CHRISTMAS MESSAGE: GOOD NEWS FOR ALL MEN
AT THIS SEASON of the year naturally our thoughts turn to Bethlehem and the birth of the Son of God and His being laid in a manger, because there was no room in the inn for Him. The verse which we all know, love and recall especially at this season of the year takes on new meaning:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16)
God loved the world. What is meant by "the world" is the world of all mankind, people of every race, tribe, tongue, and language, regardless of social or economic conditions. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Love is a movement outward toward others for their good and blessing. Real love is never self-centered. It is always looking out for the interest, the good, and the welfare of those who are loved. God's love for the world was so very great that He gave His only begotten Son. In the second psalm David referred to this matter when he said:
"I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me,
Thou art my son; This day have I begotten thee"
In Acts 13:32,33, the Apostle Paul applied this passage to the coming of our Lord into this world. Hence it refers to God's giving His Son. Again we read of the Son of God in Proverbs 30:4.
"Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended?
Who hath gathered the wind in his fists?
Who hath bound the waters in his garment?
Who hath established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and-what is his son's name, if thou knowest?"
This Son, who was with the Father in the beginning and was in the closest and most intimate fellowship with Him, and who was God, was sent by the Father to the world.unpersonal until it was united with the Logos, the Word. In that union "the holy thing which is begotten" came to consciousness. There was therefore but a single personality and consciousness in the Lord Jesus. He was not God and man--a monstrosity; but He was the God-man. He was born of the Virgin Mary and grew up as any normal child to manhood. His human nature was perfect, there being in Him no blight of the sinful nature as in man since the Fall. The Word, which was in the beginning with God, became flesh and dwelt among us. This He did in fulfillment of God's loving us.
When the Son of God came to earth in fulfillment of the Father's love, He did so entering the world, as foretold by the prophet in Isaiah 7:14, by miraculous conception and virgin birth:
"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Matthew, in giving us an account of the birth of our Lord, said in 1:18-25 that the miraculous conception and virgin birth of Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. In his account of the birth of the Lord, Luke tells how the angel Gabriel came to Mary and disclosed to her that she was to become the mother of the Son of God. In his explaining this miraculous event, Gabriel declared that "the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). The child Jesus, begotten by the Holy Spirit, was perfect humanity; at the same time He was perfect Deity. The human side of His nature was what we might term
GOD LOVED us to the extent "that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." God's giving Christ to the world was for our good, that we who believe upon Him might not perish but have everlasting life. He came into the world, taking on human nature, in order that He might be obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross and that He might redeem us and give us life eternal.
ACCORDING to the account in Matthew of the birth of our Lord, "Wise-men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 2 Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him." This they did, laying their gifts at His feet. Upon their arrival in Jerusalem they went to King Herod expecting that the Christ-Child should be born in the royal palace. This was a natural supposition; but the ways of God are different from those of men. Having learned from the scribes that the Messiah was born in Bethlehem of Judea, the Wise-men departed for that city in order that they might present their gifts to him. Undoubtedly they brought the very best that they had. We are told that they, upon coming into His presence, opened their treasures and "offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh." They brought what they had. This is the Christmas spirit.
WHILE the Wise-men brought what they thought was the most appropriate gifts to offer to the Son of God, what God would say to us is that we should bring our best to Him, which is our very souls. The Apostle Paul tells us that the Corinthians first gave themselves to the Lord and afterwards their scanty possessions. God wants us to bring ourselves to Him first; when we have done that, then we can bring our gifts. When we bring ourselves and all of our talents to Him and surrender them to Him, in faith believing, He accepts our offering and regenerates our souls, thus bringing us into a position and relationship to Him so that we can offer up sacrifices acceptable to God the Father through Him.
AFTER WE have brought ourselves to Him, with all of our natural and acquired talents and capabilities for Him to use as He sees fit for our good and God's glory, He wants us to bring others to Him in order that He might do for them what He has wrought in us and through us. As soon as Andrew learned that Jesus of Nazareth was the long expected Messiah, he immediately went in search of his brother Simon and brought him to the Lord Jesus. When the Lord found Philip, He told him to follow Him, which thing he did. Then Philip went and found Nathanael and brought him to Jesus, saying, "We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Have you, my brother or sister, brought any precious soul to the Lord Jesus Christ as an expression of the joy which He placed in your soul when you accepted Him? Let us seek constantly to bring our gifts to Him in the form of souls that they might come to a saving knowledge of the Lord.
AT THIS SEASON of the year we are in the habit of remembering our friends and loved ones by giving them useful articles and those things which will bring delight to their hearts. Prior to the coming of our Lord into the world for our redemption, this spirit was unknown. It was His coming that has transformed the world in many respects. The spirit of the Master has liberated the slaves, has lifted woman-hood from the abject position of subordination to her husband to a loftier place, and has raised the child to the dignity of its proper position in life. It is His Spirit that leads us to think of the poor and needy those who have little of this world's goods--and to send them gifts of food and clothing which are but small tokens of the spirit which our Lord manifested at His coming into the world. May this same Christmas spirit remain in our hearts throughout the year and may we constantly bring our gifts to Him in adoration and worship. Let us bring souls to Him, to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Let us bring a portion of the material wealth which He has placed in our hands to Him in order that He may use it in forwarding His cause. Let us give to others and be thoughtful of them during life's short day, for the night is coming in which no man can work. Should our Lord tarry, it will not be long before many of His children shall be ushered into the presence of the Great King himself. Should He call us before He comes for the saints in the air, may we be able to go in the true Christmas spirit of adoration and worship, and may we
"With joy the chorus . . . repeat,
'Glory to God on high!'
Good-will and peace are now complete,
Jesus was born to die.
"Hail, Prince of life, forever hail!
Redeemer, Brother, Friend!
Though earth, and time and life shall fail,
Thy praise shall never end."
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