Saturday, December 22, 2007
The Purpose Of Christmas Day
Someone told me that they overheard someone say last week: They Should Have Killed The Guy Who Invented Christmas
They responded: They did! They hung Him on the cross.
The frustration that we feel at Christmas time is directly relate4d to the stress and pressure that this season brings. The way for us to move from stress to substance, from frustration to fulfillment is to rediscover the Purpose of Christmas Day.
At Christmas we often hear what various people around the crib thought of Christmas Day. What you think of Christmas Day will largely govern your enjoyment of Christmas Day.
We hear of what the Wise men thought of Christmas Day: Matthew 2:3 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
We hear of what the Angels thought of Christmas Day: Luke 2:10But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 today a Savior, who is • Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
We hear of what the Shepherds thought of Christmas Day: “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough.
17 After seeing [them], they reported the message they were told about this child,
We hear of what Mary thought of Christmas Day: Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s • slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, 47 and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, 48 because He has looked with favor on the humble condition of His • slave. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 because the Mighty Onehas done great things for me, and His name is holy.
What did the Lord Jesus think of Christmas Day?
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
The Lord Came To A Lost World.
Geographically? No.. the geographical centre of the world.
Politically? No, the government of the Romans over the region was pretty secure.
"The world is lost without a sense of God. Men and women everywhere desperately need to know that there is Someone in charge of life, and that there is a Source to whom they can turn for help and for deliverance. The world needs to know that Jesus Christ is God. If Jesus is not God, then I do not have a Savior." -- Dr. Bruce Waltke
1. The Lord came to a lost world
While I was driving home the other day, I saw the ugliest car I have ever seen. This car wasn't just ugly--it was ugly on top of ugly. It had a large gash on its side; one of the doors was held together with baling wire; and several other body parts were almost completely rusted out. The car's muffler was so loose that with every bump, it hit the street, sending sparks in every direction. I couldn't tell the original color of the car. The rust had eaten away much of the paint, and so much of the car had been painted over with so many different colors that any one of them (or none of them) could have been the first coat. The most interesting thing about the car was the bumper sticker: "THIS IS NOT AN ABANDONED CAR."
We live in a fallen world, and sometimes it looks as ugly as that car. Almost everywhere you turn, you can see tragedy and heartache.
The unsaved person is lost. That is, he is lost in that he cannot find his way to heaven. He is lost to God's purpose for him. He is so lost that he can't even find how to be saved without the help of another. A person may not know they are lost until they need God, then their condition becomes evident. "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
Not only is there a separation between us and God, this has also resulted in problems in our interpersonal relationships.
Our interpersonal relationships need to be reconciled. God can heal our bitterness.
Cyprian, who was Bishop of the church at Carthage in the third century, once wrote to his young friend, Donatus:
"This is a cheerful world as I see it from my garden under the shadows of my vines. But if I were to ascend some high mountain and look out over the wide lands, you know very well what I should see: brigands on the highways, pirates on the sea, armies fighting, cities burning. In the amphitheaters men murdered to please applauding crowds; selfishness and cruelty and misery and despair under all roofs. It is a bad world, Donatus.... It is an incredibly bad world."
The unsaved person is travelling to hell and the lake of fire. Not only are the unsaved lost and blind, they are stumbling down a road that will end in hell. You have the words of the Lord Jesus on it. "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Mathew 10:28) "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." (Revelation 20:13-14)
Perhaps you have been saved from personal tragedy. You may know of someone who narrowly escaped disaster. They were saved from it. To be saved spiritually means that your body, soul and spirit will not go to hell because of your sins. Hell is the penalty for all sinners. But that is not the will of God for you. God's desire is that all be SAVED from hell.
Personally slaves of sin.
I heard about a guy when went to the doctor’s office for a physical. The nurse asked him his weight and he said, “170 pounds.” She had him step on the scales and she said, “You weigh 200 pounds.” The nurse asked, “How tall are you?” He said, “Six feet.” She measured him and said, “You are actually five feet, nine inches.” She started taking his blood pressure and he said, “How can you expect my blood pressure to be normal? I came in here as a tall, slender guy, and you’ve already made me short and fat!”
We may like to think we are doing OK. But the truth is we are lost!
2. The Lord Came To Save
A long time ago, in a manger, a baby was born. He was a sign to us. His presence read, "THIS IS NOT AN ABANDONED WORLD." For unto us a child is born." We have not been abandoned.
Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time, behold him come, offspring of the virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the God-head see; hail the incarnate deity,
pleased as man with us to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel.
Jesus Christ, God's only Son, born in the likeness of man as a baby, grew to be a man, God in the flesh, to die on a cross, shedding His blood for our sins. At His sacrificial death our sins were atoned and forgiven. Man through the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was justified of his sins and reconciled ... the relationship reestablished, sin's difference settled through the price of the Son, and is now made acceptable to God.
Yes you and I can be saved now. We can be restored to a real relationship with God.
Our sins have made a separation between us and God, but He came to be the One Mediator.
1 Tim 2: 3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, a man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself—a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.
You Can Be Saved Relationally
In Craig Nelson’s book The First Heroes, we read about the Doolittle Raiders who launched the first major counterattack on the Pacific front during World War II. Not all of the “raiders” returned from their bombing mission. Jacob DeShazer was among those who was captured and held in POW camps under difficult and painful circumstances. DeShazer later returned to Japan after the war, but not to seek revenge. He had received Jesus as his Savior and had come back to Japanese soil carrying the message of Christ. A former warrior who was once on a campaign of war was now on a campaign of reconciliation. DeShazer’s mission to Japan mirrors the heart of the Savior, who Himself came on a mission of love and reconciliation. Luke reminds us that when Christ came into the world, it was not merely to be a moral example or a compelling teacher. He came “to seek and to save” the lost (19:10). His love for us found its expression in the cross, and His rescue of us found its realization when He emerged triumphantly from the tomb in resurrected life. In Christ we find forgiveness, and that forgiveness changes our life and our eternity—all because Jesus came on a campaign of reconciliation.
You can Be Saved Eternally
Romans 5:10-11 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
There was a group of pioneers who were making their way across the prairie to one of the central states and to a distant place that had been opened for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was very slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly. They had crossed a river the day before and soon the flames would be upon them. One man only seemed to have understanding as to what should be done. He gave the command to set fired to the grass behind them. Then when a space as burned over, the whole company moved back upon it. As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, “Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?” The leader replied, “My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been.” What a picture of the believer, who is safe in Christ?
On Him Almighty vengeance fell, Which would have sunk a world to hell. He bore it for a chosen race, And thus becomes our Hiding Place?
You can Be Saved Personally
A Parisian painter in 1875 named Marcel de le Clure wrote a love letter to his beloved. Though that doesn't seem so strange, it is. In this love letter, he repeated three words 1,800,000 times: "I Love You." No one knows how she responded, but I have a guess.
What would you do differently if you knew God loved you? Most of us think of God as someone to be feared. There's some good in that: God is big and scary. But what would you do if you knew, really knew, that He loved you--no ifs, ands, or buts?
During his long trek to faith, the eighteenth-century founder of Methodism,
John Wesley, asked his counselor, Zinzendorph, a lot of questions. One time Zinzendorph asked Wesley a question: "Mr. Wesley, do you believe that Christ died for your sins?"
Wesley answered, "I believe that Christ died for the sins of the world." "But, Mr. Wesley," Zinzendorph said, "I didn't ask you that. Did Christ die for your sins?"
Every person will go out from here today either saved or lost.
3. The Way To Be Saved Is To Believe On Him
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18.
The failure to put faith in Jesus Christ is not a misfortune, it is a sin, a grievous sin, an appalling sin, a damning sin.
A. Unbelief in Jesus Christ is an Appalling Sin Because of Whom Jesus Christ is. Because of the Dignity of His Person, Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
A dignity attaches to Jesus Christ that attaches to the person of no angels, or archangel, to none of the principalities or powers in the heavenly places. His is the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. An injury done to Jesus Christ is, then, a sin of vastly greater magnitude than a sin done to man.
B. Unbelief in Jesus Christ is an Appalling Sin not only Because Faith is the Supreme Thing Which is Due to Him.
Jesus is worthy of many things. But first of all, underlying all else, Jesus Christ is worthy of faith; man's confidence is due Jesus Christ.
C. Unbelief in Jesus Christ is an Appalling Sin Because Jesus Christ is the Incarnation of all the Infinite Moral Perfections of God's Own Being.
"God is light and in him is no darkness at all." This infinite absolute light which God is, this infinite holiness and love and truth, is incarnated in Jesus Christ; and the refusal to accept Him is the refusal of light and choice of darkness.
D. Unbelief in Jesus Christ is an Appalling Sin Because it is Trampling Under Foot the Infinite Love and Mercy of God. John 3:16.
Jesus Christ is the supreme expression of God's love and mercy to sinners.
It is as clear as day that unbelief in Jesus Christ is an appalling sin. Theft is a gross sin, adultery is worse, murder is shocking, but all these are as nothing to the violation of the dignity and majesty of the person of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, by our unbelief. Give up your awful unbelief in Jesus Christ and accept Him tonight.
Clovis Chappell tells the story about one of the shepherds who heard the proclamation of the angels about the birth of Jesus but did not go to Bethlehem to see for him-self. Decades later, as he held his grandson on his knee, he told the child the stirring story about Jesus and the angels.
"Is that all?" asked the boy. "What did you do when you heard the good news? Was it true? Was the Christ child really born?"
The old man replied, with some sadness, "I never knew. Some say it was true; some say it was only a dream. I didn't take the trouble to go and see."
. "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31) You can have assurance and you should. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9-13)
Bishop Bruce Baxter once told of a boy that a stranger rescued from drowning. After artificial respiration, the lad was brought back to consciousness. He looked him in his face, “Thank you, sir, for saving my life!” “That’s all right, son, glad to do it. But see to it that you’re worth saving.” The boy never forgot his words. The admonition rang in his mind and heart, “That’s all right, son, glad to do it. But see to it that you’re worth saving!” That boy was Bishop Baxter, a Methodist minister. Every Christian should respond, “Thank you Lord for saving my soul.” He may answer, “That’s all right, my child, glad to do it. But see to it that you’re worth saving.”