Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
The weather being what it is, I donít feel bad talking about Christmas. It is a wonderful time of year for most, and is no different for me.
Lots of legalists will tell you we donít even know when Jesus was born, and thatís true. We donít even really know the month, let alone the day. We donít know how many wise men there were, only that there were three specific gifts mentioned. They werenít kings, but men of renown. When they came to see Jesus, He was closer to two years old than a newborn.
Do all these discrepancies bother you? For me, the issue of Christmas is not so much what we donít know, and more about what we do. What is the point when all the smoke, mirrors, and worldly consumerism is peeled away? Well, there are a few imperative truths. The first is that Jesus is Lord. He was in the beginning; everything that was made was made by Him and for Him, and by Him all things consist or are held in place - Colo. chapter 1. That He came to seek and to save that which was lost - you and me. That He was all about reconciliation, (reconciling man to God), by Grace (unmerited favor), through faith in Christ alone.
This is the part that I want to talk about today. We all love the idea of Christ forgiving us. You know, wiping the slate clean. We run the gambit from spending a lifetime trying to pay Him back, to using this forgiveness as a license to sin. Yet somehow we get deaf when He commands us to forgive others. He tells us if we forgive others, He will forgive us, and if not, Not. He tells us to put away all malice, anger, wrath etc. He doesnít say to forgive when the other person apologizes, but immediately. And itís not for their benefit, but for yours. To harbor unforgiveness is to cultivate a bitter spirit which Always does more harm to the vessel in which it is stored (you) than the object on which it is poured - (them).
Spiritual Switch: You remember the story of Job. He was a great man. Upright in all that he did. So much so, that God provoked Satan with him. In response, Satan killed all of his children, took all his possessions and holdings, and inflicted him with boils from the heels of his feet to the top of his head. The only relief he got from his illness was to sit in an ash heap and scrape his open sores with a broken piece of glass. His three very best friends spent days upon days telling him it was his fault (not) and that he must be a rotten worthless cull. ďWhy else would God allow this?Ē they reasoned. His wife, in her loving compassion told him to ďcurse God and dieĒ. We all know He was ultimately vindicated and restored, but what brought it about? See chapter 42, and verse 10. ďAnd the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friendsĒ These friends had treated him as badly, judgmentally, and wrongly as anyone could. You might call them enemies. Yet Job prayed for them.
Nugget: Itís pretty tough to hate someone when you bring them before the Throne of God. As we endeavor to celebrate Christmas this year, let us purpose to obey God and spend as much time forgiving others as we do reveling in Godís forgiveness of us. Iím praying now that God will reveal to you those generational enemies, and that you will give them over to God. Merry Christmas.