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Don't Miss Christ this Christmas

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
December 26, 2021 7:00 am

Don't Miss Christ this Christmas

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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December 26, 2021 7:00 am

There’s a lot to celebrate this time of year and we don’t want to miss any of it the food, the fun, the family time and especially the point. That’s what Dr. Tony Evans will talk about in this lesson as he draws our attention back to the reason why we celebrate.

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What good is a birthday if the person who the birthday is for is not welcome? Dr. Tony Evans says we need to stay focused on the reason we celebrate. Because He came, you have eternal life.

Nobody can give you that. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Christmas gives us a lot to celebrate, and we don't want to miss any of it. The food, the fun, the family time, and especially the point. That's what Dr. Evans will be talking about today.

Let's join him. If you pass by a poor log cabin in Hagenville, Kentucky on February 12, 1809, and you heard a baby crying, little would you know that that would be the sound of the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Or if you pass by a farmhouse in Charlotte, North Carolina on November the 7th, 1918, and heard the whimper of a child, little would you know that that would be the cry of the greatest evangelist of the 20th century, Billy Graham. Or October 14, 1890, the sounds of a baby in this poor area would be the sounds of Dwight Eisenhower, a military genius, and the 34th president.

Or perhaps the cry of a sharecropper's baby on May 13, 1914, in Lafayette, Alabama, a world champion was born who would become known as Joe Lewis. In other words, if you simply looked at where they were born and the cries that they made, they would have been written off as insignificant as a baby. Oh, but don't let them grow up because it became apparent in each of those illustrations that those babies were meant for greatness. Well, if you were in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago by a stable and heard a baby cry, it would have been easy to write the noise off as simply the whimpering of a child not knowing God himself had entered into human history. We are facing a time when, for Christmas, Christ is missing. Amidst all the frivolity and fanfare, food, fellowship, family, and fun, it's easy to miss Christ at Christmas. But that's not unique to us. That was true in the first century as well. Because I want to show you some folks who miss Christ at Christmas.

The way we miss him today because each of these misses are relevant to us. The first one who missed Christ at Christmas was the innkeeper. Because Luke chapter 2 verse 7 says, And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. If the innkeeper only knew that this baby born in his hotel was the son of the living God, trust me, they would have found a room.

If the innkeeper only knew that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was just trying to find a place to be born and to lay his head, they would have built the room if they had to. We are told that Bethlehem was crowded. That's because verse 1 tells us that in those days the decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census be taken of all the inhabitants of the earth. And everybody was sent back to their city of birth to be registered. So Joseph from Bethlehem went back with his family and registered them in this crowded town called Bethlehem. People had come from all over. The crowds were everywhere.

And money was on the table because it related to the taxing season. Wherever you go this Christmas, you're going to run into crowds. There's going to be plenty of folk who will crowd Jesus out. I mean, the only reason they were in Bethlehem is because Caesar said, this is the time you go back. The reason for many of the crowds you face is because your job said you don't have to come to work.

And so people are going to be out and they're going to be busy. If this innkeeper only knew that the baby that there was no room for was the long awaited Messiah, things would have changed. Listen, do you know how much traffic this innkeeper would have had if he said the Son of God stayed here?

But what has happened today is that Jesus has been boxed out of Christmas. In the midst of all the activity that will take place, Jesus will be hard to find. He will be replaced by trees and mistletoes, by lights and song. But he will be camouflaged. He will be mentioned.

He will be referenced. In fact, it has become popular today even not to reference him, to move nativity scenes, to make it an Xmas, not a Christmas, not a Christ mass, or to replace Merry Christmas with Happy Holiday, to keep the symbolism and lose the son. So I just don't want you to miss Christ this Christmas. I don't want you to have the frills of Christmas without the Christ of Christmas.

Like many boxes that people have wrapped outside of their homes, they look beautiful but they're empty. Don't have a beautiful Christmas with an empty box because there's no Christ in the center of it. Don't smother Jesus this Christmas so that you have a Christless Christmas. No, the innkeeper had no room.

And the question is, do you have any room? Is there any space to give Jesus Christ his due? Don't miss Christ this Christmas. Now the second person who missed Christ on Christmas was King Herod. In Matthew chapter 2 verse 3, we read these words, When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him.

When he heard what? When he heard about the wise men, they said, where is the king of the Jews? Herod said, say what? Herod said, I'm the king of the Jews. What do you mean you're looking for the king of the Jews? You see, Herod, like many of us, don't have room for two kings because we've decided to be our own king and the only king. We've decided to be masters of our own faith, captains of our own ship. And we don't mind Jesus being the vicinity as long as he's not the ruler. There's not space for two kings and it says Herod was troubled.

The Greek word trouble means agitated, irritated, frustrated, and exacerbated. What do you mean there's another king? I am in charge here. One of the ways you miss Jesus is trying to be your own king. One of the ways you miss Jesus is trying to rule your own life. One of the ways you miss Jesus is to be troubled by the fact that he wants to be the only king and that you have to submit to him. Herod did not want anybody competing for his throne when Jesus came to set up his own kingdom.

To declare supremacy. People do not want Jesus to interfere with their lives, their careers, their money, their power, their personality, their ambition, their plans. In fact, not only was Herod messed up about all this, it says in all Jerusalem with him. You see, we have sanitized Christmas. Christmas is really sanitized today.

It's nice, it's sweet, it's cute, it's melodious. No, kids were being killed at Christmas. Infanticide, every child two years and under, every boy was to be slaughtered by Herod because Jesus showed up. You see, when Jesus shows up and demands to be king and is rejected, there's going to be trouble. The reason why we have a lot of the trouble we have in our world, in our lives, in our homes today is because the king has been rejected.

So as a result, there's chaos and confusion and weeping and mourning and pain and division because Jesus can be in the vicinity, he just can't be on the throne. He can't be telling me what to do. He can't be my point of reference. He can't overrule me.

Let me explain. If Jesus can't overrule you, you're not celebrating Christmas. If Jesus can't silence you when he speaks, you're not celebrating Christmas. If Jesus can't tell you no when you think yes, you're not celebrating Christmas. If Jesus can't boss you around, you're not celebrating Christmas. You're celebrating you like it's your birthday. So you're not ready for a holiday just because you got off of work. You're not ready for a holiday just because the food is in the oven, just because the family is coming over. If Jesus is not king, just call it a party, but don't call it Christmas because the wise men wanted to know where the king was. Peace on earth and goodwill to men.

You're going to hear that all holiday season. Peace on earth, goodwill to men, but they're going to leave something off because Jesus said there's going to be peace on earth and goodwill to men with whom he's well pleased. With whom he's well pleased.

See, everybody wants the first part, but not the last part. They don't want to please him, but they want peace on earth and goodwill to men. You can't have peace in your life. You can't have peace in your home. You can't have peace in your mind.

You can't have peace in your circumstances if he's not pleased with you. So if you want all of that, then you better make sure he happy on his birthday. In fact, you should be singing the song every day. It's your birthday. It's your birthday. You better tell Jesus it's his birthday. In fact, make every day Christmas because then he's well pleased. And then the conflicts, the harmony, the peace, the joy, the stuff that we want that people will be singing about and praying about and talking about becomes a possibility. You cannot displease Jesus and get the benefits of his throne.

It doesn't work that way. Dr. Evans will tell us about another group that missed out on the first Christmas when he returns to continue this message in just a moment. Before he does, though, I want to let you know that when you make a donation to help us keep his teaching coming your way, we'll send you all 20 messages in his year-end audio collection, The Best of Tony Evans 2021.

It's our way of saying thanks for your investment in us, which enables us to continue investing in you. And for a limited time to those who donate and request The Best of Tony Evans 2021, we have a special offer. At your request, we'll also include up to three additional resources from Tony, ranging from a popular devotional for men, a new and timely book covering a biblical look at race, and even a book just for kids called Made by God. You can get the details on these optional bonuses when you visit tonyevans.org or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222. We have friendly and knowledgeable team members standing by to assist with your resource request 24-7. Once again, that's tonyevans.org or by phone 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that information for you after part two of today's message.

Here's Dr. Evans. Well, there's another group that missed Christmas, the religious folk. The folk who went to church. How can you go to church and miss Christmas? Because we're told King Herod, when he heard about this king, called together verse four of Matthew 2, all the chief priests and scribes, he inquired of them where Messiah was to be born.

Now let's just stop there. He knew enough Bible to reference who this king would be because he calls him the Messiah and the Messiah would be the anointed one prophesied in the Old Testament. He went to the preachers because they had been the seminary.

They had been a Bible college and they knew the Bible. So everybody talking about this king, Herod says. So clergy, tell me where this king is going to be born. The religious folk said, verse five, in Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote, and you Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah, for out of you shall come forth a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel. They quoted Micah 5-2. Micah was written 700 years before this event in Matthew, the birth of Jesus. So 700 years before Jesus was born, Micah prophesied that Messiah, the ruler, would be born in Bethlehem. Now you have to understand Bethlehem is a two-bit town. In other words, it's a tiny village. If you were going to guess, you wouldn't guess Bethlehem.

It's too insignificant. But 700 years, see, some people want to know, why are you so stuck on the Bible? I'm stuck on the Bible because if you can predict 700 years before an event happens, not only that the event's going to happen, who's going to be involved in the event when it happens, but the specific location of a two-bit town, where it's going to happen, oh, I'm going to take that book serious. That's why we believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. That means it is without error. It is without error. Every word is inspired.

It's called plenary verbal inspiration. Every word comes from the mouth of God, and it is perfect. So guess what? These religious leaders knew the Scripture. Because when Herod asked them where it was going to be born, they quoted Micah 5, 2 on the spot.

But wait a minute. They knew the Scripture, but never made the trip. They knew the verse, but they didn't go to Bethlehem. The guys who didn't go to seminary didn't go to Bible college, the wise men. The folks who didn't have formal biblical training went to Bethlehem.

The folks who were in the Bible church didn't go to Bethlehem. They knew the Bible, but they didn't make the trip. What I'm trying to say is, if you know the Bible, but don't go and meet the Savior, you miss Christmas. You see, if the written word doesn't lead you to the living word, it just becomes another word. Unless your knowledge of the Bible leads you to a deeper walk with the Savior, then the Bible will be of no value to you. They knew the Bible, but they never went to Bethlehem. It's better to know less and go to Jesus than to know more and stay away from Jesus. Because the purpose of the written word is to lead you to the living word. And so these Bible-toting, quoting folk never made it to an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. As John chapter 5, verse 39 and 40 says, Jesus says, You do search the scriptures, but you don't have life because you don't come to me, unless you are drawn to him because of what you read. Don't misunderstand me.

You need what is written, but the purpose of what is written is to cultivate a deeper relationship. So you can study the Bible till you're blue in the face and be as carnal or unsaved, because these folk were unsaved, but they knew their Bible, on their way to hell, but they could quote scripture. No, they missed Christmas because the written word didn't lead them to the living word. Even when Jesus became a grown man in Luke chapter 4, verse 22, proving he was the Messiah, all they could say was, isn't this Joseph's son? I mean, the blind are seeing and the lame are walking and the deaf are hearing, and he's proclaiming to be Messiah because Messiah was supposed to do all this, and all they could come was, isn't that Joseph's son? By now you should know this is more than a carpenter's son, but they hadn't graduated in their intimacy.

They only graduated with their information. That's why the Bible says the letter killeth. You can become a worse Christian by studying the Bible, because you're not led to the person that the Bible is about. You're not drawn to the Savior. You're not drawn to Jesus Christ.

Why? Why weren't these religious people drawn to the Savior? I mean, Bethlehem from Jerusalem is not that far. It was not like a long trip. You didn't need an airplane.

You could walk it. But here's the problem. They didn't understand why Jesus came. And you know why people miss Christmas? Because we don't know why Jesus came either. First of all, Jesus didn't come just so you could get off work. Jesus didn't come so you could get a bonus check. Jesus didn't come so you could have a nice dinner with turkey and dressing and sweet potato and all the good stuff, you know. No, he didn't come for that.

He didn't come so you could sing carols. Nothing wrong with any of that, but that's not why he came. He came because there was a sin problem that needed to be resolved. And the sin problem that needed to be resolved, only he could resolve it. God had to come as a man in order to resolve that sin problem. But because the religious leaders didn't think they had a problem, they didn't need a Savior.

Because they didn't know they had the disease, they weren't looking for the remedy. And the reason why people will use Jesus' name but not take Jesus seriously is they don't understand why he came. He didn't come just so you could feel better. He didn't come just so you could be inspired. He came to deal with sin and to provide salvation. And if you don't understand that's why he came, then you're missing the party. Because Jesus is not there. He came to deal with sin in our lives so that we would be saved and sin in our lives so that we would have fellowship with him.

So they knew the Bible, but they never made it to Jesus. So the question I want to ask you is, are you missing Christ this Christmas? Is this a holiday? If it's only a holiday, that's fine. Call it that, but don't call it Christmas. Because if Christ doesn't have anything to do with it, what good is a birthday if the person who the birthday is for is not welcome? And that's the kind of world you and I are living in today. We are having a Christless Christmas, other than mentioning him from time to time out of courtesy.

No, you give him the honor due his name. Because when you understand the folks who discovered Christmas and what they did even when Mary wrapped him in the cloth, that was a deep thing. When she wrapped him in the cloth, that's more than a diaper. But if you don't understand that, you won't understand Christmas. One of the things that you need to know, when the wise men came, you see all these nativity scenes where the wise men are surrounding a baby in a manger. That's not what the Bible says. It says when the wise men came, Jesus was a toddler in a house, not a baby in a manger.

But if you don't read the scripture, you're going to be fooled by nativity scenes. He was a toddler in the house. So if they saw the star when he was born, but they couldn't get to him until he was a toddler in a house, that meant they took many months to get to him.

Because you're getting close to two years old if you're a toddler. They figured Jesus was worth the journey. We won't even go down the street to celebrate Jesus when they cross continents to get to him, because they knew who they were dealing with.

When you understand he's the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, then you're willing to be convenient for that party, because you understand that he's a king on the throne, and he's worthy to be praised. So don't you leave Christ out this Christmas. In fact, make a big deal about him. Make a big deal about him because he deserves it. Make a big deal about it because we're talking about God become a man. Make a big deal about it because because he came, you have eternal life. No party can give you that. Make a big deal about it because he's King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and wants to rule your life.

In fact, make such a big deal about him that you hand him your throne, and you let him sit as ruler over your life, calling the shot. Dr. Evans will have a final word of encouragement for us when he returns in just a moment. Before he does, though, I want to remind you about our current year-end audio collection, The Best of Tony Evans 2021. As I mentioned earlier, all 20 messages in this set are our gift to you when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station.

And for a limited time, we're also including a special customizable bonus offer. Choose an additional popular resource, like the Kingdom Men Rising devotional, or Tony's children's book, Made by God, or even his powerful and timely new work, Kingdom Race Theology. For complete details and to make your donation, just drop by TonyEvans.org. Again, that's TonyEvans.org.

Or you can call our 24-hour resource center at 1-800-800-3222 to let one of our team members assist with your request. Dr. Evans will come back in just a moment, so stay with us. This year has been another tough one as many of the challenges we faced in 2020 still remain. But as we get ready to step into the new year, we're excited about the opportunities before us to reach even more people with messages of hope and life from God's Word. And with your year-end gift today to help meet our challenge amount, you'll help do exactly that. Please visit TonyEvans.org to give today.

That's TonyEvans.org. You know, it takes food, water, and air to keep our bodies alive. But next time, on the New Year's edition of the broadcast, Dr. Evans will talk about what it takes to keep our faith from dying.

Right now, though, he's back with a final illustration for today. You know, when you go to the doctor, they take blood tests. And one of the tests they're looking at is your cholesterol level because bad cholesterol produces plaque. When plaque fills up in the arteries, it blocks the flow of blood. When you block the flow of blood enough, you're going to have a heart attack because the blood can't get through and bring the oxygen and bring the nutrients. And so the lack of blood flow due to the plaque buildup by the cholesterol will lead to death. You and I have a plaque buildup in our souls.

The Bible calls it sin, and the Bible says, and the wages of sin is death. It leads to death. Oh, but you know, they got this balloon that they put in there now. When they put that balloon in there, that opens up so that the blood can flow again. There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins. And sinners plunge beneath the flood, lose all their guilty stain. Jesus Christ has a balloon, and he wants to open up your soul so that you can live.

Live in eternity and have his life in history. So if I were you, and if you were me, I'd make a big deal about Jesus this Christmas because that blood still has healing power. That blood still has saving power. That blood still has delivering power. That blood still has victory power. That blood still has freedom power.

That blood can overcome the worst thing you are facing today. So if I were you, and you were me, I'd make a big deal about Jesus. If God gets excited about the big deal you make about Jesus, you're going to have a lot to be excited about because it's going to be Jesus in the morning, Jesus at noontime, and Jesus when the sun goes down. I'm going to make a big deal about Jesus so I can get all of God that God wants to give me because Jesus is the reason for the season. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-04 20:53:01 / 2023-07-04 21:03:11 / 10

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