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Those who missed Christmas

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Title:   "THE PEOPLE WHO MISSED CHRISTMAS"

Introduction

For those of us who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, Christmas is a time to focus on His birth; the great reality of the incarnation, that God became a man, that tremendous incomprehensible miracle of divine energy that brought God into human history. But because of the complexity of all that is happening around us and because Satan has cluttered up Christmas with so much needless paraphernalia, most people have missed Christmas. All you have to do is look around you. People are busy doing all kinds of things, but they missed the reality of Christmas. It's not just happening today, it happened back on that very first Christmas in Bethlehem. Most people missed it then too. In this message we're going to look at The People Who Missed Christmas:

I.   THE INNKEEPER (Luke 2:7)- MISSED CHRISTMAS

A.   The Relevant Background

1.             The census was underway in Bethlehem and the city was literally bulging with everyone who ever had any ancestry there.

2.             The innkeeper was busy caring for his guests...real busy.

B.  The Reason Why

1.  The innkeeper missed Christmas because of ignorant preoccupation.

2He was too busy caring for his guests.

3.  He wasn't really hostile or unloving or unsympathetic or indifferent; just too

     busy.

C.     The Resemblance To Today - Many people today are just like the innkeeper.

1.     The chambers of their souls are filled with needless things, human interests, and the stuff that really doesn't matter; they miss the God of Christmas.

2.     Our society is literally filled with the unnecessary, the insignificant and the meaningless.

3.     We are so busy figuring out what we want, how to get it at the cheapest price, buying it, taking care of it, polishing it, storing it, and keeping it up.

3.                  A fortune is spent amassing it.

4.                  All of the pleasures, passions, parties, preoccupations, and presents so dominate our lives, especially during this season, that we miss the real meaning of Christmas.

  4.  The world is so ignorantly preoccupied with the mundane and

        meaningless that they don't adore Christ or invest in His kingdom.

A LONELY BIRTH

Look at Luke 2:7. Notice that Mary herself "brought forth her first-born son." The Middle-Eastern people are hospitable people. The Jewish people are kind and caring people. They were not barbaric. They were not the kind of people that sent their women off into the jungle to have their babies by themselves. These were civilized, intelligent, educated people. Yet, Mary brought forth her own son, alone! Where were the mid-wives? Where was the innkeeper or his wife? Surely there must have been someone who could help a woman in her travail! But no; Mary bore the child, wrapped Him up and laid Him in a manger. All by herself. The tragedy of it! The loneliness of it. In the hour of all hours when womanhood should be surrounded by the tenderest care, Mary was alone.

II    HEROD (Matt. 2) - MISSED CHRISTMAS

A.  The Relevant Background

1.  Herod was known as the king of the Jews.

2.  When Herod heard that the King of the Jews was born he went into a

     total panic. He reacted this way because:

                             a.  He wasn't even a Jew.

                             b.  He shouldn't have been ruling over the Jews but was appointed

                                  by the Roman Senate as king of Judea.

                             c.  He was a political madman who sought glory, grandeur and a kingly

                                 place.

                          3.  Herod had always been afraid of losing his position.

a.      He was suspicious of everyone and even murdered:

                                         1)  a brother-in-law,

                                         2)  one of his wives and her mother, and

                                         3)  all of his sons.

                      b.  When he was about to die:

1)  he commanded that all of the distinguished

     citizens of Jerusalem were to be collected,  

      imprisoned and slaughtered at the moment of his

      death.

                                         2)  All this because he wanted the people to weep when

                                                  he died, even if it was over someone else!

                      c.  He also slew all the children from two years old and under

                                    in Bethlehem and all its surrounding area in order to make

                                          sure the child that was born King of the Jews would be

                                          destroyed.

B.       The Reason Why - Herod missed Christmas

          1.  because of jealous fear…

          2.  Herod feared that somebody else would take his throne.

          3.  He wasn't about to let this little Child interfere with his career, his position, his

                 power, his ambition, his plans, or his lifestyle.

C.       The Resemblance To Today

1.  People today are fearfully jealous of losing:
          a.  their own self-determination,

           b. their own plans,

c.  their own priorities,

d.  their own values and their own morals.

2.            They don't want to come to Christ because accepting Christ will "cramp their style."

a.      Christ will lay claim on their life and

b.     that means they will have to alter the way they live, think, talk, and act.

3.     We have a world of kings who are not about to bow their knee to Jesus Christ; and

      so they miss Christmas…. just like Herod did.

III THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES (Matt. 2:4) - MISSED CHRISTMAS

A.   The Relevant Background

1. THE CHIEF PRIESTS were the theological minds of the day.

a.  They were made up of all the high priests, the captain of the temple police

     and the best of all the priests out of all the orders with the greatest

     administrative, teaching and leadership skills.

b.  These men were the ones who knew all the Scriptures.

2.            THE SCRIBES were the linguists, the interpreters and the ones who knew all the culture and history surrounding biblical data.

3.            THESE TWO GROUPS GOT TOGETHER and figured out where the Messiah was to be born. Quoting Micah 5:2, they knew the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

4.            HERE WERE THE BRAINS OF THEOLOGY.  

a.             Here were the ones who knew it all!

b.           Yet, they didn’t bother to walk two to three miles south to Bethlehem to find out for themselves if this really was the Messiah who was born.

B.   The Reason Why - The chief priests and scribes missed Christmas

1.  because of prideful indifference….

2.  They didn't need a Messiah because they were already self-righteous.

3.  In their own minds they were already perfect.

a.  They had kept the Law and were already all that God could ever ask of

    them.

b.  So why did they need a Messiah?

c.  They were so engrossed in their own pride, self-righteousness, and self-sufficiency that when the Messiah did show up they:

1)  hated, despised, and plotted His murder,

2)  they screamed for His blood.

3)  They were indifferent because of pride and because they didn't

     think they had a need (Matt. 9:10-13).

C.   The Resemblance To Today

1.  Many people today miss Christmas and ignore Christ because they won't admit

     that they are sinful.

2. They don't care about the Savior because they won't believe that the wages of sin   

                 is death and that they need to be saved.

3.     So, consequently, they ignore the remedy because they won't recognize the

     disease.

IV  THE PEOPLE OF JERUSALEM (Luke 2:8-38) - MISSED CHRISTMAS

A.     The Relevant Background

1.           OUT OF THE WHOLE OF JERUSALEM SOCIETY, God chose to reveal Christ's birth to shepherds.

a.           In that society, the shepherds were a despised group.

b.           The reason for this was  that they couldn't maintain all of the ceremonial washings and carry out all of the ceremonial activities because they were too busy tending to their sheep.

c.             Out of the entire population of Jerusalem, these Outcasts were the only ones who came to see their Messiah, even though after they saw Him they spread the news throughout the land (v. 17,20).

2.           ONLY TWO OTHER PEOPLE in Jerusalem took notice of the Messiah's birth:

a.           Simeon (v. 25), a righteous and devout man who was waiting to see the Christ,

b.           and Anna (v. 36), a prophetess who had served God in the temple for perhaps 84 years.

3.           BOTH THE SHEPHERDS AND ANNA told others in Jerusalem about the birth of the Messiah (v. 17,20,38), yet, the masses of Jerusalem missed Christmas.

B.      The Reason Why - The reason the people of Jerusalem missed Christmas was because of their religious ritual.

         1. They were so busy with their religion, carrying out their rituals, that they missed the reality of a relationship with God.

         2.  They were busy worshipping the right God in the wrong way.

         3.  They had the God of the Scripture but they had it all twisted up… they were

               worshipping God the way that they wanted because their way was convenient for

                them.

C.   The Resemblance To Today

1.   Religion condemns men faster than anything else , because it is a set of rituals

      that men set up because it’s more convenient to worship God “MY WAY.”

2.  Religion gives men a place to hide and think they're spiritual.

3. The people in cults talk about the God of the Bible and they talk about

     Scripture but in the midst of all their religion they're lost, because they don't

     know Christ. They too miss Christmas.

V   THE ROMANS - MISSED CHRISTMAS

A.  The Relevant Background (Lk. 2:1)

1.     LUKE SETS THE SCENE of the birth of Christ around the Romans, especially around Caesar Augustus. 

2.     THE PROPHECY OF MICAH 5:2 was really set in motion by a Gentile Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus.

3.     THE ROMAN CAESAR made the tax decree and the Roman soldiers were the ones who made sure the people complied. They registered the people and carried out the functions of the census.

4.     THE ROMANS WERE ALWAYS IN THE SCENE throughout the life of Christ.

a.      Christ was tried before Romans,

b.     executed by Romans,

c.     His body guarded by Romans,

d.     and Romans lied about His resurrection, fabricating a story so as not to face the reality that He rose from the dead.

B.   The Reason Why - The Romans missed Christmas

1.  because of idolatry; they had their own false gods.

2.  Christ didn't fit into their religious system.

3.  Jerusalem worshipped the right God in the wrong way but the Romans

     worshipped the wrong god entirely… all roads do not lead to heaven!

C.   The Resemblance To Today

1.  Some people today are just pagan and so they miss Christmas;

2.  some because they worship a false god.

3.  But most people miss Christmas because they have their own idols:

a.  The four “Ps”

*  pornography, power, prestige, popularity,

b.  materialism:

1) money,

2) cars, boats, houses, things

c.  fame, etc.

4.  These are the idols of the twentieth century, and if this is what you're worshipping,

     you've miss Christmas as well.

VI. THE PEOPLE OF NAZARETH (Luke 4:16-30) - MISSED CHRISTMAS

A.  The Relevant Background

1.     IN LUKE 2:40, it says that Jesus returned to Nazareth and "grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.”

a.      He was not like any other child in Nazareth.

b.     This was an amazing, remarkable child, unlike any who had ever lived.

2.     AFTER   30  YEARS   IN   THE  SMALL  VILLAGE   OF NAZARETH,  

a. Jesus finally decided to tell His neighbors, the Nazarenes, who He was

      (Luke 4:16-30).

b. He told them that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61....that He was

    Messiah.

3.     THE NAZARENE'S REACTION to Jesus when He revealed to them that He was the Messiah was unbelief and hate.

a. When Jesus finished with His message to them, they grabbed Him and

    tried to throw Him off a cliff to kill Him for His blasphemy.

b. These were the people who lived with Him for 30 years. Yet, they didn't

    believe. In fact, in Mark 6:6 it says that Jesus marveled at their unbelief.

B.  The Reason Why - The people of Nazareth missed Christmas

               1.  because of familiarity…

                2.  They knew Him so well that He wasn't special to them.

                3.  When Jesus told them that He was the Messiah, they reacted:

                            a.  "is this not Joseph's son?"

                            bIn other words they were saying, "is He kidding?"

                4.  Christ responded in Luke 4:24: "No prophet is accepted in His own country."

               5Why? Because of familiarity.

C.  The Resemblance To Today

1.  Whenever I come across somebody who is not a Christian and I ask them

      if they know of Christ, they usually say something like, "Oh yea, I was

      raised in all that stuff, but I don't believe any of it."

2.  Familiarity strangles conviction.

                   a.  They've heard so many Christmas stories, so many sermons, and so many Bible lessons

b.  that their familiarity with the truth of Christmas breeds

     a stony heart.

CONCLUSION:

A. There are many reasons why people miss Christmas:

1.  ignorant preoccupation,

2.  jealous fear,

3  prideful indifference,                  

4.  religious ritual,

5.  false gods, or

6. familiarity.

 

B.  But behind all of these reasons is the one basic reason: UNBELIEF.

           1.  People refuse to believe.

a.  John 1:10 says that "the world was made by Him and the world

                                     knew Him not."

b.  But in John 1:12, John says, "But as many as received Him, to

                                                 them gave He the power to become

                                              the sons of Cod, even to them that

                                              believe on His name.”

 

2.  Perhaps you’re like those who missed Christmas….

a.  Oh sure, you purchased gifts and  opened presents,

b.  but you know deep down that there has been NO celebration of Christ

     in your life….

3.  Your Remedy is this….

          a.  For Christmas to become a reality in your life, you need to:

1)  acknowledge the gift of God-Jesus The Christ of Christmas,

2)  ask forgiveness for your bowing to others gods and

3)  accept the assurance of God’s love in your life.

4.  If you've been missing Christmas, all you have to do is receive Christ, believe on Him and start living for THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS!

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