Sunday, December 20, 2015

God’s Light of Christmas

Temple Baptist Church - 12-20-2015
Luke 2:1-20
John 1:1-14; John 8:12; John 12:25-36

A.  This week is Christmas, truly the most wonderful time of the year.  I love Thanksgiving through the New Year.  It takes so long to get here and goes by so quickly. 
1.  Thanksgiving is so special because it is a time of reflection on the goodness of God and a special time for families to get together at the expense of a poor old turkey.  If you are thankful for nothing else, be thankful that you are not a turkey in November! 
2.  Christmas, though greatly commercialized, is a time when we reflect on the promise of God and its fulfillment as He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to sacrificially take away the sin of the world.  People ask me what time of the year was Christ born and I tell them in the early fall of the year.  The Bible is clear about the time of His birth but the world celebrates His birth in December and I have no problem with that.
3.  Christmas decorating is all about lights!  We have lights on our Christmas Trees, candles lite on the mantles, our home covered with lights on the outside.  At Christmas, we drive through Roper Mountain to see the lights; we drive through Heritage Park to see the lights; we drive to the “North Pole” out on Trinity Church Road to see the lights; we drive through the town of Ware Shoals to see the lights; we go to the Biltmore House and take the Candle Light Tour with all of its Christmas Trees and fireplaces; we drive through different neighborhoods to see lights.
B.  God takes great interest in light because God is Light!  In our text, it says, “The glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.”  There are three things that I want to look at concerning the coming of Christ:  darkness, light, and division.  To fully understand these three things, we need to go back to the First Mention Principle of Bible Interpretation.  These three things are found in the opening verses of the Book of Genesis (or Beginnings).
Genesis 1:1-5  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  (2)  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  (3)  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  (4)  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.  (5)  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
1.  In verse 1, God created the heaven and the earth.
2.  In verse 2, the newly created world lay in darkness.
3.  In verse 3, God spoke light into existence.  This was not natural light because the sun, moon, and stars had not yet been created.  This was not artificial light because we were not here yet to make such light.  As God will be the Light of eternity in Revelation 22, He was the Light of creation in the beginning.
Revelation 22:5  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
4.  In verse 4, God divided the light from the darkness.  The reason for this is that light and darkness cannot co-exist.  In darkness there is no light and in light there is no darkness.
5.  In verse 5, God named the light Day and the darkness Night.  “Day” means warmth and was illuminated by the light.  “Night” means twisted or to turn away.
C.  The world misses the purpose for which we celebrate Christmas.  With all of the world’s tinsel and commercialism, the true spirit of Christmas is lost as it is now “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas!”
1.  The darkness of a sin filled world into which Christ was born.  The darkness of dead religion permeated the world when our Lord was born.   Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.  (Israel had rejected the prophets and advanced into a religious system of self-merit.  Sound like our day.  We live in the last days.  Israel has rejected their Messiah, America has turned its back on their God, religion has replaced salvation, and immorality has become both the norm and acceptable behavior.  Darkness or Night means to twist or to turn away from light.)
2.  The Light of the glory of God’s Son.  Simeon waited for the Consolation of Israel.  Luke 2:29-32  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  (30)  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  (31)  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  (32)  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
D.  Three things concerning the first coming of Christ at His birth:
1.  The darkness of Sin that brings damnation. Psalms 107:8-14  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  (9)  For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.  (10)  Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron(11)  Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High(12)  Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.  (13)  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.  (14)  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.  (The world was steeped in heathenism and Israel in dead religion!  In our day, morality is at an all-time low as men do those things that appease the lusts of their flesh.  A day of lack of integrity and sinfulness.  Religion is, for the most part, just a dead gratification of the inward desire of man to soothe his conscience and feel good about what and who he is.)
2.  The Light of God that brings salvation. Isaiah 60:1-3  Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee(2)  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.  (3)  And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising(At His first coming, the Light of Israel’s consolation and a Light to lighten the Gentiles, Israel’s Messiah and the Saviour of the world was born.  Piercing the darkness of this world, Jesus Christ came that all who come to know Him as their personal Saviour may have eternal life.)
John 14:19  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
John 10:27-30  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  (28)  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  (29)  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  (30)  I and my Father are one.
3.  The Choice of Man that determines his eternal destiny.  Matthew 4:12-17  Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;  (13)  And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:  (14)  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,  (15)  The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;  (16)  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.  (17)  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand(Salvation and eternal life is a choice that is made!  We are not saved because we go to church, read our Bible, do good works, be baptized, because of who our parents are, but we are saved because we choose Christ!  A recognition of who and what we are, a recognition of Who and What He is, a turning from self and sin, and a personal acceptance of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ as full and final payment for sin.)
John 1:1-12  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (2)  The same was in the beginning with God.  (3)  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  (4)  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  (5)  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not(6)  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  (7)  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.  (8)  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  (9)  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  (10)  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  (11)  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  (12)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name
John 3:17-21  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  (18)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (19)  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  (20)  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  (21)  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Conclusion:  The Light of the World was born some 2,000 years ago because of the love of God for mankind.  Day or Night?  Choose Christ who is Light or “twist and turn away” which is Night!  Your choice!

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