A Christmas message from 1 Timothy 1:12-17. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, December 21, 2014.
Christmas is one of those times when nostalgia reigns. As our thoughts turn toward Christmas we are magically transported through time to enjoy more innocent and carefree days. Images of Christmas past warm our hearts. I remember sleepless nights as I dreamed what would be under the tree the next morning. I remember my excitement when I opened that G.I. Joe complete with scuba gear! I remember the year Christmas was spent at my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Ed’s. That’s the year I got the peddle-car with the red racing stripe. Of course I also remember the sting of my brother’s grenade launcher when he beaned me while I was making laps through my Uncle Ed’s laundry mat! I remember the year we were awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of breaking glass. My brothers and I rushed into the living room to find Dad standing in the doorway looking down at the shattered glass from the storm door, as he was holding a large piece of plywood on which was mounted the track for a miniature train. When we asked what happened he shouted, “I’m helping Santa Claus – now go to bed!” I think of cousins assembled from Washington D.C., Atlanta, Little Rock and Houston. I remember the laughter, the practical jokes and the joy that was shared.
I remember the joy and excitement of the first Christmas Zac was old enough to know what was going on. I’m sure I was more excited than he was. I remember the year Zac got his first bicycle and Jessie got her first tricycle. Zac said excitedly, “Hey Jessie, that’s just like my tricycle.” Not knowing it was his tricycle with streamers and a basket! Of course not all of our Christmas memories are joyful. We are, at times, haunted by the ghost of Christmas past. I remember my first Christmas without my mother. That reminds me that memories can warm and they can wound. While it is often good and helpful to remember we must look beyond our memories to the reality of Christmas.
Christmas is not about presents, family, food and fun. It’s not about warm fuzzy feelings and sentimental tales. The problem is that when we think of Christmas only or primarily in those terms we miss out on the real joy of this season. When we fail to recognize the deep eternal truths connected to the Christmas story we miss the whole point – Christmas is about the Gospel. Christmas is about how sinful, fallen humanity has been restored to life and fellowship with God. The “good news” announced to the shepherds that night was that unto them had been born a Savior! Our text this morning is found in 1 Timothy chapter 1.
Text: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
I recognize that this is not the typical “Christmas” text. Yet I’m convinced it contains the heart and soul of the Christmas message. For you cannot talk of the birth of Christ without speaking of the reason for his coming. He came on mission. He came for a specific purpose. He was driven by a specific passion. Jesus, himself, said, “I have not come to be served but to serve. And to give my life a ransom for many.” The angel said to Joseph, “Mary is telling the truth. The Holy Spirit has conceived the child within her. You are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:18-21).
We must never forget that…
Thesis: Christmas is without meaning apart from the Gospel.
There are three great truths concerning the significance of Christmas reflected in our text. When we think about the meaning of Christmas we are reminded that:
- The love of God overcomes the greatness of our sin. (1:12-14)
- The Lord Jesus came to saved sinners and make them trophies of His grace. (1:15-16)
- Such a God is worthy of our praise and devotion. (1:17)
No doubts your minds are filled with memories of Christmas past. Some of them warm your heart. Others wound your soul. Look beyond all of that to the reality of Christmas. Fundamentally Christmas is about the Gospel. It is about how God so loved, he gave his only Son so that whoever believes might not perish but rather have eternal life.
Don’t miss Christmas this year.
Come to Christ.
Come to Christ and live.