"In the ancient world, the teachings of Jesus Christ halted infanticide, liberated women, abolished slavery, inspired the first charities and religious organisations, created hospitals, established orphanages and founded schools.
In the medieval times, Christianity built libraries, invented colleges and universities, dignified labour and converted the barbarians.
In the modern era, Christian teaching has advanced science, inspired political, social and economic freedom, promoted justice and provided the greatest inspiration for the most magnificent achievements in art, architecture, music and literature.
Christianity has been the most powerful agent in transforming society for the better across 2000 years. No other religion, philosophy, teaching, nation or movement has changed the world for the better as Christianity has done.
Jesus Christ is the greatest Man who has ever lived, and the Bible is the greatest Book ever written.
The Bible is the number one best selling book in all of history. It is estimated that well over 30 million Bibles and 100 million New Testaments are printed every year. The Bible has also been translated into more languages than any other book in history.
So this Christmas season we should remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.
Wise men still seek Him.
He became like us - that we might become like Him.
He was rejected - that we might be accepted.
He was condemned - that we might be forgiven.
He was punished - that we might be pardoned.
He suffered - that we might be strengthened.
He was whipped - that we might be healed.
He was hated - that we might be loved.
He was crucified - that we might be justified.
He was tortured - that we might be comforted.
He died - that we might live.
He went to hell - that we might go to Heaven.
He endured what we deserve - that we might enjoy what only He deserves.
There is one appointment not one of us will miss. In fact none of us will even be able to be late for this appointment. "It is appointed unto man once to die and after this to face judgement." Hebrews 9:27
We do not know when, or under what circumstances, our lives will come to an end. But we do know that when we die we will stand before Almighty God, our Creator and eternal Judge, and we will have to give an account of our lives to Him. "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10
"Only life, it will soon be passed - only what's done for Christ will last."
We need to work out our priorities in the light of eternity. We need to invest out time, talents and treasure into those things that are going to last for eternity: the people of God, the Word of God and the Kingdom of God. These are what are ultimately important. "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:33.
In the light of eternity, knowing that you are going to stand before the Creator and eternal Judge, you need to review your life's work, your family relationships, habits and activities. Imagine: On that great day when you will stand before the judgement seat of Christ and give an account of your life, do you really believe that any of us will be thinking: I should have watched more TV! I was too generous! I should have held on to that grudge for longer! I was too spiritual! I spent too much time studying the Bible and praying! I was too evangelistic! I sacrificed too much for God's Kingdom!
Seriously, in eternity: Will any of us regret praying too much? Studying the Bible too intently? Being too forgiving? Being too generous? Sacrificing too much for God's Kingdom?
If you knew that you would die next year - what would you do differently this year? We need to work out our priorities in the light of eternity.
If I were to ask you: What is the greatest sin that anyone could commit? What would you answer? Would you say: Murder? Idolatry? Adultery? Perversion? Hatred or blasphemy?
If I were to ask: What is the greatest need and priority of your life? What would you think?: Academic achievement? Promotion? Marriage? Political advancement? Success in business? Money? Career? Or evangelism?
When our Lord Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was He replied: "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength…you shall love your neighbour as yourself." Mark 12:30-31
It follows then that the greatest sin would be to fail to love God with all our heart. Failure to love God is the root sin that leads to all others. You cannot truly love your neighbour unless you first love God. The Scripture makes clear that even more serious than the bad we have done, evil as that is, is the good that we could have done, but did not do (Matthew 25:41-46).
"Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." James 4:17
What really matters? To know God and to make Him known. To know the Word of God and the God of the Word. Our greatest priority is to love God above all else and more than anyone else. This is what really matters.
There are three ways of rejecting Christ:
- Blatantly - like Atheism, denying God and openly rejecting Him.
- By apathy - knowing the truth, but not caring enough to do something about it.
- By procrastination - knowing the truth, being convinced, caring, but not actually getting around to making a decision.
It is not enough to know the truth of Gospel in our heads, we need to believe in our hearts. With all our heart. It is not enough to know about God, we must know Him personally, we need to have a personal relationship with Him. We need to trust Christ, love Him, follow and obey Him.
Our Lord Jesus commanded His disciples to preach the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations. Biblical repentance involves far more than feeling sorry for our sins. Sometimes we are only sorry because we got caught. That is not repentance, that is remorse.
Biblical repentance involves: Conviction - a change of mind
Contrition - a change of heart
Conversion - a change of life
You can make this your best Christmas ever by responding to the Gospel of Christ in repentance and faith. "Trust and obey, there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey."
You do not want to settle for just knowing the truth in your head, and failing to respond wholeheartedly with trust and obedience in your heart. Jesus Christ came to this world in order to die for our sins. We need to respond in repentance and faith. We need a change of mind, a change of heart and a change of life. This is what Biblical repentance is all about. Jesus is the reason for the season.
Do you want to be one of those wise men who seek Him?
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
Dr. Peter Hammond
P O Box 74