After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth – John 1:14
Today, we would like to re-create the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols usually performed at Christmas but without the carols. The reason for the festival is to tell the story of our fall into sin and God’s redemptive love through the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:9-11 (NIV)
God loves us so much that He sent Jesus on a mission of love with a message of love. Christmas always reminds us that God loves us. The Bible says God is love. It doesn’t say God has love. What the Bible says indicates that Love is God’s nature. God created us because He loves us. The reason we are alive is because God created us as objects of His love. He created us so He could love us and we could also love Him.
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given: And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” – Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV).
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – Romans 5:3-4
But be holy now in everything you do, just as the Lord is holy who invited you to be His child. He Himself has said, “You must be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:15-16
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. – 2 Timothy 3:1-5
The last days will be marked by a widespread collapse of the moral structures of the family and of society in general as people are arrogant “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” Even in churches, unfaithfulness to God and disloyalty to His truth will increase. These times will be especially difficult and disheartening for God’s true servants.
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. – 1 Timothy 2:9-10
“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” – John 3:5-6 (NIV)
Last week we found out that it is God’s desire to restore us to the original position of fellowship with Him when He created us. That is why He sent Jesus Christ to share our humanity and then die on the cross for us so that we might receive salvation – forgiveness for our sins and be restored to fellowship with God as children. Some very key scriptures in this regard are Ezekiel 18:23 and 32 and John 3:16 and 17. We also found out that our relationship with God is only restored through a new birth. We must be born of the Spirit of God as Jesus explains in John 3:3-8. To do this, we must believe in Jesus Christ as the One God sent for our salvation as we read in John 1:12-13 – “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan – this rebirth comes from God.” (NLT)