Summary: Two ways for Christians to develop a focus of Jesus at Christmas.
“Developing a Christmas Focus”
December 11, 2005
Introduction: Today we are looking at an important aspect of Christmas and that is focus. So often it is easy to get caught up in the day to day routine of December. Christmas parties, shopping, and decorating take an enormous amount of time and energy. And all too often, it leaves us feeling exhausted, frustrated and ready for January.
Today, I want to share with you two ways to keep a Christ-centered focus on Christmas. We are going to look at a very familiar passage and one that often is used at Christmas, Leviticus 10:1-11.
“Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses then said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke of when he said:
" ’Among those who approach me
I will show myself holy;
in the sight of all the people
I will be honored.’
Aaron remained silent.
Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, "Come here; carry your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary." So they came and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses ordered. Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, "Do not let your hair become unkempt, and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the Lord will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the house of Israel, may mourn for those the Lord has destroyed by fire. Do not leave the entrance to the Tent of Meeting or you will die, because the Lord’s anointing oil is on you." So they did as Moses said.
Then the Lord said to Aaron, "You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, and you must teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses." Leviticus 10:1-11 (NIV)
I know what you’re thinking: “John, every Christmas I have heard this story since I was a kid, what do you have to teach me?”
Two principles that I want to share with you today will hopefully make Christmas a better time for you and your family and will draw you closer to the heart of God, and isn’t that the point of Christmas?
I. As followers of Jesus, we must take God seriously.
One thing you must understand is that the book of Leviticus is when God shared his plan of worship and sacrifice with the nation of Israel. It is how human began to learn to encounter the divine and it is given to us so that we would not misunderstand how it was that we were to come to God.
“Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses then said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord spoke of when he said: " ’Among those who approach me, I will show myself holy in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’ Aaron remained silent.” Leviticus 10:1-3 (NIV)
The problem Nadab and Abihu encountered was that they did not take God’s commands and requirements seriously.
There is an implication in verse 9 that they came in to perform their priestly functions while they were drunk.
"You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die.” Leviticus 10:9 (NIV)
This is not an “anti-alcohol” message. I am not here to tell you about how you are to conduct yourselves as a follower of God. However, I am here to tell you that God does not take lightly when his people behave in a certain way because they are under the influence of something other than His Spirit.
God’s desire for his children is that we think and behave under his influence.
“Don’t drink too much wine, for many evils lie along that path; be filled instead with the Holy Spirit and controlled by him.” Ephesians 5:18 (Living Bible)
As followers of Jesus, we must learn to take God seriously and not to take ourselves seriously at all.
The desire of God is that we have a heart attitude that is focused on him and his holiness.