Sermons

Summary: The meaning of life is Jesus Christ because without Jesus Christ life has no meaning.

SIN WILL ALWAYS BE AN OFFENSIVE WORD IN OUR SOCIETY. WE TRIVIALIZE GREED, SELFISHNESS, CORRUPTION, CRIME AND ALL OTHER SINS BY GETTING SCIENTISTS TO PROVE TO US "BIOLOGICALLY" THAT WE CAN’T HELP IT BECAUSE WE WERE JUST BORN THAT WAY!

IT’S NOT SCIENTISTS OR SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATIONS THAT WE MUST WORRY ABOUT. AFTER ALL, WE ARE NOT HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR FINDINGS, BUT TO GOD’S JUDGMENT.

THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT GOD IS CONCERNED ABOUT OUR SINFULNESS. HE IS CONCERNED BECAUSE HE KNOWS FULL WELL THAT SIN IS A DISEASE OF THE SOUL THAT WILL DESTROY OUR LIVES AND WILL RESULT IN SPIRITUAL DEATH.

WE MAY THINK THAT THE WORLD HAS GONE "SIN-CRAZY" BUT THAT IS HARDLY THE CASE IF YOU COMPARE IT TO OUR SCRIPTURE PASSAGE HERE IN LUKE.

IT WOULD TAKE SOME DOING TO ASSEMBLE A MORE DEPLORABLE, SHAMEFUL BUNCH OF GUYS THAN THE ONES LISTED TODAY IN LUKE’S GOSPEL.

TIBERIUS, PILATE AND HEROD WERE NOTORIOUS FOR THEIR CRUELTIES, THEIR TREACHERIES AND THEIR CALLOUS DISREGARD FOR OTHERS.

TIBERIUS WAS DESPISED AND MISTRUSTED BY HIS OWN POLITICAL CRONIES AND FINALLY RESORTED TO TRUMPED-UP TREASON TRIALS TO KEEP HIS OPPONENTS IN ORDER.

PILATE WAS RENOWNED FOR PLAYING BOTH ENDS AGAINST THE MIDDLE - CHEATING HIS ROMAN BOSSES AND ABUSING HIS JUDEAN SUBJECTS.

HEROD WAS SO PARANOID THAT HE ENDED UP HAVING THREE OF HIS OWN SONS AND ONE OF HIS WIVES EXECUTED BECAUSE HE SUSPECTED THEM OF PLOTTING AGAINST HIM.

THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS WEREN’T MUCH BETTER. ANNAS, THE HIGH PRIEST, WAS HARDLY MORE THAN A SERVANT OF THE ROMAN AUTHORITIES, HAVING SOLD OUT ANY MORAL PERSUASIVENESS HIS POSITION MIGHT HAVE STILL HELD.

HE DID BETTER AT GETTING HIS FAMILY APPOINTED TO THE TEMPLE PRIESTHOOD BY THE ROMAN BOSSES THAN HE DID AT PRESERVING THE INTEGRITY OF A RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION.

IN POLITICS, RELIGION AND ECONOMICS, ALMOST ANY FIRST-CENTURY PALESTINIAN WOULD HAVE READILY AGREED IT WAS "THE WORST OF TIMES."

FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE, THERE WOULD SEEM TO HAVE BEEN NO HOPE. NO PROPHET OF GOD HAD BEEN ON THE SCENE FOR NEARLY 400 YEARS AND IT APPEARED AS IF THE UNSHAKABLE STRENGTH OF ROMAN RULE WOULD REMAIN UNCHALLENGED FOR AGES TO COME.

ANY FAITHFUL JEW MIGHT HAVE AGREED WITH THE SKEPTIC WHO SAID, "DUE TO THE CURRENT FINANCIAL CRISIS, THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL WILL BE TURNED OFF."

BUT IT WAS INTO THE MIDST OF THESE TOUGH TYRANTS AND SPARKLESS SPIRITS THAT GOD SENT HIS MOST MIRACULOUS AND UNEXPECTED GIFT: JESUS.

CHRISTMAS IS NOT ONLY A TIME OF REMEMBERING WHAT GIFTS WE SHOULD GIVE IN CHRIST’S NAME TO THOSE WE LOVE. IT IS ALSO A TIME OF REMEMBERING THE GIFT GOD GAVE IN OUR NAMES AND FOR OUR SAKES: THE GIFT OF CHRIST.

WHAT ARE SOME OF GOD’S GIFTS THAT COME TO US THROUGH THE CHRISTMAS STORY?

1. THE FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT IS THE GIFT OF JESUS, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. GOD BEGAN THE CUSTOM OF GIVING. JAMES 1:17, "EVERY GENEROUS ACT OF GIVING, WITH EVERY PERFECT GIFT, IS FROM ABOVE, COMING DOWN FROM THE FATHER OF LIGHTS."

SO THE FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT GIVEN IS THE GIFT FROM GOD. HIS PRESENT IS JESUS, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. JESUS IS THE LIGHT THAT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS OF OUR LIVES. FOR THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, THE GIFT OF THE FATHER OF LIGHTS, IS JESUS.

JOHN 1:4-5 PROCLAIMS, "IN HIM WAS LIFE, AND THE LIFE WAS THE LIGHT OF ALL PEOPLE. THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS, AND THE DARKNESS DID NOT OVERCOME IT."

OUR CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS OF LIGHTS, WHETHER THEY BE ELECTRIC BULBS ON OUR TREE OR CANDLES ON OUR TABLE, REMIND US OF THE GIFT OF THE CREATOR, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

THE INCARNATION OF GOD IN A BABY IS THE GOSPEL’S AFFIRMATION OF THE INVASION INTO HUMAN DARKNESS OF THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

2. THE SECOND CHRISTMAS GIFT IS THE GIFT OF MARY AND JOSEPH. THEIR PRESENT WAS OBEDIENT PREPARATION. GOD HAD PREPARED MARY, AND MARY HAD PREPARED JOSEPH FOR THE BIRTH OF THE CHRIST CHILD.

BECAUSE THEIR HEARTS WERE OPEN AND OBEDIENT TO GOD’S WILL AND CALL, IT WAS THEIR ARMS THAT GOD CHOSE TO EMBRACE AND CUDDLE THE CHRIST CHILD.IT WAS THEIR HANDS THAT GOD CHOSE TO WRAP THE INFANT JESUS IN SWADDLING CLOTHES TO KEEP HIM SAFE.

3. THE THIRD CHRISTMAS GIFT IS THE GIFT OF THE SHEPHERDS. THEY BROUGHT TO THE CHRIST CHILD A VERY PRECIOUS PRESENT: THE GIFT OF WONDER.

THE FIRST PEOPLE TO SEE JESUS WERE SIMPLE, HARD WORKING, UNEDUCATED MEN WHO WERE OCCUPIED WITH NIGHTLY TASKS OF 3RD SHIFT! YET, AT THE SAME TIME THEY WEREN’T PREOCCUPIED WITH TEMPORAL THINGS.

WONDER TOUCHED THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS WHEN THEY HEARD THE ANGEL, AND THEY AROSE AND WENT TO BETHLEHEM BEARING THEIR GIFT OF WONDER.

UNLIKE THE MAGI, WHO CAME WITH REGAL GIFTS, THE SHEPHERDS PROBABLY CAME EMPTY-HANDED. THESE SIMPLE MEN OF THE FIELDS HURRIED TO BETHLEHEM WITH NOTHING BUT THEIR WONDER TO GIVE. THEIR HANDS WERE EMPTY, BUT THEIR HEARTS WERE FULL OF AWE.

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