Welcome the Light of Christmas!

Welcome the Light – Christmas
MBC Small group, December 8, 2013

Share your name and one cool Christmas gift you received as a child.

Most Christmases we read from Matthew or Luke about the birth of Jesus. We are reminded about there being no room in the inn, Jesus being put in a manger, shepherds in the field, and the wise men coming to celebrate His birth. This year lets look at Jesus’ birth from a different angle.

SHOW FLASHLIGHT, CANDLE, MATCHES. When would you use these? If your lights went out and it was dark, you would probably welcome these instruments. At this time of year, we also want to welcome the Light, Jesus.

READ John 1:1-5

John began his gospel with the “Word” – Jesus.

HOW IS JESUS LIKE A WORD?

Jesus was both with God and was God. Life came from Him. Not just spiritual life, but physical life. Jesus was source of all life in the universe. This life was the light of people.

HOW WAS JESUS LIKE A LIGHT?

In Jesus’ day, light represented that which was good. Darkness represented that which was bad.

(Turn lights off)

HOW DID THE DARKNESS REACT TO THE LIGHT? It did not comprehend it – meaning it could not overcome or overpower it. The world was dead in darkness. The light came and the prince of the darkness could not overcome it.

HOW DO PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN IN DARKNESS REACT TO LIGHT?
(Turn lights on)

Jesus came to remove the darkness of sin from our lives. Whereas before, we were in the dark. Jesus came to give us light so we could see clearly. See the spiritual side of life. See joy and meaning in life. See wholeness and completeness in life. See what I mean?

READ John 1:6-8

WHAT WAS JOHN’S JOB?

John announced the coming of the Messiah. He also emphasized the need for repentance and the coming judgement. A witness to testify about the light, so all might believe through him.

IS IT EASY TO BE A WITNESS FOR CHRIST? WHY?

Dr. John Rosen, a psychiatrist in New York City, is well known For his work with catatonic schizophrenics. Normally doctors remain separate and aloof from their patients. Dr. Rosen moves into the ward with them. He places his bed among their beds. He lives the life they must live. Day to day, he shares it. He loves them. If they don’t talk, he doesn’t talk either. It is as if he understands what is happening. His being there, being with them, communicates something that they haven’t experienced in years—somebody understands.

But then he does something else. He puts his arms around them and hugs them. He holds these unattractive, unlovable, sometimes incontinent persons, and loves them back into life. Often, the first words they speak are simply, “Thank you.”

This is what Christ did for us at Christmas. He moved into the ward with us. He placed his bed among our beds. Those who were there, those who saw him, touched him and were in turn touched by him and restored to life. The first word they had to say was “thank you.”

Christmas is our time to say “Thank you” to God for such a wonderful gift.

READ John 1:9-13

React to this statement, “BIRTHING A CHILD MAKES A WOMAN A MOTHER”
How about, “BEING A CHURCH MEMBER MAKES YOU A CHRISTIAN”

John said the light came into the world to shine on all people. Some will reject it and others receive Him.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RECEIVE JESUS?

We are about to give and receive gifts. In order for you to “receive” a gift, you must take it. You do not receive the gift until you take possession of it. To believe in His name is to accept who He is. It is going from believing in theory to believing in reality.

I believe in gravity. If I only believed, but never experienced the effects of gravity, I would only believe in theory. Since I have experienced the effects of gravity, I can say that I believe in reality. I can say the same about my belief in Jesus. When I went to church and went through a membership class, I became a member of the church. At that point I believed in God as a theory, but, even though I was a member of the church, I had never experienced a relationship with God. It wasn’t until I asked Jesus to be the center of my life did that belief go to reality.
Receiving Jesus as our Savior is the only way to become children of God.

CAN ANY OF YOU CONVINCE ME THAT YOU BELIEVE THAT BECOMING A CHRISTIAN WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU?

READ John 1:14-18

I want to focus on verse 16 to close with today. Verse 16 tells us we have received grace after grace. In other words, we have received one blessing after another. Too often we focus this time of year around getting instead of giving.

We are to have an attitude of thanksgiving because God has given us many blessings.

LIST SOME OF THESE BLESSINGS
the Bible, Holy Spirit, hope of eternal life, forgiveness, acceptance, adoption, hope of Christ’s return.

Today many Christians spend a great deal of time and effort vainly looking for blessings already available to them.
They pray for God’s light, although He has already supplied light in abundance through His Word. Their need is to follow the light they already have. (John 1:1-5)
They pray for strength, although His Word tells them they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them (Phil. 4:13).
They pray for more love, although Paul says that God’s own love is already poured out within their hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5).
They pray for more grace, although the Lord says the grace He has already given is sufficient
(2 Cor. 12:9).
They pray for peace, although the Lord has given them His own peace, “which surpasses all comprehension” (Phil. 4:7).

Let’s go into this week remembering what God has given us, what Jesus gave to us, and what we need to give to others.

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