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 DECEMBER 4, 2011



 SCRIPTURE TEXT: 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT)

      The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on, you will be at war."

INTRO: If you go swimming, how do you enter the water?

    I liken the waters of Ezekiel to the salvation God offers to each and every one of us.

    In Ezekiel’s waters, we see the different depths of our spiritual walk with God.

  • Those standing on the shoreline.

  • Those in ankle deep waters.

  • Those who are up to their knees.

  • Those who are waist deep.

  • Those who are swimming.

    God is looking for those who will be fully committed to Him.


 NOTE: There are those who only stand on the shore and never enter into God’s salvation.

    There are those who never come near to the ocean of God’s grace.

    They live in a desert place where there is no water that will bring life.

    There are those who come to the shore but remain on the beach.

   They come to church and maybe even involved but have never entered into the God’s water of salvation by accept Jesus as their Savior.


 NOTE: These are those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior but not Lord of their life.

    The water close to the shore is often filled with debris.

    Because they have not made Jesus Lord of their lives, they are constantly battling with sin, discouragement and other things that cause them troubles.

    Every so often a wave will come and douse them and they feel the special blessing that come with a moving of God’s Spirit, but they remain in ankle deep waters.

    Walking in ankle deep waters can at time be unstable.


 NOTE: These are those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and have made Him Lord of their life.

       They have made a commitment to following God but their commitment is based on duty.

 They become involved in the life of the church: teaching, working, giving but it is all in the sense of duty.

   It is better to be committed to God because of duty then not to be committed to God at all.


 NOTE: Those who have entered into the waters to the waist are those who no longer serve God out of duty but rather out of love and passion for Him.


Mark 12:30 (KJV) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

    They love God but they have yet to take the final step in fully surrendering to Him and trusting Him for everything.

 NOTE: Sometimes we trust God with little things but fail to trust Him for big things. 

    Other times we trust God with big things but seek our own solution for little things.

 ILL: The story of King Asa. I Chronicles 14-15

 2 Chronicles 14:9 (NLT) Once an Ethiopian named Zerah attacked Judah with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots. They advanced to the city of Mareshah,

 2 Chron. 14:11 (NLT) Then Asa cried out to the Lord his God, "O Lord, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O Lord, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!"

 2 Chronicles 15:2 (NLT) and he went out to meet King Asa as he was returning from the battle. "Listen to me, Asa!" he shouted. "Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you.

2 Chronicles 16:7 (NLT) At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, "Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the Lord your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram.

 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT) The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on, you will be at war."

 NOTE: When we fail to trust God for everything, we will be in constant war with doubt and unbelief.


 NOTE: Waters to swim in means that the water is over our heads and we are no longer touching the ground.

    It is a frighten thing to no longer be able to touch ground.

    When we are swimming we are being held up totally by water in which we are swimming.

    These are those who have fully committed themselves to God and live a life of faith.

    These trust God for everything.

   God is looking for those who willing to let go of the shoreline and are willing to commit everything to Him.

 CONCLUSION: Are you ready to go swimming?



DECEMBER 11, 2011




     She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.

 INTRO: The Christmas season is one of the most hectic times of the year.

 ·         The buying and wrapping of gifts.

·         Putting up decorations

·         Sending out Christmas cards

·         Preparing the special treats

·         The Christmas dinner

   In all this the real meaning of Christmas is often lost in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas Season.


  • It started with Merry Xmas.

   There wasn’t enough room to put Christ in to Christmas.

  • Then came Holiday or Seasons Greetings.

  • There are stories and business where the employee can’t say Merry Christmas.

  • It has become politically incorrect to say Merry Christmas.


 NOTE: The message of Christmas is Hope and God’s Love and the devil wants to remove the meaning of Christmas. 

  • He wants to exchange despair for hope.

  • Lust and hatred for love.

  • Worldly pleasure for Godly pursuits.

  • Bitterness and separation for forgiveness and reconciliation.

  • War and turmoil for peace.

 NOTE: As long as he can keep Christ out of Christmas he is well on his way having his will.


 NOTE: The whole meaning and purpose of Christmas is Jesus Christ.

    We must keep Christ in Christmas or we are lost in a sin filled world.


 NOTE: It is because Christ is in Christmas that there is hope for this sinful world.

 ·         God created man to have fellowship with Him.

 Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT) Then God said, "Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They will be masters over all life—the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and small animals."   So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself;            male and female he created them.

    God created us in His image so that we could have fellowship with Him.

 Genesis 3:8 (KJV) And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

 ·         Sin has separated us from God.

Isaiah 59:1-2 (NLT) Listen! The Lord is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call.  But there is a problem—your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

 ·         Through Adam’s sin we all become sinners.

 Romans 5:12 (NLT) When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

 ·         It is only through the Christ of Christmas that our sin problem can be addressed.

 Romans 5:16 (NLT) And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin. For Adam's sin led to condemnation, but we have the free gift of being accepted by God, even though we are guilty of many sins.

 1 John 1:7 (KJV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

 1 John 1:9 (KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 B.     Christ in Christmas is all about giving.

 NOTE: God giving to us the Way back into having fellowship with Him.

 John 3:16-17 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 C.  The gift of Christmas will not benefit us unless we accept it.

 NOTE: The greatest gift in the world will do us no good if we leave it unwrapped under the tree.

 John 1:12-13 (NLT) 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.

 John 3:3-7 (NLT) Jesus replied, "I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God."

    "What do you mean?" exclaimed Nicodemus. "How can an old man go back into his mother's womb and be born again?"

    Jesus replied, "The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.  Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven.  So don't be surprised at my statement that you must be born again.

CONCLUSION: In the hustle and bustle, of not only the Christmas season but in life itself, we must sure we always have room for Jesus.


DECEMBER 18, 2011




     The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

 INTRO: Christmas is a time when hearts are filled with hope.

    Hope that comes through anticipation.

   Do you remember when you were a child how you anticipated some special gift and that anticipation filled your heart with hope?

ILL: A Christmas Story.

    We are all hoping for many different things but I think it safe to say, we are all hoping for happiness and the fulfillment of life.

   The problem arises when what we are hoping for is placed in the wrong anticipation.

    Israel was filled with the hope of the anticipation of the coming Messiah.

    They were dwelling in the darkness of the captivity of Rome and were filled with hope that one day the Messiah would come and deliver them from the domination of Rome.

    The problem was that the anticipation their hope was built upon was not God’s plan.

   They were looking for a King to come and deliver them from the power of Rome.

    They failed to see that they were under greater slavery than that of Rome, the slavery of sin.


ILL: The Prodigal Son.  Luke 15:11- 32

    He thought he would find happiness in being on his own and having his inheritance’s money.

 Proverbs 13:12 (NLT) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.

 ·         When we anticipate to finding happiness outside of God we will always fail.

 Job 8:13 (NLT) Such is the fate of all who forget God. The hope of the godless comes to nothing.

 ·         The godless put their anticipation in the here and now, not in eternity.

 Job 27:8 (NLT) For what hope do the godless have when God cuts them off and takes away their life?

 ·         Those anticipating finding happiness in possessions have disregarded God.

 Job 31:24-25, 28 (NLT) "Have I put my trust in money or felt secure because of my gold?  Does my happiness depend on my wealth and all that I own ... If so, I should be punished by the judges, for it would mean I had denied the God of heaven.

NOTE: Israel was anticipating deliverance from human bondage while God was promising deliverance from spiritual bondage.

   Because Israel’s anticipation was placed on human reasoning instead of trusting God, they failed to experience the fulfillment of God’s promise.


Psalm 130:7 (GW) O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, because with the Lord there is mercy and with him there is unlimited forgiveness.

NOTE: While we may find temporary happiness under the Christmas tree, we will only find true contentment at the cross and empty tomb.

 Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NLT) This is what the Lord says: "Let not the wise man gloat in his wisdom, or the mighty man in his might, or the rich man in his riches.  Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who is just and righteous, whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!

 ·         Israel was anticipating a King on a throne; God gave them a Baby in a manger.

 Luke 2:10-12 (NLT) but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone!  The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!  And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!"

 ·         The Wise Men from the east recognized Him as King.

 Matthew 2:2 (KJV) Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

 ·         Herod knew He was the Messiah but sought to kill Him, instead of worshipping Him.

 Matthew 2:3-4 (NLT) Herod was deeply disturbed by their question, as was all of Jerusalem.  He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law. "Where did the prophets say the Messiah would be born?" he asked them.

·         Simeon and Anna in the Temple recognized Him as the Messiah while the High Priest did not.

 Luke 2:21-40


 Psalm 20:7-8 (KJV) Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.  They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

    Satan seeks to get us to put our hope in the things of the flesh instead of God.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NLT) This is what the Lord says: "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans and turn their hearts away from the Lord.  They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, on the salty flats where no one lives. "But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.

 NOTE: It is only through placing our anticipation of finding true happiness in God and His Word that we will achieve the happiness we seek.

 Psalm 119:114 (NLT) You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my only source of hope.

    When God speaks three times the same thing, we need to set up and take notice.

 Psalm 42:5,11; 43:5 (KJV) Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

 CONCLUSION: Our hope will be fulfilled when we put out anticipation in God and His Word.







     Jesus said to the people, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."

 INTRO: The world and all that live in the world dwell in darkness.

    The darkness of death and sin covers the world.

    Darkness is the absence of light & sin is the absence of God.

    In the beginning the world was clothed in physical darkness but God created light to dispel that darkness.

Genesis 1:1-4 (KJV) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

    And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

   The world today is in spiritual darkness but once again God comes upon the scene to drive out spiritual darkness. 

John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus said to the people, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."


 NOTE: The angels brought the light of the birth of the Savior.

 Luke 2:8-11 (GW) Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy.  Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David's city.

    It is the light of Jesus Christ our Savior that drives away the darkness of sin in our lives.

    Those who accept Christ as the Savior will no longer walk in the darkness of sin.

 Isaiah 9:2 (NLT) The people who walk in darkness will see a great light—a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow.

 1 John 1:7 (NLT) But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.



Matthew 2:2 (KJV) Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him … When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

NOTE: The light of the star did thee things:

  1. It revealed Jesus as king.

 NOTE: Jesus kingship speaks to two important truths in regards to sin and darkness.

    • The power to deliver us from the power of sin.

    • The authority He gives us over sin.

  1. It guided the wise men to where Jesus was.

 NOTE: Those who are wise will follow the guidance of the light of God’s Word.

Psalm 119:105 (KJV) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

 John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus said to the people, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."

  1. It brought them great joy.

 Isaiah 29:19 (KJV) The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.


NOTE: While Jesus was in the world He was the light of the world.

 John 9:5 (NLT) But while I am still here in the world, I am the light of the world."

    Now we are to carry the light of Jesus into this world.

Matthew 5:14-16 (KJV) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 CONCLUSION: Let us take the light of Jesus into this sin darken world.


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