Vol. 37, No. 12 December, 2013
HE SHALL BE GREAT
“He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest,..” (Lk. 1:32).
From all of us here at the WILDERNESS we wish for you and yours a most Glorious Christmas Season, and we hope God’s Best for you for the New Year just ahead.
HE SHALL BE GREAT! As I started studying for my Christmas message for the WILDERNESS I was looking for some great, profound truth, you know, something that no one has ever thought of before. Then I remembered that the most profound is usually the most simple. The Christmas story is profoundly simple, so let us keep it that way. At the birth of Christ the angel did not go to the wise, to the grand, to the learned, He went to the simple herdsmen who were tending sheep and said, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.” (Lk 2:11-12. He did not say you will find Him in a palace, or in a mansion, but you will find Him in a lowly manger. There was nothing that the world would call GREAT there at His birth, so long ago. But at the promise of His birth, the angel said unto Mary, “HE SHALL BE GREAT.” Let me share with you some of the Christmas story and some of it’s Greatness. “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent forth from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.” (Lk 1:26-27). “Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His Name Jesus. HE SHALL BE GREAT.” (Lk 1:30-32). That’s the truth of this message….. HE SHALL BE GREAT! How does God measure greatness? Certainly not in the same fashion that man measures greatness. In these days greatness is attributed to men and women whose morals are questionable, to say the least, those whose contributions to society and whose contributions should never be termed as being great. I have in mind the Hollywood “stars” the Rock “stars,” or the sports “stars.” We have “halls of fame” for some of these. Man has his way of measuring greatness, but how does God do it? What could possibly be great about this Child born in a stable, and wrapped in torn rags. What made Him great? What could possibly come from such a lowly place as a stable? How will He be great?…
HE WILL BE SINLESS.
Now you cannot get any greater than that. In a world that is captured by sin. When it is popular to see who can out-sin the next one, who can out-show, or out-bad everyone else, when the great example of purity is needed, HE WILL BE SINLESS! “That Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” “HOLY” meaning SINLESS.
HIS BIRTH WAS SINLESS.
The Bible (KLB) says “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his Name Immanuel.” (Isa. 7:14). And in our text today, the angel went to a virgin whose name was Mary. The absolute MUST of Christmas is the Virgin Birth as prophesied by God. I am aware that those of us who believe in the Inspired, Preserved Word of God as given in the King James Bible are becoming a minority, but every one of these new ‘versions’ on the market, in some way, sometimes very bold, and sometimes very subtle attack the virgin birth of Christ. Some versions replace the word ‘virgin’ with ‘young woman’ These are not the same. Young women give birth every day, but a virgin? Yes! One time, a virgin gave birth to “That Holy Thing.” His birth was Sinless, Pure, and Holy.
HIS BODY WAS SINLESS.
He had a body, like we have a body, but He had a Sinless Body. There was nothing in Him that could sin. There was no place of weakness, no place where Satan could find a point of temptation. “Wherefore when He entered into the world, He saith, sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not but a Body thou hast prepared for me.”(Heb. 10:5). That Body knew no sin. He was made sin for us, but in Him was no sin. “For such a High Priest became us, who is HOLY, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” (Heb. 7:26). His Body housed a nature that could not sin. Everything about Him was sinless in order to “Fulfill all righteousness.”
I believe that there is one more very important thing that I must mention here…
HIS BLOOD WAS SINLESS.
I am aware that there are some today who teach and preach the error that His blood was just human blood, and as one radio preacher says, “There is no efficacy in His blood.” This error is false doctrine. We are warned in the Bible not to count the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing, (Heb 10:29). Jesus’ blood was not common, was not sinful. His blood is “Precious blood, incorruptible blood, Holy blood.” “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood He entered once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Heb. 9:12). And, we are to”Feed the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28. Our salvation is not just in His dying, our salvation is in His Blood, His sinless blood!.
HE WILL BE SAVIOUR.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21). “Jesus” means “Saviour,” one and only one Saviour. He is not A Saviour, He is not one among many, He is THE SAVIOUR. The Bible (KJB) is very clear. “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby ye must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). He is above all others. Some claim Allah, or Mohammed, or Buddha, or Confucius, or one of thousands of other ‘gods’ but Christ alone is SAVIOUR. He is “The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” He alone is SAVIOUR!
HE WILL BE SUBSTITUTE.
Not A substitute as one of several. He is THE substitute for sin, or, the One upon whom all sin was laid, and He became our sin-bearer. “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa 53:4-6). “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor. 5:21). “Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1Tim 2:6). ALL of the sin of ALL the world was placed upon the Sinless Christ on the cross, and He, by His finished work there paid our debt. He is our Substitute. As He died on a cross that had been prepared for a man by the name of Barabbas, (Mt. 27:16-26) He took our place, died our death, that we might live eternally. HALLELEUJAH! What a SAVIOUR!
How else will He be Great? Is that not enough?
HE WILL BE A SIGN.
“And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary, His mother, behold, this child is set forth for the fall and rising of many in Israel and for A SIGN which shall be spoken against.” (Lk. 2:34). All history points to this SIGN. Today many watch and scan the heavens and look and listen for some sign from out there. “Why doesn’t someone out there say something?” They cry. Somebody has said something. There are three signs along the human pathway….
HIS BIRTH WAS A SIGN.
“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a SIGN, behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son..” (Isa. 7:14). When the Messenger of God proclaims that a virgin has given birth to a Child, THAT IS A SIGN! Someone out there has said something! “And this shall be a SIGN unto you, ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
HIS DEATH WAS A SIGN.
And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary His mother, behold this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel and for a SIGN which shall be spoken against. Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also that the thought of many hearts may be revealed.” (Lk. 2:34-35).
This prophecy given to Mary was fulfilled at the Cross as she watched helplessly as her son was crucified by a murdering mob. The SIGN OF THE CROSS still stands in the pathway of humanity. Someone out there has spoken.
HIS RESURRECTION WAS A SIGN.
The Pharisees asked Him for a sign, after many signs had already been given. “Master we would see a sign from thee. But He answered and said unto them, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall be no sign given to it but the sign of the prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Mt. 12:38-40). From that passage it is very clear that the Resurrection of Christ was a clear SIGN to this world. As I have stated, there are three SIGNS along life’s pathway, one sign points to the next. Make sure that you are in line with these THREE SIGNS; The BIRTH, the DEATH, and the RESURRECTION of Christ.
And among so many things, there are still some other ways in which He shall be great…
HE WILL BE SOVERIGN.
He will ever reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords. “He shall be Great and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David. And He shall reign….” (Lk. 1:32-33). His Name Immanuel means “God with us.” The Sovereign King of the universe came down at Christmas
HE WAS BORN A KING.
Born in the line of David as prophesied. “Where is He that is born KING of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and are come to worship Him.” (Mt. 2:2). More than just another baby was born that night so many years ago
HE DIED A KING.
At the crucifixion of Christ, Pilate wrote a title and placed it on the Cross of Christ. “And the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth KING of the Jews.” (Jn. 19:19). Of course the Jews did not like that and tried to get Pilate to change that title, but he would not. He could not. A KING He was at BIRTH, a KING He was at DEATH.
HE LIVES A KING.
He conquered death. He reigns today. This is the Christmas story. He came to pay our sin debt. He came to die that we might live. Now the choice is yours. You must either accept Him or reject Him. There is no neutrality. He came to be your SAVIOUR, your SUBSTITUTE. I do sincerely trust that you have believed, not with your head, but with your heart. This could be your greatest Christmas ever.
HE IS COMING KING.
In Revelation, ch. 19, He comes to earth with armies from Heaven to conquer the antichrist and his army and to rule and reign for a thousand years. “And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev 19:11-16).
HE SHALL BE GREAT! What else can be said? I have to line up with the apostle John who wrote,
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” (Jn. 21:25) AMEN and AMEN!
Today, if the things we have discussed in this message are not real in your life, consider these basic things…
RECOGNIZE that you are a sinner before God.
“For ALL have sinned and come short of the
Glory of God.”
REALIZE that Christ alone can save you from the penalty and power of sin.
RECEIVE Him today. “But as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.”
He is there, wherever you may be, in the person of the Holy Spirit. He has been knocking at your heart’s door. He will come in at your invitation. Do that today! THAT’S WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT!
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS…It is no friend to the Christian. The world seeks to take Christ away from Christmas, and Christmas away from Christ. He can do neither, they are one in the same. Let us remember the Giver and the Gift He gave.
Christmas lights without Christ are like a candle in a window on a foggy night with the curtain closed.
By Pastor George Mills
Christmas is the story, Old,
Of Gifts of Frankincense and Gold,
And Myrrh that men brought from afar,
As they followed yonder star.
Christmas is the story, True,
And every day we find anew,
God robed in the flesh in the baby, Fair,
When Christ was born in the stable, there.
Christmas is the story, Bold,
And yet the half has not been told,
Of how the King of Heaven came,
For all lost mankind to reclaim.
Christmas is the story, Real,
Of grace and Love that God did reveal,
In swaddling clothes, the Saviour lay,
When Love came down on Christmas day.
Christmas is a song to sing,
A song about this new-born King,
A Heavenly chorus welcomed Him,
This little child of Bethlehem.
Christmas is the Gift of Love,
Down from the Father up above,
A Gift for sinners far and wide,
So man in Heaven may there abide.
To live with Saints and Angels there,
And with Christ, His Glory share,
Forever there to live with Him,
The Babe that came to Bethlehem.
Yes, Christmas is a song to sing,
Hallelujahs to our King,
Eternal God in flesh came down,
Now forever, wears a Crown.
Let every voice join in and sing,
Hosanna to our coming King,
Who will with Him, the ransomed bring,
Yes, Christmas is a song to sing!
THINK ABOUT IT…
The world says TOMORROW,
Christ says TODAY!
And the world still asks for hope in sorrow,
Christ says “I am THE WAY”
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
Christmas is here once again, time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Saviour!
Things have changed around our house as far as how we celebrate Christmas. The kids are all grown up now and have married and moved away. The “Grands” are growing up and some are married and have their own little families, so we celebrate differently these days. Yes, we miss the good ole days when the kids were all home and our house was a busy, fun filled time at Christmas, but we have our memories.
Seasons change, our circumstances change from day to day, and things are not the same as they were years ago but we still celebrate the birth of our Saviour. And as we celebrate Jesus’ birth we give thanks to Him for our Salvation that He made possible. We give thanks for the Salvation of each of our children and we are thankful for our “Grands,” each one of them, and their little families. God has been and still is so good to this family and we thank Him for His goodness to us all. Yes, the seasons change and our circumstances change but we are reminded and thankful to know that God never changes! “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8). “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Mal. 3:6).
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! And remember, Jesus is the reason for the Christmas Season.
LITTLE BABY IN A MANGER
Little baby in a manger, I Love You.
Lying there, to earth a stranger,I Love you.
Wise men saw the star and answered, I Love you,
Shepherds heard the angels saying, I Love you.
Little baby down from Heaven, I Love you.
By the Father, to us given, I Love you.
Star of hope for every nation, I Love you.
Angels gave Thee adoration, I Love you.
Little baby meek and lowly, I Love you.
Son of God so pure and Holy, I Love you.
Wonderful in grace and Power,I Love you.
Sharon’s Rose, the sweetest flower, I Love you.
(By Carrie Adams, 1915)
TEEN TALKS THAT MATTER
By Ashley Stevens
KEEPING CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS
There are many ways that we can keep Christ in our Christmas celebrations. The number one way is to have Him present in our daily life. As Christians, keeping Christ in Christmas is more about the way we live our life, than just simply saying things such as “Merry Christmas.” versus “Happy Holidays.” I have put together a few simple ideas to Help keep Christ the central focus of our life through this Christmas Season.
First idea is to give God one very special gift, just from you to Him. Let that gift be personal, no one else needs to know. It could be a gift of forgiving someone that you have needed to forgive for a long time. That may prove to be a gift that keeps on giving as well. You could also give God a commitment to take time out of your day to spend with Him on a daily basis. Maybe there is something God has asked you to give up and you just haven’t yet because you keep on holding on to it. Just make sure that this gift is your most important gift all this Christmas Season.
Secondly, consider removing a lot of the worldly celebrations and gift giving. Give a special gift to a needy family, or to a Missionary. Make the story of Jesus’ birth and the true meaning of Christmas the central focus of your family get togethers. Set your family down and read the Christmas story in the Book of Luke..
One last idea is to start each morning, before you get in the rush of all the activities, and do your devotion and spend some time alone with God. Pray that you will stay focused and recognize that nothing you will buy or receive this Christmas will last. Only what is done for Christ will last and count for eternity. Whatever you do for this Holiday Season, don’t forget the true reason for the season. Take time to thank God for sending His Son Jesus to die on a cross for you and me.
Until Next time, Ashley Stevens
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! LET EACH OF US TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY DAY THAT GOD GIVES US IN THE NEW YEAR. WE PRAISE GOD FOR LIFE. HEALTH, AND STRENGTH. LET US ALL COMMIT OURSELVES TO THE WINNING OF LOST SOULS TO JESUS CHRIST!
At the beginning of each New Year I try to remind us all of these few simple things that this New Year will bring with it…
TOMORROW WILL COME.
“Boast not thyself of tomorrow for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” (Pr. 27:1).
We have had thousands of YESTERDAYS, and we have only one TODAY, but what about TOMORROW? Will tomorrow bring with it sunshine? Or sadness? We do not know! We cannot know about tomorrow. We do know that tomorrow will come! Tomorrow will be here, right on time. The problem is, We may not be here tomorrow, but tomorrow will be. When the New Year met us some twelve months ago, some who were with us then are not with us today. I have heard of quite a few folks who were with us who have gone on to their Lord. I have conducted funerals for some who were with us when we began 2013. Tomorrow may bring with it much happiness, or it may bring death. We do not know. Today, as we plan and resolve for the New Year, let’s think about this New Year and what it may bring. God is in the tomorrows. He is already there. He gave us insight to His Word. God cautioned us about assuming tomorrow…”Go to now, ye that say today or tomorrow, we will go into such a city and continue there a year, and buy and sell and get gain. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then it vanishes away. For ye ought to say, If the Lord will we shall live and do this, or that. (Ja. 4:13-14). So, let us not assume tomorrow without seeking God’s Will and blessings first!. TOMORROW WILL COME as I have stated, it will be here, on time.
TOMORROW WILL BRING WITH IT OPPORTUNITIES.
I am optimistic. Tomorrow there will be more and better ways to publish the Gospel to the nations. THINK ABOUT IT…Just one small Church can reach into many countries of the world. Tomorrow will bring greater opportunities. When I first started publishing the WILDERNESS I never had the slightest idea that we would be reaching into so many countries of the world. Let every one of us, while we can, take advantage of the great task of evangelism. This is the will of God.
TOMORROW WILL BRING WITH IT OBLIGATIONS.
Paul said “I am DEBTOR both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and the unwise. So much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Ro 1:14-16). We have an OBLIGATION. Christ gave it to us on the day He ascended into Heaven. We will not finish this OBLIGATION until we go home, or until He comes for us. THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD.
TOMORROW WILL BRING WITH IT OBSTICLES.
The same satanic forces will be alive, alert, active and opposing the Church with OBSTICLES. There will be false brethren within the assembly, and false doctrine will abound more and more. With every wind of doctrine there comes OBSTICLES. Satan and his army will continue to place stumbling blocks, discouragements, disappointments, and despair. Satanic forces will try to delay, dilute, and destroy. Let us see every OBSTICLE as a stepping stone. We will not quit, we have made our stand and will stand on it, even if we stand alone. THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD.
TOMORROW WILL BRING WITH IT OFFENCES.
Jesus said in Luke 17:1, “It is impossible, but that offences will come, but woe unto them through whom they come.” This passage is about forgiveness . As we see the OPPORTUNITIES, and OBSTICLES, beware of the OFFENCES. Let us have that kind of spirit that will not hold a grudge. No, not against another Christian, against our mate, or against anyone. The Bible says in our text that we should forgive, even if we are offended seven times in one day. Today, we cannot speak as freely as in days past. Today we have to be exact, with no hint of any intention of offense.. If we don’t say it just right; “I AM OFFENDED” they cry. This is also true in the Church world. Let us refuse to be offended. A grudge, an unforgiving spirit are awful weights for us to carry around. Again, Tomorrow will bring with it certain offenses. Determine that you will not allow some OFFENCE to rob you of Joy unspeakable. THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD.
TOMORROW WILL BRING WITH IT OBITUARIES.
Some of us will not be here when this Year closes. Many who intended to be here at the close of this year have already gone home to be with the Lord. I hope that God will let me live for many more fruitful years, but that is all in His hands. Who knows, the morning paper may list our obituary along with others. But this I know that whatever the New year may bring, OPPORTUNITIES or OBITUARY, I know that everything will be alright. I have placed my faith and trust in the God of TOMORROW. So, while it is TODAY, let us keep on living for Jesus. THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD! Every day He gives us is a bonus. We just love Him better and serve Him to the fullest. TOMORROW, Christians will be alright. Whether here, or in His presence, we will be alright. We serve the God of TOMORROW!
Before I close this, may I ask, “where will you be TOMORROW if you died TODAY?”
The answer is simple. If you have received Christ, you will be with Him. If you have not received Christ, you will be eternally separated from Him in hell. Read Luke 16:19-31.
THINK ABOUT IT..TODAY is the TOMORROW that you spoke about YESTERDAY.
THE MIRANDA WARNING SAYS:
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can be used against you.
You have the right to speak to an attorney.
If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you.
God has such a warning in His program in dealing with sin and it’s penalty.
You have the right to remain silent. No one will ever try to force you to receive Christ. You must do that yourself. That is your own choice.
Anything you say WILL be used against you. “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account in the day of judgment.” (Mt. 12:36)
You have the right to speak to an attorney. The court would recommend a lawyer who has never lost a case. “We have an advocate (lawyer) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1Jn. 2:1).
A Lawyer has been provided at no cost, for you. He doesn’t charge one cent. His great love motivates Him to see that man does not get what he rightly deserves. That is, the death penalty. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Ro. 6:23).
Cast yourself on the Mercy of the court. Claim no right except the rights paid for in the Blood shed at Calvary. Just tell God that you are a guilty sinner with nothing to offer. “But as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” Tell Christ that you receive Him. Accept His FREE PARDON NOW! The Judge of all the earth will hear the cry of the repentant heart. Then you will have the RIGHT of access to all that Heaven has.
Begin TODAY to LIVE forever!
Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Pr. 14:34).
PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD
This is one of the most urgent warnings in the Bible concerning Israel and her backslidden condition. Judgment is threatening. In fact, as you read the entire text, judgment has already come. Drought, mildew, pestilence, and plague are everywhere, Judgment has already come.
Let us bring this up to this date….
A. WHY PREPARE? There are at least three reasonable reasons.
1.Because God has said so. That’s reason enough.
2.Without Christ you are not prepared.
3.You WILL meet God. This is an appointment you WILL keep.
B. HOW TO PREPARE?
1.Realize your condition, UNPREPARED.
2.Receive Christ, the One who has PREPARED the way.
C. WHEN TO PREPARE?
The same Bible is very clear on when to prepare. “TODAY” if you will hear His voice harden not your heart.”
“Call upon Him while He is near.”Don’t wait until TOMORROW! TOMORROW has a sly way of becoming YESTERDAY!….Too late!!