Intro End of Year Giving - (Missions & Building)

Missions (formerly Vision Offering)

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

In Acts 1:8, Jesus gave His Church the mandate to reach the world in 3 areas, and thats’ what we do.

We share Christ in our city, in our nation & in our world.

    Still Ministry Partners

    • Samaritans Health & Wellness Center

      Cornerstone Consulting and Counseling

      Church Plants

      • Our City - Corona, CA

        Restoration Christian Church, Cape Coral

        ARC Offering/Dues

    • Church Online

        • About 400 people weekly

  • New Missions Partners

      • From 1 to 12!

Building

    New Building

    February

Christmas Schedule

    3 Week Series (

    We 3 Kings logo

    )

    • 7/8

      14/15

      21/22

  • Christmas Eve Services

    … 24th

    • 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

  • We are bringing Christmas Service to You

    • 28/29

Luke 2

Each week is going to build on the previous weeks.

The payoff will come in a couple weeks, so I encourage you to stay with us.

We want to be transformed and not just know a bunch of stuff in our head.

But we are going to go thru some information that I think will ultimately and deeply impact our hearts.

I want you to know the real Christmas story.

But there’s some stuff we need to go thru and look at before we can ask…

“what does this mean for us?”

I want you in on the Christmas story.

What was the world like when Jesus was born?

  • History

What does the writer, Luke, want us to know?

We aren’t interested in telling you what to think but rather would rather have you fully engage your mind.

Q. What was the world like at the time of Jesus’s birth?

A. The world was ruled by the Roman Empire.

Q. How did the Roman Empire come to rule the world?

Roman general Germanicus“He slaughtered the population across the Rhine. For 50 miles around he wasted the country with sword and flame. Neither age nor sex inspired pity. Only the destruction of the race would end the war.”

(Pic & quote)

Pompey… conquered the east. (Roman General)

Taking 12M subjects in surrender in 1,500 towns.

(Pic)

Diodoris Siculus

Diodorus Siculus… (Greek Historian) “They made the boundaries of the empire equal to the boundaries of the earth. And they safeguarded the revenues of the Romans and increased them.”

  • Their goal was that the boundaries of the earth would be the boundaries of the Roman Empire.
  • Everything was done to increase the wealth and revenue of the empire.

Titus Livius

Titus Livius… (Greek orator, author) (His capture of Judea) “…Some 500 or more were captured daily. They amused themselves by nailing their prisoners in different postures. So great was their number that space could not be found for the crosses nor crosses for the bodies”

Josephus

Josephus… (1st Century Jewish Historian) They would crucify people in different positions just for their amusement.

Polybius

Polybius… (Greek Historian) A destroyed city (corpses of humans and animals)… “it seems to me like they do this for the sake of terror.”

They invented/perfected crucifixion.

It became a game or a competition amongst themselves as to who could come up with the most brutal form of torture. And the cross was kind of like the winner.

Q. How did Rome rule the world?

Cassius… (Roman General) enslaved 30,000 people in and around tareqeai (Magdala)

(Pic)

  • One of Jesus’s disciples - Mary… Magdalene probably from this village or region.

Lucius Verus (Roman General) 4 A.D… Cepharus 3.5 miles from Nazareth.

(Pic)

Burned it to the ground.

Destroyed a village called Emmaus.

Destroyed scorch and burn - 2,000 men in Cepharus. Because of a revolt - when Jesus was a teenager.

Q. Who Ruled the Roman Empire?

A. A series of Caesars

(Backwall Logo Caesar)

  • The 1st one was

    Julius

    Caesar

    .

    • A General and Military Leader.
    • His rule led to a civil war - the nation was divided.
    • Ruled until 44 B.C.
    • His reign led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.
  • In 27 B.C Julius C.’s adopted son, Octavian came into power.
    • His name was soon changed to

      Augustus

      .

    • First Emperor of the Roman Empire
    • The reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana. The Roman world was largely free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries.
    • Brought the whole Roman Empire under his rule!
      • Not him and the senate… JUST HIM.
      • The world was led by ONE Ruler.
    • Followed by

      Tiberius

      • Ruled during the time of Jesus’s ministry.
    • Then

      Caligula

    • Then

      Claudius

    • Then

      Nero

Let’s Zoom in on Augustus…

(Pic Of Caesar Augustus)

Augustus Ruled at the time of Jesus’s birth.

  • He ruled from Britain to India (

    Map

    )

  • The Parliment declared him God Incarnate on earth
    • God in the flesh
  • Temples were built in his honor.
  • Prayers and sacrifices were offered to the god Augustus
  • Map
  • The Romans made list of cities they conquered and made monuments to the “divine Caesar”
  • Cities were called ‘ecclesias’
  • They called him ‘the one who is to come’ and believed he was the divine king of salvation that people had been waiting to come to earth.
  • The one who was or is to come.
    • John the Baptist disciples asked Jesus, “are you the one who is to come?”
  • Virgil… “he will annihilate the evil of the past, and free the people from unceasing fear.”
    • C.A. - god on earth
  • “He will establish a universal empire of peace and will lead in the golden age for the blessing of a renewed humanity.” - Virgil
    • Matt 19 Jesus will return at the renewal of all things.
  • In 17 BC a strange star shown in the heavens. C. Augustus said his cosmic hour had come.
    • They believed that this strange comet-star was his father Julius C. going to heaven. “We saw the son of God ascending to the right hand of God the Father, Zeus.” - some witnesses.

    • “If my dad is god, then I’m the son of god.” - Augustus.
    • So in 17BC he announced that his cosmic hour had come and he inaugurated a 12 day celebration called the 12 days of advent.
      • In 17BC, a strange star appeared in the sky; so there at his father's funeral basically, and this strange star appeared in the sky. In those days, they employed people to do nothing but look at stars, so when this huge strange star appears in the sky, there was no question that people would notice it. He is at this big party, he has all of these witnesses, and they say: look, there's a strange big star appearing in the sky - and then it shot off.
      • Caesar Augustus said: that's proof that Julius Caesar was god, and he's ascending to the right hand of the gods. I am the son of god, and therefore now I am god, and should be worshipped. Caesar Augustus substantiated his claims to his god-ness by a strange star in the sky, which appeared in 17BC. His logic went like this: since I am the son of god, therefore I should be worshipped; so he established a 12-day celebration of his birth, which he called ‘Advent’.
      • At the end of the year, there was a 12-day period of time, where you had to go to celebrate the birth of the son of god, at a season called Advent.
      • At Advent, Caesar Augustus offered a few things to his followers: first was forgiveness of sins; second was a fresh start, a clean slate for the next year; and third was the opportunity to bring homage and gifts and worship him. Oh, and also everybody put on green and red sweaters with snowmen on them!
      • Caesar Augustus sets this thing up. Are you following me here, that the historians of that day, that are writing about the belief system of that day, are saying that: Augustus Caesar was the one who would bring salvation, peace on earth, good will to all men, a kingdom of peace who would free men from all fear. He would offer forgiveness and a fresh start to all of his followers who worshipped him. This was the days of Caesar Augustus.
    • The turning point of the ages has come.
    • Augustus united the WHOLE WORLD.
    • Bring a reign of peace…
      • But how did he conquer people.
    • He also offers forgiveness and removal of guilt of sins
    • He was seen as the divine mediator.
    • Humans have a problem… guilt.
    • The youth made advent hymns
      • A worship song.
      • “May he rule forever.”
    • Coins… like the CNN or Fox News of the day.
      • IF you had a message, you put it on a coin.
      • Augustus, the son of god.
      • Pic of Coin

      • “Should we pay taxes (tribute) to Caesar?”
      • Looks at coin
    • Salvation is to be found in none other than save Augustus.
    • This was the world at the time of Jesus’s birth.

Q. How did Caesar get so powerful?

A. He had a huge army.

(Pic of Army)

  • Main Propaganda of the day… “Caesar is lord.”
    • So you would either participate in Caesar worship or he would kill you and perhaps wipe out your village.
    • Or put you into slavery.
      • 30,000 people at one time.

Q. How did Caesar pay his army?

(How do we pay our army?)

A. Taxes

  • A Ruler can only go into battle if he has enough what coming in?
    • Taxes… Revenue
  • The money of every day people - paying their taxes that makes your empire bigger.
    • Some believe that the taxation rate was as much as 80-90% in those times for the Jews.
      • Temple tax
      • Herod tax.
  • Why are they paying so many taxes?
    • So Caesar can make his empire bigger.
    • Caesar makes his empire bigger by destroying anyone who gets in his path.

    Imagine if you were a good Jew living in the time of Jesus…

    • Generations ago - in the time of the book of Joshua & Judges (1400BC) - The Jewish nation came into the promised land, and were given land to inherit and settle in.
    • And you were told, “don’t lose the family land.”
      • So this land have been yours and in your family for over 1,000 years.
      • Now you are getting taxed ,more and more and more.
      • You are getting taxed so who can rule the world.
      • You are getting taxed so much, that you have to sell the family land.
        • Imagine the guilt.
        • 20-25 generations have had this farm, this land.
      • You then have to find some other skill and go wherever the work is.
      • So you end up getting displaced from your family land and go wherever the work is.
        • To feed your family.
    • Jesus’ father Joseph… the scriptures say he’s a what…???
      • Carpenter

    • Why is he a carpenter?
    • In the Jesus story, Joseph is living in Nazareth but has to to go another town where he is from - Bethlehem.
      • Why isn’t Joseph living in Bethlehem on his family land?
      • Did he lose it?
      • He’s doing a job you can do anywhere?
    • The whole Christmas story takes place in a time of extreme economic difficulty. Why?
      • Because Caesar is lord and Caesar has brought peace.
        • Really?
        • Caesar is going to make everything ok.

Q. How would Caesar know how big his Empire was?

A. Take a census.

Stoffer… “Augustus was reigning in the fullness of his glory. The entire Empire was sounding with the sound of the advent proclaimation.”

The Roman Empire at the time of Jesus’ birth.

“Caesar is lord.”

“There is no other name by which man can be saved than that of Caesar August.”

“Caesar has brought us peace.”

Luke wants to tell the Jesus story.

And you have all these different traditions to draw from.

So why does Luke include the details that he does?

What is the story he is telling his readers?

What is his agenda.

Luke 2:1-7

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to their own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Why do you think Luke mentions what he does in verse 1?

Why might Luke want you to know what was happening in the world at the time of Jesus’ birth?

… In the corner of Caesar’s Empire among a minority, oppressed, slim, ethnic group there’s going to be a baby being born.

He’s telling this story, but he’s telling a MUCH BIGGER story as well.

If you are oppressed at this time and you are reading this story,

What was the major slogan they used??…

“Caesar is lord.”

But in this tiny corner of an oppressed small minority a new slogan emerges…

“Jesus is Lord.”

Luke’s story is Jesus vs. Caesar.

Can you see why people got killed for having a copy of Luke’s story?

Do you think Caesar likes Luke’s story?

What does Luke think of Caesar?

Augustus is the world’s savior who was to come.

One of the main ways that Caesar kept the masses happy was a thing called “bread and circus.”

Bread and Circus:Free bread and entertainment for the poor.

This little community started their own movement, under the slogan…

“Jesus is lord.”

And they would meet regularly and share Jesus stories, read texts, and worship Jesus around a meal.

And this became known as gathering to “break bread.”

What kind of a statement was this?

Caesar doesn’t provide, Jesus provides.

And we will declare that not Caesar is lord, but Jesus is Lord.

And before we break bread, we go around the table and make sure that everyone has their daily needs met, and we don’t break the bread until we make sure that everybody has what they need.

Caesar doesn’t take care of us…

We take care of each other, because Jesus said to.

So you come and watch us share our stuff and take care of each other and you decide… Jesus or Caesar is Lord.

Can you see why 200 years later, the Christian faith tool over the whole Roman Empire?

  • Caesar just wants your money.
  • But Jesus, He gave himself for you.

Something else…

  • Julius C… died.
  • August… died.
  • Tiberius… died.
  • Caligula… died.
  • Claudius… died.
  • Nero… died.
  • Titus… died.

Notice a pattern?

So what was one of the main slogans of this Jesus movements?

    "Jesus lives.”

Your dude, Augustus died, Julius died, Nero died, Caligula died…

Our dude… LIVES.

Caesar is not lord.

Jesus is Lord.

This movement is so dangerous.

His statues,

His palaces,

His army,

His reign.

The way of Jesus was birthed out of this.

What is this story telling us about…

    Religion?

    Politics?

    Power?

    Worship?

What story was told more than any other by slaves in America 200 years ago?

Why is this story so common among oppressed people?

Maybe you’re having a hard time paying your bills… It’s like as soon as the money comes in it’s gone.

Maybe you’re a single parent… and you’re asking “is this just how it’s going to be forever? It’s so hard.“

Maybe there’s a situation and you’re just in bondage are oppressed, and you can’t seem to crawl out of this hole.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of this story, sometimes we need to be reminded that Caesar doesn’t get the last word.

God does!

You can see why the story has resounded and connected to people of all cultures throughout history as a message of hope.

Because it’s the story of every person has ever said “I’m tired of Cesar winning.“

And in this tiny corner of the Roman empire to a group of nobodies, a little Jewish girl just saying, “I have a king in my wall.“

And this King will change everything forever.

This story is about who has last word.

Caesar has his day, but then Caesar dies.

Cesar does win.

Love wins.

Caesar doesn’t have the last word.... Jesus does.

http://mikeconnellministries.com/transcript.aspx?productId=973#p_973

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