A Sermon Manuscript by Robert L. Cobb
Editor, NewsForChristians Dot Com
"7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Christmas is a time of memory-making. We can all remember the Christmases of our childhood. The gifts, the family visits, the food, all these things are part of our memories of Christmas. Sadly, for many people, there are sad memories of past Christmases. Many couples split up during the holidays, leaving children to cope with heartache and pain. There are spikes in the number of automobile wrecks during the Christmas season, at least partially caused by the higher number of alcohol drinkers during this time.
Christmas can be a life-changing
time, for either good or bad. I would like to look at the first Christmas
as a life-changing event. The birth of Christ was a one-time occurance,
changing the world forever. In fact, it is still changing the world
and can change your life personally even now as you read this message.
I. IT WAS LIFE CHANGING FOR THE CHARACTERS IN SCRIPTURE.
The birth of the Messiah was anticipated almost from the beginning of time. The curse on Adam and Eve also included a promise: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen. 3:15) Consider Mary as she is visited by the angel who tells her, "...Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." (Luke 1:28) Her life was to be changed forever. No doubt she had been taught of the coming Redeemer who would be born of a virgin. But she had never considered that she might be that virgin. She and Joseph's life was changed forever.
Think of the shepherds and the wise men who followed the star and found Jesus. Think of Simeon and Anna, the aged folks who had been waiting for so long to see the Anointed One. Simeon held the babe in his arms and exclaimed "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace..." (Luke 2:29) They never forgot that first Christmas.
Jesus Christ has been changing
lives since His birth. He has made an impression on all aspects of
culture. He has changed life collectively and individually.
He is still changing lives today.
II. IT WAS LIFE CHANGING IN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE SOVERIEGNTY OF GOD.
From the time of the close of Old Testament scripture to the birth of Christ was about 430 years. This was a time of darkness and silence for the Jewish religion. The God of the Old Testament seemed archaic and old-fashioned to many Jews when Jesus was born. The Jewish religion was completely different than the Old Testament scripture called for. There was still the Temple, but now most worship was in the synagogues. Blood sacrifices were uncommon as many Jews did not believe they were needed. In other words, the Jewish religion had become modernized. The Pharisees had taken over Judaism, and had instituted their own form of worship. They added other rules and guidelines to Old Testament scripture.
But when Jesus was born, it was the beginning of a change. He did not come to destroy the religion of Judaism, He said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." (Mat. 5:17) Jesus set true religion back to it's proper place. God had not left true religion for man to corrupt and destroy. In Christ, He was rescuing true religion.
He had said in the Old Testament: "The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all." (Psalm 103:19) "The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD." (Psalm 146:10) The generations of silence caused many to wonder of this great God would still have any dealings with the world in general, and with Israel, in particular. But now the angel had said to Mary, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:32-33)
God would finish His redemption
of mankind. The world had been waiting since Abraham told his son
Isaac, "God will provide himself a sacrifice." Since Isaiah
had prophesied, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince
of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) The birth of Jesus was the mighty
culmination of those great prophecies, and prove the power and sovereignty
of Almighty God.
III. IT WAS LIFE CHANGING IN ALL HUMAN EVENTS.
You would not know it by listening to the "great thinkers" of our time, but the birth of Christ was a watershed event in the history of the world. Every culture since His birth has celebrated it. Our post-modern world denies the divinity and virgin birth of Christ, but that makes it no less so.
Paul says in Galatians 4:4-5, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." The phrase "the fulness of time" signifies a world ready and in need of Christ's birth. It is said of great leaders and statesmen, "He was a man for his time." We look back on Churchill, Washington, Lincoln, and others in this way.
As great as these men were, Christ is greater. He came at the perfect time, and his impact has been felt ever since. His words have been spoken and written more than any other; His teachings have flourished in every generation; we have even marked time according to his life.
Truly, the birth, life, and
death of Christ has changed all human events.
IV. IT WAS LIFE CHANGING FOR ALL WHO SEEK INTIMACY WITH CHRIST.
Before Christ, God was accessible only through the Jewish religion and the Hebrew race. A gentile could be proselytized into Judaism, but God could only be found in Judaism. Jesus told the woman at the well when she inquired of Him, "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews." (John 4:22) But His next words were so blessed to the woman, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." That is where we stand now. We need not come with a blood sacrifice in our hands to approach God. We come "in Christ." (Eph 2:13) "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
Even to the Old Testament
saints, God seemed impersonal to His people. Job lamented that he
could not sit down and talk with God about His questions. But since
Christ, we find a new avenue with God: "Seeing then that we have a great
high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let
us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot
be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted
like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the
throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time
of need." (Heb. 4:14-16)
V. IT WAS LIFE CHANGING FOR THOSE WHO SEEK SALVATION.
This truth is probably the most misplaced of all during the Christmas season. The world doesn't mind Jesus in a manger, but Christ on a Cross or sitting in the Heavenlies is quite another matter. Jesus said in Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." That is the true message of Christmas. Not just a birth, but a death, and a resurrection. Christ was not just a "good man" or a "wise teacher." He claimed to be God in Flesh. He was either God or a liar and a deceiver. We must take His words as Truth or count Him a charlatan.
He came to seek and to save those who are lost. Are you lost, my friend? Christmas can be a lonely and sad time for many people. There is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. His words still ring true:
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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
If you are not a Christian, you are "condemned already," but only because you have not yet "believed." Beloved, if there is a desire in your heart to be saved, that is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. Yield to Him and trust Him as your Savior. Ask the Lord to come into your heart and save you. He will do it by faith. You will not see a vision; you may not even "feel" any different. But the transaction is completed as an act of faith. My prayer is that you will be saved.
If you accept Christ as you read this message, e-mail me and let me know. I will correspond with you further as you begin your new life in Christ.
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