Journey to the Light | EnLIGHTen

How To Become EnLIGHTened In God's Ways This Christmas

James Greer
Dec 4, 2022    50m
This week, Pastor James walks us through how to become enlightened in God's ways this Christmas. You must first learn to trust God. You must understand that when you are saved, you have His favor, and you must learn to act on that favor and receive the blessings and message in order to enjoy God's miracle. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: [00:00:00] Morning, Journey Church. Well, excited to starting our new series, Journey to the Light. Amen. Well, I tell you what. Do you have your bulletin? Open it up for a second to some exciting things in there. But first of all, I want you to turn around to the back. And on the back side, it tells you we want to take the rush out of the holiday season. Thank you. To focus on the reason for this season, join us for Christmas worship experience. Hey, listen, we're going to have it on December the 21st, the 22nd and the 23rd. It's going to be at 6:00. And guess what? On Sunday, on Christmas morning, you won't have to get up and say, Hey, kids, hurry up and open your presents where we can go to church. You can actually stay Christmas morning. Enjoy it with your family. Amen. But we'll have three nights. Listen, we're going to have worship. We're going to have the Lord's Supper. We're going to have a short candlelight service. It's going to really be special all three nights. So we want you to pick one of those three nights, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And then we want to be a special time with just you and your family on Christmas morning. Amen. Isn't that great? Also, look and hear there's some opportunities to serve. We're going to feed the prisoners out at Grant Parish. There's approximately 120 prisoners. If you want to be a part of that, it tells you how to be a part of that.

James Greer: [00:01:24] And you can just you can do that or you can actually come out there with us. There are some ways to other ways in the back and on the front that you can serve. There are some invite cards in here. You're talking about the easiest way to invite somebody to come to church just when you're talking to them. Just give them one of those cards. It is fantastic. So there's some easy way. I'm really excited about today's message. One one of the things I'm really excited about is when we get to it in just a minute, we're going to be talking about the timing of God. I've never been that excited about the time and the God because really you can't totally understand the timing of God. But we're going to teach you a couple of truths about the time and the God that can help you today better understand the time and of God. But today's message, the title of the day's message, is going to be enlightened. When I talk about light, a lot of times I'm talking about like next Sunday is when light Came, which is Jesus Christ to overcome darkness. When Jesus came, he came to bring light to a dark world. But today, when I'm talking about Enlightened, I'm talking about let God enlighten your mind. Let him give you some new insights where you can enjoy Christmas maybe better than you ever have before.

James Greer: [00:02:35] And the first thing that I want to talk about is I want us to see. The timing of God. And we're going to see that in Luke chapter 1, starting in verse 26, we're going to say, it's going to say this. It's going to say, In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the Angel Gabriel to Nazareth, to the town of Galilee. And, you know, and it says to a virgin, pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David, a virgin named Mary. So So I want to tell you about that. First of all, God sent an angel. It didn't just happen. And other things don't just happen. God is still in charge. Amen. In the timing for God was perfect. Do you know that the whole universe had been waiting for Jesus to be birthed since Adam and Eve? The universe had been groaning, just waiting. It has been saying, Hey, there's going to come a time, there's going to be the birth. So the timing is way. See, most of the time, many times we don't understand the timing. God, We don't understand the timing. The guy. You ready? When I say, Are you ready? The answer is always the same. When you don't understand the timing, the God, Are you ready? You trust God. When you don't understand the timing, the God you I tell you when I give y’all the answer, man, y’all should rock.

James Greer: [00:04:08] Hodge I'll do in school. I think some of y'all had a harder time at school as I did. Amen. Okay. All right. All right. So when you don't understand the timing, the God, we have to learn to trust God. But many times, listen, when we don't allow God's timing to teach us, we miss the treasures of God. When I say the treasures God, I mean it's the purpose that God had for. It could be the value, the wealth, even sometimes the pleasure. See, the time in the God didn't look right for Mary. I mean, Mary was engaged. Should never had sex. She has to go tell Joseph. Yeah. I'm pregnant. Now, that didn't look like the timing was right. Amen. Sometimes. And she said, Joseph, how you get paid? Oh, the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I think the miracle that everybody looks over, I think Joseph is a hero. I mean, my goodness, you call me Mary. I. Joseph. You know, I know we're engaged and I'm pregnant. Yeah. How did that happen? Oh, the Holy Spirit. You know, the point is. Don't allow the timing of God to cause you to miss the pleasures and the purpose of God. Seed even with Joseph, because Mary waited on God. God. That dream told Joseph to take Mary to be your wife. There's something else that I want to talk briefly about.

James Greer: [00:05:48] The timing of God is to help you enlighten, to better understand the timing of God, it says. While they were there. The time came for the baby to be born. In Ecclesiastes, it tells you this. God has made everything beautiful in its time. It doesn't always seem that way, does it? Some of y'all are going through some things right now. It doesn't seem like the timing is right. Sometimes it's on your job, sometimes it's in your marriage, sometimes it's in your health, sometimes it's in your finances. You just doesn't seem like the time is right. Amen. But God says in his time, it'll make you made beautiful. Now, what I found out is. It's not always here. See the prosperity theology today, which is one of the fastest growing religions. Wants everybody to think that everything's going to be okay while you're here on Earth. And the Bible really doesn't teach that. The Bible does say that God is going to make everything beautiful in. His time. It's going to be beautiful, but he's going to either make it beautiful now. He's going to give you the strength to go through whatever you're going through now. Or one day he's going to take you to Heaven where everything will be beautiful for eternity. Isaiah 60:22 said, I am the Lord, and when it is time, I'll make it happen quickly. Whatever God's timing, when he's ready for it to happen, it'll happen.

James Greer: [00:07:32] It's not waiting on God. God says when I'm ready for it, it's going to happen. But there's some things that you can understand about the coming of God that you can help control. There's some things you can't control. You had nothing to do when Jesus was born. Amen. That was totally in God's timing. You have nothing to do with Jesus return. That's God's timing. But there's other things that you can understand about God's timing that you may not understand. It's called the equity of God's timing. There's things, too, called equity. And equity is this and equity is built over time. You own equity in your marriage. You build it over time. You own equity in your marriage. You give them time and you give a service or you give gifts or you give energy and you start building equity in your marriage. Especially guys, you want to equity in your marriage. Give them some time, give them some service, give them a gift, take them out to eat. And then you've got equity. You have to put things in before you take them out. Amen. In fact, did you know what? Even before Jesus was born, there was something put in Mary before he came out. Equity. If you own financial equity, you have to put money in the bank and it builds equity. You start paying off your house. And then there's what they call equity. So how do you take equity and how does that apply to the timing of God? Well, if you understand the real equity, you understand the timing of God, you can help predict the future.

James Greer: [00:09:20] Only we don't call it equity. We call it sowing and reaping. Whatever you sow, you shall reap. Don't be deceived. God has not mocked whatever a man, so he shall reap. So you can help predict some of the timing of God, some of the future that you have coming your way when you learn to sow and reap to the right thing. So number one is a timing of God. Number two is the favor of God. And Mary was greatly troubled. Look at these words and wondered what kind of greetings this might be. And the angel said to her. Don't be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. I love that. Because when we have favor with God. The Lord is with us. Listen this. But the angel said to her. Don't be afraid, Mary. You have favor with God. I love having favor with God because you get favor with God when you get saved. You don't always enjoy the favor of God, but you get the favor of God. I know a lot of Christians that have a favor of God, but they're not enjoying the favor of God. They come to church every Sunday, they go home the same way. Do you get saved? You even get baptized. But you're not enjoying the favor of God.

James Greer: [00:10:54] But when you get saved, you get the favor of God. The angel is telling her you've got the favor of God. Matter of fact, she said. And Mary was greatly troubled at the words, but he said, Don't be troubled. Don't be afraid because you have the favor of God. Favor of God helps you overcome fear. I'm so excited that we're going to have a new devotion come out real soon. It said it's called finding the favor of God. The whole church is going to have the opportunity to go through our small groups, our journey groups. We're going to read five pages and then the ones that come on Sunday, we're going to have we're going to be studying what we read. The ones that are small groups that are outside church are going to do the same thing. You're all going to read five pages in one day a week. You're going to meet and talk about the whole church is going to be going through it at the same time, and we're going to be learning about the favor of God. It's it's knowing that you have the favor of God that helps you to understand the problems in the purpose of the problems. See, we don't even always understand the favor of God. There's no way you can always understand the favor. Mary couldn't understand the favor of God. There's nobody that's ever been pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

James Greer: [00:12:06] And it'll never happen again. She couldn't understand it when the angel came to her and said, You're highly favored and the Lord is with you. Listen to this verse again. Allow the God to enlighten you. Listen to verse 28 and the Angel Lord said, Now, instead, I hope you learn to personalize the Scripture. And the Holy Spirit said to, I put my name James. You're highly favored. See if you're a Christian and you're born again. You've accepted Jesus Christ as your savior. You can say the Holy Spirit has allowed. Blank to be highly favored. You can put your name in there and you can say not only are you highly favored because you're highly favored. You ready? Now the Lord is with you. Isn't it great that everybody here has accepted Jesus Christ, that you can be highly favored and you know that the Lord is with you, and that means that you're special, you're chosen, and God is with you. Think about it for a minute. When you understand that the Lord is with you, you no longer have to fear you, no longer have to worry. In other words, it's not your ability, it's not your strength, it's not your wisdom anymore. It's God's with you and for you. It changes your whole perspective, even the next verse. But the Lord said to her. And I don't read it that way. And I say in the Holy Spirit said to James.

James Greer: [00:13:40] Don't be afraid, James. You found favor with God. You got to understand, because you have the favor of God that the Lord was with you and you no longer have to be afraid. Really, what it's saying is God's strength, God's wisdom and God's power is now with you. Because one of the reasons that we're fear is because we think that we've got to make the doll decisions, that we've got to take care of it. And God says, I want you to know, Mary, you don't understand this. It's impossible to you, but God is with you. God's going to take care of it. God is going to give you your strength. God is going to give you the wisdom. Amen. So a lot of y'all came today wondering what you're going to do and how you're going to do it. And God says, Hey, you got God's favor. You're not supposed to depend on your own strength, your own power, and your own wisdom. He said, I want you to depend on him. Amen. So what do you have to fear about? The answer is nothing. So we have the time and a god. We don't understand the time and a God we trust God. And because we have the favor of God, we can always push through fear. Amen. All right. So, third, we get the message of God. The message of God. And you're going to be with child and give birth to a son.

James Greer: [00:14:53] And you're to call him Jesus. And he's going to be great. And he'll be called the son of the most high. The Lord will give him the throne of his father, David. Guess what? He's going to reign over the house of Jacob forever. For how long? Forever. His kingdom will. Amen. And his kingdom will. What? Never end. I love that. And listen. And how will this be? Because, Mary, after the angel, since I am a virgin, Mary was a what people say today. Could Mary really be a virgin? The answer is yes. And the angel answered her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you. And the power of the most high power overshadow you. So the Holy one to be born will come, will be called the Son of God. This is so important for you to understand. The message is Jesus Christ was also born of a virgin. He will be great and be called the Son of God. The Kingdom of God will rule and reign forever. Amen. But Matthew 6:33 says, and today seek e first the Kingdom of God, which is going to rule and reign forever. Amen. And His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. He says today, if you'll seek he first the Kingdom of God, God shall meet every single need in your life because you're no longer dependent on your strength, your power, and your wisdom.

James Greer: [00:16:23] It's really even more than that. It's saying the Holy Spirit overcame Mary and empowered her and overshadowed overshadowed her, and therefore she's going to bring forth a son today. When you get saved. You are overshadowed. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit that gives you the power to do whatever God's called you to do and do it with joy? Just say Mary didn't understand how she was going to get birth. He said you got favor with God. You may not understand what God's called you do or how to do it, but God said That's okay because when you got saved, you get the same Holy Spirit that Mary got to bring forth a child. Are you ready? And later on, the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. And He overshadows you and gives y’all the strength and all the power you'll ever need here on Earth and one day to bring you to Heaven. That's the message. And then the last one is probably one of my favorite of all, I guess, is because I'm getting older. And the fourth is the example or the illustration of God. See now he's telling Mary about all these things are going to happen to her. Right. And Mary, Mary's having to think. I mean, think this. Can you imagine, Mary? She's never been married. She's never had sex. God is. Tell her she's going to have the son of God.

James Greer: [00:18:03] I mean. The King of Kings, the Lord the Lord who's going to reign forever. And she says, you got the favor, you know, And Mary said, Man, how's all this going to happen? It says, Don't be afraid. And God said, Let me give you an illustration. Now, this is James paraphrasing, but I think that's kind of what was happening. And he pops up in verse 36 and he says, Even Elizabeth, your relative is going to have a child in her old age. Now, you got to understand. Y'all ready? Elizabeth's 85 years old. Mary said, Hey, now, if she can get pregnant at 85. I guess the Holy Spirit could get me pregnant. Amen. She said To be buried is now six months old. Now, now what I what I'm trying to tell you, the point was not to glorify Elizabeth, Right? It was not to say, Hey, God can get married, pregnant as a virgin, and God can allow Elizabeth. Matter of fact, Elizabeth is not only the hero of her husband history, but anyway, I'm just thinking out loud. I'm sorry. But anyway, Greg, would you rather speak up? Let's get back on the subject. Even Elizabeth, your relatives is going to have a child in her old age at 85, and she is said to be buried six months. The point was this. It wasn't to glorify Elizabeth or Mary or Zacharias, who was her husband. Are you ready? Baby.

James Greer: [00:20:07] Oh, y'all got to be kidding me. Yeah. Andrew's always the same. Okay. I wish my teacher would have done this when I went to school. Are you ready? It wasn't for that. It was to show you, no matter how impossible your situation looks like. I can take care of it. That was the point. That's why it's still here. It was an example for me in you. To tell you there's no physical or spiritual problem. Too hard for God. In fact, if you want to go on from 36 to 37, you know what he says after this? He says, Listen. Verse 37 tells you the very same thing as. He says this for nothing is impossible with God. What's impossible with God? Nothing, I say. And it's almost What's your impossible situation? And you would say nothing. You? Absolutely nothing. In fact, let me. Let me. Let me tell you something. If we went down to Luke 1:8, it would say Now why he Zacharias, who is Elizabeth's husband, was serving as a priest before God. That's when he found out his wife was pregnant. What was her husband doing? He was serving God. Zacharias and Elizabeth. They were serving God. There's a verse that I taught y’all last week. This is in John 12:26. It says, If you serve me. You must go with me. My servants will be with me wherever I am. But here it is. If you serve me, my Father will honor you.

James Greer: [00:22:02] Elizabeth and her husband Zacharias. They were serving God. He was serving him in the temple. They had wanted a child. They had prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed for God. Now, as they serve God. God honored them with a child. Do you see why I often say it's so important that you find a place to serve God while you're here during church because you can never out give God. And so while they were serving God, God honored them with a child, even at the age of 85. Now, verse 38 says, Mary goes through all this. And Mary says, I'm the Lord's servant. Mary answered. May it be to me, as you have said, and the angel left. Now, this is so important. Because what did I tell you when you get safe? You get the favor of God. When you get saved, you get the favor of God. Are y’all ready? Mary gives an illustration how to activate the favor of God. That's what you want. Yes. You get the favor of God. It's a free gift at salvation. Mary gives an illustration how to activate the God, Activate the favor of God. Mary activated the favor of God and the power of God when she said, May it be unto me. As you have said, you activate the favor of God when you take action and you say, God, let it be into me.

James Greer: [00:24:01] See, it's one thing to get the favor of God. It's another thing to ask the favor of God. So as I get ready to close my question to you is this. Are you ready to activate the favor of God? To do that? First of all, if you've never accepted Jesus Christ, you don't have the favor of God. So as I get an invitation a minute, which you'll need to do is say, Hey, man, I need to make sure I have Jesus Christ as my personal savior because I want the favor of God. Second of all, if you've accepted Christ as your personal savior, man, you need to activate them. You need to say, God, let it be unto me. And what I would say is, God, whatever you have me to do, I just want to cooperate with you. If you don't know how to serve God, you can come in a minute. There'll be people down front and you can say, Hey, man, just put me where I need to be. God can open the doors and he closes doors. You don't even have to know what it is. I can tell you, we can always find a place for you. And so what I'd say is, Listen, God, I just want to cooperate with you. And Mary didn't understand it. There's no way Mary could understand. You don't need to understand it all. It wouldn't be faith.

James Greer: [00:25:13] You could just simply say, God, I know I've accepted you. If you hadn't done that, You need to do that. God accept you as my Savior. Make sure I follow through. And baptism. I want to activate the favor of God by serving you. Not something. And then maybe you have what looks like an impossible situation. And you came this morning. You said it's just impossible. Man. God gave you illustration after illustration. After he gave you two illustrations this morning, he gave you one how the Virgin Mary got pregnant. That's an impossible situation. And he told you in Luke chapter 1 that there's nothing impossible. After he told you about Mary getting pregnant, he killed you about Elizabeth, 85 years old, how she got pregnant. And then he said, Is there anything impossible with God? And of course, the answer is no. And he's asking you what impossible situation do you have today that you need to give to him? And then fourth, maybe. Even frustrated about the timing of God. There's something in your life. I've got something in my life that I'm struggling with. The timing of God. And God said, You just got to trust me. You just got to trust me. You keep sowing the right things, you sowing the right seed. And when the timing comes, the timing is right. And you're just going to say, Hey, God, today I'm just going to trust you in the time in which you stand, let me pray with you and pray for you.

James Greer: [00:26:44] God, I just thank you that your word is so clear and so powerful. I thank you for the birth of your son. Jesus Christ. I thank you that the whole world has been waiting for this very thing to celebrate. And I pray for those that are here today that maybe don't have Jesus as a savior so they don't have the favor of God. I pray for those that need to take the action, the first action after salvation at baptism. I pray for those that say, Hey, I know that I have the favor, I know I'm safe. But listen, I want to be like Mary. I say, God, just let it be unto me. It's whatever you have to me and you need to step out and say, Hey, I need to I need to do that. Maybe there's those that say I have the impossible situation and I just need you to pray with me and pray for me. I love when the Bible says where two or three gathered. There I am too, and they can ask anything. It'll be done unto them. Maybe you want to come and join the church. Maybe you just want somebody to pray with you and pray for you, whatever it is. I pray that you let God have his will and his way. I ask it in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360