In this Christmas Eve sermon, Pastor Neil talks about the Good News of Christmas–the Son of God has come to redeem us, to pay the debt for your sin and mine, to reconcile us to God and to make us children of God. Here are some excerpts:
As we noted on Sunday, the Bible doesn’t tell us exactly when Jesus was born. We don’t know the exact date of His birth. But more important than the exact date of His birth is the fact that He was born, that He did come into the world at God’s appointed time to carry out His mission from heaven.
In the wisdom of God, the time was right. That is what Paul means when He speaks of “the fullness of time.” Several factors converged to make it such an auspicious time for the Savior to come: The vastness and unifying influence of the Roman Empire, the use of the Greek language throughout the Empire, the system of Roman roads that made travel easier (sort of a 1st-century “interstate highway system” that connected distant parts of the Empire), the relative peace and stability under Roman rule that became known as the Pax Romana (or Roman peace).
Add to these a longing for a religious faith that could adequately make sense of the world and give meaning to life itself. Put all these factors together and you have what God had determined before the beginning of time to be the right time for Him to intervene in human affairs in a daring and dramatic way. In the wisdom of God, the time had arrived for the day of salvation to dawn. When the time was right – not a moment too soon and not a moment too late – God sent His Son. Which is what we celebrate here tonight.
Do you know what this means? It means that the birth of Jesus wasn’t an accident. It didn’t happen by chance. God planned it. He was, and is, in control. Even though men and women and organizations and nations shake their fists in God’s face and resist His rule in their foolish pride, God is working out His purposes. Even “though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.” “This is our Father’s world” (Maltbie Babcock, “This Is My Father’s World”), and His purposes will not fail.
God would not abandon this world and us to our own devices and destructive ways. He loves us too much to do that. So He sent His Son. He sent Him with a purpose, on purpose, on a mission to do what only Jesus could do: To redeem sinners like you and me
The good news of Christmas is not just that God has come to us, as wonderful as that is. The good news is that the Son of God has come to redeem us, to pay the debt for your sin and mine, to reconcile us to God and to make us children of God.
Paul Rees has described the cross as “the Calvary-place where my sin and God’s holy love come together in a meeting in which the defiance of the one is melted clean away in the furnace of the other.”
There is a cross above the manger, and its shadow reaches across many centuries to touch your life and mine.
You may have come to the manger many times at Christmas to see the Babe of Bethlehem. But have you come to the cross where Jesus died for you?
Have you come to the cross and asked Him to pay the debt for your sin?
Have you come to the cross, asking Jesus to do for you what you cannot do for yourself – to save you from your sins, to make you a new person from the inside out, and to give you peace with God?
Come to the cross tonight. Jesus is waiting to meet you there.