Good morning to all, grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Since Thanksgiving God brought a circumstance to my family, and through His Spirit we followed his lead. The circumstance was Christmas with my extended family. My sister, brother, their children, and friends along with my parents. Most of you know my family has a lot of hearts being revealed through the Spirit of Christ he has given me. Some are alcoholics falling into that temptation they need to be healed and delivered from. Some speak a coarse language with no guilt or shame. Some get tattoos all over their bodies with no guilt or shame from hurting their bodies and know the words that it is God's temple. We each have different desires, demons, and darkness in our sinful nature that will continue to keep us from following our Savior. Some in my family are committing sexual morality in different ways through giving in to homosexual temptations as well as lust before marriage. Some value their work, accomplishments, and money for their security. Some put their love for people before God. They hold more value of fear in being rejected by men, rather than fear of being rejected by God.
I was once apart of them, followed them in many ways, and giving in to my own weaknesses, darkness, and temptations. I too drank, did drugs, spoke coarse language, lusted, and fell into all kinds desires of the world my sinful nature lead me to follow. However, I never claimed, to know God, to live through the Spirit of God, nor called myself a Christian. The truth is many in my family think they are in Christ while living with these hearts and mind gratifying their sinful natures. Which is impossible! You cannot continue to live in sin and in Christ at the same time. They don't live for him through His Spirit, they are still living for their sinful natures gratifying it, and claiming they are still in Christ, and still having a relationship fully with God. Not only has God revealed this about my own family, he also has revealed these type of "Christians" in his universal church, and many are being deceived, and do not realize it. Many Christians think salvation is a way to keep living in sin and being love and molded into Christ at the same time. This has become an on going teaching that is false and is not proclaimed at all through his word and through His Spirit of truth within his true children.
Now back to the circumstance of picking a day for my family to celebrate our Lord's birth. For me when I am around them I see what God see's through the heart of each member of my family because that is who Christ is in me. Most Christians has not received this teaching, that Christ works in and through people for all to benefit from. Spirit encouraging Spirit within each person. He reveals my heart and the hearts of many around me for all to benefit from. He continually test the spirits around me, I do not ever know, but he reveals their hearts to me by his discernment he gives to all his children. He has revealed my heart, and has removed all that is not him in me by all he has given me of himself from the cross, and now he works through me to reveal the hearts of others for his benefit. What interest he has in people, their souls, will now be my interest in people because he wills all that are his to be sanctified fully in body, spirit and soul for his purpose. Before I knew him my interest in my own soul was not given to me by God, nor was I interested in the condition of my own soul. All I did was search for what filled it, and nothing did for me until I reached out to grab his hand that has been there all along. Before I knew him I was not aware of my soul's condition, and if it was right with God or not. He is the only one that can tell me if I am right with God, and he will reveal to me if others are right after I am right with him.
Since that day at the cross, and I gave all to him, and he came to live in me he has renewed my soul, and he keeps renewing it by me willingly letting him work through me for others. I have given him freely all rights to myself as his child wanting to do his will in my own life. I have held on to what he has given me from day one, and any person on earth can do the same.
Today we are going to investigate someone who God uses, and who our Lord is, and what will happen to the world when he comes. We are going to first look at a Jew named Simeon, why would God use him to tell his earthly father and mother who their child was? God will always speak through his people for all to benefit from, especially his own people, and this is a perfect person for us to learn from in describing why God would choose him to announce who this child Emanuel was.
Luke 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Many things are revealed to us about this man through this statement. First we are revealed he was a "righteous" man. Today there are many "righteous" people, and they are making right choices, but what is different about this righteous man than any other righteous person? There are also many people that think they are making the right choices, and are being deceived. This goes for the world as well as the people in his universal church. What makes this man any different than any other human?
The word "just" is used in the KJV to describe the "righteous" people of God which the NIV uses the word righteous instead of "just" but both have the same meaning. This word in Greek is "dikaios" and it sounds like dik'-ah-yos. It also is an adjective so it would be describing a an attribute of a person. It describes someone in God's word as approved of by God, acceptable of God, and God can freely work through in speaking, and revealing his truth. It would describe a person who makes correct judgments not a hypocritical person, nor someone speaking with malice toward another person. It describes someone used by God whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God, and who therefore needs nothing given that God will not freely give. This would be a person who puts God totally first above all things in their heart, mind and soul, and Simon was a "just" person of God.
The second word that describes him is devout. This word is used both in the KJV and the NIV. This word is also an adjective and describes this man Simeon. It is the Greek word "eulabes" it sounds like yoo-lab-ace'. It means taking hold carefully, and surely what God gives you above all else. This would be someone holding on to reverence for God above all things and people in the world. This person would stand out in the world as someone that had the knowledge of God and carefully and surely spoke and walked as God instructed. This would be someone the world would not understand at all. Someone that feared displeasing God above anyone else in the world.
The next description is, "He was waiting for the consolation of Israel." The word waiting is the Greek word "prosdechomai", it sounds like pro-dekh'-om-ahee. This word means, expecting a fulfillment of a promise. When you tell your child you are picking them up from school they are expecting a fulfillment of your promise. When your husband tells you he will be home for dinner your expecting a fulfillment of his promise. It is your word or their word you are expecting them to fulfill. Now with God all his words or promises cannot be broken, he fulfills all of them, nothing can get in his way, or keep him from fulfilling what he has told his children. Simeon was waiting on God and his promise to him, with his just attribute, along with his devout attribute for God. This man sounds like he would be someone I would want to meet, and talk too for hours, days, months and years!!
The next few words is the "consolation of Israel." This tells us he was a Jew or an Israelite by birth, and lived through the law and the prophets messages. What is the "consolation" of Israel. This word "consolation" in Greek is "paraklesis", it sounds like par-ak'-lay-sis. This word means -to sooth the grief of. What grieved the Israelites? They struggled constantly with God, and they could not keep the law; what grieved them? They wanted peace, comfort, joy, and acceptance from their God. They were waiting for their Messiah that would save all this grief within themselves. It was their sin, and we will see it is the Gentles sin that causes their grief within themselves as well. Although many did not understand who he was and the salvation he was giving the world, but Simeon knew all because the Holy Spirit was upon him, and he knew God's thoughts, judgments and truth for what was coming through this child he was blessing because God was giving it to him to speak and tell.
We receive from God in the next statement that God had given him another promise other than the consolation of Israel, he was also "expecting" or waiting on. "It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ."
Luke 2:27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in the peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel. The child's father and mother marveled at what was being said about him.
Simeon was moved by the Spirit to walk in the temple courts!! This again shows us who Simeon followed because the Spirit was before him, in mind and heart, and he was continually led by him to judge him where he went in life and what path he would take, the Spirit in Simeon also judged the world around him, he knew his mother's soul would be pierced by his sword.
Luke 2:34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
This statement reveals God speaking through Simeon that describes Jesus' destiny and why he came. The same reason he came is the same reason we are sent.
John 20:21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me. I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, " Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not for give them, they are not forgiven.
This is our Lord giving us the same authority on earth as he has, when we have faith in him and deny ourselves and carry our cross daily, but many Christians today have not received this teaching, nor his authority. False teachings have their ears blocked, or they are living continually in sin that keeps them from hearing his message.
Let us look closely at what Simeon reveals about the destiny of this child named Jesus, the Savior of Israel and the Gentile world.
"This child is destined to cause the falling and the rising of many in Israel and be a sign that will be spoken against."
Wait a minute, I was taught all my life in churches that Jesus loves all people why would people still fall, why would they scatter, and not run to the light? I was taught God loves all people unconditionally, why would some still fall? Because their is a condition, you have to receive His Son, he died for you to receive him, and if you don't you will not change, and you will not be forgiven, God's wrath still remains, your guilt, your unworthiness, and your sin. There is a condition, it is your sinful nature that causes the grief that keeps you from being who you are. It is a condition he can only cure! When Christ is in you his grace has a huge effect on you! It changes you!! Through Christ he loves you unconditionally, because his love will change you, mold you and be a shield for you against evil, the world and yes, even yourself. He brings His peace, His love and comfort that goes beyond our human understanding, why would anyone appose him, and speak against him, he came to save the world from darkness, to speak God's grace, and give it to all who believed. Why would some ignore him? Why would they not hold on to what he gives them? He loves everyone why would people oppose him, and not rise from the cross as he did? Is this what he was destined for, to cause the rise and fall of many, and to be sign that would be spoken against? If he does that we will not have peace on earth, he then will create a division, only those who are truly his as Simeon was will only know His peace, comfort and be given the Spirit to live through, to guide. Not everyone wants to be Simeon, to give up all, to live by his word and instructions, not everyone will want him to have authority over their lives, and live only by faith in Him giving them the mind, spirit, and body to live by. Some will still want to go their own way, make their own god, and their own Jesus and worship him the way they want to.
"So that thoughts of many hearts will be revealed". This statement pierces my mind and soul. Jesus came to reveal my heart and my thoughts and through him in me, other hearts and thoughts will be revealed. Is this possible? With man no, but with God, Yes!! It is proven through all the disciples that their hearts were new, and their souls were renewed by His Spirit and He tested all others spirits through his Spirit in them for the saving of other souls they came in contact with, or to stay away from. Some was drawn to his light, but many fell because they wanted to go their own way with their deceiving light of themselves, and remain in darkness, and his light was rejected.
John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
Some were false apostles, some were false brothers, some remained lost souls, and fell from grace. Many were saved and raised in his glory through His Spirit in them also. They never stopped planting his seed where ever they went, praying for all souls saved or unsaved. His disciples and apostles continued to speak his words of salvation and truth to all and some heard, some did not hear correctly, some twisted the words, and some did not hear at all. The god of this world has blocked their ears. Some became like Simeon and gave their whole hearts, mind, and body to God, denying themselves and caring their cross daily by all he gave them through the same Spirit, others did not. This is happening in our world today.
Today I want us to look at ourselves and see if we are changing daily and becoming like Simeon and Jesus after we have left the cross. Do you find yourself giving up all for God, giving up anyone, and anything above him? Are you more fearful of displeasing God or more afraid of displeasing people? Are you still living in sin, and justifying it as something else? Picking one sin over another? Are you twisting God's word around to fit your own life style?
You can begin today with His truth that takes you beyond yourself, Satan, and this world straight in his arms that is above anyone or anything in this world. What he gives us can only complete us. What he gives is much greater than the world gives!! His grace is beyond human grace, and his forgiveness is beyond human forgiveness. His love, peace and joy is beyond happiness, and His rest for your soul goes beyond any human rest for your soul you may receive from others or from things. All that he gives you keeps you from living in sin, he takes away your unworthiness your human soul and spirit has been living with.
We all fall short of the glory of God, that is true for every man on earth, but HE does not!! He takes away your grief of not fulling what God desires of you and gives you all to overcome the evil sinful nature that is inside you. He truly can change you, and the world around you through you. If you have not gone to the cross go now, and if you think knowing God, his thoughts and promises, his salvation, and his glory is something you might desire for yourself then go now he has been holding his hand out to you from the cross since you were born. Take only His truth and Word that molds you right, and just, and devout expecting all he gives you to come to pass. His destiny becomes yours when you receive HIM. Does it sound like a destiny you may want?
His peace and love always.