Christmas Eve ~ 20211224 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
12/24_Christmas Eve; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20211224_advent-christmas-eve.mp3
Christmas Eve Service 2021 (6:30pm)
Intro Video: The Call of Christmas (Zach Williams) 3:46
Intro Video: O Come All You Unfaithful (Sovereign Grace Music)
Go Tell it on The Mountain (2 verses)
Silent Night (3 verses)
Welcome; Reading: John 1:1-5; 9-18 (the Word became flesh)
Congregational Hymn: O Come O Come Emmanuel [6 verses]
Reading: John 4:10-14; 23-26 (Jesus came down as living water; Samaritan woman) [Shane&Kim]
Congregational Hymn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing (4 verses)
Reading: John 6;33-35; 37-38; 46-51 (Jesus came down as bread to give life to the world) [Mike&Lacee]
Message: Wonder of the incarnation
Congregational Hymn: O Come All Ye Faithful (4 verses)
Reading: John 12:27-28; 18:37; 14:6 (Jesus born to be the Way, Truth and Life) [Daniel & Flic]
Congregational Hymn: Joy To The World (4 verses) [lighting of candles]
Welcome! It’s Christmas Eve! Tonight we are going to sing some historic hymns and carols. As you sing along or just listen, pay attention to the words. These old songs are packed with truth. Allow your heart to be amazed at who Jesus is, why he came. We will have some readings from the Gospel of John tonight. They will not be the typical Christmas story; but they are some things about Jesus or things that Jesus himself said that give insight into who Jesus is, and why he came. We will begin at the beginning, John 1.
Reading 1: Rodney & Deanna; John 1:1-5; 9-18
[DZ] John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
[RZ] ...9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
[DZ] 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 ( John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.
Reading 2: Shane & Kim; John 4:10-14; 23-26
[S] John 4:10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” ...13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
[K] ...23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Reading 3: Mike & Lacee; John 6:33-35; 37-38; 46-51
[M] John 6:33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. ...37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
[L] ...46 not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
God from all eternity, the self existent one, holy, utterly unique, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, unchanging, without beginning or end, the Creator of all that exists, perfect, the Second Person of the one triune God, enjoying perfect relationship with his Father and the Spirit throughout eternity; God became human. God came down. God with us. Remaining what he was, he became what he was not. Continuing to possess all the attributes of God, he became human, conceived in the womb of the virgin, born in a shepherd’s cave in Bethlehem, wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a stone food trough for animals. The eternal Word who was with God and who was himself God, became flesh and dwelt among us.
Is your heart filled with wonder? Are you amazed that he came? That he stooped so low?
The wonder of the incarnation. This is staggering. Immanuel – God with us; the infinite, the eternal Creator of all that exists, condescended to be born into his creation. This should cause our jaws to drop in awe.
But what should cause us even more amazement is why he came.
In Mark 2, Jesus had invited a loathed sellout Jew who was working for the Roman IRS as a tax collector to be one of his closest followers. He was at Levi’s house (also called Matthew)
Think pimps, prostitutes, drug lords, traffickers and politicians. The lowest of the low, dishonest, despised, the worst, the scum of the earth. Jesus was enjoying a meal with the likes of these.
Not only is it staggering that God came down, lowered himself to become human, become part of his creation, but he came for sinners. He came to associate himself with the ones who had rebelled most blatantly against him and brought ruin and chaos and ugly and pain and disorder into his beautiful and good creation. These are the ones he chose to spend time with.
He came as Immanuel, God with us -with US, you and I. He came for sinners. He came for the sick. He came for those with nothing to offer him.
Do you find yourself in that company? Likely not many of us here are drug dealers, child abusers, pornographers, murderers. But do you really feel you are that much better? Jesus said:
Are you amazed that he came for you? The Word became flesh; He did not come with law; we condemned ourselves already; He came with grace, grace toward the undeserving. Grace is God’s favor and kindness toward those who don’t deserve it. And I don’t deserve it. I deserve only his wrath. But he came for the broken, the outcast, he came for the sick, for sinners. He came for those who don’t deserve it. He came to seek and to save the lost (Lk.19:10).
This is amazing grace! Jesus was born to die on a cross for your sins. My iniquity, your iniquity was laid on him. He came to pay my price, to die as my substitute. He came to die the death I deserve, so that I can now enjoy what I don’t deserve; eternity in relationship with him.
Have you come to him to receive? Jesus is the greatest gift, and we can offer him nothing in exchange.
John 4:10 “If you knew the gift of God, ...you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
John 6:33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” ...35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Come to Jesus to receive. Come needy! Come broken! Come desperate! Come with nothing to offer but everything to gain. Come to be forgiven. Come to receive the gift of relationship with him. Come, and you will receive grace upon grace upon grace!
Reading 4: Daniel & Flic; John 12:27-28; 18:37; 14:6
[F] John 12:27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” …
[D] John 18:37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
[F] John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org