2011-12-25: Learning From the Songs of Christmas – Joy to the World

Sermon: Joy to the World
Speaker: Pastor Val Watkins
Scripture Text: Psalm 98:2-9
Duration: 25:56
Size: 11.8 MB

Learning From the Songs of Christmas
Joy to the World
Psalm 98:2-9

Even at its best, Christmas means parties to plan, gifts to buy, elaborate meals to cook, long trips to take, or out-of-town guests to host. Instead of bringing JOY, Christmas can bring frustration.

Unfortunately, many people leave Christ out of Christmas. Instead of looking to Jesus, people look for JOY anywhere and everywhere else.

The Bible says a lot about JOY. The kind of JOY the Bible talks about goes much deeper than mere happiness.

The first stanza teaches: THERE IS JOY WHEN THE KING IS RECEIVED

King Herod was anything but joyful when the Magi from the East inquired about the birthplace of a new King.

While Herod saw Jesus as a Threat, the Wise Men saw Jesus as a Gift, and they came to worship Him.

The second stanza teaches: THERE IS JOY WHEN THE SAVIOR REIGNS

Receiving Christ is the important first step. But then we must go on to let him Reign in our lives.

Most of us do a pretty lousy job of running our lives on our own. Jesus knows what will give you JOY.

The third stanza teaches: THERE IS JOY WHEN THE SINNER REPENTS

Sin promises happiness. But Sin delivers sorrow.

The baby changed everything. Has the Bethlehem Baby changed your life?


JOY comes because He rules with a perfect balance of TRUTH and GRACE.

True JOY will be yours this Christmas if you will RECEIVE Christ, REPENT of your sins, and let Jesus REIGN in your life with Truth and Grace.

2011-12-18: Learning From the Songs of Christmas – Away in a Manger

Sermon: Away in a Manger
Speaker: Pastor John Pettigrew
Scripture Text: Luke 2:1-21
Duration: 28:08
Size: 12.8 MB

Learning From the Songs of Christmas
Away in a Manger
Luke 2:1-21

Jesus’ birth was not a series of unfortunate events – it was not a LaGrande time, but instead, it was a series of unforeseen events. Jesus came on his own terms, in the right fashion, with a timeless message. The Jewish nation expected the arrival of a Conquering King, but He came as a Suffering Servant. People expected Him to testify of himself, but angels and shepherds testified to Him. Israel expected freedom from Rome, but not forgiveness of sins. They wanted prosperity, and not peace and pardon.

What kind of a Savior was He? What kind of gift did He offer? Who are the beneficiaries?

Jesus is Meek and Lowly

The real story of Christmas is captured in the first two verses of the Christmas hymn “Away in a Manger”:

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky,
And stay by my side until morning is nigh.

He was a descendant of King David, but he was born in a stable, and not a palace or a castle. His delivery was not in a hospital, but a barn. The parents needed to do a lot of work before the baby was born. Joseph and Mary had to sweep the floor, wipe the dust and clean the place. They had to do with what they had, including enduring the noise and smell of animals and coping without the benefit of a kitchen or a bathroom. Even our present-day garages are cleaner than the horse stable, pig-sty or chicken coop that was Jesus’ shelter. No disinfectant or deodorant could sanitize or freshen the place enough.

Jesus is Majestic and Lord

Caesar Augustus had ordered a census, sent everyone packing and made life miserable. Rich or poor, strong or weak, men and women had to return to their hometown to register. Included in the throng was Mary, who was with child. However, the birth of Jesus turned the first Christmas from a gloomy Christmas into a glorious one. He had an invited audience at his birthday party, but His audience was not royalty, diplomats or socialites, but angels, shepherds and the heavenly host, and what a breathtaking, spine tingling and eyebrow raising performance it was.

Jesus is Merciful and Love

The Bible says that we were dead in sins (Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 5, Colossians 2:13), darkened in reason (Ephesians 4:18) and doomed for destruction (I Timothy 6:9), but Jesus came to land a fatal blow to sin. What He had done to sin for our sake in theological terms included forgiving (Matthew 9:2), bearing (John 1:29, Hebrews 9:28), erasing (Acts 3:19), purging (Hebrews 1:3) and canceling (Hebrews 9:26) the sins of men. He died for our sins (I Corinthians 15:3), freed us from sins (Romans 6:22) and remembers them no more (Hebrews 10:17). Three times the Bible says that He is the atoning sacrifice (Hebrews 2:17, I John 2:2, I John 4:10) for our sins.

The birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the two constants after the shopping is done, the sales are counted and the season is over. The greatest gift of all is the gift money cannot buy. It is what the Prince of Peace has given to the world: the forgiveness of sins and salvation of sinners. Our responsibility is to receive the free gift and to tell the lost world of the Saviors’ birth, because one day the tiny babe will return as the conquering King.

2011-12-11: Learning From the Songs of Christmas – Silent Night, Holy Night

Sermon: Silent Night, Holy Night
Speaker: Pastor Frank Clore
Scripture Text: Isaiah 9:1-7; John 1:1-5
Duration: 31:40
Size: 14.5 MB

Learning From the Songs of Christmas
Silent Night, Holy Night
Isaiah 9:1-7; John 1:1-5

The story of this Christmas carol is one of how God provided in an amazing and unusual way to meet a pressing need. It is a beautiful illustration of God’s provision for us through Christ.

The celebration of his birth on December 25th has a long and complicated history. No wonder, then, that we depend upon our Christmas carols to draw a fuller picture of the birth of Jesus.

One form of silence that may have been evident that night would have been the troubled silence of the masses.

Another, very different form of silence this night, would have been that of the faithful who continue to quietly cry out to the LORD for His strength, wisdom and salvation!

Even midst all the pain and confusion of child birth in a stable, the uncertainties of the future and the controversies and whispers of disdain about her pregnancy and child, this teenage mother was given a peace that surpasses all understanding!

May Christmas remind us all that, in Christ and because of Christ, we may all “sleep in heavenly peace” no matter the times, world or circumstances in which we live. The world is absolutely in Christ’s Hands, “all power and authority” has been given unto Him and He has already done all that is necessary to secure our present and future salvation!

The peace of all humanity is not dependent on the present state of our world. Rather, it is dependent upon in whom and what our faith truly lies!

Jesus knows how we feel. He became on of us. Because He was one of us, but without sin, he was able to rescue us.

From the time of the Fall of mankind, the world has known only spiritual darkness. But the birth of Jesus, the Anointed Savior of the world, produces a new dawn! He was born in darkness, but the light soon followed Him.

Whereas the angels worshiped in a chorus of song, the shepherds worship was through seeking personal experience with the Christ and then spreading the good news of great joy to all who have ears.

There is no place Jesus will not go and bring His Light, so long as He is welcome!

2011-12-04: Learning From the Songs of Christmas – O Come O Come Emmanuel

Sermon: O Come O Come Emmanuel
Speaker: Pastor Val Watkins
Scripture Text: Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 11:1-12
Duration: 25:21
Size: 11.6 MB

Learning From the Songs of Christmas
O Come O Come Emmanuel
Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 11:1-12

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

This popular song dates back to the year 800 and represents an important and ancient series of services celebrated by the Church.

Christmas is nothing short of the most historic day in human history. God became flesh and dwelt among us.

Indeed, our Christmas carol begins where any discussion on the central figure of Christmas must begin, by declaring Christ to be nothing less than redeemer God.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Throughout Scripture wisdom is closely linked to God. Genuine wisdom finds its roots in God and His Word.

Jesus Christ is fully the “Wisdom of God” and is worthy to be celebrated in song.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

The “Rod of Jesse” refers to Isaiah 11:1. Isaiah’s writings predict a time when things will look hopeless.

It may, in fact, look bleak and hopeless but you dare not give up hope for he who said it will be faithful.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

A more literal translation suggests that “God has visited us as a sun rise from heaven.”

Light changes everything! The world looks different and is easier to navigate when there is light.

Jesus Christ is indeed the “Light of the world” and is worthy to be celebrated in song.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

The “power of the keys” was a significant role in a monarchy. It is none-the-less true in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus Christ is qualified to rule God’s Kingdom and is worthy to be celebrated in song.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

He has conquered the hostile enemy that has held a grip on the human soul for millenia.

He deserves to be called “Mighty God” and is worthy to be celebrated in song.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

We speak of “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.”

Isaiah longed for world peace too. And he knew when and where it would be fulfilled – in the Messiah – in the reign of God.

Jesus Christ is indeed the “Prince of Peace” and is worthy to be celebrated in song.

Jesus is:

  • Completely God
  • Your source of Wisdom
  • Your trustworthy Hope
  • The Light of salvation
  • The ruler of God’s eternal kingdom
  • The conqueror of evil
  • Your source for peace.

2011-11-27: Learning From the Songs of Christmas – O Little Town of Bethlehem

Sermon: O Little Town of Bethlehem
Speaker: Pastor John Pettigrew
Scripture Text: Micah 5:1-5
Duration: 23:50
Size: 10.9 MB

Learning From the Songs of Christmas
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Micah 5:1-5

1. Christ’s birth was according to a divine plan. (Micah 5:1-3a)

A. The Savior would be born in an unassuming way. (Micah 5:1-2a)

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:1-6)

It may be that our part in life’s work may be very small… on note… but even that is important.

The problem with too many of us, as Vance Havner observed, is “So many of us are not big enough to become little enough to be used of God.”

B. The Second part of God’s plan: The Savior would be born in an unusual way. (Micah 5:2b-3)

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

When Christ became a man through the incarnation, he voluntarily limited what to him was the most precious thing in the world; unhampered, unhindered communion with the Father.

2. The second great thing about Christ’s birth is: Christ’s birth makes possible a new person. (Micah 5:3-5a)

A. First, we can become a new person individually.

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

The prophet speaks of the benefits that come to the life of one who has received Christ into their life.

  • He will benefit from God’s guidance. (Micah 5:4a, Psalm 23)
  • He will benefit from God’s greatness. (Micah 5:4b, Romans 8:35…39)
  • He will benefit from God’s goodness. (Micah 5:5a)
  • He enjoys peace with God (Romans 5:1), He enjoys the peace of God (Philippians 4:6-7), He enjoys the God of peace (Micah 5:5a).

Perhaps the very best place for those dreams was on the rubbish pile, for God may have better plans for you after all. He will bring them to pass through His own Son, who gives you, in your entirely new life, dreams and plans fashioned in a much better way than you could do for yourself.

B. We can become a new person collectively. (Micah 5:3-5a)

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

There are many porcupine Christians running around. They have their good points, but you can’t get near them because their bad point prick too hard.

The devil never fears a congregation that is not seeking to become the new person collectively that God calls them to be, because they are no threat to his operation! Let’s put the fear of God into the devil, by committing today to growing in unity and love as the people of God!


Having trusted the Savior, we have been set free from sins’ awful condemnation. Now by His Spirit we have the power to turn from our sin and live for Him. That’s the only way to honor Christ – our Great Emancipator.

I’m glad my Savior didn’t hesitate to leave His throne in glory! Christ did not hesitate to die for me; may I not hesitate to live for Him!