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The Mystery Of The Manger

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
December 11, 2022 1:00 am

The Mystery Of The Manger

Moody Church Hour / Erwin Lutzer

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December 11, 2022 1:00 am

The manger scene was not quaint, rather it was ugly, dirty, and poor. The dividing wall between God and humanity was breached in a feeding trough in the tiny town of Bethlehem. In this message, we remember how silently, personally, and humbly Jesus came. Indeed, the King of Kings was not born into luxury.  

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You can visit the place where Jesus was born in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. It's one of the oldest churches in the world. A silver star marks the traditional spot where Mary gave birth, and a nearby place marks the location of the cattle feeding trough where the infant Jesus was laid. Of course, there was no church 2,000 years ago, only a rude cave used for housing animals.

Indeed, the King of Kings was not born into luxury. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer. Today, we continue a four-part Christmas series that probes the cataclysmic event that put Bethlehem on the map over 2,000 years ago. After some of the beautiful music of the Advent season, Erwin Lutzer will come to speak on The Mystery of the Manger.

Pastor Lutzer comes now to open today's service. We are so glad that you have gathered with us today to worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And of course, as you know, it is Advent season. That word Advent means arrival. Usually when we think of Advent, we think of looking back. We look back at the time that Jesus Christ was born, the predictions that were made in the Old Testament regarding his coming.

But the word Advent can refer not just to the past, but also to the future. We look forward to the advent of Jesus Christ, his second coming, when he comes as King of Kings and judge of all. In a moment, we're going to sing together, all love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven to earth come down.

And when we have sung that, we'll continue to honor Advent, but actually honor Christ by remembering Advent. I want you to bow with me in prayer at this moment. I want us to be silent, recognizing that God is in this place.

Ask the Holy Spirit of God to give you the ability to set everything else aside and to have this time particularly as a time of worship and gratitude and praise in the presence of our Lord. Would you join me in prayer? Our Father, we are here to bless your name. We are here to give you honor. We are here, Father, to be free from all distraction and to give ourselves to you with focus, with joy, with an attitude of obedience, a willingness to do whatever you show us. We pray for those today who may feel distant from you. We ask that you shall draw them in by your spirit, unite our hearts to praise your name, and we thank you that the joy of heaven came down to us in Jesus our Lord.

Amen. All thy faithful mercies crown, Jesus, the heart of God, bless you, good and proud, with love thou art. Please fill us with thy salvation, enter every turning heart. Behold, we have a loving spirit, into every trouble press. Let us come in near and let us find thy promised rest. Take away our hymn to sing, out by and away from me. When the faithless is near, set our hearts and minds to be. Come almighty to deliver, let us all find thy free stream.

Suddenly return and never, never more light and rosy. Leave me good, be all, praise, bless you, serve me as thy host of love. Pray and praise me in the sweet, sweet glory in thy perfect love. Jesus, my new creation, pure and spotless, let us be. Let us be thy great salvation, thank thee, restore thee, change the glory into glory, till in heaven, drink our praise, till we bless thy lovely glory, our Savior, Amen. Now, Zechariah spoke these words concerning his son, John the Baptist, and the coming Messiah, when they were still in their mother's womb. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear and holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

A new child will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Today, we light the second candle on the Advent wreath, the Candle of Love. O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie! Of all thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent skies provide. Yet in thy hearts we shine in the everlasting light. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. For Christ is born of heaven and heaven above. The mortal state create us here, there watch upon him above. The morning stars to bear proclaim the holy word, and praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth. O silently, O silently, the wondrous gift is given, so loud it cries to human hearts the blessings of his heaven. No ear may hear his calling, but in this world of sin, where these souls will receive him still, a dear Christ enters in. O holy child of Bethlehem, he send on us we pray. Cast out our sin and enter him, be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels, the great red tidings tell. O come to us, all high with us, our Lord Emmanuel. He is born, the divine Christ child, soundly o'er the state of Bethlehem. He is born, the divine Christ child, singing we all for he that's gone. Long ages which have passed, promised all of the saviors coming.

Long ages which have passed, we have awaited this happy day. He is born, the divine Christ child, soundly o'er the plain of Bethlehem. He is born, the divine Christ child, singing we all for he that's gone. O how delightful, O how sweet, O how perfect are his graces.

O how delightful, O how sweet, what a joy this precious child. He is born, the divine Christ child, soundly o'er the plain of Bethlehem. He is born, the divine Christ child, singing we all for he that's gone. A fair stable is his home, a little strong now he makes his bed.

A fair stable is his home, for our God such a humble place. He is born, the divine Christ child, soundly o'er the plain of Bethlehem. He is born, the divine Christ child, singing we all for he that's gone.

He is born. Praise not the moon on that saint's home, Praise him of creatures here below, Praise him of the heavenly host. Praise of his son and holy host.

Amen. All of us love to sing Christmas carols, and I think a favorite not just among children, but among all of us, is the one that speaks about Jesus being in the manger. Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.

We sing it every year, and we sing it many times every year, and we still love it as we do the other carols. We've heard these stories many times, but today I'm going to take a fresh look at a very familiar passage of the Bible. It may indeed be one of the most familiar to all of us, and that is Luke chapter 2 verse 7.

If you want to turn to it in your Bibles, you may. Luke chapter 2 verse 7. Many of you will know it by memory, but first of all, let's go to the city of Bethlehem. Bethlehem is in commotion.

There are many different people, and they are all trying to find a place to stay. Because remember, the very same decree that brought Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem is the same decree that brought many other people to Bethlehem as well. We look at a couple, and we notice that they are very ordinary.

The man clearly is an ordinary tradesman, and his wife is about to give birth. And we see them walking around, and there's no room in an inn. Now, you must understand that Bethlehem was often a place where caravans stopped. They preferred even to stop there, maybe rather than in the big city of Jerusalem. And these caravans needed a place to stay, and there would be animals in a cave, and there would also be an inn where the people stayed.

Sometimes the two were very close together. And so the Bible says, and now we're in our text today, chapter 2 verse 7, the famous verse. And she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room or no place for them in the inn. You know, there is no reference in the Bible to an innkeeper. We as preachers, and myself included, used to preach against that guy. You know, that innkeeper, he kept Jesus out because Mary and Joseph were looking for a room, and he said no.

Well, we don't know whether or not there was an innkeeper. I hope that if there was, he made it to heaven, and all of us ask his forgiveness for what we've said against him. I do have to say, however, that he would have done it ignorantly, because he didn't know that Mary was bearing the Son of God.

You and I do deliberately what he did in ignorance. Jesus said whoever receives a child in my name receives me. You want to receive Jesus? There's room in your heart for Jesus?

Then there should be room in your heart for a child. He also said that if we go into prison and clothe those that are naked and give food to the hungry, we've done it for him. So we have an opportunity to do what that mythical innkeeper apparently had an opportunity to do, but we have more knowledge. Now, I'm very interested in the Manger story, and we'll be looking at the Manger in just a moment, but first of all, let's spend a few moments to analyze this question. Why was the Manger necessary?

Why the stable rather than the inn? You know, even though it says there in Luke chapter 2 verse 7, last phrase, there was no room for them in the inn, even though that's a reference to a specific historical event, I can't help but think that it's also a metaphor of the life of Jesus. That's the whole story of his life, and it's still true.

No room for him. For example, there was no room for Jesus in the religious world. As a matter of fact, his most ferocious enemies were the religious establishment because he was always revealing their hypocrisy. He was always telling them that they were emphasizing externals rather than what was going on in their hearts. And so they hated him.

They made him look bad. And when it came time for Jesus to be crucified, Pilate asked the question, who do you wish that I release onto you? This man or Barabbas?

And they said, release Barabbas. But as for Jesus, crucify him. No room for him in the religious world.

And it's still true. Oh, I know people like to talk about Jesus, but he's a no frills Jesus. He's a Jesus who has been humanized and downsized. And so you have references to Jesus as the one who taught us to love, but no reference to Jesus as judge coming with flaming fire upon them that obey not the gospel of God. People are interested in Jesus of the manger, but not the Jesus of the resurrection, not the Jesus of the ascension. And certainly not the Jesus of the glorious, blessed return. So Jesus basically had no room in the religious world.

They had no room for him. And it's still true today. But there was also no room for Jesus in the political world. You know, the Jews of the time, they were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah.

In fact, it is said that Jewish virgins hope that they would be the one who would bear the Messiah. But they were looking for a king. They said to themselves, we want someone who is going to rule and is going to throw off Rome, the Roman occupation, and to give us political freedom. That's why Jesus was such a disappointment to the people, because here he was saying, my kingdom is not of this world. And now, of course, there were those who did want to make him a king. After he fed a multitude with five loaves and two fish, they wanted a king who would supply bread.

They wanted someone who would give them all that they needed to live so that they wouldn't have to worry about bread again. But Jesus said no to that. And he was not welcomed in the political world of the day. And he still isn't.

He still isn't. Just this past week, I was told about a man who, in uniform, in military uniform, an American citizen, prayed a prayer at an event in the name of Jesus, and he is being prosecuted for doing it because of the separation of church and state. As a matter of fact, in America, Jesus is not welcomed in the legal world. He's not welcomed in the political world. He's not welcomed in the educational world.

He's certainly not welcome in government. As far as that world is concerned, still to this day, we could put up a sign that would say, no room for you. Jesus had no room. They had no room for him in the religious world, in the political world. And there's certainly no room for Jesus in the business world. Certainly not. You know, Jesus said the foxes have holes.

The birds of the air have nests where they can rest. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Jesus, so far as we know, owned nothing. Could you imagine even hiring Jesus as the CFO of some business? I mean, it would be unthinkable because he wasn't into that. He wasn't into that. As a matter of fact, he irritated the money lovers.

In fact, it says that those who hated money hated him because he said, that which is greatly esteemed among men, and he's speaking about money, is detestable to God. How would you like to put Jesus into business and Wall Street? Jesus would not be welcomed.

Which really leads me to an interesting question that I've often pondered, and it's deeply troubling to me. And that is the question of how would Jesus today, how would Jesus rate Christmas? What does he think of his party? Now, just imagine this, a multi-billion dollar party being thrown for you, supposedly, and yet nobody really to speak of is giving gifts to you. Everybody's giving gifts to everybody else. And the success of the party is totally dependent on how much is spent.

So that every day during the Christmas season, we hear that we are now one percent more than last year or down from last year. And that's the evaluation of the party, period. That's it. So here, Jesus has a party thrown for him and he's not invited to his own party. He can't show up at the celebrations. He is unwelcome.

And yet supposedly it's all about him. Did you know that there are teachers in the United States of America today who are being told that they cannot mention to their pupils that Christmas is a religious holiday? You know, because after all, you can't drag religion into the classroom. So Jesus clearly is not welcomed at his very own party. No room, no room in the religious world, the political world, certainly not the business world. Now, there was room for Jesus in one place, though, and that was on the cross. And that's where some people would like to see him. And that's where they would like to keep him.

Crucify him, crucify him, get him out of here. Yes, Luke Chapter two, verse seven. There was no room for him in the end, but it was really the story of his life.

And it still is. Well, because there was no room. That's why you have the beginning part of verse seven. She brought forth her firstborn son and she wrapped him in swaddling cloths and she laid him in a manger.

Beautiful verse in its simplicity. But let's think about the manger for a moment. This manger interests me. First of all, obviously, it was a manger for animals.

I grew up on a farm in Canada. I know exactly what mangers are like, at least the ones that we had. We would put hay in the manger. We would also put grain in the manger for those animals that ate grain.

The cattle, yes, some grain. And that's what mangers are for. Now, we come to this passage and we can't get our mind around it when we think of the fact that this is not only Mary's firstborn son, but he is the firstborn of all creation. He's the one who created the world. He created the manger and all the materials that went into it.

It is so difficult for us to get our minds around it that we have sanitized the whole scene, haven't we? I don't know if it's still true, but I know that Christmas cards, when they have a picture of the baby Jesus, they always have a little halo above his head. The manger in which he is looks as if it's just been constructed by some very fine lumber from Home Depot. And the manger is there.

The straw is pure and clean. And then what has always amused me is that little donkey that's looking on, freshly shampooed and blow dried. And there he is, you know, he's watching. And sometimes you see that this manger is even on a carpet. Let me speak to you plainly. That stable smelled like a pet shop.

This was reality. You know, even the even the wonderful Carol that I like so much away in a manger has a sanitized Jesus. You remember the cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.

Are you serious? Of course he cried. How else would Mary know that he was hungry? And those little swaddling clothes, they had to be changed.

We're talking here about a real baby, 100 percent man. Yes, with a divine nature that was invisible to the human eye. But this was a manger for animals. I can almost see it.

I can reconstruct the whole scene in my mind. Here are some animals. There are a number of different mangers. They'd have had a number of mangers, primarily probably for sheep. And I can see some of the shepherds saying, OK, OK, so you have a new baby. You gave birth over there in the corner of the stable. Here you can take the baby and here's a manger. We'll shoo all these sheep away on this side and you can use this manger to put your baby in. Yes, my friend, it was used by animals and possibly sheep.

And Jesus, of course, becomes the good shepherd and frequently talks about us as his sheep. There's something else, though, about this manger, and that is it was not only used by animals. It was also borrowed. You don't you don't go shopping for a manger for a baby. You go shopping for a crib, but not a manger.

So it was borrowed. And we can see here that the scene is indeed reconstructed as someone lends Mary and Joseph this manger for at least a little while. Isn't it interesting that Jesus, as I mentioned, who said, you know, the foxes, they have holes, the birds of the air, they have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head. Isn't it interesting that he begins his life by being laid in a borrowed manger and he ends his life by being laid in a borrowed grave. And that's the way he lived here on Earth. Jesus coming into the world, being laid in a manger. It was a borrowed manger.

It was also improvised, improvised. You know, poor people know all about this. If you're rich, you know, you're not going to get this because rich people can buy whatever they like. But if you've been brought up in poverty, you know that you can improvise. I mean, there are mothers who have taken down curtains and use the cloth to make clothes for their children. And they know what it is like to improvise. Perhaps you've been in situations where a box becomes a chair because that's all that you have.

And you have to make do. Well, that's the case here. Did Mary use straw or hay? We don't know.

Maybe. Maybe she had enough clothes with her, maybe a couple of blankets, but she had to improvise this. This wasn't built for babies. It was built for animals.

But when you're poor, you make it work somehow. You know, even these cloths, you know, the the swaddling clothes. Swaddling clothes were actually pieces of cloth ripped from a larger piece of cloth, ripped into strips and then taken.

And the baby was wrapped in this to give the child a sense of security. And that's the way in which Mary and Joseph handled their challenge and handled this little one who is here. I'm interested in the manger. The question is, what does the manger teach us? What is its great lessons? Why should the Luke chapter two, verse seven not only be a historical fact, but what do we draw out of it that should be life changing for us? First of all, the manger reminds us of how silently he came.

How silently. Rebecca and I have been to Scotland. And we have been in the very room where Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to James, who ended up being James I of England, who ended up being the one to commission the King James version of the Bible. But I remember the room.

It is a large room and very high ceiling and then gold gilded ornamentation all throughout the room. And the guide told us that as Mary, Queen of Scots, was giving birth to James, that there were a number of midwives. And there were also people there to make sure that the baby wouldn't be switched with another baby.

If the baby was born dead, sometimes they took another baby and that would be about the same age and substitute. So there were people there to make sure that wasn't happening. And then outside of the building, there were a whole bunch of people waiting, wondering whether or not it was a boy or a girl, wondering whether or not the child was alive, wondering whether or not Mary, Queen of Scots was still alive.

Now, here's Jesus. Who in the world was paying attention? To the fact that Mary and Joseph were there, this couple that few people knew who came from Nazareth, nobody was paying attention.

This was not a big deal. Babies are born all the time. And I am amazed and that's why we sing how silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given. And what this story reminds us of is that God sometimes works mightily in very ordinary ways, very ordinary. Everything about this story was ordinary.

Now, we know, of course, that Jesus was conceived of a virgin and that had to be so that he would not be tainted with even original sins, so that he would be totally sinless. But the fact is that everything else is ordinary and we always look for God in the miracles. We say, give me a miracle, O God. And God comes along and says, I'm giving you a manger. And we don't see God in the manger. But think of how silently he came. No fanfare, no midwives there, nobody waiting outside to see whether the baby's doing well, how mother and baby are doing.

None of that. How silently he snuck into the world when no one was watching. The shepherd showed up only because the angels told them they should. Something else that I think the manger teaches us, and that is how personally he came, how personally he came. Now, last week, I tried to explain to you why it was necessary for God to be the redeemer, that he could not create a human being. There could be no one else who could possibly do what God was going to do, and that is to redeem humanity. Only God could do that. This was God in the flesh. Can you imagine holding God in the flesh, Mary feeding God in the flesh?

How personally he came. Spurgeon, the great preacher from England, said that it was as if all the light of the sun were concentrated at a single point. And that's true of this baby. Oh, I know that if you held the baby, he would look like an ordinary baby because, as I've explained many times, there was so much more to Jesus than the eye could see. That's why we sing, veiled in the flesh the God had seen. Had to be veiled, or you couldn't have looked upon this child. And he still had all the attributes of deity, even though he chose not to use them for the time that he was here on earth.

But he still had them. He retained his deity. I remember reading the story about a man who, a father actually, who adopted a biracial child. And he said that when he would look at that child across the breakfast table and stare into this boy's eyes, he wondered whether or not he would recognize the boy's father if he saw him.

It's a good question. When he recognized the boy's father, what are the traits that his father might have? You know, when you look at Jesus as a baby, he has the traits of his father. You might not have guessed that right at the beginning, but as Jesus went on and did miracles and made these stupendous claims about deity, and then did the miracles to back up those claims, you would know that you were in the presence of God. And in one of the most breathtaking statements, Jesus said in John 14, he who has seen me has seen the father.

Wow. You see me, you see my father. The similarity, the resemblance is there. This is God, God on earth. And so I am amazed at how personally God came. Didn't delegate it, didn't say an angel would do it or another man would do it.

No, no, no, no. If you're going to be redeemed, I have to do the redeeming. God came personally. I think that when we think of the manger, though, what strikes us the most, at least at the beginning, is the fact that he came so humbly, so remarkably humble in his arrival.

This is what staggers us, is the humility of it all. I don't think that we would understand Luke two, verse seven very well, unless we remember that Jesus is the only person born on this planet who chose where he would be born. You and I didn't choose. We had to be with our mothers wherever she was.

That's where we were. Jesus had a choice. You see, in eternity past, when God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, when redemption was planned and we're speaking now in time, whereas from the standpoint of deity, these things were always true. It's not as if God is making new decisions today because God has known all things from the beginning. God has existed from the beginning. And still, though, decisions were made.

No question about it. Bible is full of the decisions of God. So using time categories instead of eternity categories, which we can't get our mind around, I want you to visualize the Trinity is discussing where Jesus is to be born. And well, what about Rome? I mean, Caesar is going to be up and about at that time. And how about being born right next to Caesar's palace and then taking him on?

Because after all, Jesus is king of kings and lord of lords. Well, if not Rome, what about Jerusalem? You know, it says in the Psalms that God loves Jerusalem.

It's been a long time since I've been there. But the Bible says that God loves the gates of Zion. And every time I see the gates of Jerusalem, I think, well, you know, God loves those gates.

It's what it says in the Psalms. What about Jerusalem? Big temple that Herod had built. How about Jesus being in the temple? Mary and Joseph showing up at the temple.

And lo and behold, there's a baby born. No, it's not going to be Jerusalem. It's going to be Bethlehem, six miles south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem, though it is one of the least among all of the little towns. And that's why we sing old little town of Bethlehem, though it's much bigger today. And I'm going to choose Bethlehem. And that's where Jesus is to be born. You have to understand that the birth of Christ was just as much planned as his crucifixion. It was part of God's program. And so Bethlehem is chosen. And then it's not, you know, to be born in an inn, which is where respectable people have their babies born.

No, no, no, no. He is going to be born in a stable and of all things laid in a manger. Church historian Bruce Shelley said that Christianity is the only religion, it's the only religion that has as its central doctrine the humiliation of God.

You can't find this anywhere else. Look at all the other religions of the world. And that's why the Jewish people of the day rejected Jesus as Messiah.

One of the reasons is because, you know, here you get a baby, you know, and the story is circulated, you know, that he's born, he's put in a manger. And then you also have him being crucified. We don't understand that, but crucifixion was terrible. Crucifixion was, it was relegated to those who were really thugs.

Scum, I'll use the word. Those are the people that were crucified. That's why the Bible says, cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree and there's Jesus hanging on a tree in absolute weakness, apparently, unable to do anything about his plight.

Now he was, but he wasn't doing anything about where he was. Anybody else with the power would have come down from the cross. Jesus could have, but didn't. And so what you have is this weakness of God. And, you know, I read it this morning.

I can't believe this. First Corinthians chapter one, verse 25. Never saw this verse before.

Obviously saw it, but it just never hit me. It says the foolishness of God is wiser than men. And the weakness of God is stronger than men. The weakness of God. I mean, here he speaks and the worlds are created.

The stars are created. The weakness of God. It's the apparent weakness of God with Jesus dying on a cross and of all things being born and put into a manger. And yet why did Jesus do it? Paul says Christ came to redeem us from the curse of the law so that we might be redeemed. In other words, Jesus says, I'm going to bear what you deserve, namely your sin so that you get what you don't deserve, namely my righteousness and forgiveness. And that's really what salvation is all about.

The wonder of the righteousness and the forgiveness that God gives to those who believe. And that's why the preaching of the cross is such a stumbling block. Give us a God that you can't crucify. Give us a God who is born in a palace, but don't give us a God who is born in a manger. And yet it is in that humiliation and the eventual cross that you and I have been redeemed. It was Augustine, the great theologian, who said, God has humbled himself and yet man remains proud. And there are some of you who are listening to this message right now and you've never trusted Christ as savior.

And if you analyzed it, it would be because of your pride. You have not recognized your deep need of a savior who can do for you what nobody else can do. There's nobody else out there like Jesus.

And if you trust him, he can be yours. You can believe in Jesus. You can be saved and reconciled.

There is no other way. And there are some of you to whom the Holy Spirit is speaking right now and you know who you are, that you have never received the gift of eternal life that came to us initially in a manger. You know, sometimes my heart is like that stable.

Sometimes it is dark, cold. Sometimes it is unclean, just like that stable. And then we think back and we see that Jesus was in a stable. Jesus, the presence of the king was there in that stable. And because I've received Christ as savior and I hope that you have too, the presence of Jesus is in my heart. Jesus is in that stable, to use that analogy. Now I know there's a big difference. He was in the stable of Bethlehem only for a short time and he comes to live in my heart and in yours permanently.

And then there's something else that's different. He wants to clean up our hearts. He wants us to be cleansed from our sin. He wants all of the guck of the world, all of the rationalizations of our sin to be put away. He wants to clean us.

And that's what he's doing. You know, Paul says in Ephesians chapter 3, very interesting. He says, I pray that Christ shall dwell in your hearts by faith. Well, of course all believers have Christ in their heart by faith. But what he means is that Christ might feel at home in your heart by faith.

That's a good translation. He comes to the stable of your heart and does he feel at home? Has he cleansed it? Have you let him cleanse it or have you said, now you can be there, but I don't want to be cleansed. I love my sin too much. A Christian can even say that. But for those of you who have never trusted Christ as savior, I have good news that if you invite Christ into your life to receive his forgiveness, if you do that, you will belong to him forever.

If you give him that opportunity to come in. And in a moment, we're going to sing a song that if you sang this song with sincerity and understanding, you could be saved while you are singing it. The words written by Emily Elliott are these. Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown when thou camest to earth for me. But in Bethlehem's home, there was found no room for thy holy nativity. Come to my heart, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee. I say to you in all sincerity in my heart as your pastor, I want there to be plenty of room in my heart for Jesus and I want him to clean it up.

And that's what the message of the gospel is. The baby of the manger becomes the baby of the cross, becomes the man of the resurrection and the glorious return and becomes the savior of those who invite him in. Would you join me as we pray? Our Father, I want to pray for those who've never trusted Christ as savior.

May they know now why they need him. And we want to thank you, Father, for the manger. Thank you for Jesus Christ's humiliation. And we ask that as we sing together that there may be those who sing you into their hearts by saying, Lord Jesus, there's room in my heart. I give up the fight. In fact, before I close this prayer, I'm talking to you now, my dear friend. Would you write where you are, believe on Jesus, and be saved? Granted, O God, we pray, we do love you very, very much. In Jesus' name, amen, amen.

Would you still stand to sing? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? O say can you see by the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? There is room in my heart for Thee. And the angels are free, and the angels sing, and I come into Him to be. And I'm always coming home to sing, and there is room, and there is room and a sign for Thee in my heart. On today's Moody Church Hour, Pastor Lutzer spoke on The Mystery of the Manger, the second of four messages on The Mystery of Bethlehem.

The skies over this sleepy town were ablaze with light on this the night of nights. Next week, don't miss Pastor Lutzer's message on The Mystery of the Angels. The Mystery of Bethlehem will enrich your Christmas season. We'd like to place this four-part series in your hands on CD as our way of saying thanks for your gift of any amount to The Moody Church Hour. We so appreciate the many whose help all during the year keeps The Moody Church Hour on the air. Just call us at 1-800-215-5001.

Ask about The Mystery of Bethlehem when you call 1-800-215-5001. Or you can write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Online, go to That's Join us next time for another Moody Church Hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
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