Luke 2:1, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
This morning we really come into the heart of the Christmas story. And I love this chapter. I read these verses and most of this chapter every Christmas morning to our family. And I'm glad that we can share it right here with our church family this morning. So let's pray and ask God to open our hearts as we get into this passage today.
Father, we thank you that Jesus is the person of revival, and that when we are right with you and when we are truly aware of who you are and awaken to what you have done for us, that revival can come to every heart. So I pray that you would speak to our hearts this morning and challenge us from your Holy Word, challenge us to be more grateful for what you did when you came to this world, and I pray and ask this now in Jesus' name. Amen. You may be seated.
Well, one of the great challenges we have with young people this time of year is teaching them that Christmas is about his presence; not the presents, but his presence, right? We want to focus on the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives. And I understand that children are good negotiators and that they wants presents. But the fact of the matter is that Christmas is really about Jesus Christ living with us and all of knowing him and loving him.
I heard of a small boy that was writing God a letter asking for some Christmas presents. He was theologically astute enough to realize that there was no Santa Claus that brought presents, he knew that God was responsible for that. And so he was writing a letter to God about his presents, and he started it out like this. He said, "Dear God, I have been good for six months now." Then he thought about it a minute and he crossed that out and he said, "three months now." And he thought about that a little while later and he crossed that out and he said, "two week now."
You've got to be honest with the Lord, right? And so he was writing the letter, and then he got really frustrated thinking about this matter of how long he had really been good. And so he went into the other room where there was a nativity scene, and he found the little figurine of Mary, and he brought it back and he put it by his pad and his pencil, and he began writing the letter to God, and he said, "Dear God, if you ever want your mother again." Now kids know how to con and negotiate, don't they? They're going to try to make a deal with God, and it seems like they learn that at a young age.
Our grandsons Chandler and Camden, they love to eat right now. They're just growing like weeds. And Danielle picked us up at the airport yesterday. And so as we're getting out of LAX they were really hungry. I said, "Well, boys, we can have El Pollo Loco in 20 minutes or we can have Burger King – no, In-N-Out Burger in 40 minutes." And Chandler from the backseat said, "I'll take 20 and 40."
He's figured out how to work the system a little bit, right? That's kind of what happens during Christmas, isn't it? We get a lot of negotiations going on with the kids, and they want us to know what they need, and so it was.
Well, we see this morning that really the focus of Christmas is on the very presence of God with us: Immanuel, God with us. And revival is not about an experience, it's not about a possession, it's about a person, and the person is the Lord Jesus Christ. Revival is not seeking something, it is seeking someone. And this is what we want this month, we want to seek the Lord Jesus Christ with all of our heart, with all of our soul, and with all of our mind.
Henry Blackaby is a wonderful author. He's written a great book entitled Experiencing God, and in his book he says, "The outstanding feature of spiritual awakening has been the profound consciousness of the presence and the holiness of God."
When you are living a revived spiritual life you have a profound consciousness of Christ in you, the presence of God. It permeates your thoughts. It really affects how you live and what you say and where you go and who you're with. Everything in your life is permeated by this thought that God is with me, Jesus Christ is with me today. And so I want to share with you this morning three truths from the Christmas story, and I really believe you're going to see the parallels from revival in the Christmas story with me today. And I want you to notice, first of all, as we jump into this passage, the sovereignty of God in revival.
Now God is sovereign and that simply means he is in control of all things. How many of you believe that God is in control of all things? He is sovereign, he's in control. He does not force us to worship him, he superintends in the process of all things, and he allows us to respond to him. So when we say that God is sovereign we mean that he is in control. And I want you to see the sovereignty of God this morning and I want you to see it as it relates to revival.
Back in January we said that we cannot control the wind of revival, but we can set the sails for revival, meaning that God moves as he will, but we want to be ready for the moving of God. We want God to work in our lives, even during this Christmas season. So let's see the moving of God in the Christmas story.
First of all, it is seen in a powerful order, and I want you to see this order in verse 1: "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed."
Now we are studying a time period where the Roman Empire was really the rule of the world at that time. Caesar Augustus reigned from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D. And if you've studied anything about this Roman Empire you know it was expansive. You know that it covered so many different countries, and they built so many roads; and in order to build those roads and fill those potholes they had to have more taxes. And so the taxation was made known. And Caesar made this decree, and it was a decree for taxation.
And I find it interesting, because sometimes from my perspective and yours, we find these inconveniences to be very difficult, and we wonder, "What's going on?" and "Lord, don't you know what's happening in the world?" and these kinds of problems sometimes from our perspective, we are troubled by them. But we must always remember that no matter the trial or the burden, there's always a bigger picture in mind. And what I want you to see with me this morning is that God's word says in Isaiah 40:15 that the nations are like a drop in the bucket to the Lord. In other words, he has control over all of the nations, and that God has a purpose in every moving and in every situation.
So we see this powerful order, but we also see, secondly, a providential plan. In other words, God allows this order that Caesar Augustus gives to fulfill his plan. So notice it in verse 3, this taxing was, verse 2, "This taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city."
So here's the plan of God. God says, "I want Joseph and Mary to go from Nazareth down to Bethlehem." There's no way on earth that a nine-month pregnant woman is going to wake up one day and go, "You know what I feel like doing today? I feel like taking a 40-mile donkey ride." If you've ever lived with a woman that was expecting, that's not what she's going to want to do when she's nine months pregnant. She wants to stay home, she wants to get ready for the baby.
But God in his sovereignty makes this decree and it's done through Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed; everyone had to go to their home city. And Joseph and Mary were of the house and lineage of David, and Bethlehem is the city of David, which meant that God was ordering through Caesar Augustus sovereignly to bring Joseph and Mary to the very place where his prophets had said Jesus would be born, which was Bethlehem the City of David. And that's why Galatians 4:4 is such a significant verse when it tells us, "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman," we saw that a few weeks ago in Genesis chapter, the seed of a woman, "made of a woman, made under the law."
In the fullness of time, it was according to God's plan that all of this began to unfold. It was not Caesar Augustus that just arbitrarily decided; but God knew what Caesar Augustus would decide, and it was all according to his sovereign plan. The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord. And let us remember, even when things happen in Sacramento, or Washington, or wherever that we do not agree with, that God is always in control. And I believe this: even as he was ordering the world of the first century to prepare for the coming of his Son in his first advent, that God is presently ordering the world of the twenty-first century for the second coming of his Son the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth.
So God is always working. He is always bringing about his purpose and his plan. And I want you to recognize the sovereignty of God in revival. He can bring revival. He can touch lives. It doesn't matter what's going on in the world, it is his prerogative to bring revival at his time.
Notice though, not only the sovereign hand of God as the Roman world turned at his will, but secondly, notice the sensitivity of man in revival. Now the phrase that I used a moment ago is that God is the one who brings the wind of revival, but we must set the sails for that revival. There must be men and women who are sensitive to the moving of God. There must be men and women who are waiting to hear the voice of God. There must be men and women who are obeying the word of God. And in the Christmas story, the man and the woman were none other than Joseph and Mary. God was moving, there's no doubt. God was sending them to Bethlehem. God had sent Gabriel to them to tell them that they were going to bring this Child into the world, but they had to be the ones who were willing to do what God had called them to do.
So notice in verse 4, "And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, under the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child." Now here we see the sensitivity of this man in revival.
Now during this time of year I find that we are all very sensitive to what others think, need, want; we're thinking about that, and that's a good thing. Sometimes at work we're sensitive to the boss or sensitive to what's happening, what are the objectives. And in our families we're thinking about, "What do I get this one for Christmas?" or "What should I send that one for Christmas?" It's good to be sensitive about those things.
I read something that might help some of you husbands this week as you think about your wife, and it was, "What not to buy your wife for Christmas," all right. So let me just help you guys just a little bit this morning.
This article said, "Do not buy clothing that involves sizes. The chances are 1 in 7,000 that you'll get it right, and your wife will be offended the other 6,999 times." So that for some of us might be some good counsel.
Another one said, "Avoid all things useful. The new silver polish advertised to save hundred of hours is not going to gain any brownie points for you this Christmas," so make a note of that.
"Do not buy jewelry. The jewelry your wife wants, you cannot afford; and the jewelry you can't afford, she does not want." Thought that was pretty helpful for some of us, too.
Finally, "Do not spend too much. "How do you think we're going to afford that?' she'll ask. And do not spend too little or she'll ask, 'Is that all I'm worth?'"
So fellas, be sensitive this month. You're thinking about who you love and what you want to do, but we've got to be careful. But listen, if we're sensitive to family members and coworkers, how much more sensitive should we be to when God is moving on our heart? How much more sensitive should we be to the moving and the directing of God? And that's what we see in the life of Joseph. Joseph was willing simply to follow God's plan day by day.
Jerry Bridges says, "Above all else, we must learn how to bring our will into submission and obedience to the will of God on a practical daily, hour by hour basis." And you think about Joseph and Mary. Gabriel came to Mary and said, "Mary, you're highly favored among women, and you're going to be used of God to bring in his Son. And he will be overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, and he'll be called the Son of God, the Son of the Highest." And finally, we heard Mary last week say, "Be it unto me according to thy word."
And then he came to Joseph with similar news; and Joseph thought, and he was mindful to put her away privately. He wanted out of this situation right at first. Mentally he couldn't handle it. And then finally he just simply said, "God, if this is your will for my life, then I'm going to accept your will." And now they wake up one day and Caesar Augustus is taxing all the world. And perhaps this jogged a memory into Joseph's mind about the place of the birth of Messiah. Whatever the case, we find Joseph and Mary once again just following God's leading day by day.
You know, tomorrow morning you have another day. Tomorrow is another day to follow God's leading. Tomorrow is another day to say, "Lord, what do you have for me today? Who do you want me to witness to today? What is your will for me this day?"
Now how can we like Mary and Joseph follow God's sovereign leading in our lives? Let me give you two quick thoughts. First, we must learn to walk in the Spirit. We who are saved have been born again by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives in us, and the Holy Spirit wants to lead us and guide us every step of the way.
Galatians 5:16, "This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." God says, "I want you to walk in my Spirit. I want you to be like Joseph, a man led; like Mary, a woman led by my Spirit every single step of the way."
And, oh, how we need to walk in the Spirit. God's Spirit will prompt us. God's Spirit will give us boldness. God's Spirit will help us to know when to witness, when to forgive, and how to live. We must walk in the Spirit. We must abide in the Spirit. And sometimes we can get into situations where we feel like, "I don't know if I want to say anything about the Lord," but the Holy Spirit will prompt us. But we've got to be listening and watching.
This past week I mentioned we were privileged to visit the White House for a reception, and we were seated next to someone that was the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and we sat there. He went to Cambridge, his wife went to Wellesley College. I tried to talk for 15 or 20 seconds about securities and exchange, that's about how far I could go with it. And then the Lord said, "Why don't you talk to him about me? Why don't you just talk to him about what you do and about the gospel?"
We had a wonderful time talking about Jesus there in the White House and passing out gospel tracks. But what I want you to know is unless we listen to the Lord when he tells us those things, we'll not have the opportunity to be used of the Lord like we could. I'm simply saying that I believe Joseph and Mary were just very tender people. I believe that when the Lord moved, they just were willing to take one step at a time with Jesus and just do what God wanted them to do. And all of us as Christians must learn to walk in the Spirit.
But not only must we walk in the Spirit, but I want you to see this, secondly, we must walk according to the Scriptures. You see, the wonderful thing about Joseph and Mary, they were simply responding to the prompting of God as he worked through his word in their life.
Look, if you would, at Matthew 1:19. It says, "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.' Then Joseph being raised from the sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife." You see, here's a man who heard God speak, and he rose up and he just did what God wanted him to do.
You know, we must not complicate the Christian life. You say, "I don't understand at all." Let me give you this challenge. When God teaches you one thing, then trust that one thing. When God gives you a challenge in one area, then obey him in that one area. And it might be attendance, it might be witness, it might be forgiveness, it might be as a husband or as a wife; but when God reveals his truth to you, then you follow that truth step by step, by step.
You see, this word that Joseph received, it was a prophesied word. We saw that a few weeks ago, Micah 5:2, "And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that which is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." John 7:42, "Hath not the scripture said that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"
You see, these were Scriptures that Joseph knew. And as Joseph heard these Scriptures, then he was mindful of the fact, "Yes, it is God's will that Jesus would not be born in Nazareth, but that he would be born in Bethlehem." And all Joseph was doing was following the prompting of the Holy Spirit, following the prompting of the Bible. And that is all that we must do this Christmas is as God speaks to our hearts, we must obey him every step of the way. It was a prophesied word.
May I say, it's a relevant word. The Bible's not some outdated book that does not apply to our lives. Oh, it was so relevant in Joseph and Mary's life as well. You see, God said, "I want you to go to Bethlehem."
The word "Bethlehem" is a wonderful word. It simply means "the house of bread," the house of bread. Jesus said in John 6:35, "I am the bread of life." God said, "I want the bread of life to be born in the house of bread."
When you go to this place called Bethlehem, oftentimes on the way there you'll see the sheep that are grazing, and you'll be mindful of the fact that it's a shepherding area, a place where the Lamb of God himself would be born. And so the significance of this place is that Jesus is the bread of life, and that Jesus is the Lamb of God. And I want you to see in verse 5 what it says. It says, "To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife," notice please, "being great with child."
By the way, just a side note. The Bible does not say, "great with fetus." The Bible says, "great with child." And in the Bible we always read about the unborn or the preborn as a living soul. We always read about them as being great with child; and this is one reason that Christians believe in the importance of and the sanctity of life in the mother's womb.
But who was it that was born? This was the bread of life. This was the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet, the great truth is that Mary and Joseph were very sensitive to follow the word of God that led them to the very place of Bethlehem.
And may I encourage you this morning: you'll never know the peace of God, you'll never know the presence of God unless you walk in his Spirit, unless you follow his word. Oh, it's so vital that we have that sensitivity that Mary and Joseph had. But notice, thirdly, this morning, not only do we see the sovereign plan of God and the sensitivity of Joseph and Mary to get to Bethlehem, but notice finally, the security of the Savior, the security that they find when they come to the Lord Jesus.
Now verses 6 and 7 are wonderful verses. Let's notice these together. "And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
Now truly the first Christmas was not about the angels, it was not about the shepherds or the wise men, it was all about the firstborn son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And revival comes into our life when the focus is all on Jesus Christ. Sometimes with religion and church there's so many things, and some emphasize the saints, and some emphasize the programs, and some emphasize this and that. But the focus must always come back to Jesus Christ and Jesus alone. And this is what we see when we come to the manger is the Lord Jesus Christ. And I want you to see, first of all, the security that comes in the very presence of Jesus, the very presence of Jesus.
We see him here as the son of Mary. The Bible tells us she brought forth her firstborn son. He is certainly 100 percent man. He is the God-child, yes, but he is the son of Mary. Romans 1:3, "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." One early church father said, "He became what we are, that he might make us what he is."
Now we do not become the Son of God, but become sons and daughters of God or a part of the family of God. And he took the form of flesh that we might enter into the family of God through him. And I don't know about you, but I'm so thankful for that this morning, that he would bring us into the family of God. This was made possible because he became the son of Mary.
But Jesus is not merely the son of Mary. The colts 23:40 will say he is the son of Mary, but we say beyond that, "He is not only the son of Mary, Jesus is the son of God." And this is so important.
Now notice this, if you would, in the Bible here. It says in verse 7, "She brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger." Now who is this child, the son of Mary? To be sure. The Son of God? Absolutely.
Notice the Bible says in Romans 1:4, "and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." Jesus then is God in the flesh.
Look in your notes there at 1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." Would you say that phrase with me, please? "God was manifest in the flesh." One more time: "God was manifest in the flesh." So here we have God in the manger. Here we have God in the flesh. Oh, what a tremendous, tremendous testimony before us this morning: the son of Mary, the Son of God, laid in a manger.
This past Wednesday I had the privilege of being a part of the Bible study held weekly in the Vice President's office, and one of the questions that I was asked in that Bible study is, "When you think of the name or the word 'Christmas' what comes to your mind?" And this was my answer: "Deity wrapped in humanity."
Christmas is deity wrapped in humanity. God became flesh and dwelt among us. And by the way, what a blessing to sit in the Eisenhower building at a lunch hour and talk with so many people about who Jesus Christ is. And who is he? Deity wrapped in humanity. God became flesh and dwelt among us.
Oh, you see, "The baby Mary carried was not a Caesar, a man who would become a god, but a far greater wonder – the true God who would become a man," Kent Hughes said. He was God who took the form of man, John 1:1, " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:14, " And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father)."
And Joseph and Mary, they have been following the promises of God. They have traveled all this way to Bethlehem, and now the baby is laid in the manger, and now they see the fulfillment of the prophecy and the promises right in front of them; and what security and blessing this must have brought. And this Christmas, may this bring security and blessing to our hearts as we ponder who Jesus is.
We see the security of his presence. But there's also security in his provision. And I want you to notice this as well. Verse 7, notice some specific words: "She brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger."
Let me mention, first of all, the manger. What is a manger? A manger is the place where the sheep came to eat. A manger, as I saw on the holy night a few years ago is not necessarily made of wood like we might construct in the West, but it was made out of limestone. It was cut out. It was a cold and a harsh place to lay a baby. But Jesus Christ the Lamb of God was laid in the feeding trough of the lambs; and this is why when John the Baptist saw Jesus in some 33 years later walking down the side of the road, he said as he saw Jesus, "Behold, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."
Jesus was born to die. Jesus came to be the very Lamb of God. And so here we have the Lamb of God laid in the manger as a lamb; and he did this in order that he might ultimately shed his blood. He was born to die. He was born to be that sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. And that is why when anyone realizes that they are a sinner and calls out to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, the Bible says, "Whosoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." Why? Because he's the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. That's not just the sins of people in China and Africa, that's my sin and your sin as well. The babe in the manger, the Lamb of God, is still taking away sin, because he shed his blood on the cross of Calvary for our sin. The Lamb of God laid in the manger where the little lambs were laid.
During this time of Christmas we give and receive cards often, and one of my favorite cards, maybe my favorite card in these 32 or 33 years of Christmas seasons came from a little eight-year-old girl in our church. And she wrote me this letter some years ago, and she said, "Dear Pastor, thank you for this church and for your preaching. I know you work very hard to do this stuff. We are very happy to have you here. This year my dad learned not to drink and smoke, and how to be nice. Thank you, and God bless you. Love, Anna."
Now a lot of you guys are doing good on not drinking and smoking, so let's try the being nice part this Christmas, okay? But I think about that little letter and I'll tell you why it's my favorite Christmas card of 32 years; because Anna's dad got saved that year. And after he got saved, he didn't say, "Whoopie, I'm forgiven; I can sin like crazy now." But after he got saved, his life changed. It changed so much a little eight-year-old girl wrote her pastor to say, "Pastor, my dad stopped doing this and that, and he's really a nice man now."
And that's what the Lamb of God can do. He can give us a brand new life. He can forgive us of our sin. And if any man is in Christ he's new. Old things pass away; all things become new. And this is the greatness of the Lamb of God. He covers our sin and he gives us new life. And that's the significance of the manger. The Lamb of God was laid in the manger.
But notice another significant word here. It says that he was not only laid in a manger, but did you see that he was wrapped in swaddling clothes? Now what are swaddling clothes? Swaddling clothes are something like gauze strips, a very find linen, a very cheap cloth. Frankly, it was used in burying people. When someone was buried they were wrapped in swaddling clothes; and then aloes and various different ointments were placed on the swaddling clothes.
And so, here Jesus is wrapped in swaddling clothes, which picture again for us the fact he was born to die. The fact that he was wrapped in burial clothes when he was born, apparently that was all that was available to Joseph and Mary; but it signifies to us again why he was born. And the Bible tells us in John 20:6, "Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie there." And verse 7 tells us that the napkin was folded neatly in the corner.
In other words, when Jesus was resurrected after three days in that tomb, the Bible says that these swaddling clothes were laid neatly in a corner. And when the ladies ran on that first Easter morning to find Jesus and to go to that empty tomb, they didn't find Jesus, they simply found the swaddling clothes neatly wrapped in the corner of the tomb. And when we read on Christmas morning about the swaddling clothes wrapped around Jesus we'll remember in our minds that those same types of clothes were folded neatly in the tomb, because though he was the Lamb of God and though he died for our sin, three days later, up from the grave he arose with a triumph for his foes. 31:49
This is the King of kings. This is Christ the Lord who we celebrate at this time of year. And so, we see this morning the wonderful truth of revival at Christmas. God is sovereign, but we must be sensitive to follow him every step of the way. And when we do, we'll find security in the presence of Jesus Christ, because revival is not about an experience, it's not about a possession, it's about a person – the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now notice the final phrase in this passage and we'll be done this morning. Verse 7 says, "because there was no room for them in the inn." Let's say that together, "because there was no room for them in the inn."
One of the saddest phrases in all of the Bible, that God would send forth his Son to be laid in a manger, to be wrapped in swaddling clothes. Here's the Son of God, surrounded by Joseph and Mary. They're in awe. But why were they out, perhaps, in a barn, as we would call it, or in a stable, if you will? Why were they there? Why was Jesus not wrapped in the finest linens the world could afford? Why was Jesus not in a warm habitation? The Bible tells us why: "Because there was no room in the inn." I wonder if that innkeeper had it to do all over again if he might have changed his mind.
But you see, friend, we only have one life to make decisions about Jesus with, one life. Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last. And how sad that we read there was no room for Jesus. And how sad that there might be someone even in this room this morning who has never opened their heart and said, "Jesus, come in and be my Savior. I want you to reside; I want you to abide. I know that I am a sinner; I want the Lamb of God to forgive my sin. I want the resurrected Savior to take me to heaven someday."
How sad that anybody here would say, "No room. No room for Jesus Christ." But people say it every day, don't they? "No thanks, I went to religious school, I'm done with that." "No thanks, I don't believe in it." The material man has no room, he's too busy with overtime and making money; he doesn't have room for God. But the Bible says, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?" The intellectual man, many times, has no room. But the Bible says, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the very power of God."
Some of you young people coming back from college, you're surrounded by those who have no room. And many times they seem to be so wise, and it says if they know so much. But the Bible simply says to us that are saved, it's not foolishness, it is the power of God this matter of Christmas, this matter of resurrection. It's the power of God that we preach this morning. This is the gospel.
You know what's sad to me, that even many times religious people have no room for Jesus. They have room for religion; they have room for spirituality, for spiritism; they have room for ecumenicism, they have room for all the gods, but not for the God. They have no room for someone who would say, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one cometh to the Father except by me."
While we were on the East Coast this past week we had the opportunity to do an interview with our friend Todd Starnes at FOX News, and in the process of that interview he said to me, he said, "Pastor Chappell, why is it that so many communities want to remove these various nativity scenes? Why is it that so many people are passing rules?" Even he mentioned the candy cane rule that I told you about last week. "Why is it that people are so nervous about Christmas?" he asked me. And I said to him what I believe, "It's not about the holidays. They don't mind the glitter, they don't mind the parties. It's not even about Christmas, that's okay. The problem they have is with Christ himself, who said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father,' he said, 'except by me.'" And so the religious crowd often says, "Hey, we believe in a god, we believe in religion, but we don't believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the way to heaven." And so they say, "No room."
But may I encourage you this morning to make room. Make room in your heart for Jesus. Open your heart to the one who came down and was born in that stable. Open your heart to the one who died as the Lamb of God. Open your heart to the one who was wrapped in swaddling clothes. Open your heart to the one who laid them down and rose again. And there is only one, and there is none other name given under heaven whereby we must be saved, and his name is Jesus Christ.
I pray that if you don't know the Lord as your personal Savior, that you'll open your heart to him this Christmas. And if you do know him, that you will be revived and awakened to everything he has done for you, and that you will have the joy and the blessing of his presence, because that is what revival is all about. You cannot revive someone that has never lived. You cannot revive something that is totally dead. But those who have had life, those who have been saved, you can be reawakened to the glory and the goodness of Jesus this Christmas if you would just simply follow his sovereign plan with a sensitive heart. He'll always lead you into his presence. And there is joy in the presence of Jesus Christ.
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