James Merritt - What Should I Do With Christmas
Well, I want to say good morning to those who're watching online today and those who are in our building this morning. I want to begin by saying Merry Christmas. It is that time of year, and we're really grateful that you have joined us today. And it would be fair to say that most every person in America knows the basic story of Christmas, whether you are a Christian or not, whether you go to church or not. At one time or another we've all heard about these elements, right? The virgin birth, baby in the manger, wise men, angels, shepherds. We've heard it ad infinitum every single year. However, only 57% of Americans believe all those things happened. We sing about them, hear about them, talk about them, celebrate them, but the majority of Americans don't even believe all those things really happened.
And even for those who do believe in every element of the Christmas story, as we hear it every year, my question today is, how many people know about the story behind the story? Because one of the things you learn in life is behind every story there is another story. Mitch Albom said it this way. "There's a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall, how a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple. Sometimes they're hard and heartbreaking, but behind all your stories is always your mother's story because hers is where yours begin". There really is always a story behind the story. That's true about the Christmas story, because here's what most people don't ever realize, even a lot of people who come to church, a lot of people who believe in Jesus, behind the Christmas story AD is the Christmas story BC. That's why we're beginning a series today that you'll really love. We're calling it Holy Christmas, because that's really what this is all about.
See the real of Christmas, doesn't just go all the way back to Bethlehem. It actually goes back before Bethlehem. It goes back before the wise men, before the manger, before the shepherds, and the reason why the Christmas story is not just happy, it's also holy, is because of what happened before the story of Christmas was ever written down. So here's the question I want to ask all of us as we start this beautiful time of the year. What should I do with Christmas? The vast majority of people who love Christmas, who believe in Christmas, who celebrate Christmas, who enjoy Christmas, who love Christmas will go through Christmas and never really understand what they're supposed to do with Christmas. See, we all know what we are to do at Christmas, because for the most part, even if you don't believe in Jesus or whether you do or whether you don't, whether you go to church or whether you don't, whether you're religious or not, we pretty much all do the same thing at Christmas.
During the Christmas year, most all of us do the same thing. So what do we do? We eat, we shop, we eat, we decorate trees, we eat, we drink eggnog, we eat, we go to parties, we eat, we sing Christmas carols, we eat, and no Christmas is complete, right, without watching "Home Alone", "Christmas Vacation", the blessing, right, "Christmas Vacation", "It's A Wonderful Life", "The Santa Clause", and my staff got all over me today. Some people want to watch "Die Hard". They think that's a Christmas movie. It's not in my book, but some people think it is. Doesn't surprise me because I've learning about my staff. Even when I give them a good idea, they die hard. Now most of us can tell you what we're going to do between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even though I know that we all know what we're supposed to do at Christmas and during Christmas, we don't really know what we're supposed to do with Christmas. And it is possible to celebrate a holiday even if we don't know its true meaning.
Many Americans do that. There are a lot of people in this country, we celebrate Memorial Day. They don't know why. A lot of people who've never been to our country, we celebrate the 4th of July. They don't know why we do that. It's possible to celebrate a holiday and not even know why you're doing it. But then we come to a Gospel. I want you to take God's Word and turn to it. Called John, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We come to the very first chapter of the Gospel of John and guess what John does. He does as a big favor. John tells us exactly what we're to do not at Christmas, not during Christmas, not for Christmas, what we're to do with Christmas.
Now, before you look at John chapter one, let me go ahead and warn you something, particularly you kids that are in the building this morning. You won't hear anything about wise men. There are no mangers. There are no stars. There are no shepherds. There are no singing. John's not concerned about the where of Christmas, he's not concerned about the when of Christmas. He said, "Look, I'll let Matthew and Luke handle that. Let them tell you about the where and the when". John says, "I want to talk to you about the who and the why of Christmas," because unlike might Matthew and Luke, listen, John is not looking at the birth of a baby through the eyes of humanity. John is looking at the birth of the king through the eyes of God. He says, "Let's look at the story behind the story".
First five verses of John. 65 words. And yet in five verses and 65 words, John gives us enough truth and enough theology about this BC baby to fill up five books and 65,000 words. Somebody said about this verse of Scripture, about what we're about to read, here's what he said. I love what he said. He said, "Never has so much been said in so few words". And every time I read the first five verses of John and I'll read the New Testament through two or three times every year, every time I read the first five chapters, I put my book down. I said, "There is so much here". And so John says, "Let me tell you what to do. Let me tell you what you should do with Christmas, during Christmas, and even after Christmas, every day of the year," because if Christmas is what we believe it is, if it's celebrates what we believe really happened, John says, "Okay, there are three things we ought to do with Christmas".
Number one, I should share Jesus as the Lord of this world. If I believe in Christmas, if it really is a true story, I should share Jesus as the Lord of this world. Now, the very first verse that John writes, in my opinion, is one of the greatest single sentences in the entire Bible. As a matter of fact, I'm going to say this. If all you ever knew about Jesus was what you're going to find in the very first verse of John's Gospel, if that's all we ever knew about Jesus, you would really know everything you would need to know about who Jesus really was, who Jesus is, and who Jesus claimed to be. So we're going to read it together. John said, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God". Easy verse to remember. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God". Now let's just go one nugget at a time. Here we go. He says, "In the beginning was the Word". "In the beginning was the Word".
Now you notice that the word Word is capitalized. Why is the word Word capitalized? Because John's giving us a little clue. This is not just a word, like a word in a sentence. This is the title of a person. This is the name of a person. John is not referring to some thing, he's referring to someone. And you said, "Well, who is he talking about"? Well, it's obvious as we continue to read this chapter, he's talking about Jesus. Now let's take those first three words, in the beginning. Okay, if you grew up in church, you know this. What does those three words remind you of? Tell me out loud. Yeah. Genesis 1:1. That's exactly what John was thinking about. John is going all the way back to the first chapter of the Bible, the very first verse. In the beginning. And in the beginning is referring back to when everything had its beginning. Time began, space began, matter began, life as we know it began. However, there's one major difference between the way those words are used in Genesis and the way those words are used in John. You ready?
In Genesis you're looking forward to the creation of humanity, but in John, you're looking backward to the presence of Jesus. So John makes this incredible statement. Now this is going to be deep, so listen. He says, "In the beginning was the Word". Deep stuff. You say, "What do you mean"? Here's what John was saying. Jesus was not from the beginning. He was in the beginning. Therefore, he had no beginning because he was before the beginning. If you're a Florida Gator, you don't get that. I'm going to say it one more time. All right, here we go. Jesus was not from the beginning. He was in the beginning. Therefore he had no beginning because he was before the beginning. By the way the Greek verb for was in the Greek language, it signifies, it's in the kind of a tense, it's called the imperfect tense and what that means is this. Whenever you use the imperfect tense in Greek, you're referring to something that happened in the past, but it continues into the present.
So here's the way you could translate this verse. In the beginning, Jesus was the Word, he is the Word and he always will be the Word. So in other words, Jesus had a birth, listen carefully, Jesus had a birth, but he never had a beginning. My beginning was my birth. Your beginning was your birth. Jesus had a birth. He did not have a beginning. Now I get it. You say that's so hard to comprehend and I get it because everything we've ever known had a beginning and it had an end. Jesus neither had a beginning nor an end. He is from eternity to infinity. There was a time when time was not. There's never been a time when Jesus was not. There was a time when time was not. There's never been a time when Jesus was not. So who was in the beginning? The Word. And that's a perfect way to describe Jesus. Why does John call Jesus to Word? Think about this. What are you doing right now? You are hearing and seeing a word. You're hearing me speak. You're seeing me speak. You are hearing and seeing me give a word.
What is a word? A word is a tool that does two things. It gives you revelation and it gives you communication. For example, do you know what I'm thinking right now? Sure you do because I'm telling you. That's what I'm telling you in a message. I'm telling you what I'm thinking. I'm telling you what's in my mind right now. So what is a word? A word is simply the visible expression of an invisible thought. You are seeing what I'm thinking by what I'm saying. You're seeing what I'm thinking about what I'm saying. I'm communicating you my thoughts. What's John trying to tell us? Jesus is the visible expression of an invisible God. He's the visible expression of the invisible God. Well, let's keep digging. He said in the beginning was the Word. And then John says, "And the Word was with God".
Now, that's a big deal because the word with in that verse, it's kind of easy to rush past it, but it carries so much weight. You want that word with means? Listen to this. It literally means face-to-face like, I'm with you right now. We're talking face-to-face. The Word was face-to-face. The Word was continually facing toward God. In other words, Jesus was not just in the general vicinity of God. In the beginning, he was face-to-face with God. He was fellowshipping with God. He was communicating with God. And then, if it doesn't get more unbelievable, John drops his theological hammer. He says, "Oh, by the way, and the Word was God". Not just in the beginning was the Word, not just he was with God. He was God. Jesus wasn't just with God in the beginning. From the beginning, he was God. By the way, this is important. John does not say that God was the Word. He said the Word was God.
You say, "Why is that such a big deal"? If Jesus had said God was the Word, then that would mean that only Jesus is God. He says the Word was God. Now if you're thinking, you're saying, okay, time out, wait a minute. You got two persons here, right? Yup. You got the Word and you got God, but there's only one God. That's true. You got two persons, but there's one God. Oh, it gets better. The Scripture has this third one. The Scripture says that the Holy Spirit is God. So you got three persons, but you got one. God, we got a word for that. It's called the Trinity. So if somebody comes up to me and says, "Okay, who is God"? I'd say, "Well, God the Father". Is anybody else God? Yup. God the Son. Anybody else God? Yep. God the Spirit.
Now I know what you're thinking right now. You're thinking right now, okay, you either explain that to me or we're going to fire you. I'll have to lose my job. I can't explain it. But before I would deny it, I would lose my life. There's three persons but there's one God. He says in the beginning was the Word. He tells us where the Word was. It was with God. He tells us who the Word was. It was God. Then he tells us what the Word did. Look what he says next. He was with God in the beginning. And then he says through him all things were made. Without him nothing was made that has been made. So question, boys and girls, some of you kids here. So who created the world? God or Jesus. And the answer is what? Yes. The answer is yes. Easy question. Yes. You say I don't get it. You won't get this either then.
Genesis 1:1, we know that verse. In the beginning, God created the heavens the earth. How many of you know that verse? Right? Most of us know it. In the beginning, God created. Here's what you don't know. The Hebrew word for God in that verse is the word Elohim. It's plural. It literally means Gods. If you want to translate that literally, here's what the verse says. In the beginning, Gods created the earth. But for you English grammarians out there, it's bad grammar. You know why? Created is singular. You say, wait a minute, you've got a plural noun with a singular verb. That's right. You know why? Because there's only one God. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. So who was at creation? God the Father was at creation. God the Son was at creation. God the Holy Spirit was at creation. But who created the world? God, only one God.
So who is Jesus? John's trying to make this point. He is the Lord of the world. He says, look, he is eternally God. He was in the beginning. He was equally God. He was with God. And he was essentially God. He was God. So who is Jesus? He is God's Word. He is God's Word of revelation. He's the physical, visible expression of the spiritual invisible God. If you're a kid here, if you're a child listening, you kids listen to me. Let me tell you who Jesus was. Jesus is what God looked like when you put skin on him. That's who Jesus is. He is what God looks like when you put skin on him. He is the word of revelation. He is the word of creation. He spoke the world into existence. What you're about to see in a moment, he is the word of salvation. Now, if what I just said is true, then I can say this without fear of contradiction. The single most important question every human being has to settle in this life is this question. Who is Jesus Christ and what am I going to do about it? Who is Jesus Christ and what am I going to do about it?
And let me just say this. I hope it won't make you mad, but I'm just being honest. If you answer that question wrong, nothing else matters. If you don't get that one question right, doesn't matter what else you get right in life, you lose. So what was must we do? Number one, I'm a share Jesus as the Lord of this world. That's the first thing we need to be doing with Christmas. But then John says there's something else we ought to do. He said I should show Jesus as the life of this world. Not only should I share Jesus as the Lord of this world, I oughta show Jesus as the life of this world. Now I love this passage. This, I'm telling you, as a theologian, I'm in hog heaven 'cause it gets better and better and better because listen to what John says now. He says in him, that is in Jesus, was life and that life was the light of all mankind.
Now this is so big for John. You wouldn't know this, but in the New Testament, there are actually two words for life. One word is the word... What word do you think we get from that? Biology, right? That's right. Biology, right? So the... it means physical life. The life that I'm living in my body right now is... life. The life that you're living physically right now that is... life. That life will eventually come to an end. That's not the word John uses here. There's another word that John uses. It's the word... We get the word zoology from that. That's the highest form of life. That is spiritual life. That is eternal life. Now even children know the answer this question. Who needs life? Dead people, right? Dead people. They need life. Teresa and I, we were talking the other day. You know, you get older and you start thinking about your funeral, right? I did a funeral this past week and you know, I'm at the age and stage of life where I realized, hey, one day it's going to be me.
And so I think I may have told you, Teresa asked me the other day. She said, you know, we're talking about my funeral and I've got it all planned out and who I'm going to have speak at all that. And she said, "Is there any one thing that you want anybody to say at your funeral"? I said, I want one, just one person would say one thing that would make my day. She said, "What"? If one person would look in my casket and go, "Look, he's moving," Man, that'd make my day, right? So, the point is dead people need life. Now here's what John is trying to tell us. We were all born with physical life. We're not born with spiritual life. That beautiful baby that came into the world somewhere around the world this morning, that beautiful baby that came out of that mother's womb, at the very same time that baby was born physically alive, that baby was born spiritually dead. That's the way we're all born, physically alive, but spiritually dead.
So here's the point. You're a born with physical life. You must be born again to receive spiritual life. And that you say, why are you dwelling on this? Because this is so big. There's such a big difference between existing and living. I live in a neighborhood, you live in a neighborhood full of people. They're not living. They're existing. They get up, they eat their breakfast, read their paper, go to work, come back, watch TV, go to bed, do that for 50 years, curl up their toes and die. They never lived. They just existed. Everybody exists, but not everybody lives. That's what Jesus meant when he said this, "The thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and destroy. I've come that they may have life". Now he was talking to people that were alive right then. He said, "I've come that you might have life".
I know you're breathing. I know you eat. I know you sleep. I know you played golf. I know you water ski. I know you go to the lake. I know all about that, but you don't have life. Somebody has said three things make life worth living. I thought this was so good when I read it the other day. Three things make life worth living, a self fit to live with. Every spouse would say that. A faith fit to live by and a purpose fit to live for. I believe that's true. Real life, real life, you're a self to fit to live with, a faith you've got to fit to live by and a purpose fit to live for. And when I read that, I thought to myself, only Jesus can give you all three of those things. Only Jesus can do that. Only Jesus can give you, can make you the best person to live with. Only Jesus can give you the right faith to live by and only Jesus could give you an eternal purpose to live for.
So now the second part of this statement, this is really cool. John knows what he's talking about. The second part of the statement is not just a spiritual truth. I don't know whether John knew or not. It is a scientific truth. He went on to say that life was the light of all mankind. That light in him was life. And he's then he says and that life was the light of all mankind. I thought, what in the world, John, did you mean by that? And then it hit me. Remember John's thinking about Genesis chapter one, in the beginning. He's got that in his mind. Well, you go back to the first chapter of Genesis and you go back when God created the world, God knew what he was doing because what is the very first thing that God introduced into the world? Does anybody remember? Light. The very first words we ever hear God speak. Let there be light. Why does God start with light? He could start with anything he wanted to start with. He says, nope. First you got to have light. Why does God begin there?
All right, we're going to go back to high school because in the physical world, with very few exceptions, life requires light. I want you to go back to biology. Mrs. Compton. Frank Compton's one of our deacons. His aunt taught me biology in high school. I loved Mrs. Compton, love the Lord. And I remember in Mrs. Compton's biology class, we learned about photosynthesis. How many of you remember anything about photosynthesis? All right, so a lot of you didn't raise your hand, so pay attention to Professor Merritt. We're going to learn about photosynthesis. That word literally means put together with light. That's what the word means. Put together with light.
So remember in biology you're learning about photosynthesis. It's one of those things that we take for granted, but what we don't realize just how important it is because we wouldn't be alive right now if it were not for photosynthesis. We wouldn't even be here. We could not exist. Remember what photosynthesis is? If you don't, let me refresh your memory. It's the process where green plants and other organisms use light to convert various elements into glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar that is the basic energy source for practically every living organism on planet earth. The oxygen that I'm breathing right now is a by-product of photosynthesis because plants take all these elements and they turn them into oxygen. Fossil fuels, like coal and petroleum, are byproducts of photosynthesis. So in other words, all of us need the light from the sun not just to be warm. We need the light from the sun just to live because without light, physical life would cease to exist.
Plants would die and without light so would we. You say, "What's the point? What was John saying"? I think what John was saying was what's true physically is also true spiritually because whether you realize this happened or not, when not when I came to Christ as a nine year old boy, when I was sitting in that movie theater, I've told you about a million times, I never get tired of thinking about it or talking about it. I'm sitting in that movie theater, grew up in church, knew all about Jesus, didn't know Jesus. I was in spiritual darkness. And that point came when my eyes were opened and I saw the light and I realized I'm the one that crucified you. I'm the one that killed you. I'm a sinner. I need a savior. You're that savior. You died for me. You came back from the grave. And I gave my life to Christ. At that exact moment, do you know what happened to me?
I didn't know it. I went from darkness to light. I went from death to life. I mean, just like that. And when you come to Jesus, what you don't realize is when you come to Jesus for the first time in your life now you've got eyes that can see God and now you've got ears that can hear God and now you've got a heart that can know God. You moved from the temporal to the eternal. You moved from the physical to the spiritual. You moved from the natural to the supernatural. That's why we oughta share Jesus as the Lord of this world. That's why we oughta show Jesus as the life of this world. But now listen to what John said. This life is found in the light. Well, since the life of the world is only found in the light of the world, then there's one other thing John says I should do at Christmas and you should do at Christmas. And it only makes sense.
Not only should I share Jesus as the Lord of this world and not only should I show Jesus as the life of this world, John says, I should shine Jesus as the light of this world. I should shine him as the light of this world. So remember what I told you? Jesus is not just God's word of revelation. He puts skin on. He's not just God's Word of creation. He spoke the world into existence. He has God's word of salvation. Listen to what John says. "The light," he's talking about Jesus, "shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it". All right, you look like real smart people to me today so let's give you a quiz. Light only has one job. What's the job of light? Shine. That's the only thing it's got to do. You got one job. Shine. Light only has one purpose, just one. Eliminate darkness. That's all light's good for. That's all you need light for. Eliminate darkness.
All right, well, what is darkness? All right, boys and girls, here's a good lesson. Somebody says, hey, what is darkness? Here's what darkness is. It's the absence of light. That's all darkness is. It's just the absence of light. For example, kids are afraid of the dark, right? We all are going up. So when a kid walks into a room at night, he doesn't turn on the dark. What does he turn on? Yeah. Turns on the light. You don't turn on the dark. You turn on the light. So Jesus came to give us the light. We need to overcome the darkness that we were all born into and here's what John says. It is the only light that nobody can put out. Every scientist says, give it enough time, the light of that sun one day is going to burn out one day. Even the light. If this world lasts long enough, 'cause everything's running down, the light of the sun will go out. But John says there's this darkness called Jesus. Can't overcome it.
For 2,000 years the world has tried to put out the light of the world. I'm not going to get into all this. I'm not worried about it. I'm not trying to complain about it. And I'm not whining about it. But never in my lifetime have we seen a day where America has tried its best to put out the light of Jesus like we're seeing it right now. Never, never in my lifetime. They're doing everything they can to turn out, turn on the dark and turn out the light of Jesus. But here's what I know. This is why I'm such an optimist. I don't care who's elected president. I don't care who wins the Senate race. I mean I do, but I don't because at the end of the day we know that the faintest light can't be quenched by the deepest darkness. As a matter of fact, you want to know the good news?
You say, "Boy, pastor. Things are really getting dark out there". Yes they are, but here's the great news. The deeper the dark, the brighter the light. Just let it get dark. The deeper the dark, yeah, the brighter the light. By the way, have you ever thought about this? Have you have thought about the fact that morning and evening, we've got morning and evening, have you ever thought about this? Did you know that evening is just as much a part of the day as morning? I mean night is just a part of a 24 hour day. I bet you've never thought about this. We never ever say there are 24 hours in a night. We say there are 24 hours in a what? In a day. But you got dark. Yeah, but we don't think about it that way. And we shouldn't.
Now, you say that confuses me. I hope it doesn't. I heard about a first grade teacher as she was trying to teach her kids about the light that we get from the sun and the light we get from the moon. So she thought she'd asked an easy question that any kid could answer, right? She said, "Okay, boys and girls," she said, "which is more important, the sun or the moon"? Well, there's kids sitting on the front row, boy shot his hand up. He said, "Well, the moon". She said, "Let me ask it again. Which is more important. The light, you know, the sun or the moon"? He said, "The moon is". She said, "Why would you say the moon is"? He said, "Mrs. Smith, you ought to know the answer to that. It's because the moon gives us light at night when we need it the most. The sun gives us light at the daytime when we really don't need it".
Now that kid went on to the University of Florida to study astronomy, by the way. I just wanted you to know that. Now here's the point. Here's the point. We always need a light that can shine even in the darkness of moments and that light is Jesus. Okay, so you're sitting there and you're saying, "Hey, this is good. Been entertaining. What's this got to do with us? We got the senatorial election going on. Everybody's up in arms about that. Everybody's up in arms about this president, that president, this Congress, that Congress and all of these other things going on. What in the world's all this got to do with us"? It's got everything to do with us because let me give you a little clue on what's going on in the world right now, because it's been going on for thousands and thousands... In fact, it's been going on since the beginning of time.
Can I tell you what's going on in the world right now? It's easy to understand. There is a battle between light and darkness. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of light and the kingdom of Satan is a kingdom of darkness. But here's the wonderful news. You ready? Light, to this day, is still the undefeated, undisputed champion of that battle. Darkness can never overcome light. Give the Lord a hand. Darkness can never overcome light. It never can and it never will. You say, "Okay, what's that got to do with me"? It's got everything to do. Are you discouraged about the darkness that we're in in our country right now? Yeah, I really am. Shine light. The only way to overcome dark is to release light, to start darkness is to shine light. In other words, here's what I want you to learn. Once you receive the light, you're to witness to the light. You're to shine the light to those who are still living in spiritual darkness.
So we've got a tool. I'll tell you a story. My brother will love this story because it's really about him. You may know the name. If you don't, you need to know this. So boys and girls never heard these names, this is a good history lesson. There were two ladies and they lived over a hundred years ago. In fact, about 140 years ago. One was named Helen Keller and one was named Anne Sullivan. Helen Keller was born in 1880, the year my grandmother was born. She was born in 1880. When she was two years old, she had an illness that left her blind, deaf and mute. My brother Mike had an illness when he was just a little baby that caused him to lose his hearing. That was the same thing with Helen Keller. Left her blind, deaf and mute.
Well, when Helen was seven years old, the family brought in a teacher, Anne, and they called her Annie. She was a young, partially blind teacher and she came into the Keller home to try to teach Helen Keller to communicate with a world she could not see and she could not hear. She was in darkness. So she'd come to help Helen functioned in a world of sight and sound. Well, there's a problem. My brother's got this problem, by the way. I love him, but she was stubborn. Mike, you're a real stubborn. I love you, but you're stubborn. Helen was very, very stubborn. She didn't want anything to do with sign language. She didn't even like to be touched.
Well, there was another problem. Anne was stubborn. And I mean, from the beginning she started working with her, it was a war for the ages. I mean, it was like two mountain goats butting heads every single day. But finally in a mountain top moment, a breakthrough happened at a water pump. When Annie placed on Helen's hands, she took the hand of Helen Keller and she put it under a spout of flowing water and while she was having one hand under that flowing water into her other hand, Annie put her hand and she went W-A-T-E-R. W-A-T-E-R. She spelled out water in her hand. All of a sudden, for the first time, Helen quit fighting. She stopped. She placed her hand in Anne's hand and she spelled out W-A-T-E-R water. Anne exploded in joy. She spelled out, yes, yes, yes. W-A-T-E-R and Helen was so happy and Anne was so happy because now they both knew Helen, you're about to leave the world of darkness you've been living in all of your life and you're about to enter into a world filled with sight and sound through the beautiful, beautiful light of sign language. I say that to say this. We don't understand how God works.
So let me just tell you this. God is not going to judge... Listen, you've never heard this before. This will be worth coming for today. God's not going to judge this the world for the sin they committed. Oh, you're not going to heaven because you're an adulterer. You're a homosexual. You're a thief. You're a liar. You're this or you're that. No, no. God does not judge this world based on the sin they've committed. God's going to judge this world based on the light they have rejected. That's why it's our job to show Jesus as the Lord of this world, to share Jesus as the light of this world and to shine Jesus as the light of this world, and when you do that, when you're sent to do that, then you'll know what to do with Christmas.
Let's pray together. With your heads bowed and your eyes closed, and those of you who are watching right now, this is the most important part of the week for you, most important of my time with you. What are you going to do with Christmas? I'm not talking about the trees and the tinsels and the toys. What are you going to do at Christmas? You got to face up to something by Christmas. The world's forced into facing it up, facing it every single year. Is this just a once upon a time story that never really happened? Or, yeah, there was a baby born in Bethlehem. He's just another guy like everybody else is. No, this little baby in the beginning, he was the Word, he was with God, and he was God, and that birth was just the beginning.
You know the story behind that story? He lived a perfect life. He died on a cross. He came back from the grave. Why? So you and I could have not... but... eternal life forever. If you've never trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, would you let me do this? Can I let you receive, would you let me give you the greatest Christmas gift you'll ever get in your life? The gift of eternal life, the gift of being forgiven of all of your sins. If you're sitting in this building right now, you're listening to me right now and you'd say, "That's what Christmas is all about. Yes, I want that gift and I want it today," just tell Jesus right now something like this:
Lord Jesus, I believe you're the Lord of this world, I believe you're the life of this world, I believe you are the life of this world, and today I am telling you, you are now my Lord, you are now my life, you are now by light. I trust you as my Savior. I receive you as my Lord. I repent and turn away from my sinful ways. I ask you to come into my heart and I thank you for hearing my prayer and saving me today.