Summary: REMEMBER SCROOGE’S EXPERIENCE WITH THE THREE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS - PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE? WITH THIS THOUGHT WE LOOK AT THE CHRISTIAN ASPECT OF CHRISTMAS - PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.
THE THREE AGES OF CHRISTMAS
I. SCROOGE’S STORY
A. The old, selfish, stingy grouch who hated Christmas
B. Visited by the three Ghost’s of Christmas
C. I would like to use the idea of that story to present this Christmas message
II. CHRISTMAS PAST
A. For the first 300 years of Christianity there was no significant christmas celebration
-the date chosen for Christmas fell during a time when several pagan holidays were being celebrated
B. Early christians looked for ways to apply a christian meaning to these holidays or holy days
C. Christmas brings to our minds the birth of a baby named Jesus
-the familiar scenes of many christmas programs
D. People had different ideas about who Jesus was
-some tried to kill him
-the wise men referred to him as, "He that is born king of the Jews"
-the eternal second person of the trinity took it upon himself to be born as a human
E. How did this take place?
-it is pretty much a mystery
-Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God
-John 1:1,14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
III. CHRISTMAS PRESENT
A. Almost 2,000 years later we still celebrate Christmas
B. The secular world has tried to change the identity of Christmas from a christian view to it’s own
-called the holidays
-some towns have passed laws to honor modern heroes or historical figures
C. For the christian, Christmas has not lost it’s meaning
D. It is still a time to celebrate the birth of Christ
E. We have a perspective the earliest christians did not
-the bible in its completion
-today Christmas is more than a baby in a manger
F. We now see and understand the entire scope of Christ’s birth
-his life, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension
G. Jesus - the greatest gift of all
-John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
-today, people still have many ideas as to who Jesus was
H. Today, Christ lives, sits on his throne, and waits to be born, not in a fleshly body but in the heart of every person who will believe on him
-Rom 10:9,13 ...if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved....For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
IV. CHRISTMAS FUTURE
A. Not only does Christmas look to the past and look at the present, but it also looks to the future
B. God’s plan was not finished with Jesus’ birth, it isn’t finished today with a person’s salvation
C. Jesus Christ is coming back!
-Heb 9:28 ...unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
D. His second coming fulfills the words the angels spoke to the shepherds
-Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
-Song - "Joy to the World" was not written about Christ’s birth but celebrates His return to reign on the earth
-God has always desired peace and good will for man but it is only found in Jesus
E. Christ does not return -
-as a cute baby, a mild mannered man
-to be whipped and beaten like a criminal led to the slaughter like a lamb
F. Christ returns as -
-a conquering champion, the lion of the tribe of Judah, King of kings and Lord of lords
-to establish his kingdom and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords
G. Then it will not matter what people have thought about him, the words of Isaiah will ring true
-Isa 9:6-7 ....his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
A. As we look at the three ages of Christmas we must ask some questions