Sermon Snippets from December 8, 2013
After losing to an inferior team, the late coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, was heart to say at a practice the following morning: “O.K. We go back to the basics this morning. ” The coach looked sternly at each of his players and held up a football. “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
Virtually everything in life is made of basics: There are 8 basic notes from which all musical pieces are composed. There are 26 letters in our English alphabet from which all our words come. Math has 10 numbers. So the question is – what are the basics of a Christian life?
To answer that question. we go back to the Christmas story, beginning in Matthew 1:18-25
1. This is the first basic premise of Christianity: The value of God’s word to those in need.
Mary and Joseph were engaged to be married. But when she was found to be pregnant with a child who was not Joseph’s, it created a crisis for Joseph. In the midst of his crisis, God spoke to him. God gave him a specific answer to his prayers, not to make things easier or to deliver him from his crisis, but to give him guidance to get through his crisis. Joseph was told not to be afraid to marry Mary and that the baby she carried was none other than the Messiah!
God has spoken to man through his history by prophets and in other various ways. But today he speaks to us through his son, Jesus, the child of Christmas.
The more we hear the words of Christ, the more he establishes himself in our hearts. Believing what God says is the second basic of our Christian walk with the Lord.
Joseph heard God’s voice through the angel in his dream and he believed it. It’s not a stretch to imagine how surprised Joseph must have been. After all, God’s voice had not been heard for over 4oo years. And now he was speaking to a poor, common carpenter who wasn’t a prophet or even a Levite that worked in the temple. Joseph made a conscious choice to believe the angel’s words.
His faith is what prompted him to obey and carry out God’s directions. It took courage to act on his faith. Joseph was not naïve about the possibilities 0f rumors, gossip, loss of reputation and maybe even his livelihood.
Often God asks us as Christians to walk a difficult path -one which requires us to hear his word, believe it and do it.
4. The principle of vision, purpose, goals, dreams, etc.
Fast forward a few verses to the visit of the Magi , coming to see the one who was born to be king of the Jews in Matthew 2:1-12.
They had seen his star – a supernatural occurrence – in the heavens and were pursuing their goal of seeing the king whom it predicted. Their purpose kept them on track through harsh traveling conditions until they found him. Then they fell down and worshipped him.
5. And finally the last basic fundamental of the Christian life found in the Christmas story: Giving.
The wise men brought gifts to Jesus. The gifts themselves were of high value, befitting royalty: Gold – to give tribute to the infant king. Frankincense: a spice associated with praise and prayer. Myrrh – a costly ingredient used for preparation of the body in burial.
Their devotion to their journey was part of the gift – it was a part of themselves that they gave gladly to find the king.
Just as we cannot go through life without the basic 8 music notes, the 26 letters of our alphabet, or 10 numbers, we cannot go through our Christian life without hearing God’s word; believing it; acting on it; having a purpose, dream, vision or goal and the practical demonstration of who we are through giving – the fundamental BASICS of Christmas.