God So Loved...
Listen to the Message...
Lead Me To The Cross, Part 1
God So Loved..., Jay Higham
Recorded on Sunday, April 09th, 2017
At Hickory United E.P. Church
Here are two books that are super helpful. They are available as a free download on Kindle.
Each is a short, easy to read book that helps explain the topic of being Born Again.
Can I Be Sure I'm Saved? & What Does It Mean to Be Born Again?
Both are by written by R.C. Sproul.
Simply click, download and start reading!
This year Christmas fell on a Sunday, so for the first time in my ministry career, I was blessed to preach on Christmas Day. It was an amazing service with close to 160 coming out to join us in worship and celebration! I wanted to share the sermon here with you with the hopes that it will encourage you.
Last weekend, the church staff and the pre-school staff got together for our staff Christmas party. And one of the traditions we share is that we have a White Elephant gift exchange. Everyone brings in a wrapped gift, we draw numbers, then we pick and open the gifts in numerical order. Now the twist in the game is that if someone opens something that you like, on your turn, you can steal it. I know, not very Christian-like, but it can really be a lot of fun. So this year, once again, we held our white elephant gift exchange. There were gifts of various sizes and wrappings. But there was one gift that was significantly larger than any of the other gifts.
Sometime around the third or fourth round one of the party-goers, make a clear and shameless break for the big box. I believe the comment was made, Go big, or go home!
The wrapping paper was torn off. The tape holding the box closed was cut, and we’re all wondering, What could there be in such a big box? I mean, really, there could be just about anything in the box. It was a big box. And so your mind just goes crazy thinking, waiting, wondering.
So with all eyes trained on the box, the flap is pulled back, and then we heard it, “OH, NO!!!”
Some of the BEST gifts
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In the beginning was the Word…Jesus. He was with God, he WAS God. He was there at the start of everything, with God, and through him, Jesus, all things were made, and nothing was made without him.
John says, Jesus is God.
But it’s more than that. John tells us that in him, the Word, Jesus, there is LIFE, as in LIFE. Not that he simply was alive, but that in Jesus was the ability to create and sustain life. More importantly, the ability to give life. And this life-giver is the LIGHT to which all men are to live by.
So what we have here is this grand declaration of who Jesus is.
Now why is it that we time to consider this?
The angel, Gabriel, said it to Mary, in Luke 1:30-33.
30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary asks, “How?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
The angel of the Lord goes to Joseph. Matthew 1:20-21.
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Then to the shepherds the Angel says. Luke 2:10-11.
10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Today we celebrate no ordinary baby, nor some ordinary birth. Today we celebrate God, coming to earth with the purpose of rescuing us.
Look back with me to John 1, verse 14. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..."
The Word became flesh.
- God took on Flesh.
- Skin and bone. A heart. Lungs. Stomach. Intestines. A Liver. A brain.
- His body core tempt was 98.6˚.
- He would cry, get hungry and grow tired.
- He would laugh and make jokes.
- He would eat and drink and spend time with friends.
- And he would feel the hurt of hate and the pain of death.
He was just like us.
He became one of us.
God come down to man.
Better, God became man.
Today we remember and celebrate that the gift of his life would mean life for us. That a Savior, a Messiah, the perfect sacrifice for all men would lay down his life and die, that his blood would be the complete and sufficient covering for sin.
Today we remember and celebrate that just like his first coming, he will come again. That just as the heavenly hosts appeared and declared the praises of heaven, in the twinkling of an eye, and at the trumpets blast, Jesus will come again. And for those of us who are found in him, we will be raised up into heaven to be with him for ever and ever.
Is it because there are presents to open, family to visit, or food to consume? Or is it because today, maybe more than any other day, there is this longing inside of you that says, I need to be near my Savior, my Lord, my Messiah, my Jesus! Because today is about our Savior.
Today is about Jesus.
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 25 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently the Student Ministry Director at Hickory Church, located in Western PA. Jay has been married to Amy for 20 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, a vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.