Here is the Nashville Studio Singers doing a classic hymn via cellphone.
Mouth Confession; Heart Belief
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
There must be confession with the mouth. Have I made it? Have I openly avowed my faith in Jesus as the Savior whom God has raised from the dead, and have I done it in God’s way! Let me honestly answer this question.
There must also be belief with the heart. Do I sincerely believe in the risen LORD Jesus? Do I trust in Him as my sole hope of salvation? Is this trust from my heart? Let me answer as before God.
If I can truly claim that I have both confessed Christ and believed in Him, then I am saved. The text does not say it may be so, but it is plain as a pikestaff and clear as the sun in the heavens: “Thou shalt be saved.” As a believer and a confessor, I may lay my hand on this promise and plead it before the LORD God at this moment, and throughout life, and in the hour of death, and at the Day of Judgment.
I must be saved from the guilt of sin, the power of sin, the punishment of sin, and ultimately from the very being of sin. God hath said it — “Thou shalt be saved.” I believe it. I shall be saved. I am saved. Glory be to God forever and ever!
I have posted this before but it is too good not to do it again.
Frank Turk originally did this and it has been my go to for the Christmas story since.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
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. For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to her. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But Mary was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
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. … For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 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. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.
A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. (this fulfilled what the prophet Micah had said, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
And at the end of eight days, when [the child] was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
(they said this because the prophet Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, and he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his discourse and said,
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;”)
After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sin 1 John 4:10
This is my favorite scene in my favorite Christmas movie:
In it Scrooge says that he doesn’t deserve to be this happy but he can’t help himself.
Consider for a moment Christmas. We don’t deserve Christmas. We deserve wrath. We are enemies of God. Haters of Him, in joyful rebellion against everything He stands for. (Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:3)
Yet God loved us enough to give us His Son while we were hating Him!
Think about it, repeat it aloud, God loved us to give us His Son while we were busily hating God.
We don’t deserve Christmas. Yet we get it all the same. We get Christmas!
If this doesn’t make you incredibly happy you are missing the point. We get Christmas, we get a savior, we get our sins forgiven, we become children of God. We don’t deserve it but we get it.
We get Christmas.
Here we are just a few short days from Christmas, where we are going tocelebrate the incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ.
Reading for fourth Sunday in Advent:
For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. John 3:16-19
This last Sunday, as we try to shrug off the stress of those presents that haven’t quite arrived yet, or finding that last roll of wrapping paper doesn’t quite cover that big present.
Put aside the worries and the stress and think about the fact that the love of God was such that in order to save us he sent his Son to become a man, the God-man, in order to die for our sins, to pay a penalty due us that He didn’t deserve.
Alternate readings: Psalm 24:1-10; Isaiah 7:10-14; Luke 2:8-20; John 1:14; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:10
For behold, the day comes that shall burn like an oven, and all the proudnand arrogant, yes, and all that do wickedly and are lawless, shall be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and gambol as calves of the stall. Malachi 4:1-2
Have you ever gamboled for joy? No I didn’t spell that wrong, I am not talking about playing with cards. I am talking about leaping for joy! Take a look at the video of theses calves coming out for their first day of spring.
They leap feeling the sun on their skin. Malachi uses this symbol to speak of the joy that the day of the Lord will bring to those that fear His name.
Christ is returning! Gambol for joy! Christmas is coming! Gambol for joy!
Advent Hymn: For you who fear my name Welcome Wagon
The third Sunday in Advent is dedicated to Joy.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11
This week we will meditate on the joy of Christ’s coming
Alternate readings: Psalm 146:5-10; Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 2:8-14
Comfort you, comfort you my people, said your God. Speak you comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry to her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she has received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:1-3
Does Christmas comfort you? Or does the thought of the return of Christ comfort you?
Are you instead looking at the date and thinking about what you haven’t bought. Or are you waiting for what you bought to come in the mail? Does this bring you comfort?
The time before Christmas can be the most uncomfortable time. Because we are concentrating on something other than what Christmas is all about.
Paul says this in Corinthians:
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Are you having troubles? Allow God to comfort you. Are friends having troubles? Go comfort them with the comfort God has prepared.