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The Alex McFarland Show-89-Christmas: God’s Proof That He Really Does Love You

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
December 24, 2023 10:00 am

The Alex McFarland Show-89-Christmas: God’s Proof That He Really Does Love You

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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December 24, 2023 10:00 am

Join Alex on this week's episode of the Alex McFarland Show, as he shares how the son of God came onto the stage of human history, lived a perfect, spotless, and righteous life, therefore was qualified to be the Savior of the world. Christmas is God’s proof that he really does love us.

Scriptures:  

Romans 5:8

Titus 3:4-6

Daniel 7:8 (chapters 7 & 8)

John 1:9, 8:12, 14:9

Isaiah chapters 49, 53, 61

Galatians 4:4-7

Exodus 3:14

1 Corinthians 10:11

Song of Solomon 5:16

Luke 2:7-12

Matthew 8

Mark 14:61-64, 15:37 

Alex McFarland

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My Relationship with God Ask Alex Online alex@alexmcfarland.com booking@alexmcfarland.com

The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity

AFA.net 

Equip Winter Blast

Evening of Impact Fundraiser Banquet

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TNG - PO Box 10231 Greensboro, NC 27408

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The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of Scripture. Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. Christmas is proof of two things. One, God keeps his promises. But Christmas, the coming of Jesus, is also proof of this, that you matter to God.

Hi, Alex McFarland here. In this broadcast, we're going to talk about what is Christmas, and we're going to talk about some realities of fulfilled biblical prophecies, and God keeping his promise, and what the Incarnation is all about. But I want to begin by some statistics I was reading. At this point, 85% of Americans will observe Christmas in some way, will celebrate Christmas. Now I know stores close, people are off work, but really participating in either get-togethers or something like that, 85% of Americans will celebrate Christmas. But recent studies show that only 51% of Americans will observe religious services or attend church Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

And for millennials and younger, that's even less, like 42%. Almost 10% less of millennials, Gen Z, and younger will celebrate Christmas in some sort of religious way. And the Pew Research Center recently said that the way people approach Christmas is changing. The vast majority of Christians, 72%, say they celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Now one would think that 100% of Christians would observe Christmas in a religious sense. Of those who have no religious affiliation, no religious background whatsoever, only 14% say that Christmas is fundamentally a religious holiday.

And of course, young people in increasing numbers have no religious affiliation whatsoever. Hence the change in Americans viewing Christmas in a non-religious sense. That's very sad, because those of us that are believers, we know that without Jesus coming, we would have no salvation.

Without the coming of Christ, there would certainly be no Christmas at all. But this, the most significant happening in world history, that God entered human history to be our Savior, that God took on a human body. What an amazing, amazing reality this is, that the Son of God would come onto the stage of human history, live a perfect, sinless life, a righteous life, and therefore he was qualified to be our Savior. Not only able, but willing to be our Savior.

This is the hope of the world. In fact, Jesus' return in the New Testament is called the Blessed Hope. But it was the love of God. You know, John 3.16 very famously, for God loved the world so much that he sent his Son Jesus to be our Savior. John 3.16 says that whoever believes in him would not perish, but have everlasting life. One of my favorite verses is Romans 5.8, which says, and if you're perhaps lonely, or maybe you just feel like Christmas is not what it used to be, and life isn't as fulfilling as you feel like it perhaps should be, Romans 5.8 says God demonstrated his love, and that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

And the word demonstrate there means tangibly proved. Christmas is God's proof that he really does love you, and your life does matter. And even if you're lonely right now, as a believer, one day you'll be in heaven with God, with all the people that you love that also love Jesus.

There's a great reunion day coming. But I realize for a lot of people, and I think that's why suicide spikes during the holidays, and substance abuse, and so many negative things, so many things that are very self-destructive, because people get lonely, people feel like that their life is not what it once was, or not what they had ever hoped it would be. But Christmas should be a personal comfort, and a reminder that God sees you, and God cares about you. And, you know, in Titus chapter 3, verses 4 through 6, I love this, speaking of the coming of Christ, Titus 3, 4, and 6 says, when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things that we have done, but because of his mercy, he saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. And folks, God out of love for you personally, and God out of his kindness and mercy, sent Jesus to be born in that Bethlehem manger. But, you know, the other big holiday in the month of December, of course, is Hanukkah. And maybe as a Christian, you've not really thought much about Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, but this is an amazing, amazing Jewish reality, and Christians ought to know about Hanukkah. And I want to give a little bit of backstory, because the Festival of Lights, which is really also known as the Feast of Dedication, really, and that was when Jesus presented himself as the Savior, because after the Feast of Tabernacles on the Jewish calendar, is Hanukkah. But in John 10, 22-23, it says it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, it was winter, and Jesus walked in Solomon's porch. Now, let's go back a little bit in history, because Hebrews 9 verse 2 speaks of the lampstand that was in the wilderness tabernacle.

And of course, Hanukkah is about the time that the lampstand miraculously did not run out of oil. But back in 168 BC, almost 200 years before the birth of Christ, there was a leader, a solutioned king, Antiochus Epiphanes. Now, you've heard of this guy, because Daniel prophesied in the Old Testament book of Daniel, Daniel 7 and 8, that there would be this little horn, and Antiochus was kind of a precursor to the Antichrist that would one day come. But this little horn would come out of the Greek Empire, and most scholars believe that Antiochus was that person. Now, there'll be a future little horn that's referenced in Daniel 7 verse 8 that will come out of the reborn Roman Empire. But when we come back, I'm going to talk about the connection of Antiochus, this Greek king that wanted to turn the Jews Greek, really.

And he defiled the temple, and the Feast of Lights, or the Festival of Lights, rather, is harkening back to the miracle of the lampstand not going out during the battle led by Judah Maccabee. We'll come back and we'll talk more about this and the connection to Christmas when this edition of the program returns. Stay tuned, we're back after this. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. You know, at Christmas time, you think about how grateful you are for the past year. And I share a letter that we just got, a teenage girl that was in one of our camps.

She said, Mr. McFarland, I've never read a book for more than five minutes, but since going to your biblical worldview camp last summer, I read my Bible 45 minutes every day. Praise God. And as Christmas time comes, I want to say thank you to all the people who pray and financially support our ministry as we call people to Christ and youth to serve God and country.

But what about you? Do you know Christ? You know, Jesus is as close by as a prayer. And if you need help in your walk with the Lord or encouragement, you can go to my website, which is alexmcfarland.com, and there's a tab there. What does God say about my relationship with him? In the meantime, stand strong, be bold. Thank you for your prayers and support. And in the new year, let's do great things for the sake of the gospel. He's been called trusted, truthful and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show.

Welcome back to the program. We're talking about the connection between Christianity and Hanukkah a little bit. But before the break, I was talking about Antiochus Epiphanes, who famously profaned the temple. But he wanted the Jews to become more Greek. And he believed, and this is unthinkable, it shows his ignorance and ungodliness, but Antiochus believed that he could convince the Jews to worship Zeus instead of the god of the Jewish people, Yahweh. And of course there was pushback on this, but there was basically a war that was Jewish priest Mattathias, and he had five sons.

And Mattathias died in 166 BC, and his son Judah Maccabee fought against Antiochus. And so the Jews retook the city of Jerusalem and rededicated the temple. And the feast of dedication is Hanukkah.

It's a time of rededication. But what happened was, when they were lighting the lampstand in the temple's holy place, there was only enough oil to last for one day. But according to the Talmud, the oil lasted eight days, and this is why they call that the miracle of Hanukkah. And of course in the first segment I pointed out that Jesus really began to publicly present himself as Messiah, according to John 10, during the feast of dedication. But, you know, Antiochus had taken over the Jewish temple in 164 BC, and he profaned it.

You know, it's really so shocking I'm not going to talk about what Antiochus did, because it was just ungodly. But the Jewish people rededicated the temple, and it was made holy. And what's so interesting is that the lampstand, which was the only light for the Holy of Holies inside this area, but Jesus, who, according to John 8, verse 12, is, quote, the light of the world. Jesus is the lampstand. He's the light of the world. The Holy Spirit that is inexhaustible is like oil. And the oil that miraculously lasted eight days, that the Jews to this day commemorate during the Hanukkah, the miracle of Hanukkah. Well, John 1, verse 9 says Jesus is the true light that gives light to the world. And, you know, Isaiah, which prophesied the coming of Jesus, and I would urge you to read, you know, Isaiah 49, 53, and 61, but it says the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.

And that's true, and all of us, apart from Christ, would be in darkness. But Jesus observed Hanukkah. He did, the feast of dedication.

He was at Solomon's porch when he was there participating in that. Our Savior did that. But I want to right now talk about some of the realities of Christmas, because as I shared in the statistics about Americans in general and millennials and younger in particular, people are ceasing to see Christmas in a religious sense. And look, there's nothing wrong with the gift-giving and the songs, and we love everything from O Holy Night to White Christmas to a Wayne O'Manger to Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, you know, the Brenda Lee song.

But here's the thing. We can't lose the reality that Christmas is because God came onto the stage of human history to be our Savior. Matthew 1.22, speaking of the fulfilled prophecies, all of this was done that it might be fulfilled, that which was spoken by the prophet. Christmas is prophetic. Christmas is incarnational. The Bible says in John 1.14, the Word, Jesus, the Logos, the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. That's Jesus, full of grace and truth. You know, the Bible says that God desired to tabernacle with men. And in fact, when we're in heaven, the tabernacle of God will be with human beings forever, the redeemed.

Are you one of those? Have you put your faith in Christ and been born again? I hope that you have. But the incarnation—now, maybe you've been in a Mexican restaurant, you've seen carne asada, flesh, or in the case of an entree in a restaurant, beef. But C-A-R-N-E, carne, is a Latin word, an incarnation. When we say the incarnational God, Jesus Christ, God enfleshed himself, took on a human body.

Think about this. God didn't need to become a human. God didn't need to take on a body. But he did it so that he could ultimately be that sacrificial lamb.

Isn't that amazing? What love that God would purposely do something to himself that would enable him to feel pain, be nailed to a cross, be the recipient of the wrath of heaven. I mean, imagine a king or a president with a law, and the breaking of that law resulted in such and such a punishment. And the king purposely, even though he wasn't guilty, he hadn't broken the law. In fact, he made the law, and the law was a part of his administration.

But yet the king or leader purposely, causing himself to be subjected to the punishment for a law he didn't break. Well, it's been said, and I don't mean it in a trite way, it might sound like a cliché, but it's absolute biblical reality, that Jesus paid a debt he didn't owe because we owed a debt we couldn't pay. He went to the cross, and Christ incarnated himself out of love.

Isn't that something? That he would take on a human body to go to Calvary's cross, because he loved us so much that he would do what it took for us to be saved. Now Christmas is not only prophetic, it's not only incarnational, Christmas is redemptive. Galatians 4, 4-7, let me read this. It says, but when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law. Jesus was under the law in the sense that he subjected himself to the laws of Moses.

He fulfilled every point of the law. You and I are under the law in the sense of being guilty as sinners. But in Jesus, the fulfillment of God's law that we didn't do, we are credited as having fulfilled the righteousness of God. Not because we had our own righteousness, we didn't. But we, if you're a believer, and it's as simple as putting your faith in Christ, you have the righteousness of God accredited to you. Isn't that amazing? That you can go to heaven on the righteousness of another.

Jesus Christ. This is not a great illustration, but I fly a lot in the context of speaking, traveling, have a lot of points, and had a friend some years ago that had to go to the Mayo Clinic for surgery and treatment for a cancer. And I was able to give a couple of hundred thousand frequent flyer points to this friend so that he could get a few flights to the Mayo Clinic. And so he was able to fly on my reward points.

Well, I was happy to do that. But here's the point. You and I go to heaven on Jesus' righteousness, not our own. Just like you can gift points to a person.

Our power company, there's a campaign where you can give money for those that aren't able to pay their power bill, and they keep their heat on. Somebody else can stay warm on your gift, just like we are redeemed through Christ's righteousness. Now when we come back, we'll continue. We'll talk more about what Christmas is. It is redemptive, and it's so much more.

We'll talk about it after this break. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally. Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. You know, we interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real-life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world.

My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask, you can find it wherever you buy books or at resources.afa.net. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. Welcome back to the program.

We're talking about what Christmas is. And I want to say that as we bring this year to a close, I cannot overstate how grateful I am for all of the people that pray and support our ministries. We're on the radio with the American Family Radio Network. Then on the weekends, we do this pre-recorded program that airs on many stations, the AFR Network, the Truth Network, and many other stations that just volunteer and allow us to put our content on. And then our audio engineer, Mike Segovia at PFC Productions for Christ, puts it on podcast platforms. And even, this is a miracle, I was on an American Airlines flight in the spring of 23. And on the in-flight entertainment, you know, there are movies, there's some TV, well, there's some spoken word. There's like TED Talks and things like that.

Well, for a while, on the American Airlines in-flight entertainment, Truth for a New Generation with Alex McFarland, this program was on the in-flight entertainment, which I was thrilled because, you know, it's overtly Christian and politically conservative and evangelical, and there we were. But I want to say to everybody listening how I thank God for all of you, your prayers, your financial support. We did seven youth camps last summer with over 1,200 kids, and we're doing six and probably seven camps in the summer of 24. My 20th book came out, and Angie and I want to say to everybody listening, we thank God for all of you and our staff and our board.

We have six employees, some full-time employees, some part-time contractors, but our staff is growing. Our board and I, we thank you all. And go to alexmcfarland.com, the newly redesigned alexmcfarland.com.

We're posting content all the time. And then, of course, July 12th through 14th, I would love to see you at The Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center in western North Carolina. I'll be teaching 1 John, which is all about our identity in Christ. If you've never been to The Cove, it is wonderful. The food is amazing, the accommodations are wonderful, the scenery, the fellowship, and of course, getting together with people from around the world, throughout America and internationally. We'll pray together, we'll fellowship. A weekend at The Cove will change your life forever.

I firmly believe that. And this will be my 18th or maybe 19th summer. But I'm so privileged, and I want to thank Will Graham for inviting me every summer and the great staff.

But the website for The Cove is thecove.org. One final thing, and I want to conclude talking about Christmas. If you happen to be in the Greensboro, North Carolina area, February 6th, we're having our Evening of Impact. It will be at Southside Church, where we have television studios, and I have an office there that Southside donates to our ministry. But if you want to come, we're mailing out an invitation. You can email your address, and I'd love to send you an invitation to our Evening of Impact. I'll be speaking. We're talking a lot about what's going on in the culture, and what God is allowing us to do to make a difference, but you can reach us. My email is super easy.

Alex at alexmcfarland.com. But Christmas, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Christmas is redemptive. I read the Galatians 4, 4-7 passage about, In the fullness of time God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, to redeem those that were under the law. And it goes on, it says, God has given us the Spirit of his Son in our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

In other words, that's the Aramaic word for Daddy. So, it says in Galatians 4-7, you are no longer a slave, but a son. And if a son, then an heir through God. I don't know what your financial status is down here on earth, but you are an heir of heaven, if you're a born-again believer. Christmas is redemptive.

You think about it. What is your inheritance in Christ? Heaven itself.

Isn't that amazing? And best of all, being in the presence of God. Christmas is revelatory.

Revealing. Because, as Jesus said to Philip in John 14-9, if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Do you want to know who Almighty God is? Look at Jesus. Because if you know Jesus, you know God.

Because if you see Jesus, you've seen God. He is God incarnate. And, you know, in Mark 14, 61-64, he says that he is the Son of Man. He is the I Am of Exodus 3-14, the eternal Yahweh God.

That's why they ripped their clothes. And they said that they were going to crucify him, because they accused him of blasphemy. Because he called himself God. But it's not blasphemy if that's who you are. And indeed, the resurrection and so much more fulfill prophecy, sinless life. It proves that Jesus is who he claimed to be.

The incarnate Lord. You know, Christmas is not only revelatory. Christmas is historical. Now 1 Corinthians 10-11, speaking of Jesus and his redeemed, says, On whom the end of the ages has come. Time itself is all about Jesus Christ.

Time in history would mean nothing if it weren't for Christ who came. And Christmas, let me say, is also artistic and aesthetic. Song of Solomon, speaking of the bridegroom. And of course, the beloved, the Shulamite girl, who is dark and dirty, but is married to the bridegroom. And the bridegroom loves his beloved. Jesus is the bridegroom. We are the bride. We've been washed. We've been made righteous. But it says of the bridegroom in Song of Solomon, chapter 5 verse 16, He is altogether lovely. This is my beloved and my friend, it says. True.

I mean, think about that. Jesus is altogether lovely. The gospel is a beautiful story, which also happens to be reality. And you think about it, it's little wonder that the world's most beloved works of art, literature, and music deal with Christian themes. My wife and I have a book of all the paintings of the Louvre in Paris.

The 3,022 works of art in the Louvre. And of those that have a consistent thematic element, the majority are on Christian themes. And very often themes about the birth of Jesus, or mother and child.

Isn't that amazing? From the great stories to the great songs. Because Christmas is beautiful. God is an artist. Think about the aesthetic beauty of Christmas. That Satan would be defeated by a baby.

I've said that many times, but it's beautiful. And how the King of Kings would leave his palace to be born in a manger. You know, when I was in graduate school, I was working at the Word Christian Bookstore in Lynchburg, Virginia. And I will never forget, I went in to work my shift. It was a Friday afternoon, not far from Christmas. And part of what I would do when I would first start my shift at the bookstore, would I would tally up the special orders.

People ordered things. Well, I pulled a book out by Angela Hunt called The Tale of Three Trees. Many of you might know this story.

I'll never forget, in the store, fighting back tears. I was so moved by this children's storybook. There are three trees.

They've got these big dreams. One tree wants to become a treasure box. Another tree wanted to become a sailing ship. And a third tree just wants to grow tall enough to reach heaven. But the first tree doesn't become a treasure box, but it becomes a manger.

Which, according to Luke 2, 7 and 12, Jesus was laid in a manger. And the tree realizes, as the manger, that it's holding the greatest treasure in the world. Now, the second tree didn't become a mighty sailing ship, but a meager little fishing boat. But one day, there are some fishermen in the boat, and Matthew 8 tells us that that second tree realizes, when one man stands up and calms the storm, that he was the greatest ship in the world. Now, the third tree just is cut into lumber and lays in a lumberyard. But one day, it gets pulled out of the lumber pile and is made into a cross.

And Mark 15, 37 speaks of Jesus' death on the cross. But the third tree, which didn't get to grow in the ground or reach heaven, but Jesus was nailed to that cross. And the third tree felt like it was reaching heaven in a greater way than even the greatest tree. You ought to read The Tale of Three Trees, because it will move you.

It's just one of the greatest children's books ever. And I think about Christmas, and I think about the coming of Christ. Derek Severide, the famous newsman years ago, he said that Christmas is necessary because we need a day out of the year to remind us that life is about something besides ourselves.

Isn't that true? Christmas is about others, yes, and giving and serving just like God served us. But Christmas is about God himself entering the stage of human history, because he loves us to be our Savior. Maybe you've heard of that quote by Roy Smith, He who does not have Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. This Christmas, I want to say to each and every one listening, we love you.

We thank God for you. We wish you a very joyous, Jesus-filled Christmas. Make this the focal point of your Christmas, that Christ the King resides in your heart and in your life, and you've put your faith in him, and that every day you truly do feel his presence, because you've invited him in, and he's a welcome guest in your heart, your life, your soul. That's the most important part of Christmas, but really it's the most important part of life itself. May God bless you.

May God be glorified, and Merry Christmas. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at alexmcfarland.com. You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-Yes-God-1. That's 1-877-Yes-God-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of the Alex McFarland Show.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-24 12:11:07 / 2023-12-24 12:22:41 / 12

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