Dr. Ed Young - Christmas Eve Message
Serious words in 2 Timothy chapter number 3. So many times we listen to Scripture and we don't apply it. I want you particularly this Christmas Eve, especially this Christmas Eve in this moment of history in the world in which we live, see if any of this applies to you as I have read it and to see if it applies to me. "In the last days, difficult times will come. For men and women will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossip, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power".
Our Heavenly Father, we come before you in this Christmas Eve service with a prayer that before any of us leave this place of gathering and worship, we will have made out of our hearts a manger for Jesus to be born, and we will leave different, renewed, alive, purposeful. We came in broken. Lord, may we leave whole and complete. For this is our prayer in the name of our living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, amen.
If your marriage is described as casual, if your marriage is described as peripheral, convenient, I would say that you are not married. You say, "Time out. Do you mean if I could put my marriage in the category of being casual that I'm not married? Do you mean if my marriage is one of convenience, you mean to tell me this Christmas Eve that I am not married"? That's absolutely true. That's absolutely true. You say, "Time out. You know, I had a ritual, a service. I went through the I wills and the I dos and the promises, and somebody pronounced us husband and wife. On top of that, I have a certificate. We signed these papers, a marriage license. It was submitted to the courthouse. It is registered in the courthouse that I am married, I have this piece of paper that says I'm married, and you stand up there and tell me that I am not married if my marriage is casual and convenient"?
That's exactly right. You see, the definition of marriage is not defined by legality. It's not defined by the laws of the land. God gave to the world marriage and he defined it very clearly. He said, we are to leave, number one priority, your mate, your spouse. We are to cleave, and the best picture we can have is of super glue. We are to become one, and that's that divine math of marriage. One plus one equals one, and there's to be no shame. That is marriage. Marriage cannot be defined and verified by ritual or by a piece of paper because if you are married, that relationship is vital, it is essential, it is the human center of who you are in this world. You say, "I'm a Christian". Christianity is not defined by a relationship to Christ that is casual, that is comfortable, that is convenient. And if you say, "I'm a Christian," and your relationship with Christ is casual and convenient, I would say to you that you are not a Christian.
You say, "Time out. Man, I've walked down the aisle of the church. I've been confirmed. I've gone through categorical training. I have a certificate of baptism that is signed by people of authority in the church. I'm a Christian". No, not if your relationship with Jesus Christ is casual and just comfortable and convenient. You're not a Christian if that is all that it is. So we have a casual relationship and, you know, I just, "I'm a Christian and it doesn't affect very much in my life. Of course I'm a Christian, I was brought up as a Christian and I was affirmed, I was baptized. Of course, and it's convenient because, you know, in marriage or in death or... I've done some things in the church. I've given a little bit and I go once in a while, but my Christianity is basically just casual and convenient". I would say that you're not a Christian.
You say, "How in the world can that be"? As in marriage, a ritual and a piece of paper, as in Christianity a ritual and a piece of paper does not make you married and does not make you or me a Christian. Because if the marriage relationship is in this realm, then the relationship we have, the personal relationship with Jesus Christ is infinitely higher and more demanding and more important than that. That's what our Scripture said. All of these in that category. And many of us here on Christmas Eve, we have a form, a ritual and a piece of paper, a form of godliness and we'd have not experienced and we're not living in the power of that godliness and the power that Jesus Christ gives to everyone who is genuinely in his family.
So I trust and I prayed for days that this Christmas Eve service would be an awakening in the lives of many of us to understand clearly, cleanly, and directly exactly what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ because you see Jesus Christ, his life is cosmic. The life of Jesus Christ revolves around three cosmic supernatural events that were lived out in time and in history. I'm talking about Christmas Emmanuel, God with us, I'm talking about Calvary, that moment of atonement God died for us and took his sins upon himself so that we can be made right with God and right with ourselves and right with others, and I'm talking about Easter, the resurrection.
Now, understand these are cosmic events lived out in through the life of Jesus Christ and you have to have all three. Christmas is a wonderful celebratory moment of Emmanuel. It is when there is the incarnation. In other words, incarnation divine enters into humanity, and that's what happened in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. The divine God entered into humanity. And how do we describe this relationship? Jesus, the human Jesus of Nazareth, Christ, the divine, the eternal. So you have eternity entering into time, human divine. Man, that's something. That's who Jesus the Christ is and that is Christmas, and it is supernatural, it is cosmic as well as worldwide. But if you just have Christmas without Calvary, what do you have? You see that Jesus came at Christmas for the purpose of setting you right and setting me right and setting the world right with God because on that cross he made atonement for all the trash in our lives so we can be right with God.
Listen, ladies and gentlemen, you don't just walk up with God casually and say, "God, here I am. I want you to do this. I'm a part of this. Help me with this". We have to have a mediator between us and God. Christ is the only mediator because Jesus was the human part, Christ was the divine part. He can relate to us and also he can relate to God as a part of the Trinity. We read in the book of Hebrews that we have a high priest who is at the right hand of our Heavenly Father. At the right hand of our Heavenly Father, Hebrews tells us is not someone who has not experienced all the trials and temptations and suffering that we would experience as human, but it is someone who has experienced all these things.
And by the way, Jesus at the right hand of the Father in heaven in that divine dimension still is incarnate. He is still totally human and totally God at the right hand. So we have our high priests making intercession for us. It is not someone who is just man or someone who is just God, it is someone who is God man. And at the right hand of the Father is not a superman, it's someone who makes intercession for us, and Calvary made that possible as he took all upon himself. He became like us so, let me say it clearly, we can become like him. We can become like him. So we have Christmas and we have Calvary and we have Easter. You can't have the incarnation, you can't have the suffering there unless it is affirmed and underscored with an exclamation point that's Easter, that is all is verified by the victory even over death.
So we have these cosmic events, and the amazing thing of staggering grace is that you and I can come into relationship with Jesus Christ and he will change everything in your life and my life because the best description of all of this I think, and there so many metaphors that are used, is light. He came in, he said, "I am the light of the world". and then he said, "We are the light of the world". And so if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, there is a light of life, the light of God flowing through your life because when he comes in, he permeates, he illuminates and he cast out, he cleanses all that is dark with you and me, and it's an ongoing process. Christianity is cosmic. How powerful is it? We have a form. Casual and convenient? No, no. Oh, we're denying the power of Christianity. All of us could spend a lot of time lamenting over where we are in the world today. I mean, we're in trouble. No one would debate that.
Internationally, every war divided, all the different problems, all the different prejudices, all the different bitterness, all the different, we have poverty, we have disease all over the world and you say, "Well, what in the world can be done about it? You know, we're all most helpless. We don't know what to do, what to say. Really almost had to pray". Let me tell you something clear and plain. You don't have a problem in your life, I don't have a problem my life, you don't have a challenge in your life, I don't have a challenge in my life that will not be totally answered by letting the light of Jesus Christ rule your life and rule my life. Every one of our problem, every one of our relationships will be solved. So to say that my relationship with Jesus and his church is just casual and convenient tells me that you do not know what it means to be a child of God.
You see, I'm praying this Christmas... and Christmas is such a simple thing. It's such a beautiful story. It is so plain and honest. I've read again all the words in Matthew and Luke about Christmas and I thought how beautiful they are, and we get caught up in angels and stars and wise men and all the other events of Christmas we sometime miss the very simplicity of it all. It is that first cosmic event, the fulfillment of prophecy of thousands of years perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and we go from the cradle to the cross to the crown, we go from Christmas to Calvary to Easter, and it's all involved. You see, not anybody could have atoned for your sin and mine, only God man in Jesus Christ. He is that light. You could define light by particles or by waves. You can define Jesus as human yet divine.
And so I pray that this Christmas that many of us will let the incarnation of Christ become real and let the light that he gives to every life change everything. An incarnation of sound. I pray that what we hear, our hearing, our sound will become incarnate this Christmas. In other words, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ will begin to rule in what we hear in our sound, and I pray also in our sight... there's so many things to see at Christmas. All around the Christmas story, there is sounds, there's a angelic chorus, there's the voices that must have been in the marketplace. There is Simeon there who took the Christ child and said, "Mine eyes have seen the Son of God".
So much sound, so much sight. I pray that your hearing will become incarnate and my seeing and your seeing will become incarnate. We will see as we've never seen before. Also, I pray that our sense of smell will be incarnate, will be filled at Christmas. Christmas is so full of good odors, is it not? Man, the food that is there the first Christmas, the fresh hay and even the odor of the stable, what a down-to-earth thing Christmas really is. I pray that what we smell will become incarnate. You know, when I think about Christmas, I go back to my childhood, and I was brought up, we didn't do much of giving of gifts.
That was not possible for my family. But one thing every Christmas, my mother always baked a fruitcake. She'd start a couple of weeks early, get them baked and wrap them in clove, and put some apple in there so they'd be ready for Christmas, and I would go in our little kitchen and the smell of that fruitcake, let me tell you something, that odor just reminds me of Christmas right to this moment. I can still smell the fruitcake as it was baking. Oh, may your smell, my smell become incarnate. God breathing in it in this life. And what about taste? Christmas is a tasty thing. You know, every country has their specialties, and I read a long list of bread pudding, of beef, of turkey, of chicken.
All the countries of the world have different traditions. So it is a tasted time. And most of us, unfortunately, will taste too much during Christmas, but New Year's resolutions hopefully we'll get us back on track. And we've lost the sense of taste in our culture. Have you noticed that? It is so overwhelming to me. Taste. Read the Christmas story. Man, there's all kinds of crass ways it could have been related to us. Man, here's a young virgin that evidently she's pregnant. "Ahh, I wonder what that is". Oh, here is Joseph who's a outstanding God-afraid man. "How is he involved in this"? Oh, and they went to Bethlehem at the census, and you could see all of this but that story could have been told in a very cold, crass way. We've lost a sense of taste, but how simple and plain it is told.
In a tasteful divine, may we come back and have a sense of taste in your life and in my life. Oh, I pray that they will come in you and me an incarnation of our hearing, of our seeing, of our smelling, of our taste, and finally of our touching in this sensual society in which we live in a sexual sense. By the way, Christianity is very sensual. See these five things. Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple said, "Christianity is the most materialistic religion in the world". People got upset at that, but it really is. It covers, it incarnate all of our senses. That's what I'm talking about, and finally there's a sense of touch.
How fearful we are in our society of a simple embrace, of holy kiss over the left eye. Children come and hug, and all of a sudden we've let the godless trash garbage of our culture influence us as members of the family of God. Reach out and touch, how we need for the incarnation of Christ to come in that which we touch. Do you see why your relationship with Jesus Christ cannot be casual and convenient? It is dynamic and radical, and it touches all of our senses. It touches everything about us. People are running around now saying, "Oh, if we could have peace in the world. Oh, if we could have goodwill toward men".
Let me tell you something. You can't name a situation on the globe, you can't name any situation in any family, in any relationship, in any system of education, you can't name anything that divide us in our culture, in our society, and our world. You can go to Iraq and Iran and China and India and the Middle East and Africa and Central and South America. You can go all this world, all over United States and all the things that overwhelm us and cause us to say, "Oh, the end is near. There is no hope". And you put Jesus Christ in the life of those that are there, I can tell you there will be peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
It's not that there is no answer to all the tension and strife and war and brutality and exportation and viciousness that we have in the world and in the culture of the world, it is that the world has not received him who is the answer, and that is our living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who takes any darkness and turns the light on and suddenly there is joy and meaning and there is new life. That can happen to anybody here. No matter how far away you are, no matter how broken you are, no matter the dark passage that you're now walking through, the light of Christ is healing, revealing, forgiving, enlightening. Just the light of Christ in the life, Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord changes anything and changes everything.