TRANSCRIPTION | Wednesday, December 23, 2020 | Anna 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Hey, 3trees, it is Wednesday night, and that means we get to spend a little bit of time doing a Bible study together. On Sunday mornings, we've been looking at the concept of God with us. We focused in on Matthew 1:21 and 23, which just simply says this, that you shall call him Jesus, because he's going to be the Savior of the world and to take away the sins of the world. Verse 23, says, “And they shall call him, Emmanuel, God with us.” And so what we've been just reflecting on and believing for and faith is that we call on him as Jesus, you call on him as Jesus, and he becomes our Savior. He takes away our sins, and then ultimately, they, those that are around us, even the world, the bystanders, they acknowledge that we have God with us. That's the life that we all want to live. We want Jesus to save us from our sins, and we want to live in such a way that it's obvious that we have God with us. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

You know, there's a passage of text in the book of Luke chapter 14-23, where Jesus makes a statement, he says that you are to go into the highways and the hedges and to compel the loss to come in that the house of Lord may be filled. I think in many ways, that instruction from Jesus ties to what Luke chapter one was telling us, you call him Jesus, they will acknowledge that we have God with us. So when we go into the world, and we live a lifestyle that is compelling, it causes people to want to come in to the family of God, to want to come in to the worship experience, and to be a part of what God is doing in the earth through his people, as his presence is saving, delivering, and healing and touching lives. And so as we have been in this Christmas season, again, I just want to say thank you, to all of you who have been so incredibly intentional about helping our church to fulfill the vision that God has given us. 3trees exist for one reason, and that is because everyone needs Jesus. And the mission that we are trying to fulfill in South Central Kentucky and beyond right now is threefold; seek the lost, make disciples, and meet needs. And so we're doing everything we can to help people to be able to call on Jesus, to experience Him as Savior, and that others would be able to notice, hey man, they got God with them, they've got peace, they've got joy, peace that passes understanding, and joy that's unspeakable, despite what kind of challenges they might be going through, etc. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so we got to talk to you on Sunday, about some of the things that you guys have been doing in the community and even globally. I mean, this month, we've been able to plant another church in China, we've been able to reach out to detention centers, and development centers, resource centers and jails, and be able to provide hygiene kits and gifts of different types. We've been able to give away 1000s of dollars in gift cards and stockings. And you guys have made that happen through your giving. And so I just want to say thank you for making Jesus famous for calling on his name as Savior, and helping some other people to know that they can do the same, that Jesus loves them and 3trees does too. This coming Sunday, we're going to have another great worship experience. You can join us at any of the locations, those times are online at 3trees.com. I'm sure that they also put those in the comment sections. But then as well, we're going to be doing church online, so whatever works for your family, we invite you to join us on Sunday morning. And then again next Wednesday night, we'll be back doing a time of Bible study, looking at some scriptures. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And today, I want to take you with me to the book of Luke. And I want you to look with me at chapter number two, Luke chapter number two. And obviously that is a section of the Christmas story. But we're going to go to the very end of the Christmas story. And I would just say this to you as well. When we think about the Christmas story, I believe it's a great tradition to develop in your homes and amongst your families. That before you start exchanging the gifts, before you start giving the gifts to each other man, pull everybody together and acknowledge what the reason for the season is, it is Jesus. Read through the Christmas story. Spend some time in prayer. let one of the kids read the Christmas story, or one of the teenagers, or maybe grandpa grandma gets to read it. Maybe you, mom, dad, get to read it, just put Jesus first in this season. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so what I want you to do, I want you to look with me at Luke chapter number two. I want you to look with me at verse number 36, it says this, “Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of the tribe of Asher. And she was a great age and she lived with a husband seven years from her virginity. And this woman was a widow of about 84 years who did not depart from the temple, but she served God with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming in that instant, she gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of him to all those who look for redemption in Jerusalem.” Now, you may be like I've never heard about Anna in the Christmas story I heard about the angels, and I heard about the shepherd, and I heard about the manger, and heard about the wisemen, maybe even Herod, but I've never heard about Anna. I think that's actually a disservice to the Christmas story, because we tend to stop a little bit short. And that's okay if you're going to be in your reading time. But when we have that full understanding of what happens with the Christmas story, it doesn't just stop at the manger, or with the visit of the wisemen. Scripture tells us that when it came time for Jesus to go and be circumcised, which was a practice of the Jews and an element of them, establishing covenant with God on earth, and Jesus, his family was leading him through that practice, just like any other Jewish young boy. And so they take him into the temple. And Scripture tells us that they meet while they're in the temple two people. It points out that there is a man by the name of Simeon, which we didn't read about in the verses right before we did read, and there's a woman by the name of Anna. And what we learned is that Simeon and Anna have been hanging out in the temple day after day after day, believing that God was going to do something in the earth, specifically, that God was going to send his Son to the earth that the Messiah was coming. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

And so with Simeon, it's a really cool story about him. I used to love to preach, it's when my favorite Christmas messages and honestly can be preached at times that don't even apply to the Christmas season. But what happens with Simeon is he's in the temple, and when they bring in baby Jesus, he realizes this right here, this is what I've been waiting for. This is the move of God I've been believing for. And Scripture tells us that he gets to hold Jesus, and he gets to celebrate with that thing that he's been believing for has been made manifest in the flesh. Man, maybe that's something you need to believe for right now. You've been believing for healing. You've been believing for deliverance. You've been believing for reconciliation. You've been believing for God to set you free. Man, just take a moment and just believe God, and then don't give up. And when that thing happens, man, hold what you heard, and give God praise for it. I'll save the rest of that message for another time. Because today, the subject is not Simeon nearly as much as it is Anna. And the thing about Anna, we just read, it tells us which tribe that she came from. I often tell my kids, we do a daily Bible reading plan together. In fact, we try to read the entire Bible through and we have a thing that we use on youversion, we kind of share and we talk it over and you can have that Bible app and do the same thing with your family. In fact, I think it's one of the best practices that we have as a family. And I'm often telling my kids while they're reading through that day's reading, and we're working our way through the Bible for the year, I'm like, Listen, you can't just read the Bible, you got to read the Bible. And what that means is that when you're reading the Bible, there's going to be some little things there, some nuances, that are in Scripture, that if you'll really meditate on it, and you'll really search for the quality of what that Scripture is trying to give to you through the work of the Holy Spirit. You'll discover man, there's some deeper things that sometimes can just bring the Bible alive. And it just becomes like an enlightening of sorts. And so when you read that the Bible says this in verse 36, and there was one, Anna, she was a prophetess, and she was of the tribe of Asher. You just read that. Anna, she's of the tribe of Asher. What is that? What does that mean? What does that have to do with anything? Let's do just a little bit of a Bible study on that, and get a little bit of a historical perspective of what's being said here, because I think it's significant. Asher was one of the tribes of Israel. So here's the way it worked. The nation of Israel was originally established when a man named Jacob whom God renamed in a time of prayer and worship, as Israel had 12 sons. And these 12 sons become tribes of Israel, ultimately forming the nation of Israel. And one of those sons, in fact, it was his eighth son, was a young man by the name of Asher, and his name meant happy. And the reason it meant happy is because we learned that when he was born, that there was a celebration of happiness associated with his birth. And so basically, every time that his name is mentioned among the Jews of his day, and even of this day, there's a recognition Asher means happy. Asher means blessed. And so there goes the blessed of the Lord, and I'm happy because of it. That's what they associated with Asher. And so Anna, like her great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great granddad, you fill in the blanks there. It is, Asher and so she is a part of this tribe. And why this becomes increasingly significant is because we know that Jacob had his sons, and even Joseph was one of those sons. And ultimately, there's a famine that comes to the land of Israel. And then they have to go down into Egypt, and to be able to survive that famine. And they're fed in Egypt for a number of years. They ultimately stay too long in Egypt. They become enslaved by the Egyptians. God raises up Moses, and he comes and through God's hand delivers the Israelites, the Hebrews, from Egyptian bondage, they make their way through the wilderness, what should have been a few days journey turns into 40 years. Most of them died in the midst of the journey, but the tribes still remained. And even before Moses died, he gave some prophecies about what was going to happen to some of the specific tribes once they got back to Israel. He gave a prophecy about Asher, and he says, when you get back to the promised land, when you get back to this land that God gave us a long time ago, you're going to be in a land that overflows with blessing, associated even with his name, again. It's going to overflow with blessing. And when you get there, your feet are literally going to be drenched in olive oil. In that day, olives. and olive oil was an extremely expensive thing, and so this was an incredible promise of even economic blessing and fruitfulness over their lives. And so when they finally get back to the Promised Land, so they've made their way out of Egyptian bondage, 40 years has passed, now they're over here in the Promised Land again. Joshua was now the leader. He starts dividing up where each tribe is going to take geographical locations. They're getting their zip codes. So if you would visit, this tribe is going to go here, and they're going to form campbellsville. And this tribe, they're going to go there, and they're going to form Columbia. And this tribe, they're going to go over there, and they're going to form Russell Springs, and this tribe, they're going to go over there and form Somerset. So they're, they're going in, they're setting up their zip codes or their regions, if you would allow me the liberty to say it that way. Asher gets one of the Northernmost regions, and he has some coastline, on this other side of the region that's assigned to him and is plentiful, and it is fruitful, and it is everything that God said it would be through the prophecy of Moses. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

Now, going forward, we're still in this Bible study. Y'all still with me? All right, we're going forward. And what happens is that they're ruled by judges, okay. So the tribes are taken up residence, and if they have a dispute, or if something goes wrong, they have a number of judges that oversee these court cases, oversee these disagreements. And they start to decide that what should probably happen is they should have a king. That was not God's plan for them. God wanted them to continue to use the judge's system based on the law that he had given them through what we call the Old Testament and the law of Moses. But they want their own King. So, a series of events, they pick a guy by the name of Saul. King Saul becomes the king. And King Saul does some things that God's not pleased with, and he is in the process of being removed, and God is going to put in a guy after his own heart by the name of David. And as things develop, the kingdom splits. And so part of the tribes went with Saul, and part of the tribes went with David. And so what happens is, it becomes the northern kingdom, and it becomes the southern kingdom. You have a northern kingdom, and you have a southern kingdom. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

So the northern kingdom, the tribes that go with it, one of them is Asher. So, Asher went with Saul, even though he's happy, even though he's blessed, that tribe named after him went with Saul, rather than going with God's man. Ultimately, though, things come full circle, Saul has died, and now the northern kingdom is ready to align with the southern kingdom. And David becomes the king of both. And some would say, even in rabbinical commentary, that Asher's tribe was a major part of negotiating that. And there's even some key historical things that talks about that Asher seemed to be even in his own lifetime, a man of integrity, a man who tried to do things right, and that's why he stayed happy, and that's why he stayed blessed. Even when he made a mistake, learned something from it, and it seems like that was passed down generationally into his family. Now, David is king, the kingdom is aligned and then David dies, Solomon becomes king. The nations are still aligned, northern kingdom, southern kingdom, still one as Israel. Solomon dies, his son becomes king, guess what happens? The house of Saul and the house of David split once more.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

There's a northern kingdom, and there's a southern kingdom. And that remained for years and years. There would sometimes be an alliance, there would sometimes be some allegiances, there would sometimes be unity, but there was division. And so the thing that's really, really significant, and you got to get this, there's a northern kingdom, and there's a southern kingdom. The northern kingdom includes Asher, that tribe that we're told Anna is a part of. But Jerusalem is a part of the southern kingdom. Jerusalem is a part of the house of David. And the prophecy that was over the earth was that there was going to be a son of God, a Messiah, that would be inserted into the earth through the house of David, which meant it would come through the southern kingdom. And they believed it would happen in the capital, Jerusalem, which is where the only temple in the whole land resided. And so you got a woman by the name of Anna, whose tribe is up here on the wrong side of the fence. But she's in tune with God, and when she lost her husband, she totally dedicates herself to God. She relocates her whole life into the southern kingdom, has to leave her tribe, has to leave her family, has to leave her people. And she comes and she says, I'm going to live every day of my life in the temple. And I'm going to believe God to do something in the earth. I believe there's a move of God coming, and Scripture tells us she's a prophetess. She's telling everybody that comes in the temple, there's a move of God coming. There's a move of God coming. There's a move of God coming. And she has literally moved her life to align with what God was going to do in the earth. Think about that for a minute. And when she knew God was going to do something in the earth, she moved her life to align with it. And Scripture says, even though she had experienced great loss, she's been without a husband for 84 years hanging out in the temple. And Scripture says, everyday she was praying, and everyday she was fasting, and everyday she was believing one day, those doors are gonna open and the move of God is coming through it. One of these days, I'm going to look up and the son of God, everything the Lord promised, it doesn't matter what it costs me, doesn't matter what I got to give up, doesn't matter what I lose, I'm going to believe I'm going to be in line with the move of God in the earth. And one day, one day, when the door opened, and in walk Joseph and Mary, and they were bringing a baby Jesus to be circumcised and to go to the custom of the temple. After Simeon had had his moment, we find out that as the Bible says is and coming in that instant, she gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

She was of great age, she had lived without a husband for 80 something years. She'd hung out in the temple, 80 something years. But when it happened, she knew in an instant, this is what I've been waiting for. This is what I've been believing for. And she started praising God right then and right there. Do you realize you could wait years and in an instant, it could change if you just keep believing God. I think sometimes we give up on God. I think sometimes we quit on God. I think sometimes we just don't want to hold forth and hold fast in our faith. But when you have got a word from God, and you move your life to get in alignment with the move that God has promised in your situation, and in your life, hey, Anna, it might be 10s upon 10s of years, but in an instant, you can know, wow, God just did what I was believing for. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

There's some of you, you're believing that God's gonna save your kids. Because you know that Scripture says raised them in the way that they shall go and in the end, they will not depart from it. And right now they have departed from it. But let's believe together that the door may open even this Christmas. And in an instant, you're going to know the move of God that the Lord promised me is taking place. There's some of you that you've been going through battles, you've been going through challenges, and it seems like you're getting beat up and you getting whipped by the enemy, but you know that God told you whatever spiritual bound on earth is bound in Heaven, and whatever spiritually loose on earth is loosed in Heaven. And maybe this is just the moment where you get to align yourself with the move of God and see in an instant that that thing you believe for finally takes place. You've been believing for healing, not just physically you've been believing for healing emotionally, you've been believing for healing, spiritually. Don't you give up on God. His promise has the ability to get packed through that door, maybe even somebody else packing it. Understand Joseph and Mary were packing the promise in our life. There may be a moment this Christmas season where the door opens. And somebody packs the promise that you've been believing for years. And this is just an encouragement for you. You call on Jesus as Savior. And I'm telling you, there comes a moment where you get to others even have to say, God is with us. 

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

I want to pray for you. Let's believe together god, there's people who've been believing you. There's people who've held fast in their faith., and God, we went around the many books of the Old Testament tonight and a little walk through Scripture in a Bible study to get to the point that this woman put herself in a place where she was not expected to be. She put herself in a place where nobody thought she would be in maybe her family lineage. But she knew there was a move of God coming, and she wasn't about to give up on it. And in an instant, one day, somebody packed in the promise to her. And I’m believing Father, that maybe the promise shows up in somebody's life and a gift. Maybe his promise shows up in somebody's life, God through just a kingdom connection or a divine appointment. Lord, let it be in the name of Jesus, the name of Jesus.

 

Pastor Eric Gilbert

 I want to thank you so much for letting me share the word with you today. And man, it's just been an honor to have this evening with you. And I believe that greater things are yet to come in your life. I hope we get to hang out with you on Sunday. And ust, you know, man, spend some time with your family. Remind them the reason for the season. Jesus. All right. God bless you guys. Go with God, he'll go with you, greater things are yet to come.