Kenneth Copeland - The Real Story of Christmas
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— Hello, everybody. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, everybody. Glory to God. Give the Lord a praise. O Lord. We're glad you were born. Hoo hoo hoo hoo. Kellie, I'm glad you were born.
— Me too. Thank you. I have to say thank you for that.
— Happy Christmas. Happy birthday. Isn't she beautiful? And praise God. And Gloria sends her love. But she's watching today, so. Merry Christmas, Gloria and Bebe. We just praise God for the both of you. And so we're going to be teaching all this week from Rick Renner's brand new book, Christmas. The Rest Of The Story. Oh, glory to God. You're not kidding, it's the rest of the story. And it's absolutely gorgeous. The illustrations and the beautiful part of this. The illustrator, good friend of Rick's is a Jew. And he brought all... he brought his part of this and his knowledge and just right off the bat, I want to show you just in the very beginning here... Come on, Kenneth. This is Bethlehem, isn't that beautiful, glory to God. And of course, they have a picture of it there in the studio. And they'll run it for real where you don't have to look at it in this book. Those of you that watching on television. Oh, my. This is treasure. And so we're going to be offering you this book.
And let's open our Bibles first to the Gospel of John. Well, is the Christmas story in the Gospel of John? No and yes and no. But anyway, the Lord began to deal with me. Oh, just a couple of months ago that I'm to be here and just park here until he releases me from it. So in the eighth chapter of the book of John, verse 28, "Then said Jesus unto them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am"? He is in an italics there. So we know, don't we? "I am he, and I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him".
Now that pleased the people that were listening, now watch. "As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him," now here is the key... "If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". Know, you will know it, and it'll make you free. That word know in the Greek is "ginosko". It's translated in the Christmas story that Joseph knew her not. Now that's the Christmas story. And now you know the truth. Praise God. You know the truth. It's not a truth. The truth. Well, what does that mean? Well, tell me the truth about your finances. Well, I've got all this debt. No, no, no, no, no, no. You told me the facts. The truth is our God will meet all of our needs. According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. That's the truth. That is the truth. Hallelujah, amen. Oh, glory to God.
Now, shall we go over to the book of Matthew and we will read it. "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 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 Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him".
And we'll find out from Brother Rick here in a moment why. "And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child;" That's very important. Now, let's stop here for a moment. We see the Nativity Scene. It's a composite and it's a very sweet thing. But the wise man weren't there. But we have to include them, right? But they just weren't there. They were not in Bethlehem at that time. So... And why do we believe there are three. "We three kings of Orient are", and there was more than three. There were three gifts.
— We need to realize how much our humanity, our brain, we just fill in the extra space. We fill in details without realizing that we're doing that.
— That's right.
— It's really important that we begin to lay those on the table and let the Lord show us what those are, because it happens here. But it happens in our spiritual life, too.
— It does. And you assume things on the surface. But here we're going widescreen and see this entire event. And it is extremely important that we know what happened because it answers all kinds of questions about the poor carpenter. The research shows that marriage, father and mother were very wealthy people. Do you imagine that the God Almighty is going to have his Son born in a poor family? There are a lot of people think that, they there was no place for them at the inn. Well, why? Let me tell you something, sweetheart. It was 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. 90 miles. And you're about to have a baby. It was slow going.
— On a mule.
— Yes. Not a mule, but a donkey for all. But this is very slow. Now, you that have had children, can you imagine yourself riding a donkey and a baby's about to be born? And what are you going to do along the way when?... Well, I always wondered. There was no roadside park to pull the donkey in. No, they carried provisions for that. Everybody did.
— And where they were going, no poor people had to go pay tax.
— No, no, no. The shepherds were there, but they weren't in the enrollment.
— Anyway, all of these things are important. Why? Well, when you're raising small children and you bring them up to know these things about it, and then you can tell that story. And you can tell, what do you think Mary did when she had to go to the restroom? Oh, no. Right along beside the highway. Hey, God provided all these things. These were all... Listen, that was everybody traveling. But all of these things needed to be added into the story. So it becomes more real. It's real. And it's precious. But it was hard. And she's having to go very slowly for 90 miles on a donkey. Well, what did they do at night? Well, they carried all of these facilities with them. And they had their tent and everything to go along. Everybody had the same problems. But it needs to come to our thinking and come to our mind because we know that the angels of God are watching over her. I mean, they are protected from the word go.
— And we'll see that also as we go into this.
— You know, Dad, I think right here as we begin these broadcasts, I think you brought up a really important thing is how real this quote unquote, we've called it a story all these years, but we probably should stop doing that. This is how real this account is. And what I've found, especially in these days, we're headed into and where we are right now. The more real Jesus is to you, the more real reality Jesus, your shepherd, your Savior, the one who has done all this, and the one who God the Father sent to walk this account out that we're going to hear about these next couple of weeks... The more real he is, the more connected you can become to him. And he will begin to show you the reality of who you are.
So when you hear things, let's just set our hearts right now as dad brings this word and we appreciate what Brother Rick has done. Let's set our hearts to not just hear the account of Christmas, corrected and set right and learn new things and go, "Oh, I didn't know that. I thought this". Let's just really be open to him to use this. Also to dig a little deeper into ourselves. Just show us things that we had wrong. Or it's amazing how this can lead to you seeing something about yourself based on something in there or you thought about the the Christmas account. So I just want us to kind of set our hearts really here. Deep, deep. Not just, oh, that's great. I want that on my coffee table.
— This is more the account of an adventure.
— ...Than just a story. It is a magnificent story. And the historical part of it is important.
— It is.
— But it's an adventure of a family facing all kinds of difficulties. And what do I do next and how all of this occurred? Amen. So "Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 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 Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him". Let's go over here. Well, I'll just say it, and then we will read it out of Rick's book, the Magi. There were three gifts, enormous gifts. And they were very highly respected people. They were powerful people. The reason this troubled Herod immensely that they would even come where he was, is because these people were so powerful. There had been times that they actually just put down and out of office, Roman emperors. Well, he is sweating it. He is wondering, have they come to put me down off my throne? What? A king? He was really upset.
And that's why. Because this whole caravan came there and there was most likely at least 500 people in that caravan. There had their own army and soldiers with them to protect them. They had to come through some really dangerous territory to get there. And they had all this wealth. They were extremely wealthy people to start with, and they brought all of this wealth with them to present to the new king. Glory to God. That brings a different thing to our thinking and our imagination. And Rick goes into that and we'll see it before the week's up. Glory to God. Now, then. "And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child;" Not the baby. "and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 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". This would have been in Nazareth, not Bethlehem.
Now, 90 miles Nazareth to Bethlehem, then only eight miles from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, where the baby was presented circumcised. And then the prayers came. Anna and Simeon, they knew the prayers knew who he was. Isn't that interesting? Praise God. So "and they were come into the house," not the manger, "they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented or offered unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men".
The first martyrs, little babies. But it had been prophesied, but they were the first martyrs. Amen, it's precious. It's tough, but it's a precious thing in this adventure and in this story. So now. "But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life". So God saw to it that they were well financed because we don't know how long they were in Egypt. They were well financed. Now, let's go to the book of Luke. It's important "for as much as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us". Now, Brother Rick opened this into my eyes. I had connected in a lot of other places, but Luke's writings, it's a documentary to Theophilus. He said the same thing in the Book of Acts to continue.
So the Book of Acts is record even as they delivered them under us, which from the beginning, were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word. "There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias," So he begins with John the Baptist and gives this entire account of Zacharias. And so we go down through that. Now, look at this. Gabriel was involved, the archangel, the messenger of God. Gabriel appeared to him, and he said, "I'm old". And he griped about it. Well he shut his mouth. This is one time God could not afford a bunch of unbelief coming out of this man. And if you check it out, he lost his hearing over that period of time also. Now, how that happened, I don't know. But it happened anyway.
Now, then, let's come over, verse 26, "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus". Or Savior, or Yeshua.
Now in Hebrew, it's translated in the fifth book of the Bible as Joshua. And in one place, one place only in the book of Hebrews it's translated as Jesus and you have to go around that and realize that it wasn't talking about Jesus. He was talking about Joshua, but it's the same name. Both of them are saviors. Joshua took over where Moses left off, and he's the one that took the children of Israel into victory. Amen. So that's wonderful in itself. So let's continue to read. "And shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God".
I want to comment on that a moment, that was an amazing miracle. But when you think about it, the moment you receive Jesus as the Lord of your life, the same Spirit of God hovered over you. And you became, I became, you became a new creation. A new sinless creature, amen. Fifth chapter of Second Corinthians, and all things became new and old things passed away. What? That old sin nature, old things passed away and all the things became new. And you and I... We shall know the truth. And the truth shall make you free. We were made the righteousness of God in Him. He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. And that's when that same Holy Spirit did the very same thing, hovered over us, and a Holy Thing came because our spirit being, which is the real us, amen. We are a spirit. We have a soul made up of our mind, our will and our emotions. And we live in this physical body until the day we depart. Amen.
So that in itself is a marvelous revelation. And if you haven't made him Lord of your life yet, do it right now in the name... Don't, don't wait until tomorrow. You don't have any guarantee about tomorrow. And all of this is very simple. All I did, I just said, Jesus, come into my heart. And He did. Now I say... No, no, no, no, no, no. There's nothing simple about that. That's just the final step, Kellie And we're out of time, but I'm going to tell you anyway, Jesus went to hell for us. He paid the price. All we had to do was receive it.
— We just get to do the simple part.
— Yeah, that's right.
— He did the hard.
— We'll be back a little bit.