Jentezen Franklin - Christmas in Color
Merry Christmas, everyone. We're so glad that you've joined us on Kingdom Connection today. Cherise, my wife, and I pray that this season will be filled with God's joy and God's peace for you and your precious family. He's the reason we celebrate. And I want to wish you a very, very Merry Christmas.
I wanna share with you, if you want to look in your Bible, you don't have to, but I wanna share with you three thoughts that I think sum up why Jesus came that first Christmas in Bethlehem. First of all, Jesus came, I believe, to erase the misconceptions about God. There's so many misconceptions about God. If you ask people, they have all these misconceptions about who God is, and what He is about. Some believe He's a God that hates you. Some people believe that He's a God that wants to just destroy you. He takes pleasure in your pain. A lot of people, because of things that have happened to them, have something in their heart, a misconception about why and who God is, and why He would allow something like that to happen. But the story of Christmas is Jesus coming to erase the misconceptions about who God is, because the Bible said that Jesus came, and He was teaching truth, and He was living an example of who God is.
As a matter of fact, I want you to see this verse in John 1:18. Because in John 1:18, it says this. It says: "No man has ever seen God at any time, the only unique Son," or the only begotten God: "Who is in the bosom," in the intimate presence: "Of the Father, but He has declared Him," as He has revealed Him, speaking of Jesus, and brought Him out where He can be seen. He interpreted Him and made Him known. Do you understand that Jesus was God in the skin? Jesus was God in skin, and He came to erase all the misconceptions. Bette Midler had a song that she wrote and sung, and it's a beautiful song, but it's really not the message of Christmas. The song she sung was, "From a Distance, God is Watching Us". And it's a beautiful song, a heartwarming song. But the truth is, the message of Christmas is Emmanuel. He's not from a distance, watching us. He is with us. He is with us when we stand at the grave of a loved one. He is with us when our child is in the emergency room. He is with us when we're at our lowest place in life, and don't know what to do.
The message of Christmas is Jesus loves us. Jesus is God in skin. Jesus shows us, if you wanna know what God is like, take a look at Jesus. Because that's what God's like. Jesus is how God loves. Jesus is how God thinks. Jesus is how God feels. Jesus went to the down and the out. Jesus believed in people who didn't believe in themselves. Jesus was always going to the underdog, to the person who society had given up on. Jesus was always eating with publicans and sinners, and Jesus... I don't know what your conception of what God is. He's some holy thing that's so far out there that you could never have a relationship with Him, but Jesus came and He lived, and He sought out people whose lives were broken and hurting, and He wanted to be with 'em. That's who Jesus is. You know, the misconception is that God's unmerciful. The misconception is that He can't be pleased. You just can't please Him, but look at Jesus. Look at Jesus. Because He could be pleased, and He could be enjoyed, and He was an enjoyable God. He was skin, Jesus is God in skin. Emmanuel, God with us.
Secondly, Jesus came to express the love of God. John 3:16. Maybe the most famous verse in all the Bible, and I want you at every campus to open up your mouth real wide, and I want you to read this verse with me, like you really believe it this special Christmas day that we're celebrating this Christmas season. Say these words: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him should not perish, but have eternal life". Isn't that the message? And Jesus came to express the love of God. I hear that saying a lot, and it's so true. Jesus is the reason for the season. But can I tell you something that maybe you never thought about? Jesus is the reason for the season, but you are the reason for the season, too.
The only reason Jesus came is so that He could show and express love for you. You are the reason for the season. Jesus is the One who came to show that love of God just for you. He did not send an angel. He did not send an assistant to love you, to express that love. He came Himself. So many times, we spend time shopping this time of the year, looking for the perfect present, unless you're one of those people that wait 'til the last minute, and you'll buy anything left in the store. But we search for the perfect present, but the truth is, Jesus came to express the love of God, and that means He understood that presence is more important than presents. His greatest gift was He came... I remember, some of my kids are here today, and when they were little, I can remember when they really wanted my attention, they would come up and maybe I was reading a paper or magazine or something, or watching a ball game, and they would come put their hands on my face, and say, "Listen to me". "Listen to me".
Jesus came Himself for you, to erase the misconceptions that you have about God, that He's mad at you, that He wants you to fail, that He likes to see you in pain and suffering, none of that is who Jesus was. And He came to express the love of God for you. That's why when He met the woman at the well, Jesus did three things for her. He forgave her past, He gave her purpose for living, and He gave her eternal life. And because of Jesus, I want you to say three things with me this Christmas. Because of Jesus, you have past forgiven, purpose for living, and home in heaven. Come on, everybody, let's say it out loud, together. Ready? Past forgiven. Purpose for living. And home in heaven, all because of Jesus. We're gonna say it one more time, 'cause it's gonna get in your spirit. Because of Jesus, I have past forgiven, I have purpose for living, and I have a home in heaven, and if you can't shout over that, it ain't much we can do for you today. That's true. That's real. How many of you believe you have a home in heaven? I do.
Matter of fact, Ephesians 3:18-19 says that the love of God that Jesus came to express, listen to what it says, it says: "So that we would be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width, and the length, and the depth, and the height," of God's love for us. In other words, how long is God's love? And the answer is it lasts forever. Human love wears out, it's called divorce. Human love wears out, it's called separation and busted families and broken lives. But God's love lasts forever. You wanna know how long He'll love you? Forever. How wide? His love is so wide that you can't go anywhere that His love can't reach you. You can't get so far out there that His love can't reach you. It's so long that it lasts forever, but it's so wide that it can find you no matter how far away you feel like you are from God. God's love is all around you right now, even if you don't feel like it.
Thirdly, His love is deep. It's so deep that if you're in the deepest pit you've ever been in, God's love goes all the way down. He doesn't just hang out with people on top of the world, but God's love is deep, that you might know the depth of His love, and you don't know the depth of His love until you've fallen as low in the pit as you can go, and then God's love comes up under you, and says, "But I'm still here, and I still love you, and I'm the God who can restore your life".
And lastly, how high His love is. You wanna know how high His love is? His love is so high that He can overlook all the bad choices you made, all the bad decisions you made, all the mistakes and failures you've made. He's so high that He can overlook it all, and say, "But I still love you, and I'll save you, and I'll cleanse you, and I'll use you, and I'll raise you". And you might've made a mistake, but you're not a mistake. Because His love is so high, that it can look over everything we've ever done, and still love us.
And lastly, not only did Jesus come to erase the misconceptions of God about God, not only did He come to express the love of God, but He came to enable us a relationship with God. Listen to me. If you've missed everything I've said today, get this: the reason you're alive is God wanted to love you. The reason that you're alive is God wanted to know you. The only reason that you're alive this morning, the only reason that the sperm and the egg got together, and the millions of 'em kept on swimming, but two of 'em got together, the only reason is because God wanted to know you more than He wanted to know all those other swimmers. He wanted to know you. He wanted a relationship with you. He wanted to love you. The only reason Jesus came was to enable a relationship with God, a relationship between you and God, not religion.
Now, I wanna ask you a question, sincerely. How many of you wanna go to heaven when you die? Let me see your hand. How many of you wanna go to hell and burn forever? Let me see your hand. Nobody. How many of you really wanna go to heaven when you die? Can I see your hand? I think this is the one time we agree on everything, at every campus. Why would anybody wanna go to heaven and be with Jesus for all eternity, and not want to know Him now? You say you wanna go to heaven, every one of you said you did, but you don't know Him now? And you're gonna spend eternity with Him? You need to know Him now. Everything's better with Jesus, including trouble and heartache and life. He gives you life, and life more abundantly.
Can I tell you a secret? There's only one requirement for accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. You know what it is? Humility. Humility says you're God, and I'm not. You can save me, and I can't. You can change me, and I can't. You can make me into Your image, and I can't. And all God needs from you today is humility, and Jesus can change everything. So, I tell you the truth today, the message of Christmas is Jesus loves you. Jesus came to dispel all of the lies and misconceptions about who He is. If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus. Jesus is God in skin, and He came to enable you to have a real relationship with Him.
Every head bowed, every eye closed, I want you to put your hand on your heart, right where you're sitting. And I want you to say these words, sincerely, from your heart, because I know you mean them. Say:
Lord Jesus, I want to go to heaven some day, and I believe the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ, and the eternal life that He promises. And so today, I surrender my life to You, Lord Jesus. Thank You for coming. Thank You for dying. Thank You for shedding blood that was God's blood for my sin. I thank You, that You rose from the dead, and because of that, I am forgiven, I am loved. I have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, the expressed love of God, and I thank You for it.
We gotta take just a moment, and we've gotta put our hands together, and we've gotta give praise to God. That's the message of Christmas. No need to complicate it. No need to get heavy with it. It's just the truth. Turn to somebody and say, "He's crazy about you". And now that your eyes have been opened, and now that you've made Jesus Lord of your life, you were seen in black and white, but now, you can see Christmas this year in color.