Jack Graham - Light of the World
Joy to the world! And Merry Christmas! I want to welcome you to a very special broadcast of PowerPoint. It is Christmas. It is a very special day because we are celebrating the greatest day in history, the day God became man and lived with us. I've now been the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, for 35 years. And every year something very special happens. I believe it's the best thing that happens every year. Our Christmas Eve candle light service is the very best, and we open the Bible and sing Christmas carols to the King and lite a candle in the darkness. It's so very wonderful. And I want to share this very special service with you. So join me now as we open God's Word and examine Jesus as the King. Get your Bibles and let's hear the message from God's Word right now.
Noel means carol, or birth. So to say noel, to sing noel is to celebrate the birth of the King. And the theme of this service is Jesus is King. And because Christ is King, He is to be worshiped and adored. In Matthew's gospel, the second chapter, we pick up on the story of those Wise Men who came in search of the King. They follow the star and found a Savior in the most surprising way. Verse one of chapter two of Matthew says: "Now, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.'" And then in verse ten: "When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary, His mother, and they fell down and (what?) worshiped Him. And then opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh".
The story of the Wise Men is well known by most. There's a lot of the legend related to the story of the Wise Men beyond the Scripture. And sometimes we put things together inaccurately. My little grandson, Jake Flores, seven years of age, came to the Christmas production here, The Gift of Christmas, along with our family. And after it was over, his mother, our daughter, Kelly, was explaining to him about the story more and the birth of Jesus and the whole Nativity and if you've been to The Gift of Christmas here, you know that we take a little bit of license and we put the story together, both the shepherds, and the angels, and Mary and Joseph, and the Wise Men coming to the manger or the Nativity. But Kelly went on to explain to him, we sort of combined the story there, because actually, Jake, it says that when the Wise Men came, they visited Jesus, a child. We don't know how old he was.
A few months, a few years, a toddler perhaps, but they visited him at the house, no doubt, in Bethlehem. And as Kelly was explaining this, that it really didn't happen at the Nativity that it happened at a house when the Wise Men came, Jake exclaimed, "What the heck! You've been lying to us the whole time"? So let's get this story straight. After the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, these Wise Men came in search, following a light in heaven. The Shekinah Glory of God was all around them. We don't know exactly who these men were. We don't know their country of origin. Some suggest Persia now Iran; others, Arabia. I personally believe it was most likely from Babylon. We read in the book of that of Daniel, of Babylonian Wise Men in the day of the great man, Daniel. So these were Wise Men. The Bible description of them calls them the Magi. We get our word magic. So were they from this word.
So were they magicians of sort? Did they dabble in the occult? Were they sorcerers or were they philosophers? Theologians? Were these Wise Men extra smart? Were they students of science? Were they astronomers? Were they astrologers? We don't know exactly. And if we needed to know, the Bible would have told us. What we do know is that these very bright men followed a very bright star. These Wise Men, knowing the Old Testament scriptures, began to see this star in the heavens shining brightly, and it pointed them to a King, the King of the Jews and the King of the world. And when they arrived at the place where Jesus was staying, at the house, they worshiped Him because the only real response to Jesus the King is surely to worship Him. King of kings and Lord of lords.
So many of the songs we sing at Christmas, the carols of Christmas, relate to this theme. For example, "Angels from the realms of Glory, Come and worship Christ the newborn King". What about one we just sang "Angels we have heard on high, Come, adore on bended knee. Christ the Lord, the newborn King". Or what about this one? Honor the Lord "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing". I believe one of the greatest not just Christmas hymns, but greatest hymns of all times is "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing". And in it the refrain "Hark, the Herald Angels sing, Glory to the newborn King". "This, this is Christ the King..." "What Child is this"? "Joy to the World" "The Lord has come, Receive... Let Earth receive our King". "O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant. Come and behold him, born the King of angels". Yes, Jesus is the King. When the heavens exploded that night, when Christ was born, they were singing to the King. It was glorious to behold what God has done. The King of kings expects that we would enthrone Him in our homes, in our hearts, in our very lives.
And why worship Jesus? Because the King Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. It is wrong to worship anyone or anything but God, so to say worship Jesus the King is to declare that He is Lord, that He is God. This is the meaning of the miracle and the majesty that is Christmas: that He left heaven where He was adored throughout all eternity past, into the future of heaven present and heaven yet to come, the kingdom that is yet to come. Adorned by angels, enthroned upon... The God of the universe, enthroned upon the throne of the universe. But He descended and down, down, down He came, leaving the glory of heaven and the worship of angels, and was born in a barn in humility. That's history; it's a fact that Christ was born and He was laid in a manger.
But who was this one laid in the manger? The Creator was in that cradle, majesty in that manger, royalty wrapped in rags! The King in cloths, or you could even say, Deity in diapers. Amazing! Come and see what God has done. This is the story of Christ who came, who was born through the portals of a virgin's womb, laid in a manger, grew up to announce the kingdom of heaven at hand, who lived a perfect life in order to be a perfect sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice to lay His life down on a cross voluntarily in order to die for our sins. Because Jesus came to save! The King, came to save us, to rescue us, and to reconnect us to God.
Isaiah chapter nine speaks of the darkness of this world. "The people who walked in darkness have seen the great light and those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness, on them the light has shown. For undo us a Child is born unto us, a son is given; and the government will be upon the shoulders of King Jesus, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace". And watch this. "And of the increase of His government and His peace, there will be no end, on the throne of David and over the His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time forth, and forever more. The zeal of the Lord of host will do this. (The Lord of angels will accomplish this.) Come and see what God has done".
That's what the Wise Men chose to do. The Wise Men searched until they found Him, at personal cost and expense, over a great distance. There was some danger involved, but they were on a search and they were determined to fulfill the longing of their heart to know who is this King that is born. The Bible says in the book of Jeremiah, "If you seek Me, you will find Me. If you seek Me, you will find Me". And like these Wise Men of old, the smartest thing, the wisest thing that you can ever do is to seek God. Because if you seek Him, you will find Him. Because Jesus came in order for us to know who He is and what He is like. And we come and we see what God has done, we find meaning in our lives. To worship Him is to welcome Him now and forever. To worship Him is to enthrone Him on our own hearts, in our own hearts. Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth. Everyone worships, someone or something!
This Christmas and every day, everyone is a worshiper. You were made to worship God, and if you do not worship God, you will worship something else. And people do. But I'm telling you, everyone is a worshiper! Atheists are worshipers, agnostics are worshipers, skeptics are worshipers. Scrooge is a worshiper. Good people, bad people, all kinds of people. Everyone, Jews and Gentiles. We're all made to know God. We are all made to worship Him. We're on a search, and that search is for meaning. And that meaning is in the Messiah. That meaning is in the Majesty. The One who is laid in a manger who would one day be laid upon a cross to die for our sins, and then laid in a grave to rise again. This is our King! You worship what you value the most, right? The very word worship means worth ship. What you value, what is worthy to you, you worship.
So is Jesus worthy of our worship? Is He worth it? I remember as a teenage boy, I knew Christ as a child, grateful that I came to Christ as a boy and as a teenager growing up near here, the east side of Fort Worth, involved in a great student ministry, youth ministry in our church. We used to sing a song, lots of songs that were new and all a part of a Jesus revolution that was going on around the country. And one that I remember so well, said, "He is everything to me. In the stars His handiwork I see, On the wind He speaks with majesty, Though he rules over land and sea, What is that to me? I will celebrate Nativity, For it has a place in history, Since He came to set His people free, But what is that to me? Till by faith I met Him face to face, and felt the wonders of His grace, Then I knew that He was more than just a God who didn't care, A God who lived way out there. And now He walks beside me day by day, And every day watching over me lest I stray, Helping me to find the narrow way, He is everything to me".
And as a young teenager, the Lordship of Christ, the Kingship of Jesus became a reality in my life. He's everything to me! If Jesus is worth anything to you, He's worth everything to you. He's everything to me. And therefore, we worship Him. We sing hallelujah, We sing noel. The question is, Is Jesus your King? Do you ask Him? There's been a lot of darkness in the world; cultural darkness, spiritual darkness, moral darkness. Maybe darkness in your own life: depression and anxiety and fear. But the light of Jesus is drawing you in. The Light of the world is coming into your world. And Jesus brings light for your darkness. He brings peace in the midst of your pain; and He brings hope in the midst of depression and joy in the midst of sorrow and forgiveness in the midst of your sin and guilt and shame. And yes, He brings love in your loneliness. The Light is breaking through in our lives through Jesus our Lord. He's the King Supreme, and His plan will prevail.
The fact that He is King means that He is sovereign. He is sovereign and supreme. And his plan will never fail in your life because Jesus' kingdom never ends. The fact is, the King who has come is coming again in great power and great royalty. He's coming again! So now what do we do? We bowed before the King. We surrender. We lay down our swords of rebellion and resistance, and we let the Light in. The fact is that God loves you. John, who was a disciple, who was very close to Jesus, said this: that "God is love, and here is the love of God that He sent his only Son into the world so that we may (what?) live through Him. And in this love, it is not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent Him to be the sacrifice for our sins. Come and see what God has done".
And when you lift this candle in just a moment, let it be in praise to Him, in adoration and adulation, exaltation of King Jesus. Would you bow your heads with me in prayer? If you've never made that choice, that decision, God is sovereign. His Spirit is working. You're not here by chance or accident, but in the plan and the purposes of God. And if you do not know this Jesus, if you do not have this Savior in your life, if you do not know that you are forgiven of your sins and that you're going to heaven, then pray a prayer like this:
Lord Jesus, King Jesus, come into my life. I turn from my sin. I repent and receive you into my life.
And the one who was born so long ago will be born in you by His Spirit. And a spiritual birth can take place right now. Say:
Lord, I want to be born again. Give me this new life. Thank You for Your love. Thank You that You are my Savior, my Lord, my Master and King. We do praise You, God, Heavenly Father, for sending Your Son, Holy Spirit, for indwelling us. And now, in these moments of worship, let our hearts be filled with praise and overflow in worship to You, King Jesus. We come to adore You, we come to worship You and to welcome You into our lives For we pray in Your strong and saving name. King Jesus, who's name... That at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, King to the glory of God. Amen.
I sincerely hope that if you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus, that you prayed with me the prayer from the service. Jesus came, was born in a manger. He lived a perfect life. And then he went to the cross and died for our sins. To make you and me right with God. That's what Christmas is all about. He came to seek and to save the lost. And if you place your faith and trust in Jesus today, this very special day when we celebrate his birth. Please let us know about it. We want to celebrate with the angels that you have come into a relationship with God through Jesus, our Lord. You can do so by texting Jesus to 59789 or going to JackGraham.org/Jesus. Well, now it's time when we join the worship the King and singing a final praise to him. So join us as we sing Silent Night and light a candle to signify the light of the world. Jesus is the light of the world. And so are you. Will you join me across the room as we sing?
And in the name of our King, the Lord Jesus Christ, I speak His name over you today. And in His name, I speak peace, and joy, hope. And in the name of Jesus, our King, forgiveness and grace and healing and light. And His love pouring out over you, and your family, and your friends. King Jesus, reign and rule in us. We give our lives to you because we know you are everything, King Jesus. And all the glory, and all the power, and all dominions, and all creations worships you, the Light of the World. Amen and Amen. So let me give you a Christmas blessing. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you. May the Lord turn His face toward you and yours and be gracious to you and give you peace in the name of Jesus. Amen.