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Watch 2022 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - The Ancient Future King

Levi Lusko - The Ancient Future King

Levi Lusko - The Ancient Future King
TOPICS: Christmas

Tonight we've taken as our theme for our Christmas worship this idea, this concept of the ancient future King. Now ancient future, it seems like it's pretty juxtaposed like an oxymoron. You know, an oxymoron is where two things are standing together that don't seem like they should be there, like tiny elephant, jumbo shrimp, Microsoft Works, right? It's an oxymoron. But when we talk about Jesus, we cannot help but to use those two words, ancient and future, because that is exactly how the prophet Micah described his coming and who he would be. We already read it once, but look at it once more. This is 700 years, think about that, before Jesus was born. And all that time passed, he looked into the future and through the Holy Spirit, Micah wrote, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the One to be Ruler in Israel".

Who is this ruler? The one "whose goings forth from of old, from everlasting". He says that this King has a lot in his future, and we'll get to that in a minute. But we have to start by recognizing that when Mary and Joseph laid baby Jesus into the manger that Christmas day 2,000 years ago, that baby had some serious history. That baby had a serious back story. There's a lot of questions we ask kids, but we don't often ask them, what were you doing 10 and 15 and 20 years before you were born? We don't often, right? Like hey, what were you doing 100 years ago, is generally speaking, not like a thing. You and I don't have a lot of history prior to our birth. But this baby, this Christmas baby, the reason all around the world there are people even at this moment doing what we're doing, acknowledging, honoring, giving our adoration to Jesus, acknowledging him as the King.

It's because he is very different than any other baby that has ever been born. He was born into this world but it was an entrance into our world, not the beginning. For his goings forth were from of old, and then beyond that, even unto everlasting, as Micah puts it. What does that mean? What was his history? Well his history is that he is working all through the pages of the Old Testament. It was Jesus who met with Abraham in the book of Genesis. It was Jesus who stood outside the walled city of Jericho and spoke to Joshua. You know that story? Joshua was just like pacing because he's nervous, he's got a big battle to fight tomorrow. And he bumps into this guy and he says to, he doesn't even know he's talking to Jesus, he goes, are you for us or for our enemy? And Jesus just goes no. Joshua was like, that was not one of the two options. And then Jesus says take off your sandals, because you're standing on Holy ground.

Wherever you are with Jesus, that's Holy ground where you stand and I believe we sit even on Holy ground now, and we will as we go home. Jesus is with us wherever we go. We don't come to church, y'all, we are the church, and wherever we are is where Jesus is. We bring that light into dark places. We only ever gather so we can scatter back, each bringing our candle light to where we were, and to where we study, and to where we are deployed to shine as lights. It was Jesus who stepped into the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It was Jesus who the King looked into the burning and said, I threw three in, but why are there four, and one of them is bright like the Son of God? That was the one whose goings forth were of old, even unto everlasting. It was Jesus who wrestled with Jacob all night and then touched his hip, causing him to walk with a limp, a different man, a humbled man, a changed version of himself from that day forward. His goings forth are all over the Old Testament, but that's not all. He also has history, as Micah says it, to everlasting.

What does that mean? Well, let's let Paul pick it up in Colossians Chapter 1. This baby, this Christmas baby, "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on Earth". If it's visible, He made it. If it's invisible, He made it. If it's a throne, a dominion, a principality, a power, all things were created through him and for him. I want you to have this visual in your mind when you think about this Christmas Child because Colossians says when we lift our eyes, when we lower our eyes, everything we're seeing, He made. And we're at a unique point in history where we are about to propel as a human species into a greater knowledge of what's in our universe, more so than ever before.

I don't know if you saw it in the news but Sunday Easter, or, Easter, Christmas Sunday, sorry it's been a long day for me, Christmas at 5:25 AM Mountain Standard Time, 7:25 on the East Coast, the James Webb Space Telescope is finally going to launch. Here's a photo of it here. It is a 21 foot wide telescope that has been being worked on for 25 years. It was supposed to launch 10 years ago, but there were delays, and delays, and delays, and so they were going to launch it on the 22nd and that didn't work. So they finally said, we're launching this sucker on Christmas. It fits into the nose of an Aries rocket which ESA, the European Space Agency, has been kind enough to volunteer to shoot into space for us. Here's a photo of it loaded up. You can see it's all wedged up there in that nose cone. And once it's launched on Christmas, it's going to begin to deploy, and here's what it looks like coming out of the nose cone. And then it will spend the next six months heading a million miles away from our planet and unfolding along the way like a rose that's blossoming.

And here's a photo of it as it begins to open up. Fully open, it is the size of a tennis court, and it will sit in an orbit a million miles away from our planet, taking photos and returning back images, infrared images of what is exactly going on in a way that we have never had images before. It will, when it gets deployed, if it gets successfully deployed and makes it to a million miles away, become the most powerful space telescope ever built by man, dethroning the Hubble space telescope, which has had that distinction since the year 1990.

Now listen, Hubble is mind blowing. And I don't know if you've ever seen any of the images that Hubble has taken that has allowed us to understand the universe in a way, that's not an altered photo, that is what Hubble has seen. This thing, Hubble, is only 300 miles away, but it has taken some pretty extraordinary images, including this one of the deep field, which is the next photo. That, by the way, was a part of our universe that many scientists thought had nothing in it. They thought there was no stars, there was nothing. But one scientist said, can I please get some time on Hubble? I only need 100 hours.

Now of course, scientists around the world want Hubble's time, but he was asking for 100 hours to point at a part of the night sky that they didn't think had any stars in it. And everyone said it's a terrible idea, what a waste of time, there's no stars there. He said, I think if we open the shutter up for 100 hours, it's going to turn something up up there. And that's exactly what it saw. Once again, this photo is not just stars you're seeing, it's estimated that what you're looking at is thousands of galaxies. So just let that sink in for a hot minute. And that's the kind of stuff that Hubble, 30-year-old technology, has been turning up. Just wait till James Webb gets fired up, which by the way, is 100 times more powerful than Hubble. It's so keen, its vision is, that if it was on Earth, it would be able to see a bumblebee flying around the moon.

That's how good James Webb can see. And yet, you know, it's not without its challenges to get this thing out there because it has to open up. And in an interview with 60 Minutes, some of those who developed it said there are 10,000 things that have to go right on its way out there, including if you look at the image of it fully deployed once more, the mylar heat shield, which is the big aluminum foil looking thing, that's made out of the same material that birthday balloons are made out of, so it's very, fragile, as the French say. And this has to open up on its own. How does it open up as it's traveling to a million miles away from the planet? 107 self deploying bolts and pins have to auto release for this thing to begin to open up, open up, open up, open up, open up all the way, and that heat shield has to be there because on the sun side, it's 230 degrees Fahrenheit. On the non-sun side, it's negative 370. And if any of the sun bleeds through, it'll ruin all the images.

So it's pretty astounding to think about what we have and are working on to get this thing going, and just the margin for error is nothing because we can't exactly send a repairman out there. When Hubble got broken, we were able to send the space shuttle Endeavor to fix it. But this thing is so far away, no one can go and tinker with it. In fact for that reason and that reason alone, they have put into the algorithm, the code of this thing, two different program sequences that can be fired up if some part of it gets jammed. One of them just shakes it, and another one of them causes it just to spin a little bit. This was a $10 billion operation and their big solution is the same thing you or I do if our Funyuns don't come out of the vending machine. They're just going to shake it. They're going to shake it.

There's a guy who's the chief scientist at what will be James Webb's replacement eventually, one day James Webb will get dethroned, right? And he's already working on what the next iteration of it will be. And he was interviewed by the National Geographic magazine this week and he was asked, what are your thoughts? Because they say if even one thing doesn't work the whole telescope will not work. He was asked, what happens if something doesn't work on its way to a million miles away from the planet? Here's a direct quote from this chief astronomer. He said, "it's going to fricking suck if it doesn't deploy right". It's the greatest single quote I've ever read to you as the pastor of this church in the history of my 15 years here. I just want to go on record, Merry Christmas.

All right. My point in saying all of that is to just get your head around what Colossians says. We're trying to see that Jesus Christ spoke with the word of his mouth. Everything that has been made, everything that exists exists by the word of his power. He knows the stars by their name. We don't even think there's a star out there. Oh, maybe there isn't anything. He's like, oh yeah? There's Fred, there's Billy, there's Sally, there's Tina, right? He calls them out by name, the Bible says, and holds them together with the word of his power. That is this Christmas Child. That is the baby Jesus. That is the wonder and the magnitude of our ancient future King. The baby was held in Mary's arms, but he had history. And that's why Isaiah says unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. He could be a child born but at the same time be a son given, because he pre-existed his birth. That's not normal, nor is the way that this ancient future King came into this world. Such utter humility.

Second word, for a God who holds the universe together with the word of His power and everything exists for him. He did the exact opposite of what we would think a king should come into his world that he created. In what way would he come? I mean if you're asking me, like, thinking about how does the King come into his planet, I would be like dude, pull some Aladdin moves, right? "Ali, mighty is He, Ali Ababwa". Like get the elephants dancing, get you a magic carpet, like, that's how I'm coming in, bro. I'm getting like Hail to the Chief playing from the loudest speakers possible. I'm coming in G wagon style. Anybody with me? But that's not Jesus. Philippians 2 says He "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men".

What's astounding to me about Jesus is that He came to a world full of people who are all trying to make something of themselves. And He, who had all glory, all power, all honor forever, He laid that aside and He made nothing of himself. Theologians call that the kenosis, the great emptying. He laid aside the use of His divine privileges, He laid aside the use of His glory. And for those 33 years that Jesus walked this world, He was just like we are, human like we are. The Bible says tempted in all points. Sometimes we're tempted to think like God can't relate but let me tell you something, Jesus endured it all. Childhood, broken heart, puberty, being made fun of, having his brothers not believe in Him and were jealous of Him and made fun of Him, He dealt with all the difficulties that a human can go through and He did so without sin. Where Adam, the first, fell in the garden, Jesus, the second Adam, the greater Adam, He went into the garden, He went into the agony, H went into the n.

That was the point of that whole 40 days and 40 nights being tested by the devil. He would experience all of what it means to be human and do so without ever sinning, without ever falling short. He would be the lamb without spot or blemish, slain for the sins of the world. He chose to come in humility. You know that story in the Old Testament where Elijah the prophet is mad at God, so he goes to Mount Sinai to hear from him and God speaks to him, but he does not speak to him in the whirlwind, and he does not speak to him in the raging fire. How does God speak to him? A still, small voice. That's Christmas. Christmas is a whisper. Herod shouting, where is the baby? Because I want to make something of myself. Caesar Augustus decreeing, I will keep my empire. I will make something of myself. But Jesus with all power, all glory, should have all privilege, He chose to make nothing of Himself, humbly coming and whispering, lowering His head, lowering His voice to seek and to save that which is lost. He came in to this world humbly. He came with history.

Third, he came in such obscurity. Micah says where the King would come, and the location is, we sing it, oh little town of Bethlehem. And how ironic that this place has been put onto the map because in its day, you would have had to look to the map to even know where this place was. It was six miles outside of Jerusalem but a world away from anywhere anyone wanted to be. It has been said that there are hundreds different cities in the area of Judea. And in almost any accounting, any listing of those 100 cities, Bethlehem almost never makes the list. So it wasn't like this epic place where everyone wanted to be. What was there? Oh, just some shepherds and stuff. And this is where the King of kings chose to come. How perfect. Obscurity. He came not to London, He came not to Rome or Constantinople, He came not to the New York City of its day. He came not even to Jerusalem, the center religiously speaking. He went to this backwoods place off the beaten path to show that no matter who you are, no matter where you are, Christmas is for you.

And the first people to hear about this newborn King were shepherds who in their day, if you saw shepherds rolling up on you, you're going to covertly lock your door and make sure that you're safe and secure in your car because they weren't really trusted, they were rough, they were religiously unclean, and I love that God specifically sought them out and sent His angels to let them know and gave them the privilege of being the first to get to preach the gospel and tell what marvelous things they had seen and they had heard. I just got news for you. You have not done anything that scares God out of being willing to use you, out of being willing to impact your life and then send you into a world that needs Him. He came into obscurity. And there's a bunch of really cool connections, I wish we had time to go into how Bethlehem connects to David, and how one of the prophecies was that whenever the Messiah came, whenever this ancient future King showed up, that he was going to be connected somehow to David.

That prophecy is in Second Samuel chapter 7 verse 16, where God says to David, on your throne, this Messiah, He's going to rule forever. There will be no end to your reign through your bloodline. And what is this, if God not painting himself into a corner? He's got to be born in Bethlehem. He's got to somehow be connected back to David, which by the way, is why when you read Matthew and Luke, you find these weird lists of names. You're like dude, what's the phone book doing in my Bible? What's that all about? That's a resume because he couldn't get the job, he couldn't have the job if he couldn't prove his bloodline connecting back to Abraham, connecting to David, being from this certain tribe. Dude, this is God's eight ball corner pocket, showing you this wasn't an accident, this wasn't just something that happened. This is God hundreds of years out, telling exactly how it was going down so that people afterwards would know that he had done it all on purpose.

So Bethlehem's connection to David is significant. It's also significant because of the word itself. Do you know what Bethlehem means? You sing it every year, you might as well know. It means house of bread. That was it's name, it was like a bread basket. It was like the Great Plains, it was where the food came from. That's, a lot of grain that came from there. And so oh little town of Bethlehem literally just means house of bread. How appropriate. One of Jesus's nicknames for Himself was the bread of life because we're all hungry, aren't we? Deep down. I'm not just talking about food. And I know you're hungry for that too, OK? I'm going to get you out of here. But there's a hunger inside of us for significance, for meaning, for purpose. We all want to know that our lives are part of something grand, something great, something noble, something that counts.

None of us want our deathbed to be filled with regret. None of us want to get to that moment and look back and go, what a waste. What was the point in all of that? And so what do we do? Well sometimes we throw ourselves into work, sometimes we throw ourselves into amassing a fortune, sometimes we throw ourselves into being famous because what is that? That's clutching for some sort of immortality. I'll be remembered, I'll be known. Like I'll have my name on an airport, or I'll have my name on a street, there's a sense in which we're just hoping that even 100 years from now, someone will still be saying my name. And Jesus offers not being attached to a park bench, or an airport, or a street name, he offers you to be attached to something that will outlast everything, His kingdom, His church, which will go marching on. There is no other made institution on Earth that 10,000 years from now will still be standing than the Church of Jesus Christ that was bought with His blood, built by His spirit.

I'm telling you something, it will still be standing in heaven. And so being attached to what Jesus is doing, that's bread. That's food for that ultimate tank. That's that sense of significance, that's that sense that I'm a part of something forever, knowing that I'm going to stand before God and be told well done, good and faithful servant. That God saw you serving in the Fresh Life Kids. God saw you participating in the offering and prioritizing poor people being alleviated in their distress, and in prisoners being told you still have meaning, you're not garbage, you have a future in front of you, that God wants to work in your life.

I'm telling you, as we turn on wells in parts of the world where they don't have access to clean water, as we send scripture and help plant churches, we're attached to something significant, something weighty, and as you go to your work, and your classroom, and your school, and whatever it is God's called you and given you skill to be able to do, to do so as Colossians says, to give Him glory, I'm telling you, are a part of something great when you go into it not to build a name for yourself, but to do so to bring glory and honor to the one whose name is above every other name. That you would have the mentality that says whether I eat or drink, I want to do so to the glory of God. That is bread. That is true food, and that's what Jesus offers. So how fitting he would be born in the house of bread.

Now I'm like, God, you're just showing off. But I'm not done, there's more. Bethlehem's also synonymous with death because Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel after Jesus wrestled with him and messed with his hip a little bit and humbled him, because Jacob was always a foot catcher, grabbing people's foot trying to get ahead, make a name for himself, make something of himself. But then one day he met the foot washer, and God changed everything about his identity. And from that day forward, he became a part of the kingdom. And he had these 12 sons, and it all attached to prophecy, and it's super cool. But one of Jacob's wives, and yes, you heard me correctly, one of Jacob's wives. It's a different sermon but it did not go well, and I do not recommend it. His wife was named Rachel, and she was the wife that he loved the most. She died in childbirth giving birth to a little boy named Benjamin and as she died, she named Benjamin the child of my suffering, and then she died. And she was buried in Bethlehem. And a pillar was erected in Rachel's honor there.

So this city is not just synonymous with David, and not just synonymous with bread, it's also synonymous with death. And so it's perfectly appropriate that Jesus Christ, the one who came to destroy death, the one who came to overturn the power of the grave, to give you resurrection life, and there's nothing we need more than this. That's the power of Christmas, is so that we can stand looking out a hole in the ground that holds someone we love and say, I'm not afraid anymore. I've been given power over death by the one who got in the grave and then got up on Easter Sunday. That's Bethlehem. Bethlehem is death and the one who destroyed death by dying on our behalf. This is all a connection. And maybe my favorite connection to Bethlehem is the fact that it wasn't where Mary and Joseph lived. They lived in a place called Nazareth. But the prophecy said Jesus would get born in Bethlehem.

So how is this going to work out exactly? Precisely my point. It was confusing. We're in Nazareth, in real time, they're in Nazareth, and the decree comes from Augustus, you have to go to where your family was from to pay your tax bill. Can you imagine how horrific that would be if you had to use vacation time, and buy airplane tickets, and pay your taxes in person at whatever city was listed on your birth certificate? Dude, if I have to go to Pueblo, Colorado in April, I am going to be furious, all right? You see what I'm saying? And that was how that felt. Oh, and you're nine months pregnant, and you're super poor. Good luck. And Mary and Joseph are thinking, God, where are you? Where are you, as I'm loading my pregnant wife on a donkey for a 70 mile journey? And in the end, yes, we get to sing oh little town of Bethlehem, and it's amazing, and we get to see the picture on our cards we send each other, and there's Mary, and there's the donkey, and there's the camels, and there's the wise men, they didn't even come for years later. It's fine.

And, or maybe months later or something, but the point is we look back on it and we go, oh, yeah, yeah, God was working stuff out. But in real time it was messy and felt funky, and felt like everything was out of control. So the point is if you're in a I'm in Nazareth but I've got to get to Bethlehem, and what's this happening over here, and why is that bill over there, I just dare you to believe that God is up to something, so believe in Him. Put your faith in Him. Faith is only needed in the dark. Faith is only needed when it hurts. Faith is only needed when it's scary. If you understood exactly how it was all going to work out, if you knew that you're going to meet the perfect guy in three years, in five years you're going to have this many kids, in 10 years if you could see it all charted out, and here's how it's going to work, and here's where the job's going to happen, and here's where the economy's going, here's the next, if you got all that, why would you need God? Why would you need faith?

So right now you're in the middle of a miracle, you just don't see it yet. So don't give up. Don't lose heart. Don't do something foolish, keep trusting Him and believe that He who has the bigger perspective, because His ways are not our ways. He's as the heavens are higher above the Earth, so He is high above us. He is up to something, and Bethlehem is proof. He got him there using something inconvenient. All right, so humility, obscurity, history. Finally, and I'm going to send you out to get some food, and go to sleep, and open those presents, is this. This little baby, held in Mary's arms, He had a massive destiny in front of Him. For He wasn't just the ancient King with goings forth of old, even into everlasting, He was also the future King. Born to be, what does the text say? The ruler of Israel.

Now what's funny about that is that Jesus would grow up and refuse to be a ruler over Israel every single time He got the chance. When you read the Gospels, you read funny stuff like all these people saw Him do a wicked awesome miracle, and then they would say bro, you should be King. And they would try and take him by force and make him King, and He would refuse it, he would refuse it, He would refuse it every single time. Passing through the midst of them, sneaking out of their midst, He refused to be taken and made a King. Why? Because if he made a kingdom and was ruler over Israel without first going to the cross, none of us would be able to be a part of it. His kingdom would not include us because we are all separated from God by our sins the wrong things you have done, and the many, many, many wrong things that I have done, they separate me, they keep me apart.

Jesus didn't come to this world so that bad people could become good. He came to this world so dead people could come to life. And the Bible says all of us are dead in our sins and trespasses on our own. And He knew the only way to solve our problem of spiritual deadness was to take our death sentence upon Him, and to be nailed to the cross, and then on the third day, to rise from the dead because He had never sinned. And then and only then could He come back to this world as He will, and open up his kingdom and rule and reign with a rod of iron and do so in a kingdom that includes you and me. But we first had to be purchased from our spiritual slavery to sin and selfishness and self-centeredness, so that we could be rescued and redeemed. He refused to wear the crown and chose to wear the cross. But our King is still coming.

There is a Christmas 2.0 on the horizon y'all, and it is going to be pretty well the flip opposite of how the first time happened. The first time it was secret it was small. It was a whisper. It will be a shout, it will be with the voice of thunder that He is coming back. What I'm trying to say is Jesus Christ is coming soon. He's coming back. He's going to come to this world. And I love the promises we're given of that day. Revelation 22 says "there will be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants will serve Him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there. They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they" ,that's we. This is us, family, "shall reign forever and ever." in that day there will be no more dying, there will be no more sorrow, there will be no more aging, there will be no more getting a breaking news on your phone and cringing because you almost don't want to know about the next shooting, or next this, or next horrible thing, or who died, or what happened.

In that day, we'll never have to say goodbye again, for Psalm 96 says the heavens will rejoice, the Earth will be glad, the sea will roar, and all of its fullness. The field will be joyful and all that is in it, "the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord, for He is coming, He is coming to judge the Earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth". This was always a part of the Christmas prophecy but it included both visits, both His first coming and His second coming. It was there in Isaiah when we sing about Jesus, the child born, the Son given, there's always that inclusion of the statement that the increase, Isaiah 9:7, "of His government and peace, there will be no end. Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from this time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this".

So we sit at a unique moment in church history where we really, honestly, sit in between two Christmases. And the first one came to pass, and there are four times as many prophecies concerning the second one as the first. Are you going to be ready for that day? If Christ came back tomorrow, are you ready to stand before Him? That's the question this Christmas. We spend so much time and energy getting ready for Christmas. We have advent calendars. We get to eat chocolate, right? We're counting down the days. When I was a little kid, it was always cutting the little rings. We're doing one with our kids this year where you build a little LEGO every day. A little LEGO, little LEGO, a little door, a little LEGO, a little door a little LEGO. It's counting down to a sacrilegious baby Yoda on Christmas Eve, I just know. It we haven't opened today but I'm sure of it, there's a pagan baby Yoda and I can't wait for it. I'm here for it. But we count down to Christmas.

We should be counting down to His second coming. Is this going to be the day? Is this going to be the day? And not in a weird Russell Crowe, clipping stuff from the newspapers, kind of trying to figure out who the Antichrist is kind of way, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about waking up and serving him with a pure spirit and heart, loving God, loving people so that if he were to return at any moment, we would not be ashamed at His coming. That's the question this Christmas. Because He came to his own the first time with 300 prophecies, where it would be, how it would be, what would happen. And by and large, his people missed it. He said, I came to my own and my own received me not. Not that they didn't have the information, but most of them didn't bother to go and even check.

It's crazy to me that before Christ came, there was even some awareness of the wise men coming. And some of the men in Herod's palace were asked by Herod, where's this Messiah supposed to come if he ever comes? Because there's a star, and there's all these dudes coming with camels to bring gifts to some king. And they dug up the exact prophecy we just read, it's supposed to be Bethlehem. Least among the thousands of Judah, yeah, that's what it says. No one bothered to go and see except for the shepherds and the wise men. They had the prophecy in their hand, they just didn't go and see.

There was a professor in Tennessee beginning of the semester who knew none of his students read his syllabus that he would give them at the beginning of the class. And so he tucked an Easter egg into the middle of it. All this stuff about what books to read, and how stuff's going to be graded, and the curve, and blah blah, blah, blah, blah. But then he stuck in the middle of it, go to this common area and there's a set of lockers. And if you go to this locker number, this is all in one little paragraph, you'll open, the combination is this, this, this, and there's a little surprise for you. If any of you find it, it's my gift to you. And he was thinking to himself, surely they're going to skip through the syllabus. So he even told them, just so you know, there's something special in the syllabus. It's not just a normal one. You should definitely check this out. They're all 71 of his students nodding their heads, yeah, we'll check it out. We'll read that syllabus. We're going to do it.

Final exams came and went, whole semester is now over. So he went down to the locker and he spun the combination that every single one of them had had in their hands all semester. And when he opened up the door, he still found waiting exactly as it was when he put it in there, the $50 bill with a note saying, this goes to any one of you who find it first. All of his students had access to the code. All of his students knew where the locker was. But none of them bothered to go and open the door. And my hope and my prayer is that as we all in our lives are promised that we will be given a moment where Jesus will knock at the door of our hearts.

He said that in Revelation, I stand at the door and knock. My prayer is that all of us would open that door, and that there would be none of us who think that we're OK just because we have the instructions in our hands. It's not enough to know. You have to act on it. And maybe you've grew up in a Christian home, maybe you have parents who are Jesus people, maybe you have a Bible, you know enough about God or church to sort of feel like you're kind of lumped in, guilt by association or something. But I want to tell you that you personally are loved by God. You personally are seen by Him. And Jesus personally died for every sin you've ever committed. And He's knocking at your life, but you have to open the door. You have to let him in.

And so this whole worship experience is all so that we can ask you this question, would you like to give your life to Jesus Christ? With your sins, with your faults, with you with your failures, there is a seat at the table for you. He will forgive you. He'll free you from the power of death. All you have to do is open your life to Him and He'll save you. There's no one this Christmas here so bad that you can't be forgiven. But the flip side of that is that there is no one here so good that you don't need to be forgiven. For all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Would you pray with me? As I invite any who are willing to come.

With heads bowed and eyes closed, I thank you, God, for those you're touching. I pray you would as your spirit draws people to you. You said no one can come unless the Father draws them. I believe, Father, that you're drawing hearts to Jesus, even now.

And we sit in a holy moment here, contemplating our ancient future King. And the question is left with each of us, what will you do with Jesus? With heads bowed and eyes closed, if you would say Levi, I sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I feel my heart beating, I know I need to respond, I want to lead you in a prayer. A prayer where you'll say to God that you want Him to come into your life, that you receive his gift, you're opening that door.

With heads bowed and eyes closed, if that's you I'm describing, this could be a first time commitment, you've never made a decision like this before. Or perhaps the prodigal son or daughter is among us or online, and you would say I grew up following God, but I have drifted and backslid and today's my day to come back to the Father. And you will find that He will not be there to shame you, but to celebrate your return. So pray with me, pray this out loud with your mouth but mean it in your heart. He will hear you. Church family, say this with us. No one praying alone.

Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner, but I'm loved. Thank you for sending Jesus to do what I could never do myself. Thank you that Jesus died on the cross for me, and rose from the dead, defeating the power of death forever. I turn from my sin. I turn to you in faith. Please come into my heart. Make it your home. Thank you for new life. I gave you mine, in Jesus' name.

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