Category Archives: Christmas

Christmas IMPLICATIONS for the Rest of the Year

Christmas Implications for Year.001

We have gazed at the angels on the hills outside Bethlehem.  We have have rushed with he shepherds to visit the manger with our mind’s eye we have gazed at the Christ-child.

We have spent precious time with family and friends.  The gifts have been opened, the meals have been prepared and consumed.

Christmas is over, now what?

The first twelve verses of Matthew chapter two provide two soul-searching implications for the rest of the year!

As you read these verses – and I hope you will pause right now to read them – there is a word that you can’t miss – worship.  Early in the text the Wise Men arrive in Jerusalem and announce that they have come to worship the newborn King.  Herod secretly call them aside with instructions to find the King and call him so he too can come and worship.  Finally we see the Wise Men enter the house with joy and fall down to worship.

  • Adam & Eve were created worshippers! Worship was what they enjoyed before the fall in Genesis chapter 3.
  • Worship is what God demands of His creation.
  • True worship was what was lost, and what Jesus came to restore.
  • Worship is the centerpiece of eternity – God is gathering a great number from all tribes tongues and nations who will worship Him eternally.

Someone has said, “All men worship someone, if only themselves.”  In the final analysis, the acid test of wisdom and foolishness is how a person responds to Jesus Christ.


These wise men were the outsiders! They were Gentiles from the East – region of Persia and perhaps from the city of Babylon itself.

There are many Christmas traditions surrounding these men.   The Wise Men are always pictured as being three in number – we know there were three gifts given to Christ, but the text doesn’t tell us how many Wise Men there were.

We often see the Wise Men in the Nativity Scenes bowing with the shepherds at the manger. Our text makes it clear that Jesus was a small child by the time the Wise Men visited under the age of two, but no longer a newborn baby, and verse 11 tells us that they entered the house of Joseph and Mary in order to worship him.

We sing the familiar Christmas Carol “We Three Kings”, but these men were not kings.  They were astronomers, scientists of their day who practiced the ancient art of Astrology.  They were wealthy, well respected in society and highly educated… but they were not royalty.

There are some important lessons we learn from these men however:

First, Wise men seek Jesus at all costs

In Jeremiah 29:13 God told the nation of Israel:

And you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart”

They seek Him! (1)  They had to use their energy.  They were required to reason and make decisions.  God miraculously opens our minds to Christ – but He expects us to diligently seek Him if He is to be found by you!

They unashamedly acknowledge Him (2)

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Mt. 10:32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

They know His true identity (2). He is born king… not born to be a king.

Phil. 2:9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Second, Wise men submit to Jesus in great personal humility (10-11)

They joyfully bowed before Him! These were important, respected men yet they joyfully humbled themselves and bowed before this child king.

Ps. 95:6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Worship involves the whole of our being!

Ro. 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Third, Wise men serve Jesus at great personal cost (11b-12)

They brought valuable gifts.  Christian tradition suggests that gold was given to because he was royalty.  Frankincense was given and pointed to His Deity.  Myrrh was a common spice used to anent a dead body prior to wrapping it in death cloths, therefore the gift of Myrrh points to His suffering and death.  Whether this is what the Wise Men had in mind when they gave these gifts we don’t know, but we do know that each of these gifts was extremely costly.

They also offered unfaltering obedience. They departed another way as per instructions (12).

Note the order that this story unfolds: First they seek for Jesus, they find Him, they worship Him, and they obey Him.

So what have you brought to Jesus this Christmas? As we head into a new year, what will you offer Him?  You may not have gold, frankincense or myrrh, but you can give him priority in your time, your talents, and your treasures.

What has God said to you that you have determined by His grace that you will obey? In John 14:15 we are reminded that “if you love me, keep my commandments.”  What are some of the commands that God has revealed to you so far this year?

First He commands you to believe & receive His Son.

Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

He commands those who believe in Jesus to publicly identify themselves as His followers through believer’s baptism.

Acts 2:41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (See also Acts 8:12, Matthew 28:18-20)

God commands His children to be committed to a local church.

Acts 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

We are commanded to share our faith by telling others about Christ (Mt. 28:18, Ro. 10:17).  And we are commanded to put Christ and His kingdom first.

Mt. 6:33 seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.

Warren Wiersbe suggest that the Wise Men provide us three lessons for finding God’s will:

  • They followed the light God gave to them.
  • They confirmed their steps by the Word of God
  • They obeyed God without question and He led them each step of the way.

The Implication we draw from visiting with the Wise Men in this text is that Wise Men & Women acknowledge Jesus Christ and worship Him!


Foolish people reject Jesus in two ways: Apathy or Opposition

The Insiders – Apathy (4-6)

Apathy is a self-satisfied state of indifference. This is the “whatever” attitude.

Bethlehem was only 8km from Jerusalem! This is the distance our orphan children from Faith Children’s Village travel to secondary school everyday.  Anyone could walk this distance with ease and yet these religious men were indifferent to the news of the newly born King.

These were religious fools, these high priests and scribes. They knew about Messiah in their head, They even knew the Scriptures that prophesied where He would be born, but they did not believe it in their heart.

Rom. 3:11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.

Mt. 15:8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. (Quote from Is. 29:13)

2 Cor. 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.

Never forget this reality: You LIVE what you BELIEVE!

These religious Insiders were indifferent to this new King.  Indifference to God is simply hatred that is concealed and rejection that is delayed.

Luke 19:14 “We will not have this man to reign over us!”

Prov 1:32 And the complacency of fools will destroy them;

The Placed & Powerful – Opposition (7-8)

By the time the Wise Men arrived in Jerusalem it is likely that Herod was sick.  He would soon die at the age of 70.

Herod was a wicked and hated Edomite king.  In fact five days before he died he killed his own son and ordered that all the leaders of the Jews assemble at his palace and then he incarcerated them. He issued an order was that when he died these Jewish leaders were to be executed so that the Jews would weep instead of rejoice at the news of his death.

King Herod saw Christ as a threat to his ambitions, to his dreams, his position, and his power so he tried to eliminate him. Herod secretly called the wise men to assure them that he too wanted to worship this newly born King of the Jews – Devious, pretense. He would call for the execution of all baby boys in the region from 2yrs old and under. (see v16)

Perhaps you are like the Priests and Scribes – you too are a religious Insider.  You have grown up in the church, you have attended Sunday School, you enrolled in Religious Education, you may have been baptized.  You know about God and the Bible but you like them are apathetic!  Be warned!  There is coming a day of judgement, listen to what Jesus said to the religious Insiders in Matthew 7:22-23:  “depart from me, I never knew you!”

Or perhaps you are like Herod – you are positioned and powerful.  You are a high-stakes man or woman, a mover and a shaker in society.  People know you, fear you, admire you!  To you Christ’s demands are a threat to your agenda, to your dreams to your position and power.  There was a man like this in Luke 16:19-31 who died.  In hell he was in torment and cried out for someone to go to his five surviving brothers to warn them not to come to such an awful place.  Abraham answered “they have Moses and the Prophets let them hear them.”

Here is the bottom line: everybody makes individual decisions about what they will do with Christ after Christmas: The Outsiders, The Insiders, and The Placed & Powerful.

Jesus gives us an insider glimpse of how it ends for Wise Men and for Foolish Men:

Mt. 7:24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

The house symbolizes our lives.  The rain, wind and flood is the judgement that is coming.

The Wise Man builds His life upon the rock, the Lord Jesus Christ.  When the wind and rain and flood of judgement comes His life stands firm.

But not so with the foolish man.  You see He has built his life on the sands of his own desires and human wisdom.  When the storm of judgment comes everything he has worked for, invested in – his life is destroyed.  He has nothing to show for all his life efforts.

None of us want to be numbered with the foolish this Christmas! Be a Wise Man, be a Wise Woman – search for Jesus, find Him, worship Him and obey Him!  Build your life this coming year on the Rock – the Lord Jesus Christ!

You can download the pdf version of Christmas IMPLICATIONS for the Rest of the Year

‘Twas the Night Before Jesus Came

‘Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house 
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house. 
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care 
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed, 
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head. 
And Mom in her chair with baby on her lap 
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter, 
I sprang to my feet to see what was The matter. 
Away to the window I flew like a flash 
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear 
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here. 
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray 
I knew in a moment this must be The Day!

The light of His face made me cover my head 
It was Jesus! Returning just like He had said. 
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth 
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His Hand 
Was written the name of every saved man. 
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name; 
When He said “It’s not here” My head hung in shame!

The people whose names had been written with love 
He gathered to take to His Father above. 
With those who were ready He rose without a sound 
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late; 
I had waited too long and this sealed my fate. 
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight; 
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear; 
The coming of Jesus is drawing near. 
There’s only one life and when comes the last call 
We’ll find that the Bible was true after ALL!

Source unknown

The BACKSTORY of Christmas

The Backstory of Christmas web.jpg.001

In 1979, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth visited the city of Kitwe, Zambia.  Old-timers who were present and met the queen still talk about that glorious day!  When you experience a wonderful and life-changing visit by a special or important person, everyone you meet must know the story!

That is why after 2000 years the majority of the world pauses in one way or another to acknowledge Christmas day.  For centuries the world has stopped to decorate, celebrate and help their fellow man. Christmas is a time for giving and family and good-will!   Even those who don’t believe in God often find themselves caught up in the festivities of the season.

During World War I a spontaneous event took place along the Western Front between the British and German troops.  It has been called the Christmas truce of 1914. German & British troops met in no-man’s land on the Western Front to exchange gifts and sing carols.

There is something about Christmas that is extremely powerful!

It all centers around the day that God showed up! Have you ever wondered about the back-story of that visit?  What did God do, and what does it all mean to us?  We refer to the whole event as “Christmas!”

In our text in Matthew 1:18-25 God is continuing to unfold His redemptive plan through the incarnation (God became flesh) of Jesus Christ (v23). God with us!

Down through the pages of OT Scripture God demonstrated that He wants to be with us. From walking with Adam in the garden, to being with Noah in the midst of a perverse generation, to his presence with the people in the wilderness tabernacle and later the temple at Jerusalem. God desires to be with us!

In our text we find the backstory of this great work of God as He became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. 1.14).

Those who will place their faith in Him will live with Him eternally in His heavenly kingdom. When God became flesh He entrusted the care for His Son to a simple young couple named Joseph & Mary.



She was betrothed – in the culture of the day she could have well still been in her teens. In our text a young couple by the name of Joseph and Mary had committed themselves to one another. Their marriage arrangement was according to the Hebrew tradition and involved three steps:

  • Engagement – the arrangement between parents of children. This often took place when the children were still young.
  • Betrothal – at a determined time the couple agreed or disagreed with the engagement. If they agreed the betrothal was immediately binding. The betrothal lasted for one year. When Joseph discovered Mary was pregnant they were already betrothed.
  • Marriage – the consummation of the marriage in which the groom fetched the bride to his home which he had worked hard to prepare, and they lived as husband and wife.

She was a virgin (23) – significant that she had not “known” a man! Virgins don’t have babies! (Lk. 1:26-35)

She was a sinner (Lk. 1:47).  In her own song (Magnificat) Mary cries out in adoration to God at the news that she had been chosen as mother to the Messiah:

Lk 1:47 – And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”

Some believe a doctrine called the “Immaculate Conception.”  This teaching is false, completely unsupported in the Word of God. Mary was a sinner and she needed a Savior – just like you and I need a Savior. She acknowledges that need with her words “my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”


He was a common working man – carpenter by trade, knew how to work with his hands. (Mk. 6:3)

He was a godly man (19).

  • A just man has a commitment to doing right based on his belief in God – No one can be just without belief in God.
  • A just man has a commitment to doing right based on the standard of God’s Word – There is no ultimate “right” outside God’s Word

He was a simple man – did not have high formal education. He was a man of incredible simple faith! He heard and believed!

You might think: well if I had an angel show up and talk with me – I would believe too! Really? We have the words of God preserved for us in a book! Rich man wanted someone to go from the dead to warn his brothers, the answer: they have Moses & prophets, if they will not listen to them, they will not be convinced if someone rose from the dead.

Aren’t you glad! If we all had to wait for a message from an angel we would all likely be in trouble! But we have God’s message – his letter that tells us of his unstoppable love for us!
He was a man of simple obedience. The law was made to protect an innocent man – the guilt were to marry the pregnant fiancee. In marrying Mary, Joseph was in essence assuming responsibility for her pregnancy. He was also assuming a measure of shame. In each case the response of Joseph to each crisis – Obedience!!!

  • Obedience characterized by no questioning
  • Obedience characterized by immediate response.

Application: When God prepares to do a great work and His eyes run too and fro throughout the whole earth – are you the kind of person that God would be willing to use?


It was a miraculous announcement – angel!

Angels are not human beings who have gone before us. Angels are not all-powerful, but they are powerful spirit beings created to serve God.

Here are 27 facts about Angels from Scripture:

1. They are mentioned 273 times in 34 biblical books.

2. They were all created by God.

Gen. 2:1; Neh. 9:6; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16

3. They report directly to God.

Job 1:6; 2:1

4. They were present at the Creation of the world.

Job 38:1, 4, 7

5. They announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds.

Luke 2:10–14

6. They do not marry.

Matt. 22:30

7. They were created to live forever.

Rev. 4:8

8. Their purpose is to glorify God.

Rev. 4:8

9. Some angels help human beings.

Heb. 1:14

10. Some angels harm human beings.

Mark 5:1–5

11. They are spirit beings.

Ps. 104:4; Heb. 1:7, 14

12. They are invisible beings.

Rom. 1:18–32; Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; 22:9

13. They are innumerable.

Deut. 33:2; Ps 68:17; Dan. 7:9–10; Matt. 26:53; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11

14. They possess intelligence.

Dan. 9:21–22; 10:14; Rev. 19:10; 22:8–9

15. They possess will.

Isa. 14:12–15; Jude 6

16. They display joy.

Job 38:7; Luke 2:13

17. They display desire.

1 Pet. 1:12

18. They are stronger than men.

Ps. 103:20; 2 Thess. 1:7; 2 Pet. 2:11

19. They are more intelligent than men.

Dan. 9:21–22; 10:14

20. They are swifter than men.

Dan. 9:21; Rev 14:6

21. They are not omnipresent.

Dan. 10:12

22. They are not omnipotent.

Dan. 10:13; Jude 9

23. They are not omniscient.

Matt. 24:36

24. Some are cherubim.

Ezek. 1:1–28; 10:20

25. Some are seraphim.

Isa. 6:1–8

26. The majority remained true to God.

Rev. 5:11–12

27. They will join all believers in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Heb. 12:22–23

It was a miraculous pregnancy – virgin conceives (Is. 7:14)

Source of the pregnancy is the supernatural Work of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary.

Lk. 1:34-35 – Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 – And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

The importance of the Virgin Birth!

John MacArthur writes, “The virgin birth is an underlying assumption in everything the Bible says about Jesus. To throw out the virgin birth is to reject Christ’s deity, the accuracy and authority of Scripture, and a host of other related doctrines central to the Christian faith. No issue is more important than the virgin birth to our understanding of who Jesus is.

If we deny that Jesus is God, we have denied the very essence of Christianity. Everything else the Bible teaches about Christ hinges on the truth we celebrate at Christmas—that Jesus is God in human flesh. If the story of His birth is merely a fabricated or trumped-up legend, then so is the rest of what Scripture tells us about Him. The virgin birth is as crucial as the resurrection in substantiating His deity. It is not an optional truth. Anyone who rejects Christ’s deity rejects Christ absolutely—even if he pretends otherwise (1 John 4:1-3).”’


The Promise that Assured Joseph

An instruction not to fear the social stigma (19b).

An instruction not to fear trusting his wife. (19c)

The promise of a Savior that Assures us!

Immanuel = God with us!  God came to be with us! God came to rescue us! God came to make what is wrong, right!

No wonder Christmas is a time for joyful celebrations! God is with us! He knows us, he feels what we feel, he understands our weakness, He knows how to sustain us!

Heb. 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

His Identity – Jesus (21)

He was the prophesied One. Would be a descendent of David (20).

What are the chances of prophecies of Messiah coming to pass by chance? The odds of one man (Jesus or any man) fulfilling only “eight” Old Testament Messianic prophecies was one chance out of one with “seventeen” zeros after it (100,000,000,000,000,000)! And Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies of Scripture!

He would be a Son – Son of Mary and Son of God!

He would save his people!  We need a Savior! We need someone to rush in and deliver us… someone big enough and wise enough to rescue us!  He will save them from their sin!

Our lives have been messed up by sin! We have gotten ourselves into situations: Relationship situations, work situations, personal situations! Though it may look a hopeless tangle – He came to deliver us!

God is with us!

The birth of Jesus, the long-awaited Lamb who would save His people from their sins!  God selected a simple young couple from a little village called Bethlehem to care for the Baby Jesus. A young virgin girl and her young carpenter husband.  What grace!

Won’t you believe God’s message to you this Christmas and receive Jesus as your God? He can be YOUR Immanuel – God with you!

27 Facts About Angels

27 Facts About Angels.001

Christmas and angels seem to go together!  An angel appeared to Joseph (Mt. 1:20) to assure him that the pregnancy Mary was carrying was from God.  The angel Gabriel had appeared to Mary prior to her pregnancy informing her of God’s plan for her to carry Jesus, the Savior of the world (Lk 1:26).  And of course an angel appeared to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem announcing the birth of the Savior-King (Lk 2:9)!  After the announcement a host of angels appeared to the same shepherds saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good-will to men” (Lk 2:13)!

For whatever reason our culture is fascinated by angels!  Some people pray for angels to help them when they are in trouble.  Other people believe that their departed loved ones become angels after they die.

Christmas is a good time to think about angels – and a good time to find out what God’s Word teaches us about them.

Here are 27 helpful facts about angels from the Word of God.  (This chart is found in Wilmington’s Book of Bible Lists).

27 Facts about Angels

1. They are mentioned 273 times in 34 biblical books.
2. They were all created by God. Gen. 2:1; Neh. 9:6; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16
3. They report directly to God. Job 1:6; 2:1
4. They were present at the Creation of the world. Job 38:1, 4, 7
5. They announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds. Luke 2:10–14
6. They do not marry. Matt. 22:30
7. They were created to live forever. Rev. 4:8
8. Their purpose is to glorify God. Rev. 4:8
9. Some angels help human beings. Heb. 1:14
10. Some angels harm human beings. Mark 5:1–5
11. They are spirit beings. Ps. 104:4; Heb. 1:7, 14
12. They are invisible beings. Rom. 1:18–32; Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; 22:9
13. They are innumerable. Deut. 33:2; Ps 68:17; Dan. 7:9–10; Matt. 26:53; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11
14. They possess intelligence. Dan. 9:21–22; 10:14; Rev. 19:10; 22:8–9
15. They possess will. Isa. 14:12–15; Jude 6
16. They display joy. Job 38:7; Luke 2:13
17. They display desire. 1 Pet. 1:12
18. They are stronger than men. Ps. 103:20; 2 Thess. 1:7; 2 Pet. 2:11
19. They are more intelligent than men. Dan. 9:21–22; 10:14
20. They are swifter than men. Dan. 9:21; Rev 14:6
21. They are not omnipresent. Dan. 10:12
22. They are not omnipotent. Dan. 10:13; Jude 9
23. They are not omniscient. Matt. 24:36
24. Some are cherubim. Ezek. 1:1–28; 10:20
25. Some are seraphim. Isa. 6:1–8
26. The majority remained true to God. Rev. 5:11–12
27. They will join all believers in the heavenly Jerusalem. Heb. 12:22–23

The Promise of a Savior

Promise of a Savior Header

After having the privilege of being with you for the last two weeks of your study in John 10 where we saw Jesus presenting himself as the good shepherd, it is my honor to speak to you today as we use the month of December to focus on Christmas – the birth of Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd.

Last week Phil shared with us that:

1. The Good Shepherd Lives for the Sheep
2. The Good Shepherd Knows His Sheep
3. The Good Shepherd Laid His life down for His Sheep
4. The Good Shepherd is actively bringing other sheep under his care.

This morning we are going to look at the back-story of Jesus. We want to understand the events that led up to His ministry as the Good Shepherd. However, to do that means going back before his teenage years, his childhood, or even his birth. Today we are going to see that for more than 4000 years the Jewish people in particular, and the world in general were waiting for the Messiah. They expected God’s anointed ruler to establish his kingdom of peace. But why did they expect this? Because throughout the entire Old Testament we see a very clear promise of a Savior. We know Him as Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate on December 25.

Today as we look at “The Promise of a Savior” we need to first understand our key term – Savior. Over the centuries since Christ’s life, ministry, death, and resurrection this term “savior” has come to be primarily a religious term which is synonymous with the very person Jesus Christ. Because of what Christ has done for us, this is appropriate, but sadly it means the term has become so common that we don’t actually consider its meaning. What is a Savior? (Allow Answers) A Savior is someone who rescues others from danger and oppression. For someone to be saved they must first be in danger – they must need saving from a very real and painful danger.

We must also consider our secondary term – promise. What is a promise? (Allow answers) A promise is a declaration assuring that one will or will not do something. It is an express assurance on which expectation should be based.

Back in April 2012 we were still in America and I found myself in a very real and painful danger. The day started off great. We were nearing the end of raising the support we needed to come to Zambia as missionaries. This particular weekend we were presenting our ministry plan to the church where my Uncle attends and were staying with him on his beautiful farm with a great fishing stream running right through it. I went out early to do some fishing and had only been out long enough for 5-6 casts of my fishing rod when I heard the a crack, kind of life a gunshot. Looking around me from down in the depression of the riverbank, I saw nothing, but new I was in danger. My head was only slightly above the surrounding dirt of the field so I could see all around me, but I doubted anyone could see me. I moved a few meters downstream when I heard a second crack that confirmed this was indeed a gunshot. The bullet had hit me in the leg. As it turns out, the neighbor took aim in the fog of the morning from over 200 meters away with a .22 rifle at what he thought was a nuisance bird – a black crow. What he thought was the body a crow was actually my black hat. The movement he thought was the outstretched wing of the bird was actually my arm in a black jacket as I cast out the fishing line. Thankfully, when he shot, he didn’t consider just how far the bullet would drop over such a distance. Rather than hitting the location he aimed for the bullet had dropped about 1 meter hitting me in the leg causing it to have a slight break. It was enough that I couldn’t run, I couldn’t walk. I also couldn’t reach anyone by phone so I called out for help. “Help me! I’ve been shot!” Well the neighbor came running down to where I was and discovered the situation. After apologizing, he looked me right in the eyes and made a short, but powerful promise, “Wait right here! I’m going to get help. I’m going to get you out of here and to the hospital.” Then he ran off to my Uncle’s house. I had not been saved yet, but I had been reassured by the promise of a Savior. Within 3 minutes I hear Mandy calling out my name as she ran to stop the bleeding and check vital signs as I was going in to shock. Then the neighbor came back saying an ambulance was on its way. Then my aunt came down with utility vehicle. The neighbor lifted me out of the wet soil covered in blood and put me in the utility vehicle. Within 10 minutes I was in an ambulance. Within 20 minutes I was at the hospital. I had been saved!!! But it all started when someone recognized my danger and my pain and made a promise to rescue me.

Well, the Bible offers a much greater story of salvation and it is just as real as the story I told you. Every book of the Bible offers details that contribute to the story. The main character of the story is Jesus Christ, the hero. The villain of the story is a traitor named Lucifer (aka Satan) who uses deception to place all of mankind in danger. Our problem is not a gunshot, which can only bring about physical death. No, it is much worse than that, it is sin which causes both physical and spiritual death. The storyline is the conflict between good and evil that must be resolved if we are to be spared from the power of sin and consequence of sin that we willfully choose to participate in when we believe Satan’s lies rather than God’s truth. With the damage done by sin, the only resolution to the conflict, the only cure for the injury, the only way we can be saved is for the Savior to take our place as our substitute. He laid down his life and experienced death (physical and spiritual) on our behalf so we can experience an abundant life now and for all eternity (both spiritual and physical). It is at that point that Satan was defeated, but like all defeated villains he now strikes out to inflict as much pain as possible on those who have taken the side of the hero and continues to deceive as many unbelievers as possible so that they unintentionally and unknowingly work for him against the hero – Jesus Christ and his followers, the church. That is what we experience today as Christians. That is the storyline of this Book – The Bible! It is a true story and an interactive one, because what Christ did in the past has ongoing effects for those of us today who trust in Him as our Savior! We then enter into the story in support roles as we look forward to the conclusion of this great story – the resolution of the conflict when Satan is finally removed from the conflict altogether. Which is what we see in the last book of the Bible – Revelation.

With that storyline in mind, and as we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth, this morning we will scratch the surface of the Old Testament teaching about Jesus by looking at just a few of the passages where we see the promise of the Savior. We are going to start in Genesis and move along from there. Please open your Bibles to Genesis 3. As you turn there, let me point out that these passages are OT prophecies about the Savior who would come. There are at least 353 OT prophecies about the Promised Savior that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Despite being so ancient, these Old Testament prophecies have in no way lost their clarity or effect. They help the believing person to understand their faith more deeply and fully. To the unbelieving person, they serve as proof of the existence of God and His participation in human life. Just the fact that the prophets could prophesy the occurrences of the future, with such accuracy and with such detail, hundreds and thousands of years in advance, gives witness that God spoke through them.

So, let’s begin with.

The Promise Introduced – Genesis 3:14-15

This is the first announcement of the Gospel.

It is general. There are a lot of details yet to be shared, but here is the first promise that God would send a Savior

What details can we get from this passage:

• He would come in the form of a human. (Seed of the woman) vs. 14
• He would be the one to fatally defeat Satan, but not without causing injury to himself. v.14

By Christ’s suffering and physical death salvation would come to us and by his resurrection Satan’s head would be crushed in defeat.  From this point forward the promise will be repeated, clarified, and details specified all throughout the Old Testament.

The Promise Expounded – Genesis 12:1-3

God is about to add more details to this already existing promise

  • The Savior would come through the family line of Abraham (v. 2)
  • The Savior would be a blessing all the families of the earth – salvation was meant for all mankind. (v. 3)

The Promise Specified – Isaiah 7, 9, Isaiah 52-53

Before we read any of these passages, let me just tell you that Isaiah presents two very different but equally true portrayals of Jesus. He would be both the King of Kings and the Suffering Servant.

He would have a miraculous birth from a virgin – Isaiah 7:14

He would be the King of the Jews who would one day rule the world. Isaiah 9:6-7

  1. He would be born as a baby boy v. 6
  2. He would be born to fulfill the responsibility of ruling God’s kingdom. Truly, weight & responsibility of the government would on his shoulders. One day he will rule all the nations of this world. V.6
  3. His Kingdom characterized by peace would never stop increasing v.6&7
  4. He would come from the Royal Family of David v. 7
  5. His name reflects his character. In verse 6 we are given 4 titles that are appropriate for Jesus.

Wonderful counselor – One who is able to make wise plans (supernatural power)

Almighty God – A title for the Lord alone, indicating his ability to conquer enemies.

Everlasting Father – A kind protector, which is the task of the ideal King. As the King from David’s throne he will compassionately care for and discipline his people.

Prince of Peace – He will bring peace as the nations rely on his just decisions in their disputes.

He would rule with justice and righteousness for all of eternity v.7 (As Individuals and as a society, don’t our hearts cry out for a leader who can do all these things?) The day is coming when Jesus will return to do just that.

He would be a suffering servant – Isaiah 52:13-53:10

(You will see this passage quoted when you study John 12)

  • High and lifted up – on the cross 52:13
  • His appearance would be marred beyond human recognition 52:14
  • He was despised and rejected by men 53:3
  • Bore our griefs and carried our sorrows 53:4
  • Pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, was chastised to bring us peace 53:5-6
  • Buried the wicked 53:9

The Promise’s Effects Explained – Jeremiah 31:31-34 (cf Luke 22:20, 2 Cor. 3:6, Heb 8:8-12)

  • There will be a new covenant v 31 (first with Israel and then all gentile believers in the world)
  • The law will not be written on stone, but placed in the heart v 33
  • Personal relationship – I will be their God, they will be my people v 33
  • I will forgive their sin and not remember it (This is where the phrase forgive and forget comes from and he is the only one that can truly pull this off.) v 33

The Promise Reminded – Micah 5:2-4

  • The Messiah that had been expected since ancient days would be born in Bethlehem v. 2
  • The nation of Israel would be ruled by others for a period of time, but the Messiah would unite Israel again v. 3
  • The Messiah would be the “Good Shepherd” with the authority and power of God, just as we saw in John 10. He will provide security because he will rule over all the nations v. 4

The Promise Arrived – Matthew 1:18-23, 1 Peter 1:20-21, Galatians 4:4-5

  • Jesus was born as a Jewish boy, from David’s royal lineage, in Bethlehem, of a virgin just as the prophecies said he would – Matthew 1:18-23
  • Jesus was foreknown as the Messiah before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest at a specific time in history so that our faith and hope would be in God – 1 Peter 1:20-21
  • God was not late in keeping his promise. He sent Jesus in the fullness of time to redeem mankind from being under the law so they could experience something so much greater – adoption into God’s family. Galatians 4:4-5

This morning we have looked at just a few of the many passages in the Old Testament that clearly give us sinners the promise of a Savior. As I said before, Jesus is the main character in the story of the Bible. We don’t have time to look at them all, but as I close, let me share how each book of the Old Testament points to Jesus.

  • In Genesis Christ is the Seed of woman who would one day crush Satan.
  • In Exodus Christ is the sacrificial Passover Lamb given for us.
  • In Leviticus Christ has become our High Priest, making the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins.
  • In Numbers Jesus is the Cloud and the Fire leading God’s people.
  • In Deuteronomy Moses foretold of a prophet who would come that would be greater than Himself. Jesus is that Great Prophet.
  • In the book of Joshua, Joshua met the Captain of the Lord’s host. That man is Jesus Christ.
  • In Judges, the leaders were rescuers, Saviors for God’s people, each of them reflecting and pointing people to the Lord Jesus.
  • In Ruth, Boaz, the kinsman redeemer of Ruth’s inheritance, is a picture of Christ.
  • In 1 & 2 Samuel Jesus is the Prophet of the Lord.
  • In 1 &2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles Jesus is the Reigning King of Kings.
  • In Ezra, Jesus is the Faithful scribe
  • In Nehemiah Jesus is the rebuilder of the walls
  • Esther offers a picture of Christ interceding for His people.
  • Job says clearly that the Redeemer is coming!
  • Christ appears time after time in the Psalms, including when David describes Him as “the Shepherd.”
  • In Proverbs & Ecclesiastes , Jesus is the wisdom of God.
  • Song of Solomon presents Jesus as the Lover and Bridegroom
  • Isaiah details His glorious birth and presents Jesus as the suffering servant.
  • Jeremiah and Lamentations reveal that He will be acquainted with sorrows.
  • In Ezekiel Jesus is entitled the Son of Man
  • Daniel presents Jesus as the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven.
  • Hosea presents Jesus as the patient and faithful groom of an unfaithful bride.
  • Joel describes Him as the Hope of His people and baptizer with the Holy Spirit
  • Amos tells us that Jesus is the judge of all nations and would be the burden bearer.
  • Obadiah warns of the coming eternal kingdom and presents Jesus as the Mighty Savior.
  • Jonah offers a picture of Jesus being dead for three days, then coming back to life to preach repentance. He is the forgiving God.
  • Micah presents Jesus as the messenger bringing the Gospel
  • Nahum presents Jesus as the avenger of God’s elect people.
  • Habakkuk presents Jesus as the Great Evangelist crying for revival
  • Zephaniah says that He will be the king over Israel who restores the remnant of the faithful
  • In Haggai Jesus is the cleansing fountain
  • Zachariah is the prophet who speaks of Jesus riding on a colt and being the pierced Son.
  • Malachi is the one who calls Him the Son of Righteousness.

Can you see it? The entire Old Testament points toward Jesus as Savior, and if you miss that, you’ve missed the entire point of the Scriptures. Jesus is the Messiah and the fulfillment of prophecy.
Taken from “A Portrait Of Christ” by Love Worth Finding Ministries (used by permission).


In 18 days we will celebrate the birth of Christ, an event that happened more than 2000 years ago. For a long time people anticipated this fulfillment of the promise that a Savior would come. Today we look back to the day the promise was fulfilled, not only his birth, but his life, death, and resurrection. The payment for our sin has been made. The effects of the promises we read today were not only for the Jewish people of the past for all people in all places at all times who will put their faith in the Savior.

I think we can agree that God has written the most amazing story. And the best part is that it is a true story. Now God wants to write you into the story. Will you trust Jesus, the promised Savior to rescue you from your past sins, from the power of the sin in your everyday life in the present, and from the consequences of sin in the future?

That is what Christmas is all about. This story of God reconciling man to Himself was started long ago, but is not over yet. He desires that each person come to him in repentance and faith. That is his desire, but he won’t force it on you. The offer is there, but the choice is yours. Some of you have made your choice and have experienced the joy of being saved from a very real danger. Some of you have not. If you are part of that second group, will you allow Him to rescue you from your sin so you can celebrate the full meaning of Christmas this year? I hope so. And you can do that today!

The Promise Arrived!

This is where we will begin next Sunday.  In preparation for the study please read the following passages this week:

• Luke 2:1-20
• Matthew 1:18-23
• 1 Peter 1:20-21
• Galatians 4:4-5

Join us for our Christmas series the next two Sunday mornings! Together we will continue to discover what Christmas is all about, and why it has been celebrated worldwide for nearly 2000 years!

You can download here The Promise of a Savior!

Here is another encouraging resource you might be interested in:  Jesus in every book of the Bible