2022-12-18: Fear Not, Christmas — Fear Not, Just Come

Sermon Audio: Fear Not, Just Come
Speaker: Pastor Val Watkins
Scripture Text: Luke 2:8-16
Duration: 27:;40
Size: 18.9 MB

Fear Not, Christmas
Fear Not, Just Come
Luke 2:8-16

And although they weren’t lead characters the shepherds were part of the chorus in the production of the first Christmas.

This week we are taking you out in the fields, let’s pick up the story in Luke 2:8-10.

The demands of the flock were so great that even if the shepherds were inclined to be religious all of the rules and regulations of Judaism, with the various hand washings and other parts of the ceremonial law, were out of their reach, so they could never really be “Good Jews.”

And into the ordinary lives of ordinary men is injected an extraordinary event.

Shepherds Were Told About Jesus
But the majority of us do get a messenger with news about Jesus.

And so, it was on a lonely hillside outside of Bethlehem that the Angels came and told the shepherds about Jesus.

The Shepherds Came to Jesus
For the shepherds that meant physically leaving the fields and their flocks and coming into Bethlehem and then finding the stable where Jesus was.

The Shepherds Told Others About Jesus
“Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”

But in either case it goes back to a simple premise, invite them and there is a pretty good chance that they will come.

It Impacted the Shepherds Daily Lives
Our encounter with Christ needs to affect who we are and how we live.

2022-12-11: Fear Not, Christmas — Fear Not, Just Obey

Sermon Audio: Fear Not, Just Obey
Speaker: Pastor Val Watkins
Scripture Text: Luke 1:18-25
Duration: 24:55
Size: 17.1 MB

Fear Not, Christmas
Fear Not, Just Obey
Luke 1:18-25

This is week three of our fear not series, this Advent we are looking at the various times the words “Fear Not” or “Do not be afraid”, show up in the Christmas story.

We don’t know a whole lot about Joseph, we know that he was a carpenter, that he lived in Nazareth and that his family was originally from Bethlehem.

I’m sure that the couple was doing all the things that couples do to get ready for wedding.

But what could he do? He had trusted her, he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, but for her to go and … it just wasn’t right.

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.

Because Joseph Obeyed, Mary Had a Husband
In both cases who Mary was, was tied to Joseph.

We don’t know the full conversation between Joseph and the angel, but we know that Joseph understood that until Jesus was born that even though they were living as husband and wife that Mary was to remain a virgin.

Because Joseph Obeyed, Jesus Had a Father
It was Sigmund Freud who wrote “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”

Because Joseph Obeyed, He Paid a Price
Sometimes we operate under the assumption that if we are obedient that everything will be fine, but that isn’t always the way it works.

2022-12-04: Fear Not, Christmas — Fear Not, Just Trust

Sermon Audio: Fear Not, Just Trust
Speaker: Pastor Val Watkins
Scripture Text: Luke 1:26-38
Duration: 27:23
Size: 18.8 MB

Fear Not, Christmas
Fear Not, Just Trust
Luke 1:26-38

This morning we are moving to the next chapter of the Christmas story and it’s here we are first introduced to Mary.

But before that she was just a young lady, with all the dreams and aspirations that young ladies 2000 years ago had.

And really there are only two options, either Mary was a Virgin or someone other than Joseph got her pregnant before the wedding.

One wouldn’t think that finding favor with God would be something that you should be afraid of. But listen to what finding favor with God entails for Mary,

We have seen how the Catholic Church has virtually dietyized Mary and so in an effort to not appear pro-Catholic we do what is normally done with other pregnant teenagers like her, we prefer that she not come to church.

God was willing to trust Mary because Mary was willing to trust God.

Mary Needed to Trust God with the Details
Can you trust God with the details of your Christian life? The everyday, how you fit your Christian commitment into the real world?

Mary Needed to Trust God with the Immediate Results
She willingly gave up her reputation and her plans for the future in order to be obedient to God.

Instead of leading an army, he came preaching grace and forgiveness. He told others to turn the other cheek and to go the extra mile.

Finally, Mary Needed to Trust God with the Ultimate Results
If only Mary could have seen the difference that her Son would make through history, with sins forgiven and lives changed.

I don’t know your story, but if God has called you to follow him, then God has called you to trust him.

2022-11-27: Fear Not, Christmas — Fear Not, Just Believe

Sermon Audio: Fear Not, Just Believe
Speaker: Pastor Val Watkins
Scripture Text: Luke 1:5-17
Duration: 27:46
Size: 19.0 MB

Fear Not, Christmas
Fear Not, Just Believe
Luke 1:5-17

If the obligation to attend church on Christmas Eve or Christmas day gives you the willies you have ecclesiophobia.

But the story didn’t start when the Angel appeared to Mary, no the story began half a year earlier and 100 kilometers away.

In the King James Version, Elizabeth is called Mary’s cousin but the word in the original Greek was much broader than that and simply meant someone who was related to you, somehow.

From the beginning this was to be a very special birth and a very special child.

This is the first time the words “Don’t be afraid” are mentioned in the Christmas story, so let’s dive in a little deeper and see why the angel told Zechariah not to be afraid.

The first lesson is Prayer Delayed is Not Prayer Denied.

I wonder how many times Zechariah and his bride had questioned whether God even heard their prayers.

We don’t grieve because our loved one is in heaven with God, we grieve because they are not here with us.

The second thing is that an Answered Prayer May Have Multiple Ramifications.

And, he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah.

Answered Prayer May Have Unforeseen Consequences.

That new job that you want, it may bring extra hours, more responsibilities, more travel away from home that wouldn’t have been there in your old position.

And if you know the story, then you know the part that I alluded to earlier, that John’s preaching eventually cost him his life.

Zechariah was told to not be afraid of the answers to his prayers and each one of us need to understand that when our prayers are answered, that we need to trust God to have control.