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Luke 2:1-7 25 December 2016
NO ROOM IN THE INN.
This the 43rd time I have had to speak on the subject of Christmas.
The word Christmas means the celebration of Christ and that is why we gathered here today. Probably 25% of NZers will attend church today. Today Christians will take some time to reflect on that historical event when Jesus, God’s Son came into the world to set us free from the power and penalty of our wrongdoing and bring us the hope of forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
That means that around 75% of Kiwis won’t even give God and Jesus a thought today, which is quite strange because this is the Celebration of Christs coming into the world but for most its nothing to do with Christ or God.
I would say that non-Christian people make more of Christmas than most Christians do, but they are into the commercial side of Christmas, the feasting, the drinking, the gift giving, the decorations and Santa Claus. They have kept all the trappings but have pushed aside the One who is the real reason for the season.
That is not unusual, because when Jesus came into the world most people did not want Him around. There was no room for Him in the inn at Bethlehem, Herod the king and the religious leaders tried to get rid of Him, and those who wanted to pursue their own selfish, ambitious, greedy lifestyles had no room for Jesus. There is still no room for Him even in the lives of those who will celebrate Christmas today.
Why is that people ignore and reject God and Christ? The Bible tells us that right from the very beginning people have wanted to live independently of God. They want to pursue their own self-centered interests and desires, to live by their own rules and they don’t want to be accountable to anyone else but themselves. So ever since the first human beings rebelled against God’s leadership people have been trying to get rid of God so they can do their own thing without feeling guilty, without feeling that one day they may have to answer to God for their behaviour.
The Bible speaks of this in Romans 1 where it says that the evidence for God’s existence has always been obviously there but people have suppressed that evidence and chosen to believe lies so they can do whatever they want and not feel guilty about it.
Ill. When Darwin came along and offered a different explanation for the origin of the universe, people grabbed hold of his theory with great enthusiasm. At last, they thought, we have a feasible argument to prove God doesn’t exist. People said, “Now we can do whatever we want without feeling that God might judge us one day.” And we now have people who commit crimes and don’t even have a conscience about it.
But what most people don’t want to know is that since Darwin, more and more of the world’s scientists reject the theory that living matter came into being by itself as the result of some freak accident.
Leading scientists all over the world are now saying what the NT has been saying for 2000 years. The evidence for God’s existence is obvious in nature.
Nobel prize winning scientist Arno Penzias speaking about the Big Bang that brought the universe into existence said that the Bible account of creation is the closest we have to the Big bang theory.”
In speaking about the fine tuning of the universe, renowned astronomer and scientist Sir Fred Hoyle said that the evidence suggests that a super intelligent being has worked with physics, chemistry and biology and what exists is not the result of haphazard forces at work in nature.
Physicist Paul Davies said, “The evidence that that the whole thing was designed is overwhelming.”
Francis Crick – biochemist and sceptic who shared the Nobel prize for discovering the molecular structure of DNA said, “An honest man armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could openly state in that the origin of life is a miracle, because so many conditions would have to be in place get it going.”
Speaking of the amazing intricate makeup of DNA Professor Richard Dawkins of Oxford University said the machine codes of the human genes are just like a computer. Every situation where we find stored information – points towards an intelligent designer.
Even David Attenborough who for years has held an atheistic view said in 2012 that he has come to the conclusion that here may be a God after all.
What scientists are discovering more and more is that the fine tuning of the physical laws, the consistency of the universe and the precise settings of the initial conditions, dating back to the beginning of the universe suggest that there is intelligent designer behind it all.
The weight of evidence is very, very impressive. God provides the best explanation.
Even Christian scientists are saying we believe in God’s existence not just because the Bible says so but because of the evidence we are uncovering in our research.
So why is it that people still insist that the universe came into existence by some accident and developed into this amazing finely tuned, orderly structure by share fluke when the evidence is pointing more and more to intelligent design?
Romans 1 says, “Claiming to wise, people became fools, choosing to believe lies instead of the truth so they could indulge their self-centred, greedy, godless appetites without having to answer to God.”
Ill. Towards the end of his life Charles Darwin said about his evolutionary theory “I was a young man then, with uninformed ideas. They were only ideas and theories, nothing proven, and yet people have taken those ideas and made a religion out of them.”
The real problem is not that we can’t believe in God, it is that we don’t want to believe in God – because at heart we are rebellious, self-centred, proud people.
I see it in my own life at times when someone tells me what to do. I find I react. I don’t always show it but the truth is I don’t like being told what to do. There is this strong independent defiant pride within us all that resents others telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. That is basically why people prefer not to believe in God. The Bible put it like this, “All we like sheep have gone astray we have rejected God’s will and pursued our desires and ambitions.”
People love their sin, they love to do whatever they want and be answerable to no one. People would rather believe lies than face the truth that there is a God and they might have to answer to him one day for the way they have lived.
So here we are at Christmas again and most Kiwis have succeeded in shutting God out of their lives, thoughts and celebrations. It is so sad that Christmas for most NZers has nothing to do with the coming of Jesus. The real meaning has been lost in the commercialism, overindulgence and partying.
This morning I want to us to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and invite you to bring Christ back into your Christmas today.
Let’s just briefly reflect on 6 reasons why Jesus came into the world.
- He came to liberate people from their slavery to evil.
The crazy thing is that when we reject God’s leadership and follow our own selfish sinful desires we think we will be free but instead we become slaves to those dark evil forces. Jesus said in John 8:34-35 “I tell you the truth, everyone who lives in sin is a slave to sin. So if the Son makes you free, you will be truly free”
We have all become slaves to the dark forces of sin and selfishness and the only way we could be set free from these destructive forces was for Jesus to pay the ransom price with his own life.
- He came to call people back to God from their rebellious ways.
The main thrust of Jesus message was Matthew 4:17 “Jesus said, “Turn from your unbelieving rebellious ways and you will gain entry into God’s eternal. Kingdom.”
- He came to open the eyes of those who are spiritually and morally blind.
The Bible says that Satan, the god of this world has blinded people to prevent them from seeing the truth about Jesus.
John 12:46, Jesus said “I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me might not remain in darkness.”
Before I became a Christian, the Bible and what Christians spoke about made no sense to me. I just couldn’t see it. But when I gave my life to Christ and His Spirit entered me, it was like removing the scales from my eyes. I could see what it was all about and it all made perfect sense to me.
Ill. Man and boy looking out to sea with binoculars
- He came to save us from the consequences of our rebellion against God.
The Bible clearly states that because we have all rebelled against God’s leadership and God’s will we are all going to have to answer to God for our rebellion and unbelief and be judged in God’s court of law. On that day no one will get away with anything because Jesus said, “All those things we have said, thought and done in private will be exposed.”
In our courts people can get away with so much if there are no witnesses to testify against them. And if there is no clear evidence a jury can only go on what others have said. Jesus said that on God’s Judgement Day the very words we have spoken, the thoughts we have entertained and the deeds we have done in secret will rise up and condemn us. God won’t have to say anything – our thoughts, words and actions will condemn us and send ourselves to hell.
Jesus came into the world to offer us a way out. He did this by taking the rap for us, serving the sentence for our offences when He went to the cross.
If we admit our faults, accept what he did for us, turn from our stink attitudes and actions and follow Him we will never ever have to stand in the dock in God’s Court and suffer the fate of those who refuse to trust in Jesus and what He did.
Listen to these wonderful words of Jesus.
John 5:24 I tell you for certain that everyone who hears my message and has faith in the one who sent me has eternal life and will never be condemned. They have already gone from death to life.
- He came to bring us back to God.
When we made it clear that we wanted to live our own self-centered, independent lives without God, we severed the relationship and ever since we have been spiritually confused and lost people inventing our own gods and systems of religion that can never restore the relationship. But God took the initiative and sent the One who was closest to Him, His own Son to restore the relationship.
Romans 5:8-11 God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment. For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God–all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God.
Ill. I have at home a piece of the Berlin wall. That wall was built by the East German Communist government to stop people escaping to the west and to prevent western influences coming into East Germany. For 28 years the cold war had been going on between East and West Germany. They regarded each other as enemies and lived in fear of each other. On the 9th of November 1989, 28 years later that wall was torn down and people from both sides spontaneously poured through the gaps and embraced each other and celebrated their unification. Even soldiers who had been trained to shoot anyone crossing the wall joined in the celebration.
When we human beings rebelled against God and chose to reject Him, our sinful rebellious behaviour created a huge wall separating us from God. But when Jesus died on the cross, two things happened: His death erased the sins we have committed and that sinful wall was torn down so that we could be reunited with God forever.
Jesus has paid the ultimate price to remove the wall separating you and me from God. And He now invites you to accept what He has done for you, turn away from your unbelieving, rebellious ways and come to Him And when you do, God will forgive you, accept you and make you part of His eternal family.
Don’t be like the majority of Kiwis who celebrate Christmas but leave out the most important factor. Don’t be like the people of Bethlehem who had no room for Jesus that first Christmas. Open your heart today and say, “Come into my life Lord Jesus, come in today and come into stay.”