What Impact Does CHRISTMAS Have Upon You?
INTRODUCTION: There is an irony at Christmas: Its ATTRACTION can become a DISTRACTION. We love the lights and the celebration, the food and the fun. But if we are not careful, those things can distract us from the true reason for the season.
So, again as we approach yet another Christmas week, I would have you focus on the question. "WHAT IMPACT DOES CHRISTMAS HAVE UPON YOU?" From many vantage points, the seriousness of Christmas cannot and should not be overlooked.
FOR many people who revel in "Christmas Cheer," this is an extremely sobering and in some cases depressing time of the year, since they can't handle Christmas emotionally.
FOR others, it is an extremely busy time, requiring the purchase of gifts right on up to the zero hour.
FOR the children, unquestionably it is the most important and exciting time of the year.
FOR many, Christmas has a serious side with all the expense involved. For some of you that doesn't hit home until after the first of the year when the credit card bills start to roll in.
But to no one is Christmas more important than to those of us who name the name of Jesus Christ. Therefore,
After all the CAROLS have been sung,
After all the CARDS have been sent,
After all the LIGHTS have been lit,
After all the GIFTS have been given,
After all the CHRISTMAS PROGRAMS have been performed, and
After all the EXCITEMENT has died down,
I wonder if we really understand that with all this excitement and all this preparation, Christmas is simply attesting to the fact that something supernatural took place, and believe that to be the birth of Jesus Christ.
I trust that for those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and received Him as Savior CHRISTMAS IS SOMETHING SPECIAL TO US.
Not only is there something SERIOUS about Christmas, but we must also stop and consider when Jesus came into the world, He made an incredible IMPACT on the people who lived in His time. This is how:
FIRST: The Birth of Christ made an impact NATIONALLY. Please follow me as I read Matthew 2:1-4,
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, (2) Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. (3) When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (4) And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.”
Now with this news:
Herod and all of Jerusalem were TROUBLED with him. Not only so, but the entire nation was TROUBLED as they became aware of the birth of this child.
In verses 16-18 a terrifying event takes place,
“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. (17) Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, (18) In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”
Can you see that NATIONALLY, throughout all of Israel, as the news spread of an unusual birth, fear griped mother's hearts as the king ordered literally 1000's of little children to be slain? The scope of CHRIST’S BIRTH made a tremendous impact NATIONALLY.
SECOND: The Birth of Christ made an impact INTERNATIONALLY. In Matthew 2:1 you will notice the wise men came from the EAST. Most Bible scholars believe these wise men came from Babylon or as far away as Persia.
Let me clarify three things about this passage:
1. Please understand these men were not Kings, they were astrologers.
2. Please note even though most Christmas pageants and pictures portray three wise-men, the Bible does not say how many there were.
3. Most manger scenes as well as Christmas cards are incorrect in their display of the wise men. We believe there were more than three, and according to verse 11 they came to worship Jesus in a house some two years after His birth and not to the manger the same night He was born.
These wise men must have known the Old Testament scriptures and recognized there would be a star that would indicate a birth of an unusual child at a specific time. And so they began a journey that took them as indicted some two years in length, through the burning dessert until they finally arrived in Jerusalem in order to fall down and worship this child.
This unusual birth was not only known NATIONALLY, because of the murder of 1000's of little children, but it was a fact known INTERNATIONALLY for these wise men to travel that distance and bring valuable treasures as gifts.
THIRD: The Birth of Christ made an impact CELESTIALLY. We see this from all the co-motions taking place in the heavens. Angels were sent from the throne of God.
In Matthew 1 an Angel came to Joseph with the announcement that Mary would bring forth The Savior.
In Luke 1 an Angel came to Mary to inform her that she would be the mother of Jesus.
In Luke 2 an Angel appeared to the Shepherds announcing where to find the Baby Jesus.
In Luke 2 a multitude of Angels appeared praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Not only were the angels involved, but the celestial bodies of the stars began to come together and rearrange themselves in an unusual fashion, to allow a MIRACLE STAR to form which would lead men to Christ from a distance.
So, we can see that the birth of Jesus had an impact CELESTIALLY, INTERNATIONALLY, and NATIONALLY.
FOURTH: The Birth of Christ makes an impact upon us PERSONALLY. At this time of the year we talk about getting into the Christmas spirit.
What is the Christmas spirit?
How do you get into the Christmas spirit?
How does Christmas make an impact upon you as an individual?
Please notice again in Matthew 2:2 the wise men ask, "Where is He that is born, KING OF THE JEWS?" "The King" is one of the divine titles given to the only begotten Son of God.
In Psalm 10:16 we read, "The Lord is king for ever and ever…"
In Matthew 2:2 we read, at birth He is called the "King of the Jews."
In Matthew 27:37 we read at His death the sign nailed to the cross said, "This is Jesus of Nazareth, the KING OF THE JEWS."
In Revelation 19:16 we read one day Jesus is coming back and he will be crowned, as the "KING OF KINGS and the LORD OF LORDS."
This is incredible, if you think about it.
The Magi were SEEKING the King.
Herod was OPPOSING the King, and
The Jewish priests were IGNORING the King.
But you may say, Pastor, I am not a Jew, so how does this impact me? By turning to the Apostle Paul’s incredible personal testimony found in I Timothy 1:15-17 we read,
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (16) Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. (17) Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Again notice the phrase in verse 15, "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” Here is what Christmas is all about. The message of Christmas is, "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…" Continuing in verse 16 we read,
“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
Paul is saying that he was the chief of sinners. Since Christ saved him as the chief of sinners, there is hope for you. Christ came into the world to save me; He can save you, because He came into the world to save people from their sins.
Now we come to Paul’s doxology in verse 17, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
The impact that should be made in our lives this morning is that Jesus Christ be given the opportunity to reign and rule as He so desires in our lives. Perhaps we need to just pause for a moment and re-evaluate what kind of a reign He is experiencing in our lives. IS JESUS CHRIST THE KING ETERNAL? Can you wholeheartedly sing this hymn?
KING of my life, I crown Thee now,
Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget thy thorn-crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary.
Crown Him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon His throne;
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for me;
And hail Him as thy matchless KING Through all eternity.
I'm a child of the KING, I'm a child of the KING,
With Jesus my Savior I'm a child of the KING!
Now my friends,
If you are just a sometime worshiper,
If you just think about Jesus when you are in trouble,
If you just consider Him when you face a problem,
If you just come to church occasionally to hear a message or two at Christmas and just sing some songs, and
If you think nothing more about Christ Jesus,
Maybe what you need this morning is a new experience of falling at His feet to worship Him as the KING ETERNAL IN YOUR LIFE.
Now I am sure that by now you recognize that the real subject of Christmas is certainly not that fake the devil calls Santa Clause. Nor is it only the subject of Christian LOVE. Christmas is not JOY and PEACE, for there is no peace in the world today. Unfortunately, the average person is not joyful; they are burdened down with the pressures of life.
LOVE, JOY and PEACE are products of Christmas. But the reality of Christmas is the person of Jesus Christ.
Now in order to further impress this upon you, please go back to Matthew 1. Here you will notice in this chapter that both times the name JESUS is mentioned in verse 21 and verse 25 it is spelled with capital letters. The emphasis is on JESUS.
The emphasis is not on fulfilled prophecy.
The emphasis is not on the wise men.
The emphasis is not on the angels.
The emphasis is not on Joseph or Mary.
The emphasis is not on peace and good will to men.
The emphasis is on the person of Jesus Christ, for in verse 21 it says, "he shall save his people from their sins." Is this not what Paul said in I Timothy 1:15, "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," Let's put the emphasis where it ought to be.
No doubt, you have seen some unusual Christmas gifts. Here is one for you. It is a pencil with an eraser on both ends of it. The inscription on the pencil reads something like this, "Life without Jesus Christ is like this pencil, THERE IS NO POINT TO IT!" Folks, Christmas without Christ – THERE IS NO POINT TO IT!
It becomes a marathon to run from one store to the next, from one party to the next, from one program to another program, from one family gathering to the next until your nerves have been stretched out, and you have spent more money than you should have, and you eventually drop, exhausted, and throw up your hands to say, “This is just not worth all the energy, money or time.”
Then you say with relief in your voice, “The one good thing I have is 365 days to recoup my loss, only to do it all over again.” WITHOUT CHRIST THERE IS NO POINT TO CHRISTMAS, IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.
It amazes me how people can talk about Christmas and leave Christ out of the conversation.
Someone said, "To celebrate Christmas without mentioning Christ would be as pointless as celebrating Washington’s birthday without mentioning Washington."
It is certainly true what another said, "Jesus was in better company in the stable than he would be at the average Christmas party."
Are you guilty of celebrating Christmas without Christ? Then don't miss this story. "An ocean liner sailing in late December crossed the international date line during the night of December 24th. So the next day was December 26. The passengers all missed the day that makes December famous."
So where should the emphasis be?
The emphasis is on Jesus, who came from Heaven's Glory to be born in a stinking barnyard; a cave in a hillside. His first bed was a feed trough.
The emphasis is on Jesus, who in life wore a seamless robe, had nowhere to lay His head.
The emphasis is on Jesus who died in someone's place on the cruel cross at Calvary only to be buried in a borrowed tomb.
The emphasis is on Jesus who rose again no longer to be crowned with swaddling clothes, or to wear a crown of thorns, but will come again wearing a royal crown as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Think about this,
In I John 3:5 we read, "And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins and in Him is no sin." This means PARDON from the PAST.
In I John 3:8 we read, "…He that committed sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose was the Son of God revealed that He might destroy the works of the Devil." This means we have VICTORY for the PRESENT through Christ.
In John 10:10 Jesus said, "…I came that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly." This is HOPE for the FUTURE.
Let us never forget with all that is going on during December, the emphasis at Christmas is Christ.
If you have never been born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,
If you this moment do not have the hope of Heaven, the hope of Eternal life,
If there was never a day, or a place, or a time that you came to Jesus and confessed Him as Savior, I urge you to do it today.
Don't leave here without Jesus as your Savior or else YOU WILL MISS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT.
Without Christ there is no point to Christmas. It doesn't make sense. But there is a point. Now again notice the last word of Matthew 1:25 is "JESUS." And once He becomes your Savior, the very next title that is given in Matthew 2:2 is "KING." He is to be KING OF YOUR LIFE.
Let me ask you, what profound impact does the incarnation of Jesus have on your life today?
What does JESUS mean to you?
Is He your SAVIOR? Is He KING of your life?
Does the Christmas story move you to sing the Praises of God in Worship?
As MARY did in Luke 1 when she sang "the Magnifite."
As the ANGELS did in Luke 2, when they sang "Glory to God in the Highest…"
As the SHEPHERDS did in Luke 2 returning to the fields after having seen the baby Jesus, "glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen."
As SIMEON in Luke 2 did in the temple 8 days after Christ's birth, when he took up Jesus in his arms and "Blessed God."
As the WISEMEN did in Matthew 2:11 two years after His birth when they found him there in the house and worshipped him.
Does the Christmas story have a profound impact on your life as it did these I have just mentioned as they WORSHIPPED Him?
IF THERE IS NO WORSHIP OF CHRIST, THERE IS NO TRUE CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS.
The IMPACT the incarnation had INTERNATIONALLY upon the Wise-men, that it had NATIONALLY upon the nation of Israel with the slaying of thousands of infant children, that it had CELESTIALLY as the Angels came to announce the birth of Christ with their singing and as the stars came together to form that one celestial star to point to the place of the birth of Christ, that is PAST. The question now is, what impact does it have upon you in the PRESENT?
Does it move you to trust JESUS as your Savior?
Does it move you to serve Him as KING of your life?
Does it move you to give of your time, talents and treasure in worship unto Him?
Does it move you to proclaim the GOOD NEWS, JESUS SAVES, to a world in desperate need of a Savior?
Does Christmas just mean beautiful things, or does JESUS have a profound impact upon your life as your SAVIOR AND KING?
No doubt you have seen those unusual Christmas cards. Years ago there was one with a picture of a little boy with his dog looking into a store widow at a manger scene. On the inside of the card were these words,
"When you get right down to it, the only thing that really matters is JESUS. May this Christmas and throughout the new year bring you the Thing that matters the most."
Christmas can be a maze of commercialism if we let it. Instead, let’s make it a moment of clarity in which we view our sometimes confusing and threatening world against the backdrop of God’s gift to us.
So again let me ask you this morning, "What matters the most in your life – THINGS or JESUS?" I trust the answer to that question is Jesus. And if so, rejoice in God’s blessing this Christmas as you lift up His Son for all the world to see.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "What Impact Does Christmas Have Upon You?" right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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In His Amazing Grace,
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