Michael Youssef - The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, But Why? - Part 1
One of the most popular Christmas songs that you hear everywhere you go, in fact, as soon as Halloween hits, sometimes even before Halloween, you start hearing this song, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," but if I asked ten people out in the street, if I go out and ask, "Why is it the most wonderful time of the year"? I'm most likely gonna get 12 answers. During this Advent season, I'm gonna be doing this series. I'm calling it "It Is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, But Why"? Why? It is the most wonderful, ever.
In fact, I'll tell you, why it's the most wonderful thing that could ever happen to humanity. I'll tell you why Jesus came from heaven. I'm gonna tell you why Jesus had to be sinless, contrary to 45% of the so-called evangelicals who say that Jesus sinned; why Jesus had to go to the cross and why he had to rise again on the third day, and why it is only in obeying Jesus will you have true peace. The most important evidence about a person is what he says about himself. You see, it doesn't matter what they say about Jesus and doesn't matter even what I say about Jesus. What matters is what Jesus says about himself. And in Luke chapter 19, verse 10, Jesus, speaking of himself as the Son of God and the Son of Man, and he said, "The Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost". He identified himself, and he gave us the reason why he came to earth.
And so much for Jesus teaching us how to live. He didn't say, "I came here to teach you how to live. I came to save the lost". I wanna ask you to just imagine that. For those who say that "Jesus came to teach us how to live," have you ever seen a cart and a horse behind a cart, not in front of it but behind it, and pushing the cart up with his nose? Just think about that. That's exactly what these people are saying. They're putting the cart in front of the horse. So what is these false teachers are saying, and why are they saying this? You don't learn from Jesus how to live until you have learned to live for Jesus. For someone to say, "I'm gonna imitate Jesus," without first accepting his invitation to repent of my sins and receive his forgiveness and his salvation, might as well say that "pigs fly".
Have you ever seen pigs fly? Well, in 1 John chapter 3, verse 5, it says, "Jesus came to save sinners". See, it's what he says about himself. "Jesus came to save sinners". This is the primary reason for his coming. This is the main reason for his coming. This is the overriding reason for his coming. This is the overwhelming reason for his coming, and why he came from heaven is to save sinners. So a question, "Who are the sinners"? "Who are the sinners"? Every one of us, every human being that's ever lived. We're all sinners, but only those who admit that they're sinners will be saved by Jesus. Listen to me, from the very beginning of time, there were two trees in the garden. One was forbidden, and the other one was allowed. There are two eternal destinies. There are no third. Heaven and hell.
Jesus said, "There are two roads, one that is so wide that you says, 'Everybody's gonna make it in the end. All religions are gonna lead to the same place.' It's a very wide road, and it leads to hell". But there is a very narrow road that's only Jesus, Jesus only, and only Jesus, and that leads to heaven. There are two ways. There are two ways: God's way, man's way; people either saved or lost. There is not in between. People either belong to God, or they belong to Satan. Moses said to God's people, he said, "Choose this day, a blessing or a curse". There is light, and there is darkness. There is the kingdom of God, and there is the kingdom of Satan. There is love, and there is hate disguised as love, and, beloved, that is why Jesus came from heaven.
That's why he came from heaven. That's why we celebrate the Advent season to prepare for the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is why it is not only the most wonderful time of the year, it is the greatest time of life. It is the most wonderful news that could ever be announced to humanity, but there's more. There's more. The true Christian life is the most wonderful life. It's the most wonderful life that could be lived. Regardless of the pain and the suffering and the issues that we deal with in life, it can be the most wonderful time of life here on earth and all of eternity in heaven. Jesus said of himself, "The Son of Man came to save that which was lost".
Jesus came to save sinners. Question, "Did Jesus come to show us how to live"? Well, sure, but that's half-truth. It's half-truth. Do you know that half-truth is worse than falsehood? It really is much more dangerous, much more dangerous. He shows us how to live but only after he takes away our sin. He shows us how to live but only after we repent of our sins and receive him as our only savior. He shows us how to live but only after he presides over our lives as the Master and the Lord of our lives. And thank God, he sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on that first Christmas so that he may bring us, the only cure known to man for sin. Only cure for our miserable condition by which we're all born. We're all born with it. We're all born with it.
Question, "Why Jesus came only to save the lost"? Because while every human being that is born of a woman, born with sin nature, while, because while every human being that was born with the inclination to be independent of the Creator, because while every human being is born with pride and "wanting our way," only those who recognize that sin nature, otherwise are lost. When Jesus said, "I did not come to the healthy," physician did not come to... he came for the sick. You know what? You don't understand. This is sense of humor. This is Hebrew sense of humor. He was making fun of the Pharisees 'cause nobody is healthy. Everyone is sick. Everyone needs the Great Physician, but the Pharisees didn't think they need him. He said, "Okay, that's fine. Have at it". And that's what the Bible called the "original sin" that we all inherited from our first parents. It is the root of sin.
Listen to me. Reforming the root of sin is an impossibility. They've tried and failed through the years. Improving the root of sin is an impossibility. Denying the root of sin makes it worse. Containing the root of sin will make it go underground. Covering it up makes it go deeper. Why? Because sin has great power. Don't ever underestimate the power of sin. And, therefore, sin needs somebody who's far, far, far more powerful than sin to break the grip of sin. The root of sin wants to rule and reign on our hearts.
Sin, beloved, listen to me, sin is not a toy. Sin is a tyrant. Sin has the strength of death, and death is the strength, and the power of sin has not changed in all of the thousand years of human history. The ultimate deception of sin is that we do not call it "sin". That's the ultimate deception. Today, as I said, those who call sin, "sin," are the greatest sinners in the eyes of our culture, but because sin is so powerful, not only a more powerful God, and only a more powerful God can break down that power of sin, but there's something else everyone must understand and especially the younger generation. The younger people, please understand what I'm gonna tell you. It's very important because the Bible speaks of "sin" in the singular and "sins" in the plural, and if you're ever confused, I'm gonna clear that confusion, okay?
"Sin," in the singular, is the principle. "I am the captain of my ship. I'm the master of my life. I know what's best for me". But "sins," in the plural, is the acting on that impulse that we have on the inside. "Sin," in the singular, is the root of the tree. "Sins," in the plural, is the fruit on that tree. "Sin," in the singular, is a disposition with which we're all born, but "sins," in the plural, is the acting on that disposition. But here's the good news. Here's the great news. Here's the most fantastic news of all: Jesus came from heaven to take away both the root and the fruit of sin. Jesus came from heaven to take "sin," in the singular, and "sins," in the plural, all together, take 'em away. Jesus came from heaven to destroy both the root and the fruit. Jesus came from heaven to set us free and give us power over sin, and that is why the most wonderful time of the year is the most wonderful time of your life and my life.
The reason we rejoice at Christmastime is because the power of sin has been broken. The reason we celebrate is not so the economy can do better and we have a Black Friday and a Cyber Monday and all the stuff, which is fine, but, no, we celebrate because Jesus came to set us free from the slavery of sin, amen, amen. Give him praise. Give him praise. Give him praise. Anyone who choose to accept his salvation will be set free. It doesn't mean you're never gonna sin, but, boy, you will not be able to stand it. When we acknowledge our sin, when we confess our sin, when we repent of our sin, then and only then we receive the power of God over sin, and that is why this is the greatest news of all. It's the greatest news of all.
Those who say, "Jesus came to show us how to live," I say, "Jesus was sinless. Try to show me how you're gonna do that". They actually... no, they miss the whole point. It's like somebody drowning in quicksand, and then somebody walking by, and they say, "Hey, help me". Said, "Okay, do what I do. Start walking. Lift out your feet. Keep walking". "How can I walk? I'm drowning. How can I walk"? Follow Jesus? Show us how to live? It's ludicrous. Until you get him out of that quicksand and help him to walk, man is in trouble; the woman is in trouble. Without the power of the cross of Jesus Christ, it is impossible to live like Christ, and that is why the same apostle John, who said that "Jesus came into the world to save sinners," he also said, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and we are a bunch of liars".
Well, that's a Youssef Translation but really more accurate. Do you know, the worst lie of all, the worst lie of all is when we lie to ourselves. I've actually met people who are capable of lying to themselves. It's the most distressing thing you can ever imagine. Ah, John goes on to say, "But if we confess, if we confess". Now, remember, John leaned on Jesus's shoulder. He said, "Jesus came to deliver us from sin. In him, there is no sin". In him, there is no sin. Only a sinless God-man can give us power over sin. God created us. He created us never to experience true peace until we come to him, confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness that can only come from his cross. Others, an effort to calm their burning conscience.
Now, they won't tell you that, but you can see it even in the way they talk. To calm their burning conscience, they will do anything to make sin acceptable, but those who have confessed their sins, those who've accepted God's only remedy to sin, those who have accepted the blood of Jesus Christ as their only plea, they are the ones who have been eternally forgiven and at peace with God. And they, with God's power, endeavor to live like Christ every day. It's a process, like Christ every day, but they don't do it with their own strength. They do it with his strength.
Don't try to... try to hack it by your.... one day, one hour, I've tried, I've failed. And they will go on doing good and serving and giving and do... they will serve, and they'll give not out of duty but out of gratitude, out of thanksgiving, but those who try to rename "sin," those who explain sin away as a natural, as a choice, as the way you are, and all that stuff, those who deny the power of sin, they, too, gonna try to do some good. But listen to the difference: The good is like having tiny sprinklers sprinkling drops of water in a bushfire, forest fire, sprinkler.
Now, for those of us who have experienced the peace of God and have peace with God, our greatest gift that we can give someone at this season of Advent and Christmas, the greatest gift is to tell them that Jesus will set them free from sin. They don't have to rationalize it. They don't have to explain it. They don't have to twist all the... go into to pretzels. He could set them free from the power of sin that they will not only find peace with God, but they'll have peace with themselves. That peace cannot be found in a church. Did you get that?
It cannot be found through a pastor or a preacher. It cannot be found through a pope or a bishop. It cannot be found. Only the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for our sins can truly, truly set us free. And they will not find peace if they try to do good 24/7. Ah, but after experiencing the peace of God through his power over sin, then and only then they will do great things for God. They will do great things in the name of God out of gratitude, out of thanksgiving for that salvation. Let me tell you this as I conclude. It's, of course, a true historic story. Hopefully, it will illustrate some of what I'm trying to communicate here. There was a man by the name of Jerome.
Now, Jerome was considered to be one of the early Christian fathers. Big name. If you studied church history, you would know. Jerome actually was the first man to ever translate the New Testament from Greek to Latin, which is, of course, the most common spoken language in the Roman Empire. Jerome purposefully chose to move, to live in Bethlehem, the town where Jesus was born. It was a deliberate choice. He moved locations. Jerome tells the story. He said, one night, while he's in Bethlehem, he had a dream, and in this dream, he saw Jesus whom he loved with all his heart, and when he saw Jesus coming to visit him, Jerome went and collected all of his money and brought it to Jesus and wanna give it to Jesus, and Jesus looks at him, said, "Jerome, I don't want your money. I gave it to you".
So he went around and tried to gather all of his possessions and offered them to Jesus, and Jesus said, "Jerome, I gave you all of your possessions. I don't want your possessions". Jerome recalls this moment in his dream when you turned, looked, and said, "Lord Jesus, what can I give you? What do you want from me"? Jesus simply replied to him, "Give me all of your sins. That's what I came for. I came to take away your sins".
Now, beloved, as I conclude, I want you to know that I do understand, particularly those who are watching around the world and KINGDOM SAT, and elsewhere, I want you to know that I know that the natural mind has a very hard time realizing or even accepting that this God-man, Jesus, sinless, perfect, take away my sin? And the reason I know this, because I was there. That's why we pray, "Lord, open the spiritual eyes that are blind, open them, Lord, so they can see what the natural mind cannot see, cannot understand, cannot comprehend".
He wants to take away the root of sin and the fruit of sin, self-determination, "I'm in control," "I'm not gonna surrender to anyone". But the fruit of sin, oh, my goodness, there are many: guilt, addiction, failure, sorrow, heartache, anger, bitterness, lust, jealousy and envy and pride and fear and worry and distrust, doubt, judgmentalism, self-pity, cold love, deception. It's just a partial list. Oh, there, many are the fruit. It's just a partial list. Give him all of your sins for he came to save us from our sins and the power of sin and the punishment of sin.