We begin a NEW sermon series ‘Don’t miss CHRISTmas’. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. Service led by Brian Dickson.
It’s hard to believe we are just 28 days away from Christmas and another season of expectation awaits around the world. Local councils are busy installing lights to provide a beautiful ambience in the community, and festive celebrations at work are no doubt scheduled over the upcoming weeks. Finally, those Christmas shopping lists are well underway to ensure ample presents are safely wrapped under the tree for the 25th.
Emmanuel – God with us!
For Christians however, there is much more to Christmas than just fancy lights, sharing gifts and enjoying a roast turkey. However, at its very core, Christmas presents a message of glorious hope that everyone can embrace. The word that became flesh and dwelt among humanity is Christmas’s central message. Our exciting new series will delve into the Old Testament prophecies and New Testament revealing of Christ and bring to light the premier reason for Christmas in the first place.
The scene of this morning’s scripture provides a prophetic message of Jerusalem’s future. (See Isaiah 39) The Babylonians were prophesied to capture Jerusalem and take the people into exile. Despite such debilitating news chapter 40 begins with a word of comfort and encouragement. “Comfort, yes, comfort my people” – Isaiah 40:1 The chapter also features a hope-filled prophecy of the messiah who would eventually come to offer hope not just to Jerusalem but to all people.
As we examine God’s hope through His word and His gift of Christ let us consider the following points.
Does your Christmas list include the essentials for a CHRIST-CENTERED Christmas?
Comfort is on the way – v1-2
- Jerusalem’s disobedience paved the way for Judgment, but God would show mercy and pardon for their sins. “For she has received from the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins”
- 700 years after Isaiah’s prophecy of Christ in like manner the world would receive mercy and pardon through the sacrificial gift of Jesus into the world.
Today’s challenges are different from Isaiah’s day, but we can still experience the comfort of Christ this Christmas. His encouragement in times of despair allows us to have joy that is not based on the world but centred on Jesus and His word.
Preparation is underway – v3
- The vision of John the Baptist revealed to Isaiah
- The divine master plan revealed through prophecy
- John’s the forerunner of Christ to come.
- For Isaiah Jesus was coming…..For us today Jesus has come but is coming BACK.
Challenge – Have we clouded our Christmas preparations with material things rather than focusing on the genuine reason for Christmas?
Good news is here to stay – v4-11
- Salvation through Jesus is the Perfect Gift of Christmas
- Good tidings = an old-fashioned word for recent news. (The message of Christmas is relevant to every generation)
- Jesus will care for His flock like a shepherd.
Because of God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus, every day is Christmas for the world. Anyone who would open their hearts to Christ can experience the joy and peace of knowing Christ for themselves.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. – Rev 3:20
- What is your working definition of comfort? Or what components make up comfort for you?
- What Bible verses/chapters have been helpful in bringing stability and comfort to you personally?
- Why would the words of Isaiah 40 be words of “comfort” for the people of ancient Israel/Judah? – think about the prophecy in chapter 39.
- Do you ever feel God is not paying attention to your needs? In what circumstances do you feel that God is distant? What have you done about the feelings? How has God demonstrated that He is paying attention to you?
- Read verse 2 again and think about how God’s mercy continues to be poured out in the world today. Think about recent world events.