FROM THE PREACHER"S LENSES
|Friday, December 6, 2019|
ome Christians say they do not celebrate Christmas, I do not care the academic status or Christian height or the acceptability in the society of such people.
I do not care about the origin or the semantics or argument anyone has about the word "Christmas" The understanding and intention of what we are doing is all that matters to me.
It might have been a celebration of a pagan god thousands of years ago. I do not care.
For me and millions of others all over the world, we rejoice and celebrate the day when God the almighty came to live among us in human flesh to do for me and others, what we are incapable of doing to make us live with God after we die.
Jesus might have been born in March or April and not in December, I care less.
All I know from thousands of available information is that Jesus was born. This cannot be disputed.
When and where He was born is not what matters to me.
The tribe through which He came is immaterial to me; He can come through only one tribe in the world.
The colour of His skin does not matter to me. He could come in only one skin colour.
What matters to me is that He came and restored to us the fellowship, which our fore parents had with God but which they lost in the garden of Eden as a result of a disobedience and anyone who believes in Him and confesses Him as Saviour, can again live with Him in heaven after we die. That certainly calls for celebration of His birth.
There are uncountable numbers of people who do not have a birth record, yet they pick a date and that becomes the official date they were born and their friends celebrate it for them.
Many people might have commercialized the season for quick businesses, it still does not matter to me. For me every day is Christmas, because every day, it comes before me that I am not qualified to live with God in heaven but for what Christ did.
So today, the topic of my sermon is "Jesus, The Hope of Mankind; I proudly Celebrate Christmas.
Let us pray.
"Jesus, The Hope of Mankind; I proudly Celebrate Christmas.
By the time anyone reaches the age of six, he must have observed that people die, it must have registered in his mind that man does not live for ever. He might not understand the story of what happens next, to the one who dies until later in life.
We die because we sin. We read in the book of Ezekiel 18: 20 that "The soul that sins shall die---"
This is not just the physical death but spiritual death, separation from God to hell.
And because we have sinned, we all are candidates of hell.
Most religions know and teach that everyone who dies will give account to God of his journey while on earth. And those who God judges to be unrighteous will be cast into a place of total darkness, where he will burn for a time that has no end.
The Bible in the book of Hebrews 9: 27says that
"It is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment"
The judgement is instant, after death.
But the Bible says in the book of Hebrews 12:14 that 'without holiness, no one will see the Lord'
So, the person who wants to end up in heaven requires that he must be holy while on earth.
There are however two paths by which man can be considered holy in order to qualify for heaven. But only one path is possible.
The first path is to be sinless all his life on earth, while the other path is to be made holy by the cleansing blood of the Lamb, by believing and accepting the plan of God for salvation provided in the shed blood of Jesus.
Let us look at the possibility of the first option for salvation, which is through self holiness or good deeds.
Moses, otherwise known as Musa, the courier of the Law System wrote "
Keep my decrees and laws,(A) for the person who obeys them will live by them.(B) I am the LORD (Lev. 18:5).
Paul made this statement clear, in one of his letters to the Romans: "For Moses wrote that if a person would be perfectly good and hold out against temptation all his life and never sin once, only then could he be pardoned and saved" (Rom 10:5).
In the assessment of God, the pass mark is 100 percent, not 99.99% to be qualified for heaven through obedience to the system of law or good deeds.
Hear what the Lord Jesus Himself said in His teaching on the mount as recorded by St. Matthew in 5:
"You have heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not murder------22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone,[d] you are subject to judgment! And if you curse someone (say a fool), you are in danger of the fires of hell (Matt.5: 21-22)
The Lord continues in His teachings:
"You have heard the commandment that says, 'You must not commit adultery.' 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt. 5: 27-28).
James the first Pastor of Jerusalem Church had this to say about the requirements of the law system:
"The person who keeps every law of God, but makes one little slip is just as guilty as the person who has broken every law there is. For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.- - - " (James 2:10-11).
With all these facts, I want to know someone who is able to appear before God and beat his chest that he is holy and righteous and will ask God for entry into His place.
The first path to salvation, by good deeds, is now closed. It is no option. No one can be qualified.
The truth is that God has judged all men ever born to be unholy or unrighteous.
The Old Testament of the Bible in Isaiah 64:6 says that "--We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is filthy rag-----"
In the book of Psalm 14:2-3, we read "The Lord looks down from heaven on ALL MANKIND to see if there are any who are wise, who want to please God. But no, all have strayed away; all are rotten with sin. Not one is good, not one" (Psalm 14:2-3; Rom. 3:10-18).
The New Testament of the Bible in the book of Romans 3:23 says that "--All have sinned and come short of the glory of God"
Clearly, with these statements, all men are bound for hell because we are unable to meet the requirements of the laws, which can secure us a place in heaven. We all are candidates of hell then.
The truth actually is that the moment our fore parents sinned, God knew instantly that man is not capable of being sinless and He had promptly provided a way of escape, which will be by grace through faith in Someone who was to be revealed later, after many years. We saw this in Gen.3.15. .
In Genesis 12 and 15, we saw clearly that God had laid the foundation of our salvation in Abram's type of faith in Him and that faith in One seed of Abraham, who will be revealed in future, shall our redemption be perfected.
It is God Himself who will come in the flesh and believing in His plan of redemption will save anyone from hell other than any good deeds.
2000 years after the covenant with Abraham, God Himself came in the flesh though the seed of Abraham. He is Jesus. He is called Emmanuel, meaning "God with us" (Matt.1:23).
We celebrate His birthday because He achieved for us what we cannot achieve by our best of deeds. We do though some may not.
Jesus, The Hope of Mankind; I proudly Celebrate Christmas.
Someone may ask, how can He be a seed of Abraham and at the same time be God. When the Pharisees asked Him same question, His answer was " Verily verily I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58).
Can we then live carelessly after we believe? Paul asked "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (Rom.6:4).
Paul answered: "God forbid"
If anyone does that, he will be frustrating the grace of God. A person obeys his master.
Since Christ is sinless, His followers must emulate Him.
A true follower of Jesus will seek Jesus help to overcome sin on daily basis.
He is uncomfortable with sin and does not enjoy it because he knows that his master, who he wants to please, will not be happy with him, living in sin.
Pastor James hammers this when he wrote "Faith itself without work is dead" (James 2:17) or in other words "Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith."
All that I have been talking about, pertains to moral or good behavior, but no one has ever been found clean or righteous. Yet, the Bible says in the book of Hebrews 12:14 that 'without holiness, no one will see the Lord' and as earlier said, the option of salvation through self holiness is no option. It is not possible, we are therefore doomed for hell. We must then look for another method to be made holy.
The only remedy is for someone else to die in our place. Another person's blood must be split so that we can be spared from hell. We read in the book of Hebrews that 'Without the shedding of blood is no remission of sins" (Heb.9:22).
And the blood must be pure, free of any defect or blemish.
This is what Jesus achieved for us. He laid down His life so that we do not go to hell. This is what I meant earlier, when I said that Jesus achieved for us, what the best of our good works fail to achieve.
But 1,450 years before Jesus came, God gave to the Jewish fathers a system of worship as a mock of what Jesus represents. God gave Moses otherwise known as Musa in Islam a set of rules, which consists of several animal sacrifices on morning, evening, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. It is complex. In order to fully appreciate the depth of the burden of those requirements, one must read the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Apostle Peter described the system of worship as 'A yoke that neither our fathers nor we, were able to bear" (Acts 15:10). Apostle Paul equally described the system as 'a curse' or in the Living Bible: "Doom of the impossible system" (Gal 3:10).
The purpose for which those rules were promulgated (decreed), necessitating the slaughtering of numerous animals, day in day out, observance of days, weeks, months and numerous annual festivals was for one purpose; shedding of blood to appease God.
Blood is the only thing that is acceptable to God to forgive our sins.
God said in the book of Leviticus 17:11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul"
Another life must therefore be sacrificed to redeem a life that is condemned.
Now, the blood requirement have been met with the shed blood of Jesus when He was brutally killed on the tree (Matt 5:17-18; Heb 7:18-28; 8:7; 9:6-28; 10:1-3; 12:12-13).
Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. No. I came to fulfill them and to make them all come true.
For verily I say unto you: Every law in the Book will continue until its purpose is achieved (till all be fulfilled (KJV)" (Matt.5: 17-18)
After all the blood in Him has been spilt, at His point of death, it was recorded: "Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished---- said "It is finished (John 19: 28-30) and the "thick veil hanging in the temple split apart" (Lk 23:45), bringing an end to all the Ceremonial and legalistic rules of worship, which had been in place for 1450years and hence forth, Christ became "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." (Rom 10:4).
The writer of the book of Hebrews explained that those sacrifices (offerings) i.e. the blood of several animals that were spilled under the law, were just a foretaste, a shadow, a caricature (ridiculously poor imitation), a mock practice or mimic of the real thing that would take away man's sins. They were a dim foretaste of the good things Christ would do for us (Heb. 10:1).
"This system of law was to last only until the coming of Christ, the Child to whom God's promise was made"! (Gal. 3:19).
Apostle Paul's argument was that, were those sacrifices profitable and able to cleanse man's sins, then it would not need to be repeated year after year.
"The sacrifices under the law system were repeated again and again, year after year, but even so, they could never save those who lived under their rules, if they could, one offering would have been enough; the worshippers would have been cleansed once for all, and their feeling of guilt would be gone. But just the opposite happened; those yearly sacrifices reminded them of their disobedience and guilt instead of relieving their minds. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats really to take away sins" (Heb. 10:1-3).
My friend, I have exposed the way of salvation to you. It is time for you to confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour without further delay. You know yourself that the best of your good deeds is not able to make you enter into rest after death. Take the right step immediately. Call me, my numbers will be announced soon.
Let us pray