Summary: How we respond to the true meaning and significance of Christmas is – as we'll see this morning – a choice between choosing the blessings of a Holy and Loving God committed to honor His rules and expectations; OR choosing instead a life under the auspices
“WHY CHRISTMAS IS A GIFT WE CAN'T REFUSE”
2nd In Series: “Why Christmas Is Not Optional”
Rev. Todd G. Leupold, Perth Bible Church, 12/20/2009 AM
This Christmas season we are taking a closer look at why “Christmas” - in it's truest and purest significance – is NOT optional for us to understand and respond to in kind. Last week, we began by re-examining what really happened, why it happened precisely the way it did, and what that really means to us. This morning, we will more closely examine why Christmas can and perhaps should be described as “A Gift We Can't Refuse.”
Which is not intended to be understood as a gift we are incapable of refusing, but rather as a gift that: on one hand, is much to great and valuable to refuse (kind of like 'the giveaway that nobody will want to miss'); and, on the other hand, is an offer that to refuse would result in unimaginably unpleasant consequences that cannot otherwise be avoided or reversed (sort of like putting yourself under the 'protection' and 'provision' of the mafia). How we respond to the true meaning and significance of Christmas is – as we'll see this morning – a choice between choosing the blessings of a Holy and Loving God committed to honor His rules and expectations; OR choosing instead a life under the auspices of the Devil committed to his rules and expectations with it's short-term deceptions of glamor, prestige, power and earthly fortune and long-term never-forgotten or paid debts and obligations! (repeat)
There is NO middle ground or other options. We can pretend and even convince ourselves there are, but that is not reality and sooner or later reality WILL inevitably claim us.
SCRIPTURE: 1 JOHN 3:1-10 (cont'd)
WE NEED THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS FOR:
Illustration: “One day, when Vice-President Calvin Coolidge was presiding over the Senate, one senator angrily told another to go 'straight to hell.' The offended Senator complained to Coolidge as presiding officer, and Coolidge looked up from the book he had been leafing through while listening to the debate and wittily replied, 'I've looked through the rule book, you don't have to go.'”
The gift of Christmas is that we don't have to live eternally disowned and separated from God!
Born on this day is the Savior, the One and only one who can save, deliver, rescue, help us in our distress, and set us free from that which separates us from Him and His full blessings: SIN
Isaiah 53:2-7 He grew up before Him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He had no form or splendor that we should look at Him, no appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn't value Him. Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished Him for the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost."
Acts 4:8-12 Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man--by what means he was healed-- let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene--whom you crucified and whom God raised from the dead--by Him this man is standing here before you healthy. This Jesus is The stone despised by you builders, who has become the cornerstone. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved."
Hebrews 7:24-26 But because He remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is always able to save those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them. For this is the kind of high priest we need: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.
It is true, there can be no salvation without forgiveness of sins, but salvation is even more than that! Forgiveness of sins is a necessary requirement whereby salvation can be attained, but it is not salvation itself. Biblical salvation is the process and reality of being saved and delivered from a life enslaved to sin and separated from God to a life restored to be lived in perfect union, or fellowship, with Jesus!