December 25, 2022

Blessings from the birth of Jesus

Blessings from the birth of Jesus

TRINITY HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH

 

SUNDAY SERMON

25th December, 2022

Topic:                         Christmas Celebration Service

Preacher:                   Reverend Ebenezer Olawuyi

Text:                           Luke 2:1 – 7

 

MESSAGE

I welcome you to church on Christmas day. I pray in the name of Jesus, every Christmas will bring a new meaning to your life and you will not just celebrate Christmas but you will celebrate Christmas with understanding. This morning, I am going to build on the text earlier read in Luke 2. For the past 5 days or thereabout, we have been studying about Christmas in our Devotional. I am going to build on something this morning.

Do you ever think that God can make a mistake to send His Son to the world, maybe because He sent Him under distress or emergency situation? No, but even if it was, He didn’t make mistake. Do you think God would send His Son into the world without the plan to have a place for His Son to be delivered, to the extent that He got to the inn and there was no room? That would be ludicrous, foolish and unbelievable to think of that. The Bible says, “He who is not able to take care of his family is worse than an infidel.” God wouldn’t plan to bring His Son into the world without a plan, to the extent that the mother would get to the inn where she wanted to deliver and they would say there was no room for her – that would be unbelievable and it would be foolish to think of that. Friends, let me tell you that God started planning for the birth of Jesus many centuries before His birth. Micah 5:2 tells us that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem of Judea, “But you, Bethlehem Ephratha, 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, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. Prophet Micah wrote this book about 700 years before Jesus was born, that is about 7 centuries, would you ever imagine or think that God would fail to plan? Someone who had known that His Son would be born in a town called Bethlehem for 700 years wouldn’t make plans? That would be unbelievable. God is a strategist and a great planner; He plans your life. For the next 100 years of your life, he already planned. Nothing ever happens by mistake if you walk in His will. Nothing ever happens by chance, if you walk in His ways. Nothing!

So, the baby being born in a manger and they saying there was no room was not really because the people wanted to reject Him. Sometimes, God uses the hands of man to establish His will concerning your life. Sometimes, God uses your friends, family members, people around you, unknowingly to them, to establish His purpose concerning your life. Can I tell you this again? I said it in the Devotional. Do you know that Joseph and Mary were grandchildren of David? The great grandfather of Joseph was Solomon and the great grandfather of Mary was Nathan. So, both of them came from the lineage of David and Bethlehem was the City of David. History tells us that that particular inn was David’s property which he inherited from his great grandparents, Boaz and Ruth. If you read the story of Ruth, you would know about Boaz and Ruth. Boaz married Ruth and that house called ‘the inn’ belonged to Boaz and Ruth and David inherited it. So, Joseph and Mary should have come easily to their own house but even in their own house, there was no room for them. That is not where I was going this morning, where I am going is: God didn’t make a mistake.

God doesn’t make a mistake. Let me give you an example: When the brothers of Joseph sold him out, it was as if God made a mistake but He didn’t. They sold him out and Joseph found himself in the house of Potiphar, it was like a mistake. When Potiphar planned for Joseph and he found himself in a prison, it was like a mistake but God doesn’t make mistakes. It was in the prison that Joseph met the baker and the butler. It was the butler who now introduced Joseph to Pharaoh. You remember the story, even when the butler forgot, Joseph found himself in the palace and the Bible says in Genesis 50:20, when his brothers finally found him and they were feeling bitter, look at the statement of Joseph, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” God is a strategic planner. You may not know but behind the scene, He is working it out. Through contours, terrains, mountains, across rivers, He is working it behind the scene; there is an invisible hand behind the story of your life.

It’s so easy for God. If God wanted Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, He could have raised a Jew who would be living in Bethlehem at that time, maybe a man and a woman and put the baby in them and they would deliver without needing any inn but in their home. They wouldn’t need to travel to where they would need a hospital, a guest place or an inn to rest. Another thing is that, God would have orchestrated something before that day that would have taken Joseph and Mary away from Nazareth to Bethlehem for some days or some weeks. It could be a business transaction or that somebody would call them and around a month or two months, they would have been in Bethlehem transacting, so in that case, they may not have that challenge they had. You know, God can cause a chaos in a whole nation just because He wants to move somebody to somewhere. So, God stirred up Augustus Caesar, the King; he rose up and commanded that there be a census, “Go back to your hometown.” God knew it was getting near for Mary to deliver and He had said it through Prophet Micah 700 years ago, “You Ephratha, Bethlehem, even though thou art the smallest in the land of Judah, out of you shall come a ruler….” 700 years, and God was working according to His plan.

Joseph and Mary went according to the decree of Augustus Caesar. As they got there, they wanted a room in the inn and the people of the inn looked at them and told them they were too poor. The Bible didn’t say, “There was no room in the inn”, the Bible says, “There was no room in the inn for them”. It was “for them”, not that there was no room in the inn but there was no room in the inn “for them”. So, the alternative – I thought this morning that I would go to the farm but I couldn’t go – some of you have farms at home where you keep animals, there is something that you call the feeding trough. In the poultry, there is the feeding trough. Most time, people think Jesus was born in the manger, no. Jesus was not born in the manger, He was born in the stable but was laid in the manger. The house where goats and other animals stay is called a stable, the place where they eat is called the trough, which is also called a manger. In those days, it was carved stones that were used to build a manger, maybe like a rectangle but hollow. You know most of the people in those days travel with donkeys and horses, so in the hotel, when they get there, they lodge and there was a place where they allowed their animals to stay – a protected place with troughs where they put hay, feeds and a lot of things inside so the animals could feed on them. When there was no room for them in the inn, they gave them an option to stay in the stable. They joyfully went to the stable and the Bible says, “…while they were there, it came to pass…” (Luke 2:6). Every prophecy concerning your life will come to pass. No power of hell will be able to stop the word of God concerning your life. No force of hell will be able to stop what God has said to do in your life in the name of Jesus. It shall come to pass. That dream that God has given to you, I see it coming to pass. That vision that God has laid in your life is coming to pass in the name of Jesus. You will get there and fulfill it in the name of Jesus. Every setback will become a stepping stone for you in the name of Jesus. Amen!

The trough was there in the manger and it came to pass as they were there, she went to labour. Inside the stable, she delivered and carried the baby. “Where will I put the baby?” You call the place you put babies today cots, but there was no cot then, it was in a trough that she placed the baby. You could imagine how the trough looked like – smelly, full of hay that the donkeys eat. She tried with Joseph to clean it up and then laid grasses there to be like a cushion, looked for some old clothes and put them on top of it and then laid the baby on the trough. What happened? Why did God plan it that way? A saviour, the Lord who is Christ. How can you deliver a saviour in a trough? How can you deliver a Messiah, the anointed, in the trough in the manger? There was a reason for it.

For today, I am going to let you know that God never acts by mistake. The scripture says in Daniel 4:17, “This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the Holy Ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.” The most High rules in the decisions of men. Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord… He turns it wherever he wishes.” Proverbs 16:1 says, “The preparation of the heart belongs to man but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” Prov. 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but it’s every decision is from the Lord.” Those of you who play Ludo, you throw the dice but the Bible says the side that comes out, the result, even belongs to the Lord, He determines it. This is the message for somebody, “There is an invisible hand you do not see that is directing the affairs of your life. Just fit yourself into His plan, surrender yourself to Him and don’t struggle with Him. He is able, more than able and that’s why He is called the sovereign Lord.”

Let me leave you with one more lesson before I close the service this morning. I am only leaving you with two lessons this morning, the second which is found in Matthew 2:2, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Who asked this question? The wise men. Thank you for being in Church this morning, you are a wise man because wise people seek Jesus; only foolish people don’t look for Jesus. Wise men came from the east; they traverse terrains, crossed mountains and rivers to see a baby in a manger. It would have been scandalous, a reproach for these set of people to come and bow to a baby. It would have been something else, how come? There was something about the baby but the question I want to leave you with this morning is the question they asked: “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?

Do you know that this is the first question… in theology – the study of the Bible, there is a rule that is used if you want to study the Bible, they call it “The law of first mention,” that is, the first place a word appears or the first place something, either question, etc. appears. It is very significant because there is something about that word which others will tie around. Don’t joke about it when you are studying the Bible, always find out; use that law, the rule of first mention. This is the first question in the New Testament: “Where is he who has been born the King of the Jews? Do you know the first question in the Old Testament in Genesis? “Adam, where are you?” First in the Old Testament: “Where are you?” First in the New Testament: “Where is he who has been born the King of the Jews?” Let’s bring the two together.

When God asked Adam where he was, it is not because He didn’t see where Adam was. He saw him. Maybe Adam would have said, “God, I am lost,” but that wouldn’t have answered the question, what could have answered the question? God himself would tell him. Adam could not tell where he was and that is the state of every man. Man cannot tell where he is until God tells him where he is. In the New Testament, the question came up: “Where is he who has been born the King of the Jews?” Until you see Him and see who He is, you cannot see who you are. Until you know him, you cannot know yourself. So, they sought him. Wise men seek Him. When you seek Him, you will know ‘you’. When you know ‘He’, you will know “You”. The answer to “Where are you?” is that, “I have found Him who is He.” Until you know Him, you cannot know who you are. He will reveal Himself to you and reveal yourself to you.

Do you know that when the angels announced in Luke 2 where we read, the angels did not announce to the Pharisees about Jesus, who did he announce it to? Shepherds. Why Shepherds to go and announce that Jesus had been born? Why shepherds and not Pharisees? Pharisees were in charge, they were the ones who understood the law, the ones who taught the commandments but it was not announced to them but to the shepherds. God will never announce such mystery to the Pharisees, that is why Jesus said, “The mystery of the Kingdom is hidden from you but I will reveal it to these children.” God will never announce such mystery to someone who will be offended when he sees the King, the Messiah in a trough. The Pharisees will argue it and won’t believe. No wonder, He came to His own but His own rejected Him – “This son of Joseph, we can’t accept him.” Jesus was announced, the angel announced Jesus to shepherds, not Pharisees. Someone could be offended seeing a whole king, the Messiah in a trough, that’s why the scripture says, “Blessed is he who is not offended in me.”

God wants people who would see him and want to pattern their lives after him. Jesus said, “The foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head. You, come, follow me.” God will never reveal Himself to a man who cannot follow Him. You are looking for pomps, you are looking for the notice, no! If you want to follow me, follow me because, “The birds of the air have nests, the foxes have holes but the son of man has no place”. The Pharisees will not follow Him and would not do that. The Pharisees would argue it, so he went and told the shepherds. You remember when Jesus was entering Jerusalem and the children were praising Him, He told them not to stop them. These are the kind of people God is looking for in the Kingdom of God. God is looking for childlike attitude, not childishness; hearts that will receive the Word of God as it is; hearts that will believe Jesus according to His word – If He said it, I believe it, it is so, no argument! God is looking for such hearts to follow him. He went to the shepherds, not to the Pharisees. God is still saying, “The secret to knowing who you are, your talents, what he created you for, what he has put in you, your weaknesses and your strengths is knowing who he is”. Where is he who has been born the King of the Jews? If you don’t know him, you cannot know yourself. If you don’t know him, you cannot discover yourself.

The day Paul knew him… you know who Paul was: The Pharisee of Pharisees. He was serving God religiously. Paul had two citizenship – that of Roman and that of Israel. He was a senior advocate of Israel. He was so passionate but didn’t know Him. One day when he knew Him, he met Him on the way to Damascus and the next thing – “That I may know you and the power of your resurrection… All things I count as dung and rubbish, that I may know you.” Look at what God turned the so-called Saul to become; he would have wasted his destiny. Can you imagine what Saul would have become? He would have wasted his life if he had not known Him. He was serving and working around but when he met Him, God turned his life around. Two-third of the epistles was written by Paul, that same man. It got to the extent that the power that was coming out of him was raising up the lame and the sick because of a man who encountered ‘He’. “Where is He who has been born the King of the Jews?” God asked Adam, “Where are you?” Until you know Him, you cannot know where you are. Until you know who He is, you cannot know who you are. You’ve got to know who he is, the king of the Jews.

God wants to reveal Himself to you and want to bring out the best in your life – your potential. You may think that you are the best but you are wasting that potential. There is greater thing inside of your life that God wants to use; there is greater grace waiting for you. Your generation is waiting for you, asking when you will arise but you cannot arise until you know Him, “Where is He who has been born the King of the Jews?” When you see Him, He will reveal yourself to you and reveal what He has put in you. He will put you in His plans and path for your life. He will make you as He has planned; the greatness He has planned for you from the beginning, He will accomplish it – that is the secret of greatness. “Where is he who has been born the King of the Jews?” Do you know Him who has been born the King of the Jews? Have you met him? Let’s bow our heads as we pray together.

God wants to bring out the best He has kept inside of you. You are a bundle of treasure but you cannot discover that treasure until you know him. You are a bundle of talent but don’t let this talent waste away. Your generation is waiting for you but you cannot arise until you know Him who is called the King of the Jews. He doesn’t reveal himself to Pharisees but to those who will be humble and accept Him as He is. He came to his own but His own receives Him not but as many as received Him, He gave them the right, the power to become the sons of God. This moment could be your moment of transformation and change. Can you talk to the Lord where you are and say to Jesus, “Reveal yourself to me, I want to know you, Jesus. Jesus, I want to know you as Lord. I invite you today as the Lord of my life. I believe that you came to save me and to die for me. I want you to make my heart your throne from today and my life your dwelling place.”

God would bring out the best in your life. He will pleasantly surprise you if you will allow him. He is not looking for a special vessel, a respectable vessel or a clean vessel but a vessel who is available. A vessel that will say, “I welcome you, I make a room for you in my heart.” He can occupy any space and transform that space to be His dwelling place. Don’t live in condemnation, don’t condemn yourself. Say to Him, “Jesus I give you myself today.”

“Where is he who has been born the King of Jews?” “And God said to Adam, where are you?” Remember, you cannot know where you are until you know who has been born the King of the Jews. Would you want to open your door for Him to reveal Himself to you this morning. Have you prayed that prayer? Can I pray with you? As we all bow our heads to the Lord, say it to the Lord where you are and put your left hand on your chest. Say this prayer after me, “Lord, I cannot know who I am until I know you and I open the door of my heart to you today to reveal yourself to me. Jesus, I willingly offer my heart to you to be your throne, make my life your dwelling place. Thank you, Jesus. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Those of you who have prayed that prayer, I pray for you where you are that today will mark a new beginning in your life; that the blood of the everlasting covenant will cleanse your heart and cleanse you completely from every sin. I am asking that from today, the power to live as children of God, receive it in Jesus Name. Let your potential and your light begin to shine forth in Jesus Name. I receive grace for you today to begin to walk in newness of life.

 

Shall we rise up as we pray this prayer.

Listen to this as I take this prayer: it was while Joseph and Mary were in the manger that people travelled from far and near to pay homage. When God puts you at your right location, wherever people are, they will look for you. All you need to do is to be at your right place. I am praying for somebody today, let your glory be announced to the world in the name of Jesus, Amen. From today, I declare, you will no longer stay in obscurity. As wise men came from far and near to seek Jesus, I am praying that wise men, people who would be useful for your destiny, helpers of destiny, will seek you in the name of Jesus. Let God himself announce you to the world in the name of Jesus. May you not miss your place of divine location in the name of Jesus. Every covering and cloud of darkness covering you, I demand in the name of Jesus, let them be removed from your life. I tear them in the name of Jesus, every mark of disfavour, every odour in your life that sends people away from your life.

Because Jesus was born in the trough, I knock out that mark of disfavour in the name of Jesus. Every mark of marital disfavour, from today, let them be knocked out. Every mark of professional disfavour, let them be knocked out in the name of Jesus. I declare by the Word of the Lord today that the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. Your light will shine in the name of Jesus. This Christmas season marks a new beginning in your life in the name of Jesus. I am decreeing by the word of the Lord again, good people, destiny helpers will look for you. From now, they will seek you. May the Lord order your steps. May He orchestrate situations around you to establish His purpose for your life. May the Lord stir up people to bring you to your place of destiny in the name of Jesus. Every situation will work for your good, Amen. Thank you, Father.

I bless you today on this Christmas day. I bless your family. I bless your life. I bless the works of your hands in the name of Jesus. It is well with you. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Let God’s people say a very big Amen. Amen.

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