Carry On

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14, 15).

“Do your best to come to me quickly ” (2 Timothy 4:9).

These words Ð written by Paul in the closing time of his life Ð were addressed to Timothy.

Paul had earlier written to the congregation in Philippi that he looked forward to dying. Then he would see the Lord and have some of his unanswered questions answered. At the same time, Paul was concerned about the church on this earth and anxious to leave his work in good hands that the gospel might reach those who had never heard of Christ and His saving work.

In our text, Paul wants to have one more talk with Timothy before he is martyred. Timothy was a faithful assistant to Paul. However, he was lacking in some things. John Stott, the English clergyman described Timothy as “young in years, frail in physique, and retiring in personality.” He was shy and an introvert. But Timothy knew the Lord. The Holy Spirit, who had empowered Timothy to receive Christ as his Savior, would empower Timothy to be a faithful witness, even though Paul would no longer be around to guide and encourage him.

Timothy had known the Lord Jesus from his youth. He had a mother and a grand-mother who trusted Christ as their Savior, and they shared this faith with Timothy (1:5). While Timothy’s father was not a Christian, Paul tells us that Timothy had been introduced to Jesus in his home, and the young man’s knowledge of the Lord Jesus impressed him.

When St. Paul visited Timothy’s home some years later and saw how the young man had matured in his Christian faith, he invited him to accompany him and Silas on their missionary journey.

Before they left, Paul circumcised Timothy. He did this because of the Jewish population who lived in that area. Experience taught Paul that the Jews would be more accepting of Timothy if he was considered one of them.

Some believe that this ceremony of circumcision was also an ordination service for Timothy where he was set aside to be a preacher and teacher of God’s Word.

During the next years, Timothy had the privilege of being taught by Paul. He saw what it meant to be a servant of Christ. When Paul felt Timothy was ready for greater responsibilities in building God’s Kingdom, he left him in Ephesus to be their spiritual leader.

Timothy’s growth in the faith shows the Holy Spirit at work in a person’s life. It can give us a picture of what it means to live in our baptismal covenant. Parents come to the font with their child in arms. God establishes a covenant with the child and grants them the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is a solemn moment. It is the beginning of a personal relationship between Christ and this child. But baptism is only the beginning. The child is to be fed the Word of God by his parents and congregation until the day comes when he confesses his faith in Christ.

My baptismal certificate hangs in my study where I am preparing this sermon. When I was a child, it hung over my bed, and my parents would often remind me that this was my spiritual birth certificate. They took the pastor’s words seriously at the time of my baptism. Those words told them to take me home and introduce me to the Savior through the years by reading the Scriptures in our home, teaching me to pray, and bringing me to church and Sunday school each Sunday. Their faithfulness was their greatest gift to me.

Through my high school and college years, I asked myself what God wanted me to do with my life. While attending a Bible camp, one of our teachers asked me if I had ever considered becoming a minister. It was the farthest thought from my mind. Me? A minister?

From that day on, I prayed about it. Although I had no great emotional experiences, I gradually felt God’s leading hands. Then came the day when I was ordained as a pastor in the Lutheran Church. From that day to this, it has been my opportunity to bring the good news of salvation to thousands of people.

Several of my high school friends went to work in a paper mill and became active members of our church. Who knows how many they have led to Christ?

God can use us wherever life leads us.

I will never forget one day in my theological education. A great professor, Dr. George Aus, finished his last lecture with the words, “Hold high the cross.” And then as he left the classroom our teacher turned and said, “Carry on men, carry on. There are millions who need to hear of our Father’s love for them.”

I believe that, on the last day they were together, St. Paul looked up from his dungeon cell and said to Timothy, Carry on, Timothy, carry on. There are many who need to hear this Gospel.

Timothy was that faithful servant.

Guard The Gospel

The books of I and II Timothy have been a great comfort and inspiration to me throughout my years in the ministry. They are two of Paul’s pastoral letters written specifically to leaders in the church. However, the comfort that Paul brings to the young pastor Timothy speaks to all believers regardless of age or place in the Church.

When I was young and newly ordained, an older pastor criticized my preaching severely. It was not so much what he said, for there could have been a lot of truth in it, but it was how he said it. I shared my feelings with another experienced pastor, and he gave me good counsel when he said that I should get used to criticism. This went along with the job. But he also suggested that I take seriously the words Paul wrote to Timothy: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in faith and in purity” (I Tim. 4:12).

Now I am older, and being criticized is still a part of the job. However, this advice is still good: Don’t let anyone look down on you because of your age. You might be able to learn from what they are telling you, but don’t let age be a factor.

During the next few weeks I plan to share some great thoughts from the second book of Timothy. I also want to give credit to John Stott, a British biblical scholar, who has written a commentary on this small book. I pass his insights on to you.

In this first chapter of II Timothy, Paul gives us three challenges.

1. “. . . I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. ” (vs. 6).

St. Paul met Timothy in Lystra on his first missionary journey. His mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois were Christians, but his father was a Greek and not a Christian. Timothy impressed Paul so much that when Paul returned to Lystra on his second missionary journey he was anxious to see Timothy. By this time Timothy was in his thirties. He had grown in the faith, and Paul was thrilled to see Timothy’s strong commitment to Christ. So Paul ordained him Ð set him aside Ð to do God’s work. The young pastor went along with Paul as an assistant missionary.

This was Timothy Ð a servant of God. Stott described him as young in years, frail in physique, retiring in disposition. And God used him as a strong voice for the gospel.

This letter should have a strong appeal for all the timid Timothys whom God is calling.

What is God saying to us through these words, “Fan into flame the gift of God which is in you”?

It means that we, who trust Christ as our Savior and Lord, have received a great gift from God. He is telling us to share this good news with people who yet live in darkness. It might appear as a small voice in a loud world, but by voicing your Christian convictions the small voice can be fanned into a mighty flame. The more you share your faith in Christ the stronger your witness will be and the more souls will be blessed through you. We become more courageous as we discover that, in spite of our human weaknesses, God can use us. Eunice, who probably never left Lystra, was a mighty flame in the life of her son Timothy.

In the training of evangelists at our congregation, I often watched people going out to visit with people about the gospel. They were tense, and some were so afraid they really didn’t want to go on the call But when they returned from the visit, they were anxious to share their experiences of how they felt God speak to them and through them. In making those visits, they were fanning the gift that God had given to them. The more they shared, the stronger witnesses they became for Christ.

Don’t be ashamed to testify about our Lord.

2. “What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you Ð guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (13-14).

The “good deposit” is the basic teachings of the Christian faith.

We could disagree with many things in the Bible. Are they important? Yes, but many will not affect our salvation or our relationship with God Paul said he did not understand many things. He knew only in part, but would someday fully understand.

Having said this, we must be concerned about the basic teachings God has revealed to us. Let me give you a couple examples of these teachings

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.”

These teachings are “the good deposits that are entrusted to us.” They cannot be compromised. By giving a bit here and a bit there, Christianity could have been accepted as just another religion of the day. Nero would not have been threatened by such a religion. But the Christians confessed Christ as the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. This was different and such a faith was of much concern to the emperor.

Today, we have many denominations in denial of the basics. Educational centers that once confessed Christ as Lord have become centers of rationalism. Harvard University is an example.

One professor of Oxford writes, “I was brought up in the presence of the Bible and I remember what it was like to hold a dogmatic position on the statements of Christian belief. I would now describe myself as a candid friend of Christianity.

Our own denominational schools, once called Christian colleges, now today refer to themselves as colleges of the church. Our theologians, church administrators, pastors, and leading laity are educated in these schools. They will teach adults and children. However, often what they teach is not the faith of our fathers.

Living with these facts, the Church grows weaker as the need for its message grows stronger. Today, America needs more than anything else a spiritual awakening where every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.

3. “. . . Do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.”

We are to remember this: it is very important that, in a day where God is being overlooked, we Ð the Church of Jesus Christ Ð really fan into flame that gospel.

Paul could sit in prison and think of the giants in the faith who were awaiting martyrdom themselves for the cause of Christ. Paul had Timothy, who was his pride and joy and child in the faith. Many were being converted and growing in the faith.

Today the Word is being planted in the souls of people as thousands worship in strong evangelical churches where both law and gospel are proclaimed. God tells us that his Word will not return void. Christ is building his Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. We have this promise from Christ himself. Amen.

A Time of Transition

Today’s text moves us from the birth of Jesus into the historic narrative of his adult life and ministry. There was thirty years of silence when little is known about Jesus’ growing up years.

We do know that while he was small, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him” (Matthew 2:13). They remained in Egypt until it was safe to return to Israel where they made their home in Nazareth.

“When Jesus was 12 years old Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. After the feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. They thought he was in their company and they traveled for a day and then they looked for him among their relatives and friends. When they couldn’t find him they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ÔSon, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.'”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t know what he was saying to them (Luke 2:41).

We can be sure that Joseph and Mary had many stories that they could have told about raising Jesus, but they are not recorded in the Bible.

Now God was ready to present His Son, Jesus Christ, to the world. He was the Son of God and the Savior of the world. He was true God and true man.

According to God’s plan, a forerunner was chosen to usher in the coming of the Messiah and his name was John the Baptist. We meet him out in the wilderness preaching, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

John was standing between two worlds Ð before and after Christ.

The people flocked out to hear his message and to be baptized. Because of his popularity a delegation of priests and Levites were sent by the Jews to check Him out.

“Who are you?” they asked.

John answered, “I am not the Christ.”

“Then are you Elijah? Or the Prophet?”

And John said, “No.”

“Who are you then? Let us have an answer to take back to those who sent us.”

John replied, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ÔMake straight the way of the Lord.'”

The next day, John was back preaching and baptizing and the religious interrogators were still seeking answers.

“Why do you baptize if you are not the Christ, Elijah or the Prophet?”

And John answered, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

At that time Jesus was coming near them and John said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This is the one whom I meant when I said, ÔA man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me. I myself did not know Him, but the reason that I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel'” (John 1:29).

Then John the Baptist gave his testimony.

“I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him, I would not have known him, except the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ÔThe man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit. I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God” (John 1:32-34).

To reveal that Jesus is the Son of God is the most difficult task that God has to do. This biblical truth is not simply something that people learn intellectually and believe it. The Holy Spirit must open the person’s heart and then the individual can accept or reject this revelation. Humans can reject what God is revealing in His Word. This is what makes it a difficult task but it also is what it means to be created in the image of God. We have the right to reject what God is anxious to give us, salvation in Jesus Christ.

Let’s look at this word from John’s testimony, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This is Jesus’ purpose for the coming to this world.”

This revelation can be denied but it cannot be changed to make the message of the church more acceptable to humans. Well-meaning leaders in the church have continued to make these changes that the Word might be less offensive to the culture and the results are that the Christian message has been weakened.

Now Christ has been introduced to a small group of people. His message was foolishness to some and a stumbling block to others. According to the Scriptures He suffered and died as a payment for sin and those who receive were His children. To them He gave the power to be His witnesses and they were to carry this Gospel to the entire world.

In this sermon we have moved with Jesus through his first thirty years of living on this earth and joined Him in the beginning of His ministry. Let it be our prayer that God will open our hearts to know Jesus as He is Ð the One who loves us and desires all people to be saved.

What Impression Does Your House Give to the Community?

The Bible talks about the unique place a house can have in the building of God’s Kingdom.

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One evening our son and his wife took his mother and me on a ride around our town, showing us some of the new, big, beautiful homes that had been built in recent years. They had visited in several of these homes and they commented on how nice they were.Ê

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But we also looked at more modest, older houses and reminisced about the great times we had in many of these places.

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Houses carry lasting impressions:

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“This is the house that had some beautiful art.”

“There is a gorgeous Steinway piano in their living room.”

“I’ll never forget the great sweet rolls that came out of their kitchen.”

“That’s where I saw my first king-size bed. The wife bought it because her husband

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“We always had a good time with these people – kind and loving.”

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In Jerusalem 2000 years ago, there was a large house, known by many people as the home of John Mark’s mother. You will remember John as the writer of the second gospel and a close friend of St. Peter. John’s mother was a follower of Jesus and His spirit permeated the atmosphere of her house.

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In the 12th chapter of Acts we read about this house. Peter had just been freed from prison where he was waiting to be killed.

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“Then Peter came to himself and said, ÔNow I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.’

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Ê”When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ÔPeter is at the door!’

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Ê”ÔYou’re out of your mind,’ they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, ÔIt must be his angel.’

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Ê”But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. ÔTell James and the brothers about this,’ he said, and then he left for another place.”

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Imagine Peter outside the prison. He might have asked himself, Where shall I go? Then he thought, There is only one place that I want to be. I am going to the house of John Mark’s mother. That’s where the Christians will be. And he was so right. After such an emotional experience, Peter needed their comfort and guidance. The house had made a great impression on the disciple.

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Peter told his friends what had happened; and then he told them to tell James, the Lord’s brother, about this. With that statement, James became the new leader of the church in Jerusalem, and Peter was on his way to other places.

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Mary’s house was known as a place of hospitality and prayer.

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Now turn in your Bible to Acts 16.

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Paul and Silas were in Philippi, and it was the Lord’s Day. Since there was no synagogue in Philippi, they went down by the river, a place where many believers gathered to worship God. Among the worshipers was Lydia, a wealthy business woman. Paul and Silas shared the Gospel with Lydia, and the Bible says: “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home, ÔIf you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, Ôcome and stay at my house.'” And they did.

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Paul and Silas’s stay in Philippi was short, but before they left, the Bible says that Paul and Silas “went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left” (Acts 16:40).

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Lydia’s house was known as a place of hospitality and prayer and served as a church building where they shared the message of the Gospel.

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The Bible teaches that our houses can make an impression in the community.

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Now we ask, What impression does your house give to the community in which you live?

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Many members of our small group Bible studies have had great experiences in the homes of believers. I hear the stories of people being converted at these gatherings. Others have matured in their faith as they have studied the Word.

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As a Christian, when you are upset about a matter and you need help, like Peter, you look for a place where your sisters and brothers in the faith will lead you to the throne of grace.

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Here is an illustration. It was on Sunday afternoon, May 25, 2008, that a tornado hit Parkersburg, Iowa. Many homes were destroyed, people were killed, others were hurt badly. A couple ran to their basement; and then that moment came when they looked up only to see the sky. Their home, and much of what they possessed, had been taken from them in less than a minute. The question they asked was, “Where do we go from here?” It would take months to decide what was best for them in their homeless state. But in those intervening days, friends and relatives opened their houses and invited them to come in and make themselves at home. Those houses – where they found not only shelter and daily necessities, but also love and understanding – will long be remembered. The people who lived in those houses cared and were ready to help.

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But what about our own parental homes where we were raised?

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I have asked many people, who came to faith in Christ long after they left home, what place Christ had in their families. Some of their stories were heartbreaking. Sundays were no different from any other day. Their families never went to worship services nor attended Sunday school. They had never heard their parents pray. If there were Bibles in the houses, they were not used. They could remember their houses, where they had been well clothed, fed, recreated and educated, but very little if anything was said about Jesus. It left no Christian impression.

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Is that a description of the house where your children are being raised? Your house is a place where lasting impressions are being made today.

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May I ask, “What are these impressions?” Think about it. Your house is making an impression.

Christmas Is About Answered Prayer

Little 5-year-old Johnny was tired of being the only child in the family, so he told his dad he would like to have a baby brother. He also told him he would do whatever he could to help make this happen. His dad paused for a moment, and then replied with a smile on his face, “I’ll tell you what, Johnny; if you pray every day for two months for a baby brother, I guarantee that God will give you a baby brother.” (Dad knew something that little Johnny didn’t.) Johnny responded eagerly to his dad’s challenge, so he went to his bedroom early that night and began to pray for a baby brother. He prayed every night for a whole month; but after that time, he began to get a little skeptical. You see, he had checked around the neighborhood and learned that you just don’t pray for two months and then a baby brother comes. So Johnny quit praying. After another month, Johnny’s mother went to the hospital. When she came back home, Johnny’s parents called him into the bedroom. There he saw a little bundle laying next to his mother. When his dad pulled back the blanket, there was not just one baby brother, but two. Johnny’s dad looked at him and said, “Now aren’t you glad you prayed?” Johnny hesitated and then looked up at his dad and said, “Yes, but aren’t you glad I quit when I did?”

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Christmas is about answered prayer. For centuries the people of God had prayed and longed for the day God would come down and rescue them. Listen to this prayer from Isaiah 64:1-2, addressing God:

“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you!”

The people of God were praying for an intervention. They were tired of being oppressed and pushed around by the world empires century after century. And they longed for a new day when God would come and help them and reestablish them as a power to be reckoned with in this world. And so they prayed fervently, God come down, shake things up, make your presence known.

When the time was right, or as the Apostle Paul writes in Galatians, When the time was fulfilled, God answered that prayer. He came down, not exactly as they had pictured it; but he did come down, as a baby of all things. God in the flesh, true God, true man. Listen to the birth announcement of the angels to the shepherds out in the pasture, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

Whenever you see the Lord in the New Testament and in the Old Testament, the word is Kyrios, which is the same thing as saying God. “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ . . .” He’s God. God has come down to save you. Your prayer has been answered.

To the surprise of most, God’s answer to that prayer was not exactly as they wanted or expected, but it was exactly what they needed. God does not always answer according to our wants. He answers according to our needs. This Savior came to save us from powers greater than any world empire. God came down to give us what we really need.

Someone sent a card to me years ago that I saved, because I liked what it said. It reads like this:

If our greatest need would have been information, God would have sent an educator.

If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent a scientist.

If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent an economist.

If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.

But our greatest need was forgiveness for our sinfulness, so God sent us a Savior

God told Joseph through an angel that when Jesus was born, they should call him Jesus, for He would save His people from their sins.

This Child, born in Bethlehem, was on a rescue mission to rescue humanity from sin. All of us carry a deadly disease within us. The Bible refers to this disease as Sin with a capital S. It’s an ugly stain that rears its ugly head in a variety of ways as we find ourselves disobeying God’s commandments Ð as we act selfishly and step on one another’s toes, as we live out our days as if this world actually revolves around ME.

This stain within us cannot be erased by our own power. We cannot cure ourselves of it. Heaven knows, people have tried. But as the Bible observes, we always fall short. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

This God we are talking about is loving, but He is also holy and just. He cannot tolerate sin in his presence and cannot allow a sinner into his heaven. So this sin separates us from God, the Creator, the source of our life.

We might be hoping God grades on a curve; but Jesus said we must be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. This sin we have is a deadly disease, a deadly boss, an oppressor. The wages of this sin is death.

So here we have a God who loves us, but hates our sin. We’re separated from Him; and the wages of this sin is death. It’s quite a predicament, isn’t it? So what’s to be done?

There’s nothing we can do, but God did something about it. He came down. He came down into our world when Jesus was born. This was God coming down the back stairs in Bethlehem, placing himself in the crook of an arm of a simple woman. And he grew up and lived the life of perfect obedience to God that you and I cannot live. And he allowed himself to be nailed to the cross.

Why? Because our sin had to be paid for. At the cross, Jesus was taking upon himself our punishment, our sinfulness. He who knew no sin became sin for us. God poured out his wrath upon sin as Jesus died upon that cross. And that cry he made as he took his last breath was an announcement When Jesus cried, “It’s finished,” he must have known he was using a business term from the old days. It literally means “Paid in Full.” Jesus paid in full the debt we could not pay ourselves. And he saved us, rescuing us from our sinfulness. All has been taken care of. The rescue mission, which began in Bethlehem that first Christmas, is now complete.

And listen to this! The consequence of sin, our enemy death, has been defeated and conquered by Jesus. On the third day, he took care of that, too. God raised him from the grave and promised that all who would place their trust in his Son, Jesus Christ, shall have eternal life with him in heaven.

It’s true that someday we are all going to die. But thanks be to God that when we take our last breath in this world, it’s simply going to be a homecoming. We will find ourselves in the Father’s house with the many rooms that have been prepared for us, because Christ Jesus, by dying on the cross and rising again, has taken away the sting of death.

When I was a kid, we had a pastor who was a wonderful storyteller. One day in a sermon, he told a story that stuck with me through the years. It’s about a little boy who was riding in a car with his dad. The window was open and a bee flew in. The boy began to scream and cry and sob, cowering as that bee buzzed around him. You see, the kid was allergic to bee stings, which could be deadly for him. His father calmly pulled the car over to the side of the road. The boy was still cowering in the corner of his seat when he felt a tap on his shoulder and heard his father’s voice say, “Look up.” When he opened his eyes, his dad was smiling. In the palm of his father’s hand was a bee sting. His dad said, “It can’t hurt you anymore.”

Jesus Christ holds out his nail-pierced hands and says to us regarding death, “It cannot hurt you anymore. You belong to me.”

Christmas is about an answered prayer. People of God prayed that God would come down. He did come down and gave them so much more than they asked for. He set them free from sin and death.

By the way, God’s faithful response to the prayer calls for a response on the part of you and me. Like a gift that has been offered, it is to be received.

John tells us in his Gospel, But to all who receive him, he gives the power to become the children of God. (John 1:12) That promise is yours and mine.

Wouldn’t this be a wonderful occasion to receive this gift and to go through the rest of your life assured that, if you died today, you would awaken in heaven with Jesus. That’s why Jesus came, to give that to you and me.

I appeal to you. Don’t let another Christmas go by without claiming the gift for yourself. I encourage you to join Phillips Brooks in the final verse of his prayer and make it your own. You know the words:

O Holy Child of Bethlehem,

descend to us we pray.

Cast out our sin and enter in,

be born in us today.

That is a pray of confession and submission to Christ that God will answer. Christ will come in and forgive you, changing your life and giving you the promises of heaven. And that’s the good news! God answered prayer years ago, and he’ll answer that prayer today.