John Hagee - The Treasures of Love
This Christmas story is the story of a baby born in a cave to a virgin named Mary contrary to the laws of nature. This child lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He did not travel extensively. Only once did he cross the boundary of his country where he lived when he fled to Egypt to escape Herod the Great. He possessed neither wealth nor influence. His relatives were inconspicuous, uninfluential, and neither had training nor education.
In infancy, he startled a king. In childhood, he puzzled the doctors at the temple. In manhood, he ruled the course of nature. He walked upon the billows of the Sea of Galilee, and simply said, "Peace, be still", and the sea was hushed to sleep. He healed the multitude without medicine and made no charge for his service. Every seventh day, the wheels of commerce grind to a halt, and multitudes find their way to a house of worship to pay homage and respect to this man.
The names of past proud statesmen of Greece and Rome have been long forgotten. But the name of Jesus Christ is celebrated around the earth. Time has spread 2.000 years between our generation and the scene of his crucifixion: yet, he still lives. Herod could not kill him. Satan could not conquer him. Death could not destroy him. The grave could not hold him. Rome could not condemn him. The pharisees could not silence him. He stands alone upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory. He is proclaimed of God. He is acknowledged by angels. He is adored by saints. He is feared by demon spirits, as the living, reigning, victorious king of all kings and Lord of all Lords, as the lion of the tribe of Judah.
His name is Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the living God. He is Immanuel, God with us, the hope of glory. He is the light of the world. He is the bread of life. He is the Rose of Sharon and the fairest of 10.000. His name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace! Give him praise and glory in the house of God!
Let's read the text. "For unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given. And the government will be upon his shoulders. And his name will be called wonderful, counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of Peace". We won't be able to cover all of that, but we're going to make a good start.
Father God, today, let us hear this word and celebrate the greatest gift mankind has ever received, Jesus Christ, the son of the living God. In Jesus' name, we pray and ask it. And all of God's children said, amen.
You may be seated. Christmas is the celebration of a child, God's gift of love. When God wanted to conquer Pharaoh and his mighty army, he did not send ten legions from another nation, but he sent baby Moses in a wicker basket to smash the chains of Jewish slavery. When God wanted to expose sin in Israel, he sent baby Samuel, who, according to the Word of God, served the Lord all the days of his life. When God wanted to crush satan and his evil empire, he sent his only begotten son in the womb of a virgin born in a cave in Bethlehem.
Without the benefit of OB-GYN or an epidural, he arrived safe and sound. God has mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. Look at this awesome word from the prophet Isaiah concerning the birth of Jesus Christ. "For unto us, a child is born". Say that with me. "For unto us, a child is born". Who is "Us"? Is that everyone? No. Isaiah is speaking only to believers. A gift must be received before it's yours. If this Bible were a solid brick of gold, it would be worth a huge amount of money, and I said I want to give it to you: it would not help you until you received it. If you did not receive it, I would take it back. And you would be just as penniless as you were when I offered it to you.
God has given to the world his Son. But until you receive his son, you will never have a merry Christmas. That is God's gift to each of us, for which we have endless reason to celebrate. Can I get a witness? If you have not confessed Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, let me be very candid: you are not saved. There is no salvation. There is no hope. There is no eternal life in heaven. There is no mansion for you on the hills of glory. You have no authority to bind the powers and principalities of darkness.
If you have not received Jesus Christ, there will be no divine prosperity. There is no right to the claim of joy, of love or peace, nothing but an eternity without God into the future. And that's not a merry Christmas. You are not living until you know the Lord. Then when you know the Lord, you can say, "Merry Christmas", because as I said earlier, regardless of what you have under the tree, if Christ is in your heart, you've got everything going for you. He's not a baby in the manger anymore. He's the all-mighty, all-knowing, all-powerful Son of the living God. And beside him, there is no other. Merry Christmas to that.
Hebrews 4:15 says, "He was tempted with every temptation common to man, but he lived a sinless life". He wept like you weep. He felt what you feel. He experienced scandal. He experienced religious persecution. He experienced racial hatred. He experienced injustice, and betrayal, and rejection. He experienced shame. Rome put him on a cross naked so the world would laugh at him. Yet, he was loyal to his Father's will until the last breath he breathed, saying, "Not my will, but your will be done".
"Unto us, a Son is given", not born, but given. This speaks of Christ' preexistent deity. Many people start talking about Jesus like he had his start in Bethlehem. Not so. He existed before his birth: therefore, he was given. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son". Jesus was there on creation morning when the stars were flung against the darkness of the night with dazzling glory. He was there when the sun, as a spark escaping the fingertips of God, lit up the heavens. He was there when the angels drove Adam and Eve out of paradise for eating the forbidden fruit. He was there last night when you wept with a broken heart.
He was there when you walked to the grave with the dearest on earth and you thought your life was over, when you felt like you had lost everything. He was there when your doctor said you're not going to survive this disease. He was there because he's promised to be there. His name is Jehovah Shammah, which means "The Lord who is there". He will be there when you need him. "Call upon me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things that you know not". When you whisper his name, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and the angels of heaven will swoop from the balconies of glory to stand beside you, he will give his angels charge over you to protect you in all of your way. He will be there! He will be there! He will be there! Rejoice and be exceedingly glad! Give the Lord praise in the house!
Isaiah said, "The government will be upon his shoulders". This phrase looks beyond the first Christmas to a time of prophetic future when Christ will reign over a literal, earthly geopolitical system that covers the earth. Zechariah 14:9 says, "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth". Say that with me. "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth". That means there's coming a day when Washington, D.C., Rome, London, Berlin, are going to amount to nothing. And there will be a kingdom run by Jesus Christ and God the Father with the power of the Holy Spirit. And that's going to happen in the City of Jerusalem. Daniel 2:44, "And the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. And it shall stand forever". That's encouraging when you read the headlines in the newspaper today. The Lord's prayer: "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and forever. Amen".
When Christ returns to earth, he's going to set up his kingdom on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Kings and queens are going to come from the four corners of the earth, and they're going to bow down before the king of all Kings and the Lord of all lords. Presidents and prime ministers are going to line up like sheep to bow before the Lion of the tribe of Judah. That baby in the manger in Bethlehem is now King of kings, Lord of lords, and the Almighty God! And there is none liken to him. He has all power. "And the government shall be upon his shoulders". "And of his kingdom, there shall be no end". Give him praise and glory in the house of God!
When he was on this earth, Herod's men of war slapped him. They mocked him. They spit upon him. But those very people, someday, are going to bow before the Son of David, Jesus of Nazareth, and they're going to meet him again. "His name shall be called wonderful". Say that with me. "His name shall be called wonderful". That word really translates in the Hebrew "Full of wonder". "Wonderful" is overused in our society. It means "Full of wonder".
Jesus was full of wonder at his birth. He was born of a virgin. People still deny that to this day, people who consider themselves bright. He was full of wonder. He was announced by angels. He was feared by demons. He was surrounded by shepherds. And then after, surrounded by kings bringing boxes of gold and frankincense and myrrh. His birth was full of wonder. He was wonderful in his power. He commanded the winds and the waves of the Sea of Galilee with three words, "Peace, be still". He commanded demons to come out with a word. Jesus did not interview demons by the hour. With a word, they came out, and they came out trembling. He looked at the sick, and said, "Rise and be healed".
When he saved you from the gutter of sin, that was wonderful. When he healed your sick body when the doctor said you're not going make it, that was wonderful. When he blessed you with prosperity when your business was in a tail spin, that was wonderful. When he made a way where there seemed to be no way, when you had a question and you had no answer, here came the thundering answer from heaven. He was wonderful in all of his capacity! When he took your shattered life, when he gathered your shattered dreams, and rebuilt your life into a thing of majestic beauty, he was wonderful. He was wonderful. He remains wonderful! His name is Jesus, the Son of the living God! Give him praise in the house of God!
"His name shall be called counselor". "Counselor" is someone who has the answer to the greatest questions of life. There are a lot of people today calling themselves counselors who don't have a clue about what the answer is. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life". I am the mighty counselor. When you don't know what to do, sit down and ask God, and give him the chance to answer, and he will answer.
Unfortunately, in our secular humanist society, most people turn everywhere for counsel other than to Jesus Christ. Christ is the answer. He is the answer! He has the answer! Christ is the only one with the answer today, tomorrow, and forever! That's Jesus! That's merry Christmas! God bless you all. His name is above every name by accomplishment. All high-sounding titles, which earthly commanders receive, are given to gratify their vanity and their ego.
Alexander the Great is a high-sounding title for a man who died at the age of 33 with syphilis and cried because there were no more battles to fight. He was not great. He couldn't conquer himself.
Herod the Great is a lofty title given to a man who had nine of his ten wives executed on the suspicion they may have been unfaithful to him. Herod demanded that his only son be executed on the day he died so Israel would have a reason to mourn. Israel loved his son but Israel hated that wretch called Herod the Great. Herod had a lofty title but he was a moral monster. Today he screams from the fires of hell. He is not immortal and he is not a social image.
There is one who walked across the stage of human history whose greatness is greater than the human tongue can describe. He is "The Great I Am", in this book. He is the great physician. He is the great shepherd, who provides and he guides. Never in human history was there a child who was born a living God from the womb of a virgin, but Jesus was. Never in history was there a man wounded by satan: yet, he crushed satan, but Jesus did. Never in history was there one who was the Savior of men: yet, allowed men to crucify him to save men, but Jesus did. Never in human history was there a man who died, and was buried, and rose again on the third day just as he said he would, but Jesus did.
Jesus did. He was the incarnate wisdom: yet, he was called a fool. He was the king of glory: yet, he wore a crown of thorns. But Jesus did. He is our joy. He is our hope. He is our salvation. The question is: do you know him? Do you know love him? Have you accepted him as Lord and Savior? If you have, this is a merry, merry Christmas. Give the Lord praise in the house of God.
And I say this in closing now: his name is a precious name. 1 Peter 2:7, "Unto you therefore, which believe he is precious". Let me tell you Jesus is not precious to unbelievers. They hate him. Why? Because they live in the kingdom of darkness, and he is the kingdom of light. Light and darkness do not coexist. As soon as the light shows up, darkness is conquered. To the unbeliever, he's a nuisance. He's anathema. To those who believe, is he wonderful, is he precious. He is precious for what he has done. At Calvary, he conquered powers and principalities. When he bowed his head at the cross, and shouted, "It is finished", he descended into hell. He introduced himself to the prince of darkness hiding out there, and as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and as the Lamb of God, as the conqueror from Calvary.
When demons approached him, he said something like this, "I have just cleaned the clock of your boss at the cross. From this day forward", this is the Hagee translation, by the way, "From this day forward, when any of my children come to the gates of hell in the name that's above every name, my name, you must obey them instantly, because you have been totally defeated. You have no power over them. When they mention the name of their husband, their wife, their sons, their daughters, you turn them loose, because they have been liberated today at the cross. When they rebuke disease in my name, you run in terror, because I am the mighty God. I am the lion of Judah! I have defeated you today! You are a defeated foe from now on"! Give him praise and glory in the house of God!
His name is a saving name. The angel said to Mary, "Thou shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sin". What does it mean to be saved? It does not mean you've been baptized, because baptism does not save you. Baptism is a sign that you have submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When you go down in the water, your old life passes away. And when you come up, you come up in the newness of life. Jesus was baptized. And if you haven't been baptized and have received Jesus, do so as soon as you can.
It does not mean that you've joined the church. Joining the church is a good thing. But joining the church will not save you. It means that you have publicly confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He said, "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my father and his angels". And believe me: you do not want Jesus to deny you on Judgment Day to God the Father. Preachers cannot save you. Priests cannot save you. The pope cannot save you. Only Jesus Christ can save you. Only Jesus Christ can save you. "I am the door, and no man comes unto the father but by me". Only Jesus. Say it with me. Only Jesus. Only Jesus, "He will save his people".
Who's he going to save? His people. He's not going to save everyone, just those who have received him. Is salvation for everyone? Yes, it is. But you have to receive Jesus Christ to get it. "He shall save his people". God sent his Son to this earth for every person in this audience. Some of you have been around him all of your life. You can sing the songs of the church without missing a word. But you've never, ever received Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life. Can we stand to our feet?
Heavenly Father, thank you for the anointing of the Holy Spirit that's in this room. Thank you for those who are going to receive the Lord.
While your heads are bowed, how many of you are in this room can say, pastor, I have rejected the gift of Jesus into my life. And I want to receive the Lord Jesus today. If that describes you, would you slip your hand up right where you are? Slip your hand up right where you are. God bless you. I want you to pray this prayer with me right where you are.
Heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I want to receive Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, right now. I confess that I am a sinner: and that by the blood of Jesus Christ, my sins are removed, never to be remembered against me anymore. From this moment forward, I'm going to serve you with all of my heart, soul, mind, and body, so this is going to be, truly, a merry Christmas. Amen.