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Sermon No: 83386-The true meaning of Christmas



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SERMON TOPIC: The true meaning of Christmas

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 25 December 2020

Topic Groups: CHRISTMAS, SALVATION, MATTHEW

Sermon synopsis: In our secular age it can be very difficult to discover the true meaning of Christmas.
- Some see Christmas simply as a time to have drunken parties. This is how they honour the birth of the Lord.
- Others are caught up in the commercialisation of Christmas and see it just as a time for receiving gifts – forgetting the greatest gift of all – God’s gift of his Son.
- Others have allowed the purpose of the day that commemorates the birth of our Lord to be forgotten. Jesus’ is usurped by other ‘heroes’ -Santa, Rudolph the reindeer, Frosty the snowman and Tiny Tim. What does all of that have to do with Christmas? Absolutely nothing!
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THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

In our secular age it can be very difficult to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

Some see Christmas simply as a time to have drunken parties. This is how they honour the birth of the Lord.

THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

Others are caught up in the commercialisation of Christmas and see it just as a time for receiving gifts – forgetting the greatest gift of all – God’s gift of his Son.

John 3:16 (ESV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

Others have allowed the purpose of the day that commemorates the birth of our Lord to be forgotten. Jesus’ is usurped by other ‘heroes’ -Santa, Rudolph the reindeer, Frosty the snowman and Tiny Tim. What does all of that have to do with Christmas? Absolutely nothing!

THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

Many supposed “Christian” countries (including our own) have become so secular that they don’t seem to have room for Jesus.

Shop signs wish us a “Merry Xmas” rather than using the word Christmas”, so as not to offend atheists or Muslims.

Employees are instructed to wish customers a vague “Happy Holidays” rather than mentioning “Christmas” because the word makes reference to Christ.

THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

In the US, some liberals are protesting against nativity scenes being placed in public, besides objecting against any mention of “Christmas” in the public arena.

So what is the true meaning of Christmas?

Matt 1:18-25 (NIV) This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Matt 1:20-21 (NIV) But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said:

Matt 1:20-21 (NIV) But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said:

Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

Matt 1:22-23 (NIV) All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet:

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Matt 1:24 (NIV) When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

IMMANUEL - GOD WITH US

Matt 1:22-23 (NIV) All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Here we have, without a doubt, the most profound truth of Christmas of all. The One God sent into the world is none other than God the Son, the second person of the Triune God. The Father did not send an angel. The Father did not send a mere human. The Father sent His Only Begotten Son. *

John 1:1 (NIV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

INCARNATION

John 1:14 (NIV) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Word was God. But the Word became flesh. What does that tell you? It tells us that God became flesh. This is the most wonderful truth of all – the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ! Jesus is God manifested in the flesh. He is God over all, blessed forever. He is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature. He is the image of the invisible God. In Him all the fullness of God dwells in bodily form. Oh, my friends, the true meaning of Christmas is that God became a man!!! *

THE GOSPEL IN A NUTSHELL

1 Tim 1:15 (NIV) Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners— of whom I am the worst.

Like John 3:16, this verse is “the Gospel in a nutshell.” It squeezes the message of the Bible into its irreducible minimum.

1 TIM 1:15

The real meaning of Christmas has to do with:

A PERSON

A PLAN

A PLACE

A PURPOSE

TO SAVE SINNERS

INTO THE WORLD

CAME

CHRIST JESUS

1 - A PERSON

The Person is “Christ.” Christ is actually a title, not a name. “Christ” (from “Christos” in Greek) means “Messiah” (“Mashiach” in Hebrew) or “Anointed One” in English.

The word “Messiah” is actually only found twice in the Old Testament, both in Daniel 9.

Daniel 9:25-26 (NASB) “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks… Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing…”

CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS

THE MESSIAH

The Messiah was the deliverer that the people of God had been awaiting for centuries. It was prophesied that:

Satan would wound his heel but he would crush Satan’s head. (Gen 3:15)

He would be of the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen 12:3)

He would be a prophet like Moses (Deut 18:15-19), a priest like Melchizedek (Ps 110:4) and a king like David (Ezek 37:24).

He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 ) in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

He would be the ultimate and final sacrifice for sin (Isa 53:5), prefigured in the thousands of animals sacrificed in the Old Covenant.

JESUS

The Person is “Christ Jesus.”

Matt 1:21 (NIV) “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Jesus (“Yeshua” in Hebrew) means “Jehovah (Yahweh) is salvation.”

Acts 4:12 (ESV) “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS

2 - A PLAN

The Plan was “Christ Jesus came.”

This word “came” implies the pre-existence of Christ.

If Jesus is God, then of course He existed prior to His birth. However, this word “came” makes this truth doubly clear. If Jesus came, then He had to exist before He arrived. *

Now, if Jesus existed prior to His birth, where did he live? He lived in heaven.

John 6:51 (NIV) I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS

A MISSION

The word “came” also implies that Christ was on a mission.

Gal 4:4-5 (ESV) But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

There was a purpose and a plan in His coming. Christ didn’t come into the world for no reason at all, but was sent here by the Father. *

John 6:38 (NIV) “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”

HOSTILE TERRITORY

The Place Christ Jesus came was “into the world.”

This was hostile territory.

1 John 5:19 (ESV) We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

Satan rules over this world, was man’s sworn enemy from the beginning and was on the lookout for the promised Seed of the Woman who had been prophesied as the one who would crush his head.

CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS

LEAVING HEAVEN

For Jesus to come into the world, meant that He must leave heaven. He had to leave behind the His divine glory. He spent nine months as a developing embryo in the womb of a young woman. He was made in the form of a servant. He was … laid in a manger. He was raised in obscurity. Jesus came into this world, planet earth. Why? Because it was on this world that God’s creatures had ruined themselves. They had transgressed God’s laws, despised His authority and cast off His yoke. They had defaced the image of God. They had become darkened in their understanding, rebellious in their will, and lustful in their affections… *

3 - A PLACE

Jesus came to those to whom he was the object of contempt and hatred.

John 1:11 (NIV) He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

He knew they would murder Him, yet He came anyway. He knew they would condemn Him unjustly, mock Him, insult Him, spit upon Him, beat Him, and pierce Him with nails and spear. *

Isaiah 53:3 (NIV) He was despised and rejected by mankind... Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 - A PURPOSE

The Purpose was “to save sinners”

Jesus didn’t come primarily to teach or to set an example. He didn’t come primarily to heal or to cast out demons. Now, of course, He did do all of those things, but that was not His primary purpose in coming. *

John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”

John 10:10 (ESV) “… I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS

SAVIOUR

Acts 16:31 (ESV) And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved...”

Rom 10:9 (ESV) Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

SAVING SINNERS

If you and I had never heard this verse of Scripture read before, we would be waiting in breathless silence. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save….” Who?! Who did He come to save? Our hear would beat with fear that perhaps we were not included in those He came to save. *

Thankfully, this text doesn’t say that he came into the world to save the righteous, or the wealthy, or the well-educated, or the Jews. He came into the world to save sinners - sinners of every race and colour, male and female, young and old, rich and poor, the educated and the unlearned.

CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS

WE HAVE ALL SINNED

We are all sinners.

Rom 3:23 (ESV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Rom 3:10 (NIV) As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;

And so Jesus came to save you and me.

Luke 19:8-10 (NIV) All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”… Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS CANNOT BE SAVED

If, however, you think you’re not a sinner, then Jesus cannot save you!

1 John 1:8-10 (NIV) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Just as a doctor can only help someone who admits that they’re sick and seeks help – if you are still in denial about your sin-problem, you’re temporarily beyond God’s reach.

THE REDEEMER

As you can see, the true meaning of Christmas from the Scriptures has nothing to do with all of our traditional and cultural trappings, and everything to do with Jesus. Christmas marks that glorious event in which God invaded human history on a mission to save sinners! We live in a world ruined and devoted to destruction. Christmas is when God decided to do something about our plight. It is when He set about to redeem that which was lost, and reconcile that which was estranged. *

WE HAVE A MISSION

Furthermore, just as God sent Jesus on a mission to save, so Jesus has sent us on a mission to save. We are His representatives in this world. Pray for, and look for an opportunity to share the glorious gospel of God’s Son to others. Christmas usually presents us with wonderful opportunities to share God’s truth. *

1 Pet 3:15 (NIV) But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

THE LONELY & POOR

Maybe you have plenty and you have a family and friends that love you, but you know others who are poor or lonely?

Why not use this as a time to show God’s love to them?

Gal 6:10 (NIV) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Luke 14:12-14 (NIV) Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

CONCLUSION

Let’s make the Christmas season all about Jesus, because that’s what it is about.

We have spent time worshiping with our families and friends on Christmas.

We have read the Scriptures.

As we exchange gifts, we have remembered the greatest gift of all that God gave.

If we spend time with friends and family, we will do it to the glory of God.

But God forbid that we leave Christ out of Christmas.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Other Scripture quotations taken from:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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