December 24 - Message Update

Dear SanLo Community, an update for Christmas Sunday, December 24, 2017

Thank you Pastor Brian for the message from Luke 2:8-20, “Undercover King.” There was a show called “Undercover Boss” where the bosses would disguise themselves and go undercover as a worker to experience how their organization really operated. Christmas is like that show in that Jesus, went undercover as a baby lying in a manger. King Jesus was born in the humblest of conditions. Why would the King of Kings and LORD of Lords subject Himself to the sin of this world? God’s loves us, but why would He send His Son to us?  Why was Jesus born?

1) Jesus was born to bring SALVATION. (vv.8-12) Jesus saves us from the embarrassment, ridicule or punishment we deserve for the wrong things we have done.  He has rescued us for all our mistakes.  We are forgiven for our bad behavior.  Jesus has freed us from the power and penalty of sin.  This is the salvation that Jesus was born to bring. (v.11) “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  God chose these particular shepherds to see the Savior who was born. These were not ordinary shepherds. They cared for sheep that were sacrificed for the sins of the people.  More than anyone, these shepherds understood the killing of lambs for sins. It was no mistake that Jesus, 30 years later at His baptism was called the Lamb of God. In verse 11 Jesus is called Savior, Christ the Lord which are names of God.  The birth of Jesus and these titles illustrate that Jesus was not only born of man but He was God. This verse clearly identifies Jesus as the God/Man, fully human and fully God. Only Jesus could save us from our sins because He was God who lived as a man among sin yet did not sin. We are all sinners in the eyes of God. We are saved from the damage of sin because Jesus, the Lamb of God sacrificed Himself on the cross to release us from the destructive power of sin. 

2) Jesus was born to bring PEACE. (vv.13-14) The heavenly host or army of angels praised God saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE among men with whom He is pleased.”  Jesus was born to bring peace. It is a peace that the world cannot know, that surpasses all human understanding. But you should also know that this peace is reserved for those with whom He (God) is pleased. How is God pleased? God is pleased when we believe that Jesus is His Son, confess our sins and receive Him into our lives. Salvation is the first step to the peace Jesus was born to bring. Jesus was born during a time known as Pax Romana (Roman peace). There were no major wars for the first 200 years of the Roman Empire but the rulership was very oppressive and cruel. Though there was outward peace with the surrounding territories, peace within was not found for the subjects of Rome. For centuries the Jewish people heard about the coming Christ, the Messiah.  Jesus is the Savior, the Christ that the Jews were anticipating. He would bring peace to a chaotic world but it wasn’t the peace they were expecting. Jesus was born to bring glory to God and give us a fresh start so we can live in His peace. He gives us a chance to begin new each and every moment with His peace. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.” John 14:27. To know Jesus is to know peace. God’s love for us is expressed by the birth of His one and only Son, Jesus.  Jesus was born to bring salvation and peace to a world filled with pain and suffering.  Even though now we face harsh realities there will be a time when no more tears will be shed and sickness, hardship and death will be erased.  Circumstances may not change but remember Jesus was born to bring peace in the midst of a chaotic world that can calm the soul.

3) Jesus was born to bring HOPE.  (vv.15-20) The concept of hope in the New Testament is defined as confidence in God.  The hope that Jesus brought is not just any hope, it’s the hope we have in God that He will never fail us or leave us. (vv.19-20)  “19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” Previously, ponder meant “carefully considered” what Gabriel told her.  Mary did not fully grasp what she heard and wondered about what was said. She was still a virgin and being told by an angel that she would conceive and her baby would be the Son of God. (v.19) Mary “treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  Ponder in this verse means to “put it together.”  In other words, Mary instead of “carefully considering” the words of the shepherds, she began to “put together” that Jesus is in fact the Son of God, the Savior who is Christ the Lord. She had hope for the future because it was beginning to sink in that Jesus was the Messiah Israel had been waiting for. The shepherds were also filled with hope. They went away to return to the fields praising God for the arrival of Messiah Jesus with hope fulfilled.

Jesus is the one who can fill hurt, loss or emptiness you may be experiencing. He was born to bring SALVATION, PEACE, and HOPE to all. Continue to put together the magnitude of God’s love for you, expressed by the birth of His Son, Jesus.

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Thank you Ross Yamamoto and Eddie Brock families for reading the Christmas scriptures and lighting the Advent candles.

Calendar Items:

12/31    12:15pm            One Worship Service followed by a Joint Fellowship Hour (SL and SLZ setup and cleanup)

1/1/2018 11:00am          Bilingual New Year Service (Pastor Sunao Shimada)

1/6          8:30am           Mission Prayer

1/6          9:30am           Winter Vision Planning Meeting

1/6          2:00pm           Celebration of Life service for Kunio Okui

1/7     both services       Commissioning of Winter Vision workers

1/12        5:30pm           Little House monthly potluck dinner and devotion (see Michi Shimada)

1/12-15                         Winter Vision

1/14   both services       Mission Moment – Munetaka and Sandy Mori

1/19      10:30am            55+ Outing to JCCWC for a potluck lunch and concert by Shtrykov-Tanaka (see Yumi Fujii)

1/21   both services       Child Dedications (see Pastor Rod)

1/28        9:00am           Small Groups Kickoff Breakfast (see Pastor Eric)

 

Have a wonderful week, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ,

Stan, for slzjcc