Zechariah 3, God Hung All Your Presents On The Branch

Zechariah 3, God Hung All Your Presents On The Branch
1. God Gives You A Pass On True Accusations (v1-3)
2. God Gives You A Righteous Covering (v4-5)
3. God Gives You Opportunity To Serve (v6-7)
4. God Gives You The Promise Of A Perfect Future (v8-10)

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching Zechariah 3, God Hung All Your Presents On The Branch

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Zechariah on Sunday, December 25, 2022 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

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Well of course, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. And along with that comes every year. The exchanging of gifts, the giving of gifts. And there is that permanent attachment of gifts, and this holiday, the birth of Jesus, that are attached at the hip, and they cannot be separated. It's one of those things that has been passed down from generation to generation to generation and even earlier in my generation I was thinking about. One of those times where I was a young boy and Christmas was coming and I I knew that my parents had done some shopping and so I knew that there would be an opportunity to get a little sneak preview at some of the things that might be waiting for me under the Christmas tree. And I remember this one occasion. Where my parents were in their room with the door closed. But you know how it is sometimes with doors. They don't exactly seal all the way, and so if you squish your face into the carpet hard enough, one eye can see under the door. And I happened to get a glimpse of something that was being wrapped and 1000 points for whoever can name this toy. Anybody named this toy probably not. Not going to be very common for you unless you lived my exact life. This is a guy named chosen, does that help anybody chosen you? Guys know? Not chosen chosen chosen no no OK karate kid Part 2 there you go in Okinawa. This is the nephew of anyways long story, but I saw this yellow part of the gift and I knew I was getting chosen and I was all excited about this gift that my parents were wrapping for me. So I got a sneak preview and in a similar way the Lord has bestowed upon us incredible gift. And he gives us sneak previews. You don't have to smash your face down into the carpet and just try to get one eyeball underneath that door. You just need to spend some time opening up the Scriptures and discover all that God has given to you in Jesus Christ. And I've titled the message this morning. God hung all your presence. On the branch not hidden in some room, not even wrapped. You know under the tree, but but they're all hung out on display and they're on display hung from the person Jesus Christ, who is referred to throughout the scriptures. Under this metaphor, the brand. Which here in verse eight you can see. God says, soon I'm going to bring my servant, the branch. He's not talking about a literal branch of a tree, but he's using the word branch metaphorically to talk about his servant, who would be that Messiah, that savior, that he has been promising. Since the very beginning, you can read more about the branch in Zechariah Chapter 6. Zechariah makes another reference to him there, but the prominent passage about the branch. If you want to look into this further is Isaiah Chapter 11. Even where it talks about the branch that God will bring out of the stump of the root of Jesse. Now the prophet, Zechariah, the Prophet Isaiah these guys ministered to the Nation of Israel in their time of decline in their time of rebellion against God. In their time of really needing to be brought back to repentance. And restoration to God. And so this idea of a branch was that there was going to be a new work of God, that he was going to do in this servant in this savior, that he would send. And so, in the promise of bringing forth this branch here in Zechariah chapter three, we see a promise of the. With a promise of the birth of this branch, the Savior who would be the solution for what we need? And so here in Zechariah chapter three we see this promise, but we also see as we work our way, starting now from the beginning. The reason why the branches need it. The reason why God has been promising. And prophesying about this branch from the very beginning. The reason why it's needed is because of our need for a savior, and so we're going to see that as we begin now looking at verses one through 3 for point #1 this morning. And that is that God gives you a pass, untrue accusations. Looking at the gifts that God hangs for us on the branch in Christ Jesus, we have a pass. Even for true accusations against us, and so we're going to look at verses one through three. What it says. Then the Angel showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, the accuser, Satan was there at the angel's right hand. Making accusations against Joshua. And the Lord said to Satan, I the Lord, reject your accusations. Satan, yes, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire. Joshua's clothing was filthy as he stood there before. The Angel. Here as we enter in the scene of Chapter 3, this vision that Zechariah has sees Joshua or also could be pronounced Joshua standing before the Lord. Joshua was the high priest of the day during Zechariah's time, and so here he is, standing before the Lord, but. As he's standing before the Lord, he's not alone in standing before the Lord. There is another with him, the accuser. Satan, now the word Satan. It literally means the accuser. And So what we find here is that the accuser was making accusations against Joshua. Now that's what you would expect someone with a name like the accuser to do right to make accusations. That's what accusers. Do or if you're a fan of Dora the Explorer. You know you say swiper, no swiping, right? Accuser, no accusing. I only know that recently, so if that's not relevant anymore, I apologize, but. No accusing. Here's Satan standing alongside of the high priests of Israel at that time. They're standing before the Lord and Satan himself is making accusations. God look at this high priest. Look at how much he fails. Look how far he falls short. The accuser is seeking to bring destruction to Joshua. In these accusations he brings against. This is the full time job and role of Satan. He is accusing the Brethren continually. We find this also in Revelation Chapter 12 in that chapter depicting the Great Dragon, which is the Devil, Satan. Who has deceived the whole world? Says then I heard a voice shouting across the heavens. It has come at last salvation and power, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, for the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to Earth. The one who accuses them before our God, Day and night. This picture here of Joshua standing before the Lord and Satan there, accusing him. This is not some rare thing where the enemy has his eye on some prominent person, and it's that person that has accusations thrown at him. This is the condition of all the brothers and sisters. All of the believers, all of those who call upon the Lord. The enemy has his sights upon us. And is seeking to accuse us before God here it tells us in Revelation chapter 12, day and night. And so there's this ongoing constant accusation being levied against you. You may not be always aware of it, or recognizing that it is happening, but the enemy is always seeking to make accusation against you, just as he was against Joshua. At this time. And here's the real. Tricky part of this, the real challenging part of this these accusations that Satan brought against Joshua. Were true, they're not false accusations. They're not just made-up things that are just trying to make up a scandal where there was none here is Joshua. He is the high priest of the nation and yet tells us in verse 3 Joshua's clothing was filthy as he stood. There before the Angel. His clothing was. Filthy, representing declaring that. He really did stand before God with something of which he could be accused. There was some deficiencies in his character. There was some failures in his behavior there there was some issues in his heart and in his mind that were worthy of accusing and were true in the accusations that were being brought forth. His clothing was filthy, it says. This word filthy is a pretty serious word. Check out what this commentator Stephen rummage has to say about it. He says it's almost impossible to describe how strongly the Hebrew language talks about the filth of. Joshua's garments. These were not simply clothes steamed with just a few spots. Of sweat and dirt. The word used here is directly related to. The Hebrew term for human excrement. He was there standing before the Lord. Wearing apparel stained by filthy with. He had poop on him, and so when Satan points his finger and says, hey, look, God Joshua has poop on him. It was a. True accusation he really was filthy. There really was an issue that is being called out here. The scripture is. Very clear from the beginning that our righteousness that is the best that we can do in trying to be good is as filthy rags. The best that we can do is to put together poopy garments to try to wear in standing before the Lord. And it does not. Meet the standard of righteousness that God has. Instead, it just meets the standard of being worthy of a true accusation. That clothing is filthy. This whole picture here caused me to think back and I was remembering. An account I'm I'm trying to debate in my head if I should change the name to. Protect the innocent. I'll just say this, his initials are Dion Deville. Passed a Dion over in Idaho. Now he. I remember him telling the account of one time he was in construction and working for a pipe company, and you know there's two kinds of pipes. There's the kinds of pipes that bring in clean water, and then there's the kind of pipes that lead out other kinds of water, right? And there was a situation where there was this really large pipe that needed some. Maintenance there was an issue that happened and and there needed to be some valve opened or bolt undone or something, but. There was a bit of a challenge because it was down in the inside of the pipe and there was not easy access to it and so he told the accounts. I'm assuming it's a true account. He's a believable guy. You can check with Harvey afterwards and see if he's heard this story to you. But basically he stripped down to his skivvies and. Thing in the large pipe filled with liquids to had to be done. Somebody had to do it, and so he was the guy who said, OK, I guess I have to do it and he jumped in and fixed the problem. But at what cost? Right now, if you know Deon, you know after that. And you have to hear that story. You kind of just back up a little bit, right? You just how long ago was this? How many showers have you had since then? Right? Like you don't want anything to do with that. That's the idea here. Here is Joshua standing before the Lord, but he's filthy. He's just been swimming in sewage. And Satan has a true accusation. Look, Lord, he's swimming in sewage, even his best goodness, that he can produce is filthy rags. It's a true accusation. His clothing is filthy. He has deficiencies in his character. He has failures in his behavior, his mind, and his heart are wrong. Many times look, look Lord at the filth that is here. And yet note what God says in verse 2. Says the Lord said to Satan, I the Lord, reject your accusations. It doesn't have to be a false accusation for God to reject the accusation. The accusation can be true. Yes, there has been. Filthy sin that has gone on Filthy Ness that has taken place in someone's heart and yet the Lord is able to say I reject the accusation even though the accusation may be. Be true now. This might be a bit of a challenge in our hearts. It might even seem to to be wrong to say something like this. God gives you a pass on true accusations, like how can that be? That doesn't sound right. But that is. The Incredible Ness of the gift that the Lord has hung on the branch for us. That in Christ Jesus, even the things that we have done that were wrong and knowingly wrong, and the things that we ran into and pursued even the things where we have failed or failed on purpose. The worst of the worst. That we can do the filthiest of the filthiest, that we can be. The Lord, because of the birth of Jesus Christ leading up to the life and ministry and then death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Lord is able to say I reject. Your accusation. I don't have to pretend like it's false. I don't have to pretend like it never happened. I don't have to, you know, pretend I. Can't hear you. It's a true accusation. Yes, it's square on the nose. It is the real thing that happened, and those garments are filthy. But I choose. To reject. And to not receive that accusation against Joshua. The apostle John tells us in first John Chapter 2, my dear children, I am writing this to you so. That you will. Not sin. But if anyone does sin. We have an advocate who pleads our case before the father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins and not only our sins. But the sins of all the world. Jesus atoned for our sins to give the father the opportunity to say, Satan. Your accusations are true. But I reject them. And I will not hold that filth against that servant of mine who has believed in Jesus. I will not hold that filth against that servant of mine who has come to me by faith, and received the forgiveness that ioffer. I reject your accusations, Satan. What an incredible gift that we might have accusations that are levied against us in all honesty and truth and real and genuine and judgement is deserved. And God says I choose not to receive that. Because that one. Has put their faith in Jesus Christ. And verse two he gives it an illustration. He says this man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire. If you're building a campfire, you're at the beach and you have a bonfire and there you have the the wood and the the sticks that are in there. You know what the? Fates of those sticks are they will be burned until there is nothing left but ashes. But if you ****** one of those logs or sticks out of the fire. Then then that stick. Although it had that fate, it was doomed to complete destruction. That stick has been saved and preserved from the fire that. It would have endured. It would have suffered. He says Joshua was like that. Yes, he was filthy. He was in the pit for the bonfire, deserved to burn in the bonfire. But I've snatched him out. He has approached me by faith and I have received no accusation against him. And so, although he deserved it, I'm relieving him from that judgment that is deserved. I'm giving him a pass even though the accusation is true. This is what God does for us. He gives you a pass, even untrue accusations that we by faith in Jesus Christ can come to God for forgiveness. For cleansing we can come to God with our requests with. Our cares with our. Needs we can come to God. Even though we don't deserve to, even though we can't earn to even though we have failed in so many ways and are filth. You have true accusations against you. You're not alone. I like what Warren Wisby said about this. He says when Seton talks. To us about God. He lies. But when he talks to God about us. He tells the truth. When the enemy is speaking to us, he tells us lies about God. Like God doesn't want you, he's given up on you. You're too far gone. You know. He tries to keep us away from God with the lies and deceitfulness that he presents to. But he doesn't have to take that approach when he approaches God to talk about us, because every one of us. Even the best of the best of the best that we can do is like filthy rags. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. I really like the picture of Daniel and Daniel Chapter 6 leading up to the Lions den right when the contemporaries of Daniel were. The rulers were jealous of him and so they looked for a reason for an excuse to bring accusation. Against him and they decided we can't. There's nothing wrong with him. We can't find anything wrong with him unless we come up with a law to make it illegal to worship God. Then he'll be guilty, but. But they searched and they tried with great motivation to take out Daniel to find some dirt and filthiness on Daniel. And they couldn't find it. And that's always noteworthy and and stands out as a great example for us. But at the same time, that's them. These men, looking at Daniel and trying to find some filth on him, and they couldn't find it. But understand that when. Daniel stood before the Lord. He also. Was clothed in filth. That the best of the best. The righteous of the righteous are heroes of the Faith are heroes who have walked with God also. We're human. The only one who is not clothed in filthy garments was Jesus, but those who believe in him as we celebrate his birth today. Those who receive him. Are given a pass on false accusations and true accusations because. His righteousness Is attributed to us by faith, and that brings us to point #2 looking at verses four and five. God gives you a righteous covering. Not only does he give you a pass on those true accusations, yes, it is true you are. But I'm going to give you. A pass because you. Have chosen to love and to follow Jesus. But then God takes it a step further and provides a cloak, a covering of righteousness. Verse four and five says so. The Angel said to the others, standing there take off his filthy clothes and turning to Joshua, he said, see I have taken away your sins and now I'm giving you these fine new clothes. Then I said they should also place a clean turban on his head, so they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in the new clothes. While the Angel of the Lord stood by. As the accusation is rejected. The Lord takes it another step and he says alright guys, now it's time to serve Joshua. And the Lord serves Joshua. He says to those standing by it, take off his filthy clothes, remove that gunk and that junk from him. Let's wash him. Let's remove those things. How about this? Let's cast cast those filthy garments away from him. As far as the east is from the West. That's not from here. It's quote from some 103, but. Same picture, let's take off those things. Let's remove those things. I will not. Look at Joshua and remember the filth. Let's remove it completely away. And and he makes it clear in verse 4 see, I've taken away your sins. This filthy garment, it represents the sin of Joshua. And I'm giving you these new fine clothes. I'm clothing you. With something different, not your sinfulness, not what you can produce. I'm giving you some fine new clothes. You're going to be clothed in what I provide. You're going to be clothed in my righteousness. Now Zechariah chimes in. Then I said he says in verse 5. Well, they should put a clean turban on his head too. Oh no, zechariah. That's too much. He doesn't deserve a clean turban. Should be just grateful enough for the robe that he gets the new clothes. And know the lower degrees so they put a clean priestly turban on his head and you know what's inscribed across that priestly turban, right there? There's a a band across the front that says holiness. To the Lord. Here Joshua is given a righteous covering. He's dressed as though he has always been righteous. He's given that standing of righteousness there before the Lord. He's dressed in new clothes, notice, while the Angel of the Lord stood by. There's approval here. There's acknowledgement. There's recognition. The Lord knows what's going on. This isn't a. Trick, alright, we're tricking God. Let's take off those filthy garments and then put on that the clean garments. And then it'll you know, look like he was never filthy before. No, this is the Lord himself removing the filth. I know what you are, I know what you've done. I know the darkness, I know the filth but but I'm going to remove that and I'm going. To put in its place. New clothes fine new clothes. The best of the best. I'm going to give you a righteous covering. And Isaiah chapter 61, we have a prophecy of the Messiah, but it gives this picture as well, and Isaiah Chapter 61, verse 10. It says I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God, for he has dressed me in the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding, or a bride with her jewels, the the Messiah here in Isaiah Chapter 60. One is is saying this. This is a prophecy of the coming of Jesus and and the ministry that he would have and he would be dressed with the clothing of Salvia. Nation draped in a robe of righteousness and and that picture of clothing representing that salvation, and that righteousness is that same picture that the Lord is conveying here to Joshua. I'm clothing you in a robe of salvation, in a robe of righteousness. You're going to be completely covered. And so it will look like as I look at you, I see the righteousness of Christ. I see perfectness. I see holiness unto the Lord as if there had never been filth in you or upon you. The apostle Paul says in Philippians chapter 3 everything else is worthless when compared to the infinite value of knowing Christ. Jesus, my Lord. For his sake, I've discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law. Rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on. This is how it works. When I try to produce my own righteousness, I produce filthy rags. And I stand there before the Lord and my poopy garments, because I've tried really hard to be good, but even the best of the best of the best that I can. Do is still poopy garments. And so Paul says, I've given up on that. I'm not trying to live according to the law. I'm not trying to earn my place before God. I no longer count. On my own righteousness, but instead. I become righteous through faith in Christ. This is God's way of making us right with himself. Clothing us in righteousness is by faith in Jesus Christ. We stand before God as those who have never sinned. Not even one time. So it's a. Gift that God hangs upon the branch in Christ. He gives us a pass on true accusations in Christ. He gives us a righteous covering and in the branch we also have opportunity to serve. Here's verse six and seven of Zechariah, Chapter 3, it says. Then the Angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Joshua, and said, this is what the Lord of. Heavens army says. If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my temple. And its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here. This Joshua, who is standing before the Lord at the beginning of the chapter in Filthiness. Completely covered. In vileness The Lord has washed. He has given new clothes. But he doesn't just leave it there now. He says alright, Joshua. You now have a new and fresh opportunity. To be part of my work, to serve me, and to participate in some glorious things. Now notice though it says in verse 6, the Angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly. This is where God gets serious. And he says I'm charging you Joshua. I'm charging you, I'm giving you a serious instruction. I want you to pay attention to this. This is something I care deeply about. Follow my ways and carefully serve me. Joshua, that was your Commission all along. You were the high Priest of Israel. You you were to be faithful in serving me but you. Haven't done so well. You've been filthy. Perhaps intentionally, perhaps accidentally, but you've been filthy. I'm washing you. I'm cleansing you, there's grace and there's mercy. But now let's get serious and pay attention. You need to serve me. You need to be faithful to follow my ways and to be careful to do the things that I've instructed you and listen. There's a condition here in verse seven that says if you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then. There's these other things that will take place, and it's important to note that there is this condition. Not everything in our relationship with the Lord and walk with the Lord is unconditional. His love towards us is unconditional. And the forgiveness that was offered, the cleansing. And that wasn't something that Joshua earned. It was received by Joshua. But the things that God's about to talk about these are things that he will get if these are things he will partake of. If, on the condition of his following. The Lord's Ways and Carefully serving him. He's not saying OK, Joshua, now you have to be perfect. Now you have to be faultless and never have filth in your life again. That that's not what the Lord is saying. That's God doesn't call anyone to that or demand that of anybody to the degree that you know we will be lost because we cannot measure up to that. We we're even after we've been reclothed in righteousness, and our sins have been forgiven in those. True accusations have been rejected. We're we're going to have more true accusations thrown at us because we will have more reasons and more cause for true accusations to be thrown at us. So it's not that God is requiring perfection. This isn't earning salvation. But there is, there is and you need to to to recognize the seriousness of this. There's a a solemness that God wants you to understand. There are rewards that God has for you if you will follow his ways and carefully serve him, there's rewards that you will miss out on if you do not follow his ways and are not careful in serving him. There there is a serious charge here to receive as much reward from the Lord as you can by being diligent and faithful in what he calls you to and sets before you. He says in verse seven, then you will be given authority over my temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here. In this picture, in this scene of the presence of God, God says I'm going to give you a very unique place here in my presence. Here in my service, in the temple and in the courtyards, there's going to be. Opportunities for you to be part of my work. You follow my ways and carefully serve me. It's a great opportunity that God gives. It's a privilege that God extends to every believer in Jesus Christ. We all get this kind of invitation. But understand it's a solemn charge. There are rewards that God wants to bestow upon you. You don't earn your salvation. You don't earn. Earn your forgiveness. But there are great blessings that God wants. To do for. You, and to pour out upon you in this life and in the life to come. That are conditional that comes with. Walking faithfully with the Lord, follow my ways and carefully serve me. He says. Pastor Warren Wisby says cleansing and restoration always include responsibility. Joshua and his fellow priests weren't put on probation, they were cleansed and restored to service. But the continuation of their service depended on their faithfulness to the Lord and his word. It is a privilege to serve the Lord, and we must never take it for granted. God hangs upon the branch. This gift to you. An opportunity to serve and to be rewarded, and to have great part in his work and his plan. Things that have lasting value. If you're you know, wondering about looking for meaning and value and purpose in life, this is the most of the most of the most that you can have. And engaging in. The plan of God and the work of God that lasts for all eternity. Well, one final gift to consider this morning that has been hung on the branch. For you and I to receive, and that is that God gives you. The promise of a perfect. Future God gives you the promise of a perfect future. Here in verses 8 through 10, we're just going to look at a snippet of this, but it says in verse 8 listen to me. Oh Joshua, the high priest and all you other priests. You are symbols of things to come. Soon I'm going to bring my servant the branch. Now look at the jewel that I've set before Joshua a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, says the Lord of heavens armies and I will remove the sins of this land in a single day. And on that day, says the Lord of heavens armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own Grapevine and fig tree. Here the Lord. Extends his gaze. To the future. This cleansing this replacing the robes. This invitation to serve this is all happening right there in the present for Joshua. This was a work that was happening right then. But he says all of this picture is the work that I'm going to be doing when I send my servant the branch and that same picture of the cleansing and replacing the garments and the invitation to serve is going to be bestowed upon everyone who follows the branch and believes in Jesus Christ. It's going to be something that the Lord does with the coming of Jesus. The birth of Jesus as we. Celebrate today. But but the Lord's work is not just for this moment, not just for that occasion, not just upon that moment of conversion. The Lord leaves ahead the promise of a perfect future. Where there's something. In store for all of his followers, I'm going to bring you my servant. The branch he says in verse 8. And verse nine, he says, I will remove the sins of this land in a single day. I'm going to extend this work. Beyond Joshua, beyond the individual, and there's going to be a worldwide impact of. The branch and the removal of sin upon the whole world. Upon the whole nation of Israel, talking about picturing that millennial Kingdom where Jesus rules and reigns here upon the Earth for 1000 years. The Nation of Israel has given much hope in the midst of great destruction at this time. But then he says in verse 10 and this is what? I want to just. Kind of think through a little bit and to wrap up together it says. On that day, says the Lord of heavens armies, each of you will invite your neighbor to sit with you peacefully under your own Grapevine and fig tree. You know, sometimes when we picture try to picture heaven, we have a hard time picturing it. What is that going to look like and you know pictures of clouds and harps and you know those kinds of things and and is that? What it's going to be? I would suggest here in verse 10 we have a little bit of a glimpse of some of the things, not everything, but just to give us a little bit to chew on and to look forward to, that understand that God's plan for us in the future. This perfect future that he has in store for each one of us includes things like ownership. There there will be some type of ownership involved, he says. In verse 10 you will sit peacefully under your own Grapevine. There there's going to be a place that you have that that is yours. Now what is that gonna look like? Or what does that exactly mean? Again, we can't get into all the details, but but understand there there will be this plan in God's life. In God's future for you that that there will be this idea of you will you will have a Grapevine. It will belong to you. It will be your own Grapevine. Your own fig tree. It it will be yours. It will be your place in eternity. Something that belongs to you. And I think this also speaks to the idea of fruitfulness. It's not going to be empty, boring, boring, barrenness. You know in eternity, but fruitfulness. What's the point of having grapevines and big trees if they don't have grapes and figs right? Like the the whole point here is that there's going to be things being produced. You'll have a part. You'll have a place. It will be yours and there will be fruit coming forth from it. You'll have a place in eternity that is meaningful that is valuable that is productive. And and another aspect of fruit is the enjoyment it. Will be enjoyable. I mean, if you don't like grapes, maybe God won't give you a Grapevine. Maybe he'll give you. An apple tree or something different, but. It's the picture right? God's? Given you something that is yours that is sweet that produces fruits. And so you'll have ownership. You'll have fruitfulness. You'll also have friendship. Each of you will invite your neighbor. To sit with you. Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert. You're going to have friendship. Maybe inviting your neighbor over doesn't sound like a pleasant thing right now, but it's going to be a pleasant thing in that day. You're going to have fellowship. You're going to have friendship. You're going to have people to spend time with, and there will be enjoyable times together. Yes, eternity will focus on the Lord. OK, don't take anything away from that. It's all about Jesus, but in the plan of God for us he also has. The idea of neighbors Friends fellowship together. You'll invite your neighbor to sit with you. And you're going to be able. To have some time together some enjoyable time. Conversing, talking, working. Who knows. But you'll have that friendship with the Lord and with one another, and it will be a time of peace. He says he will sit with you peacefully. It's going to be that time. Of peace, what the Lord provides us is peace. Of course with God. Peace with one another. It will be a time of perfect peace and friendship and fruitfulness. As we enjoy the bounty of what God provides for us, it's his promise. A perfect future elites. For those who are in Christ Jesus and so. This Christmas as we remember the birth of Christ today, we remember the greatest gift, all the promises of God towards us are yes and Amen, where in him he hung everything upon the branch and he said this is my gift to you and so every good and perfect gift comes from the father. And he hung it on the branch. Made it. Available to us. Just that, by believing in Jesus and receiving what he has for us, we get to experience these as well as many more. He gives you a pass on true accusations. He gives you a righteous covering. He gives you opportunity to serve and he gives you the promise of a perfect future. I started out with this toy. Listen, I peeked under the door. I knew one of the presents that I was getting from. That I could. Discern probably some of the other presents I was going to get right. But the fact that I knew wasn't enough. Come Christmas Day. I still opened the present. It it wouldn't have done me any good if I just it wasn't just an intellectual exercise, right? I just need to know what I'm going to get and then that's it, no, but I also need to open it up and receive that gift that has been given to me. You have to do more than just know what the gift is. And it's true when it comes to Jesus as well. You have to do more than just know about the virgin birth and about the the fact that Jesus Christ is God and you know there's not just. Quiz material that you have to memorize in order to receive all of these things you you have to actually open it up. Take it to yourself. And believe in Jesus Christ for yourself. Walk with God by faith in Christ on your own. You have to engage with the Lord by trusting in what he has provided for you. Receive the gift, don't just know the information. Don't just know the stories. Don't just remember the traditions. But make sure that you have your own personal connection to God. Through Jesus Christ. And that you take all of the take them all off the branch, take them all off. The tree and collect them under yourself and say, yes, Lord, I receive that forgiveness and cleansing Lord I am righteous in your eyes. You've clothed me in your righteousness. That's what the apostle Paul said. I no longer try to do that on my own. I receive what Christ has done for me, and I know you're giving me the opportunity to serve. So I'm looking for those opportunities and I'm engaging in what it is that you want me. To do well? I look forward to that promise of a perfect future that you've given to me. Let's pray, Lord, we thank you. Your presence to us. Are incredible. And really capped. By your presence in our lives. The greatest of the great Lord. Of the gifts that you've given. To us Is the understanding that you? Almighty all powerful. Would humble yourself. To reach down. To meet us to speak to our hearts, to commune with us. Or that you desire fellowship with us is hard to fathom. What on earth could we possibly offer you? We have nothing to give. But our hearts, but our minds. Our breath. Our strength our energy. And so, Lord, we give it. In response to all that you've given to us so. That we. Give you our lives. And we say thank you. For your incredible gift. Help us Lord to open it to receive it. And to fully walk and all the goodness that you want to pour out upon us.

OK.

We pray this in Jesus name.