Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Christmas ... and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ..."

"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.  But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."   - Joshua 24:15

Are you ready for Christmas?  Do you have your shopping done?  Do you think it will snow enough to have a white Christmas?  These are popular questions these days.  But as many ask these questions, many others are facing difficult trials and struggles and aren't even thinking about Christmas.  On a TV news program this morning one person asked, "Why does religion have to be brought into Christmas?  Why do people try to shove religion down our throats at this time of the year?  Why can't we just celebrate the holiday?"  Fortunately, one of the other people in the segment explained that "Christmas" has to do with JESUS!!!  He is the "CHRIST," the "Messiah", the "Anointed One" ...  He is the Ruler whose coming the entire history of mankind from the Garden of Eden pointed to!

Which brings me back to why we believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Many, many people who claim to be Christians and who say they believe the Bible don't KNOW what the Bible says.  It's sad, it's frightening and it's dangerous.  If you don't know what you believe, you will be easily led astray, and that is happening all around us and all over the world.  Someone asked me recently how the people in the Middle East, where Judaism and Christianity were born, lost their way.  The answer is easy:  they turned away from the truth God revealed in His Word!  The Church turned away from the truth and became exceedingly corrupt, even selling salvation and using its power to anoint kings and rulers and blackmailing them to do whatever the leaders of the Church told them to do.  So when Mohammed came along with his supposed revelation from "Allah," people turned to a new religion that had strict rules and that seemed more capable of controlling human nature.  But the revelation received could not have been from the only true God, for the Bible points to Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God, come in the flesh, not as but one of a list of prophets.  Jesus, and He alone, is the CHRIST, God's anointed One, and He is coming again to bring judgment upon all who reject Him as Savior and Lord.

Many in the visible church today are being deceived because they do not know the truth or hold to the truth or love the truth.  Jesus came to give His life as a ransom on the cross.  He came to pay the debt that you and I and all people owe to God:  perfect obedience.  We are guilty, He was not.  As Isaiah writes in Isaiah 53, He suffered for our transgressions and by His stripes we are healed - through faith in Him.  It is not by works, but by GRACE that we are saved, through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).  THIS is what Christmas is about because this is what Jesus was born to do.  He became flesh because He was the "second Adam," the second representative of the human race.  Romans 5:12 says that sin and death entered into the world through the first Adam, and no man could pay the penalty for sin because we are all guilty ourselves.  We can't even make it up to God for our own sin, let alone pay the debt for anyone else.  Jesus is our only hope for forgiveness and life.  There is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved! (Acts 4:12).

Anyone who teaches anything else is a false teacher, whether they speak from a pulpit or anywhere else.  True, biblical Christianity is the only true religion in the entire world.  Christmas is not a time to be concerned about being "politically correct."  All other religions are false. And whether or not December 25th is the real birthday of Jesus is immaterial, though some like to make a big deal about it.  The fact is, Jesus was born to a virgin named, Mary, and His birth was not about Mary, but about Him, the Christ, the Son of God.  He was and is at the same time, true God and true man.  Jesus was not just an example for us to follow, He is Lord and Master for those who know Him as Savior.  The Bible predicts that there will be a great apostasy shortly before Jesus comes, during a time of great tribulation and persecution of true Christians.  Who will stand?  The Bible says that only those who truly know Jesus Christ and who have been filled with His Spirit will persevere and endure.  All the rest will fall away and will perish, facing the judgment of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for their unbelief.

Which brings me to the verse that I quoted at the beginning.  The people of Israel, even after being delivered from slavery in Egypt by the only true God, the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, wanted to mix the worship of God with the worship of other gods.  What's the big deal?  The big deal is that the true God demands and deserves your worship and mine.  There is no other God.  All the other religions of the world worship false gods - the invention of human minds.  Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and all the rest are instruments of Satan to lead people astray.  Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses and others who deny that Jesus is the eternal Son of God who actually paid the penalty for sin on the cross, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, and who doubt that He is coming again to gather His true Church, to restore Israel and the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to establish His kingdom in Jerusalem ... all of these are being deceived and will ultimately face God's just judgment against their own sin.

As some people worry about the end of the world on December 21st, God tells us clearly that there are events yet to take place before Jesus comes.  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob rules over the affairs of men - in Israel, in Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Iran ... in the United States of America and in every nation of the world, and in places where there isn't a nation.  So, Joshua called the people to serve the "LORD."  That was the name God had given Himself.  It is translated as "Yahweh," or "Jehovah."  It means, "I AM."  He IS the only true God.  He has revealed Himself in His Son Jesus Christ and He has sent His Spirit into this world to call people to Himself through faith in Jesus.  Have you responded to God's offer?  In Joshua 24:14-15, Joshua says to the people, "Now fear the LORD and serve Him with all faithfulness.  Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt and serve the LORD.  But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.  But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD!."

If you have made that choice, serve the LORD with gladness and celebrate the birth of a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!  But if you have not made that choice, if you are wavering or if you are serving any other "god," I pray that you will be moved by God's Spirit to examine the truth, to see that in His Word God has revealed the one and only way to be saved from His judgment: to believe in His Son Jesus Christ, the promised "seed of the woman," the "seed of Abraham," the "ruler" from the tribe of Judah, the descendant of His father, David, the King of kings and Lord of lords.  "Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!  Let men their songs employ.  He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found."

To this God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, be glory, now and forever!!

1 comment:

  1. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD! Great blog, pastor!