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Sunday, 25 December 2016

'CHRISTMAS'

Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:
http://www.sunnysidechurchottawa.com/   

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PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, December 25th, 2016:
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Broadcast Notes:
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Christmas

Good morning and Merry Christmas. Welcome to good news in the morning.  My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church here in Ottawa. I have been pastoring there for 26 years.

            Christmas is a special time of year. There are a lot of celebrations and best wishes and gifts. Sometimes in the middle of all the busyness, we forget to connect with the reason for the season. So this morning I thought I wold take you on a journey and tell the Christmas story through scripture and song.

            The story starts way before the birth of Christ. The story starts with the prophets

Isaiah 40:1–5 (NLT)
Comfort for God’s People
“Comfort, comfort my people,”
says your God.
“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.
Tell her that her sad days are gone
and her sins are pardoned.
Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over
for all her sins.”
Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,
“Clear the way through the wilderness
for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland
for our God!
Fill in the valleys,
and level the mountains and hills.
Straighten the curves,
and smooth out the rough places.
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
The Lord has spoken!”*

Isaiah 9:6–7 (AV)
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

            The prophets of old told about the coming Messiah. The People of God were looking forward to the Messiah,

            Lets listen to this song of expectation
MUSIC – O come, O come Emmanuel – Pentatonix 3:35

Luke 1:26–38 (NLT)
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!*”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel* forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.*”
38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

            The gospel of Matthew tells the story from Matthews perspective.
Matthew 1:18–24 (NLT)
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancĂ©, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement* quietly.
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,* for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,*
which means ‘God is with us.’ ”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.

MUSIC – Mary did you know 3:23 Pentatonix

            Mary and Joseph were obedient to the call of God. And through them Jesus was born – Here is the story of his birth from Luke chapter 2.


Luke 2:1–20 (NLT)
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was now obviously pregnant.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 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 lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Music - Silent Night, 3:00 Susan Boyle – I dreamed a dream

Matthew 2:1–12 (NLT)
Visitors from the East
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men* from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose,* and we have come to worship him.”
King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities* of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’* ”
Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

We three Kings 2:44 Dolly Parton – Home for Christmas

            Up until now we have been reading the scripture of how Jesus was born. He was no ordinary human being. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, heralded by angels, and worshiped by shepherds and kings alike.

            The gospel of John interprets the Christmas story for us. He starts off by talking about “The Word” by when we get a little further into the passage, you will see that when he is talking about the word, he is talking about Jesus.

John 1:1–14 (NIV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
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.
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.

            Jesus has always required a response. When he came to this world, many rejected him, but some received him. Some believed that he was and is the Son of God.

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.

            Jesus comes to us today and requires the same decision. Will you receive him, will you believe in him. Not just the baby in the manger, but the man who grew up and show us what God is like. He showed us the love of God.

John 3:16 (NIV)
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.

            Jesus died that our sin might be paid for and be forgiven. He came that you and I could have a relationship with God. God invites you into his family – So on this Christmas day – in response to love of God, I would invite you to receive Jesus into your life.


Let’s Pray:

Lord, Thank you for Christmas. Thank you God, how you came and you became a human. And you showed us what you were like so that we might know you and follow you and connect with you.
I ask for every person on this Christmas day that they would take another step closer to you.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN.

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As you pray, may you encounter God for who he is: loving and gracious. May you encounter the God who is calling you to be all that you were created to be through His son, Jesus Christ.

MUSIC – Joy to the World 2:13 Faith Hill

By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:
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PODCAST LINK to the CFRA broadcast: