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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Tony Evans » Tony Evans - The True Light of Christmas

Tony Evans - The True Light of Christmas


Tony Evans - The True Light of Christmas
TOPICS: Christmas

Last week, we talked about people who missed Christmas. But there's some folks who found Christmas. There's some folks who discovered Christmas, and that's what I want to talk to you about today, the folks who found Christmas. Jesus is the light of the world. His job is to bring reality to our darkness. So, to really catch Christ this Christmas, is to be able to see your life as it ought to be seen, evaluated as it ought to be evaluated, and benefit from clear sightlines, rather than the darkness that we've gotten used to operating in. So, let's tour some folks who ran into Jesus and see what they saw, so that you can see what you see.

The first person I'd like to talk about is Mary, Jesus's mother. In chapter 1 of the book of Luke, an angel comes to Mary and tells Mary she's gonna have a baby, and this presents a biological dilemma, because Mary says in verse 34 of chapter 1, "How can this be, since I am a virgin"? Now, I would call that a practical question. "I've never been intimate with a man. I am a virgin. But you just told me I'm gonna be pregnant. Logically, biologically, scientifically, angel, what you just said can't happen. How can this thing be"? The angel tells her that the Holy Spirit is gonna... "Come on, come on, you've got to be kidding". "The Holy Spirit is gonna come upon you; and when the Holy Spirit comes upon you," verse 35, "the power of the Most High is going to overshadow you. And for this reason, the Holy Child shall be called the Son of God".

But I want you to notice something. The angel tells her something that I don't want you to miss in verse 37. He says, "The reason you need to buy this, Mary, is because nothing is impossible with God". You see, one of the lessons of Christmas is don't put God in a box; because when God wants to do something, he can transcend logic to do it. He can transcend your education to do it. I want to contrast Mary with Zacharias. Now, Zacharias is married to Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a relative of Mary. Zacharias is old. An angel comes to Zacharias in this same chapter and says, "You're going to be the father of a baby". Zacharias has a big question, because Zacharias said to the angel, "How will I know this for certain"?

Now, that's the same question Mary asked. "How can this thing be"? Zacharias goes logical, like Mary did. Mary said, "I am a virgin". That's logical. Zacharias says, "How can this thing be that I'm gonna have a baby, my wife's gonna have a baby. I'm an old man". He says, "This is not possible. I'm an old man. Not only that, but my wife is advanced in years. She's already been through menopause. She's an old lady now. You're telling me I'm gonna have a baby through my wife Elizabeth? That's not logically possible". Look at what the angel tells him. The angels says to Zacharias in verse 20 of Luke 1, "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time".

Wait a minute now. We've got the same kind of scenario and impossibility, something that can't happen. Zacharias is too old, his wife is too advanced in years for her to get pregnant. Biology says that can't happen. Mary is a virgin. She can't get pregnant because there's no man on the scene. Logic says that can't happen. So, we've got the similar situation, but we've got two different reactions. The angel tells Zacharias, "Because you did not believe, you will not be able to speak until it happens". But the angel tells Mary, "Get ready because you're getting ready to experience a supernatural reality". But both of them had doubts and had questions.

So, the issue is when you are facing an impossibility, something that does not make sense that is revealed by God, what's the difference between a doubt that brings discipline and a doubt that brings a miracle? 'Cause they both had a doubt. They both had a question 'cause it wasn't logical. Here's the difference. It's shown in chapter 1, verse 38. When the angel said, "Nothing is impossible with God," Mary said, "Behold the bondslave of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word,' and the angel departed from her". You see, both would require a miracle, but Zacharias's doubt was a miracle that led him to unbelief. Mary's doubt was a miracle that led her to submission. Even though Mary said, I don't understand it, even though it doesn't fit my biological reality, because it came from God I'm going to be your bondservant and do to mama whatever you want to do. Because if God said it, I don't have to understand it. I don't have to figure it out. I just have to embrace it. And when I embrace it, the supernatural enters into the natural.

Don't go into the new year with your natural thinking. Don't go into the new year with your human understanding. Don't go into your new year with your education and your information as though that would determine what God can do, is able to do, will do, won't do, because the angel told Mary to tell me to tell you that nothing is impossible with God. You must enter the new year, if you understand Christmas, with an understanding that God can blow your box. God can mess up your thoughts. God can reverse your direction, and he can do it on a dime, because the angel came to Mary out of nowhere.

So, Elizabeth, Zacharias' wife gets pregnant. Mary comes to visit her. And I just want to make this side point in verse 41. "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit". So, Mary is pregnant. She comes to meet Elizabeth, who's pregnant. And when Mary comes to Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth's womb jumps, because Jesus has entered into the vicinity in the womb of Mary. Now, the second group that didn't miss Jesus on Christmas were the shepherds. We're told in chapter 2, verse 8, that in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over the flock by night. And here we go with another angel. An angel shows up, I'm gonna say something about that in a moment... of the Lord. And guess how he showed up? Suddenly.

So, suddenly the angel comes, and there are these shepherds, and they're scared to death. The angel says, "Do not be afraid," 'cause they're scared. They haven't seen anything like this before. "Do not be afraid. For behold"... Somebody say, "Behold". There are a lot of scary things that is gonna happen and you're gonna face in the new year. And when you face fear, he tells them to behold. That means look intensely at. What are they to behold? "I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be to all the people. For the day in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord". The more scared you get, the more you need to focus on Jesus. He tells scared shepherds, "Look to Jesus, and that will calm your fear, and it will turn fear into good news and fear into joy, if you look to Jesus". So, whatever scares you in the new year, focus on Jesus, who can give you peace in the midst of a storm.

So, get your focus straight in the new year, so that Jesus can turn fearful situations and anxiety and anxiousness into stability, calm, peace, and joy. But let's go deeper. He says that the Savior is going to be born in the city of David. "And I'm going to give you a sign," verse 12 says, "You will find a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger". Mm. Now, at first, that doesn't seem like much. You gonna see a baby, okay, a lot of babies. You gonna see a baby with cloth on them. Okay, well, any baby is gonna be wrapped in something. You gonna be found a baby in a manager. Well, that's a little different, but that's sort of like a crib. It was a feeding trough, but it's sort of like a crib. And if there was no room in the inn, you've gotta put the baby into something.

So, how is that a sign? 'Cause I've seen a baby. A baby's got cloth on them, and the baby is lying in a different kind of crib, but it's lying in a trough. But how is that a sign that he's the Savior? What is unique about that? What is special about that? I think the King James says he will be wrapped in swaddling clothes. Well, who is he talking to? He's talking to shepherds. What are shepherds doing? They're watching over lamb and sheep, right? Let me tell you about the shepherds. These are not just general shepherds. The shepherds that the angel comes to are shepherds that are watching over the lambs that would be offered as sacrifice on the altar for the sins of the people. The lambs had to be without spot or wrinkle. They could not have any blemishes, any cuts, any scars on them.

So, back in Jesus's day, what they would do is they would wrap a newborn lamb in cloth so that as the lamb began to move around, it wouldn't rub up off of something and get a scar on it, 'cause then it would be no good. You couldn't offer it anymore. So, when the shepherds heard that they were to find a baby that would be wrapped like one of the lambs that they would normally wrap, because this baby was born to die, they would know that this is the Savior because this is the Lamb of God come to be offered as the sacrifice for mankind. So, that's why the wrapping was so important, and it was the wrapping of a baby like the wrapping of a newborn lamb, because Jesus had to be the Son of God without spot or blemish, the sinless Son of God.

And so, they come, and now the angels come forth, and they're singing, and the shepherds, verse 20, went back glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and for what they had been told. Each of these could be a sermon within itself. These shepherds experienced the miracle of Jesus's birth. Why? Because they recognized the uniqueness of the Savior, and responded accordingly. Let me show you somebody else that didn't miss Christmas. His name is Simeon. Chapter 2, verse 25, "There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. And this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel".

That is, looking for the Savior. "And the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the child, Jesus, to carry out for him the custom of the law, circumcision on the eighth day, then he took him into his arms and blessed God". Simeon didn't miss Christmas. The reason he didn't miss Christmas, he says he was righteous and devout. In other words, he had committed his life to the Lord. Secondly, he didn't miss Christmas because he was looking for Jesus.

So, if you really want to experience God in the new year, and you really want to make the most out of Christmas, live a life that seeks to please him. It's called righteousness. Be fully committed to him. It's called being devout. And then keep your eyes open for him. Because he was looking for Jesus. He was looking for the consolation of Israel. He was looking for Jesus to show up. And it's a beautiful thing. He was told he wouldn't see death until he saw Jesus. Oh, this is deep. This is deep.

See, when it comes time for you to die, you want to be able to see Jesus. Now, I must warn you. Let me warn you 'cause he's gonna give us a warning here. He gives us the warning in verse 34. "And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, 'Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel and for a sign to be opposed. And a sword will pierce even your own soul, to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.'" Whoa. Simon says commitment to Jesus will be polarizing. Many will rise and fall at his name. Too many of us, as Christians, are safe 'cause we don't want to offend anybody. I don't mean being offensive. That's not what I mean. But we don't want to be offending by being too close to Jesus. So, we stay generic God.

Let me tell you what Jesus's answer is. He says in Matthew chapter 10, "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father. If you affirm me before men, I will affirm you before my Father". So, if you're embarrassed to be associated with me, you don't want your friends to know you believe in me, you don't want people to know you're committed to me, you don't want people to know I'm your Savior, you skip me because I'm an embarrassment to you, then just tagging on, "In Jesus's name," to your prayer won't mean a thing. You must be willing to be identified with me.

That's why he says in Philippians 2 that "at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of the Father". It is your identification with Jesus and not merely your belief in God that makes Christmas with a little juice in it, that makes Christmas potent, that makes Christ real. He says this child is gonna cause a problem. Because when you go out with Jesus, and you get away from generic God, you gonna have some folk that's not going by you now. So, Jesus is okay right now. But when you cross the calendar over, and you still will treat it like Christmas, like Jesus is something special, like he's the Son of the living God, that he is your Savior and your Lord, if you'll go out there like that, you're gonna have a problem. He tells Mary, I just want you to know that, yeah, he's all that, but he will create a problem. But he says, "Not only will many rise and fall," he says, "he's going to create a problem for your soul".

So, he's gonna be a problem for you, not just for the folk around you. He's gonna be a problem for you, 'cause you gonna want to do some things that Jesus won't agree with. You gonna want to go somewhere that Jesus don't want you to go. You gonna want to be something that Jesus doesn't want you to be. And so, you and Jesus is gonna have a problem. Now tell the truth and shame the devil. Have you and Jesus ever had a problem? Jesus is one thing, and you want another thing. It's called the battle between the flesh and the spirit, the human nature and the divine nature, and the two come into conflict. He says Jesus will oppose your soul.

So, Jesus is a problem, because he will bring you into conflict with yourself, where you will have to say no to you and yes to him. But when you say no to you and yes to him, you get more of him in you, but not until you say no to you and yes to him. So, you see, Christmas, Christmas brings a conflict within you and without you, and it's all about Jesus. Finally, the final persons who found Jesus are the wise men in Matthew chapter 2. First of all, all these nativity scenes where you see wise men around the manger, no, not true. There were no wise men at the manger, at the inn, with the shepherds, because chapter 2, verse 11 says, "And coming into the house, they saw the child". So, when the wise men get there, Jesus is not in the manger. He's in the house. Two, he's not a baby. He's a child. The Greek word for child means toddler. So, he's not an infant anymore. He's over one year old, okay?

Now, the wise men saw his star when the child was born. It says they came from the east on camel, on horse. There were no 747s. Okay, so they didn't fly there. They had to walk there with camels, and horses, and donkeys. So, if you're coming from the far east, to the Middle East on horseback and camel and donkey, you don't do that in a week or a month. It takes a bunch of months to make that trip. But when they saw the shekinah glory, when they saw God's star from the east over Bethlehem, they came looking for Jesus even at the inconvenience of the journey. We don't want to drive 20 minutes to worship. They took over a year to get to Jesus 'cause they decided he's worthy of the inconvenience of the trip. He's worthy because they said, "We have come to worship him 'cause he is worthy of whatever distance we have to travel to get to where he is, and he's worthy of our frankincense. He's worthy of our myrrh. He's worthy of our worship. We have come to worship him".

So the question in the new year is, "Is Jesus worthy of your worship? What do you think about the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and the Christ, who was born in Bethlehem"? He is worthy of your worship. So, give him his worth this Christmas. And what did they get in return? Ah, verse 12, "And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi, the wise men left for their own country by another way". Oh, did you see that? "Having been warned in a dream".

You see, when you get Jesus in the right place, and give him the right worship, he can tell you which direction you ought to take. They were warned in a dream, "Don't go back this route because Herod is looking after you, and he wants to kill you, and he wants to kill the baby. You need to take another route". See, what God wants to give you, if you recognize Jesus and give him the worth that he deserves, is your personal internal GPS, to be able to direct you. "No, don't do this. Don't take that opportunity. Don't go to that situation. No, 'cause I'm not in that. I'm over here. It looks good, but it won't be good five years from now. So, don't go there".

See, God wants to steer you, but he won't steer you either directly, or through a voice, or through a dream, if you're not willing to come and worship him. They got led because they were willing to do what it took to give him the praise that he deserves. Jesus is the light of the world. He wants to illumine your light in the new year. And the folks who found Jesus found guidance, found miracles, found the supernatural. So, you can go into the new year with a plain old ordinary life and just use your own human understanding and do the best you can, or you can decide, "No, this Christmas I'm banking on the supernatural. I'm not gonna lean to my own understanding. I'm gonna bank on this Christ child who has now risen from the dead, because Jesus is the Light of the world".

Wherever you go during Christmas season, you see Christmas lights. They show up at night in the midst of the darkness, giving us some brightness at nighttime. Well, there's a lot of nighttime around us right now. There's a lot of darkness. There's a lot of problems, and fears, and frustrations, and anxiety that makes things feel dark, but the true light has entered the world. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. And if we would focus on the light, it does not eradicate the reality of darkness, but it does change what we see. If we want to make it in this world, in this life, with this trouble, we need some clear light. We need to see things as they really are. That's why Jesus came. Keep your eyes on Jesus this Christmas, and he will help you to be guided correctly through the dark roads of this world until you arrive at eternity. Jesus is the true light of Christmas.
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