Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
This time of year all thought is directed to Christmas, the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior - Jesus Christ. 
We prioritize and strategize  the logistics of our holiday. We agonize, fantasize, compromise, with regard to the what and where of our celebration. Who’s family shall we spend it with. Who traveled last year, and who will this. Shall we draw names for a gift exchange? After all, times are hard. 
Who would have thought that “OPENING DAY” of shopping season would be appropriately called “Black Friday” and body armor would be the appropriate dress. With little or no regard to glorifying Him, we attack each other with pepper-spray, in order to secure the perfect gift, the recipient of which will not remember who gave it to them in a month.  
Some of the more spiritual minded are quick to remind you that Christmas is not about all the commercial trappings, but rather family; friends; recreation and good will. Perhaps it’s sharing our bounty with those less fortunate. 
As noble and benevolent as that may be, That’s Not It. Let’s turn the Spiritual Switch.  What are we celebrating?   Jesus’ birth. Why?  Well, first, let’s look at why He came. “For this cause” came the Son of man, “to seek and to save that which was lost”.  He is the: “author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”. Heb. 12:2.  Jesus was taking a lot of heat by the time we get to the 12th chapter of John, and yet not of His birth, but of His death said He: “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified”. 12:23.   Then From the Cross He said: “it is finished”.   What was finished?  The reason Jesus came. The Cross. His atoning death. His shedding of blood.  “Oh preacher; quit dwelling on the cross. What is it about His blood that you Christians can’t get over. You are preoccupied with it. You even sing songs about it”.  I guess that’s right. But why?  Jesus talked about a lot of other stuff didn’t He?  What about (for instance) prayer. Can’t we come boldly before the Throne of Grace?  Yes we can, but why? How? 
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,” Heb. 10:19.  We are commanded to forgive aren’t we?  Yes, but how? To what degree? And by what power? You are to forgive “as you have been forgiven”. How can you if you haven’t been?   “Extend mercy as you (need to, or desire to) have received mercy”.  What would be the greatest gift you could ever receive? Justification (forgiveness).  We all want it. Many think they have it. Some think they have earned it, but what does God say about it?  “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law for by the works of the law shall now flesh be justified.” Gal. 2:16. It’s all about the Cross. When Jesus was in the manger, the shadow of the Cross was already upon Him.    Are you Justified?  If so, why?  Is it because you are just that good? Read the above again, and we’ll talk next week. God Bless, and Merry Christmas. 

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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