Hope Is Here

Taking A Raw And Realistic Look At The Christmas Story.

Matt Stokes
Dec 24, 2020    35m
Do you ever feel like there is no way that Jesus can understand the problems you face? If so, by taking a raw and realistic look at the Christmas story, this message allows us to see that Jesus came to the world in that hardest way so that he could understand us and give us hope. Video recorded at Ocean City, New Jersey.

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.

Matt Stokes: 00:07 I'm going to read to you a classic piece of scripture on this Christmas Eve day, I believe it creates the context on which we're going to meditate and contemplate in these moments that we have together. It's Luke chapter 2, and it reads as this, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were very afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; (This is a sign because, this a sign from God that it is so unusual.) Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Amen.

Matt Stokes: 02:40 It seems that every year I read this passage. And every time I do, I study it, I contemplate it, as I come to the Christmas season. And not like anyone else in this room, I had this great anticipation of celebrating the birth of the Savior. I have these thoughts about hot chocolate by the fireplace, and hugs with my kids, and loving glances between Laura and I, as they opened some gift that maybe they weren't expecting, or their dream is coming true. Or we watch some Claymation that we didn't watch since we were little kids, revisiting the miracle in the manger. But if you're anything like me, and I think you are, the romance of what I just described, the romance is robbed by reality, is anybody with me? Say, yes.

Matt Stokes: 03:40 The reality, let's just talk about the reality of retail. And reality is, one, retail. Right? Then there's just the reality of rude people, rude shoppers. It's almost like rudeness is just like brought out by the Christmas season, which is just completely ironic. The reality of the rat's nest of red and green lights that I have to untangle from last year, and I'm totally fried and frustrated as I pull out this huge clump. And I'm like, who put these away? Who put these away, family meeting everyone together, who did this? Who put these away? Who put them away? I did, right? I'm dad, that's what I do. And then of course, Laura's watching me, my clothes are everywhere as I'm trying to find an outfit for Christmas. As if anybody really cares what I wore last Christmas, let alone last week. But nonetheless, I'm into that, right?

Matt Stokes: 04:38 And now we have this year where we've run out a room with our registering, so we have to add a fourth gathering and we're wondering who else is coming. And my own family's wondering, should we stay at home and make room for other people that haven't been here? Or do we create the family memory? Because maybe we need more of them since we're getting older, and might not be all in the same house forever. And so we're wrestling through that ethical dilemma, along with the dilemma of distancing, and then mask management, temperature takers, fraud voting videos, social media wars, COVID weddings, COVID Christmas, and it's just never what I always hoped it would be.

Matt Stokes: 05:24 Until I remember the way that hope came into this world, see, the way hope came into this world was far from the romantic moment that we've made it out to be. You know, in our minds, there's golden winged angels in the nativity scenes that we usually have on our mantle or on the coffee table. The shepherds look like they're just came from Armani and Versace and Gucci, as they catwalk into the barn, right? Now, I don't know what your figurines like, but these guys are beautiful. Please, it was more like the angel comes to Mary, and Gabriel says, as she's terrified, shaking probably on her knees, sweating in fear. And he says, no, no, don't fear, you found favor with God, you're going to have a child because the Holy Spirit's going to come upon you. And he's going to be called the Son of the most high God, and his name is going to be Jesus, because he's going to save the people from their sins. And as beautiful as that is, here's what he didn't say. He didn't say fear not, but your whole family's going to think you're a floozy because you actually were unfaithful to Joseph, and so's your whole community. And they'll probably going to think that the whole time you're pregnant, and the rest of your life. Fear not, but yeah, Joe, your boyfriend, yeah, he's going to take you on a 90 mile donkey journey to Bethlehem and you're going to feel like your water is going to break on every bump on the trip. Yeah, fear not, but when you get there, you're going to be totally on your own, nobody's going to help you. But that's okay, because nothing's impossible with God. Right? Okay, bye.

Matt Stokes: 07:06 Okay, so they don't have Luke chapter 2, they don't have what we just heard about Simeon and Anna giving these wonderful prophecies about who Jesus was going to be. They didn't have John chapter 1, where it says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten, the one and only given one of the Father.)" That's not what they had. What did they have? I'll tell you what she had. Mary had a mysterious visit from an angel, and then nine months of mystery, nine months of controversy, nine months of gossip, nine months of ridicule, nine months of exclusion, Merry Christmas. Do you have any relatives who used to say that? I had relatives that used to say that like, Merry Christmas, it was like a curse word. I'm from Philly, did anyone else have relatives that did this, or am I alone in this?

Matt Stokes: 08:06 But the practical point in the Christmas Eve history, and Christmas Eve itself is this, there's hope in this promise, the promise of God's plan, cost what it will. This is where they learn from St. Paul, where he says in Corinthians, he says, that God confounds the wisdom of this world by doing things that seem foolish in the minds of the natural man. He also says in Isaiah 55, "My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." So what are you saying? What I'm saying is this, this Christmas Eve, some of the most wonderful works of God, make no sense in the mind to the natural man. Some of the most wonderful works of God, make no sense in the secular system, within the confines of common sense. And I'm saying that to you, because if you're looking for that to happen, your hopes will be disappointed, your hopes will be dashed into a thousand pieces on the ground.

Matt Stokes: 09:16 See, there's some of us, and I'm going to tell you that at the end of this gathering, I'm going to ask you to give your life to Christ, to surrender your life to Christ, to come to Christ, to receive forgiveness in the hope of heaven. But there are some of us that think, or have the presumption, that when we come to Christ that all the lemons become lemonade, and that we're going to bloom where we're planted, we're going to find the golden unicorn, and the rest of our lives are just going to be making total sense. Well, it didn't make sense for Job when he lost everything, it didn't make sense for Daniel when he was thrown into the lion's den, didn't make sense for Moses when he was up against the Red Sea and then wandered in the desert for 40 years, and the list could go on. It didn't make sense for David when he was anointed to be king, and then he had to run from his own son and his own kingdom in Israel. I'm saying God works outside the confines of common sense in his people, in ways that we don't even see. He's bringing greater glory to himself, and he wants you today, this Christmas Eve, he wants you to see, know, and experience, the hope that's here right now in this world. Because, hey, hope may be really hard to find today. I mean, am I right? Or am I right? Hope may be really hard to find in the world we're living in today.

Matt Stokes: 10:42 See, when Mary came to the inn, did you see this? There was no room for her, there was nothing set up for her, there was no system for her, there was no organized support for her. There was no arrangements to accommodate or accomplish what she was about to bring, what she was about to birth, what she was about to deliver into this world, it was all outside the confines of common sense. And I'm saying to you today, does anyone else feel like we're living in a world that's lacking some common sense? Because babies are meant to be birthed in barns. Talk about making no sense, this was no ordinary baby. Mary was pregnant with God's plan. Mary was pregnant with God's purpose. Mary was pregnant with God's promise. She was pregnant with the promise of the ages. She was pregnant with the hope of the world. And I don't know Mary saw God, when she stared into the face of that innkeeper and he said, no room for you. I don't know if she saw the strange star that shined through the night the donkey took that ride to Bethlehem. I don't know if she sensed his presence when she began to bear down in that barn. I don't know. What I know is this, somewhere, at some point, at some time, between the manger and the visitation from the Maji, this Mary, full of grace, she recognized, she realized that God's promises aren't restricted to the confines of common sense. Are you with me? Say, yes.

Matt Stokes: 12:26 See, I don't know if you'll see it, I don't know if you'll sense it, I don't know when you'll see it or how you'll see it, I'm praying and so are many others that are with us today are praying, that some of you are going to see it today, right here and right now in the midst of this gathering. This Christmas Eve, someone needs to get excited about the fact that God does wonders outside the ways of this world, outside the wisdom of men, outside the realm of reason. Are you excited about that? Say, amen.

Matt Stokes: 12:58 It says in the Book of Ephesians that, "God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever ask or think according to the power, his power, that's working through you." Man, that's something to get excited about. And as exciting as that is, you've got to measure that promise against your present reality, because they often don't look the same. You might not see a lot of hoping in your present reality, that's just a fact. You've got to trust him beyond what your own eyes can see today, because what you can see in the eyes of men right here, you've got an innkeeper that's looking at a pregnant woman and he's saying, there is no room for you. He did what was common, he shut the door, he just did business. He said, you can't come in here. He said, there's no room in here for you. He said, go give birth in my garage. My garage, what, in the garage? Yeah.

Matt Stokes: 13:57 Let me paint the picture a little more clearly for you, if I haven't before, you see, I've been to Bethlehem. See, I've been to Bethlehem. Sorry, just felt like that was...I've been to Bethlehem, I've been to Israel, I've been there three times. Let me tell you something about Bethlehem, it is a little town, it is a little town that's called Bethlehem. It's a busy little town, something interesting about this little town, there's no barns, right? This isn't Kentucky or Kansas, what you have in Bethlehem is a very unique type of structure. It's called a caravanserai, caravanserai. Everyone say with me, caravanserai, right? Really, you can tell from what it really means, it means caravan hotel. It's a caravan hotel, that's what it is. It's a two-story building, typically, and on the second floor, that's where all the people stay. On the first floor, you have these alcoves underneath your room, and you can go there, you can see them today. And underneath, they kept all the animals that you brought with you, can you picture the scene? You slept on the second floor, and on the ground floor was the garage where you brought your beast of burden, who brought your bags to Bethlehem? That's what's there, that's what this really looks like. Little barn, little manger, we used collect, Laura, right, little barns and mangers. We had like, probably about a dozen of them before we just ran out of room, and we were like, we got to give some of these things away. But the picture here is this, picture a parking garage, a 2000 year old parking garage, that's what this is looking like. And in the bottom, you've got an alcove over top of the room, and inside this alcove, you have camel, mule, donkey, camel, Mary, Jesus, Joseph, shepherd, camel, mule, donkey. Boom, that's what you're looking at on Christmas Eve. And that's what you've got right here, and they're all looking at like, what's going to happen. Talk about embarrassing, that's the reality. Mary is doubled over next to her own donkey, and Joseph's looking for clean rags in the garage. Do you see what I'm saying?

Matt Stokes: 16:14 Okay, let's go one step further. Forget about the innkeeper, how about the people on the second floor? There's no windows here, there's no insulation here, there's no soundproofing technology here. And a baby coming into the world is not a quiet moment, my mama told me I was screaming. Seriously, when I came out of the womb and into this world, I was already screaming. I was told there was no need to spank me, I was already screaming on my way out, that is the truth. Some of you are like, oh, so that explains a lot. I say all that again to say this, so many times, we don't understand God's plan. And we say, if this is God's plan, then why could I be locked out here, there's no hope here? If this is God's plan, how could I be locked out in the cold on what seems to be the most vulnerable moment in my life? This isn't God, this wouldn't be God, this couldn't be God, this shouldn't be God. Shouldn't it? Well, I don't know because the scripture says that he uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wisdom of the natural man.

Matt Stokes: 17:29 Again, some of God's greatest plans happen outside the realms of worldly wisdom. The greatest plans happen outside the confines of what we would consider common sense. Man, if you want God to speak to you on Christmas Eve right now, please say, amen again. Maybe this Christmas Eve, the world's government is telling you get back in the garage. Maybe it's a person, maybe it's a circumstance, maybe it's your own fear, something's telling you, get back in the garage. And you're wondering where's God? You're doubled over in your own pain next to your own proverbial donkey, whatever that donkey is, you're doubled over next to your own mule in the midst of your broken marriage, you're doubled over next to your own enslaving addiction next to your own dysfunctional family, you're doubled over in your own depression in the life that you now have, or the faith walk that you once had, or the work that you once did, or the witness your life once was and longer is, listen, you're not alone in any of that. Where is hope? Hope is here. I want to challenge you this Christmas Eve, and I'm talking to you as much as I'm talking to myself, don't wait for the world to open up a way for you. Don't wait for the secular system to swing the doors wide open for you, and hand stimulus checks to you. You wait on God, you pray to God, you listen for God, and you hear from God. What do I mean, what am I saying? You hear him say in his Word, trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge him, acknowledge the Lord in all your ways, and he will make your path straight.

Matt Stokes: 19:26 Proverbs 3, Jeremiah 29, says, "You know the plans I have for you. You know the thoughts I have towards you. He says, they're thoughts of peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a..." Listen to this word, "To give you a future and a hope." Hallelujah. Someone else say hallelujah. Say it again. Say it louder, again. Yes, that's God speaking straight to your heart because he wants you to know that he wants to do great things in you, great things through you. God wants to do great things beyond the boundary of common sense, great things outside the ways of the world, great things beyond, that confound the wisdom of this world. He says, I have a way of doing great things in strange places. I have a way of doing great things in alienated places, I have a way of doing great things in ostracized places, in obscure places, rejected places. Just like I did with Mary, so I can do you. And when I'm talking about places, I'm not talking about geographical or logistical places, I'm talking about God wants to do great things in your heart, he wants to do great things in your mind, he wants to do great things in your soul, he wants to do great things in your spirit. Maybe this Christmas Eve, God wants to do a great thing in your body. Maybe this Christmas Eve, God wants to heal someone this Christmas Eve. Maybe God wants to do a great thing by giving you deliverance to your addiction, or whatever is dominating your life. God wants to do a great thing through your will, by the way that you experienced lasting transformation. God wants to do great things through you.

Matt Stokes: 21:12 So, it's beautiful to read the Christmas story, and to integrate all these verses together, unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given. But why, why was the Son given? Why was the Son given to us in Bethlehem's garage? Hear the application for your life this Christmas Eve. Listen, God's perfect plan may not be the ideal circumstance. Because we think, and I understand why, and so do I, well, if it's God and he's perfect, and if it's God's perfect plan, then it's going to be glorious right away, and then it isn't. If you look at the great men and women of scripture, you will see that right away. When Joseph is in pits and prisons, and Moses is in the Red Sea and 40 years on a desert trip, and Daniel's in a lion's den, Paul is shipwrecked, beaten, stoned. And in Romans 5, he says what? That patience produces endurance, and endurance produces hope. And hope makes us not ashamed. Because hope, hope makes us not ashamed. In other words, hope makes us confident, because the love of Christ is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, given to us." Like, wow, like what gives him the strength and the wherewithal to say that, what happened to them? I'm saying, here's what happened to them, they understood something. They all, Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Paul, they all understood that God's perfect plan might not be the ideal circumstance. And that's what I'm saying to you this Christmas Eve.

Matt Stokes: 22:46 Here's the point, you might be in pain this Christmas Eve. You might be in the pain of divorce. You might have lost someone that you really, really love this year. You might be unemployed, and honestly, unemployed doesn't really mean that much to you until it happens to you, until you can't feed your family, until you can't pay your mortgage. You don't know cancer, until you have cancer. You might just have a few days clean and sober. You might have an illness and it's not getting better. You might live, or you might be in a workplace, where you were criticized every day, just for no reason at all, just because people are just plain mean, or you might be criticized for your faith. Please hear this Christmas encouragement, the world may not recognize you, important people might not acknowledge you, religious people might even hurt you, but hope is here. And God's got a plan for you, God's got a purpose for you. If you're in the dark, somehow, spiritually in the dark, remember what the scripture says, the Apostle John said that Christ is the light that lighteth every man that comes into the world, and the greatest work of God might not look like the ideal plan.

Matt Stokes: 24:04 Do you know who's the greatest example of that? Jesus. Do you know who's the greatest example to follow? Jesus. Listen to this, he was forced outside the realm of the religious system, did you know that when you read the gospels, you'll find out there wasn't anybody who hated Jesus more than the so-called religious people. He was outside the realm of the religious system. He was also outside the structure of the social system, his mother had to give birth in a shelter that was made for sheep and camels. Outside the realm of the religious system, outside the realm of the social system. Now watch me, because I'm going somewhere with this, he was even crucified outside the confines of the governmental system. They broke all the rules of a proper trial, they didn't have the right number of witnesses, they couldn't get the witnesses to agree. They lied, they tried him at night, which was against the law. They even took them outside the boundaries of the city, they took them up a Hill, they stretched out his arms wide, and he died on that Hill, he died on Calvary. Which is just as much of the Christmas message as any other part, because the reason he was born, was so that one day he would die for the sins of the world. And I'm saying to you, he died outside the constructs, he died outside the concepts of common justice.

Matt Stokes: 25:25 And I'm saying all that, because I'm putting this into a place where I can say this. Here's the sacred irony of what I just said to you. There is going to be a storm, even though you're not going to get a lot, as far as snow goes, especially along the coast, there will be some snow in the interior northeast, parts of the great Lake. But what we're going to have to watch out for here is some flooding, okay? Jesus is coming in 15 minutes, I just got a news alert, and you need to know. I tried to keep my candle app on so I could show it to you when it was time and Satan got ahold of my phone, Here's the sacred irony, after all that I just said, watch what just happened here. And if you're going to get something on Christmas Eve, get this, being forced outside the social confines in his birth, and then being forced outside the religious confines in his life, and then being forced outside the political confines in his death. The Father placed him exactly where you could reach him. Do you see the irony? The more the world tried to push him out, the more they put him in a place where everybody could reach him, What'd you do this, would you thank God this Christmas Eve, would you thank the Father for putting Jesus in a place where you could reach Him? Everybody say, thank you, Father. Thank you, Father. He put him in a place where anyone could reach him, anyone who's ever been rejected, anyone who's ever been cast down, anyone's ever been forsaken, overlooked, under thought, they could see him, they could reach him, they could look into his eyes and see the Savior and say, hope is here. Hallelujah. Hallelujah, praise God, thank God this Christmas Eve that God put his Son in a place where you could reach him. Jesus came in a way, he didn't come in away, like he was such a glorious King that he was in some kind of palace that he was in some kind of ivory tower. No, he came in such a way that any man or woman or child, even a priest or a prostitute, or any sinner in between, they could sit in his presence, they could listen to his voice, they could hear his words, they could touch him, they could sense his presence, they could listen and hear his voice speak right from his voice to theirs, his heart right to theirs. And they would know that they have hope, because God in his infinite plan brought his Son to the earth in such a way that any man, anywhere, anytime, who had done anything, could find the Savior.

Matt Stokes: 28:04 If you're here this Christmas Eve, understand this about Jesus, he wants you to find him. He wants you to hear him say, hope is here for you this Christmas Eve. You don't have to buy your way into his forgiveness, thank God you don't have to get voted into his forgiveness. He wants you to find him this Christmas Eve, you don't have to join a church, or be some kind of membership to enter into his friendship and forgiveness. You don't have to politic, there's so much politicking today, you don't have to politic your way into his forgiveness. Are you coming to that point this Christmas Eve, are you coming to the point where you realize he wants you to find him? David said, I could find him, even if I walked through the Valley of the shadow of death/ Our own Matthew Maher would tell you I could find him, even in a prison cell. Job would say, I could find him when he took away my health, and family, and everything, else I thought was successful. Solomon would say, I could find him in a palace, a crystal, or a palace made of gold. The shepherds could say, I could find him in a feeding trough made for animals, because that's where he was. That's how he came into this world, that's the mystery of God.

Matt Stokes: 29:17 And I want to encourage you with that this Christmas Eve, because there's another side to this. And I'll close with this, maybe there are some people in your life that have power over you today, like the proverbial innkeeper in your life today. You might have a boss that has power over your paycheck. You may have a family member that abuses you, and they abuse you in ways that nobody else knows but you. You might a spouse that's threatening divorce, or actually in the midst of divorce. You might even have jail time in front of you, but you know what? No one can keep you from Jesus. Nobody can keep you from Jesus. I don't care what things you've accumulated in this life, material, possessions, prosperity, prominence, pleasures, all those things can be gone in a moment. Here's something that can never be taken from you, and that is Jesus Christ, and the hope that comes from him. No one can block you from him, no one can hold you back from him. The Father put his Son in a place where you could reach him, where no one could keep you from him. And I want to encourage you this Christmas Eve with this word, his arms are open wide to you. This Christmas Eve message, this is why he came in such a way, this is why he came in the way that he did so that no matter who you are, and no matter what you've done, no matter where you've gone, every sinner. In every generation, his arms are open wide to you. See, this is so contrary to the ways of the world, the world doesn't want to hear a thing from you until you become popular, until you become prominent. But Jesus is saying, no, I am listening, and I am longing to hear from you that you know that you're a sinner. Because if you know that you're a sinner, then my arms open wide to you to say, I want to be your Savior.

Matt Stokes: 31:06 So this is what we're going to do. We're going to close with this song, and if you want to take out your candle app, we're going to stay seated as we close with this song. But what I want to challenge each person to do right now in this moment is as we begin this song, I want you to pray and ask if today's the day that you're going to surrender your life to Christ. If you pre-registered, there's a good chance that maybe you're a been a part of this fellowship for some time, but you may be a guest among us. It doesn't matter who you are, how long you've been coming here, whether this is your first day or you've been coming for 10 years. Today's the day that you say I'm going to surrender my life to Jesus Christ. I need the gift that he's giving, and that is the gift of forever forgiveness, and the hope, hope is here. What hope are you talking about? I'm talking about the hope of heaven. If that's you, and you're willing to say that I'm a sinner, and I'm taking my sin, and I am throwing down my pride, and my anger, and my bitterness, and my resentment, and my unforgiveness, and my lust, and my prejudice, and my injustice, and every other thing in my heart. And I look at Christ on the cross, and I realized that you were born so that one day you would die on that cross for my sins and in my place, and give me this forever forgiveness gift and the hope of heaven. It says for the wages of sin, what you earn from sin is death, but there is a gift, better than any Christmas gift you're ever going to tonight or tomorrow, it's the gift of God and it's the eternal life. But here's the most important part, it's eternal life through the means of Jesus Christ our Lord. And if you're here and you're willing to look at that cross and that empty tomb and realize that he died for you to forgive you of sins, and he rose again for you to show that every promise in his word is true. As we light these candles and we just hold them as we bring the lights down and sing this last song, about a minute into the song, after we sing the first chorus, I'm going to ask anyone who's going to be making that decision right now for the first time to actually stand in your seat wherever you are. Just stand with that candle in your hand, someone is going to come to you and just give you a copy of the scriptures. We just want to celebrate you, we just want to know you you're here. That's our gift, that's what we receive is the celebration of knowing that you received his gift. And it says in the scriptures, it says in the scriptures that all of heaven rejoices when someone throws down their sin and repents of that and turns to Christ, when old things pass away and new things come, when you forget what's behind and you reach forth for what's ahead.

Matt Stokes: 34:01 So as we move into this song in just a moment, I'm going to step back into this place. And go ahead, you can take out your phones right now and you can get them ready, and we'll bring the lights down, and we're going to move into this song. But in just a moment, I'm going to come back and stand in this place. And if God presses it into your heart to stand with that candle in your hand, I want to challenge you to stand. If you brought someone, just say, do you want to stand? Because if you stand, I'll stand with you. I told the story last week about a man who was here with tears coming down his eyes, because he said, I just couldn't stand, I was waiting for someone else to stand. Well, then ask the person next to you to stand with you, because sometimes you've got to borrow the strength of someone else in the midst of this moment, which is a moment where your eternity hangs in the balance. Because heaven and hell is dependent on this one question, what will you do with Jesus Christ? He's offering you the gift of his forever forgiveness and the hope of heaven. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. If God is pressing in into your heart for today to be your day, this Christmas Eve for you to receive the greatest gift of all time and eternity, in just a moment, be praying. Everyone, please in this room, be praying because we're going to ask those individuals in this room who are making that commitment right now, maybe for the first time, to stand. So with your candles lit, sitting in your seats, let's worship together.

Recorded in Ocean City, New Jersey.
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