The ROCK
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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • Dec25Sun

    Sermon: “The Meaning of Christmas”

    December 25, 2022

        Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of the world. 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” We were told Isaiah 7:14 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Luke 4:16 “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 7:16 “They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” Psalm 136:3 “He remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. 24 and freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever.”

        This is why we celebrate Christmas but the true meaning for our celebration is much more than celebrating a baby in a manger year after year because that baby grew up and died for the sins of the world and rose so that all might have life. Romans 5:6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Today many have accepted the baby but refuse to submit to the King. John 1:9 “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” Some went as far as trying to kill Jesus like Herod (Matthew 2:16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.) and the Jews (John 19:15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.) did. Hebrews 6:4 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” 

        Hebrews 6:9 “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation.” Jesus not only came to die for us but to empower us to do as He did. That was the plan for the church. Luke 24:48 “You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Acts 2:1 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” We were supposed to do as Jesus did in the authority of His name and with power from on High. Jesus showed us the way and empowered His disciples to follow. 1 John 3:8 “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” We were to continue in His work. His disciples were the first into the world to do as He did and we were to follow. But for many, Jesus is still a baby to them, and they do not know Him as their King, nor do they go out with power from on High. Jesus said John 8:31 “To the Jews who had believed him, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” If you do not hold to His teaching that means you are still an infant and do not understand the power available in His kingdom. Hebrews 5:11 “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” 1 Corinthians 3:3 “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” 

        Year after year Christmas is celebrated without understanding the magnitude of the celebration. So much emphasis is put on Christmas, the birth of Jesus, but little importance is put on doing as Jesus said and did and seeking His kingdom. If the church did, there would be repentance and the kingdom would come near, which means the power we saw in the Gospels and Acts would be present in the church today. Mark 1:14 “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Jesus is a great king and should be praised. Daniel 4:34 “His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.” Every year the birth of Jesus is celebrated, but His words are ignored, and His kingdom does not come near, and the church remains powerless. Malachi 1:6 “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty. 14 I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” There is no fear of God in the church. 

        Like with the focus on the birth of Jesus, many have remained infants and have not grown up to do as Jesus did. Luke 2:52 “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” The church did not grow. Jeremiah 7:24 “They did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.” As we saw in Hebrews “though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food.” Picture this Christmas with everyone celebrating the birth of Jesus but Jesus asking why do you not do as I have commanded. Jesus said Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” 

        Every year we celebrate our own birthdays, on the date we were born. We were all born for a reason, but our birth was just the beginning of the plan. As the years go by, we don’t just celebrate the birth, we celebrate the life. Jesus said John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah was told Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Paul said Galatians 1:15 “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles.” For each of us, God knew our purposes before we were born. We were told about the plan for Jesus and His birth was just the beginning. Isaiah 9:6 “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. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Luke 1:32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

        Jesus did not remain a baby in a manger, and we were not supposed to stay as infants either. We were supposed to do as Jesus did. We must humble ourselves and submit to our king. Jesus told us, John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Jesus gave His disciples the power to do as He did. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” By believing we were not just given the gift of eternal life, but the gift of the Spirit so that we could do as Jesus did. That meant we were given power and authority to go and do as Jesus did, but that power is missing in the church today. Every year Christmas is celebrated, and every year people remain the same (powerless) and the kingdom does not come near. Christmas songs are played now for over a month before Christmas. Lights go up and presents are bought but Jesus, the greatest gift to all, is ignored. Romans 5:17 “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” We were also given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Luke 11:13 “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:4 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”

        This year look at Christmas differently. That child you are celebrating is the King of kings and Lord of Lords. Daniel 4:3 “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation. 35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” Are you submitted to Jesus? Is He your King or still a baby in a manger? All around us the world is in desperate need for God. Even close to you are those who need a savior and healer. The world around us is falling apart. The world needs Jesus but where is the church. Instead of the regular year after year Christmas celebration picture Christmas to look like this. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 8:16 “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” Today the world and the church are filled the lost, with infirmities, diseases and the demonic. Christmas represents being set free. Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lordfor the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” Revelation 21:3 “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

          Every day we are supposed to be Christmas, Easter and Pentecost Christians, not just on special days every year. The Messiah has come already and He lives. Who do you say Jesus is? Matthew 16:16 “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”