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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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THINKING ABOUT JESUS

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)

Christmas-ChurchI’ve been thinking about Jesus. Many people do this time of year. Deeply touched by the sentiments of the season, they resolve to get to know Him better. However, the emotions that spark this resolve may soon pass as time moves beyond Christmas Day.

I’ve been thinking about Jesus. Isn’t there danger in broken promises to Him? People say they desire to be close to Christ, but their devotion is often hollow. A shallow desire for fellowship with Him leads to a cold heart. Commitment requires self-discipline and it is more than some can humanly muster.

I’ve been thinking about Jesus during this Christmas season. He has come that we might have life. (John 10:10 ESV) We are saved through faith which is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV) His Spirit gives us the ability to keep our vows to Him. His divine power gives us all things that relate to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3 ESV) Isn’t it time to put on the new self which is after the likeness of Christ? (Ephesians 4:24 ESV) Continue reading

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HE CAME FOR US

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 ESV)

Christ and ChristmasOn the first Christmas night a Savior was born. The One born that night would change the course of history. At Bethlehem we find an event of cosmic significance. God became man that we might be redeemed from sin.

Jesus Christ was the best gift mankind could possibly receive. We were sinners. Yet, He came for us. We were in rebellion against God. Yet, He came for us. We were bound to Satan. Yet, He came for us. We were lawless. Yet, He came for us. God gave us grace through Jesus Christ in the condition He found us. Through grace we may now become children of God.

This event was sufficient for an angel to declare:

Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11 ESV)

CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS

R. C. SproulR. C. Sproul:

I can’t think of anything more pleasing to Christ than the church celebrating his birthday every year. Keep in mind that the whole principle of annual festival and celebration is deeply rooted in ancient Jewish tradition. In the Old Testament, for example, there were times when God emphatically commanded the people to remember certain events with annual celebrations. While the New Testament doesn’t require that we celebrate Christmas every year, I certainly see nothing wrong with the church’s entering into this joyous time of celebrating the Incarnation, which is the dividing point of all human history. (Ligonier.org)

GOD WITH US

John MacArthurJohn MacArthur:

“If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: ‘God with us.’ We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!”

CRAZY ABOUT CHRISTMAS?

Samuel A CainAnd suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13-14 ESV)

Do you know someone who is crazy about Christmas? I bet you do. Many Americans have lost their ability to think rationally when it comes to Christmas. Materialism is rampant everywhere during this season of the year. How else would you explain 200 – 300 people waiting outside a store at 4:00 AM in the freezing cold for an early opening sale? Once the doors are open, the scene is like finding yourself in the middle of a reindeer stampede. The shoppers push and trample over anything or anyone in their way. They sometimes grab items out of other shoppers’ hands or carts and curses proliferate from their mouths.

Christmas revelers go to great lengths in order to decorate their homes with all the familiar symbols of a secular Christmas. They turn their front yards into extravagant light shows to attract attention and win the approval of others. Then, they borrow money to pay for it all. Their goal is to live a crazy fantasy for a short time each year which, in reality, has nothing to do with the real meaning of Christmas. The story of the birth of Jesus Christ is particularly a story of love. Christmas is all about love; a love that restores our relationship with God. Continue reading

CHILDREN AND THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS

Samuel A CainFor to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 ESV)

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 ESV)

Christmas is a good time to share the Word of God with your children. Of course, as we see in Deuteronomy 11, every day and every moment is, in general, a good time to do this. So, what are your children learning about the Christ of Christmas this year? What are you teaching them? Is there more talk in your home about Santa Claus than Jesus? Continue reading

COMFORTABLE UNBELIEVERS

Christ and ChristmasCharles R. Biggs:

No one should ever be too comfortable with the truths of Scripture any time of the year! I think it is important for the truths of Scripture to keep believers all uncomfortably ever-depending upon Jesus Christ alone for our righteousness throughout the year (one of the purposes of gospel preaching). I especially think it is good for unbelieving friends and relatives to be uncomfortable this time of year when we celebrate God becoming flesh in order to save those who believe. When unbelievers become comfortable this time of year, it is time to ask ourselves as the Church whether we are speaking and proclaiming the gospel in clear, pointed, penetrating ways as Jesus, John, and Paul preached it. (“An Uncomfortable Christmas Card for Unbelievers Comfortable at Christmas”)

 

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