Leon Fontaine - The Family of God
You know the Christmas story has incredible significance on what Christianity is and people who forget the Christmas story and how Jesus came to the planet, they get Jesus all wrong. You know 300 years after the birth of Christ, Christianity was already being changed in so many denominations and groups by people who wanted to become judgmental, by people who wanted to become a big fight. You know the Bible says that within every one of us is a need to be loved. To be valued, to be appreciated. To such a degree that no relationship on the planet can do it. There is this huge desire that only God can fill, the Bible says.
And when Adam and Eve were in the garden they had that. Until they rejected Him and accepted the enemy and made decisions and the Bible says that His presence just literally had to leave them as they went their own way. And Jesus when he came to this planet it was to help mankind change that. Jesus could have come to the planet as a general. Can you imagine what is uniform would have looked like and then thousands of angels lining him down one of the streets of Jerusalem? But he didn't come as a general. He could have came as a judge. And just looked I mean amazing in some kind of way of just making judgments but Jesus didn't come as a judge. He didn't come to judge everybody and pass sentence on everybody. He didn't come as a general to make everyone fight. To be bitter and angry.
He could have come as a CEO and just reorganized all the business of the world and made everybody rich and prosperous but he didn't come as a CEO with money as the main topic. Jesus came as a baby. He was born into a family. Where a young 16 or 17-year-old mom hugged him. Loved him. And the son of God grew up in a family. You see the message of the Gospel is about relationships. And if you forget that Christianity becomes religion. I'm sorry but I hate religion. Religion has done more harm to the planet, more harm to people, judging one another, criticizing one another, the anger, the meanness that goes when we tend to judge others but Jesus came to the planet.
I love Christmas. You ask my kids, every one of them loves Christmas. We just love everything about it. Family and partying and getting together and eating and doing gifts. It just reminds me of what God is like. God as a father was in love with His family. It's about relationships. And the relationship that you have with God is crucial. You know what the angels said when you read the Bible and the Christmas story and difference of the Gospels, the very words of the angels are critical to the Gospel and people miss them. The angel said peace on earth, good will towards men.
Now many people think the God was saying there was going to be peace on earth between men but that's never happened. There's wars all over the place. It was peace on earth, good will towards men. In other words, God was going to be at peace with mankind because his son would die in our place. God was going to have only good will towards you and I because of this Jesus who 33 years later would die for you. And he would die for me. The angel said another thing that was really interesting, the angel said to the shepherds. They said, born to you. This day in the city of David is a messiah, Christ the king.
Well that's not how you would use language. I mean you could say that to Mary, born to you is a baby. You could say to Joseph, hey, born to you is a son but you wouldn't say it to bunch of shepherds. You don't even know them, aren't even related to them yet that's exactly what it wants. This baby was a gift to you. And it doesn't matter what language you spoke, doesn't matter what religion you came from, this baby came to an end religion including if Christianity gets religious for people. Jesus didn't come to start another religion. He came to end them all. These manmade rules, this judging one another and making lists that we think people have to adhere to before God's ever gonna love you and look after you and it's all not true. The Gospel that this baby had come to fix to, make it happen. He would die in 33 years for the human race. He was a gift to mankind. He was going to help every one of us know what it wants to be loved at a level so deep it would heal us.
The Christmas story is gorgeous. It's beautiful. It's incredible and it's about family. All of the Gospel is about a relationship. A relationship between God and you. Not just all of us. It is for everybody but it was born to you this day in the city of David. So if you really want the Christmas story to mean something to you that would actually change your life, your relationships and everything in your world then let this Jesus who came to the planet, he came for you. He didn't came to scream at you, shout at you or slap you off the chair because you're so bad. He came to say to you and I in the midst of all of our issues and all of our stuff, he's in love with us. No love means to value and built within every human being on the planet is a need to know their value, their purpose, is a need to feel significant, loved, to feel celebrated, to feel there is meaning to my life.
There's purpose to my life. But nobody else's love can ever bring that. Young couples, they fall in love and marry someone and if you're not careful if you look for the value and the love that only God can bring from your spouse, you'll destroy your marriage looking for something that they can never give you. If you look at a child and you want your children to give you the love, the value, the significance, the respect that only God can give you, your family will fall apart because that's not why other relationships were designed. You know most Bible scholars will tell you that. The Bible talks about this sin nature and so everyone thinks, yeah, it's about being naughty and bad. You can't.
God's not gonna look after 'til you're good and get it together and well there's nobody on the planet that's got it all together. But most Bible scholars believe that when Adam and Eve made the decision, this new nature that seemed to permeate mankind and it did was the nature of fear. A fear that I won't measure up. A fear that I'm going to be punished for something I do. A sense of insignificance in this big world and when you look at the sky you see the planets and all that's out and you're like, I am insignificant. I'm nobody. There was this, just this negativity that came into the heart of every human being born on the planet and so everyone of us strives to feel fulfilled, to feel significant, to feel valued, to feel like we matter and nothing fills that need. Money, position, the accolades of your peers, nothing fills them. Marry the most amazing spouse and they'll never meet the need for value and love and significance that only God can meet.
When we think of the Christmas story, I want you to think in the area of relationships. He came to secure the vertical relationship between you and God and the only way to Him is this Jesus but when you invite this Jesus into your life and you believe on him, all of your horizontal relationships begin to change because you'll begin to sense and know how loved you are. You begin to realize I am valuable. I'm significant and it doesn't come from what I do or how much money I earn or how skilled that I am.
You know, Sal and I have 5 kids and growing up you know they'd hit that kinda every age is fumbling. We had about 2 or 3 where they just walk in the room when they know that they're the center of attention. And they don't even doubt that they're valuable. They don't doubt that their significant. They don't doubt that they are loved. They don't doubt that they can get an audience with you anytime they want and they haven't done a thing to earn that kind of love or value. They keep you up at night. They mess their clothes. They mess the house. They don't say thank you. I mean what's go, because this love is bestowed on them. You have a child and your love is just bestowed on them. You'd give your life for them even before they earned a moment of your love and that is the way God is the way He is with us. He is so in love with you.
The problem with children is that somewhere around age 5 or 6 we hit school or we begin to be taught by society that we have to earn things. We have to change things and the people who achieve the best get the award and the ones who you know and so right away they begin to compare. Am I worth being loved? Am I valuable and it's subtly changes and as we grow up as an adult, we just don't believe that somebody would love us unless we become so lovable, so special, so gifted we earn it somehow and it destroys this ability. When you begin to follow Christ, there's a relationship that's there that you begin to experience a sense of significance, of love. If you look to your career for your love and your significance and your value, when your career goes down or up, your significance and value goes down and up.
When you look at your spouse, the burden they've got to carry to keep you so loved and so valued and so significant that they can never do that but a person that looks to Jesus for their value, for their significance, for who they are, their purpose becomes someone who can love others. When I was a child, I remember listening to a song but I've never forgotten the words and that's a long time ago. And it went like this. The words I won't sing it. I'll spare you but the words go I am loved. I am loved. I can risk loving you because the one who knows me best, He loves me most. There is power in those words that we all put on our best. You know if you're dating someone, you put up your best. When you come to church, you want to look your best. You want your kids to be the best. We just don't want people to see the down side of us and everybody's got one.
Everyone's got stuff going on in their head and in their life that no one 's perfect and we don't want people to find out because what will they think about us? If they really knew some of the things going on in our lives but Jesus knows you best. He knows everything about you and the one who knows you the best loves you the most and therefore you can reach out and you can love a spouse in an amazing way because you don't expect from one another the value and the love that only God could bring. Kids are free to be themselves and to be loved and appreciated and parents and etcetera because the love that He gives us is incredible. This is about relationships. It's about family so my prayer for you is that this Christmas that's something beautiful would take place in every relationship that you have. Between 2 spouses, maybe between you and your friends. A son, a daughter, son-in-law, a daughter-in-law. Outlaw, I don't know. But God can do miracles and wherever your relationships are today, it is the will of Father God to bring it to a better place, to experience and to grow in the relationships that you have.
This Christmas, I'm believing with you. And as you get around the tree or however you celebrate Christmas with your family. But your relationships would go to a whole 'nother level. That if there are relationships in your family that maybe are hurting. Maybe there's some forgiveness that is needed or just understanding. Then I'm believing that you will recognize how loved you are. And you'd get your value from how Jesus values you and then you can risk forgiving others. You can risk putting your expectations on others because they're always going to disappoint you because no one is in your head you can't put expectations on people that you haven't talked to them about and come into agreement on. Jesus, what a story. The angels sang peace on earth, good will towards men. God's not mad at the human race.
This Jesus came and he took our sins and he died for you and I to establish this relationship with God so beautiful that every one of our relationships is affected. Don't ever look at Jesus again. Don't allow religion. Don't allow Christianity or the religious kind of Christianity to ever judge you and make you feel like you're never enough. When Jesus died he died for imperfect people. I want to encourage you to, in this new year take a look at Jesus again, and if you don't know him, give your life to him. If you do know him but you've never really gotten to know him. It's in the knowing of him day by day. It's in coming out to a life giving church where the word of God is taught. I don't mean a condemning church or a judgmental church or where it's become religious and boring.
I'm talking about where Jesus can love you through others as well, where the word of God can set you free and be powerful in your life. The thing about relationships as we all have expectations on relationships and when those expectations aren't fulfilled, we get hurt. We're not hurt by the person. We're hurt by our expectations on the person and they don't fulfill what it is I need from you. That's wrong and it's Jesus that teaches us that we should look to him. Now there are expectations on different relationships but talk about them so that you guys can agree on them rather than have expectations that are unspoken. Expectations that crash and burn and expectations that bring in heartache.
You know in every one of our services at Springs, we have 6 churches in 4 different cities and every time we do a service, someone stands up and shares this simple message. It's simply called L. A. F. LAF and it's the way Jesus Christ was on the planet and it's the way we need to be to each other. Religion won't let us do this but when you embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ then you can. L means to always love the people around us. Love means to value them. Even if they think differently than you, do differently than you, even if you don't like what they do. You can't manipulate them. You can't control them. You can't make them change so you love them and value them anyway as a human being. A means to accept them the way they are as perfect or as messed up. Whichever they think they are. It's in this acceptance that Jesus' love is able to really come and only he can change us.
F is to forgive. Because you can't live on this planet without needing to forgive the people that are around us. This Christmas, I'm challenging you, rather than look at those around you and expect them to bring change, rather than looking at others and expect them to say I'm sorry, rather than look at other people and your expectations that you've put on them, remove the expectations and be the change that you want to see in your marriages. Be the change you want to see in your family. Be the change you want to see in your friendships. Jesus is in love with you.
This Christmas can be the best one you've ever had. You know Jesus' final words. In his messages, one of them is this. He said, I'm going to build my church. The gates of hell will not stop it. As I travel the globe and I train pastors and work with multiple groups of churches, I find that many of them have degraded into a form of religion, into a form of just meetings. But if we don't have a relationship with him, that's meaningful then all of our institutions and organizations and leadership structures are useless. If we don't have have a relationship with him.
So I want to encourage you if you aren't attending a church. In January, in the new year, come. We invite you to come, check one out, get a chance to hear about this Jesus that maybe, maybe, you've heard about in a wrong way. Maybe, maybe your experience the church hasn't been a good one or your experience with so-called Christians hasn't been a good one. All of us are imperfect. But if you'll take a new look at Jesus, he'll change your world. He'll change every relationship you've got and your family will truly become generational.
Father, I pray that You'd touch every person here. I pray that You'd have us fall in love with You as never before because you've loved us so much. You sent your son. And it's to heal us. To give us a relationship with you vertically and then to help us with every relationship we've got. Today I agree with every person in this place for miracles to take place to such a degree that we can only say it must be God. I ask You for that in every person here, in the mighty name of Jesus and everybody in agreement said amen. And amen.