The Christmas Story, Part 5
Luke 2:3-7. Do you want to know Jesus as intimately as these few people we have studied the past few services knew Him? I mean do you really want Him more than you've ever had? If you’re serious about knowing Him more, prove it starting now:
First, hold your breath. When you were holding your breath for an extended period, what would you have said if I had offered you $1000.00 to just not take another breath? What would you have said if I simply asked if you wanted something to eat? You would have said, "Not right now, I have to take another breath of air first!" Jesus says you will not have more of Him unless you want Him that badly: Matthew 13:44-46. Listen to what Jesus tells the large crowd following Him half-heartedly for their own benefit: Luke 14:25-26. Scriptures clearly tell us that we will have more of Him when He is all we want. Until you decide He is that important in your life and your actions in pursuit of Him reflect that decision, you and I will remain where we are. Some will think, "Why would God expect that kind of complete desire and affection over everything else in my life? That's kind of selfish, isn't it?" It might seem that way if He hadn't already proven that's how badly He wanted us first by abandoning all to lie helplessly in that manger on that first Christmas; if His Love for us wasn't stronger than His Love for anything else in creation; if He hadn't already proven that He Loves us more than His own life. Is this not the kind of love that one would expect from their closest, dearest beloved here on earth? Is this not the passion and drive one has here on earth when their heart is set on [greatness and success in sports, business or fame]—is He not greater than all of these? Scriptures tell us that until knowing Him is our single, sole, greatest desire and pursuit—greater even than our family—we will not truly draw nearer to Him. Will you stop with the religious games, and in reality, pursue Him above all else in your life?
Listen to what Jesus says next to the lukewarm crowd following Him: Luke 14:27. Second, stretch your hands out (sacrifice). Having more of Christ requires real sacrifice on our part. We are so soft and spoiled. We complain and cry that it is just too hard and that we are just too busy to do what it takes to be closer to Him. Stop fooling yourself—the bottom line is that we will make time for what we truly want in life. And He knows the truth about where He stands in your priorities. How many here have given up everything you naturally crave and even need to accomplish something big in life? (For school, work, mate or crisis?) If the world truly has you too busy to draw near or serve your God, ask yourself if you could make these sacrifices for the payoff of His presence and intimacy? Could you sacrifice sleep to have prayer? Could sacrifice time with friends or family to be alone with Him? Could you sacrifice seeing that movie everyone else thinks is so great, because it displeases Him? Could you sacrifice hobbies or spare time to truly study His Word instead? Could you sacrifice your life desires to minister and serve others instead? Could you sacrifice that sin you love so much to be holy and close to your Savior? Could you sacrifice that relationship which is pulling you slowly away from Him? Stop and seriously think on the fact that this sweet little human baby—who had all of the needs, wants and desires we have—spent His whole life wanting us: more than He wanted food or water; more than He wanted sleep; more than He wanted comfort; more than He wanted Power; more than He wanted prestige and position; more than He wanted family and friends; more than He wanted life—are none of these simple, temporal things we cling to worth denying to know Him better? When will we covet Him as much as He did us?
Lastly, listen to a Jesus’ final Words to the lukewarm crowd: Luke 14:28-30; 2 Timothy 4:7; 2 Corinthians 4:8-18. You do not quit, no matter what. No matter how many times you fail, He is still there. No matter how discouraged, He is worth it. No matter what others do, you stay. No matter what you lose, you have infinitely more to gain. That babe in a manger represented the uncontainable power greater than all the mass, energy and complexity of this entire Universe—which we cannot even begin to comprehend—surrendered, for that frail, helpless, unaware body, mind and soul of a human baby. God allowed Himself to forever be contained in this human form to save, live with, understand, relate to, and love on us for eternity. You say, "Well, that's because He knew all that He would get in return at the end!" Well so do you. Do you believe Him?
Jesus was rejected by those He loved, but He didn't quit. Jesus was lied about, and falsely accused—ruining His reputation, but He didn't quit. Jesus became poor and had nothing to His name by the end, but He didn’t quit. Jesus lost every friend He had, and stood alone, but He didn't quit. Jesus was offered a safe, comfortable way to have it all and still rule us, but He didn't quit. Jesus gave up food, water and sleep frequently, but He didn't quit. Jesus was arrested, beaten, spit on, had hair pulled out, had His flesh torn off, carried a cross on His torn back until He could no longer continue, was stripped naked and impaled on a cross, but He never quit. Jesus has watched you fail Him, turn on Him, choose to hurt Him, choose other people and things over Him—after all He's done—and yet He never quits. Jesus has seen every horrid thing you have ever done or thought about doing, and He never quits. He did this for you. When will it be our turn not to quit? His whole journey to change everything about Himself; to sacrifice everything; to show how badly He wanted us; to suffer all that could be suffered, endure all that could be endured and never quit—started with that first cry heard in the stench of a cold, lonely stable by two young unknowns on that first Christmas night.
Let your journey to know Him more—start on this night as well, here at the end of 2020. Everyone is getting gifts from you tonight. You want to get something they truly want something they don't have, right? There is only one thing you can give the King; only one thing He truly wants more than anything; only one thing He can't get for Himself because it has to be given—your everything. How badly do you want Him? You can't just talk about it or just wish for it—you have to pursue Him with everything. You have to want Him more than air; you have to sacrifice anything to get Him; you have to decide you will never quit. The world does this for its temporary treasures—is He not worth more as our Eternal Treasure?
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