I would like to welcome and thank everyone again for tuning in to "Voices In The Wilderness™". As we approached this holiday season, I was thinking a lot about how the secular world and none-believers all together have just, plain and simply, hijacked our HOLY DAY. How they've commercialized it and made it about discounts, frantic holiday shopping, and some guy in a red suit flying through the air with gifts chauffeured by some flying reindeer--just completely turning it into something that it just simply isn't... But I was also reminded that, there are still millions upon millions of TRUE Believers--those who worship the Father in Spirit and Truth--who celebrate this season for what it was truly meant to be, that is, the commemoration of the greatest Love Story ever told...
Many of us look back on this season in worship, with humble gratefulness, worshipping the Father in quiet song, others take to the streets, churches, and door steps to lift up their voices with praise, adoration, and humble thankfulness to our King and Saviour...
For unto us a Child is born... unto us a Light is risen... unto us Salvation was given... For the Bible says, "God so loved the world, that He GAVE..."
For true worshippers, the CHRISTmas season is about giving...giving first and foremost to God, and secondly giving to others.
But what God wants us to give, is something far greater than anything that we could ever purchase at a shopping center. The gift that God wants us to give is the gift of Love, the gift of selfless sacrifice, the gift of sharing the Gospel of Salvation.
Sharing the Gospel of Salvation with your children... sharing the Gospel of Salvation with your family... your neighbor, your coworker, that person with you in the waiting area, that young person you always see on that same street corner, that person you saw going in and coming out of the gas station... the gift that God wants us to give is the gift of selfless sacrifice. The Apostle Paul said it this way, he said that, this is only but our "reasonable service" to God for what Christ has done for us. (Romans 12:1)
So the Christmas season is a celebration of love that's centered around giving...
John 3:16, arguably the most famous passage in the Bible, is an expression of Love. Its about a Loving God giving His only begotten Son, with pierced, bleeding, out stretched arms... to redeem a fallen world.
But every year more and more of God's people get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas and lose sight of its true meaning...
But today through "Voices In The Wilderness™" I wanna draw your attention to a person in the Bible that I hope will bring back to your remembrance the true reason why we celebrate Christmas.
In Luke ch. 2 the Gospel introduces us to a devout man to whom the Holy Spirit made a unique promise to. His name was Simeon.
Turn with me if you have your Bibles to Luke ch. 2:21-35.
Now as we read this passage and we get to this part about Simeon, me personally, I start thinking about some of the things that the Spirit felt it was important for us to know. So as we read this passage... the first thing that the Bible tells is about this man named Simeon is that, (1.) he was a... "Just and Devout man... and (2.) that he was WAITING for the consolation of Israel.
So, when the Scriptures introduce us to this man named Simeon, the very first thing that the Spirit wants us to know is that... this was a righteousman, a righteous man who was devoted to his God. But his devotion wasn't just in words or surface, the Bible shows us that this man had a relationshipwith God, that this man was in communion with the Almighty, and was in tune with the Spirit, because the Scriptures said that the Holy Spirit revealed to Him that he would not see death until he had seen The Lord's Anointed One.
Now think about that... what an Amazing relationship that he must of enjoyed with the Creator that the Holy Spirit would speak to him, and essentially say, "you know what, you've been committed in your faith and devotion to Me...I'm a do something a little special for you. Arise, let's go to the Temple, c'mon, I wanna show you something.
The Bible says that, this man was lead by the Spirit into the Temple. Now this was an amazing thing, because, remember, the Scriptures say that he was "Waiting for the consolation of Israel."
So he gets up, gets dressed, and heads down to the Temple. And as he was standing there--waiting in the Temple--suddenly, in comes walking... Joseph and Mary.
Now the Bible says that Joseph and Mary came to the Temple to present Jesus to the Lord according to the Law of Moses. So this wasn't a prearranged encounter. They weren't there to meet anyone, except maybe the Priest. So you can imagine what must have been going through Mary's mind when this stranger comes walking up to them, stops, and stands in front of her.
Now let's just pause and think about this for a moment, because typically we all know how women are with their newborn babies--especially first time mothers, right? We know that some women are so protective of their babies that they won't even let close relatives get too close to their baby.
And we know, typically, most women ain't finna expose their newborn baby to much of ANYBODY -- for at least 3 or 4 months -- let alone some random stranger who comes walking up to them grabbing at their baby trying to hold him up toward Heaven, claiming that he's talking to God!
Most women would agree that they would never let nothing like that happen... Especially if their child was said to be Israel's long promised Messiah!!!
Shoot... Most women would be like, "Uh-uh...this baby was born of the Holy Spirit. You are not finna touch my baby, I don't know you man... you better back up." She would be like, "Uh-uh, Joseph, you better get him!" Most women wouldn't of given their newborn baby to some random stranger to hold.
But there was something amazingly different about this man named Simeon, something intriguing... almost paralyzing. There was such a peace that just seemed to envelope him. A calmness, a gentleness, a strong sense and Presence of Love that just seemed to radiate from this man... indeed, this man was anointed and filled with the Spirit of God.
So, when he reached for her Child, and took Him up in his arms, they stood there--almost frozen in total amazement--as he lifted up their Child toward Heaven and spoke to God, saying...
"Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according
to Your Word for my eyes have seen Your Salvation..."
Listen again to what Simeon says...
"...for my eyes have seen Your Salvation."
By giving to this stranger her baby to hold, Mary was sharing the Love of Christ... and giving to this man the Hope of Salvation....
Now without question, Christmas is certainly about the celebration and commemoration of the birth of a Saviour, but more specifically, its about giving others the Hope of Salvation.
Think about this...
By keeping Simeon alive, and promising him that He would not allow him to see death.... "until he had seen the Lord's Christ", God was allowing Simeon to go to his grave, with the Hope of Salvation, knowing that he was holding in his arms his Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory....