The 21st Century Christmas Star
When I was a youth, the planetarium had an annual program that explained the “Star of Bethlehem”
Johannes Kepler, a Reformation era astronomer and mathematician, calculated that Jupiter and Saturn aligned in 7 b.c. This rare light became the reason the wise men left in search of Jesus.
Others believe a comet in 5 b.c. was the guiding light.
While both theories assume that the Gospel account is true, the natural explanation misses the mark.
This star did things that no ordinary star can do:
- It led from the east to Jerusalem
- It disappeared for a time
- It led from the north to Bethlehem
- It identified the specific house where Jesus and His family resided
Why doesn’t God use guiding stars today?
Answer “He does.” They are called Christians (Dan 12:3).
The demoniac of Gadara begged to become the thirteenth disciple. Instead Jesus said, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel (Mark 5:19-20).
Every born again Christian becomes a light in the night sky we call earth. Each light points to the Savior, not to the star.
The Light of the World (Jesus) has strategically placed many guiding lights that are needed now. If you are a believer, you are one of them.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
If your light is shining, three strong reactions will follow!
I. Wise Men Will Rejoice – Matt 2:10
A. God is Light – 1 John 1:5-7
The first creative act of God was LIGHT
B. Our world is wrapped in darkness
Since the fall, man has learned to either …
1. Cope with the darkness
a) Looking everywhere for light – Acts 17:27
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
b) Embracing false gods who promise light
2. Embrace the darkness
Darkness and sin are natural
C. Jesus Is that true light–
1. John 1:9-12
a) It matters not your standing
(1) Shepherds found that light
(2) Wise men found that light
b) What matters is your courage to embrace that light
2. John 3:19-21
The light attracts and repels.
D. Today, we are like the star of Bethlehem –
1. Wise men seek him, but they will do so through our actions, attitudes, and acknowledgement of Jesus
a) What we are really matters
b) Our walk and talk must agree
(1) Our actions are meaningless without profession
(2) Our professions are meaningless without action
2. To turn many to the right way, a star requires two characteristics
a) It must be fixed. Its position must be established – Character
(1) Principled rather than pragmatic
(2) A planet moves and leads astray – Jude 13 “wandering stars”
b) It must be visible. Its identity must be known or else the darkness will cover it. – Witnessing
(1) Being a “silent” witness does not cut it.
(2) 1Peter 2:9 “… shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
A witness that is both visible and audible (Ps 51:15; Ps 71:15; plus 11 others in OT involve the mouth).
3. Let your light so shine before men … Matt 5:16
E. That light will be a god-send to any who is groping in the darkness.
1. It will be a beacon even though it is small
2. Do people see your light?
3. Do they know that God energizes that light?
4. Wise men will rejoice when you shine!
II. Demons Will Tremble – Matt 2:3
Herod was not happy; Jerusalem trembled (see earlier messages)
It appears that the true light of Christmas is being purposefully and progressively dimmed. To recognize the birth of Christ is an offense that public institutions are not willing to endure.
A. The War on Christmas?
1. A battle worth fighting?
- “Onward, Christian soldiers – marching as to war,
For the sake of Christmas being evermore.”
2. The war with atheism
a) A war of Commercialism
b) A war with Traditions –
- Santa / Christmas Trees
c) A war of Paganism
(1) It is common for groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses to point “pagan” symbols “worshiped” by professing Christians
(2) The date was chosen to pacify the pagans
(3) The mother is elevated to status of Queen of Heaven
To some holiday-deniers, putting Christ back into Christmas is like putting ham back into hamburger
3. We are not called to contend earnestly for the calendar
- It would be easy to dismiss the matter as a distraction. However …
B. The war on the gospel – atheists get it!
- Some Christians are finding clever ways to insert the gospel message into the festivities – and some unbelievers are politely listening.
1. Most contemporary Christmas celebrations are Laodicean in character – Revelation 3:14-22
a) Rich, increased with goods, in need of nothing
b) Jesus is outside the door, knocking and asking to be let in
c) He wants to dine at your Christmas table
2. Few recognize the sacrifice – through His poverty we are made rich – 2Cor 8:9
a) What did Jesus leave behind?
(1) The glory of Heaven
(2) The goodness of Heaven
b) Perhaps Christmas should be celebrated in a barn
3. Christmas ought to humble us – our spiritual condition is miserable without Him
Christmas is for humble people
- Zacharias and Elizabeth were humble
- Mary and Joseph were humble
- The shepherds were humble
- Bethlehem was humble
- Simeon and Anna were humble
- The Magi were humble
4. The symbols of Christianity speak volumes to the offended atheist.
- On December 13, 2011 Eric Bolling of Fox News Network asked Don Barker (Freedom from Religion Foundation) why he was trying to close down a manger scene in front of a county courthouse nearly 700 miles away from him. He said that the nativity represents “an insult to human nature that we are all doomed and damned.”
“Why was Jesus born? To save us from our sins. What an insult that we are degraded, depraved human being …”
a) If the Savior is born, then men are naturally lost
(1) Jesus was born to die
(2) A Lamb sacrificed
b) If the cross is exalted, then sacrifice is necessary. My life is not my own.
(1) If good works could save the soul, Calvary was the greatest tragedy of all
(2) God cannot look past my sin apart from the cross
c) If the tomb is empty, then eternal life is real.
Death does not end my existence.
Life does not end in death
III. God Will Bless – Daniel 12:1-3
A. The Savior’s Sure Return – v. 1
1. As Real as His first coming will be His second coming.
2. At the end of the tribulation period, He will set up His kingdom on earth
3. In spite of all the signs and fulfilled promises, most will not believe
B. The Soul’s Eternal Abode - v. 2
1. Some will rise to “everlasting life” – John 3:16
2. Others will rise to “everlasting shame and contempt” – Rev 20:11-15
C. The Star’s Eternal Reward – v. 3
1. The Wise – those who have Biblical answers to earth’s chaos – Dan 11:33
- They will be treated as Jesus was treated