These are notes on the sermon, The Christmas Story—From Creation To The Cross, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 23 December 2018, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Did you know that the Christmas story starts in Genesis? As Pastor Prince unfolds this epic love story from across the Scriptures, you’ll see that God’s plan to save you from your sins wasn’t just an afterthought, but at the forefront of His mind!
We hope these notes will help you understand:
May you catch a fresh revelation of God’s great love for you this Christmas season!
Christmas is a wonderful time to stop everything and start worshipping Christ our Lord. It’s a great way to end the year.
Every time you turn to the Lord, you’ll see His intervention. You’ll see favor, breakthroughs, and a bright future.
Turning to the Lord sets you up for greater success in the new year.
It is more important to turn to the Lord than depend on ourselves to secure a good future.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?”
— Mark 8:36 NKJV
When God made man, He gave us free choice.
Our free choice is really free—God doesn’t use His power to manipulate it. He created us to be free moral beings.
Because God doesn’t want robots to love and worship Him. He wants us to love Him out of our own free choice.
But the thing about free choice is this: our choices come with consequences that we can’t choose. We have the freedom to choose an option, but no freedom to choose its outcome.
If you touch fire, you’ll get burned. You can’t choose to touch fire and not get burned.
The Story of Creation
When God made Adam and Eve, He gave them access to every good thing in the Garden of Eden. He made them on the last day so that they could enjoy all of His creation. He designed them with 5 senses to fully enjoy the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, textures of their home.
God’s desire for man is that we would enjoy everything that He created for us.
Because God is love. The nature of love is to give. And God gave Adam and Eve every good thing they could ever desire.
He also gave them free choice.
With that free choice came the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and its outcome was death.
Death is not part of God’s nature or plan. He never made man to die. In fact, God considers death an enemy (see 1 Cor. 15:26). He never made man to grow old, have sickness and disease, and eventually die. These are all enemies.
God’s dream from His heart of love was to create man to be recipients of all His blessings.
So why did God create the tree that would result in death?
Because He needed to provide Adam and Eve with a choice.
If He didn’t create the tree, if He only gave them good things to choose from, they would not really have free choice.
So God gave them the tree and told them not to eat it from it. By not eating from the tree, they would be choosing to love God, choosing to honor Him, choosing to acknowledge Him as their creator, choosing to have a relationship with Him.
But they ate from the tree, and the consequence of it was death. They were separated from God and had to die—first spiritually, then physically.
When they ate from the tree, God could not sweep their act and its consequences under the carpet because He’s a righteous God.
So death, sickness, and pain came into the world—the consequences of sin.
One day, when Jesus Christ rules the earth, there will be a perfect world. But right now, the world we live in is fallen.
If God was purely just and righteous, He could have killed mankind entirely.
But God is love. And He was not willing to part with man.
This is how the epic love story of redemption began.
In that one act of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, not only did man sin and have to die, but they also bowed their knee to Satan. They gave Satan their dominion over the earth that God had given them.
That’s exactly what the devil wanted because the earth used to be his.
Long before man was created, there was a battle in the heavenly realm. Satan, who was known as Lucifer, came against God with a third of the angels. They lost the battle and fell.
Earth was Lucifer’s domain before he fell. In the very place of the battlefield, God created His highest creation.
God made man in His image, and told man to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Gen. 1:28 KJV). The fact that He told them to replenish the earth means that it was once filled but was emptied.
Satan was furious. He saw Adam and Eve, made in the image of God, and went against them. But he could not hurt them or touch their free choice.
All he could do was tempt them, so that’s what he did. And Adam and Eve, out of their own free will, chose what Satan offered.
Pastor Prince shares briefly how no one and nothing can force us to do something. We have free choice. Even when we get angry, we are actually choosing anger.
When someone speaks negatively about us, it’s our choice to get angry.
Men who abuse their wives and say, “I can’t help it,” somehow miraculously don’t attack men who are bigger and stronger than them.
How we act is entire our choice. We might not like to hear this, but we need to start taking responsibility for our own choices and stop blaming others, even if what they did was wrong.
Even Adam blamed both Eve AND God when he ate of the tree, saying, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (Gen. 3:12).
Still, the consequences remained the consequences—unchangeable.
God refused to abandon man.
God was the first one to offer an animal sacrifice. He killed an animal and clothed Adam and Eve with coats of skin (now that their glory had left them and they were naked).
This signified that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.
And it has to be sinless blood that washes away sins.
The first prophecy in the Bible is God saying to Satan:
“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
— Genesis 3:15 NKJV
“her Seed” — A woman doesn’t have seed; the seed comes from the man. God prophesied the virgin birth. From the virgin Mary would come forth the dragon slayer, the serpent destroyer. His name is Jesus, and He had to shed His blood to wash away our sins.
There was no alternative to save man.
After God gave this prophecy, Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel.
Satan’s Plan 1.0
Knowing the prophecy, Satan tried to figure out who the promised Seed was. So he observed Cain and Abel, and saw that…
Abel brought a lamb to God and was favored.
When you bring a lamb to God, it means that you know you have sin, and you are bringing the lamb to die in your place. When the lamb dies and sheds blood, you walk away with the innocence of the lamb on you.
That’s why God accepted and favored Abel when he brought a lamb.
Cain brought produce from the ground to God and was rejected.
Cain brought produce from the ground, the work of his hands. He was bringing his own effort. It was as if he was saying, “I’m not a sinner. I don’t need the blood. I can bring my efforts to God and He will accept me.”
God could not accept an offering that did not have blood.
Seeing that Abel was favored, Satan influenced Cain to murder Abel.
But Abel was not the promised Seed.
Satan is not all-knowing. God is.
Follow the One who is all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. In 2019, follow Him. Don’t depend on yourself. Your understanding is finite.
The mystery of Christmas is that the infinite One became finite‚ stepping into the confines of time and space as a human being. Present at only one place at one time.
The One who held all things together was held as a baby in the arms of His mother.
Why did Jesus have to come to earth?
Because He is the true Lamb of God. The final sacrifice. The real payment.
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
— John 1:29 NKJV
Jesus came to die for our sins.
He didn’t come to give people laws and commandments.
When He was born, an angel declared, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)!
If you’re drowning, you don’t need someone to throw you a book called Swimming for Dummies. You need a Savior!
When Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph (His earthly parents) were not given a room in the inn they stopped at.
The inn belonged to King David many generations ago, and Mary and Joseph who both came from the lineage of David had every legal right to the inn.
Yet the Bible tells us that “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). It doesn’t say that there was no room in the inn, it says that there was no room FOR THEM in the inn. This is probably because they looked poor and unpresentable.
So instead, they were sent to the stable. There, Jesus was born and was laid in a manger.
The manger is a picture of an empty tomb, signifying that Jesus was born to die. *See Slide 5 for comparison between a stone manger and Jesus’ empty tomb.
From the virgin womb, He went to the virgin tomb where no man had ever lain.
At the cross, He bore our sins and our judgment. God took our sins—past, present, and future—and placed it on Jesus. He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf.
God punished Jesus in our place.
Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
The blood shed for us was not animals’ blood, but Jesus’ divine, holy, sinless, royal blood. Because of His blood, we are washed whiter than snow.
Knowing that he would be defeated, Satan wanted to stop Jesus from coming.
Satan’s Plan 2.0
His next plan after Cain killed Abel was to corrupt the human bloodline. He knew that the promised Seed would have to be a human being.
His fallen angels took on human form and lay with the daughters of man. Their offspring were giants, and “those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown” (Gen. 6:4). Many of these giants contributed to the mythologies that we know today. They also explain the existence of the gigantic ancient living areas, tools, and tombs that have been unearthed around the world.
After many years, these giants populated the earth, until only Noah was left “perfect in his generations” (Gen. 6:9). The word “perfect” refers to Noah and his family being the last people who were of pure human stock.
God preserved the human race by keeping Noah and his family safe in the ark during the flood. From Noah’s family, the earth was repopulated.
Satan’s Plan 3.0
The devil realized Abraham was close to God and chosen by God, so he tried to take Sarah, Abraham’s wife, away from him (see Gen. 20). But God protected Sarah, and from Abraham and Sarah came the nation of Israel.
From this, the devil knew that Jesus would be a Jew.
So he tried attacking the Jews.
Satan’s Plan 4.0
He brought enemies like the Philistines to attack Israel. During that time, there was another eruption of giants—from whom Goliath came.
This time, God didn’t send another flood because He promised that He would never do it again.
This time, God raised giant slayers like David.
David killed Goliath and delivered Israel from the Philistines.
Satan’s Plan 5.0
The devil targeted David.
He tried to kill David by the hand of Saul multiple times.
But God preserved David and chose him to be king of Israel.
Satan’s Plan 6.0
So the devil started attacking King David’s royal line. He attacked David’s descendants one after another, all the way down to Jehoiakim and his son Jeconiah, who were exceedingly evil.
They worshipped false gods and sacrificed babies to them, which God was furious about (see Jer. 7:31, 19:5).
So God cursed Jeconiah’s line:
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’ ”
— Jeremiah 22:30 NKJV
God had to curse David’s line.
The devil rejoiced because it looked like the royal line that the promised Seed was supposed to come from had been stopped.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
— Isaiah 7:14 NKJV
Both Joseph and Mary came from David’s royal line.
Joseph came from David’s son Solomon.
Mary came from David’s son Nathan.
If Jesus had been born from His earthly father Joseph,
But Jesus wasn’t born of Joseph. His was a virgin birth—He was born of Mary.
Medical science today tells us that a baby’s blood comes from his/her father, not mother. The virgin birth meant that not a single drop of blood from His earthly father Joseph went into Him.
Jesus’ blood was divine blood.
He was placed there in the virgin’s womb by the Holy Spirit.
That’s why when He was born, wise men said, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matt. 2:2).
Jesus was not born TO BE king, He was born AS king. Every other king on earth is born a prince, not king. Except for Jesus.
He came to save the lost.
The first question in the Old Testament is God asking to Adam, “Where are you?” after he had eaten from the tree (Gen. 3:9). God knew where Adam was. The questions was whether Adam knew where he was. Man was lost.
The answer to the first question ever asked is found in the first question of the New Testament: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matt. 2:2).
Jesus is the answer to our lostness.
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given…”
— Isaiah 9:6 NJKV
“a Child is born” — As a human child, Jesus was born. This is His humanity.“a Son is given” — As the Son of God, He was given. This is His deity.
We are caught in this epic drama, this battle of the ages between good and evil.
The devil failed to stop Jesus from coming.
He tried. Even up till the last minute. He tried to send Herod to kill all the babies born about the same time as Jesus (see Matt. 2:16), but Jesus was protected.
When Jesus first started His ministry on earth, Satan tempted Him, telling Him to throw Himself over a cliff to prove He was the Son of God (Matt. 4:5–6). Jesus didn’t take the bait.
The devil failed, time and time again. All the way till the end.
At the right time, Jesus went to the cross for us. He hung on the cross, bearing our sins, declaring to the devil that he lost. GOD WON.
Our sins are our title to Jesus.
He is born a SAVIOR. He can only be a Savior to people who have sins.
If you come to God saying, “I’m a sinner,” He looks at you and says, “I’m a Savior.”
If you come to God saying, “I’m a great sinner,” He looks at you and says, “I’m a greater Savior. My grace is greater than your sins.”
If you come to God saying, “You don't know all the bad things I've done,” He looks at you and says, “You don't know all the good things I have in store for you.”
If you come to God saying, “I can’t forgive myself,” He looks at you and says, “I have forgiven you.”
We are not washed by our own sacrifice, our own blood, our morality, our church attendance. We are washed by the innocent, holy, royal blood of Jesus.
In John 3, a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus came to Jesus and in their conversation, Jesus spoke these beautiful words:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
— John 3:16 NKJV
“God so loved the world” — Jesus was saying this to Nicodemus, a Jewish leader, who thought that God only loved the Jews. But God doesn’t just love the Jewish people, He loves the world.
That little word “so” makes all the difference.
God doesn’t just love you. He SO loves you.
The last declaration Jesus made on the cross was, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
What was finished?
All the prophecies about Him were fulfilled—finished.Our sins were finished.Our judgment was finished.All the claims of God’s holiness were fully met—finished.
Now, we can expect blessings upon blessings from God.
Jesus said, “... I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Because of His sacrifice, we can receive the abundant life that He came to give us.
That’s the story of the gospel.
“Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me. What great love You love me with—even before I knew You. Thank You, Father, for sending your Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins, to take my place as my substitute so that all the judgment and condemnation that was supposed to fall on my head fell on Him instead. He died in my place. On the third day, You raised Him from the dead as a declaration that all my sins were washed away by His blood. Jesus Christ is my Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen!”
“I just wanted to share a simple thought with you. As we look toward 2019, just know that the Lord has gone ahead to prepare the way for you. In Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord says, “For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” A future means that you will live to see 2019, 2020, 2021, etc. I think that in these times that we live in, this verse is a very strong assurance for us. The world might experience disasters and calamities, but we as the children of God in this house will always be cocooned in His promises and His protection. God bless you.”
“The Lord bless you and your families with the blessings of Father Abraham, the blessings of Deuteronomy 28. The Lord keep you and your loved ones—and when the Lord keeps you, you are kept safe. The Lord protect you and your families throughout this week from all harm, danger, accidents, from every disease, and from all the powers of darkness through His Son’s blood. The Lord favor you, smile on you, and grant to you and your loved ones His shalom peace. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all the people say? Amen. God bless you.”
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2018
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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