A radical approach to December 25th: Why we won’t be celebrating Christmas this year.

I. Introduction:

If the views my wife and I have about television, public schools, vaccinations, and Easter wasn’t enough to drive friends and family crazy, our latest decision certainly will. (I also suspect that this will ruffle a few feathers on DefCon as well.)

After thoughtful deliberation we have decided to forego celebrating Christmas this year (and every year hereafter) for two main reasons, one being obvious and the other not so obvious.

No, my wife and I have not lost our minds.

No, we have not become Jehovah’s Witnesses.

No, we aren’t trying to take fun away from our children.

I have always loved Christmas. I could often be heard singing Christmas carols all year long. Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year with all the decorations, food, family, memories, and nostalgia. So my decision to essentially cancel Christmas was not an easy one.

Please hear me out before coming to any conclusions or casting dispersions upon our decision. In the end you may still not agree with us, but at least you’ll understand our reasoning.

II. How it began:

This all started last year when I was reading the comment thread on this post. All of those leaving comments for and against celebrating Christmas made some really good points and it prompted me to really ponder the subject.

My conclusion to forego Christmas stemmed from those comments and became reason number one. Reason number two has been brewing in my mind for the past several years.

III. A little back story:

I am a Christian; a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. One who trusts in Him and the grace God displayed in the shed blood of His Son who willingly offered Himself as a propitiatory sacrifice on my behalf to absorb the wrath of the Father that I justly deserved, not only for the sins I’ve committed, but also for the sins I inherited from Adam (Romans 5:12-14).

Because of this, I desire to please my Master, my Lord, my God, and my Savior with how I live my life (John 14:15) because I’m no longer mine, but I’ve been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Do I always please Him in my life? Absolutely not. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit it, but in my everyday life I probably bring Him far more disgrace and dishonor than I do glory. However, I strive to follow His commands, I hate my sin, and I want to be more like Him—not in the hopes of gaining His approval or meriting His favor (Christ already met those requirements on my behalf since I never could)—but it’s because I love Him for dying for me while I was yet a miserable, wretched sinner (Romans 5:6-8).

So, when I discover things in my life that may not be honoring to the One I seek to honor, obey, and glorify (John 15:14), then I must make a decision of whom I will serve (Joshua 24:15). I will decide to serve either myself or the One who bought me with a price and owns me (1 Corinthians 7:23). Choosing the latter is rarely easy, usually difficult, often agonizing, but always wise, prudent, and right.

It’s for this reason—that I desire to please the One who purchased me with His precious blood (1 Peter 1:18-19) and not because of legalism—that I feel I can no longer, in good conscience, celebrate the holiday known as Christmas. And what follows are my two reasons why.

IV. Reason 1 – The Origins:

There’s no debating that Roman Catholic traditions and pagan practices are rife throughout the holiday of Christmas. Everything from the name of the holiday to the Yule log, for instance, has more to do with false religions than with Christianity. Romanism and paganism are rampant in this supposedly Christian holiday.

Now I’m not unrealistic. I understand that we cannot escape the presence of false religion in our daily lives; even the planets in our solar system and days of the week are named after pagan gods. As long as we live in a fallen world there will be pagan influences all around us. It’s when we intentionally infuse false religions with Christianity and attempt to call it “good” that a problem arises. We’re no longer living in the world while not being a part of it, we’re now mixing light and dark; a practice strictly forbidden by Scripture.

The Bible permits us to eat food sacrificed to idols (1 Corinthians 8:1-13) but would not permit us to partake in pagan practices and incorporate them into the Christian’s life and practice (Ephesians 5:11).

My coming to terms with the origins of Christmas was a jagged pill for me to swallow and left me at a loss as to how I—with this knowledge—could justify partaking in such a celebration, regardless of how much my flesh yearns to once again welcome the warmth, fun, nostalgia, and sentimentalism that comes with the season.

Although many people who refrain from celebrating Christmas do so because of its pagan and Romanist origins, my wife and I have an additional concern. This second reason for saying “no” to Christmas is not so obvious nor is it discussed much when debating this issue. In fact, in the post I referred to above, this second reason was never mentioned by any of those leaving comments.

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Sermon builder: Preparing a sermon.

The following is the complete Sermon Builder found here on the Shepherd’s Conference website:

Welcome to the Sermon Builder – a step-by-step guide for expository sermon preparation. While the Sermon Builder will not write someone’s sermon for them, it is intended to lead pastors and Bible teachers through the basic steps of exegesis and exposition. It is our desire that even the experienced expositor, as he works his way through the Sermon Builder, will be refreshed and reminded of helpful principles and truths.

The Sermon Builder has divided the sermon building process into four main stages: 1) Preparation, 2) Precision, 3) Production, and 4) Presentation. Later stages can be accessed immediately by clicking on the corresponding link at the top of the page. Each stage is divided into specific steps. By clicking “next” or “back” users can navigate from one step to the next.

With each step, users can also click on the online links listed to the right of the text. These links are designed to give the user immediate access to helpful resources and sermon building tools.

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Jesus Our High Priest – Part 15

We are pleased to continue the Saturday Sermon Series again. This is the fifteenth in a series of twenty messages from John 17. It was sovereignly delivered by Akash Sant Singh, who is one of the elders at Community Bible Church in Reno, Nevada. May it bring conviction to each of us as we realize our deep lack of prayer, which should be elemental to our Christian faith. Sadly, our prayer lives tend to reveal more about our self-sufficiency than of our utter dependency on the Saviour of our souls.

Jesus Our High Priest – Part 15

Should We Tell People Jesus Loves Them?

I’ve heard bold, outspoken Christians tell strangers that Jesus loves them. I’ve heard of people passing out candy and balloon animals along with a heartfelt, “Jesus loves you.”

I hate to tell these individuals they should stop. Their proclamation of Jesus’ love is more witnessing than what 90 percent of Christians will ever do.

However, there is no shortage of people who want to tell me that I’m witnessing all wrong when I give people the law before the gospel; I should just tell people that Jesus loves them. Over the years, I’ve tried a few different approaches to try to explain to them that that’s not what the Bible teaches.

  • There are zero examples of that being anyone’s gospel message in the Bible.
  • There are examples of gospel presentations to the contrary.
  • Even John 3:16 says that those who don’t believe in Jesus will perish.
  • Biblically, does Jesus really love everyone? Does He have the same type of love for everyone?

I’ve recently thought of a new approach—one that is actually ancient, because it is in 1 Peter 5:5: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” That verse is repeated in James 4:6 and Proverbs 3:34.

So, I’ve asked those who question me: If God opposes a proud person, do you think I shouldn’t tell them that He opposes them, but that He loves them?

No one has really had a response to that yet. It’s so quick and easy that it even works on the street.

A little bit of Heaven in a mall food court.

This video moved me to tears. It is an encouragement for those who belong to the Lord to see Him glorified so beautifully in song in the unlikeliest of places. I liken this video to things yet to come in two ways:

1). The beautiful worship of the Lamb that was slain by His redeemed one’s that will take place in Heaven.

2). This performance was done in spite of most in the mall where the glory of God was the furthest thing from their minds, much like those on the Day of Judgment will bow their knee and proclaim Jesus as Lord in spite of living their lives where the glory of God was the furthest thing from their minds. Those on Judgment Day will have no way to stop their compulsion to proclaim Jesus as Lord, much like those in the food court had no way to stop those who were singing praises of the risen Savior .

HT: Standing for Truth