Whatsoever Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
The Condemnation and The Cure; A Christmas Story.  What do the Lord's Supper (Eucharist), The Passover, Baptism and Christmas have in common?  They all point (or were supposed to point) to Jesus. 
There is no problem with any of this until man - with the best of intentions elevates the pointer to the level of the object. In other words, we focus on the pointer instead of what it is to point to. Has Christmas been perverted? Certainly it has. Is there danger in this? Well yea, there is. If the holiday becomes the object, there is danger. It is a subtle ploy to take our focus off of Christ.  At about this point, many of you are tuning me out with a hearty: "Oh yea, here we go again with a zealot trying to make me feel guilty and prescribe how he thinks my family ought to observe Christmas".  You are right in part or parcel, but here's the rub. If you tune out the condemnation, you can neither recognize nor receive The Cure.  
Let's start with some common ground. Christmas is about the birth of Christ. But what is that about?  Why did He come? "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost." Matt. 18:11  We often hear the word "saved". To some this is a warm and happy word, but to others, it is divisive and judgmental.  Saved from what? Saved how? And what if I don't get "saved"?   There are hundreds of references to "saved" in the Bible - Old Test. = "the Lord will save you" - Isaiah 33:22. New Test =  "There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" -  Acts 4:12. 
Well what is lost then?  "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" - Romans 3:23.   "For the wages (payment) of sin is death; (condemnation) but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (cure)" - Romans 6:23. Death then, is eternal separation from God.  So how are we saved?  By grace. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph. 2:8-9. You see, Christmas is great, but it doesn't save you. Communion is wonderful. It was instituted by our Lord and we are commanded to observe, but it is to point to Him - "do this in remembrance of me" 1st Cor. 11. It doesn't save you. Baptism is an act of obedience that identifies us with our Lord's death, burial and resurrection - Romans chapter 6, but it doesn't save you. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" Titus 3:5.  
Passover is beautiful, just ask Rahab (Joshua 2). It is a stunning picture of Christ.   How then are we saved?  "If you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." Romans 10:9   You see, He does it. He gets all the credit. If I trust in something I did, what or who am I trusting in?  see Titus 3:5 above. Danger then is putting my trust in something I have done, then I ultimately get the glory, and God will not share His glory with anyone. Next week, we focus on the Gift (the cure). Merry Christmas. 

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522


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