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Facts of Christmas

Christmas 2019  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:00
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Matthew 1:18 NASB95PARA
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
We begin our 2019 Christmas season by examining a text that gives us information about the facts of Christmas.
Our series will begin with looking at the Facts, urge us to Focus upon, then consider the First Christmas.
Our final message will look at the First Worshipers of Christmas.
This morning’s message is simply two points with the second having three sub points.
TRANS - We begin by looking at the facts.

Those are the Facts

ILL - I can’t count the times I’ve heard Christians repeat something they’ve heard only to find out they lacked the facts. For example, I’ve heard people say things about the Christmas tree. There are all kinds of stories out there. But, the fact is this tree has it’s origin in German history. Sure, some pagan groups worship the tree. And, the Bible tells us how worshiping trees formed into gods is idolatry.
But, the facts is our tree is not a pagan worship dressed up nor does taking Scripture out of context (Jer 10:2-4) make for intelligent argument or proper biblical interpertation.
The fact are the tree is a combination of Christian symbols in medieval western Germany.
One part comes from the prop in a popular play about Adam and Eve. The tree represented the one in the garden and had apples hanging from it’s branches. The German people set that tree up in their homes on December 24th which was at that time the feast day of Adam and Eve. They hung wafers representing the sign of redemption. These later became cookies. The candles symbolized Christ.
In the same room as the tree, during the Christmas season, was the Christmas pyramid. This was a triangular wooded item used to hold Christmas figurines. They decorated it with evergreens, candles, and a star. By the 16th century the two, the tree and pyramid, were merged together becoming the Christmas tree.
Like Santa and generous giving of gifts, our modern Christmas celebrations find their root in Christianity.
Now, Christians sometimes get it all wrong. Imagine for a moment how much worse this becomes for lost people?
We read the Bible and know why we have Christmas.
The “was as follows” is sometimes translated as:
came about NIV84
on this wise AV
too place in this way ESV
I like the AV “on this wise.”
The wise way in not the way of the world. They don’t tell the Christmas story the right way.
But, telling it another way does not change the facts; Christmas happed one way!
We read the Bible to know the facts of how Christmas happened.
The world, the unbelievers, the Godless society, the lost, try to say they are the “wise” and know the facts.
However, their “facts” do not support the truth, align with God’s Word, and often confuse people.
And we know who is the author of confusion.
TRANS - Knowing the facts might help to unravel some of the lies and confusion that is so prevalent around this time of year.
But, other than just getting things right with what people think, what is so important about having this facts straight?
This brings us to our second and final point:

There goes the Virgin

Our text says ‘she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.”
The virgin birth is one really big Christmas fact.
Jesus Christ was conceived in Mary in a way unlike any other child ever in all the history of the world.
Let’s look at three things this one fact illustrates.
Let’s consider three truths about a person when they believe in Jesus and ask Him to forgive their sins.
That is, what happens to someone when Jesus comes to be their Savior?

mindfulness of Christ within

“With child” tells us she is pregnant.
Pregnancy can’t be hidden too long. The belly begins to “pop” out and that ain’t no watermelon growing in there. People will take notice.
Do you know people will take notice when a person becomes a Christian?
That is, when someone is truly saved (not the one thats says they are but nobody can tell), when Christ truly dwells in someone’s heart it is evident.
When people really are saved, there is no need to ask if they know Jesus? It is obvious by how they live; its evident fro how they live their life that they are saved.

mockery from having Christ within

“Mary had been betrothed to Joseph”
This tells us Mary and Joseph were engaged when Mary was pregnant.
When Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he was going to end the engagement.
Do you know what saved their engagement? It was because the “angel of the Lord” spoke to Joseph:
Matthew 1:20 NASB95PARA
But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
The angel’s message kept Joseph from leaving Mary; the good news it they remained engaged.
Let’s look at this another way. Mary being pregnant was more than Joseph could take. Contempt for Mary, just like when we get mocked for having Jesus in our heart, came to Joseph.
When someone is known for having a relationship with Jesus, they discover that people around them are not all pleased about them having Jesus in their heart.
Sometimes people display contempt and mock Christians.
TRANS - Let’s consider one last thing Mary’s unique pregnancy illustrates before wrapping up our time today.

metamorphosis from Christ within

“when His mother Mary”
Christ indwelling Mary changed her life.
I can’t imagine what is was like for Mary. I mean she was pregnant with Jesus; God’s own Son.
For Mary, life was never the same again.
So are things for a person who is saved.
ILL - One morning while writing this message I was thanking God for a very special time I often recall from my childhood.
When I was in 4th - 6th grades, I became aware of social structures. I knew I had a “best friend” Kevin, my good friends and football buddies, and an older boy friend who I sort of admired for his ability to build model boats.
All three friend groups were unique. Kevin like to “hang” but not so much with the other boys. My football buddies and the older friend liked to play football, but the older friend, his name was Paul, didn’t always play. Now my football buddies, that is all we did, and I mean all day every day. We played or watched football or discussed getting on the team in high school.
You ask, Pastor what does this have to to with having Jesus as Savior. Well, I’m getting to that.
See, life was good for me as a boy. All my friends were special in unique ways. But, my friend God, unlike the other friends, He was there and still is today.
Friends come and go. We make new ones, loose touch with old ones, and from time to time get reacquainted.
My relationship with Jesus is unlike any other friendship.
I’d say my relationship with Jesus is better than all other relationships.
Proverbs 18:24a says it so well:
Proverbs 18:24 NASB95PARA
A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
I was changed when Jesus saved me. I had no idea how important that would be when I was a boy.
Today I look back at friendships and know that the best one is the one I have with God. He was always there, even when I told Him I didn’t believe. He is faithful and true and knew I’d come back to Him.
Now, that is real friendship.
Today Jesus continues to change me from within. Whether it be from teaching me the value and meaning of friendship or how to express gratitude, Christ’s indwelling is the greatest change in my life.
For Mary, she too was changed for life. Her destiny was effected by having Christ indwell in her.
For me, my destiny was Hell, but Jesus changed all that and now my future destiny is Heaven.
Saved as a boy, my living always returned me to God. I messed up in life, but God was still there waiting, as my best friend, and knew I’d come back seeking His help.
While my life is marked by some bad choices, it is in now way as bad as it would be had it not been for Jesus.
I like how Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB95PARA
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Conclusion

For those old enough to remember the show Dragnet, you may recall that Sargent Joe Friday is still famous for his statement, “Just the facts, ma’am,”
Facts are important when getting the story right.
In our society, we need to help people get Christmas right so they don’t have another reason to miss getting right with Jesus.
We’re changed because of Christ and therefore have a great story to tell.
As you go about this season, I’d like to encourage you to stand strong.
The enemy will do anything to keep people from believing that Jesus is God.
Stand strong and tell your story.
See, nobody can refute the facts of your salvation and facts help get the story straight.
With the right story, people will know the right way; the way to Jesus.
What better way to have a Merry Christmas than to know someone gets the best gift of all, the gift of eternal life in Christ.
(end)
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