THE TRUE REASONS FOR THE SEASON
by Rev Charles Bronson
Key Verse: Luke 2:8-20
Intro: Let's face it, the Christmas season is a time that is loved by many and hated by just as many. Yet, regardless of which side of that issue you fall on, this much is true: the Christmas season is a time filled with many mixed messages and with pagan and worldly rituals.
I mean, this is supposed to be the one time in the year when the world remembers the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, and every year we muddy the waters of truth by allowing the Scriptural meaning of the season to be mingled with other messages that have their origin in the world. Now.
I enjoy Christmas as much as the next person, but I just want you to be aware that there are some terrible misconceptions surrounding the true meaning of the season. To many it is all about money, commercialism and greed. Others see it as a time for parties, meals and get-togethers.
Many children know Christmas only as a time for Santa, Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer and other equally foolish fairy tales. As a result, some children have no idea what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.
(Ill. A little boy came home from Sunday School. He was so excited about learning about the Wise Men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. He was so excited that he had to tell his mother. He said, "I learned today in Sunday School all about the first Christmas.
There wasn't a Santa Claus way back then, so these three fellows on camels had to deliver all the toys. And Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer with his nose so bright wasn't there so they had to have this big spotlight in the sky to find their way around.")
(Ill. Some one has compared Santa Claus and the Lord Jesus in a piece called "Santa Versus Jesus.")
Santa lives at the North Pole. Jesus lives everywhere.
Santa rides in a sleigh. Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.
Santa comes once a year. Jesus is an ever present help.
Santa comes down your chimney. Jesus stands at your door of your heart and knocks.
Santa fills your stockings with goodies. Jesus supplies all your needs.
You have to wait in line to see Santa. Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit in his lap. Jesus holds you in His hands.
Santa has a belly like a bowl of jelly. Jesus has a heart of love.
Santa''s little helpers makes new toys. Jesus makes new lives.
Santa puts gifts under your tree. Jesus became our gift and died on a tree.
Thank God for the Bible! In His holy, inspired, infallible Word, God sets the record straight where Christmas is concerned! He gives us, in no uncertain terms, the true reasons for the season. Many say, and I know what they are saying when they do, that "Jesus is the reason for the season." And, He is the main reason, but He isn't the only one! Allow me to share with you some of the true reasons of the season.
I. V.11 CHRISTMAS IS A TIME FOR GIVING
- For God To Give His Son To Men -
When those shepherds heard the words of the angel, they were told that a Savior was coming into the world. This child who was born in Bethlehem was no ordinary baby. This is proven by the angelic announcements prior to His birth, Luke 1:26-33; Matt. 1:20-23.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He was literally God in human flesh - John 1:1; 14! All through His life, He proved His distinctiveness. He taught like no other man. He performed miracles that nobody else could ever duplicate. He healed, He preached, He loved, He reached out. His life was one miraculous event after another.
However, none of those things qualifies Him to be Savior. It wasn't enough for God to send His Son into the world, but that same Jesus had to be "given up." When John 3:16 tells us that God "gave His only begotten Son", that is the precise meaning.
God gave Jesus up to die on the cross for you and me so that our sin debt might be paid and so that we might have the opportunity to be saved from an eternity in Hell. Thank God for giving the greatest gift! (Ill. The cradle was the first stop on a road that was to end at an old rugged cross.)
- For Men To Give Their Souls To God -
(Ill. Nobody likes to receive a gift and then give nothing from themselves in return. God gave His Son to die for sinners. If we are to give a gift to the Lord, what would it be?)
(Ill. There were two groups in connection with the birth and early life of the Lord who gave themselves to Him - The Shepherds, Luke 2:8-10 and the Wise Men, Matt. 2:1-12)
(Ill. We all have that someone on our gift list who seems to have everything already. They are hard people to buy for. What do you give someone who has everything already? Think about it, what can you and I give God? He doesn't need our money. He can get by without our talents.
He doesn't need a fruit basket, or a new tie, or some socks or handkerchiefs. In fact, when you get right down to it, none of us really possesses anything anyway. You say, "I own my house!" Just stop paying the taxes for a few years and see who owns it! You say, "I own my cars!" Again, stop paying the insurance and the taxes and see who controls that car.
You say, "Well, I own my money!" Just let the economy crash and then tell me what you have left. There is only one true possession that we each have and it is our soul. I have control over it and if I want to give something to the Lord, then it must be my soul.
It is the only thing I have that I can honestly give. Notice, this is the intent of Mark 8:36-37. Now, the question arises, have you given your heart to the Lord? If not, there is no better time than today to make that happen - 2 Cor. 6:2.)
I. Christmas Is A Time For GivingII. V.10 CHRISTMAS IS A TIME FOR GOOD TIDINGS
- The angel came with a message of "good tidings."
Literally, this phrase comes from the word from which we get our "evangelize." The message of the angel was a message of salvation. He came to proclaim the glorious news that a Savior had been born in Bethlehem!
- This message is a message of hope!
As has been mentioned in other messages, these men were social outcasts. They were considered unclean by their religion and were typically uncouth, dirty, and vulgar men. They were the type of men that no one wanted to be around. They were generally forgotten by some elements of their society. However, they hadn't been forgotten by God!
How wonderful that these wretched, sinful men who gave their lives to raising sheep for the Temple services were the first to hear the good news that the Lamb of God had been born into the world. It was a message of hope! They were forbidden from seeking God in the Temple, but God brought salvation to them!
- The message hasn't changed!
The Gospel is still a message of hope. You may be one who has committed some really terrible sins. You may feel that God wouldn't save you. You may feel that you have no hope. You may think that you are beyond the scope of God's saving power. Well, let me tell you this morning that the door of salvation is standing wide and that whosoever will may come in and find salvation for their soul!
(Ill. John 6:37; Isa. 1:18-19 Notice, there are no qualifications!; Matt. 11:28) Here's the deal, if you are lost and know you need a Savior, then know that Jesus is who you need. And, just as the message was one of hope for those men that night, it is a message of hope for you this morning.
It is a chance to begin life again. It is an opportunity to have your sins washed away. It is an opportunity to come to know God and assure yourself of Heaven when you die. Thank God, there is still hope in the Gospel!
I. Christmas Is A Time For Giving
II. Christmas Is A Time For Good TidingsIII. V.11 CHRISTMAS IS A TIME FOR AMAZING GRACE
- In a very real sense, WE are the reason for the season!
Before you call me a heretic and lead me to the stake to be burned, notice, verse 11, also Isa. 9:6.
- These miserable shepherds did not deserve to be the first to hear of Christ's birth, but it was God's grace that reached out to them in their need.
(Ill. Grace is defined as "The unmerited love and favor of God toward sinners.")
- Just as it was with those shepherd's in that field, if there is salvation in your life and mine, it is there by grace and grace alone!
There is not a single individual in this place who deserves anything from God! In fact, if we got what we deserved, we would all be in Hell this morning, screaming in the flames of torment, Ill. Rom. 6:23! No, I did not deserve to be saved, but God in His great, matchless, marvelous, unspeakable grace reached out to me in the midst of my sins and called me to come to Him!
My dear lost friends, if you ever experience salvation, it will not be on the basis of any good which you might have done. It will not be on the basis of church membership, baptism, attendance, etc. If you are ever saved, it will be by grace and grace alone - Eph. 2:8-9.
Therefore, do not presume upon the Lord! If He is calling you to come to Him, please do so, and do so today! There may never be another opportunity - (Pro. 27:1; Gen. 6:3.)
I. Christmas Is A Time For Giving
II. Christmas Is A Time For Good Tidings
III. Christmas Is A Time For Grace