2016-11-27
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory Verse:
1 John 2:15
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The common theme at Christmas is “What’s In It For Me?” This view of the beginning of the most beautiful love story in all of history has destroyed countless Christmases and as many lives. Today, we begin a four week series entitled “Self on the Shelf” to spend some time trying to refocus our attention on what really matters Christmas…not what’s in it for me but rather, “what’s in it for others from me?”

1 John 2:15 (NLT)
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

The World’s View

v16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

God’s View

17b …But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

So, in light of the Spirit of Christmas, let’s refocus ourselves on that which pleases God! Let’s take some time to put our selfish ambitions on the shelf and focus on God’s plan for our lives. And, it starts with living right, no matter what!

Luke 1:5 (NLT)

When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron. 6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. 7 They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old. 8 One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week. 9 As was the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense. 10 While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying. 11 While Zechariah was in the sanctuary, an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him. 13 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John. 14 You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.

1. A refocused heart is one fixed on Him

v6 Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.

– As we read from 1 John 2 this morning, the world is not interested in what is righteous in God’s eyes nor in obeying all of the Lord’s commands. However, to live our lives in a way that god recognizes as righteous is the right focus for all of us.

2. Even when things don’t go your way

v13b …God has heard your prayer.

– It is obvious that Zechariah and Elizabeth had been crying out to God over the fact they didn’t have children. Yet, their hearts were in the right place. They were “righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all…”

– They didn’t trust God only when things were good, they trusted God completely, and it made all the difference in the world

3. Refocus or Regret?

– what about you? Where is your heart in the midst of disappointments and shortcomings?
– The typical response is anger, discouragement, a lack of trust, an accusing heart.
– The right response is righteousness and obedience

This Christmas season has many opportunities for the right heart or the possibility for discouragement and disappointment for the heart of regret. Let’s be sure to focus, not on the things of this world but on the things of God.

1 John 2:16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

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