Summary of the Sermon by Senior Pastor Djohan Handojo, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 24 December 2017.
Christmas is the biggest love, the greatest power of God. In Luke 1:28-38, although Mary was frighten, the angel told her not to be afraid and that she was highly favored. She shall give birth to a Son and His name will be Jesus, and He will be a King and His Kingdom will be an eternal kingdom.
God is a big God, and He created everything with His Word. He calmed the seas with His words, He created things from nothing, and He put the sun, the moon and everything in their proper places. He created the man and woman and called them Adam and Eve, and created them according to His image. He is a powerful and a wonderful God, everyday God spoke and walked with Adam. Today He still speaks to us; still communicating and engaging us in our daily lives.
The First Miracle: The People who Believe and Received Jesus as the Lord and Saviour
In 2017 God has a purpose for us, and it never fails. Our plans can fail but God’s plan never fails. The first suffering of Christ was when the wise men went to King Herod, looking for the king who was born. King Herod sent them away and asked them to report back to him the whereabouts of the baby, but in his mind he planned to kill the baby. Thus after that King Herod started to persecute and kill the babies in the area.
We celebrate Christmas because the King of Heaven came to the earth in a lonely and simple way, and with suffering. Thus we celebrate Christmas in a very simple way. In so many countries (eg. North Korea) people can’t even worship God. They are persecuted and imprisoned for their faith. God gave us the responsibility to spread the Good News and tell everyone, just as the shepherds did. Acts 10:42-43 -He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. - this is what God wants us to do as a Christian. NO one can hinder us from Jesus Christ, those receive Him, receive the grace of God, and we are saved though Christ. We become believers not because of our understanding but because we open our heart and receive Him as our Saviour. By His grace and mercy, he forgives us of our sins every day, as we forgive others. This is a daily prayer as in the Lord’s Prayer.
At the end of the day, everyone has to be accountable for whatever we are doing. Those who reject Jesus as their Saviour and Lord will stand in front of the throne of judgement; those who didn’t have Jesus will be thrown into the eternal fire.
There was a successful and popular medical doctor, who helped sick people. He liked to read Christian books which people gave to him, but his heart never believed. He read all the Christian books with the purpose of looking down on Jesus. He didn’t believe that Jesus is Lord. He only believed that Jesus was born poor in a lonely manger, and was the son of a carpenter from Nazareth. One day he suffered a serious illness, he couldn’t cure himself. He even went to hospital and the other doctors couldn’t help him. He almost ended his life because of the pain and suffering. One Christian nurse approached him and shared about the kindness of Jesus. He watched and listened carefully and said to this nurse that he was afraid of meeting the judgement of the son of a carpenter. The nurse, with the knowledge from the Holy Spirit said, “Doctor, no one can help you; only the son of the carpenter whose name is so powerful. He was nailed to the cross, and at the cross He said, Come to me who have a heavy burden, those who believe in me, come to me. Jesus blessed and restored those who suffered and who were sick. Doctor, once you receive him you’ll have complete forgiveness, He is the redeemer, your sins will be forgiven, and you’ll become a new man in Jesus.” And the doctor in tears opened his heart and received Jesus.
Many people love the world more than Jesus. Today, before end of this year, love Jesus more than before, read your Bible more. It is free, so you know the way of God. Open our hearts and worship Him in spirit and our life will be transformed to be more like Jesus. Not only come and listen, but express your worship, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can worship in the spirit, speaking in tongues. Don’t be ashamed, be a good witness of Jesus.
The Second Miracle: Peace and Joy
Not only people got saved when they met Jesus in Bethlehem - the shepherds and the wise man. The angel brought Good News to the shepherds that Jesus the Savior was born; and the shepherds went to see Jesus and they rejoiced on finding Him. The shepherds carried the Good News all over. Today the angel also said to us peace on earth and glory to God in the highest place. We are talking about peace and joy – the second miracle of Christmas. So many of us may have bitterness and pain in our life – there is no satisfaction in our married life or business. There is a hunger for something. Jesus came to gave us peace. Don’t forget Jesus is in the breath of your life, He is so close to you. Let us understand and know that He is the Prince of Peace. Christmas is the season of peace.
In 1870 -1871, there was a war between Germany and France. On Christmas Eve during the war, it was a very cold and snowy night. The soldiers from both the countries didn’t realize the groups come closer and closer in a dark place in the evening of Christmas. Suddenly one of the French soldier, jumped up and stood without a weapon, lifted up their hands and sang Silent Night, and then another soldier also stood up. The German soldiers came very close but when they hard the song, they too jumped and started singing Silent Night. That night peace came from heaven. Once we open our hands and sing, the presence of God comes to this place. He dwells in the midst of our praise, whatever our situation. Just like Paul and Silas, their situation was not good, deep down in the pit. But at midnight they started to cry out and sang out song of praise loudly and everyone in the prison could hear them. The situation around us will not control us on how to praise God. God is enthroned in the praises of his people, and His presence is there, and there is healing and power in His presence.
Though our problem still exists, but the peace of God will help us to be a blessing to others. Speak blessings to your family; ask for forgiveness and starting to sing praises to God. We need to speak blessing and shalom to everyone.
The Third Miracle: Is there anything too hard for God?
I am the Lord God for all flesh, is there anything too difficult for me? (Jeremiah 32:27). This is what God said to us. The way to receive the miracle – just believe. When we believe in God, we allow God to work in our lives and see the miracles from God being unveiled. Nothing is too difficult for God and nothing is too difficult for those who believe, Christmas is the first miracle from God. If we want to experience miracles from God, we need to have the same attitude like Mary, believing that a miracle will happen. Some of people didn’t believe, but today miracles still happen in the name of Jesus.