Too Old For A Baby
By Bobby Blakey on December 5, 2022
Too Old For A Baby
By Bobby Blakey on December 5, 2022
Well, I want to invite everyone here to open your Bible with me and go to Luke chapter 1. You know, no one gets more excited about Christmas than these kids. These kids, they've got day countdown till Christmas, they can't sleep the night before Christmas. I’ve got a question. Have you become too old for Christmas? Are you not excited about Christmas anymore? Because here in Luke 1, we meet a man who was too old, at least that's what he thought. Here in Luke chapter 1, the angel comes to bring good news. This is before the famous Christmas story when the angel comes to Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem. No, this is when the angel comes to Zechariah, he's going to end up being the father of John the Baptist. John the Baptist is the prophet, making the way, preparing the way for the Lord Jesus Christ, the voice crying in the wilderness. And so when the angel comes to Zechariah, while he's serving as a priest, and the angel appears, they're standing by the altar of incense. And Zechariah, he's troubled like anybody is when you see an angel. Everybody always responds with fear. And the angel said to him, Do not be afraid. And look at this. This is Luke 1:13-20. And the angel is going to give this good news to Zechariah, saying, “’Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,’” I love this part here in Luke 1:17, “’he will go before him,’” that's John the Baptist going before Jesus, “’in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.’” When John the Baptist preaches the good news that Jesus is coming, the dads are going to care about their kids again. Wow, wouldn't that be awesome at Christmas? See, and then he says, “’the disobedient’” they're going to go “’to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.’ And Zechariah said to the angel,” look at this response to that good news. “’How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in yours.’” That's a nice way to say it, men, if you're ever talking about your wives, right? They're advanced in years. Right? So, look at what the angel says, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” Zechariah and Elizabeth, they had a prayer, that God would bless them with a child, that God would give to them a son, and God actually, in answer to their prayer, sent an angel to give him the good news, you're going to have a son. And Zechariah was too old, at least he thought to believe what the angel said.
I want you to return with me over to Romans chapter four. And we're going to look at another couple that was, we would think, too old for a baby, and yet they had faith that God would give them a child. This is the end of our study of father Abraham here in Romans chapter 4, as we follow in his footsteps of faith. And so, Zechariah is an example who got a promise from God. And he did not believe because he was too old. Even though Abraham and Sarah grew to be very old, they still believe the promise of God that they would have a child. And so that's what we're going to see here. As we come to the end of Romans 4. We're going to study Romans 4:19-25. And out of respect for God's word, I want to invite everybody to stand for the public reading of Scripture. I want to welcome everybody who's home sick or traveling, if you're watching this online right now, I want to invite you to stand up as we read Romans 4:19-25. This is the Word of God. This is a true story that happened with Abraham and Sarah, and it is meant to be an example to all of us here tonight. Romans chapter 4, verse 19. “He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness.’ But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
That's the reading of God's word. Please go ahead and have your seat. And you can see here that we get another old couple. We saw Zechariah and Elizabeth in Luke 1 Well, here we have father Abraham. And you can see there in verse 19, that he had the promise of God, that's what we've already seen in Romans 4 that Abraham had received a promise that he would be the father of a great nation, even that he would be the father of many nations. Remember, in Genesis 15, when God took Abram outside, and he showed him the stars in the sky, and he said, “That's how many descendants you're going to have.” And Abraham believed God in Genesis 15:6, and God counted it to him as righteousness. He was justified on the basis of faith. That's been the story here in Romans 4, but now, Abraham has become old, it says he's “as good as dead.” I don't know if anybody's ever felt like that before. These are Biblical words, not my words. I just want to make that clear, right. But if Abraham is apparently as good as dead since he was about 100 years old, and he and Sarah have been hoping to have this son for decades now, and they have never been able to conceive a son that God had promised. But look at these words here, “he did not weaken in faith.” Verse 20, “No unbelief made him waver.” And really, if you look at verse 20 here you can see the idea of the promise. And you can see again, in verse 21, the theme of that he was fully convinced God was able to do what he had promised. And we saw, if you can remember, before Thanksgiving, if you were here when we studied Romans 4 before, we saw that the promise that God makes is what our faith is based on, is God's promises. And so even though now, it's been a long time since God made the promise, and even though now it's starting to seem impossible, because he's old, and Sarah is barren, know the promise of God. That's really what sticks out.
If we were reading this in the Greek language, it was written in here, the promise is like the first and central thing in the sentence. The promise made him not waver. The promise is why he had faith to give glory to God. The promise is what made him convinced God is able to do what he says he's going to do. Can I get an amen from anybody on that? So, we've been talking about, we’ve got to identify, the promises that God has made to us, and make sure that the promises of God are the basis for our faith. Well, even though Abraham grew to be old, he wasn't too old for a baby because he trusted in the promises of God. And so that's what we want to see that he believed. There was a point when God made the promise to him, he believed and in that moment that he trusted in God's promise, he was declared righteous. He was justified by his faith, but then it was a long time until he saw the promise fulfilled. And because of the promise, Abraham was able to keep trusting over the course of his life. This doesn't mean there was never an ebb or a flow to Abraham's faith. But Abraham did not lose faith. He kept believing in the promise of God. Even Sarah believed along with him.
Go back to Genesis 18 with me and let's go back to them getting the promise again here in Genesis 18. We have an interesting story where it says the Lord appears here to Abraham and Sarah. This is after the promise, after the covenant with circumcision, but the Lord appears and there's a conversation that happens between the Lord… the Lord's on his way to Sodom and Gomorrah. You know the story here in Genesis, but Abraham welcomes them and shows them hospitality. And they said to him, this is Genesis 18:9-10, “They said to him, ‘Where is Sarah your wife?’ And he said, ‘She is in the tent.’ The Lord said,” so notice that’s YHWH said there. Here’s a follow up on the promise from God. The Lord said, “’I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’” So, this is now an even another reiteration of the promise that God had now made quite some time ago. Now it's going to happen within a year. Now, Genesis 18:11-15 takes us into the context. “Now Abraham and Sarah were old” or the biblical way to say it “advanced in years.” And then it says the “way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sara laughed to herself, saying, ’After I am worn out, and my Lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh?’” So you think you're laughing to yourself, but the Lord knows, right? “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child now that I am old?’” Here's a good line “’Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time, I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son. But Sarah denied it saying, “I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid. He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’”
See, I wonder if there are some people here tonight, and you've been through a few Christmases. Maybe you've even had so many Christmases that the number of them has become advanced in yours, and you can't remember all the Christmases that you've had. Right? And I wonder if there's some people who have heard what we want to talk about the promise of Christmas, that Jesus was born to save his people from their sins. And I wonder if you've heard that promise before tonight. But you said something like Zechariah? How can I know this? And you never really believed in the promise of Jesus. I wonder if there's somebody even here who's heard that a virgin gave birth or heard that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead. You've heard impossible claims in the promise of God and the gospel. And maybe you've even laughed and thought that can't really happen. Well, there's good news for everybody here tonight. You're never too old to believe in the promise of Jesus Christ. Because the promises of God they don't have an expiration date, like you and I do. We may become advanced in years, but the promises of God, they are eternal. His steadfast love is forever. His mercies are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness, even after all the things in this world fade away, the word of the Lord will endure forever.
And Jesus was born to save people, people like you from their sins. So even if you didn't believe it before, even if you've laughed in the past, this could be the first time you really celebrate Christmas. This could be the time that you realize, is anything too hard for the Lord? If there is a God who can create heaven and earth by the words spoken out of his mouth, then he can make old people have babies and he can make a virgin great with child, and he can bring his son back from the dead because he is the Almighty God. And it is not too late for some here tonight to trust in God's promise.
Let's get this down for point number one, if you want to take notes on the handout: “Trust God's promise has no expiration date.” Trust God's promise has no expiration date. This Christmas is not too late for some of you to believe if you haven't already, and it's not too late for your loved ones to believe. Maybe some of your loved ones have laughed at you when you've shared them the good news of the virgin birth of the resurrection of Jesus after he died for us on the cross. Maybe you know people who, there have been Christmases in the past where they came to a service like this, and they heard a cute little kids’ choir sing but they did not believe in Jesus. Well, good news for all of those who have not believed. God's promise has not expired.
And you could still go to Hebrews 11 And look what it says about Sarah. Maybe you're thinking oh, Sarah, why did you laugh? But, no, Abraham and Sarah they did believe, that's what Hebrews 11 affirms. And in fact, it speaks about Sarah specifically. Romans 4 makes it clear that a man who was advanced in years and a woman who was barren for decades, no they came together, and they believed in the promise of God, and they conceived a son. That's the example. They had faith in the promise. And they saw God keep his word. They were blessed with their son, Isaac. And look what it says here in Hebrews chapter 11. And there are so many great examples of faith, but we want to zoom in on what it says here in verse 11. So this is Hebrews 11:11, should be easy to remember. And picking up now from Genesis 18, when she was laughing, well, look what it says here by faith, Sarah, she might have laughed right away. But no, by faith, Sara herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
The stability in your faith does not come from your consistency to have faith, the stability in your faith comes from the fact that God has made a promise, and he's going to be true to his word. He's going to do what he said. And Sarah, she may have laughed, but she did believe, and she did conceive. Look at verse 12. “Therefore, from one man,” Abraham, “and him as good as dead, were born descendants, as many as the stars of heaven,” just like God said, just like he promised. There were as many descendants as the stars of heaven. And “as many as…the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” We know that father Abraham, he became the father of the Jewish nation. We also know that as we've been studying in Romans, for all of us who have faith in Jesus, we look back on father Abraham as the example. And we follow in his footsteps. So, from one man, there were descendants as many as the stars have. So, these people, they were not too old for a baby. These remarkable stories of Abraham and Sarah, having Isaac, and of Zechariah and Elizabeth having John the Baptist, these stories are included in the scripture to show you that God is going to keep his promises. So you can keep on believing in the Gospel of Jesus or you're not too advanced in years to start believing in Jesus this Christmas, to realize that this is the truth, and that God did do this, and you could transfer your trust to Jesus.
Go back to Romans chapter 4, because it makes that application. Look at it here with me in Romans 4:22, kind of the theme verse going throughout this whole chapter in Romans 4. Romans 4 is a great chapter breakdown in the book of Romans, because it's really this, the sermon kind of within the big teaching of the book. It's this unit of thought, going back to Genesis 15:6, and Paul's really using that text where Abraham believed God, and then God on the basis of Abraham's faith, counted Abraham as righteous. We call it justification by faith. It's what we've been learning about in Romans. And you can see back in Romans 4:3. What does the scripture say? Great question to ask if you need answers in life, what does the Scripture say? Well, there's Genesis 15:6. Well, now, let's cut to the end of the chapter, and verse 22, brings that same verse back up, “That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness.’” But the words it was counted to him were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. So, this whole story about Abraham getting the promise you're going to have descendants like the stars in heaven. But then the promise not happening till he's very old and Sarah's advanced in years, and that's when they have a baby. This whole story is written for us to study here together. And it says, look at Romans 4:24, it's “ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him,” and here's specifically what we're called to believe. We're called to believe in God who raised from the dead Jesus, our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
What we have here at the end of Romans 4 are the three essential elements of the gospel. And this is hopefully review. This is what we've been preaching now for nine years. We're coming up on here, this is my ninth Christmas I've celebrated here at Compass HB. I was doing the math. This is the longest time I've ever been at one church in my life I realized is right here with all of you. I’ve been at church all my life. But nine Christmases is the most I've ever celebrated at one church. And some of us from the beginning, we've been asking Huntington Beach the question, what is the gospel? Can you tell me the good news? If you claim to be a Christian, you say I believe in the gospel. Great, then what is the gospel? It's got three essential things in it. What is the gospel? We've been asking that question, we've been trying to make that clear. And praise God we've gotten now nine Christmases of seeing people get saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even just in these last few weeks, I've had people come up to me, sharing with me testimonies that just in the last few weeks, they have had their eyes open to see themselves as a sinner, and to see that they needed Jesus to die on the cross to pay for their sin. So, the gospel is going out. People are getting saved. Do you know these three essential elements? Well, let's go through them right there if you're taking notes. Let's make sure everybody here tonight knows them. And it's a great time of year to share this good news with others. You can see it there in verse 24, that you have to believe in what exactly a lot of people they'll say, well, I believe in God, a lot of people will say, well, I believe in the Bible. Okay, well, so do the demons, my friends, just knowing that there is a God, and just knowing that the Bible is true, does not make you a Christian, it might make you a Christian in America, it doesn't make you a Christian in Scripture, okay? You can know who God is. And you can know the Bible is true. But the gospel is a very specific word that God has revealed to us, that God raised Jesus from the dead. That's what we're believing in. You can't just believe that there is a God, you’ve got to believe that there is a God, and that God sent his one and only Son, and that Son died on the cross to pay for your sin. And on the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead. We believe in a God who gives life from death, he can make people who are as good as dead have babies, and he can take his son and raise him up on the third day. That's who our God is. Can't just believe that God is there. You’ve got to know that God raised Jesus and you’ve got to know who Jesus is. Look what it says about Jesus here in verse 24. It says, we’ve got to believe in him, and God raised from the dead Jesus, and who is Jesus? Jesus is our what? Do you ever hear somebody say, I've made Jesus Lord of my life? That is not a true statement. Jesus is the Lord of your life, whether you've made him Lord of your life or not. Jesus is our Lord God made Jesus Lord of your life, when he raised him from the dead, when he exalted him to his right hand. Right now, Jesus is at the place of authority, and power, and dominion, and he has been given the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee is going to hit the ground, and every mouth is going to say that he is the Lord.
So, let's start with that the first essential element of the gospel: “Who is Jesus? He is your Lord.” Now, one way we could say it is he is the Christ. You’ve got to make sure you know who Jesus is, and the prophecies. He's the Messiah, the Christ, he's the Anointed One of God. We know that after he died on the cross and rose again, he's been exalted. He's been given the name, the title, Lord of heaven and earth. So, you’ve got to make sure you know who our God is, who his son Jesus is, that's essential. There are many people claiming to believe in Jesus, but they believe in a Jesus that was created by God, or they believe in Jesus, who was a man and became a god, or they believe in Jesus and a bunch of other things. Now, there's only one name given among men under heaven by which anybody can be saved. And that's why we celebrate it on Christmas, because the name Jesus means he came to save us from our sins, and he is the Lord. He is the Christ. You’ve got to know who Jesus really is. And then you’ve got to go look, it makes these two parallel statements here in Romans 4:25, “who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Okay, so you’ve got to know Jesus died to pay for your sins, that's the delivered up for your trespasses there.
That's number two: You’ve got to know about his death on the cross, where he sacrificed his own body, he shed his own blood. He willingly laid down his life to pay, right? He redeemed you, he paid for your sin before God, he took the wrath, the judgment that should be on us because of our sin. You should be punished for your sin. Jesus took that punishment for you. And then not only was he delivered up for our trespasses, that could be a reference there to Isaiah 53 where he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, he's the sacrificial lamb, taking our place, atoning for our sin. But then it says a parallel statement here, delivered up for our trespasses, our sins, raised up for our justification, our righteousness.
So, the third essential element: Jesus rose for you to be righteous. Okay, his resurrection shows that God was pleased with his righteous sacrifice. And Jesus really does have the power, not only to declare us righteous as our judge, but Jesus has power over not just sin to declare us righteous, but he has power over death to give us eternal life. As you believe this gospel message, who here believes that you even when you die, you will live because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Does anybody here believe this tonight? Now that's really celebrating Christmas right there. That's the gospel. That's what it's saying, hey, Abraham, he got this promise that he was going to have, like the stars of heaven, that many descendants, but it was a promise, he had to believe for a long time before he even had his son, hey, you've got a promise. And your promise is that Jesus is the Lord of heaven and earth, but he laid down his life for you, and he's risen from the dead, and everyone who believes in Jesus, even if they die, they will live. They are forgiven of their sins, and they are declared righteous by God for eternity. That's your promise to believe it. That's the offer that's on the table from God to every living soul. Right now. That is the good news.
And here it is laid out, these three essential elements that we want to make clear to everybody who can hear us. Have you believed in the promise, through the resurrection of Jesus? There was a man at our church. This was a few years ago now. His name was Don, and Don had a friend who had cancer. And he brought that friend to our church, and Don and I got to partner together in sharing the gospel with this guy. And this guy ended up believing in Jesus before he died of cancer. His name was Dave and I believe that even though he's died, Dave is alive right now in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, because he believed this gospel message that we're talking about. Well, all of a sudden, after Dave died, and Don and I, we were like bros now, because we saw the Lord answer our prayers to save Dave. And I got this call one day, that Don, now he had stomach cancer, and he was probably going to die. Anyway, he had had stomach cancer before, before I even knew him. But now it was like back with a vengeance. And so, I go down to the hospital, and a bunch of the churches already there at the hospital, because the word is spreading here among God's people, that Don, it's not looking good. And some of you were even there when I got to the hospital that night. And I remember, Susan was there, Don's wife, and we walked in. And it felt like when we were walking into this hospital room, this was probably the last time we were going to see Don alive. So, me and Susan are walking in. And I could tell right away, this was a very intense situation, because all the nurses, they were all looking at the machines, and they were all monitoring what was going on. And usually, the machines are always beeping in the hospital, but nobody's paying attention. They were all paying attention. And I knew this was a bad scene. And all of a sudden, Susan, who's a quiet lady, all of a sudden, she says boldly in front of this whole all the nurses and doctors that were there. She says, “I just want everybody in this room to know that if my husband dies here tonight, he's not really going to be dead, because he believes that Jesus Christ, and Jesus is the Lord. And Jesus died. And Jesus rose from the dead. And my husband will too,” she says, and it's hi, Susan, what's going on? Never heard you say anything like that in my life. That was powerful, right? And so, we go up there, and we approached on their online on the hospital bed, and I start praying for the Lord, Lord, will you please heal my friend Don, I know you can do it. And then I was praying for God to heal Don, but I was thinking in my head, well, but if he doesn't get healed, Lord, we're so thankful for his faith. And I was just about to say that I was about to say, but at that exact moment before I could say it, Don popped up and he stared right at me and Susan, I can still see him looking at me as I talk to you about it today. He just popped up in the middle of the prayer, looks right for me and Susan, and it's feels like from that moment on, he makes a miraculous recovery. In fact, I got to come back a few days later, and there was this, you know, kind of grumpy doctor there. And she was she was saying, you know, I've been doing this a long time. And I've never seen anything like this in my entire life. And I was like, come on, come on, come on. Let's hear about it. Let's hear about it. Right? I don't really believe in anything. But the word miracle, the only word I could really use to describe something like this, right. And I remember Don got out of that hospital. And we went over to his house that Christmas, and we sang some songs. And we thank God, because God gives life from the dead. See. God, he has resurrection power. When you wake up, and you're trying to find the strength to get through another day, do you realize there's a God who can give life to the dead? There's a God who can make people advanced in years have babies, there's a God who can heal the sick. There's a God who on the third day raised up his son and promised that everyone who believes in him even if they die, they will live forever. That's the God who is with us, the God who has resurrection power.
See, go back to Romans 4, look at it with me, I want you to see that's the clear way that Paul is writing this. You’ve got to notice he's trying to make a clear point. See, notice when he says, Abraham, in verse 19, pick it up with me here. Well, let's go back actually to verse 17. Because notice how we already described God, when he said in the presence of God right there in the middle of verse 17, in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead, and calls into existence, the things that do not exist. So, here's a thought that Paul is trying to teach us about God, or should I say to my brothers and sisters who have celebrated many Christmases with me here, and he's trying to remind us that our God gives life to the dead, and then notice how he writes it in verse 19. He says, Abraham, even he did not weaken in faith, even though his body was so weak, since he was as good as dead. Now, I would never say that to one of my brothers and sisters here at the church. Hey, brother, how you doing? You know, you look as good as dead. But I'm glad to see it here on Saturday night, bro. Wow, I'm surprised you made it one more Saturday night, right? I mean, you don't talk like this to people. So why is he writing it this way? Why is he saying that you are as good as dead. See, and then look what he says about Sarah; pay attention to the language here. Notice it says, when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb, now some of you guys, you might have like a number or a footnote there, because the Greek word is really the deadness of Sarah's womb. So, Abraham is not dead, but he's saying he's as good as dead. He's saying Sarah's womb is dead because he's trying to make a parallel here. He's trying to make a point. These people were past the point of thinking that they were going to conceive, to have a son, and God gave life and that's their promise for them to believe in. God raised Jesus from the dead. And that's your promise to believe in? Do you believe in a God who gives life from the dead? That's what he did with Abraham and Sarah. And then you can see in verse 24, this is what we're supposed to believe in, God who raised from the dead Jesus, our Lord. Believe both that he died for our trespasses, and that he was raised for our justification.
So, the theme in our passage is that there is a God who has resurrection power. And I pray that those of you who have previously not believed in him will believe in him. But I want to talk to my brothers and sisters who have already believed in Jesus, some of us we've been doing this for nine Christmases now here together at this church, and some of you, you have believed in Jesus, when you first trusted in the death and resurrection of Jesus as your Lord. That was many, you are now advanced in years since you believed in Jesus many Christmases ago. And yet, here you are. Right? So, see, this is what I love about this example of Abraham's faith. When did Abraham believe and he was justified? Well, that was Genesis 15. But the promise still isn't fulfilled in Genesis 18. In fact, now he's almost 100 and his wife's 90, you see, he had to believe over many years. Faith doesn't belong in the past. Faith is with us in the present. And faith is looking towards the future, the things that we can't see, the things we have not yet experienced. So, one of the problems that we have is we get used to the good news, it becomes old news and we you start thinking, yes, I have believed in the resurrection. Yet Jesus resurrected 2000 years ago. And it was 1020 30 years ago that I believed in the resurrection. Let's make this very clear, not one of us yet have fully experienced the power of the resurrection in our life, yet, that's still yet to come. See? So yes, you might have faith in the resurrection of Jesus, but this faith doesn't stop. You don't reach the limit of this faith. It's not like, well, now you know enough about the resurrection, you don't need to think about the gospel anymore. The resurrection has an ongoing present power in your life, and the resurrection, you are literally going to die and then live that is yet to come. Or maybe Jesus will appear in the clouds, and we will be transformed into resurrection bodies when the Lord returns. Is anybody else looking forward to something like that? There is part of your faith. That is not past, its present. And there's even the best part of it is future. So, you say you believe in the resurrection of Jesus? Are you living like you've got the resurrection power of Jesus in your life? Is that how you lived this last week? When you woke up in the morning, when you felt tired at two o'clock when it got ridiculously dark at three o'clock in the afternoon, and you were ready to go to bed by six? Did you believe in the power of the resurrection? I'm talking to my brothers and sisters who go to church who have been to church for many, many years. Are you living by the power of the resurrection of Jesus? Or have you become too old for a baby? Too old for the for the new birth? Has that just become like, yeah, that's kind of something that happened a while ago, and I'm just kind of hanging out now. No.
Go over to Romans 6:4, the resurrection, we're just getting started with it here in the book of Romans. This is some of the stuff we're going to get to Romans 6, verse 4, “We were buried there for with him by baptism into death, in order that” underline this, circle this, write this down, “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too my walk in newness of life.” If you're a Christian, you don't just believe that Jesus was risen from the dead on the third day, you believe there was a day where you were risen from the dead. Can I get an amen from anybody on that? Just as God raised Jesus from the dead, who so also walk in newness of life. Look at what he says in Romans 8:11, can't wait to get here to this. Romans 8:11, If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” See, the resurrection power of Jesus Christ that you have believed in at some point in the past, it will give you strength when you feel like you're as good as dead. You have the Holy Spirit of the Living Almighty God dwelling in you, everybody, you have that resurrection power. So, you have a new birth, you have a regenerate heart, you have the Spirit dwelling within you, you have now a power in your life that other people who believe in Jesus, they do not have this power, that it is only for those who have trusted in his resurrection. And just as God raised him from the dead, so also, you now have been risen. Right? Is that a reality to you? You tell me you believe in the resurrection. Show me by the way that you live you believe in the resurrection of Jesus. So, I love this idea of Abraham believed over the course of his entire life, he did not weaken. He did not waver, he gave glory to God, you don't give his glory to God, when you believe God is who he is. And God's going to do what he said he's going to do that gives glory to God. When his promises make you fully convinced that God is able to do what he said, and I believe Jesus rose from the dead, and I believe God raised me up to a new life, and today, I'm going to walk out that new life and someday when I die, I'm really going to start living in the presence of my Lord Jesus because I believe in the resurrection.
See, we're not here to learn about a moment when Abraham believed. He's using Abraham's whole lifetime as an example of faith to us. Where is the power of the resurrection? Where is our faith in God who gives life from the dead in the present tense? Turn with me to 2 Corinthians chapter 4. Right now, we're reading through Second Corinthians. If you've been reading with us or if you haven't been, you're invited to on the back of your handout, the schedule there, I just want to draw your attention to 2 Corinthians 4:13-14, where it talks about the ongoing impact of our faith in the resurrection. Look what it says here. Hopefully, this will really encourage those of you having a hard time this holiday season. This is 2 Corinthians 4:13-14. “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.” Is that a good word for anybody here tonight? Who's looking forward to rising from the dead someday? Is that on anybody's bucket list around here? That sounds very exciting to me. I am very much looking forward to experiencing resurrection. I'll take it either way, whether I die or whether Jesus returns. A yes, Lord, right, I'm ready to go. And I love this reference here. Notice, go back to verse 13. When he says what has been written, and then notice the quotes there. And if your Bible has cross references, it might take you back to Psalm 116:10. And in Psalm 116:10, David or the psalmist writes, “I believed, even when I spoke, ‘I am greatly afflicted.’” So here was somebody going through an affliction, a trial, a suffering, and yet they believed. And what encouraged them? What specifically were they believing? In the resurrection power that God has, knowing that whatever you're going through is temporary, and it's light compared to the eternal weight of glory we're going to experience through the resurrection, we all have a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. What I'm trying to tell you here tonight is that you can't be too old for Christmas, because your best Christmases are yet to come. You have never really even experienced Christmas with the child that was born with the one who died with the risen Lord. wait until you see him. And wait and wait until your faith becomes sight. And you get to say to Jesus, thank you for coming and saving a sinner like me, and you get to say it in his presence. Talk about a Christmas, when you're in the presence of Jesus!
Point number two, let's get it down like this for everybody here who believes: “You need to believe your best Christmas is yet to come.” Believe your best Christmas is yet to come. No, if your Christmas is a celebration of the appearing of the Lord, it's not just history. It's not just something in the past. It's something we can look forward to. It's something we can approach with great expectations that our Lord is going to appear to again, and we are going to see him as he is. And when we see him, we will be made like him. And we will experience the resurrection of Jesus. Your promise is the resurrection. And even if you feel like you're going through affliction, you can believe that precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints, because those saints don't stay dead. They live with the Lord forevermore. See, if Christmas is old news to you, you’ve got to wake up. You’ve got to get what's going on. Jesus is coming back, and you're going to see him. And his whole life is going to feel like it was very short, as you enter into glorious eternity with Jesus. This is really what's going on. Christmas isn’t some tradition of the past. No, to the gift of Jesus, the fact that Jesus is coming, the fact that all the prophecies are going to be fulfilled the fact that the angels are going to shout glory, and people are going to see the Lord. Yes, that is all the future. That is all coming. And soon and very soon, we're going to really celebrate some Christmas. I don't know if it'll be December or not. But I know will be with Jesus. See, and even if you're going through an affliction, you can believe and you can speak just as God raised Jesus from the dead, I believe the promise that he will also raise me
Go over to 1 Thessalonians chapter 1. Another passage that gives us the same idea of God raising Jesus from the dead. We believe that well, what does that mean? Well, it's not just something in the past when we believe that it's not even just a present reality that we have the resurrection power today, but it's a future expectation. Look at how it's described here in 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10. This is the passage that we preached at the beginning of this church when we got started nine Christmases ago. When we started, we didn't even have as many people as are in this room here tonight when we got started nine Christmases ago. And we said this 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10, “For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you, and Macedonia, and the KEA, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere.” When these people heard the gospel, when they heard that Jesus is the Christ, he's the Lord, that Jesus died for your sins, that Jesus on the third day rose from the dead. This is the good news. When these people heard it, it was like it echoed. It was like it reverberated. It was like they were so excited to hear the good news that they just shared it with everybody. You won't believe what happened. This guy Paul came to town, and he told us this message about Jesus. Have you heard the message we want to share with you? We've got good news of great joy. It's for all people. There's been born as Savior. He is Christ the Lord. The Word of the Lord, it echoed, it rang out. That's what it says Paul's like, I don't even need to tell people how you guys got saved in Thessalonica. They're telling me how you all got saved when you heard the gospel, because you've been just telling everybody about it. And he says, then you're in verse 9, he says, “they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. Wow, what a description of the people there of the church in Thessalonica. Not only was there a description of their repentance, turning from idols, to serve the living and true God, but what a description of their faith, it was like these people were waiting for Jesus to come back. Because just as God had raised Jesus from the dead, so Jesus was going to come and raise them up and deliver them from the judgment, from the wrath that is going to come at the end of all things. It was like, hey, they know what you guys are doing. They know you guys have faith. And it's like, you guys, you're not just celebrating something that happened in the past. You're not even just trying to live it out in the present. You're looking to the future, like when do I really get to see Jesus? When is Jesus coming to get me? I know who's coming to take me home. I've got a ride at the end of the day. And when is he coming? I hope he's coming soon. That's what they thought about.
If you're too old for Christmas, maybe you don't understand how this whole thing works. Yes, Jesus came once to save us from our sins. But Jesus is coming back to give us all a resurrection, can I get an amen from anybody on it? Like you're not too old for that. You haven't yet experienced, nobody in this room, has yet experienced death, physically, then life gloriously. No one in this room has yet seen with your eyes the glory of the risen Lord. You should be counting down the days like a little child. You have so much to look forward to, your best gifts. The best present of all is going to be when you get to be with Jesus. And it's all because God raised him from the dead. He was raised for our justification. And I can still remember the day that Susan texted me that Don had died. See, it's interesting, because after there was this miraculous recovery from Don's stomach cancer, and we sing those songs of worship that Christmas, well, they had a plan to retire. And so, they moved to another state. And it was only nine months after he was healed by the Lord that Don ended up dying. And I remember when I got that text from Susan, I was like, wow, you want to talk about a real miracle. Don is now in the presence of Jesus. You know, I was trying to take Susan back. I was trying to encourage her. Hey, Susan, you know where he is? And she texted me back right away, because it just raised the question why? Why such an amazing work to heal Don when he was going to pass just nine months later. See, that's what sometimes we forget that the death is it's common for us all. And I was texting Susan about that. And she said this about those nine months. She said his extended life gave us plenty of time to witness and tell our story to others. This is what Susan said. It's never been easy for me to evangelize. But this past nine months, God has opened my heart and mind, so the words flow freely. See, I realized that night wasn't about Don just getting healed physically. It was about God opening Susan's mouth so that she could share the gospel like she never had before. So that we could celebrate that when Don died, he resurrected. That's what we believe. Let's pray.
Father in heaven, we thank you for this glorious good news that we get to celebrate this good news of great joy. That's for each and every one of us. That you sent your Son Jesus, who was delivered up for our trespasses, but was raised up for our justification and it’s because you raised Jesus from the dead, and you exalted him as Lord, that every single one of us who believes in Jesus, we are declared righteous. From the moment that we believe we have your ongoing resurrection power, every day of our lives, we have your spirit within us. And we have the glorious expectation, the unwavering hope, the confident, realization, that just as you raise Jesus from the dead, so we too will experience life after death. And we will be in the presence of the Lord Jesus forevermore. So, Father, I pray that this Christmas, you would help us see nobody's too old to believe in your promises. Because your promises are eternal, your promises transcend this physical life. And so let those of us who believe take heart Let us be greatly encouraged that we can live these days through the power that we have, by our faith in Christ. And then we can look forward to the future with a living hope that I know some people here in this room, I know I'm pretty good. Someday they're going to die, someday I'm going to die. But we're not going to be dead. Because we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we will stand there in your glory father, and we will worship you. And we will say, look at this life that I have yet not I, but Christ in me, his death, his resurrection I've now experienced. What a day! What a Christmas! What a glorious celebration that will be. Father, give us that faith, to look forward to the resurrection that is yet to come. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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