Tony Evans - Don't Miss Christ This Christmas
Things you've done a long time ago that you think will miss pass over, ignored; on God's clock, he knows how to bring that thing back up at the right time to accomplish his bigger purposes. You don't know who you're dealing with. So you can praise the Lord today that Goliath does not have the last say over your life, over your circumstance, over your family, over your feelings, over your world 'cause you know somebody up there that's bigger than the somebody you're facing down here. And if he will not remove himself from ruining your life, he's got enough forces to remove them from you. Bless the name of the Lord. He can turn your Goliath around 'cause he's a game changer.
My closing question this morning is, does anybody need a reversal? Is anybody here today who's terminal? Is anybody here who's in a crisis and you can't fix it? It's too big. It's too deep. You can't get your arms around it and you are literally dying. It's killing you. God knows the right time to turn a situation around. I'm trying to tell you, you don't know who you're dealing with. That's what you do in Communion. "Do this in remembrance of me, that I defeated them on Calvary and I'm still whipping them today". I want to challenge you to live under the providential hand of God even when it looks like it's not working out.
Well, first of all, let me wish all of our TV viewers and friends merry, merry, merry Christmas. I hope that this will be a season of joy, of celebration, of course of giving praise to God for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have a special Christmas message for you today that will remind you of the reason for the season, the centerpiece of this holiday. Don't let the culture cause us to lose out on what Christmas is really all about.
We are facing a time when for Christmas Christ is missing. Amidst all the frivolity and fanfare, food, fellowship, family, and fun, it's easy to miss Christ at Christmas. But that's not unique to us. That was true in the 1st century as well because I want to show you some folks who missed Christ at Christmas the way we miss him today because each of these misses are relevant to us. The first one who missed Christ at Christmas was the innkeeper because Luke chapter 2, verse 7 says, "And she gave birth to her firstborn son and she wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn".
If the innkeeper only knew that this baby born in his hotel was the Son of the living God, trust me they would have found a room. We're told that Bethlehem was crowded. That's because verse 1 tells us that in those days the decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census be taken of all the inhabitants of the earth, and everybody was sent back to their city of birth to be registered. So Joseph from Bethlehem went back with his family and registered them in this crowded town called Bethlehem.
The only reason they went Bethlehem is because Caesar said, "This is a time you go back". The reason for many of the crowds you face is 'cause your job said, "You don't have to come to work". In fact, it has become popular today even not to reference him; to keep the symbolism and lose the son. So I just don't want you to miss Christ this Christmas. I don't want you to have the frills of Christmas without the Christ of Christmas. Like many boxes that people have wrapped outside of their homes, they look beautiful but they're empty. Don't have a beautiful Christmas with an empty box 'cause there's no Christ in the center of it.
Now the innkeeper had no room; and the question is, do you have any room? Is there any space to give Jesus Christ his due? They were into money, they were into government, they were into the politics of the day and Jesus had gotten lost in it. So the innkeeper, he missed Jesus that day. In fact, there were more animals at Jesus's birth than people. So the first one who missed Jesus was the innkeeper. Business was good. The economics were working. But with good business, a crowded place, a packed hotel, Jesus was missing.
Don't you lose Jesus this Christmas. After all, how can you have a birthday party for somebody and lose the person who the birthday was for? Either you're going treat him like it's his party or call it something else. Don't miss Christ this Christmas.
Now, the second person who missed Christ on Christmas was King Herod. In Matthew chapter 2, verse 3 we read these words: "When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him". When he heard what? When he heard about the wise men. But they said, "Where is the king of the Jews"? Herod said, "Say what"? Herod said, "I'm the king of the Jews. What you mean you're looking for the king of the Jews"?
You see, Herod, like many of us, don't have room for two kings 'cause we've decided to be our own king and the only king. We've decided to be masters of our own fate, captains of our own ship and we don't mind Jesus being in the vicinity as long as he's not the ruler. There's not space for two kings, and it says Herod was troubled. The Greek word trouble means agitated, irritated, frustrated, and exacerbated. "What do you mean there's another king? I am in charge here".
One of the ways you miss Jesus is trying to be your own king. One of the ways you miss Jesus is trying to rule your own life. One of the way you miss Jesus is to be troubled by the fact that he wants to be the only king and that you have to submit to him. Herod did not want anybody competing for his throne when Jesus came to set up his own kingdom, to declare supremacy. People do not want Jesus to interfere with their lives, their careers, their money, their power, their personality, their ambition, their plans. In fact, not only was Herod messed up about all this, it says, "And all Jerusalem with him".
You see, we have sanitized Christmas. Christmas is really sanitized today. It's nice. It's sweet. It's cute. It's melodious. No. Kids were being killed at Christmas. Infanticide. Every child two years and under, every boy was to be slaughtered by Herod because Jesus showed up. You see, when Jesus shows up and demands to be king and is rejected, there's going to be trouble.
On behalf of my wife Lois and myself and our whole Urban Alternative family, we want to wish you and yours a very blessed, a very merry, a very encouraging, a very comforting Christmas. It is our prayer for you that Jesus Christ will be the center of your gathering during this holiday season, that he will meet your needs and prepare you for the new year that is to come. So be blessed. Enjoy all the good gifts that God has given you and remember that the reason for the season is Jesus Christ, the son of the living God.
The reason why we have a lot of the trouble we have in our world, in our lives, in our homes today is because the king has been rejected. And so as a result, there's chaos and confusion and weeping and mourning and pain and division because Jesus can be in the vicinity, he just can't be on the throne. He can't be telling me what to do. He can't be my point of reference. He can't overrule me.
Let me explain. If Jesus can't overrule you, you're not celebrating Christmas. If Jesus can't silence you when he speaks, you're not celebrating Christmas. If Jesus can't tell you no when you think yes, you're not celebrating Christmas. If Jesus can't boss you around, you're not celebrating Christmas. You're celebrating you, like it's your birthday. You see, Herod didn't want competition. He didn't want anybody else claiming a throne next to him. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is King of kings and is Lord of lords, and he's in charge. So if you really want to celebrate Christmas, tell Jesus he's your king. He's your ruler. He's the final say so over your life.
Now you're ready for a holiday. See, you're not ready for holiday just 'cause you got off of work. You're not ready for a holiday just because the food is in the oven, just because the family is coming over. If Jesus is not king, just call it a party, but don't call it Christmas. Because the wise men wanted to know where the king was, and Herod was upset 'cause there's a king in the vicinity. If he's not in charge, it's not Christmas. So today we have people who want to claim the holiday but not claim the Christ, politicians who want to pay homage but who don't want to be ruled by him. And wonder why we all can't get along, wonder why conflicts abound.
See, we don't finish a statement when we quote some Bible verses. "Peace on earth and goodwill to men". You're going to hear that all holiday season. "Peace on earth. Goodwill to men". But they're going to leave something off because Jesus said there going to be peace on earth and goodwill to men with whom he is well pleased. He's going to say, "With whom he is well pleased".
See, everybody wants the first part, but not the last part. They don't want to please him, but they want peace on earth and goodwill to men. You can't have peace in your life, you can't have peace in your home, you can't have peace in your mind, you can't have peace in your circumstances if he's not pleased with you. So if you want all of that, then you better make sure he happy on his birthday. In fact, you should be singing the song every day. "It's your birthday. It's your birthday". You better tell Jesus it's his birthday.
In fact, make every day Christmas because then he's well pleased and then the conflicts, the harmony, the peace, the joy, the stuff that we want, that people will be singing about and praying about and talking about becomes a possibility because he is... you cannot displease Jesus and get the benefits of his throne. Doesn't work that way. Well, there's another group that missed Christmas: the religious folk, the folk who went to church. How can you go to church and miss Christmas? 'Cause we're told that King Herod when he heard about this king called together, verse 4 of Matthew 2, all the chief priests and scribes of the people. He inquired of them where Messiah was to be born.
Now, let's stop there. He goes to all the religious folk, the preachers, the leaders and he says, "Where's Messiah to be born"? The first thing he did is he called him Messiah. That means he knew enough Bible to reference who this king would be 'cause he calls him the Messiah, and the Messiah would be the anointed one prophesied in the Old Testament. He went to the preachers 'cause they had been to seminary. They had been to Bible college and they knew the Bible. So everybody talking about this king. Herod says, "So clergy tell me where this king is going to be born"?
The religious folk said, verse 5, "In Bethlehem of Judea for this is what the prophet wrote, and you Bethlehem land of Judah by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler who will shepherd my people, Israel". They quoted Micah 5:2. That's a quote from Micah 5:2. Now watch this. Micah was written 700 years before this event in Matthew, the birth of Jesus. So 700 years before Jesus was born, Micah prophesied that Messiah the ruler would be born in Bethlehem. Now, you have to understand Bethlehem is a two-bit town.
In other words, it's a tiny village. If you will go and guess, you wouldn't guess Bethlehem. It's too insignificant. But 700 years, see, some people want to know, "Why are you so, Evans, stuck on the Bible"? I'm stuck on the Bible 'cause if you can predict 700 years before an event happens not only that the event is going to happen, who's going to be involved in the event when it happens, but the specific location of a two-bit town where it's going to happen, oh, I'm going to take that book serious. That's why we believe here in Oak Cliff in the inerrancy of Scripture. That means it is without error. It is without error; every word is inspired. It's called plenary verbal inspiration. Every word comes from the mouth of God and it is perfect.
So guess what? These religious leaders knew the Scripture 'cause when Herod asked them where he was going to be born, they quoted Micah 5:2 on the spot. But wait a minute. They knew the Scripture, but never made the trip. They knew the verse, but they didn't go to Bethlehem. Wait a minute. The guys who didn't go to seminary, didn't go to Bible college, the wise men, the folks who didn't have formal biblical training went to Bethlehem. The folks who were in the Bible church didn't go to Bethlehem. They knew the Bible, but they didn't make the trip.
What I'm trying to say is if you know the Bible but don't go and meet the Savior, you miss Christmas. You see, if the written Word doesn't lead you to the living Word, it just becomes another word. Unless your knowledge of the Bible leads you to a deeper walk with the Savior, then the Bible will be of no value to you. They knew the Bible, but they never went to Bethlehem. It's better to know less and go to Jesus than to know more and stay away from Jesus. Because the purpose of the written Word is to lead you to the living Word. And so these Bible taught and quoting folk never made it to an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
As John chapter 5, verse 39 and 40 says, Jesus says, "You do search the Scriptures, but you don't have life because you don't come to me". Unless you are drawn to him because of what you read... don't misunderstand me. You need what is written, but the purpose of what is written is to cultivate a deeper relationship. So you can study the Bible till you're blue in the face and be as carnal or unsaved 'cause these folks were unsaved but they knew their Bible, on their way to hell but they could quote Scripture. No. They missed Christmas because the written Word didn't lead them to the living Word.
Even when Jesus became a grown man in Luke chapter 4, verse 22 and he had proven he was the Messiah, all they could say was, "Isn't this Joseph's son"? I mean, the blind are seeing and the lame are walking and the deaf are hearing and he's proclaiming to be Messiah 'cause Messiah was supposed to do all this and all they could come with was, "Isn't that Joseph's son"? By now you should know this is more than a carpenter's son, but they hadn't graduated in their intimacy. They only graduated with their information. That's why the Bible says, "The letter killeth".
You can become a worse Christian by studying the Bible because you're not led to the person that the Bible is about. You're not drawn to the Savior. You're not drawn to Jesus Christ. Now why? Why weren't these religious people drawn to the Savior? I mean, from Jerusalem, I mean, it's not that far. It was not like a long trip. You didn't need a airplane. You could walk it, but here's the problem. The reason that they didn't go see Jesus is they didn't think they had a problem that Jesus needed to solve. In other words, they didn't understand why Jesus came. He came to deal with sin and to provide salvation. And if you don't understand that's why he came, then you're missing the party 'cause Jesus is not there. He came to deal with sin in our lives so that we would be saved and sin in our lives so that we would have fellowship with him.
So they knew the Bible, but they never made it to Jesus. So the question I want to ask is, are you missing Christ this Christmas? Is this a holiday? If it's only a holiday, that's fine. Call it that. But don't call it Christmas. 'Cause if Christ doesn't have anything to do with it... what good is a birthday if the person who the birthday is for is not welcomed? And that's the kind of world you and I are living in today. We are having a Christless Christmas, other than mentioning him from time to time out of courtesy. No, you give him the honor, do his name 'cause when you understand the folks who discovered Christmas and what they did even when Mary wrapped him in the cloth, that was a deep thing. When she wrapped him in the cloth, that's more than a diaper. But if you don't understand that, you won't understand Christmas.
One of the things that you need to know: when the wise men came, you see all these nativity scenes where the wise men are surrounding a baby in a manger. That's not what the Bible says. Says, "When the wise men came, Jesus was a toddler in a house, not a baby in a manger". But if you don't read the Scripture, you're going to be fooled by nativity scenes. He was a toddler in the house. So if they saw the star when he was born but they couldn't get to him until he was a toddler in a house, that meant they took many months to get to him. 'Cause you're getting close to two years old if you're a toddler. They figured Jesus was worth the journey.
We won't even go down the street to celebrate Jesus when they crossed continents to get to him 'cause they knew who they were dealing with. When you understand he's the King of kings and the Lord of lords, then you're willing to be convenience for that party because you understand that he's a king on a throne and he's worthy to be praised. So don't you leave Christ out this Christmas. In fact, make a big deal about him.
So if I were you and if you were me, I'd make a big deal about Jesus this Christmas because that blood still has healing power, that blood still has saving power, that blood still has delivering power, that blood still has victory power, that blood still has freedom power, that blood can overcome the worst thing you are facing today. So if I were you and you were me, I'd make a big deal about Jesus. If God gets excited about the big deal you make about Jesus, I'm telling God right now you're going to have a lot to be excited about 'cause it's going to be Jesus in the morning, Jesus at noon time, and Jesus when the sun goes down. I'm going to make a big deal about Jesus so I can get all that God wants to give me 'cause Jesus is the reason for the season.