Sunday, December 23, 2012
Emmanuel – God With Us / What Christmas Means To Me!
Temple Baptist Church - 12-23-2012
A. Christmas of 2012 is upon us! I sometimes think back to the many Christmases of time past and I have now seen 65 of them. I do not remember them all but, as I reflect; I see how the meaning of Christmas has changed for this preacher.
1. The wonder of Christmas as a little boy – the earliest memories were not spiritual ones but rather the worldly aspect of Christmas. Presents under the Christmas Tree and thoughts of a sleigh with Reindeer pulling a little fat man with white hair and beard who wore a red suit.
2. It did not take this preacher long to get over “Santa” though. We normally got one good toy for Christmas but I was a little disappointed that “Santa” was CEO of Fruit of the Loom!
3. As I grew older, Christmas became a time of cooking cookies, candies, and other great smelling things. It was a time of buying and receiving presents; a time of family breakfast and mom and dad’s house and Christmas Dinner at Barbara’s Mamaw’s. Buying and hiding toys from the kids; having to get up right after midnight because someone could not wait until morning to open gifts.
4. Today, I still enjoy having Christmas with my family and buying for children and grandchildren. I still have hobby I call eating which requires pants with pleating! But, in 1976, Christmas changed for me and took on an entirely new meaning. I had always seen Manger Scenes and heard the biblical account of the birth of Christ, but that year the meaning changed forever.
B. Salvation changed both my life and my perspective of Christmas forever. I want to look at a few portions of Scripture this morning that tells what Christmas means to me.
1. He is more than just a Babe in a manger. He is Emmanuel: God with us! Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
a. He is not just “a son of God!” He is Almighty Jehovah God! Mary was not the “mother of God” but rather the mother of the physical body of our Lord. Jesus Christ was the Creator of all things and made the womb that gave Him birth. His goings forth was from everlasting to everlasting. The Creator of all things became a man!
b. He is not just God born in the flesh! He is Emmanuel: God WITH us! Though pure, sinless, and separate from sinners, He walked with sinners; He ate with sinners; He was a Friend of sinners; He died for sinners. He is with us which means to be identified with us through His birth and for us through His life and death. He is our God! That is what Christmas is to me.
2. He is more than just a Babe in a manger. He is the Christ! Matthew 16:13-17 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (14) And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. (15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
a. So many who celebrate Christmas have no spiritual comprehension of Who that Babe, born so long ago, was. They may say that He was Jesus but Jesus is not a reality in their lives.
b. Simon Peter said, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Christ means “anointed” and comes from a root word meaning “consecrated.” Hallowed, blessed, holy, sacred, sanctified, set apart! To me, Jesus Christ is so special because He is so special to God the Father. Jesus Christ is most wonderful, unparalleled, matchless Person that has ever or will ever exist! He is so much more than just a Babe in a manger. He is the only begotten Son of God sent to this world with a marvelous purpose in mind. That is what Christmas is to me.
3. He is more than just a Babe in a manger. He is my Saviour! Luke 1:46-47 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, (47) And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
a. Jesus Christ was born to die! He came into the world the seed of the woman in fulfillment of His promise; He came into this world to hang on an old rugged cross and pay for the sin of the world; He came into the world to save sinners.
b. He was Mary’s Saviour because she was a sinner! She was neither immaculately conceived nor was she was immaculate as a person. Yes, she was a woman blessed of God to bear the seed of the Holy Ghost and bring forth the Messiah. Yes, we do called her blessed for she not only was chosen for such a task, in spite of the reproach, she was submissive to it. In Luke 1:46-47, said, “ And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, (47) And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
c. Paul said, “Of whom I am chief!” He came to die for me and 36 years ago, He became my Saviour. He is my wonderful payment for sin as He became the propitiation for my sin. He paid my price and purchased for me an eternity in heaven with Him. That is what Christmas is to me.
4. He is more than just a Babe in a manger. He is my Lord! John 20:28-29 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (29) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
a. One of the most exciting portions of Scripture is found here. Old “Doubting Thomas,” as he is so called, confessed with his mouth what he believed in his heart as he said, “My Lord and my God!” So many people will call Him their Saviour but fear to call Him Lord. I believe that a person accepts Him as their Lord and Saviour when they are saved. Lord does not mean you give up something to be saved; Lord does not mean that He is Lord of every area of a person’s life; Lord means that the saint recognizes who He is! So many want Him as their Saviour but are not willing to accept Him as their Lord.
b. He is my Lord! No, I am not sinless and must confess with the great Apostle Paul that I am “chief of sinners” and “in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing!” I am a miserable failure at best but I desire to love my Lord. I desire to live for my Lord. I long to be with my Lord! You see, He is so much more than just the sinner’s Sacrifice, He is the saint’s Joy and Rejoicing. He is my Lord and my God because I am one of those blessed ones who have not seen and yet believe. I have not seen the wounds in His hands, feet, and side and yet I believe. I have not looked into His matchless eyes and heard with my ears His gracious words, yet I believe! That is what Christmas is to me.
Conclusion: Yes, Christmas has changed for me. I look back at my youth and Christmas with many fond memories but now I look forward to Christmas with hope that one day—just like today—my Blessed Hope will return and take me to heaven where I now belong!