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Sermon Notes: 12/24/23

"What Really Matters"

Pastor Albert Almore


I want to speak to you this Christmas Eve from this subject:

WHAT REALLY MATTERS


I’m not knocking all of the gift buying and exchanging. In fact, while you’re out, PLEASE pick me up a little something something. I’m not knocking all of the baking and all of the meals being prepared. By all means, PLEASE make me a to go plate or 2, or 3, or 4. All I’m saying is in the midst of the running here, in the midst of running there, in the midst of all the cooking and all of the eating, which I’m ALLL about…let us not lose sight of WHAT REALLY MATTERS. This Christmas as you purchase your last minute gifts, and as you prepare to exchange gifts, let us take time to reflect on all of the gifts, this time of the year brings us. The first being…


📝 • THE GIFT OF MIRACLES.


THE VIRGIN BIRTH MIRACLE

”Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.“

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭7‬:‭14‬ ‭NIV‬‬


”“THE VIRGIN WILL CONCEIVE and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).“

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭1‬:‭23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

THE 77 Generations Miracle


THE PROMISE


“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and HER SEED; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.””

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3‬:‭15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”

‭‭II Samuel‬ ‭7‬:‭16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


THE MIDDLE


A shoot will come up from THE STUMP of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭11‬:‭1‬ ‭NIV‬‬


THE MANIFESTATION


"But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭30‬-‭31‬ NIV


“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭32‬-‭33‬ ‭NIV‬‬


📝 God went OUT of His way, BECAME the way, then MADE a way, when there was no way.


THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND BLOOD, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.“

‭‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭14‬ ‭MSG‬‬


This Christmas as you purchase your last minute gifts, and as you prepare to exchange gifts, let us take time to reflect on all of the gifts, this time of the year brings us. The second being…


📝 • THE GIFT OF LOVE.


”Therefore, WHEN CHRIST ENTERS INTO THE WORLD, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But [instead] YOU HAVE PREPARED A BODY FOR ME [TO OFFER];“

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10‬:‭5‬ ‭AMP‬‬


📝 Jesus Christ wasn’t born TO BRING a sacrifice. Jesus Christ was born TO BEthe sacrifice.


But even deeper than that 1 Peter 1:18-19 says,

“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF Christ, the sinless, spotless LAMB OF GOD.

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:18-19‬ NLT


”The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! THE LAMB OF GOD who TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD!

‭‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭29‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


In the Old Testament, lambs represented substitute sin offerings. In order for sins to be forgiven, a lamb had to be killed, blood had to be shed, and offered to God on behalf of all sins. First mention of the lamb is in Genesis 4:4….


Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the FIRSTBORN LAMBS from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift,

Genesis 4:4 NLT


So when John the Baptist recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God, he was introducing Him as, "Behold! This is the one who will be killed. This is the one whose blood will be shed in our place!” What’s even deeper than that, 1 Peter‬ ‭1:20‬ ‭‬‬goes on to say…


‬‬"God chose him as your ransom LONG BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:20‬ ‭‬‬NLT


God chose him as your ransom LONG BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN, and Jesus said yes.


📝 Jesus Christ made a decision to DIE FOR US before we ever LIVED.


📝 God provided a way for us to be FORGIVEN before we ever knew we needed to be FORGIVEN.


He already knew, and He DID IT ANYWAY.


He already knew that some would deny him.

He already knew that some would turn their back on Him. He already knew that some would spend their lives trying to prove that He never lived. Yet still he knitted their hands together in their mother’s womb. The same hands that He knew would one day be used to build a cross, while other hands would be used to nail Him to it. He already knew, and He DID IT ANYWAY.


📝 Jesus already knew the OUTCOME, and His INPUT was still, "YES!”


WHY DID HE DO IT?


LOVE incarnated his birth.

LOVE carried Him to the cross.

LOVE kept Him on the cross.

LOVE rose Him from the dead.


”But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.“

‭‭Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭8‬ ‭AMP‬‬


I know you have things to do, places to go, but this Christmas take time to unwrap what really matters—The Gift of Love.


This Christmas as you purchase your last minute gifts, and as you prepare to exchange gifts, let us take time to reflect on all of the gifts, this time of the year brings us. The next being…


📝 • THE GIFT OF A NEW BEGINNING.


📝 His birth was OUR BIRTH of a new beginning.


”But as many as received Him, to them HE GAVE THE RIGHT TO BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD, to those who believe in His name:“

‭‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


”Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”“

‭‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that WE SHOULD BE CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD. And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1


And just to think, this all started out in Luke 2:1,

”At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭1‬-‭2‬ ‭NLT‬‬


”All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭3‬-‭5‬ ‭NLT‬‬


”And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭6‬-‭7‬ ‭NLT‬‬


”That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭8‬-‭9‬ ‭NLT‬‬


”but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭10‬-‭11‬ ‭NLT‬‬


”And you will recognize him by this sign: YOU WILL FIND a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭12‬ ‭NLT‬‬


What do you mean you will recognize him by this sign? You’re inviting us to go see Jesus?! You’re inviting us, the lowly of the low…


THIS WAS AN INVITATION.


I know you have things to do, places to go, but this Christmas, let us not lose sight of WHAT REALLY MATTERS. All the way from Bethlehem to Pamlico, Craven, Jones, Beaufort County, and with hundreds of years in between, all of this has been about….


📝 AN INVITATION TO RESPOND.


”When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “LET’S GO TO BETHLEHEM! LET’S SEE THIS THING THAT HAS HAPPENED, which the Lord has told us about.”“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭15‬ ‭NLT‬‬


I’m not knocking all of the gift buying and exchanging. In fact, while you’re out, PLEASE pick me up a little something something. I’m not knocking all of the baking and all of the meals being prepared. By all means, PLEASE make me a to go plate or 2, or 3, or 4. All I’m saying is in the midst of the running here, in the midst of running there, in the midst of all the cooking and all of the eating, which I’m ALLL about…let us not lose sight of WHAT REALLY MATTERS.


📝 Somewhere along the line, be sure to bring some CLARITY to the CHAOS.


Somewhere along the line, be sure to get silent, to take some time to reflect on that oh Holy Night.

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