Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas: Christ is Born

Here is Michael’s Christmas message to us all: Jesus was born into a dark world that did not understand or welcome him.  He was born behind enemy lines, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness from on high. Jesus came to bring a sword against the powers of darkness.  Light always defeats darkness. Jesus came to bring the light of the gospel of good news:  unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.  He also came to bring bad news to the powers of darkness for the thief cometh not but to steal kill and destroy.  However, Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

Many religions are not secure in their faith. They are so insecure that they believe that they have to kill those who disagree with their theology. However, Jesus said, "when someone (motivated by evil intent) slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek."  In other words, "be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." Even our culture will coerce us to compromise our Christian values. The secular business world expects us to steal, cheat, and take advantage of others in the name of the "profit motive."

The question about the advent of our Lord is, "Is there room at the inn” inside your heart? Does Jesus Christ fit the bill as your Savior, your Messiah?  The Light came into the world and the world did not receive it because their deeds were evil.  If there is no God, then those living in the darkness of sin are not accountable to Him.  However, if there is a God, we have a choice to live according to the light of His righteous standard. Apologetic Philosopher Blaise Pascal gave us his famous wager: “God is, or God is not. Reason cannot decide between the two alternatives. A Game is being played ... where heads or tails will turn up. You must wager (it is not optional). Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

There are four categories of people: the first is those who reject the gospel outright.  The second is those who think they deserve righteousness because of their good deeds. A third category is those who hear the gospel of salvation and make a "profession of faith."  However, they do not know how to deal with their sin. No one is in the dark so deep as those who think they are in the light, but they are really in the dark.  These people say, "Lord, we cast out devils and prophesied in your name."  However, Jesus said, "I never knew you."  These are those who think they're saved, but they are really not. Category four is those who know whom they have believed and are persuaded that He is able to keep that which He's committed to them against that day of righteous judgment. These are those who have been saved by grace and have committed to follow their Lord Jesus Christ with reckless abandon and absolute trust. 

We have been called as "men and women of God."  A man or woman of God is one who has made Jesus Lord of their life.  The world is a world of paradoxes. We must die to self in order to live to Him. We are no longer clothed in the filthy rags of our sin nature. When we confess Jesus as Lord and ask Him to forgive us our sins, He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We are now clothed in his righteous robes. What is it worth to you to walk in fellowship with Him?  Is our walk with Him contingent on the things of this world:  riches, accolades, praise of men and women, and worldly accomplishments?  Our sacred responsibility is our response to His ability.  

As we consider practicing the presence of the Lord, we have three things to remember:  We are faith-based, Christ-centered, and Grace-driven. We may not understand the destination; however we trust that He knows. Our responsibility is to trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. He said take my yoke upon thee, for my burden is easy and my burden is light. We need rest, not from this world, but rather rest for our souls. Jesus said, "come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."  Brethren what shall we do?  What offering shall I bring to my Lord and King?  He expects nothing of us except our hearts, our lives, and our all. A merry Christmas every day is the Christmas present given from God our Heavenly Father. The Greatest Christmas present is the presence of God in Christ in you the hope of glory. Practicing the presence of God is the gift that keeps on giving.  Therefore, we fellowship with likeminded men and women, whose heart's desire is to "choke in the dust" of those in hot pursuit of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; those whose pursuit is to press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  The true meaning of Christmas is "Christ’s mass"...  More of Christ and less of me.  I must decrease that He may increase.

Merry Christmas and May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael

No comments: