Christmas Service – Ps John Bendixen (WTB)

Scripture Reference: Ephesians 3:10-13 (KJV), Ephesians 3:20 (TPT)

Good morning, good morning. Perhaps I should say; ho-ho-ho and away we go. No, seriously people, good morning. It is a wonderful day. It is Christmas day and most people are at home with their families – either at home or perhaps you’ve travelled and you are on vacation with your family. Either way, it is a wonderful day to be together. If you are at home and you don’t have a family and you are alone – you’ve got this family. You’ve got this family to keep you company and to be with you.

I want to share just some things with you about Christmas. Many people make Christmas about the birth of Jesus and there is a lot of celebration around the birth of Jesus and often there is lots of talk about Jesus in a manger and the wise kings and you know, the wise men and kings and gifts and lots of things are spoken about. Of course, it is very traditional and there is a lot of fun around it and of course, there is a lot of celebration in the world and people are giving gifts to one another and many things.

Of course, if you are a Christian we know that the greatest gift we can have is Jesus. Jesus, the life that He has given us, the hope that He has given us, the grace that He has made available to us. What joy we can live, what great lives we can live because of Jesus and because the Holy Spirit has been sent to help us. How marvellous, marvellous this life is that we live in Christ Jesus. I am eternally grateful, I am so thankful and right now in your heart, in your home, if you are watching, please, join me in just saying, “Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Lord, that You have given us this great life.” Without Jesus, I tell you, life would be fairly hopeless and there would be nothing really to look forward to in life.

Honestly, in recent days much of our conversation has been on the good things that God is going to be doing and He has already started doing for us in the new year 2021. The more we talk about it we are just so thankful and grateful to God that we have this life in Christ – we have meaning, we have purpose, we have assignment, we have relationships that are so beautiful, that are so Godly and so amazing that we have a family in Christ Jesus. We are family because of the blood of Jesus, no other reason other than Jesus was the First Born and we have a life in Christ and we are family. We are one body with Jesus.

At this time, you know, there is a lot of thanksgiving and celebration and I would really like you to take the moment – take a moment today, maybe take the whole day – keep continuously giving thanks to Jesus. When you speak to people, friends, family that want to give you a “Merry Christmas” or “Have a blessed Christmas,” and when they say those words to you I think it would be a great opportunity for you to always just give thanks to Jesus, give thanks to God for all the good things He has done for us in our lives. Even though you might have had some difficulties in 2020, and had some real challenges, the fact that Jesus is your Lord and Saviour means everything and can and will change if you will trust Him, believe Him and walk in faith. I want to read this passage of Scripture to you out of the book of Ephesians. It’s the reason Jesus came to earth, so even though Christmas is a time of celebration I would like us to have a brief conversation about what’s happening in the heavenly realm and the atmosphere around us, and I read Ephesians chapter 3 and I am reading from verse 10, and this is the King James Bible, this is the old version of the Bible, the King James. 10To the intent, verse 10, To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places – that means all kinds of thrones, demonic thrones and angelic hosts that are in the heavenly places – might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10 KJV). So when Jesus came to earth and we have a time of Christmas where we give thanks and we give recognition to God and we celebrate with lunches and dinners and giving of gifts to each other, let’s remember that we as the church are a gift by the Father to Jesus. We are a gift to Jesus by the Father. What is the gift? The gift is that all of the spiritual realm will actually be able to recognise the power of salvation that is given to us and that the church is the manifest living evidence of Jesus being raised from the dead. The church is the living evidence of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The church is the living evidence of why Jesus was born into the earth in the first place and so all of the spirit realm can recognise that Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is actually the authority in the universe delegated to Him by the heavenly Father.

The next verse says, 11According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:11 KJV). So this was something God could only accomplish by doing it in Jesus and this was His eternal purpose that He would do it in Jesus. So when we celebrate at this time the birth of Jesus and we celebrate Jesus because He is alive and He lives in us, then let’s remember that we are a gift to Jesus. We are a gift to Jesus because the more we live in Him and the more we love Him, the more we acknowledge Him and serve Him in our lives the greater the gift because we are telling all the spiritual forces in the heavenly realm that Jesus was born to die and He died to be raised from the dead so that you and I could live eternally with Him and we are His gift. We are His gift because we are His family. We are also His gift because as a family we live on the earth as He lived on the earth – well, at least we should be – and that is our eternal purpose, that is our divine inspiration that we live as believers, disciples, created beings in His image that can represent all of who Christ is and what He died for on the earth.

So as we celebrate this Christmas, we will be just a few short days before we go into the new year and then it’ll be 2021. I want to say that it’s been a marvellous year, even though it’s been a dramatic year. It’s been a very challenging year in many ways because of the pandemic that has come our way. But thank God that He is not dependent on moving us forward as a ministry, as a people, as a church, He is not dependent on whether there are government shutdowns. He, the heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, they use these kinds of things as opportunities to just show how mighty He is in His church on the earth. And what a glorious, glorious time we have had this year.

And so, verse 12, says, 12In whom we have boldness – in whom, in whom? In Jesus, in the plain of Jesus – we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him (Ephesians 3:12 KJV). So by the faith of Him, it means we couldn’t get faith ourselves. When we made a choice to make Jesus the Lord and Saviour of our lives, He gave us the faith to be saved. And now we have the faith of Him. And because the faith is of Him, then we have confidence, and we have boldness to access the very things that God has prepared for us. What a joy it is for us to be able to celebrate this Christmas in 2020. and celebrate the goodness of God.

And so the next verse of scripture says, 13Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory (Ephesians 3:13 KJV). I just wanted to bring that verse in as I finish off today – wanted to bring that verse in and just say to you that tribulations and things that we experienced in the world, troubles that we experience in the world, they come and they go, and they do go. They won’t stay forever, they will come, and for sure, they will come. Trouble comes from very many different directions. Trouble comes through financial difficulties, trouble comes through just being persecuted because you believe Jesus, and you choose the ways of Jesus. Let me say that sometimes when you choose to live for Jesus, people don’t understand your faith and so if they don’t understand your faith, don’t try and explain it to them. They don’t understand your faith because your faith is your faith. They might say, “But we also have faith in Jesus,” and so they might but their faith is their faith and your faith is your faith. And so I’m not wanting to suggest that you have a discussion or a debate even about the levels of faith that one person might have versus another. Rather just accept that someone has their faith that they walk with God and you have your faith. And your faith can take you to places in God that other people don’t understand.

I want to encourage you as you go forward that this passage of Scripture, which is effectively saying that we are a gift to Jesus, we are a gift to Jesus that as we live our lives in Jesus, everything that we live – His life on the earth – tells all of the spiritual realms around us that Jesus is alive in us, and that the eternal purposes of God are demonstrated in our living, our living the life of Jesus. So we need to be living the life of Jesus. And as we live this life of Jesus, we become the great gift that God had intended us to be. And not only that, but we just enjoy the richness of being His family and being family members together in Him.

Well, I’m sure that if you’re watching this with me today, right now, perhaps there is a super breakfast, brunch, maybe a super lunch, Christmas lunch waiting. Maybe you already had a Christmas Eve dinner. Whatever the case might be, I pray that as you enjoy the day, and enjoy this moment, you will remember that you are part of a big family and that God is just marvellous and wonderful to us as His family. And He’s not about to let us down. He’s not about to leave us. He’s not about to let anything be so bad for us that we can’t overcome it. He wants us to actually trust Him as His family. And the more we trust Him, the more we become a gift to Him to demonstrate His life on this earth.

And so as I conclude with this today, I want to say that last year, the year of 2020 has been for us as a ministry, and for many of us just marvellous, just marvellous. It’s been just wonderful. And I give thanks to God that I’m alive. And for you it’s a good idea just to say, “Thank You, Lord, we’re alive. Thank You, Lord, that we have the life of Christ, we have opportunities ahead of us, we have family that we can connect with.” Just, “Thank You, Lord.” And then after that, we begin to declare that 2021 is going to be even better, much better than any year that we’ve had previously before because we are a gift to Jesus, as much as Jesus gave us the gift of life, as much as Jesus gave us the saving blood of Jesus that we could accept Him and receive Him and we could receive the gift of eternal life and the gift of actually having a personal, personal relationship with Him, where we can talk with Him every day.

You see, I just feel led, I need to say this right now – you see, one person’s faith says; I’ll just have a very formal Bible reading every morning for 10 minutes and that’s enough to show that I’m a Christian. I go to church every Sunday and that’s my Christianity. Well, that might be your faith, and your faith might be something that you live out as you have chosen to live. But someone else’s faith might be pressing for a more interactive, personal relationship with Jesus. It could be and if I use this just as an example, like a relationship between a father and a son, there are some fathers that have rather formal relationships with their sons. And so they greet them in the morning, “Good morning, good morning.” It’s just a very quick, “Have a good day at school.” “You have a good day at work. Goodbye, Dad.” “Goodbye, son.” And there may not be any affection, just a greeting and they leave. Perhaps the father works hard and comes back late at night, and the son’s been doing homework or he’s been doing sport or whatever, and he’s gone to bed and he might not even say good night to his father. May not see him at dinner, may even not see him at weekends depending on how busy their lives are and what they do – sports and business and whatever – rather formal relationship. But then you have some fathers and sons that want to be involved in everything that each other does. The son wants to know everything about what the father is doing in business, and the father is happy to talk. The father wants to know everything that’s going on in the son’s life and the son’s happy to talk. You see, two fathers, two sons; completely different relationships. And so it is the same with Jesus and our faith. I might have a decision that I want to live interactive with my faith, having conversations with God, having conversations with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, constantly, all the time, speaking with Him, knowing Him wanting to know what His business is. Maybe He wants me to do something for Him, in a moment, that He can communicate to me and I will respond to that. And I can ask Him for things and He’ll respond to that. It’s the power of faith.

So, I’m saying to you, I’m not being, I’m certainly not going to be a judge of anybody that is having a formal relationship with God. At least they talk to God, at least Jesus is in their heart. But, there’s a lot better, there’s a lot more, there’s a lot more quality, there’s a lot more beauty, there is a lot more of the gift that Jesus is to us, and the gift that we as a body of Christ and as people are to Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit. What glorious wonders and amazing things we can share together. And so I want to say to you because of the faith of Him, we enter and we approach Him with confidence and with boldness in this season. So, merry, happy, blessed, wonderful Christmas. May your day be filled with wonderful relationships. May your day be filled with wonderful things that you do. May everything be just spectacular, wonderful in this day. May your family life be everything you want it to be, and your friends, connect with each other, give each other space, give each other grace, give each other great love of God, let it flow. Have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas. Thank you for joining this message this morning and may God bless you richly, in Jesus’ name.

Thank you for being a part of this ministry in 2020. What an unusual start it was. In the beginning of the year starting with so much planning, so much activity on the cards, celebrations, just with a sense of wonderment of what God had done in 2019 and good things that God was going to do in 2020. And then, of course, the very unusual global pandemic.

For those that have been walking in faith and living and listening to God’s voice – what a wonderful year we have had. Truly, I can say that in 2020 God opened new doors for us, created new opportunities for us and has done more than we could have imagined or thought about or even asked in our prayers for Him to do. God has been absolutely spectacular. He has done wonders and miracles and given us many signs of better things to come.

So I want to leave you, I want to read you this scripture in Ephesians and it says in chapter 3 verse 20 in The Passion Translation, 20Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you (Ephesians 3:20 TPT).

Just a quick note that has no season connected to it, whether there is a pandemic or not; God just is almighty God and He will do what He will do if you will stand in faith and allow Him and His power to energise you.

So, 2020 God has opened up many doors and we’ve stepped through them and done many great and wonderful things. 2021 promises to be and is going to be big and bold and wonderful and He’s going to do beyond our dreams and beyond what we can imagine because He energises us from the inside. And so 2021 is going to be the year of abundant overflow. Abundant overflow and we are going to go big and bold. We are not going to be put down by the world system, or by what the world says. We are going to flow in God.

Thank you for being part of this ministry. Thank you for being part of what God is doing here and we’re looking forward to all the blessings that accrue to your account because of your partnership and your agreement with what God does in this ministry.

Thank you, thank you, and may God bless you richly, in Jesus’ name. Amen.