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December 20, 2020 7:00 am
On June 5, 1944, Gen. Erwin Rommel left defense preparations on the Normandy beaches to celebrate his wife's birthday, believing that bad weather would prevent an Allied invasion.
The following day.
Of course, in doing so he missed the major event of World War II that would lead to Germany's eventual defeat. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Bortz preparing you to think and act likely. It is unfortunate to miss a great event yet in the course of history.
Many have done so most tragic of all over those who miss the significance of the birth of Christ. Let's join Dr. Boyce as he studies the personalities and events surrounding the men who missed Christmas. One thing that is always intrigued me about the Christmas stories and Logan and Matthew are the characters involved in particularly the minor characters been impressed on earlier occasions has Christmas time is come around in various years and I've studied these passages again with the people in the story who do not believe in Christ and to put it in terms of the title of the sermon did not find Christmas or a number of them is really a tragic thing to miss a great event in the first week of June in the year 1944 the great German general Rommel who had gained fame in North Africa or his military tactics there during the earlier stages of the second world war was in France.
He was preparing the coast of France against what he knew would be the forthcoming Allied invasion and he recognized how important it was that he would do this. This was no small thing. He had written earlier that if the allies ever gained toehold on the coast of France the war would be over so far as Germany was concerned Germany would be defeated but 6 June was his wife's birthday present for and when he received reports that the weather was bad and was getting worse. He thought it would be a safe time for him to leave the preparation of the defenses on the beaches go back to Berlin and that he did flew back to Berlin on the fifth and so he wasn't there on the sex the day when the allies actually did invade in his absence undoubtedly contributed to the weakness of the German forces there was a man who was preparing for something important and realized it was important and yet he missed it was such a great and important day the people, like that of Miss Christmas. I think there are people like that in the story that I want to talk about as I talk about them. I hope you'll understand that they are also types of the kind of people that missed Christmas in the significance of Christmas today and for the same reasons are caught up in all sorts of things that keep them from coming face-to-face with that one whose birth we mark and who is the Savior of the world. Let me take you to a few of them in that well-known story.
The best version and best known version of the birth of Christ from the second chapter of Luke you have in the early verses a reference to two political figures.
One is Caesar Augustus, the other is quite rainy us, who was identified as the governor of Syria is doing something very interesting here in these opening verses from a literary point of view, he starting as it wire from the most exalted person in the world at that time Caesar and is moving down from that point through a number of stages eventually to the person of Christ himself, who by that particular kind of analysis is seen to be in the eyes of the world of the day is the least important of all, least important people that existed. The top you have Caesar Augustus lender that you have quite rainy as the governor of Syria. Then you have Joseph and you and you have marry a Jewish woman and finally have a child deliberately meant to show how insignificant in the eyes of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ was and I'm sure you see, by contrast, but at the other end of the spectrum are those who are most important in the world, Caesar Augustus, it was more important than Caesar, or to talk about the perspective for the Jews of the time and the rule of the area in which they live. Who could be more important than quite rainy as the governor of the province of Syria. At these two important men. These political figures missed Christmas because of their position because of the fact that the birth of a child in far-off and even despised area of Roman world was a lot of insignificance that we have a parallel today the lives of many people. Very few people today occupy a position as exalted, even as quite rainy us, not to mention season Augustus again.
We have many people that are very very conscious of their position. This is why they're so leery of Christian things in real Christian people all they'll go about being religious. From time to time. They think it's to their advantage still associate with the church that has within it.
People of position whom is good to know when knowing help you get along in life and perhaps even advancing your business. They don't want to associate with real believers because somehow in their mind that's below where they consider themselves to be nobody really is somebody operates on that level. That's the way they think. We have many people like that in our own acquaintance with many in our neighborhood. Perhaps were even in many respects a bit like that ourselves. So when you talk about the people who missed the first Christmas you're referred Caesar Augustus inquiring yes you have a parallel to many who miss the significance of Jesus Christ birth today is the second person in the story who I think also Miss Christmas.
She's not mentioned by name. He's implied by the story and this man is the innkeeper we don't know who he is, I suppose, because by the time the story came to be written. Nobody knew who he was and didn't matter anyway because he wasn't caught up in the story he wasn't caught up in being a follower of the Nazarene, he simply passes out of history, like so many other people have is a well why did the innkeeper miss Christmas of all the people in the story is the one who should least have missed the significance of the birth of Christ, because after all the father and the mother and the baby to be born come to his town. Bethlehem and they presented themselves that his door and if he had a desk. They stood before his desk, and finally when he didn't have a place in is any put them in his stable. They were under is very noses at work and yet he missed what this was all about well-known American writer who really writes very very well. Frederick you can or has written about this innkeeper in an imaginary way trying to describe what's in his judgment kept the innkeeper in the significance of the events is what Buettner writes he's quoting the innkeeper I speak to you as men of the world, said the innkeeper but as idealists but as realist. You know what it's like to run and in run a business family to run anything in this world for that matter even your own life.
It's like being lost in the forest of the million trees and each tree is the thing to be done there fresh linen all the band's did the children put on their coats before they went out has the letter been written as the book been read as their money enough left in the bank today we have food for our bellies and close on our backs. But we do to make sure that will have them tomorrow will million trees, a million things finally realize nothing else and whatever we see. Turns into a thing by judgment. It's not very difficult to apply that to the people of our day ever. There was a nation on the face of the earth. It's caught up in things and providing for all the details of life and missing the things that are important.
It's America and Americans that we see ourselves in the innkeeper and I don't mean just the unbelievers of our society. Seeing them in the innkeeper we see ourselves. There, especially at Christmas time. I look forward to Christmas like I look forward to a headache. How in the world are we going to get all those things done.
How are we going to get all those cards addressed and mailed off to all those people, how we going to get all those present spa we have to buy for members of the family.
How are we going to find out and then discover where to get it all the things our children want and how are we going to get free and how are we going to get the parties and how we going to do all of those things and still have it all done by Christmas seems impossible. We get so caught up in those things that we really don't stop to do what we should do that is meditate on the word of God to pray to open our heart up to that one was our Savior and is worth we mark well in the story until you have those two examples you have the political figures who miss Christmas because of their position and you have the innkeeper Mrs. Christmas because of his preoccupation with things when you turn to the second chapter of Matthew to that other very well known story. The story of the wise men Magi as it's given to us in the new international version have two other examples. First example here in the third that I'm referring to is King Herod now King Herod wasn't as close to the events as the people in the previous story were certainly not as close as the innkeeper, but he had a great interest in knowing about Christmas and knowing what was going on. Recall that in his case, the Magi came from the East and they came with a message that they had seen the star marking the birth of the Messiah. One was to be born in Jerusalem and he came her in the area of Jerusalem, and they, Jerusalem, to find out where he was King Herod understood what this was about.
There were prophecies in Judaism about the birth of a Messiah to come.
Some future day was always a threat to any religious leader Selena what was involved here was in essence an expectation of a Messiah. He had great interest in this because it threatened his position so we entered into a kind of deceptive dialogue with the Magi in which he inquired of them. When the star appeared wanted to know when the birth of the baby that occurred no doubt dating it with the appearance of the star and he wanted to find out where that child was because he didn't know of any recent births in his palace so he inquired of the wisemen that is describes the learned people of Judaism where the Messiah would be bored when they answer quoting Micah that he was to be born in Bethlehem of Judea. He said well that's where you'll find them. You go see if you can find them there.
When you do, you bring me word hearing was most deceptive, because when you find out where he is. I want to come and worship him to her was a man who was closely involved in the story you missed it because of his own greed and self-interest. He wasn't interested in finding out where Christ was to be born so we could worship he was trying to find out where this pretender to the throne was so we could murder him.
He was so hostile to any pretender to be the Messiah that he was using any means at his disposal to get rid of them have people in miss the significance of Christ coming today because of self-interest because of greed. They know anything about Jesus Christ and all they know that his way is not the way of this world. I know that he called upon men and women. The following called upon them to humble themselves and follow them suffer. If necessary, even to die in order that they might gain eternal life in certain please God Almighty. These people say well I don't want to do that I'm interested in my things I'm interested in my future. I'm interested in myself. I'm interested in my own desires. I don't want to lay anything like this aside in order to find Jesus so they miss the greatest birth the greatest story of all because of their own self-interest. And finally there's another set of characters in the story. These are the priests and the scribes and religious leaders of the day there.
Interesting because not only had they learned of the birth of Christ for the visit of the wise man they even knew because of their acquaintance with the Scriptures where the Messiah was to be born, and the ones of said well it says they are in Micah chapter 2nd verse but you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judea are by no means least among the rulers of Judah for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel. They know the Scriptures and yet there's not the slightest suggestion in the story that anyone of them left Jerusalem the comfort of their homes and made the journey to Bethlehem which wasn't all that far away along with the wisemen to see if perhaps it would be true that at this point in history that one would been prophesied in the law in the profits whom they look forward to in the Scriptures they studied this one. Perhaps in their lifetime that actually come there. Typical. So many religious people who have ahead knowledge of spiritual things, but I'm not allowed to carry them on when acquaintance of the one was the author of this book well you read those two stories is the best known portions of the Christmas story and you say, that's really a very sad tale here for people or groups of people to miss Christmas is there anyone who found it, the answer is of course suggests there is. There were many millions. In fact, who missed Christ's birth, but by the grace of God there were also at the same time, those who found that there were the shepherds who found where the wisemen were others of the story. Simeon and Anna and all of those who come afterwards.
These humble open, willing, obedient folk whom God revealed the birth of the Savior and respondent. What was the secret in their lives. What were the elements in their outlook that made it possible for them to receive what the other person's missed things were to in the first place.
They were honest enough to admit their need of a Savior and secondly they were humble enough to receive Jesus Christ as that Savior when he came many many years ago in Germany there was an incident that goes like this in the German universities. The people that prepare for whatever field of endeavor. Follow basically the same preparation course that a minister will also follow except for certain courses that are specialties in his discipline, and the result of that is that many of the people will come through the German universities whether their scientists or doctors or teachers in literature.
Whenever I've had many of the basic courses hidden history in sometimes even in theology that a minister would have as a result in a far away from being a minister and then the terms of this story. There was a pastor and a German city who was called away on one occasion in business and because it was a sudden emergency you had to go in Sunday was coming. He looked around for someone who could preach in the pulpit foreign only person he could think of was tutoring one of the noble families in the town although he wasn't a minister he had the kind of training would make it possible for them to preach and so he approached the man and said what he fill in for him on Sunday morning. The man said, I'm not a Christian. He said well you mean to tell me you don't even believe in God own elements that I think I believe in God. I just got a Christian and the pastor said well that you believe in God you believe that we should love God and the man said yes, I suppose. I believe that too, but I'm not a Christian. Well said the pastor give your text to preach on. It is not shalt love the Lord thy God with all my heart and with all thy mind with all my strength and his tutor said well if that's the text doesn't mention specific things with which I disagree. I guess I could handle that. I began to work on the man was a skeptic rationalist. He had a very orderly mind. So he began to prepare for the sermon on Sunday morning and he began to write down his points. His first point was we must love God gave reason for that they wrote down.
Secondly, we must love him with all our powers.
Indeed, nothing less would satisfy and he gave reason for that third hero. The question do we thus love him and then because it was an honest man. His conscience forced him to put down after his own question, no, we do not later this man wrote about his experience and I quote without any previously formed plan.
I was brought and my notes. We need a Savior this point. Lights broke in upon his soul and he said I understood now that I have not loved God that I didn't need a Savior Jesus Christ was that Savior and then I love to him and clung to him at once. The next day I preach the sermon and the third point was the chief one, the need of Jesus and the necessity of trusting such a Savior, the wise men of this world, whether there shepherds or magi from the east. For those who've gone through that process and had it become personal. For them, who admitted their need of a Savior and humbled themselves at the feet of him who is that Savior even Jesus the Lord. Let us pray our father, we would ask him these days preceding another Christmas so many are going about their business with hardly a thought of him whose day Christmas celebrates that we would not be among them.
But by your grace might be led meditate and grow in spiritual things and so have our hearts prepared to worship and serve our Lord are right, our father, bless us to that and for Jesus sake listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce now just days before Christmas. We like to send you a free CD. By the late Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse entitled the Christmas names of God from his Christmas messages series. This free CD offers our special gift to you.
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Glad you checked.
Unlike the characters of today's message were the men who found Christmas. They were uneducated shepherds from the lowest level of society and learned men of wealth from a faraway land.
Indeed, the very contrast between them proof that Christ came for everyone.
Join Dr. James Boyce next time in the Bible study our C explores the lives and motives of the men who found Christmas that's next time on Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically