Summary: The truth that we receive or reject Jesus in every choice we make must replace the idea that receiving him as Lord and Savior in a one-time event (i.e. baptism, church membership or sinner’s prayer).
Pictures from A Christmas Carol movies
Clips from A Christmas Carol movies
Chains – actual chains hanging around or pictures;
perhaps sound clips of rattling chains
IDEAS for Other Illustrations
Quotes from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
IDEAS for Bible Readings, Prayers or Songs
John 16:5-15 – the Spirit will convict and guide
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In the beginning – this phrase echoes the first verse of the Bible. – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
In the beginning … the Word was God. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
The Word described in these verses is God the Creator of everything. He is the One who formed Adam and Eve in order to share his love with them. They rebelled against God cutting us all off from the source of life. We forgot what our Creator is like and so the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
He came to … his own creation and to his own people, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…. Some people received the Word while others rejected him.
INTRODUCTION: THAT REMINDS ME OF SCROOGE – THE MAN WHO REFUSED TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS.
“Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.”
“The same face: the very same. Marley in his pigtail, usual waistcoat, tights and boots; the tassels on the latter bristling, like his pigtail, and his coat-skirts, and the hair upon his head. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge
observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel.”
The specter raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.
“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?”
Scrooge trembled more and more.
“Or would you know,” pursued the Ghost, “the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have labored on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!”
“The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost; some … were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a doorstep. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.”