Harmony Christian Church
Harmony Christian Church
Redeemed
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Let’s be honest, it’s hard sometimes to feel like God is for you.  But there is a hidden gem in the story of Christmas that tells you just how much God cares for you.  If you’ve felt far from God, you will want to tune in and tell somebody about today’s message.  Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give).  Got kids?  Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly)  https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!——————-
Sermon Notes Slide Key:

  • Sermons always start with “OPENING ILLUSTRATION:” and end with “CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:”
  • Red = Scripture slides (reflect formatting of scripture on slides, i.e.  – underlines, bold, etc.)
  • All scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted
  • Bold = Slide text
  • “b” or “B” on a line by itself = Slide break/New slide
  • Bold ALL CAPS WORDS = heading to be ignored
  • [some text] = programming notes to be paid attention to

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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: When I was a kid, I was always terrible at responding to Christmas gifts that I didn’t really want.  We all get those, right?  You’ve been asking for a remote control car, and you get a hot wheel…  This Christmas, I wanted a Jean Jacket…  You know that’s right, I look good in a Jean Jacket.  It was the 80’s…  I’ll never forget, my grandma handed me a package, I could feel it was a thick JC Penney box.  When it was my turn, I ripped into it.  I opened it up and saw this perfectly stone washed, if you don’t know what that is, sorry for you…  Jean Jacket!  It was perfect.  I took it out and looked at it.  I put my arms in it, and as I’m slipping it on, my grandma says, “I know you have short arms, so I took the liberty to hem up the sleeves…” as she said that, I slipped on the coat and realized that my grandma believed I had the arms of a 6 year old.  I’m standing there with sleeves half way up to my elbow.  Every adult is looking at it and going, “oh, ah,” but I felt dejected, like Christmas had been ruined.  
But what do you do in that moment…We all know what you are supposed to do, right? You smile and act like the gift was exactly what you wanted…
So, I tried, I put on the best fake smile I could and I said, “thanks Grandma, it’s exactly what I wanted…”
I lied like a dog…
Truth be told, I’m terrible at responding to Christmas presents.  I’ve learned, thanks to people telling me, that I’m kind of picky when it comes to getting me gifts.  And I am definitely terrible at responding well when I don’t get what I was really wanting…
WE:I think most of us have that problem, especially when it comes to spiritual things…
Most of us have a Christmas gift wish from God. Things we have wanted to have him answer that may or may not have gotten answered the way we wanted…
-God, heal my mom-God, I really need this raise-God, help me right now, I feel so lost
We get stuck in these moments, not knowing if God is really for us, if He really loves us or not…
Can, I help put that question to rest and take you back to Christmas one more time?
THE BIBLE: We enter into the Christmas story again.  Not the one from Christmas songs, but the real one.  The one that is full of spiritual battle in the spiritual real, full of babies being born into unlikely places, full of bright nights and shepherds seeing angels while Bethlehem is completely quiet.  
8 days have passed, the Jewish law required Mary to wait 7 days after giving birth in order to perform purification rituals under the law of Moses.  
Luke 2:22-2422 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[a]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons. ”They have brought Jesus to undergo a rite Himself.  Little baby Jesus will be circumcised and Mary and Joseph will offer a sacrifice both for her purity ritual and to redeem Jesus…
According the Jewish law, Jesus had to be redeemed. To understand this, we have to have a quick history lesson…
When God brought the Jewish people of out Egypt, the final plague that came upon the Egyptians was the plague of the death of the firstborn child.  The death angel went through all of Egypt and any family that did not have blood on their doorposts and the mantle above the door would have wake up that next morning to the first born child dead.  Not only their children, but their animals as well…
God told the Israelites that from then on, the first born son of every family and the firstborn of every animal was the Lords.  They were to bring the animal to sacrifice and they were to bring their son to be consecrated – made holy to God and to be redeemed…
Mary and Joseph are consecrating Jesus (committing Him as a holy offering to God) and redeeming Him – purchasing Him back through the substitution of an animals life for His life.
This is where we get off the history train…
All of this is a set up for what Paul says in Galatians when He’s describing the work of Jesus…  Listen to this, this is where Paul describes Christmas…
Galatians 4:4-5But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. ILLUSTRATION: I’ll never forget the November of 2010, it was a chili day in Wichita, KS.  All of Jenni’s family was in the airport in Wichita.  We were waiting for her sister and our brother-in-law to get in from their flight to the Ukraine.  They had flown over to adopt our nephew.  He’s an amazing young man now.  At the time, he was an 18 month little boy in an orphanage in the Ukraine.  He had severe health problems.  His kidneys didn’t function properly and they had literally drilled holes into his back to allow his kidneys to just drain urine into his diapers.  He is a super smart little boy, but in the Ukraine, his physical condition would have meant that as he aged he would have been put in a mental hospital and left there.  He was a little boy that society had abandoned.  Thankfully, my in-laws didn’t know that you were supposed to bribe the officials in order to get the pick of children that were healthy, so when the book of children they were given included my nephew.  They picked him out and at incredible financial strain they flew over and brought their son home.  I’ll never forget meeting him in that cold airport, watching him be overwhelmed by all the love being poured out on him.  
All of the sudden, I was overwhelmed by what God had done for me…
Can I read you that scripture again? Galatians 4:4-6But when the set time had fully come, This was the exact right moment in time for Jesus to come…  Someday we will do a sermon on just how full the time was, how everything in the known world was ripe for Jesus to come…
God had been waiting for THIS moment!  And it was “now” that He struck his blow!
God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, Jesus was born, just like I was, just like you were-under the law…What this means is that Jesus was subject to the exact same law that you and I are subject to-the law of knowing Good and evil -the law that points out when we have sinned and gives sin it’s power
Jesus came like you, to reach you…Paul says it this way…to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 
Remember redemption? Mary and Joseph redeemed Jesus who had come to redeem us. B Jesus came to redeem us from the law- He paid the price owed to the law to make us children of God.
Let me take you through Paul’s Logic: b In the Garden of Eden, we gave up knowledge of God for knowledge of good and evil. b The purpose of the law is to point out good and evil. b Adam and Eve chose to reject God as their authority and to live under the authority of the law of good and evil. b Paul calls living under the law a curse, because no one can perfectly keep the perfect law – it’s an impossible task b So, Jesus came to pay the price for that sin – to buy us back to sonship in Him…
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: So man of us have had a hard time responding to God because we were looking for something he may never have intended to give you anyway.  God’s promise is not an easy perfect life.  God’s promise is a new life, a new heart. 
Ezekiel 26:36I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
This is how Paul ends that passage in Galatians Galatians 4:5-6to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
God didn’t come to fix every bad thing you go through, He came to fix YOU and to walk through life with you. That’s the promise!
Some of you have responded to Jesus like I did when my grandma gave me that coat.  Like, “Thanks for the gift…. but…”
When what you really got, was more like my nephew..  You got a God, who stepped out of heaven to be born into this world, just like you were – at the exact moment where it would make the most difference, and to give His life for you…
This morning, you can literally reverse the curse in your life…It’s the curse that has captured your thinking and the way you treat people-you can be made new-to walk through this Christmas having actually accepted Jesus-Don’t walk away from this Christmas gift, respond today.