Christmas Sermon Notes 1998

Colossians 1:15-17

This is the Lord’s day that precedes the national holiday called Christmas.  Of the 250 million plus people in the US, something less than 40 million claim to be born again.  (Can’t be certain of the statistics, but 40 mil is a liberal figure.

Just stop and think.  If those figures are anywhere near accurate, there will be millions upon millions of people this coming Friday who will celebrate a national holiday call Christmas.

Many people have described this season as the “winter holiday madness.”

It is with sadness that the incarnation of Jesus Christ is described by madness.

The holiday season is not the problem for me.  The problem is that we have been overtaken with Christmas madness.

I hope that Christians everywhere will seek personal reformation, so that the mind of Christ will prevail in discerning the difference in the incarnation of Christ and the winter holiday madness.

About two years ago a survey was conducted on the Internet in which an objective response was required.  The question was:  Do you go to a church, temple, synagogue, mosque, or anything?  Why or why not?  Do you believe there is something great than this world?  What role does religion play in your life, if any?

There was a tremendous response.  I read several hundred of the responses.  I kept a record of the responses that gripped me the most.

One response was from a lady who openly admitted she stopped church attendance after marriage.  She said her husband didn’t attend church, but he practiced spirituality.  She said “we both believe in God and that Jesus was his son.”  She went on to say:  “I believe Jesus was his only Son.  However I’m not sure if he’s the only path to God.”

In all this confusion we have a national holiday that further complicates our Christian duty to be witnesses of God’s grace.

In the days ahead our fascination must be pro Jesus Christ and anti-holiday-madness.

If there is anything we need, it is a better understanding of the person, nature and character of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I may not say anything that you have not already heard, but I hope you will be refreshed by the word of God.

When we think about Jesus Christ, we cannot help but to think about God.    We ask “what is God”  – SCQ – God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable.

The Bible is very clear that Jesus Christ is God, the 2nd person of the Trinity.  In fact Jesus said he who beholds me beholds the One who sent Me.

The writer of Hebrews says Christ is the exact representation of God’s nature.

Colossians 1:15 tells us that  “Christ is the image of the invisible God”

This is a most profound concept, because it is truly the message of Christmas.

The intended occasion for Christmas was to emphasize the birth of Jesus Christ or to put it another way Christmas was the celebration of God, the 2nd person of the Trinity, taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul.  It is properly called the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

The incarnation of Jesus Christ means that a heavenly Reality becomes an earthly reality.

The reality of the image of Jesus Christ has a long history of disputes and controversy.

For instance, 1st c. Christians were often accused of atheism because they would not worship images.

Image worship goes deep and is a negative element in the history of redemption.

The 3rd Commandment clearly prohibits image worship.

Image worship is a universal problem among all peoples, tribes, and nations of the world.   It is at the very core of man’s sinful nature.

Image worship was not just an ancient problem.  It has been a problem throughout church history and remains a problem today, especially during the Christmas holiday season.

Misery, suffering, pain, and even death resulted because of image worship.

It is the old man – that is the natural man – who wants to create images and idols.

Do we have a conflict or a contradiction before us?

We are not to worship images  and   Jesus Christ is an image.

We are to worship Jesus Christ because he is the exact representation of the living God, not in body but in essence.

The image Paul refers to is the nature of Christ, his qualities, and characteristics, which are the same as God the Father.  The image of Christ consists of the eternal ideas revealed to us in the Holy Scripture.

We are not commanded to worship his body.

We are commanded to worship his essence or for the philosophically mined, we are to worship his being.  (isness)

The essence of Jesus Christ is reality.

We worship Jesus Christ.

Therefore we worship reality, not some imaginary form.

The church of the 20th c. has so abused the nature of Jesus Christ who is the very image of God.

Jesus Christ has been and is the most misunderstood figure  throughout human history.

WHY?  Because they have not seen the image of the invisible God.  They have not seen the reality of the God-man.

They have created their own image of Jesus Christ Which is contrary to the image projected the Holy Scriptures.

The Jehovah Witness has an image of Christ.

The Mormon Church has an image of Christ.

The Seventh Day Adventist has an image of Christ.

Moon’s Unification church has an image of Christ.

Armstrong’s World/W Church of God

They are looking at a physical man – No doubt the man Jesus exhibits God’s attributes more than any other dimension of the created order, but they place all their hope in a man.  The true and living God has no part in their Christmas holiday.

Christians must go beyond the physical image for their hope.

We go to the image of the invisible God for our eternal hope.

The real question is:  What image do you have of Jesus Christ?

What does the image of the invisible God mean to you?

Is he a kind and gentle man?

Is he a man who heals you sickness?

Is he the one who provides financially?

Is he your savior?

Too often Christians think that way.  That is a poor image of Jesus Christ.

Although he may be all the things I mentioned,  that is not his essence and nature.

The challenge is to see Jesus Christ in His fullness.

We can begin to discern the image of the invisible God by considering the 3-fold work of Jesus Christ as the Prophet, Priest, and King.

As a prophet he revealed to the church the whole will of God in things concerning their salvation and edification.  He is the prophet par excellence – Listen to his words and obey him.

As a priest he appeared in the presence of God to satisfy God’s wrath against the sinner.  He is the heavenly High Priest – Let him be your mediator and the one who stands in your behalf.

As a king he is the sovereign head of the church. He rules over his kingdom with eternal power and authority.  You are expected to worship and adore your king.

This is the time of the year that we see images of Jesus Christ at every juncture, but many of them have no essence of substance in reality.  They are false images.

We must replace those false images with the true image of  Jesus Christ.  I suggest you take time to retreat from the madness of this holiday season and mediate on the perfections of Jesus Christ.

Humbly subject yourself to the authority of Jesus Christ.

His supreme love announces forgiveness of sin.

One day every person will meet, face to face, the image of the invisible God.

On that day we will see the infinite and eternal loveliness of Jesus Christ.

On that day we will see an unchangeable image of the invisible God.

On that day we will see the image that possess all of truth.

This is the time of the year when Christians should use this national holiday to represent the true image of Jesus Christ.

We hear songs throughout the public specter that say things like “glory to the newborn king.”

I wonder how many people sing that song and don’t mean one word of it.

The Bible says “For by Him (Christ) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible”

The reign of Christ is supreme over all creation whether we see it or not.

The madness of this upcoming national holiday does not shake the supremacy of Jesus Christ.

Everyone has a different need, but I expect everyone here and every other place, Christian or unbeliever, wants peace.

Peace within and peace among men and nations no doubt lies at the root of our existence.

During this “winter holiday madness” listen to hymns like:

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

  • Fill all the world with heaven’s peace,

It Came upon the Midnight Clear

  • Peace on the earth

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

  • Hail the heaven born Prince of Peace

O Little Town of Bethlehem

  • peace to men on earth

Sleep in heavenly peace

Jesus Christ is peace.  The supremacy of His incarnation is the message I have during this “winter holiday madness.

2 thoughts on “Christmas Sermon Notes 1998

  1. Thank you for this post. This is the third time this week I’ve had blog posts, preacher’s sermons, and now this to help me to focus on my walk with Christ. In getting caught in the ‘madness’ I don’t want to ever minimize Him to a just a day, just a thought. Thank you so much!

    Like

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