"And the Word (Jesus) was made flesh, and dwelt among us..."
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name
JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
At the first Christmas, a Savior was born for you and me!
A television interviewer was walking the streets of Tokyo at Christmas time. Much as in America, Christmas shopping is a big commercial success in Japan. The interviewer stopped one young woman on the sidewalk, and asked, "What is the meaning of Christmas?" Laughing, she responded, "I don't know. Is that the day that Jesus died?" — by Donald Deffner, Seasonal Illustrations
Many people celebrate Christmas without knowing much about it. As the years pass, people at Christmas time give more attention to traditional requirements such as decorations, songs, special meals and especially the exchanging of gifts with relatives and friends. All of these are wonderful, but this is not the true meaning of Christmas.
When the stores are in competition to put up better displays of decorations, and the pressure is increased on people to buy more expensive gifts, they easily lose sight of a meaningful Christmas. When we take away the commercialism and traditions of our culture that includes the celebration of Christmas, it becomes easier to see the true meaning of Christmas. The Christmas story from the Bible comes alive as we focus on Christ, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). There is nothing more fundamental at Christmas than to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. The message of Christmas is so important and such a blessing to each one of us, but it is often missed by many.
Sometimes, people think that the birth of Jesus is only an interesting fact of history and not related to our present life, but it has a direct effect on our lives. When the birth of Jesus was announced to the shepherds, the angel said to them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10,11).
Maybe you have never thought that the Lord was born for you. Perhaps you did not realize why God sent His Son into the world. He sent Him to become your Savior. Be careful and give special attention to what the herald angel said, "for unto you is born...a Savior." Yes! Jesus left His glory and came to be born for you because your greatest need was forgiveness, and you needed a Savior. Charles Sell wonderfully described our need as follows:
"If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior."
— Unfinished Business, Charles Sell, 1989 pp. 121ff
Jesus came to deal with the problem of sin, which separates every one of us from God. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners..." (1 Timothy 1:15). Maybe you will say, "I'm not a sinner!" Have you ever lied or had a sinful thought? God's Word tells us that all of us are sinners. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
Usually, people do not realize that they are sinners, and "every one of us shall give an account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12). But the best good news is that God gives us the opportunity to solve the problem of sin by believing on His son. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). After all, the true meaning of Christmas becomes clear, and we are able to see that Christmas is all about God's special love for us and the precious gift that He offers us; the gift of eternal life. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
The Baby, who was born in the manger, is the Lord of the Universe. Jesus was born fully human and was still fully divine. He is Emmanuel, God with us! When born in Bethlehem, Jesus did not just then become the Son of God, but He always was, is, and will be: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given..." (Isaiah 9:6). We do not realize that this verse presents two important truths: The Son of God is fully human and fully God. In the first part of the verse, according to the prophet Isaiah, Jesus became a man: "a Child is born." Also, when the evangelist Luke wrote, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11), it brings the same message. In both Greek and Hebrew, the word for "born" means the same thing: "child-bearing."
The second part of the verse in Isaiah says that the "Son is given." He emphasizes and refers to eternal sonship, the relationship between a father and son. In Hebrew, the word "given" does not refer to birth, but to "bring" the Son, who is the Son of God, who already existed. "In the beginning was the Word [Jesus] and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him [Jesus], and without him [Jesus] was not anything made that was made. In him [Jesus] was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:1-4). "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:17).
The sinless One, Jesus Christ, died on the cross to pay for our sins. He is risen from the dead, and to everyone who will confess their sins to Him, and trust Him as their Savior, He offers eternal life as God promises in John 3:16. This is explicit to the heart of Christmas. We have to think about how our lives would be if Jesus had never come. We would be unforgiven sinners without salvation, without hope, and with no prepared eternal home.
A few years ago a striking Christmas card was published, with the title, "If Christ had not come." It was founded upon our Saviour's words, "If I had not come." The card represented a clergyman falling into a short sleep in his study on Christmas morning and dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.
In his dream he found himself looking through his home, but there were no little stockings in the chimney-corner, no Christmas bells or wreaths of holly, and no Christ to comfort, gladden and save. He walked out on the public street, but there was no church with its spire pointing to Heaven. He came back and sat down in his library, but every book about the Saviour had disappeared.
A ring at the doorbell, and a messenger asked him to visit a poor dying mother. He hastened with, the weeping child, and as he reached the home, he sat down and said, "I have something here that will comfort you." He opened his Bible to look for a familiar promise, but it ended at Malachi, and there was no gospel and no promise of hope and salvation, and he could only bow his head and weep with her in bitter despair.
Two days afterward he stood beside her coffin and conducted the funeral service, but there was no message of consolation, no word of a glorious resurrection, no open Heaven, but only "dust to dust, ashes to ashes," and one long eternal farewell. He realized at length that "He had not come," and burst into tears and bitter weeping in his sorrowful dream. Suddenly he woke with a start, and a great shout of joy and praise burst from his lips as he heard his choir singing in his church close by:
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
O come and behold Him, born the King of Angels,
O come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.
Let us be glad and rejoice today because "He has come." And let us remember the annunciation of the angel, "Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10, 11). — by L.B. Cowman/ streams in the desert/crosswalk.com
Jesus is God's greatest gift of love. Jesus gave His life "that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). Without any question, love came down from heaven at Christmas. Jesus loved us so much that He came to die on the cross for our sins. What better Christmas gift could we give others than to share His love with them that they might have eternal life? Love is a gift our world desperately needs this Christmas season.
If you are not a Christian, and you have never made Jesus your personal Savior, it is time to do it now. If you do it, you can celebrate the true meaning of Christmas! Be mindful that Jesus came to be your Savior. He was born personally for you. He died on the cross to pay for your sins. Yes! He died personally for you. This kind of personal message of God's love, mercy, and grace also requires a personal response from you. Jesus Christ is God's gift to you, and He wants you to receive that gift. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
To receive God's gift, you must by faith believe that Christ was born for you to be your Savior and that He died for you to pay for your sins. He has risen from the dead, and He offers you eternal life. Do not forget that Jesus died for all the sinners, but forgives only the ones who repent and by faith receive Him as their personal Savior. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12). Receive the gift of God this year if you desire this Christmas to be the best for all eternity. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Christmas is also a time to give and not only to receive. Christmas is not about the number of gifts purchased or how much money is spent to impress your relatives and friends. Christmas is the love in your heart. Share this love with those as Jesus Christ has shared it with you. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, whom God sent to persuade the world how much He really loves us. He left His heavenly home in glory and came to die for us and pay our debt. If you have accepted Jesus by faith as your personal Savior, you now have secured a heavenly home for eternity. After this, from joy, let everyone know you have a friend in Jesus and show His love to others at Christmas and each day of your life! Because of His Love, I am who I am, and I am here to share these thoughts and truths of eternal value. "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15).
At Christmas time, do not be ashamed to loudly wish everyone "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." Let people know that you are one who has heard and received the good news of Christmas. Let people know you are not just shopping for a winter festival, but you are celebrating your Lord's birth. Christmas is not just a holiday - It is a birthday! By wishing a "Merry Christmas," the evil forces of darkness in our nation will be influenced. The Light of the World will be proclaimed. The hope of salvation will be announced, and the spiritual atmosphere will be brightened by the presence of God.
As a Christian, be careful what you watch over the Christmas season. When Jesus was born, God flooded the airways of the earth with special religious programming through a host of angels. Make sure you do the same. Turn to Christian radio and television stations this Christmas season and attend a Bible-believing church that presents Christ as God's Son and the Savior of sinful men. Let the message of Jesus be the "favorite" in your heart and on the button of your remote control this Christmas!
by Ted Matamis, copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.
FISH - ΙΧΘΥΣ
Ιησοὐς Χριστὀς Θεοὐ Υιὀς Σωτἠρ
Many times you see the symbol of the fish on cars, jewelry, or in many other places. I wonder if you know the story behind this symbol, what it means, and what it represents. Most people, even many Christians who use it, do not know much about this symbol. They use it as others do simply because they believe it is a Christian symbol, and it tells others that they are Christians.
From the early Christian history of the church, we learn that the Christians were persecuted, especially by the evil emperors of the Roman Empire. At that time, when the believers faced intense persecution, they used this symbol of the fish to identify one another without exchanging verbal communication.
When two strangers met, they would be hesitant to reveal their faith. After a short time of conversation, one of them would take his foot or finger and draw the symbol of the fish or the letters ΙΧΘΥΣ in mud, dirt, sand, or on the walls of caves where they lived or hid. The other person, if he were a Christian, would do the same so they would know that both were believers in Christ and that it was safe to share their faith without the fear of being arrested.
Maybe you will ask why the early Christians used the symbol of the fish and the Greek letters ΙΧΘΥΣ? As a Greek educator, I will explain to you why. The Greek word ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthus) in the New Testament means fish. Jesus used the same word in Matthew 7:10, and His disciples used it in Matthew 14:17. Each Greek letter of ΙΧΘΥΣ declares a tremendous truth about Jesus Christ.
I — The first letter of ΙΧΘΥΣ stands for Ιησοὐς (Iesous), which is the Greek word for "Jesus" as we find in Matthew 1:21 "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
Χ — The second letter of ΙΧΘΥΣ stands for Xριstὀs (Xrιstos), which is the Greek word for "Christ," which means "anointed." As we know from the Bible, Jesus is God's "Anointed One." " And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people" (Luke 2:10,11).
Θ — The third letter of ΙΧΘΥΣ stands for Θεοὐ (Theos -Theou) which is the Greek word for "God." Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal God who was revealed in human flesh. "In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word [Jesus] was with God, and the Word [Jesus] was God." (John 1:1), "The great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" (Titus 2:13).
Υ — The fourth letter of ΙΧΘΥΣ stands for Υιὀς (Hyios) that is the Greek word for "Son" and in the word ΙΧΘΥΣ, means Jesus is the Son of God. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." (John 3:16).
Σ — The fifth letter of ΙΧΘΥΣ stands for Σωτἠρ (Soter), which is the Greek word for "Savior." " For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11) and there is no other Savior besides Him. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
The next time you see the symbol of the fish displayed somewhere, remember that Jesus is the Son of God who gave His life to be the Savior for you and me. My simple question to you is, "Have you put your trust in Him to save you for all eternity?" If not, do it right now before your soul spends eternity in hell. With a sincere prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come into your life to become your personal Savior.
Dear God, I know that You love me and want to save me. Jesus, I believe You are the begotten Son of God,
and you shed your precious blood and died on the cross to pay for my sins. I believe God raised You from
the dead. Now I repent and turn from my sin, and by faith, receive You as my personal Savior. Come into my life,
forgive my sins, and save me. In Your name, I pray. Amen.
If you are a Christian, proudly display ΙΧΘΥΣ every place you can, to tell other Christians that you are a follower of Jesus Christ.
by Ted Matamis, copyright © 2019. All rights reserved.
"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
"For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11)
"And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21)
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16)
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." (John 1:12)
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)
"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Jesus came to save us from the bondage and sin!
"The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding." — Priest and Theologian, Martin Luther
"The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God." — Scholar and Author, C.S. Lewis
"You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father’s face and tell him you have received his Christmas gift." — Pastor, Scholar, and Author, Dr. John R. Rice
"This season, keep your eyes and heart open for unexpected ways that God will reveal to you the hope of Christmas." — Jack Countryman
"The spirit of Christmas
needs to be superseded by the Spirit of Christ...
The spirit of Christmas is a human product;
the Spirit of Christ is a divine person.
That makes all the difference in the world." — Pastor, Author and International Speaker, Stuart Briscoe
"After all, isn't Christmas the beginning of our hope? It is the celebration of God becoming man and taking on the 'form of a servant' so that he could ultimately give His life for us."— Pastor and Author, Dr. David Jeremiah
"Jesus, my Saviour to Bethlehem came, Born in a manger to sorrow and shame; Oh, it was wonderful! Blest be His Name! Seeking for me, for me!" — Hymn. Lyrics by Anonymous
"Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts."— By Janice Maeditere
"The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart." — Author, Helen Keller
"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." — Author, Roy L. Smit
"Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves." — Author and Journalist, Eric Sevareid
Until we receive the greatest gift of all - Jesus Christ - we will never truly experience Christmas.
Where Would We Be
He was born of a woman
so we could be born of God...
He humbled Himself
so we could be lifted up...
He became a servant
so we could be made heirs...
He suffered rejection
so we could be His friends...
He denied Himself so we could freely
receive all things...
He gave Himself
so He could bless us in every way!
"He who did not spare His own Son,
but gave Him up for us all--how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?"
Christ was content with a stable when he was born
so that we could have a mansion when we die.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring Him a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I'd sure do my part.
So what can I give Him? I'll give Him my heart.
The Meaning of Christmas
For many of us, Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year. It is nice to get a break from our normal routines and to spend time with our family and friends. Many families have special Christmas customs and traditions, involving decorations, meals, songs, and the exchanging of gifts with loved ones. All of these things are very nice, but is this the true meaning of Christmas?
It seems that every year the stores put up their Christmas displays earlier and earlier and that each year there is increasing pressure to buy more and more expensive gifts. There also seems to be a competition to see who can put up the largest and most elaborate display of decorations. With all of these things, it is very easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.
But as we strip away the layers of glitter, commercialism, and tradition that surround the celebration of Christmas, the holiday's true meaning becomes easier to see. Here we can see a star that reminds us of the star that the wise men followed two thousand years ago while seeking the newborn King. Who is this King? As the angels said to the shepherds, "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). Christmas is the day that we celebrate the birth of the Christ—Jesus the Son of God.
What was the reason that Jesus left his home in heaven to come to this world? Was it simply to do good works, or to leave an example for us to follow? No, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). He came to deal once and for all with the problem of sin that separates every one of us from God. "But I'm not a sinner!" you might say. Have you ever lied? Have you ever had an impure thought? God's Word is very true when it says, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
Yes, we are all sinners, and if judged on our own merits, would all come short of heaven. Sadly, many people don't realize that "Every one of us shall give account of himself to God" and that "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (Romans 14:12; John 3:36). But here is where the distractions of the holiday disappear completely and the true meaning of Christmas becomes clear to see. Christmas is all about God's great love for us and the priceless gift that He offers to all.
This gift, the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23), was purchased when Jesus, the sinless Sacrifice, died on the cross for our sins. Now He is risen from the dead and offers eternal life to everyone who will confess their sins to Him and trust Him as their Saviour. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). If you have never made Jesus your Saviour, do it now. Then you can celebrate the true meaning of Christmas!. — by mwtb
It Came To Pass
"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son" (Galatians 4:4).
How old is the story of Christmas? While it's true that the events of Christmas—the birth of Jesus Christ—took place 2,000 years ago, the story of Christmas was being written for hundreds and even thousands of years before that blessed day.
The Story Begins
The beginning of the story of Christmas was told in the Garden of Eden, the paradise where Adam and Eve lived in harmony with God until they disobeyed His command. Because of Satan's deceptive actions and temptation which led Adam and Eve to sin, God pronounced a judgment against him. The judgment, in Genesis 3:15, revealed that the seed of the woman (Jesus Christ) would bruise the head of the serpent (Satan). The sins of our first parents, as well as the sins of every person who has lived since then, created a need and a longing for a Redeemer who could conquer sin and restore mankind’s relationship with God.
More Details Emerge
More details of the story of Christmas—God's story of redemption—emerge throughout the centuries. The prophet Isaiah lived 700 years before Christ was born, but wrote that "a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14; compare Matthew 1:20-23). Micah, another Jewish prophet, pinpointed the place where the Saviour would be born: "Bethlehem … out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be Ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2, compare Luke 2:1-7).
The Picture Becomes Clearer
Other prophetic Scriptures reveal more about who the promised Redeemer would be. Isaiah wrote: "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). The Saviour was to be none other than the everlasting Son of God (John 1:1,14; 3:16).
The Saviour Must Suffer
When Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal and made coats of skin to cover them (Genesis 3:21). When the children of Israel sinned, God required that they bring an animal sacrifice, shedding its blood at the altar (Leviticus 4). When God envisioned the ultimate sacrifice—the full and final payment for sin—it also involved the shedding of blood. Isaiah spoke of the suffering Saviour with perfect clarity: "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities…. He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many" (Isaiah 53:5,12). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, suffered and died as the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice (1 Peter 1:18,19).
The Story is Not Over
All of the prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on Calvary's cross came to pass 2,000 years ago. However, God's story of redemption is still being written today. God is still saving all who come to Him in repentance and faith, trusting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as payment for their sins. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
Have you become part of the Christmas story? Have you seen Jesus Christ as more than a baby in a manger? Have you seen Him as the Son of God who left Heaven and became a man so He could die in your place, bearing your sin? Have you turned to Him and placed your full trust in Him as Lord and Saviour? If not, I urge you to do so today! Then you can say, as did Simeon when he saw the baby Jesus, "For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people" (Luke 2:30,31). — by mwtb
The Greatest Journey
About 2,000 years ago, Jesus, the Son of God, left His home in Heaven and came to Earth.
It was the beginning of the greatest journey ever made.
How Did He Come? Jesus didn’t travel in a spaceship, or ride a shooting star. He was born as a baby to Mary, who was told by an angel of God that she would be His mother.
Where Did He Come? Mary and her husband Joseph lived in a small town called Nazareth in the country of Israel. But they had to take a trip to Bethlehem, and that is where Jesus was born.
Why Did He Come? Jesus made the long journey from Heaven because it was a very important part of God’s plan. He came to Earth and became a man so He could save us from our sins and we could go to Heaven. God loves us so much that He gave us the best gift ever!
How Did He Grow Up? After He was born as a baby, Jesus got bigger and stronger, just like you. What made Him different, though, is that He never did anything wrong. He never cheated at a game, or told a lie, or disobeyed His parents.
What Did He Do? After Jesus grew up, He started teaching people about God. He also did many miracles, like healing the sick and even bringing dead people back to life.
Why Did He Die? The most important thing Jesus did was die on the cross to take away our sins. Because He was perfect, He had no sins to be punished for. But He took God’s punishment for our sins instead.
Where Did He Go? After Jesus died, He rose again and went to Heaven. How can we go to Heaven with Him? First, we need to realize that we are sinners who need God’s help to be made ready for Heaven. Then we must trust what Jesus has done for us, by believing that He died for us and rose again.
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). — by mwtb
Good Tidings of Great Joy
Jesus Is Born!
“The angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
Jesus Paid the Price for Sin!
“Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus Is Risen!
“Ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead…. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy” (Matthew 28:5-8).
“Rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father” (John 14:28). “He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:51-52). “God … set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion” (Ephesians 1:17-21).
Jesus Is Coming Again!
“What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19). “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout … and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
No Joy Without Jesus!
If you do not know Jesus, you cannot have true peace and joy—either in this life or in the life to come. When He returns, you will be left behind and the door to Heaven will be shut forever (Matthew 25:10-13). Instead of great joy, you will experience “weeping and gnashing of teeth” in an eternal Hell where “the fire is not quenched” (Luke 13:25-28; Mark 9:43-48).
Jesus Gives Great Joy!
Do you want to have great joy? God’s word promises eternal joy in Heaven if you, as a guilty sinner, will put your faith and trust in Jesus as your Savior (Revelation 21:1-4; John 3:16). Jesus will forgive your sins and clothe you in His righteousness, preparing you for God’s presence. “In Thy presence is fulness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).
God also promises joy in this life for the believer who follows Jesus, allowing Him to be the Lord of their attitudes and actions. “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).
Call out to Jesus today. Ask Him to forgive your sins, and trust Him as your Savior. Submit your life to His leading, follow His will, and you will know great joy both now and forever! — by mwtb
No Other Saviour
"I've got my own religion."
"Whatever you believe is alright."
"Everybody has their own beliefs."
"Just so you believe something."
These are sayings which you will hear from many people today. They sound nice, and help to make people feel good, since their own beliefs are said to be as valid as those of anyone else. "After all," some say, "can you really know anything for sure?" People who claim to have "the truth" are looked down upon as being arrogant and intolerant. For some reason, people can accept the idea that any religion is valid as long as it doesn't claim to be the only true religion! Do you know why that is? It's Satan's way of getting people to believe anything but the one thing that will remove his grip on their souls.
It is not true that all religious beliefs are of equal value. It is not true that "Whatever you believe is alright." The very fact that "Everybody has their own beliefs" is what God says is man's biggest problem—we have exchanged His truth for our beliefs. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6). Man's confused religions stand in opposition to God's simple way to life. Man's ways are the wide, tolerant, sin-ignoring way that ends in destruction. "Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction … narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13,14).
There is one sense in which it is true that what you believe doesn't matter. What you believe, or what religious men have taught, does not change the truth of God's Word! Just believing something doesn't make it so. Jumping off the top of a skyscraper onto the street below will kill you, no matter how strongly you believe otherwise. Entering into eternity with the firm belief that there is no God, or that your beliefs or your works are good enough to merit His approval will not change the outcome: "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15).
Truth is not a matter of opinion. Either something is true or it is false. Jesus Christ claims to be the truth. He did not say "I am a way," but rather, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). When it comes to faith, it is not, "Just so you believe something," but "Just so you believe Christ." Faith in Jesus Christ, who laid down His life on the cross of Calvary and rose victoriously from the dead, is the only way to everlasting life and forgiveness of sins.
Just as everyone has turned to his own way, each of us must individually turn from our rebellion. No one can save himself, since salvation is "not of works" (Ephesians 2:8,9). Because God is the One who saves, salvation is as certain as His promise: "He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).
Jesus Christ is the only way. Stop rejecting Him, and by faith receive Him as your Saviour today. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). — Ron Melick (mwtb)
The Saviour's Gift
SALVATION means to be rescued from sin and its punishment and set free to know, love, and serve God. Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin…. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:34,36).
ALL PEOPLE have turned away from God and broken the law of God. The Bible calls this sin. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
LEFT TO OURSELVES, there is no rescue, and the justice of God requires our eternal damnation in the terrors of hell. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).
VICTORY over sin was obtained when God sent His Son Jesus to earth. Jesus obeyed God's laws perfectly, yet He died to pay for the sins of all who believe. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10).
ADMITTING that our sin has put us in a desperate situation is the first step in our rescue. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8,9).
TAKING the free gift of Jesus' payment for our sin makes us "not guilty" in God's sight. "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
IN GRATITUDE for such love, we follow Him in obedience and sacrificial service. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1).
ONLY JESUS has provided the way to salvation. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
NOW is the time to see your need of Christ and to make your decision for Him. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).
How do we receive salvation? Salvation is a gift, pure and simple. God offers us salvation on the basis of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. We receive God's gift through repentance and faith—by turning from our own ways to God's way: believing God's truth that Jesus is the Son of God who died for you and rose again. — Adapted from "What is Meant by Salvation?" Used by permission of The Tract League. (mwtb)
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
Dear Friend, Are you looking for real spiritual reality?
Take the opportunity this Christmas to meet the living God.
Don't get fooled by the humble wraps!
The babe in the manger is the Ruler of the Universe.
Once an infant, he now wears a crown.
Receive Him as your King today!
Elliott Osowitt grew up in California in a strict Jewish home. He had no real knowledge of Jesus Christ and was not even permitted to speak His name. Though he attended synagogue every Friday night and Saturday morning, he did not know he could have a relationship with God.
Elliott and his wife Polly married young and had two daughters. Throughout these early years of his marriage, Elliott admits he was not a good husband or father. He traveled a great deal of the time with a touring company out of England which he called "Heathen Tours." The purpose of these tours was to provide any and every sort of "pleasure" the clientele could afford. He, too, participated in the immoral acts he offered to his clients. It was while he was with this company that his wife developed breast cancer and had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy treatments while raising two of their grandchildren, whose mother was in prison. Despite these circumstances, Elliott continued traveling and living his highly immoral lifestyle.
On Christmas Eve night of 1996, Elliott returned home only to be told by Polly to leave the home for good. Realizing how far out of control his life had become, he decided to go to a motel and commit suicide. While in the room, he noticed an opened Gideon Bible on top of the television. He knocked it off the television and tried to kick it under the bed, but the bed frame was solid and the Bible could not go under. The Bible was still open, and Elliott picked it up and read John 14:27 which says "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid." Irritated that Jesus had spoken these words, he shut the Bible and called Polly to tell her goodbye.
Polly then asked him to at least call her pastor. Though it was Christmas Eve, this pastor came and ministered to Elliott. Elliott spent the next three days in the motel reading that Gideon Bible. On Sunday, he attended church with his wife and was saved. He then had the wonderful opportunity to share his testimony as he traveled with a Christian touring company. While on one of these trips, a Gideon approached him and told him how his brother, also a Gideon, had become disillusioned with the ministry. But after hearing Elliott’s testimony, this man was now ready to recommit himself to the Gideons in an effort to reach more people for Christ.
Polly has since fully recovered from cancer and worked two jobs so Elliott could complete Bible school. Elliott was called to be a pastor in the year 2000.
Daniel W. Kerr was the primary author of the 1916 Statement of Fundamental Truths. One of the early parsonages he and his family lived in was actually an abandoned log chicken house that Kerr made into living quarters. One Christmas, his two children each received one penny in their stockings. And for Christmas dinner, they boiled potatoes.
Dear Friend, With our material prosperity, we sometimes forget that many go without. When God does provide for our needs, but not our wants, do we express gratitude or do we grumble?
Live, Love, Laugh!
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine"
A young boy was learning the Christmas story in Sunday School. One day his mother asked him what he had learned. The lad excitedly related the events of Christ's birth. He told how the shepherds saw the angels of the Lord and the heavenly glory shining around them. "The shepherds were afraid," the child said, "but the angel told them, 'Don't be afraid, shepherds, they are only lighting up.'" "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."(John 12:46}
Dear Friend, Does the world seem to be getting darker with each passing year? Don't let the gloom of a fallen world discourage you. The Christmas angels came to herald the birth of the Light of the World. Jesus came to dispel the darkness. Have you asked Jesus to take away your darkness? He can light up your life!
"Sun of my soul! Thou Savior dear, it is not night if thou be near."
— John Keble
An atheist complained to a Christian friend, "You Christians have your special holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. Jews celebrate their national holidays, such as Passover and Yom Kippur. But we atheists have no recognized national holidays. It's unfair discrimination." His friend replied, "Why don't you celebrate April first?"
HYMNS and SONGS (MUSIC CLIPS- AUDIOS)
HYMNS, SONGS and SERMONS (VIDEOS)
CHRISTMAS SERMONS by C. SPURGEON
"For God so loved the world ..."
"that He gave His only begotten Son ..."
Have You Received?
"that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord."
"For by grace you have been saved
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Not of works,
lest anyone should boast."
Love in Christ
Ted and Deanna