Sermon delivered December 28, 1996

by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road SDA Church, McDonald,TN

The CHRIST of Christmas

Christmas eve It was quiet. All of us were tucked in our beds, not a sound could be heard. When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter I wondered what was the matter. It was the telephone! It seems the time was just after midnight. What to our wondering ears did appear but an urgent message that our daughter was in labor, and the pains were about 3 minutes apart and could we come quick. We sprang to our task and flew out the door and soon we arrived at the women's center on Gunbarrel Road.

Darrell Ford was the mid wife and Rhonda Huisman was the nurse. I knocked on the door. Another lady answered the door and said, "Wait, she is pushing right now." I didn't know what that meant, so I had to stand outside the door, and there I could hear loud, terrible, screaming from our daughter. I wondered, What is happening in there. It was awful! Again it happened and I was about to go in there and rescue my poor girl when I heard a baby cry, a healthy cry. And I was a grandfather once again. And so we have another "Holly" in our church. Holly is a good name.

But soon we were invited inside and I could see a tiny miniature human being lying there on a towel in a small tanning booth. As I stood near I was shocked at how red the newcomer was. I hoped the little baby girl had not gotten too much sunburn in that machine. So red! Next the baby was wrapped in a swaddling cloth and our daughter was smiling with a brand new Christmas present in her arms. All's well that turns out well.

Then it came my turn to hold the Christmas child, little Holly. And I did. And I thought of how fragile, and frail, and yet how strong this newcomer was. Seven pounds and some ounces. Healthy and yet so dependant, so tiny she really was. I thought of how Jesus was born into this world as a fresh new baby in a warm manger on soft sweet hay. And I thought about that as I held that new life in my hands. How thankful I am that Jesus was born in this world. I'm thankful that Jesus is my Savior, that He came to rescue us from sin and provide eternal life for each one of us. Jesus really is the reason for the season.

When we were out in California performing that wedding last weekend, for one of our McDonald Road members, I approached a little girl and I said, "Do you know what Christmas is?" And she said, "Yes. That's the time we give gifts to each other. That's the time we get to see Santa Claus." And I said, "Do you know whose birthday it is?" She said, "No." I said, "It's Jesus's birthday." (Of course He wasn't born on December 25, we know that. But it's the time the world chooses to celebrate that birthday.) And she didn't know that. She didn't know the reason for the season.

I want to ask you, this question: Why did Jesus choose to come as a baby? Why did He choose to waste so much time just growing up? Why not a full grown adult? He only had 33 years allotted to accomplish His mission. Why did Jesus choose to allocate 90% of it in just growing up?

I believe He did that to give dignity and honor to every stage of life from the cradle to the grave. Our Savior exhibited life. Jesus came as a baby to show us how to live. He came as a baby so that He could be one with us. He came as a baby so that He could really get to know human beings as we really are. Otherwise how could you get to know someone if you're way off in heaven? He came and spent 30 years with us so that He could really know what human beings are like. He came as a little baby so that He could really be our brother. I like that.

I want you to come over to Luke the second chapter. Look at LUKE 2. We want to begin with verse 8. The birth of Jesus was very special. It says, "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find Him in a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'" That's beautiful, isn't it? So Jesus did arrive as a baby.

On that very first Christmas the shepherds came. They came to the birthing unit and there was no nurse to bar the door. The shepherds were able to go in. I want you to know that any time you seek Jesus from anywhere He is or from whatever He is doing, the door is open. Nothing was barring the way of the shepherds. Any time you seek Him you will find Him. The wise men came from a long distance and found Him. The shepherds came from just across town, from the field and found Him. You can find Jesus. If you're looking for Jesus you will find Him. Whenever we come seeking THE BABY we will find Him. We will be rewarded. If we seek for Him with all our heart we will find Jesus.

The birth of the Jesus as a Baby was foretold way back in Genesis. I want you to come back now to Genesis 3:15 Here, Adam and Eve were just being told what the penalty of their sin would be (Actually God was speaking to the serpent, Satan at this point but it foretold what would eventually happen.) "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He (Jesus) will crush your head (Satan's head) and you will strike his heel." That's an interesting prophecy, isn't it.

Here is a great prophecy that says that some day Christ will come as the Messiah and will CRUSH the head of the old serpent, the devil, Satan himself. Now crushing the head is very serious. It's a deadly wound. I want you to know that it's a deadly wound that will not be healed. I'm glad for that. That Baby is going to conquer the dragon. That Baby DID conquer the dragon. What a Baby! What a Christ child!

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. His birth doomed the devil. Jesus' very birth was a sign that the devil would be at an end. And that's very important. Jesus was the only person that could conquer the devil. Jesus death on the cross was a death blow on the head of the old deceiver. The victory was won. Salvation's complete price was paid in full, right there on the cross. You don't have to add anything to it. It was provided for you. All you have to do is accept it. And you can be saved.

I can just imagine Adam and Eve were there. They had just sinned. They had just been evicted from their estate called Eden. And they were outside the garden limits. And there they were, and the news was, You're going to have a baby. I think that Eve and Adam on hearing these words realized that soon a redeemer would come and they would be saved. Even though they were expelled from their home it would not be very long and they would be restored to their garden in Eden. They would be home again. It wouldn't be too much longer. They would be restored to the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 4:1 records the birth of the worlds first baby. Adam lay with his wife Eve and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. I believe that Eve thought that this boy was the Saviour. I believe that Eve thought this little baby, and every baby looks innocent, every baby is innocent as far as any deeds that they have done. I believe that she thought was actually Jesus Himself, the coming Redeemer. The baby that came with terrible labor pains was worth it because he would save them.

Mother Eve had a great hope for her precious little baby. This baby would crush the head of the devil. She believed he was the Lord; the Saviour. We know this from reading her statement in Genesis 4:1: "With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man." Now if you read that in the Hebrew it says: "I HAVE GOTTEN A MAN: THE LORD!" That's actually how it reads. "I have gotten a man, the Lord." She believed he was the Lord.

Eve thought her baby was the deliverer. Little did she know that Cain was a prototype of Adolph Hitler. Cain would become the world's first murderer. Little did she know that. Cain would become that murderer. Jesus would not arrive as a baby for another 4000 years. Aren't you glad that He was not the first murderer, but He was the One, the only One, the Deliverer that we have. I'm so glad for Jesus. He is the reason we have Christmas. He is the reason we have hope.

A little girl, age 10, was taken shopping with her parents and then went with her family to see the Christmas light displays around the town. At their own church they stopped and got out to look at a beautiful nativity scene. They admired the animals. They admired Joseph and Mary and admired the baby there in the cradle. Then the little girl made a statement. She said, "This is really nice, but there's something that bothers me, mommy, and that is: isn't the baby Jesus ever going to grow up? He's the same size He was last year." Jesus needs to grow up. He needs to grow in our hearts. And the only way we're going to grow up as Christians; the only way we are going to grow up and be mature as Christians is for us to have Jesus in our hearts. To grow in our hearts.

For God so loved the world that He sent a little baby that was born in this world, that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but would have everlasting life.

Jesus came as a tiny Baby into this sinful, wicked world. But Jesus cannot save you personally by being born in Bethlehem. The only way He can save us is by being born in our heart. Invite Him into your heart. I do that every day. Jesus must live in your heart to become your Saviour.

We adults are like babies. We are totally dependant on God. Even though Jesus needs to be born in our heart, we are not mature, we are not spiritual adults. We're spiritual babies. Without Jesus we could do nothing except cry and make a mess of things and suck on our low calorie thumb. We can't do anything for ourselves: nothing. But if we will submit our life totally into Jesus' hands, we will grow. I urge you to do this. Totally surrender yourself to the Christ child, our Savior, Jesus Christ, you will become a strong person. You will become a person of strength. Jesus pure robe of perfect righteousness will cover your life. Jesus will feed us with His word and we will grow into His likeness.

Let's come back here to the Christmas story in LUKE 2. There's something that was read in our Scripture reading today that we "bad-mouthed" the Pharisees for, we "bad-mouthed" the Jews for being this way, but I think that sometimes we are still that way today in 1996. Luke 2:1-7 (this is the record of the birth of Christ) Let's look at verse 6. (They came to Bethlehem) and "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Now shame on them. Here the King of Kings, the Savior of the world, was in town and there was no room for Him anywhere except in that barn, in that manger. Now, they did wrong, didn't they? They should have made room for Him.

I don't understand the Virgin Birth. I don't understand how a human virgin could give birth to a Baby God. I don't understand that. How a God could grow up as a Human Being and yet be fully human and yet be fully God. Yet it happened! Jesus, a baby, was the first Christmas present that God gave to a childish world. It was the best gift ever given. And yet there was no room to receive the Savior. They definitely did wrong. But today, we do wrong. They did not have room for Him.

Yet what did 99% of the people do with that gift? There was no room. Nobody even knew He was born, hardly. God's own people rejected it and destroyed the priceless gift. From day #1 there was no room for the Christ Child. Well, actually they did make room for Jesus on the cross. He finally had a place provided for Him.

There was no room in Bethlehem 
for Him Who left His throne.  
To seek the lost at countless cost, 
and make their griefs His own.

But there was room on Calvary 
upon the cross of shame.  
For Him to die uplifted high
to bear the sinner's blame.  

But there IS room at Calvary today
for sinners to come and stay. 

We made room for Him on the cross, all right. At least they did that. And in this modern world we are far too much like the old Pharisees who could not find room for Jesus. Are we making room for Jesus? Did you take time on Christmas day for Jesus? Do you take time every day for Jesus? Many today who are in the prime of life are just too busy for God. Too busy making ends meet, meeting appointments and pursuing pleasure. We need to make room for God. The trouble is; the only time we make room for Him is down at the very end. So often we live our lives as we please, and at the very end we make room for Him like they did. We need to make room for Jesus at the beginning of our lives, every day of our lives, all through our lives to make room for Jesus. How wonderful if we make room for Jesus at the beginning!

When Jesus walked this earth we did not do a very good job of accepting Him. Even His disciples didn't accept Him when He was alive. Just think about resurrection morning. No disciple was there to witness the grand event. Nobody was there at Jesus' birth, practically. And nobody, except the Roman guard, was there to witness Jesus' resurrection on that Sunday morning. On that Sabbath (Saturday) Day, the disciples should have gotten out in all the pulpits of Jerusalem and all the pulpits of the land and said, "You be there tomorrow morning, you're going to see a sight. You're going to see the Savior come out of that tomb." They could have preached that message. And a hundred thousand people could have been there on that Sunday morning to witness those bright angels streaking down through the skies, rolling away that massive stone, and seeing the Savior come out. But how many saw it? Just the Roman guards, and they were paid off not to tell. The Jewish leaders were afraid of what the disciples might do and the disciples were afraid of the Jews. None were there to witness and to tell this old, old story.

I believe today we need to make sure we have room for Jesus. Make sure every day that you have room for Jesus. We need to put Christ back into Christmas. So often when we write Christmas, we write "Xmas" (like "Cross-mas?"). We do that.

One lady went to the post office to get some stamps. The only stamps they had were the Christmas stamps of a religious theme. And the lady said, "Why can't we keep religion out of Christmas?" We try to do that, don't we. People tried it in Jesus' day. They're still trying to get Christ out of Christmas.

A little twelve-year-old girl noticed that the closer Christmas day got that the more grouchy her mother got, and they were busy cooking, busy cleaning, getting ready for company, and shopping, and wrapping presents, and dealing with scotch tape, and tags and labels, and you know how it goes. Trying to get all those lights on the Christmas tree and keep them burning, and when they don't burn. It's such a task to get going again. Did you ever try that? They go out and just throw the whole string away or just throw another string on the tree. It's terrible. And finally they needed a few more things, and the mother said, "Hurry up, we've got to go shopping. We forgot a bunch of gifts." The little girl was in her room. The mother finally went in the room. The little girl was there spending some quiet time. The mother said, "What are you doing?" And she said, "Well, my teacher at church school said if we'd just be a little quiet, spend some quiet time before we go shopping, we could take Jesus with us. And I want to take Jesus with me."

I think that's a good attitude. We need to take Jesus with us in all that we do. If the Christmas season has been too busy for you and has basically left Jesus behind, I urge you today to invite Jesus into your heart.

We are beginning a brand new year. 1997 begins in just a few days. I want to urge you to get into the Word of God this year. I want to urge you to be a person of prayer. Get on your knees and spend some real meaningful time getting acquainted with Jesus. He's special. You'll love Him. Read the Word of God, pray to Him, dedicate your life to Him, witness to Him, serve Him, grow in Him and soon, Yes He will come and He will take us home , He will restore us to life. But He wants to restore in you eternal life today. And He will do that if you will give your heart to Him. Jesus is coming again. And this time it will not be as a baby. This time it will be as a coming King. He came as a baby once, but He's grown up. Jesus did grow up, and I pray that we have grown up, that we will invite Him into our lives, and that this year we can have a growing year in Christ. Who knows, 1997 very well could be the year that Jesus comes. Do you believe it could happen? I believe it could. And I want to go Home, I want to be in heaven more than anything else in this whole life of mine. I want to be saved. And I could be saved today, and I could be saved from the presence of sin some day very soon. So let's be faithful. It won't be long and Jesus will come.

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