Summary: Distractions are often times intentional. They are created in order to get you to focus on the unimportant in order to prevent you from seeing what is really important. Can that happen at Christmas time? Do you really have to ask???
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
“Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Last week we saw the video called The Cross by Billy Graham
We heard testimonies of two people whose lives were dramatically changed by the risen Christ who died on the cross of Calvary.
In American sign language there are several signs for the Bible.
The most prevalent one is a combination of the sign for Jesus and the sign for book, Jesus Book.
In the New Testament there are just under 8,000 verses and Jesus, Christ, Messiah, Son of God, Son of David are mentioned almost 1,900 times. That means, on the average, somewhere between every four or five verses Jesus is in there!
Jesus, God incarnate. Jesus, the sinless One, Jesus the crucified. Jesus, the risen Lord. Jesus, coming again.
Jesus, the central focus of history. The salvation story of Jesus is the central crossroad of my eternal life and yours.
This is the first Sunday of the Advent season as we look toward the celebration and remembrance of Christ coming to earth as a Baby.
Born to live a sinless life, to die on the cross as a perfect sacrifice and rise again from the dead. To give us who were spiritually dead in our sins the one and only path to salvation and deliverance from the bondage to sin.
This is the truth that we proclaim every week and in which we live.
It is a glorious truth. The only eternal truth.
The evil one does not want us to know this Truth, so he tries to distract us.
There is glorious truth in what we celebrate at Christmas time.
God has come in the flesh - fully God and fully man.
As it says in Matthew 1:23
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Now, one thing we need to remember is that Christmas is to the plan of salvation like “Gentlemen Start Your Engines” is to the Indy 500.
It’s only the beginning. In the Indy 500, I dare say, that for the cars to be at the level they are on race day there have been millions of hours of time and effort invested. Not just by the team who built and tuned the cars to perfection but the development of all of the materials just from the time of the industrial age. Designing and building the manufacturing plants for the thousands of parts that go into each car. The tires, the chassis, the engine, the safety restraints, the aerodynamics of the car, the rear view mirror …
All of that and much more. And even with all of that, “Gentlemen Start Your Engines” is still only the start of the adventure. It’s what happens at the end of the race that counts.
And so it is with Christmas. We love to celebrate Christmas. God took on flesh and became a Man! That was the equivalent of God the Father saying to His Son, “Start Your Engine of Salvation!”
Even from the third chapter of the Bible, 4,000 years before Christ came to earth, His arrival was predicted.
Genesis 3:15 says,
“And I (the LORD) will put enmity between you (satan) and the woman (humanity), and between your offspring and hers; He (the Messiah) will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.”
Enmity - a feeling or condition of hostility or hatred
And from that point forward God, the Father was planning and preparing to send His one and only Son in order to provide a way of salvation for all of humanity.
This was done through the giving of the law and countless prophets over the millennia. Always moving toward the Advent, the incarnation as the “Gentlemen Start Your Engines” as the plan of salvation.
As important as the birth of Christ is the pivotal point of salvation is His death on the cross and resurrection.
So, here’s what we want to get at …
It is possible for Christmas to become a distraction. How so?
Santa Claus - St. Nicholas - even Baby Jesus (he’s non-threatening and non-conviction version of our Holy Savior) - anything to keep unsaved folks from remembering that they are lost in their sin.
Gifts - we spend huge amounts of time in the Christmas season agonizing over what gifts to buy for the parents or spouse or kids and trying to scrape together the money or borrow it.