Summary: What will you do with Jesus?
There has been much debate this year over Christmas. The politically correct, or should I say the politically incorrect has been working overtime in an attempt to remove Christ from Christmas, and any reminder of why we celebrate December 25th. Call it a happy holiday, or a winter break, but avoid wishing someone a Merry Christmas. I wonder of those same people who want giving trees removed from schools, nativity scenes from government property, and Merry Christmas removed from school lunch menus volunteered to work today for straight pay, or did they demand Monday off as a paid holiday?
I had read were two billion people will worship Jesus this weekend but lets be honest very few people are truly living their lives for Him. We gather tonight like so many others in churches around the world to observe the birth of Jesus. I had someone installing a gas furnace in the house two weeks ago and he told me which church he attends when he can. I asked if on that occasion he hears the Christmas story and he asked how I knew. For many, their worship of Jesus is limited to Christmas and Easter, and hopefully, the preacher will not speak longer than an hour because 2 hours a year is a lot to give, along with the dollar bill in the offering plate. Did I really say that?
Mel Gibson produced the Passion of the Christ which brought some people home, this year Disney has done a remake of the Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan, the Lion, might bring a few people back home at Christmas, we can only hope and pray. There is more to Christmas than a lion and a movie. What is it that gets so many peoples dander up when it comes to celebrating Christmas? It is Jesus Christ, the most influential person who ever walked the face of this earth. You love Him or you hate Him, there are very few who are indifferent to Him.
We have heard the account in Luke chapter 2. The New Living Translation reads, “1At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3All returned to their own towns to register for this census. 4And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5He took with him Mary, his fiancé , who was obviously pregnant by this time. 6And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.” His birthed fulfilled a number of Old Testament prophecies but that was not as controversial as His claim to be the Son of God. The uniqueness of His claim, fulfilled by how He lived His life, as brought barriers erected for those who believe and those who scoff. It is not new, it is as old as the day of His birth as people when about the census more concerned with their creature comfort than they were for a baby born in the stable rather than in the inn.
I am not seeking to share an account of history with you tonight so you can return to your homes and mark your calendar for Easter, I want to challenge you with His teachings so you will leave here with a greater understanding of why Jesus is such a controversial person, equipped with the knowledge which will bring you back next week to learn more about Him and how He can transform your life.
Jesus said in John 12:47-49, “47If anyone hears me and doesn’t obey me, I am not his judge--for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48But all who reject me and my message will be judged at the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. 49I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me gave me his own instructions as to what I should say.”
That is pretty heavy stuff because if we do not embrace Him, we by default have rejected Him and that rejection, our personal choice, brings judgment.
Jesus said in John 5:22-25, “22And the Father leaves all judgment to his Son, 23so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. But if you refuse to honor the Son, then you are certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.
24"I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”