has cast out your enemy. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst. You shall see disaster no more. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem, Do not fear, Zion.

Let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God is in your midst. The mighty one will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.

I will gather those whose sorrow over the appointed assembly, who are among you, to whom its reproach is a burden. Behold at that time. I will deal with all who afflict you. I will save the lame and gather those who were driven out.

I will appoint them for praise and fame. In every land where they were put to shame. At that time, I will bring you back. Even at that time, I gathered you. For I will give you fame and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I return to your captives before your eyes, says the Lord.

The book of Zephaniah reminds us that God has given us a promise. That God has given us something that we can hold on to. Now I recognize that some of you are great students of the Bible. And when you read these promises in Zephaniah you will say to me, Pastor Mike, these promises are for Israel.

These promises are for the nation of Israel. But I want to say to you, yes, there are promises in the Bible that are particularly for the nation of Israel. But there are also promises in the Bible that not only relate to Israel, but they relate to us because of the timing in which God is saying that He will fulfill that promise.

Let us not forget the words of the Apostle Paul who said in Galatians 3, 29, that if you are Christ, meaning if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. That is, he is reminding us that all that has been promised to Abraham and his seed, that you and I as believers in Christ have been grafted into the family of God.

And we are heirs to the promises of God. We will inherit all these great promises that are to come into the future. And so the promises of God to the nation of Israel in the book of… Zephaniah is just as applicable to us as they are to the nation of Israel.

And so what I want to present to you this morning is what does the birth of Christ teach me? What does the birth of Christ teach me? The first thing I want you to see in this passage of Scripture is that God’s presence is with you.

That’s the first thing that I want you to see because what Zephaniah is doing is he is promising a better day for the people of God. He is promising that there is coming a day when God will fulfill his promise that he will send a Messiah and he will send a king who will sit on the seat of Israel and the seat of David and he will be from the seat of David and he will rule and reign and he will be our Lord.

He will be our Savior. And he is referring to the fact that Jesus Christ will come. Jesus is the fulfillment of that promise. And so the most important aspect of Christmas that you and I need to latch onto as believers is the understanding of God’s permanent presence in our lives.

This is what God is saying. Look at verse 17 of chapter three of the book of Zephaniah. The Lord your God in your midst. This is how Matthew put it in Matthew one verse 23. Behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is God with us.

That is a beautiful name that has been given to our savior, Jesus Christ. Emmanuel means God with us. It is our understanding that one day the presence of God is not only gonna be spiritual, but it is going to be physical.

And that is what Zephaniah is trying to help the people to understand that the Lord your God will be in your midst. He will physically be in your midst. In the millennial kingdom beyond the tribulation period, there is coming a day that God promises the physical presence.

But until then, our savior, Jesus Christ, whom we celebrate on this special day, Christmas, has given us his presence, his spiritual presence in our life. Yes, he physically came. And yes, he came into this world and lived a sinless life.

And yes, he gave his life on the cross for us. And yes, he was resurrected. And the Bible tells us that he walked on the earth 40 days after his resurrection. And then we are taught that he ascended into heaven, interceding, praying for the saints of God.

God praying for the people of God at the very right hand of the throne of God. Yes, my friends, we are blessed with the physical presence, but we are also blessed with the spiritual presence of God. God’s presence in our life is not an abstract idea, but a reality in our lives and one that we must recognize.

God is calling us to be aware of his presence in our life as believers. Wherever we go, whatever we do, whether it is in the church or whether it is in the home or whether it is in the workplace, the community, wherever God calls us to travel and to serve and to be a light, we must recognize that because of this special day, you and I get the blessing of enjoying the presence of God.

It is Emmanuel, God with us. Christmas means so much more to us. It’s not that we have been abandoned. nor that we have been neglected, but rather, we are celebrating a savior who has come and the Lord is with his people.

Can God’s people say amen? We’re reminded in Colossians 3, 23, that whatever we do, we’re to do it heartily, that is with passion, commitment, and devotion, and that we are to do it as to the Lord and not to men.

What is it that would help me to make sure that whatever I do, I would do it as unto the Lord, that I would do it with everything that I have, and that I would be passionate about it, it is this one simple truth, that the Lord is with me, that God’s presence is ever before me, that God is always with me, he is Emmanuel, that God sent his son, Jesus Christ, into this earth because God loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

You and I must understand that God fulfilled his first promise of the coming Messiah, who would give his life for his people, that they might enjoy the forgiveness of God, but there’s another promise that Christ is coming again and we, in the midst of between the first and the second coming, we enjoy the spiritual presence of God and let us not forget that God is with us.

And today, on this Christmas day, I pray that you will never forget the wonderful lesson that Christ is with you. But the second thing that I want you to learn this morning in relation to the birth of our savior is that God delights in you.

I want you to go back to verse 17 of chapter three. Again, we are told that the Lord your God is in your midst. the mighty one will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you with his love.

He will rejoice over you with singing. Do you understand why this is such a favorite passage of many? Many people believe that God’s attitude towards them is one of disapproval. Sometimes our image of our heavenly father is one that he is angry and he is upset and that he’s ready to pounce on us and any mistake that we make he is ready to bestow judgment upon us.

But what we see here in this text is something so different and I want you to consider can you imagine that truth that God delights in you? The Bible says that he rejoices over you. Zephaniah goes so far as to say that he is breaking out in song with singing over you.

Now friends, do not misunderstand me. My goal is to teach you what we can learn from the birth of our Savior. And I want you to remember that when you read Zephaniah chapter 1 and Zephaniah chapter 2, the prophet is reminding the nation of Israel that if they do not turn to God, that if they do not believe in God, that if they do not trust in God, that the judgments of God are upon them.

But here in chapter 3, he is giving them the promise, and the promise is to all who repent and believe in God. Remember that Jesus taught us, that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance.

Keep in mind that these promises that are given are for those who have turned to the Lord, those who have forsaken the world, and those who have walked away from their idols and put their faith in the trust of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What we share with you is that there is a God in heaven who rejoices over the repentance of sinners. There is a God in heaven when the backslidden brother or sister comes back to him and repents of their sins God rejoices and delights in them.

Remember that the Apostle Paul taught us that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God, that we are taught in Romans chapter 8 that as believers, there’s nothing that can come between us and God’s love for us.

If we truly believe in Christ and we are taught that if God is for us, who can be against us? We’re taught at the outset of Romans chapter 8 and verse 1, that there is neither condemnation in those who…

who are in Christ Jesus? Please understand me this morning that if you believe in Christ, you have repented of your sins that you are doing your best to live in obedience to God and you are walking in the direction towards Jesus Christ, that God is delighting over you.

He is delighting over your repentance. He is delighting in the fact that you have come humbly to receive his salvation. He is rejoicing and yes, get this, he is singing. Over you. There is no condemnation.

Many years ago, there was a false doctrine that circulated among churches that somehow God was going to bring Christians before his throne and play a videotape of their entire life and all the sins that they have committed.

But I’m here to tell you that when you come to the Lord Jesus Christ, because of what Christ did on the cross, our sins are forgiven and our sins are under the blood of Jesus Christ. And the Bible teaches us that our sins are cast as far as the East is from the West to be remembered no more.

Can God’s people say amen? But I want you to know that God is delighting in you. For those who do not believe in Christ, we are taught in the gospel of John, yes, even in John chapter three and verse 18, that if you have not trusted in Christ you are still under condemnation.

You are still under the judgment of God. You are still under the wrath of God. Yes, God is angry with sin. And yes, God will judge sin. And yes, God will deal with sin. That’s what the Bible teaches us.

But I want you to know if we believe in Christ that Jesus on the cross, He took our judgment on the cross. He took the wrath of God, the punishment of God for our sins on the cross. And therefore God no longer is putting us under His condemnation and judgment.

But He is now delighting in us. And He is rejoicing. And He is singing over us. You rest assured my friends, what Christmas means to us is that God is for us. He is for those who have put their faith and their trust in Christ.

I want you to remember that He is cheering you on. That God is applauding you. And He is affirming you. He is the one who is working effectively in your life. You may feel that you’re too tired to continue on.

But I promise you, you have a savior who will carry you. You may feel too discouraged to fight the good fight. But you have a savior who is picking you up or God is for you. Isaiah the prophet said in Isaiah 62:5, as the bridegroom of Israel, room rejoices over the bride.

So shall thy God rejoice over thee.” Who are these people that God delights in? Who are these people that God rejoices over? Who are these people that God is literally breaking out in song over? It is those who have repented of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I want you to know that the birth of Christ means to us that we have a savior who is rejoicing because we have turned to him for salvation. Do you believe, do you really believe that God delights in you?

The third lesson that I want you to learn is that God is going to take care of you. God is going to take care of you. Again, we come back to our text in verse 17. The Lord your God, in your midst. The mighty one will save.

This phrase is also used by Isaiah when referring to the fact that Jesus is named the mighty one. We know he’s referred to as the wonderful counselor. We know that he is the prince of peace. But did you know, that Isaiah teaches us in chapter nine, verse six, that he is the mighty one?

Zephaniah picks up on this term and refers to our savior as the mighty one. It is the idea of being a victorious warrior, one who protects and one who conquers. The God who is with you is all-powerful.

And I want you to grasp, that God is going to take care of you. The Bible says in Philippians 4:19 that our God is going to take care of us according to his power and that our God is going to meet our needs according to his strength.

And we have the assurance this morning that as we recognize the amazing, miraculous birth of our savior and how he came into this world and how God works so mightily we have a God who has not forgotten us and he is all-powerful and he is working in our lives and he is going to take care of us.

But I want to remind you again and again what the birth of Christ means to you, what Christmas means to you is not only that we have a savior who suffered for us in dying on the cross, but we have a savior who is with us.

He suffers with us. He does not abandon you and his power is great. His power is mighty. The Bible teaches us. that we have many needs but our greatest need is that this mighty one will save. I want you to understand that the goal of God is not to make you happy.

And I know that you can turn on television, podcasts, and radios and you can find plenty of preachers to tell you that God wants you to be happy. But I’m here to tell you the truth, that God’s goal is not to make you happy.

It is to make you whole. It is to sanctify you. It is to shape you more into the image of Jesus Christ. His goal was not that you would get what you want, it is that you would receive all that you need.

And I want you to know that our greatest need is forgiveness. Our greatest need is forgiveness. Would you go back to verse 15 with me? The Lord has taken away your judgments. He has cast out your enemy.

The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst. You shall see disaster no more. Jump down to verse 17 again. The mighty one will save. The mighty one will save. Remember in the story of our Savior coming to this earth in Matthew 1, 21, what the Bible says, she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.

You see, my friends, God will bring forgiveness to every heart that calls out to him, to every heart that believes in him. Yes, we have all sinned. That is an undeniable fact. We have all fallen short.

The Bible says, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We have all failed God. The Bible says in Isaiah 53 .6, all we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

There’s not one person under the sound of my voice that can deny that they’re a sinner. Every one of us is in need of a Savior, and that’s why God sent Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. If you’re listening today, and you’ve never trusted in Christ, you’ve never asked the Lord’s forgiveness, I wanna encourage you before you leave today to take just one moment and to open your heart to God, and to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Christmas is so much more than a present. It is so much more than Christmas trees and all the festivities which are wonderful, but I want you to know the true meaning of Christmas is that Jesus came to die on a cross.

and he died on that cross to pay for our sins. And whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. He will not only take care of you spiritually, but he will take care of you physically. And we not only need forgiveness, but we need protection.

We talked about this mighty God, this mighty warrior. Now, according to Zephaniah chapter one, in verse one, which you can read later in your own time, the prophet Zephaniah delivered the word of the Lord during the reign of Josiah, the king of Judah.

The nation of Israel had already divided into two kingdoms, the Northern and the Southern kingdom. And we know that the Southern kingdom was referred to as Judah. And here, Josiah was the king who was trying to restore Israel.

He found the commandments of God. And when he read those commandments, the Lord had stirred his heart that he would lead his nation. Back to God and he appealed to the people of God that they would return to him that they would love God that God would Be first place that they would tear down their idols.

Josiah would lead a revolution and a Reformation in the nation of Judah to destroy their idols that were displayed throughout the streets and in the temples Josiah did a powerful work, but this work only lasted for 20 years after his reign and the people would return back to their sin and their idols and they would again Put God on the back burner.

Do you want to know what’s wrong with America? It has nothing to do with DC and politicians It has everything to do with a nation that has turned its back on God The only way that this nation can be restored will not be through a particular political party But rather it’ll only be restored when the people of God once again make Jesus Christ a priority in their life that he is number one and he means more to them than anything in this world and they put their full trust in God and they live Obedient lives that honor Jesus Christ.

That’s when God can bless America again We pray God Bless America, but I ask you can God bless America and bless us with all of our sins and idolatry With all the things that our leaders are doing can God really bless this nation?

What we ought to pray is God humble this nation God Awaken us spiritually and Bring us to the point of repentance. This was the heart of Josiah as he was leading this nation And he understood that they were in desperate need of the protection of God over the people jump down to verse 19 God reminds them that he will one day correct and he will one day work effectively behold at that time what time the time that God intervenes and restores the nation of Israel this is a prophecy that is connected to Romans chapter 11 when God says that one day all of Israel shall be saved he is reminding us that after the tribulation into the millennial kingdom God behold at that time I will deal with all who afflict you I will save the lame and gather those who were driven out and I will appoint them for praise and fame in every land where they were put to shame meaning God is going to restore his people he is going to restore his kingdom and now we have a spiritual kingdom my friends but one day Jesus Christ is coming again today we celebrate his First coming, but one day he’s coming again, church.

One day the church will be raptured out of here. One day there’ll be a tribulation period. And one day at the end of that tribulation period, God will split the eastern skies and we’ll be riding on white horses with our mighty savior, our mighty warrior God.

And we will watch God triumph over the nations that have rejected him. We will watch God destroy the enemies and every enemy of God will be put under the footstool of Jesus Christ and he will reign on the seat of David and he will rule from Jerusalem and he will rule this nation with peace and justice forever.

Can God’s people say amen? Amen. Number four, I want you to learn. God has plans for you. And verse 19 reveals that verse 20 reveals that because verses 19 and 20 are all about the future. You might ask the question, is there a bridge that links the Old Testament promises of a restored earthly kingdom of Israel to you and me today?

And I would say yes. In these verses 19 and 20, we see that God promises that he will gather his people. He will bring them home. He will give them honor. He will give them praise. He will restore their fortunes.

He is going to right every wrong. Listen to me, church. What Christmas means to me and what it means to you is that we have a future. What does the world have? Nothing. They only have this world and what they can get out of this world, but you and I have so much more.

You have heard the words of the prophet Jeremiah, which says, for I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope. When we think about the coming of Christ, there are so many lessons for us, but the most important lesson is to remember that the reason that Christ came was to die on the cross for our sins and to provide eternal life for those who would believe in Him.

So I hope that’s true of your life, that you have already trusted Christ, but if you have not, I pray that you will this Christmas give your life to Jesus and follow Him faithfully and respond to Him as He has touched your heart and drawn you to Him, we pray that you will repent and believe in Jesus Christ.

That’s the significance of the birth of Christ and it is why we celebrate His coming. That’s the main reason and I hope you never forget that. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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