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Sermon Notes: 12/31/23

"It Was God All Along"

Pastor Albert Almore


”At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭1‬ ‭GNT‬‬


”When this first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria. 3) Everyone, then, went to register himself, each to his own hometown.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭2‬-‭3‬ ‭GNT‬‬


”Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David. Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭4‬ ‭GNT‬‬


”He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him. She was pregnant, 6) and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭5‬-‭6‬ ‭GNT‬‬


”She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger—there was no room for them to stay in the inn.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭7‬ ‭GNT‬‬


Everybody say, "Awwwwwww.” What a sweet beautiful stress free Christmas story, OR WAS IT. May I remind you while I have you, Mary was pregnant pregnant. This pregnant pregnant Mary and Joseph had to travel 90 miles. No uber, no train, no bus, no plane, no station wagon to stretch out in. Instead, they had to travel 90 miles, more than likely on a donkey while Joseph led the way on foot to get to Bethlehem. 

If anyone was upset with Augustus, it had to me Mary. Tired, cramping, Braxton Hicks, false contractions, hopping on and off that donkey, nauseated, hungry but can’t hold nothing down, tired but can’t sleep. I’ve been pregnant all this time and now all of a sudden at this point in the pregnancy you want to call a census now? Really Augustus? You want to call a census now, you want a fresh head count on your people so that you can set the taxation properly to fund your army, and roads, NOW?


I know you’re upset Mary, but before you take it up with Augustus, you better take it up with God, because IT WAS GOD ALL ALONE! In fact that’s our sermon title as we close out this year…


IT WAS GOD ALL ALONG


We know that it was God all alone because it was already foretold in the Old Testament, 700 YEARS BEFORE JESUS ARRIVED. 


Micah‬ ‭5‬:‭2‬ says, 


”The Lord says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.”

‭‭Micah‬ ‭5‬:‭2‬ ‭GNT‬‬


It looked like it was Augustus ordering the census, but truth be told, it was God ordering the census, to make sure that Mary & Joseph were in the right place, at the right time, for when it came time for Jesus to be born. 


700 YEARS BEFORE JESUS WAS BORN, MICAH 5:2 WAS GIVEN AS A MAP FOR THOSE WHO WOULD BE LOOKING FOR HIM.


700 years before Jesus was born, Micah 5:2 would become a map for the wise men who came looking for Jesus to follow.


Mary, I know it was inconvenient but it was God. It didn’t make sense in the moment but it was God. I know you probably cried along the journey, but it was God. I’m sure you got tired along the journey, but it was God. You probably wanted to turn back, but it was God. 


📝 It was God all along, because HE’S GOD ALL ALONE. 


He’s God all alone to move. He’s God all alone to shuffle. He’s God all alone to pause. He’s God all alone to initiate to get you to where qyou’re supposed to be. Augustus situations. Augustus people. Augustus moments are all servants of God. 


📝 It wasn’t just Augustus ordering a census, it was God ORDERING THEIR STEPS. 


and the same goes for you.


I know it was inconvenient but it was God. It didn’t make sense in the moment but it was God. I know you probably cried along the journey, but it was God. I’m sure you got tired along the journey, but it was God. You probably wanted to turn back, but it was God. 


God uses an Augustus to shift you. 

God uses an Augustus to move you. 


This year, there were some doors that closed. This year there have been some people that changed. This year some orders have been given. It had nothing to do with them. It had nothing to do with you. It was God all alone, because He’s God all alone.


Even in times of uncertainty, I’m learning how to…


📝• Trust God’s BIG PICTURE.


We’re all pieces, along with every moment, of a much bigger picture than ourselves. This is the case in our study today. 


SURFACE

"At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭1‬ ‭GNT‬‬


BIG PICTURE 

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Micah 5:2


Notice now,  the deity of Christ is expressed in the verse's final phrase. Israel's Messiah would be One "whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient times."


The clear implication of this expression is that the birth of Christ in Bethlehem was not the beginning of Christ as God's Son and our Sovereign King. He is eternal. He "came forth" from Bethlehem, but He did not come from there in the first place. The KJV says it like this,


"…whose goings forth have been from of old, FROM EVERLASTING.

‭‭Micah‬ ‭5‬:‭2‬ ‭KJV‬‬


Notice now, Micah 5:2 is spoken directly by God the Father. Some clear threads of Trinitarian doctrine are woven into the fabric of the text. God the Father is speaking, and in speaking about the One who would come forth out of Bethlehem, He tells the why behind it all in Micah 5:2,


“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come FOR ME one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Micah 5:2 NIV


Don't miss the importance of those two words "for Me." God the father is sending this eternal Person, HIS SON, to be born and to rule and to redeem His people, and to make righteousness reign over all the earth. In other words…He’s coming on my behalf—FOR ME. 


”In this THE LOVE OF GOD WAS MANIFESTED toward us, that GOD HAS SENT HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON INTO THE WORLD, that we might live through Him. 10) IN THIS IS LOVE, not that we loved God, but that HE LOVED US and SENT HIS SON to be the propitiation for our sins.”

I John‬ ‭4‬:‭9‬-‭10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


”And we have seen and testify that THE FATHER HAS SENT THE SON as Savior of the world.“

‭‭I John‬ ‭4‬:‭14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


Wrapped in Micah 5:2 is the gospel in is simplest form. Christ—God the Son—came to earth, on behalf of The Father, on the Father’s orders. WHY? 


📝 Jesus came to earth on a mission of MERCY AND REDEMPTION. 


We were given Micah 5:2 to make it undeniably clear of His future arrival. We were given Luke 2:1-7 to make it abundantly clear that, THAT TIME HAS COME. 


Augustus ordering the census didn’t just happen. The entire time, God was framing a bigger picture. A bigger picture of His love. A bigger picture of His Faithfulness. And the same goes for your life and my life as well. I say to you today…


📝 • Trust what God is ORDERING.


Psalm 37:23…


”The steps of a good man ARE ORDERED BY THE LORD: And he delighteth in his way.“

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37‬:‭23‬ ‭KJV‬‬


📝 Every step that God orders is a FRAME for His bigger picture.


📝 • Trust what God is FULFILLING.


📝 He’s not just filling time, He’s fulfilling His PURPOSE. He’s not just filling time, He’s fulfilling His PROMISES.


”For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things HE PLANNED FOR US LONG AGO.“

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭10‬ ‭NLT‬‬


”And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to HIS PURPOSE for them.“

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭28‬ ‭NLT‬‬


I know you had plans Mary but…


📝 You have to trust God’s PURPOSE over your PLANS.


You can never tell what the artist is painting in the beginning. The picture that God is framing, won’t likely be presented at the beginning of the journey. Most likely it won’t be presented until the end of the valley—as it was with Joseph. 


Joseph was stripped & thrown into a pit by his brothers in Genesis 37. From there he was sold into slavery by his brothers to the Ishmaelites. After being wrongfully accused, Joseph was later thrown into prison. When God finished framing His big picture, Joseph now saw it more clearly. Once he came face to face with His brothers, Joseph responded in Genesis 45:5 by saying,


”But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. IT WAS GOD who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.“

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭45‬:‭5‬ ‭NLT‬‬


GOD HAS SENT ME ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.“

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭45‬:‭7‬ ‭NLT‬‬


SO IT WAS GOD who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.“

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭45‬:‭8‬ ‭NLT‬‬


”You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. HE BROUGHT ME TO THIS POSITION so I could save the lives of many people.“

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭50‬:‭20‬ ‭NLT‬‬


HE BROUGHT ME TO THIS POSITION…


Pain was the vehicle. Rejection was the vehicle. The pit was the vehicle. Inconvenience was the vehicle.


📝 God will use what the enemy caused, and CAUSE IT ALL to work together for His good.


SO IT WAS GOD who sent me here, not you!…

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭45‬:‭8‬ ‭NLT‬‬


Can you see God more than you see your brothers who betrayed you? 


”At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire.“

‭‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭1‬ ‭GNT‬‬


Can you see God more than you see Augustus? 


It Was God All Along 


DO YOU TRUST WHAT GOD IS FRAMING?


Your praise is confirmation that you do.


📝 Praise is the DOWN PAYMENT of my trust towards my God.

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