The Meaning of Christmas

Text: John 1                                                                   12/23/07 AM

Thesis: Christmas is the celebration of the light of Jesus Christ piercing the darkness of sin.

 

Intro:  Today I want to give you reason to celebrate. At the end of the sermon this morning we’re going to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

To prepare you for that I want to point you to the meaning of Christmas. I’m doing this because I believe that if we get Christmas right then we’ll get the Lord’s Supper right.

They are connected because both deal with our needs.

Now there is a lot of talk about needs out there and Christmas time tends to multiply those needs.

This happens because Christmas time tends to multiply our emptiness.

Christmas can point out emptiness at the family’s dinner table. Christmas can point out emptiness in your garage, in your bank account, in your career, and in your love life.

But we must be careful because Ed Welch is right. Ed Welch said, “The main reason why there is an epidemic of emptiness is that we have created and multiplied our needs, not God” (When People are Big and God is Small, 151).

Now this does not mean there is no such thing as needs. If that were the case then we’d have no reason for Christmas or this sermon.

What I want to do is bring us all back to center this Christmas by pointing out our need and showing how only Christ meets that need. 

Read Isaiah 42:1-9

 

I) Reversing the darkness is our greatest need

That’s somewhat difficult to grasp so we’re going to ask and answer two questions: What does it mean that we are in darkness? And, how does the darkness affect our lives?

a)      What does it mean that we are in darkness?

i)        Living in darkness means we cannot see God.

(1)   When the Apostle Paul described the work of God in salvation we were given the picture of being removed from the rule of one and transferred to the rule of another.

(2)   Ephesians 2:3 tells us that we are by nature children of wrath. We are born as sinners.

(3)   From Colossians 1:13 we learn that apart from God’s work of salvation we are under the domain of darkness.

(4)   But even in a sinless state we are different from God requiring God to come to us and reveal Himself to us. It was God who met Adam and Eve in the Garden. God had to intentionally show himself to them.

(5)   They didn’t accidentally bump into each other on the street. This being the case then sin entered the picture.

(6)   Sin brought separation from God. No longer did mankind walk in the light of God’s blessed presence.

(7)   Now, because of sin mankind walks in the darkness of God’s wrath. Because of sin God removes his presence and the darkness of death enters the picture. We are separated from Him.

ii)      The darkness also means we cannot understand the things of God

(1)   We’re not just dealing with the effects of sin on the retina or cornea. We’re talking about all of man.

(2)   The sinful mind is the mind that is set on the flesh. It’s the mind that believes, “it’s all about me.”

Romans 8:7&8 say, “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

(3)   The sin that blinds the eye is the same sin that perverts our desires.

(4)   Why does a person not want to do what is right? God tells us it’s because the sinful mind cannot do what is right; it cannot submit to God’s law.

(5)   The person who lives in darkness cannot please God because he cannot see God and he cannot understand God.

(6)   Sin separates us from God and sin leads us away from God. We aren’t born sinful sitting there neither going to or away from God.

(7)   Because we are born sinful the first opportunity we get we’ll run from God’s law.

(8)   We do not become sinners when we sin. We sin because we are sinners

(9)   Sinners who do not understand the glory and splendor of God or the satisfying presence of the all-wise and all-powerful God.

(10)                       The darkness makes sacrifice and selflessness utterly absurd. And if we cannot understand sacrifice and selflessness we cannot understand God.

iii)    Next, the darkness means we do not glorify God

(1)   You were not created because God needed someone to love or because God needed someone to love him.

(2)   God doesn’t need anything from us (Acts 17.25).

(3)   Isaiah 43:6&7 tells us why we were created. God said, “bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, every who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

(4)   We were created to live for God. We were created to show the majesty of God as we mirror his excellencies to His creation.

(5)   But the darkness of sin ruined this. That’s why Romans 3:22&23 say, “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

(6)   We were created to live with and for God; daily worshipping, knowing, and serving Him.

(7)   This is because God is the only thing big enough to warrant and sustain the worship, knowledge, and service of mankind.

(8)   Sin enters and we no longer live for God but we live for ourselves. We think that our jobs or our dreams or our families or our hobbies or our causes are big enough to sustain our worship and service.

(9)   Since we are separated from God we turn from God to things that cannot and will not satisfy.

b)      How does the darkness affect our lives?

i)        Living in darkness means we are unable to see the goal or the path to the goal for that matter so we crash into many obstacles.

ii)      The darkness affects everything about our lives; it messes everything up.

iii)    1st Timothy 6:10 tells us that there were some who craving money wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

iv)    When we exchange the truth of God for a lie it will bring pain because the darkness always leads us away from God who alone brings true and lasting joy.

v)      It is honestly a very depressing message. God is what we need but we cannot see Him.

vi)    We are born in sin and live in darkness. We are blinded by Satan and head everyday further away from God.

vii)  We do not and cannot do what we need to do; we cannot and do not live for God and bring him glory.

viii)            This is where love comes in. Love comes in at redemption. For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

ix)    Since God loves those He created for His glory He sent Jesus Christ to reverse the darkness.

II) Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5)

In light of what we’ve heard does it not get you excited to know that Jesus is the light of the world?

Jesus is exactly what we need.

Again we’re going to ask two questions: What does it mean that Jesus is the light of the world? And, How does Christmas affect our lives?

a)      What does it mean that Jesus is the light of the world?

i)        The incarnation makes the invisible God visible.

John 1:18 says, No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

(1)    Jesus Christ, who is himself God and is right now at the Father’s right hand, this Jesus has made God known to us.

(2)   If it weren’t for Jesus we would never truly know God. We’d be in sin and darkness trying to make sense of it all from little glimpses of God in nature.

(3)   Jesus himself said in John 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

(4)   The desperate need of humanity is to be connected to God. We need to know Him and worship Him and glorify Him.

(5)   Jesus Christ was born at Christmas to show us God.

(6)   Jesus was born for the purpose of making God known.  Celebrating Christmas correctly is not about getting or giving presents.

(7)   Celebrating Christmas correctly is about knowing God.

(8)   If you survive Christmas and manage to give everyone the perfect gift, spend some quality time with family, and help the needy but do not know more about God then you’ve missed the meaning of Christmas.

(9)     Jesus came to reverse and cure our need. He came to meet our need of a right relationship with God.

(10) We cannot worship, serve, and glorify the one we do not know.

(11) The incarnation brings knowledge

ii)      The incarnation brings light to the darkness

(1)   Read John 1:1-5

(2)   Jesus is the name that God the Son is given when he became a human. God the Son has always existed and he has always existed as the 2nd person of the Trinity.

(3)   God the Son is also called, the Word.  So, the Word is God and is with God. The Word made all of creation; nothing exists that the Son of God did not create.

(4)   Now, ‘In Him was life’ does not mean this is no longer the case. What it means is that this has always been the case. Life has been and always will be from and about God the Son.

(5)   Verse 4 affirms the fact that everything in creation is from and for Jesus Christ (Col 1:16). If anything is in existence it is because of Jesus who is the source of all physical life.

(6)   Verse 5 affirms that Jesus is the source of all spiritual life. The light that is Jesus came to shine into the darkness and the darkness has not, cannot and will not, overcome the light of Jesus Christ.

(7)   Those that are in the darkness need to know that our Redeemer is truth and the most powerful.

(8)   Being rescued one day so that you can be defeated the next is not a rescue. Being rescued so you can fight for the wrong side is not a rescue.

(9)   Rescue is being set free for eternity to be what we were created to be.

(10) 2 Corinthians 4:6 tells us, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

(11) Jesus came to change the facts that we cannot physically see God because of our nature and we cannot spiritually see God because of our sin.

(12) There is reason to celebrate: the darkness has been lifted through the person of Jesus Christ.

(13) He was born in order to remove the darkness caused by sin.

(14) Go to Jesus and be forgiven. Go to Jesus and meet God.  The incarnation brings light and

iii)    The incarnation connects the glory of God and man

(1)   John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

(2)   What does it mean to glorify God? From the life of Christ we see that living for the glory of God means to live life full of grace and truth.

(3)   Truth is always what is right. It is always doing God’s will God’s way.

(4)   Grace is freely giving what is not deserved.

(5)   To glorify God is to selflessly serve God by sacrificing for the good of others.

(6)   Jesus was born in order to show humanity what God is and Jesus was born in order to live for humanity the glorifying life that God requires.

(7)   Man needs to know God; Jesus meets that need.

(8)   Man needs to glorify God; Jesus meets that need.

(9)   Christmas has to be important to humanity because Christmas is all about God solving humanity’s problems.

(10) God didn’t do it by throwing money at us. God didn’t do it by brow beating us.

(11) God solved our problems by becoming one of us.

(12) God and humanity are connected because of the person and work of Jesus Christ.

(13) Let’s close with this final question

b)      How should Christmas affect our lives?

i)        Here’s how: if you want Christmas to affect your life you must have faith that Christmas is not about a baby. Christmas is about a baby who is Christ the Lord

ii)      Remember the message of the angels? (Read Lk 2:8-11)

iii)    What was born at Christmas was the Savior. This child will die in your place to redeem you from your sin.

iv)    The sin that separates you from God will one day be placed upon, swallowed up, and forever removed by the baby lying in the manger.

v)      What was born at Christmas was Christ the Lord. The baby wrapped in swaddling clothes is the God-man sent to reveal God to us and live the perfect life for us.

vi)    How should Christmas affect your life?

vii)  Celebrate the fact that there is no reason for you to remain in your sin and guilt. Your Savior has come and he has made peace by the blood of His cross (Col 1.20).

viii)            Rejoice in the fact that you are no longer in the domain of darkness but by faith in Christ you are in the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.

ix)    Because of Christ’s work for you, you belong to God and no one and nothing else.

x)      Show the world you know what Christmas is all about not just by saying, “Merry Christmas” but by growing in your knowledge of and love for God.

xi)    And finally Christmas should affect your life with a spirit of thanksgiving. God did not have to act but God did.

xii)  “God demonstrated his own love for us in this, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5.8).

xiii)            Christmas is not about getting what you want.

xiv)            Christmas is about rejoicing in what you have been given. Trust in the work of Christ gives Christmas it’s meaning.

III) The way we are going to rejoice in what we have been given this Christmas is by celebrating the Lord’s Supper.

a)      We’re going to sing the first and last verses of hymn number 296, Jesus is Lord of All.

b)      As we do that I’m going to ask those who will be serving to go ahead and come forward and prepare for the Lord’s Supper.

c)      And this is what I want from you. If there is anything in your life that is more important than knowing God and making Him known then confess that sin to God this morning and through the blood of Christ find forgiveness.

d)     Pray that God will show you today how the body and blood of Jesus Christ provide for you perfect forgiveness and perfect righteousness.

e)      Jesus came to show you the God you would never know and Jesus came to live for you the life you could never live.

f)       Jesus took on flesh, the body and blood we celebrate, so that we could see God and be reconciled to God.

g)      Pray that God will give you understanding.

h)      Let’s sing hymn 296, Jesus is Lord of All

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