Matt2_1A - War on Christmas; First Blood
Is there a war on Christmas? – It all depends on whom you ask?
In the age of political correctness, some bureaucrats treat Christmas as a four letter word.
Christian school-aged children are expected to understand and respect Kwanza, Ramadan, and Chanukah, but are forbidden to explain Christmas.
Do Atheists hate Christmas.
The American Atheists claim that they are not at war with Christmas – they only object to one element.
2013 Campaign: CELEBRATE THE TRUE MEANING OF XMAS – friends, family, food, presents, charity, fun, hot chocolate, lights, stockings, decorations, Rockettes, snow movies …
The 40′x40′ billboard uses motion graphics to ask "Who needs Christ during Christmas?" It then crosses out the word "Christ" and replaces it with "Nobody."
AA President David Silverman said in a statement, "This year, start a new tradition: Don't go to church. You hate it, it's boring; you probably only go because you feel guilty or obligated. Instead, spend more time with your family and friends – or volunteer. There are better uses of your time and money."
Public Relations Director Dave Muscato commented, "Most people don't care about any religious ties to the season because church and religion are not what Americans care about during this time of year – they care about family and friends and giving presents and food and having fun."
It make all the sense in the world (or does it?).
- Let’s celebrate Presidents’ Day without mentioning the presidents. (The true meaning is sale prices, cherry trees, axes, etc.)
- Let’s celebrate Memorial Day without honoring the soldiers who died for our liberty (The true meaning is beer and brats, beginning of Summer)
When did the war on Christmas begin?
It all started about 4 or 5 b.c.
King Herod's peace was disrupted by three wise men from the east. They insisted on seeing the newborn King of the Jews.
How I wish the American Atheists could have been there to calm Herod.
- Mr. Muscato "Most people don't care about any religious ties to the season because church and religion are not what Judeans care about during this time of year – they care about family and friends and giving presents and food and having fun."
- “Here, have a cup of hot cocoa.”
- “I really like what you have done with that tree. What are you calling it?”
- “Hey, I have a DVD of the Nutcracker Ballet. Don’t let three religious fanatics destroy Christmas for you.”
Instead, Herod started the war people cannot understand today.
•When all was said and done, the king ordered Jewish male babies two years old and younger to be slain.
God sent his perfect gift, and Herod did everything in his power to destroy it.
Christmas is John 3:16 (quote).
God offered to Herod a gift that day:
- He could have accepted it with thanks.
- He could have politely rejected it.
- Instead, he marshaled his troops in the attempt to destroy God’s gift, not just for himself, but for all who hoped in being delivered.
What a contrast to a priest named Zacharias (Luke 1:67-75)
Why would anyone hate this wonderful gift? – 3 reasons
I.The Gift Promotes God [not man]
A.Herod Represents All Who Would Deny Jesus’ Right to Rule
1.The Government Denies the conscience of Christian business owners.
a)One would think that a Spirit-filled Christian boss would be Heaven on earth.
b)Claiming Christ is Lord of one’s life is repulsive to this society
c)Government tells the Christian what he can and cannot do – not God.
2.Christmas can become an idol that dethrones Jesus Christ in the heart of each believer
a)To most American Children, Christmas is nothing more than St. Nicholas Day.
b)Santa has become the center of Christmas
c)Paul did not say, “For to me, to live is Christmas…”
d)It is easy to worship the day and fail to worship the Christ
Jesus does not come but once a year
e) People are tripping over the manger to do what they want to do.
A child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger bed is as degrading to the festivities as a panhandler begging outside the Old Country Buffet
He became poor that you and I might be made rich.
f)Christmas season does not sanctify selfish lusts.
B.Jesus wants to be your Lord and Master.
1.The Saving of your Soul is Critical
2.The Surrender of your life is Vital – “a governor that shall rule”
a)Governor – one who has all authority to get his way
b)Rule – Shepherd, not tyranny, but a compassionate care for the flock
3.Jesus wants to be Lord of …
C.Jesus wanted to be Lord and Master of Herod’s life
History books tell us that there was nothing enjoyable about Herod’s life. It was as empty as any soap opera today.
1.A Life in need of true joy
2.Living in fear of losing control over the people
3.Living in fear of one who would destroy him
(Herod’s hog had a better chance of living than his sons)
4.The executioner was never unemployed in Herod’s court
D.It was no accident that the Wise Men ended up in Jerusalem
1.God did not suffer from a power shortage
2.The star faded because God had a message to deliver to Herod –
“Where Is HE that is born, King of the Jews?”
3.Where is HE that is born to be king of your life?
II.The Gift Denies Self
Why did Herod resist?
Herod’s Response (Not unlike the response of some who are invited to Christ)
1.Paranoia – Herod was troubled – v. 3
2.Desperation – He gathered and “repeatedly” demanded – v. 4
3.Hypocrisy – Chatting with the Wise men – v. 7-8
4.Vicious – v. 16
There is a Generation
A.Filled with Self-Centered Ambition – v. 11
1.Biblical Authorities are meaningless to them
“God has no business telling me to submit.”
a)To Parental Leadership
b)To Spiritual Leadership
c)To Governmental Leadership
d)To Spousal Leadership
B.Filled with Self-Righteous Justification – v. 12
1.Biblical Morality is Meaningless to them
2.Humanism believes that the only compass that ought to direct mankind is the heart.
a)Follow your heart
b)Eve was right – You decide what is good and evil. Don’t obey God.
c)You are the master of your own fate; you are the captain of your own soul.
3.We are a society that worships at the altar of the forbidden fruit.
4.“Heaven is just a sin away.”
C.Filled with Self-Satisfying Worship – v. 13
1.The Face of Pride
a)“I will ascend into Heaven!”
b)i.e. “God will accept me on my terms, not the other way around.”
2.“I will worship in a way that makes me happy”
a)My tastes are hard to satisfy
b)My time is precious
c)Like the rich man at the table who let Lazarus fight with the dogs for the crumbs of his life.
3.“God has no business extracting worship from me.”
“I have better things to do at Christmas.”
D.Filled with Self-Serving Charity – v. 14
1.“Better to eliminate the needy than to sustain them”
2.“God has no business burdening me with needy people.”
a)Why do I have to sustain a dying parent?
b)Why am I burdened with a needy child?
c)I need to think about me!
E.Herod was born a sinner
1.He worshiped his own spiritual deadness
2.He was not about to deny self
III.The Gift Unmasks Hypocrisy – v. Matt 2:16-18
A.What an Actor
1.Herod convinced the Wise men that he was a seeker like they were.
2.Those who knew him best saw the ugly side.
3.Were it not for God’s intervention, he would have succeeded.
4.Few things enrage a hypocrite more than having his mask removed.
I knew a man who was respected in his church. His children knew better. His son told me that every time the entered the car to go to church he would say to himself "It's showtime." One day, the mask was removed.