Holiday Message – Ps John Bendixen (WTB)
Scripture References: Matthew 1:20-23 (NKJV); Matthew 2:1-2 (NKJV); 1 John 4:7-9 (NKJV); 1 John 3:1-3, 16 (NKJV)
Good morning everybody. Thank you for joining us on this digital service. You’re watching this digitally as opposed to being in an auditorium for two reasons. One reason is because, as I have explained the previous Sunday to you, I really had it in my heart that our President made a request that we take responsibility for managing indoor services as the new virus, the contagious new virus strain, just takes off in our country. He asked us to manage indoor events and take responsibility for what is good or not.
Now, there is going to be many different people with a lot of different opinions across Christian circles and across different platforms because of economic reasons; for many different reasons, they’re going to have different views on what the President said. So, I’m speaking this to you without yet knowing what any decisions would be made by the President about any other additional measures to curb the virus. However, that’s less important to me than he has made a request. I felt in my heart, and I’ve spoken with Pastor Sharon about it. We’ve prayed about it, that we are going to seed, we’re going to sow these services into cooperating with a spiritual government of God and a human government that God placed on the earth. And just because he requested and asked us to take responsibility, we are going to co-operate and partner with God and our local government with this.
Many people would say, “Yeah, but you know this is really not something that is required and the gathering together of people is more important, and it’s Sunday, Christmas, and all those things. Well, I’m aware of all of that. We took all of those things into consideration. It just makes our seed that we are sowing into the future of our Nation, and it just takes this seed that we are sowing into the future of proper government and proper authority because of, not an order, but a request of cooperation.
That gives us as a ministry, it gives us a lot of clout with God, and when it comes to doing things that we can access in our prayer life, we can get things done on the earth because of a seed that we have sown into the future of a good co-operation between government and church going forward. I don’t need to be on television. I don’t need to tell thousands of people what we’re doing. I only have to be obedient to what God has placed in my heart to be someone who sows a seed.
I remember once hearing a man, a very influential man in the body of Christ. His name at that time was Yonggi Cho, and Yonggi Cho decided to change his name because he wanted an identity change—spiritually between the church and the government and the people of South Korea. So, he changed his name as an act of a statement that he will seed his identity so that the identity of the nation and the church in the nation could have something that God could work with. Well, I’m doing the same here; and we’re doing the same here. We could be gathering together, but we’re using this platform in this way.
So, without speaking any more about that, I believe that this is going to give us a good platform that we can go forward with, in our prayer time and in our Christian walk with God in the early parts of next year. Remember, for next year, and I’ll talk about this on the New Year’s message, just after New Year, on that Sunday message; I’ll talk about Big and Bold Version 2 in 2022.
Let’s read Matthew chapter 1 because this is where our salvation began. This is where our joyful Christmas message begins. Matthew 1, verse 20 says: ²⁰ But while he thought about things, this is Joseph; he finds out that his wife is pregnant, but they haven’t been married and they’re not together, and they haven’t been together, so he thinks things are not as they should be.
²⁰ But while he thought about these things, Joseph, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. ²¹ And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” ²² So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ²³ “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:20-23 NKJV)
Of course, and a Christmas Sunday Service, I want to talk about many different things, but it began with a woman who was obedient to God. She heard a message from God; she made her physical body; she made her entire future available to God, the Father, to bear a Son and to have a Son that would eventually go on to become our Saviour.
What a moment for any woman to have an encounter with God? What a moment for a man, who is not yet married to a woman, but she is pregnant, knowing actually that she is not pregnant by another man, but pregnant by God. I mean, what a moment this is for two people, two individuals having encounters with Jehovah. Two individuals have encounters with the God of Abraham. Two individuals, having an encounter, with the words of the Prophets from generations that have spoken and declared this moment to come to pass. What a time?
I sometimes think about what Mary’s thoughts would have been every day, as her stomach grew bigger and the baby grew bigger in her stomach. I often think about Joseph walking around town, and in the nighttime, lying on his bed thinking about how this is possible, how this could happen? What is his responsibility as a father, going to raise this child, that is going to be named Jesus and is God with us? How do I raise this Son? Quite a lot of things.
I speak like this because at this moment in time, that is just the beginning of the story, but the beginning of the story, of course, had a lot of humanity in it. It had divinity in it. Supernatural things were happening all the time. We will talk about some of those supernatural things, but there was a lot of humanity, a lot of human involvement, to get Jesus into the earth, to have Jesus say the things that He said to be in a place where He became flesh. A lot of humanity, obviously in the beginning stages there’s a lot less of the Divine Christ, there is a lot more of the human Chris, the baby Jesus. There is a lot more, of the parental engagement, and there is a lot more humanity involved in the early stages of Jesus’ life. I mean, it’s just interesting for us to consider this because there are times in our lives, and I feel, and I sense in my heart that as a church, as the Nation’s go, we are in a significant moment. Notwithstanding that, we’re almost two years into a pandemic, global crisis, virus scenario. Not to mention that, but things are not as normal, and I have reflected on normal as it used to be, and normal as it is now.
I feel we are at a precipice, at a crossing point, and we might find ourselves as we are engaging in new things; we might find ourselves in the same place that Mary and Joseph were in, pondering the things that God speaks to our spirits. Holding them, carrying them, and we may have some human moments that are allowed, it’s allowed to have thoughts. I mean, Mary and Joseph were pondering these things, and then he had a visitation in a dream. So, it’s okay to ponder from a natural point of view. It’s okay to ponder. What is going on? How do I respond? What is my place in this, and what is my next set of actions? It’s okay to do that, but then it is important to act spiritually and act in line of the Word of God, and the prayers that we prayed, and what God has placed in our lives for His sake and His Kingdom and His Glory.
Matthew 2:1 1 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, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1-2 NKJV) I wanted to read that part to you because to me that even though there were all these human moments and Jesus was still a little baby and He was very dependent physically on the care of His mother and father, and on the environment that He had to grow up in.
There was already a divine surge of worship for Jesus, a divine surge of this King that was born. There was divine energy in the universe that was there to welcome Jesus into the earth. I say to you; I sense that there is a divine surge that is happening for the glory and the worship of God. There is a divine surge happening now, that the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords is about to show Himself and manifest Himself in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, in ways that we could not and have not yet been able to comprehend. It is like Ephesians say; it is beyond our imaginations. It is beyond our wildest dreams.
Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Heavenly Father, is about to do something majestic and glorious, and the earth’s energy, the earth’s spiritual forces, the people that God has placed on the earth, they know it. You can feel it; you can sense it. His church and the spiritual people realise this is the turning point. The church is certainly at a turning point.
I want to say from one John chapter four, verse 7, 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8 NKJV). So, this is a moment for us, in this season, to really, really focus on loving God and loving as God loves. I want to encourage you to follow God’s agenda in every relationship you have in this season. Don’t follow the agenda that you have predetermined for yourself. I think I am going to take a lot of time off to myself, and I am going to watch a lot of TV, or I am going to read books, and that is my relaxation. I want to suggest to you; I want to encourage you, rather take the time to be the love of God to some people. Watch the fruit, watch the joy, watch the change that begins to come, when you are more tolerant, when you’re more kind, when you’re more gentle, when you are expressing the love of God in this season.
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:8-9 NKJV) Because Jesus was born to die—He was born in His humanity; so that He could die in His humanity. We have been blessed with the privilege of living life through His Son, Jesus, our Saviour, Jesus.
In 1 John Chapter 3 verse one to three, the Word says 1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! What an awesome thing that we should be called children of God. Therefore the world does not know us. If you are someone who loves Jesus, they don’t fully understand you, 2 … and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 NKJV)
What a wonderful thing to look forward to, that we are being changed even now, and then at some point in our eternal future, we will look just like Him. We will be just like Him. Everything about Him, we will be like HIm, and that is the thing that we strive for now. Right now, in this season. You don’t have to wait to make a new years resolution. You don’t have to wait until some big event happens. You don’t have to wait until some crisis happens. You don’t have to wait for another day. You can do it right now and say, Lord, I am becoming more like You, and the way I am going to do it is, I am going to love the people around me, I am going to use this season which is already here—a Thanksgiving season. It is already something that we remember that Jesus was born so that we could have this kind of wonderful, glorious life in Him.
I want to go back to the scripture that is one John three verse 16. 16 By this we know love, love; by this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16 NKJV) It is part of what I am encouraging you and imparting to you, that in this season … Tell me: Who does not like to be served on a vacation or on downtime? Who does not like to have someone bring them while they are sitting on the couch or watching the sunset over the ocean or enjoying the outdoors, perhaps sitting on the patio, maybe you are just indoors relaxing on the couch? Who doesn’t like to have somebody say, “Can I make you a cup of coffee? Can I make you a cup of tea?” And when they come and bring you something, maybe there is a biscuit on it or something, chocolate, something that’s nice. Who doesn’t like to have little favours and little servings, little things done for them and to them like that? Who doesn’t like to have someone say: “Can I go to the shop and buy you something and come back with your favourite food item or favourite magazine?” or whatever it is, just people thinking about you. Won’t you feel special, won’t you feel good when someone is doing something for you and just showing you appreciation and just recognising you and they see you they serve you they love you? Who doesn’t enjoy that?
And so maybe sometimes people do that on a fairly regular basis because that’s their gift, that’s the way they show love every day. Then it’s your time to honour that love. Respond back and serve them. Maybe it’s an opportunity for you to just go: if they are the ones that normally stand in the kitchen, maybe it’s time for you to stand in the kitchen with them and talk, just talk, and just have conversations. Make them a coffee, make them a cold drink, make them an ice tea, whatever and just be there with them. Your presence, your conversation, your relationship that you have with them, that fellowship that you have, while they are doing what they do in the kitchen, could be just something that really sparks a sense of “Wow, my day has turned out wonderful”.
I’m particularly focused on this aspect of a relationship and the humanity component of us that, like Josef and Mary, pondered the things of God in their hearts. They wondered how they were going to behave as humans and how they are going to approach this new spiritual, divine future that God had put them into. In both cases, it required divine dreams and interventions. I say to you while you’re relaxing, ask the Lord. Speak to Him. Say, “Lord, I, ask You, that as I ponder, what will happen in the future? As I wonder what will happen in this year ahead, in the year that is significant because there’s been so much chaos and crisis, so much stuff going on in the world. I wonder what it is I can do that can make a difference?”
Well, I can tell you right away, certainly what the Lord really put on my heart to do, is that we have to focus on relationships and be Big and Bold in our relationship development and growth in 2022. So, for me, we’re going to go Big and Bold In version 2 in 2022, and we’re going to go Big and Bold with relationships. We’re going to push the envelope with relationships and see what God can do in covenant. See what God can do as we serve and as we love and as we speak words of gentleness and kindness, and we become the hands of Christ, the mouth of Christ, the feet of Christ, and we begin to do things, first with the people around us in our home and then the people that we’re with, in the smaller community of work and or church and then see how that goes from there.
I believe we are going to see that as we do that, God will take the energy that we have in our obedience, and people will come to the shining of His glory. The God of heaven will speak to them, and they will come and worship the King of kings. They will come and glorify His name. They will come bearing their gifts of themselves, and they will come to bring and to know and to understand this great God that is a God of great love and great strength and courage and hope and a source of our life force. When they see it in us and around us, they’re going to want more of it. I believe it’s going to be one of the great things that God can do in the church; in 2022 is that the church must rise in relationships, rise in love, rise in a purpose that is a divine thing. Yes, we have to ponder these things in our humanity. What it means to us? How do we execute it? What do I do next? How do I present this to the public, as Joseph had to do? How do I live with this divine thing that has been birthed among us? Yes, we will have those moments.
In our obedience, God will send people into our lives. God will send people that will come to worship God; from afar, people will come; from afar, people will hear. From afar, people will want to know about this God, as we are obedient to Him. It is from the little things that get birthed—like Jesus was little when He was birthed. He became the Saviour of the world.
To that, I give glory and honour, and to that, I say may this season where you are resting in your body. If you are not and you are working, I pray that God’s peace and the rest that you require, that His mighty strength will energise you in the inner man, that you will know that through even this message, through relationships, through things around you, you will experience God, you will know Him. You will experience His being with you wherever you may be working or activities you might be doing, He is with you, He is restoring you, He is energising you, and He is causing you to rise up and come back into 2022 with a new resolve, new energy, a new capacity for the things that God has for us.
Well, this is the Sunday after Christmas, and I think it is quite the way the Holy Spirit wanted it to come out. I have done my best to yield my vessel and let Him speak through this vessel. I encourage you, the greatest value that you can invest in is not toys. It is not holiday moments. It is not because of the environment that you are in. It is in the presence of God, with Him, and then letting that God that is in you flow to others that are around you.
So, from me, from Pastor Sharon, from the Ministry, thank you for joining us and may your season be blessed. I look forward to ministering to you on the first, early, early, first Sunday of 2022.
Peace be with you. May He, the Holy Spirit, rest upon you, may His joy rise up inside of you, and may this message give you hope and joy and inspiration to want to just connect with God in a much stronger way and enjoy this life and this time together.
So, thank you again. God bless you in Jesus’ Name.