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About this series
The Hope of Christmas
Hope has tremendous power - the power to heal, to help you keep going, and to inspire! 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah wrote to the people of Israel who needed hope: "For unto us, a child is born, unto us, a Son is given. The government will rest on His shoulders and He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” The hope of that message was for them then, and it's for us today! In this series, Chip reminds us that Jesus is all those things. Those are titles God gave Him and titles He claimed. If you need hope, join Chip for these messages. You'll be comforted, encouraged, and inspired!More from this series
Scene number three. First, He is the Lord of the natural world. Second, He’s the Lord of the spiritual world. Now, as you follow the text, He goes back over the Sea of Galilee to the other side. And when He gets there, there is a Jewish ruler named Jairus. And Jairus is desperate.
At this time, Jesus’ popularity has grown significantly. So, if you were to say, as a Jew, “I believe Jesus is the Messiah,” or, “I follow Him,” the religious leaders are going to kick you out of the synagogue. Because they are threatening the stability.
But here is a ruler of a synagogue whose little girl is dying. And when He gets out of the boat, he comes and, literally, it says he falls before Him. It’s interesting, when Jesus speaks, the waves and the wind fall before Him. The demon falls before Him. And now, the leader of the synagogue comes before Him and says, “My little girl is dying. Will You please come help?” And Jesus says, “Yes.”
And so, He is walking, but as He is walking toward the home where the little girl is dying, He is swarmed.
And He stops and He goes, “Who touched Me?” And Peter and James and the disciples, “What do you mean, ‘Who touched Me?’ Man, there are hundreds of people around here!” He said, “No, no. I felt power,” or, “virtue go out of Me.”
And then you can see a little clearing. Some people step back and here this woman comes and she is trembling and she is at His feet and she confesses, “It was me.” And we learn she had an issue of blood. And for many, many years, the text will tell you exactly how many years. Over a decade she had spent all her money trying to be cured. And now she is broke, she has no hope, but she had heard about Jesus. She had heard Him teach.
And she thought, If I could just come and touch the edge of His robe, then I would be healed. And she does, and she is healed! And remember what He says to her? “Daughter, your faith has made you well.” To the disciples, “You still have no faith?”
And so, as He was ready to go, some runners come from the house. “Hey, it’s too late. The little girl is dead.” And, by the way, it’s not like on cell phones and stuff. So, proximity is not very close. There is a good bit of time. She is dead. “There is no use; don’t bother the teacher.”
Can you imagine the look on that dad’s face? His last hope was Jesus. And now, she is gone. And Jesus turns to Him and says, “Don’t be afraid. Only believe.” There must be something to faith and believing and trusting that Jesus has power over nature, that He has power over the spiritual world, that He has power over the physical world in this bleeding woman.
And so, He goes and by the time He gets there, I know it’s a bit of time, because mourners have already showed up. And in the culture, they would come and sit on both sides and they would wail. When we mourn, this isn’t like people going, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m so sad.” They even actually had professional mourners and it was a sign of real concern for a family. And they would wail and mourn and, “Oh!” And so, Jesus comes and He goes, “Stop!” And everyone is silent. “The girl is not dead. She is just asleep.” And they start laughing. They start mocking. “What? No, we have all seen. She is dead!”
“Mom, Dad, Peter, John, James – you all five. Come with Me. Everybody else, stay out here.” He goes in there. The little twelve-year-old girl is laying there, dead. “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” Whoo. He has authority over life and death. He is the Almighty God. He has authority over eternity, over nature, over demons, over the physical life and health of people. He is all-powerful.
Those disciples were experiencing the child that was born, but the Son given by God has grown up and He is a Wonderful Counselor in His teaching, and now, He has verified He is the Lord and the all-powerful One over all aspects of life. So they can trust Him.
And He takes those three leaders and they get this experience and the Mount of Transfiguration and those are the three He takes when He prays because those three will lead the Church for the movement that you’re involved in that is spreading across the world like no other movement, ever.
And they will have to believe that He is all-powerful and all-wise to the point of giving their life. And all three of those do, except John, who gets exiled. And that’s the hope of Christmas. God doesn’t want to just give you wisdom for your decisions. He doesn’t want to just help you work through relationships and follow Him. He doesn’t want to just help you understand what to do with your finances or how to deal with a difficult employee or a boss or whether you should put your kids in this school or that school or what is your purpose for your life?
He wants to be a Wonderful Counselor, but He says, Look, I am an Almighty God. I want to powerfully, supernaturally intervene in your life. I am for you! And I love you.
Your body language at this point says, I would love to believe that, but that sounds like it’s, you know, that was then… Can I tell you that same God is available and all-powerful today?
I put a little summary for you. And the summary here is what God has done.
Jesus is the Mighty God, the Lord over the natural realm, He’s the Lord over the spiritual realm, He’s the Lord over the physical realm – the woman with the issue of blood. And He is the Lord over the eternal realm.
Now, here’s what I want to do. That was then, right? I want to take just a moment and walk through in today, each one of those. I could give you many illustrations on this, but the most dramatic one that I remember.
It was shortly after, remember the tsunami that occurred in Asia – early 2000s?
And at the time, I had the privilege of leading Walk Thru the Bible. And I arrived in India six days after the tsunami. It was chaos everywhere. And we did ministry in Indonesia and India. And I still remember getting in the cab and the guy with the big turban and he happened to be a Muslim. And he just asked me, “Who is your God?” I said, “Why?” “Because ours aren’t working right now. If you’ve got a good God that has more power, ours aren’t working.”
And then we did a bunch of training and then we had about two hundred of our leaders from all over India and parts of Indonesia and they came together for training and we did some sharing time of some testimonies and this isn’t hearsay, this isn’t what I heard from someone who said to someone who heard about something, something, like some crazy story. These are our guys. These are vetted. These are our employees. These are people that would take our teaching all around the world and would teach it multiple times and then we…
And so, in testimony time, a guy from the bottom part near some, near Sri Lanka, said, “We experienced God’s hand like I have never seen it.” And they said, “Well, what happened?” He said, “Well, I was at a village and the church is near the village here and we saw this huge wave in the distance and we got in front of the village and there was no hope. We just prayed and we asked God to spare us. And we watched a wall of water come and go around our village.” It was just, he said, “I was just…”
Now, that’s one of those where, like, your body language, doubting Thomas, right? If I see that, I believe it, right? So, the God that created the world could never violate what we would call the laws of physics for His glory and His purposes? Is that what you’re saying? Of course He can. Does He do it very often? No. It would be miraculous if He did. And then, if you’re going to ask me, “Well, why didn’t He do that for other villages?” I don’t know. When you get your universe, you get to make the rules, but this is His. And He has purposes and He has knowledge. And I don’t understand, but I will tell you this is that God, on occasion, will supernaturally – He can change weather, He can change anything. He’s God.
The second is spiritually. The world is up for grabs. And evil and good are fighting one another like never before in dramatic ways, correct? For some of us, if you live in the American cocoon, you think, Wow, Christianity is dying in America. We have got these radical people blowing up things. All the world is turning to Islam. That is sort of the American perspective.
Let me read an article, not the whole article, obviously, but let me read a portion of a Washington Post interesting piece. It says, “Think Christianity is dying? No, Christianity is shifting dramatically. While Christianity may be on the decline in the United States, the world is becoming more religious, not less. While rising number of nuns, those who claim no religious affiliation, claim the attention of today’s pundits, the world tells a different story. Religious convictions are growing and shifting geographically in several dramatic ways. Today, the Christian community in Latin America and Africa alone account for one billion people.”
Asia is very similar. Asia has double the growth of Christians to the population base. There is an explosion – Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
You have a picture here of God working in explosive ways all around. Here is what has changed: America and Europe have nearly dropped out in terms of Christian growth.
You are a part of the very tiny, small, negative growth in a movement that started by the Almighty God that is going around the world like never before. And using technology like never before. And getting it in language and tribes and tongues every year that people have never heard about Jesus like never before. He is the Lord of the spiritual world.
He is the Lord of the physical world. You know, God, will choose, at times, to supernaturally intervene in people’s lives and heal them, physically.
Now, by and large, He uses doctors and He uses counselors, He uses medicine. But what has happened is, over time, we get a little box and we think, Oh, God can do these things, but unconsciously, you and I think, Well, cause and effect and I do this and this happens. And I would just ask you: do you believe that the God who is all-powerful wants to and can intervene?
Here’s what I want to ask you: do you have a supernatural worldview?
I’m not saying God heals everyone. In fact, there is lots of bad teaching in the Prosperity movement, or if you just believe something hard enough that’s all based on your faith. I can open the Bible and show you people that were healed that didn’t have any faith and other people, it’s because of their faith.
God doesn’t heal everyone all the time.
But I think in more conservative, Bible-oriented churches like ours, what happens is we get a closed system, as Francis Schaeffer would say. And you just, you think it’s cause and effect and every problem is: a doctor can do this or a medicine can do this. And you don’t really believe that God wants to or would intervene in supernatural ways.
As one guy said, “When God shows up, He shows off.” He wants to get glory, He wants to make His name great. And that’s behind why He does certain things at different times. But for some, we have never asked, nor do we expect.
A lady in the last service came up and she had cancer, breast cancer, fourteen years ago and they just found out three months ago that she has it again. And they gave her treatment options and she goes, “Well, just let me pray.” And she said, “I wanted to, I felt like God was telling in this case, Pray and ask Me before you go through.”
And she was in her, probably, mid-to-late seventies. I think she felt like the very difficult treatment…
And she just said, “I came up to tell you, I just had my mammogram. There is no cancer anywhere!” So, God answers! But there is something very interesting about each of these stories. Those fishermen were desperate, but they knew it. That father was desperate, and he knew it. That woman was desperate. You know when you pray for supernatural intervention, if you’re a parent, when one of your kids is in ICU and the doctors say – what? “We don’t give you any hope.” Or a friend.
Daniel, sent me an email December 1. It says, “Prayer changes things. When Lisa and I served oversees, our colleague Maria partnered in Kazakhstan with a new believer named Aida. When Aida’s brother died unexpectedly, she implored the family not to bury him immediately, per Islamic tradition. She prayed and fasted for three days. And on the third day, her brother sat up in the hospital morgue and asked for a glass of juice. That’s the power of prayer. It changes things.”
He gives another example. And then there are two pictures of the people. I love his last line, “These aren’t urban legends, culled from the Internet. Here is a picture of Aida and Maria and John in the lower hand corner.”
See, God wants to intervene and the hope that you have for every area of your life is there is wisdom available, but there is power available. And I would challenge you on this day to not unconsciously think, If you do this then God will do that. And you need to do A, B, C, D…
We are not saying at all that you shouldn’t use all the wisdom, doctors, and all those things. But have you asked God to…? I believe in counseling; I have been in it. But have you asked God to intervene, supernaturally, in your marriage? Have you asked God to intervene in a wayward child? Have you asked God to intervene in a health issue? Have you asked God to intervene and do something dramatic in your boss’ heart? Have you asked God to…?
The God who created all this, these people that you care about that they always say no, they never want to come to a Christmas this or a Christmas that – have you asked God, I want to touch the hem of Your garment. I believe; I’m stepping out. I am not telling you that God is going to do something supernatural in ways beyond what you have never seen for everyone. But I am telling you that if you don’t ask and believe in that way, He never will.
I want you to lean back, because what we have said is that in the days of Christ on the earth, He was the Lord over – what? Nature, the spiritual world, the physical world, and the eternal world. I have given you examples of how He is that today.
And I want you to lean back, because I want to close our time with a reminder that that was the past; this is today. But there is another day coming where God and the person of the Lord Jesus will demonstrate that He is Almighty.
Revelation chapter 19 gives us the close of human history. I’d like you to lean back. This is not a note-taking time. I want you to try and picture in your mind as I read: this is the God who came to earth, who is the Child, who grew up to be fully God and fully man, and who is the Wonderful Counselor, and who is Almighty, who was Almighty, and will be.
And if you’re a follower of Jesus, His Spirit dwells inside of you. Lean back as I read. “Then I heard and then saw heaven open, and behold, there was a white horse. The One sitting on it is called Faithful and True. And in righteousness, He judges and makes war. He is clothed in a robe that is dipped in blood and the name that He is called by is the Word of God. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords. And then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it and from His presence, the earth and the sky fled away and there was no place found for them.
“And I saw the dead great and small standing before the throne and the books were opened. And then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life, and the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name is not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
“And then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw a Holy City, the new Jerusalem come down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be their God, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death will be no more; neither shall there be any mourning, or crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’
“And He who is seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And then He said to me, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” And Jesus is introduced in the very first chapter as the Alpha and the Omega.
The Spirit of the Living God who is the Creator, that has all power – past, present, and future – dwells in you and wants to help you.