Tag Archives: Christmas

What Did Mary Know?

Dr. John MacArthurWhat did Mary know, what did she know? Well I don’t think she knew that He’d walk on water specifically. I don’t think she could know that He would give sight to a blind man and make the silent speak, she had no way to know!

Listen to the Christmas story below

And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord;
may it be done to me according to your word.”

Mary knew that she was going to give birth to
the Savior, the only Savior, the Savior of the world.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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The Shepherds Went on a Mission

Despiseand rejectIt was A.W. Pink who said “The whole civilized world celebrates Christmas”  So other that Easter time, where our Lord and Savior died for our sins, Christmas time when we celebrate the birth of our Savior is one of the best times to talk about Christ and why He came into this world.

The Shepherds did!

When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2:17-18

Why did Christ come?

ThewordfleshPaul answers that question , when he writes in 1 Timothy 1:15-17 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 

King James Bible translates Luke 2:17 as And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 

That gives me the idea that those shepherds went on a mission and they had something to say about the events that just took placed, no doubt they had Micah 5:2 spilling out of their mouths. The whole town was over flowing with people because of the decree from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. Luke 2:1 This was by God’s sovereign design that those shepherd went and told of the birth of the Messiah.

Shouldn’t we do the same?

God_in_the_MangerHere is the two most important things I have learned from those shepherds.

  1. How can anyone wonder or consider these things about Christ without being told? Luke 2:18.
  2. How can anyone come to saving faith without being told about the things of Christ? Romans 10:17

When you are with your unbelieving family and friends, share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. Tell them about Christ, tell them that Baby in the manger is God come in the flesh John 1:14 and ask them to consider Jesus Christ as their Savior. Then let the Holy Spirit do the rest, your job is not to save them, your job is to share the gospel and God will not let His word come back void or without accomplishing what He desires  Isaiah 55:11.

Go and tell them about Christ.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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Should Believers Celebrate Christmas?

fortnerNo one knows the day of our Lord’s incarnation. The Holy Spirit did not reveal it to us. And, as believers, we must not be brought into a bondage observance of any day. We must not honor one day above another. We do not observe holy days and sabbath days of any kind. To be sure, the world’s observance of Christmas has little, if anything, to do with the worship and honour of Christ. For these reasons, and many others, some of the Lord’s people conscientiously choose not to join in any form of Christmas celebration. I respect their opinions and convictions – I must, because I once shared them. While we must not look upon those who differ with us in scorn or contempt (Rom. 14:1-5), I believe it is best for us wisely to use this season of the year.

CHRIST CAME

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

At this season of the year people everywhere are reminded of the fact that Jesus Christ lived and died in this world. At this season of the year virtually everyone in this world is confronted with the fact that 2000 years ago God almighty assumed human flesh and came into this world. Most have no idea who Christ is, why he came, what he did, or where he is now. But they cannot escape the fact that the Son of God came into this world. Above all else, I have chosen to celebrate Christmas, because it gives me an open door for preaching the gospel for the honor of Christ and the salvation of men. This season of the year gives me an opportunity to tell sinners the good news of grace, salvation and eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ, by virtue of his sin-atoning sacrifice at Calvary and the power of his almighty grace.

A TIME FOR GIVING

christmas-givingAnother motive for celebrating this season of the year is the fact that it is a time for giving. It does my heart good to see men and women engaged in seeking the happiness of other people. Such a spirit should be encouraged and nourished, not dampened and reprimanded. Giving is always good. I grant that most giving at Christmas time has little to do with real generosity and sacrifice; but giving is always good. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people were as thoughtful, generous, and caring the year round as they are at Christmas time? May God give me such a spirit.

A TIME FOR FAMILIES

children-decorating-christmas-treeAnd Christmas is a time for the family. More than at any other season of the year, families try to get together for Christmas. All the children come home with all their children. It is truly a happy time. I am for anything that promotes such warm family feelings of love and joy.

Yes, I think that it is best for us to celebrate Christmas, not as a religious holy day, but for the remembrance of that blessed event when the Son of God assumed our nature, that he might live and die as our Substitute and accomplish our eternal redemption. December 25 is nothing to us. But Immanuel is everything to God’s elect. We will magnify our Lord, our Savior, our King for his birth! He was born at Bethlehem that he might die at Calvary, and obtain eternal redemption for his people! Surely, no one can find fault with us celebrating such a glorious Savior! (Donald S. Fortner, Grace For Today Radio Message #881)

GOD WITH US

We will magnify our Lord,
our Savior, our King
for his birth!

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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Glory to God in the highest

nativity_sceneI love reading the Christmas story, especially in Luke 2:8-20 where we read about the Shepherds who are watching over their flock, then an angel of the Lord appears before them and it says in Luke 2:8 “the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.”  It wasn’t given to the religious élite but to these common shepherds, they were the ones to see King Jesus first. I know what you’re thinking, wasn’t it the wise men that saw the birth of Jesus first?

No they came two years later and they saw Him as a Child, not a Baby, in a house, not a manger.

9 After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Matthew 2:9-11

Every year when I see people set up their nativity scenes, I always have to say they are a couple of years away, but they are placed over baby Jesus because they match the set. Oh well, maybe next year we’ll get it biblical right and match the bible!

He rules the world with truth and grace

He rules the world with truth and grace

Getting back to the Shepherds and the glory of the Lord, can you imagine what they were thinking? It says that ”they were terribly frightened” and why wouldn’t they be, it’s not everyday you see the angle of the Lord is it? But wait, there’s more to come, they get to hear about the “Good News of great joy”

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Amazingly as that sounds, the best part of this proclamation by the angel for me is what happens next!

13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14″Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:13-14

The skies opened up with a literal army, thousand upon thousand of heavenly host are praising God, Can you imagine that scene?

GOD WITH USGloria in Excelsis Deo which means “Glory to God in the highest, we sing it every year at our Christmas Eve service. God coming in the flesh is not something that happens quietly, nor should it be! It is proclaimed from the heavens and should be by us also. It ends with “ on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

So who are those that He is pleased with?

Those who repent of their sins and place there trust in this savior God, the Lord Jesus Christ who lays in the manger. So this year when you look at the manger scene and see little baby Jesus, that’s God in that manger, that’s the Savior of your soul, that’s the same God who was nailed to that tree for your sins, 2 Corinthians 5:21 who took the wrath of God for you.

Be one of those who He is well pleased and believe!

It’s God in that manger
It’s God on that tree
It’s God who saves
Repent and believe!

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria

Gloria in Excelsis Deo
Lenny

 

 

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God With Us

If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!  (John MacArthur God With Us, Zondervan, 1989, p. 16.)

GOD WITH US

 

“God with us.”
and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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God with us (John Calvin)

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23calvin

His name Immanuel The phrase, God is with us, is no doubt frequently employed in Scripture to denote, that he is present with us by his assistance and grace, and displays the power of his hand in our defense. But here we are instructed as to the manner in which God communicates with men. For out of Christ we are alienated from him; but through Christ we are not only received into his favor, but are made one with him. When Paul says, that the Jews under the law were nigh to God, (Ephesians 2:17,) and that a deadly enmity (Ephesians 2:15) subsisted between him and the Gentiles, he means only that, by shadows and figures, God then gave to the people whom he had adopted the tokens of his presence. That promise was still in force, “The Lord thy God is among you,” (Deuteronomy 7:21,) and, “This is my rest for ever,” (Psalm 132:14.) But while the familiar intercourse between God and the people depended on a Mediator, what had not yet fully taken place was shadowed out by symbols. His seat and residence is placed “between the Cherubim,” (Psalm 80:1,) because the ark was the figure and visible pledge of his glory.

God_in_the_MangerBut in Christ the actual presence of God with his people, and not, as before, his shadowy presence, has been exhibited. This is the reason, why Paul says, that “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” (Colossians 2:9.) And certainly he would not be a properly qualified Mediator, if he did not unite both natures in his person, and thus bring men into an alliance with God. Nor is there any force in the objection, about which the Jews make a good deal of noise, that the name of God is frequently applied to those memorials, by which he testified that he was present with believers. For it cannot be denied, that this name, Immanuel, contains an implied contrast between the presence of God, as exhibited in Christ, with every other kind of presence, which was manifested to the ancient people before his coming. If the reason of this name began to be actually true, when Christ appeared in the flesh, it follows that it was not completely, but only in part, that God was formerly united with the Fathers.

GOD WITH USHence arises another proof, that Christ is God manifested in the flesh, (1 Timothy 3:16.) He discharged, indeed, the office of Mediator from the beginning of the world; but as this depended wholly on the latest revelation, he is justly called Immanuel at that time, when clothed, as it were, with a new character, he appears in public as a Priest, to atone for the sins of men by the sacrifice of his body, to reconcile them to the Father by the price of his blood, and, in a word, to fulfill every part of the salvation of men. The first thing which we ought to consider in this name is the divine majesty of Christ, so as to yield to him the reverence which is due to the only and eternal God. But we must not, at the same time, forget the fruit which God intended that we should collect and receive from this name. For whenever we contemplate the one person of Christ as God-man, we ought to hold it for certain that, if we are united to Christ by faith, we possess God. In the words, they shall call, there is a change of the number. But this is not at all at variance with what I have already said. True, the prophet addresses the virgin alone, and therefore uses the second person, Thou shalt call But from the time that this name was published, all the godly have an equal right to make this confession, that God has given himself to us to be enjoyed in Christ.

(John Calvin Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke – Volume 1)

 God has given Himself to us to be enjoyed in Christ.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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The Best News In The World

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I remember sitting there listen to the Curse Motif of the Atonement from R.C.Sproul at the together for the gospel conference in Louisville in 2008 and in that he talked about this Hymn- Joy To The World and the third stanza being his favorite part, since then I have fallen in love with Joy to the world.

That’s the good news… Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Far as the curse is found,

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; Luke 2:10

1 O sing to the Lord a new song,
For He has done wonderful things,
His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.
2 The Lord has made known His salvation;
He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
4 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
With the lyre and the sound of melody.
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
Shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.
7 Let the sea roar and all it contains,
The world and those who dwell in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing together for joy
9 Before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth;
He will judge the world with righteousness
And the peoples with equity.  Psalm 98:1-9

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Joy to the world,
the Lord is come!
Far as the curse is found

and that’s a beautiful thing!

Have a blessed Christmas
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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The Real Christmas Story

The Great Exchange

The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity – hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory – because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross. ~J.I. Packer

Here’s a side to the Christmas story that isn’t often told: Those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant’s head with sparkling eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear. Jesus was born to die.

If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth! ~John MacArthur (From God With Us)

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:15-17

It was Athanasius who said….

He became what we are
that He might make us
what He is.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

 

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Mary Queen of heaven or sinner?

Mary Queen  of heaven or sinnerI remember sitting there like it was yesterday, the idolatry was overwhelming at times. My plan from the beginning was to flee from the scene as soon as I could. But I was there for my nephews wedding and he had ask me to do a reading and I immediately said yes without realizing it was from a Roman Catholic prayer-book. Can I just back out now or could I use it for a chance to give the gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire left side of the church where the bride’s family was sitting and mostly Romans Catholic.

So they sent me the prayer I was to read and I worked the entire night before the wedding and rewrote the prayer and took out the part about purgatory, and included our sin, repentance, our need for Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I remember getting there and the priest trying to hand me the prayer I was going to need as he was a little controlling, I told him I have all I need here and padded my front pocket of my suit jacket.

It was my turn to get up in front of 100 people, most of who I don’t know and read something that might cause a few feathers to be ruffled, you see Romans Catholics know their prayers well and they were about to do a responsive reading about their need to repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

I started to walk up the stairs to the altar and something caught my eyes above me, it was Mary, she was elevated above Jesus and the words written on the ceiling were Queen of the Most Holy Rosary or “Queen of Heaven”.

I don’t know what came over me, but I complete cut off the priest from talking and starting my responsive reading that I rewrote and walked off and sat back down, just staring at the ceiling and Mary being crowned Queen of heaven.

Is Mary Queen of heaven or sinner?

Lets let her answer that question….

GOD WITH USAnd Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name. Luke 1:46-49

 

My hopeJ. Vernon McGee writes this…

“Now Mary sings a song. This is known as the Magnificat. This song teaches us several interesting things. Mary tells us in her song that she needed a Savior and that she rejoiced in Him. Protestant friend, let us call her blessed. We don’t make her a goddess and kneel before her, but we do need to call her blessed. It was her glorious privilege to be the mother of the Son of God, to bring Him into the world. We should not play it down, but we should not play it up either. She was a wonderful person, and it was no accident that she was chosen by God. It was His definite decision, and God makes no mistakes.”

Mary wanted God to have all the praise and glory! She was sinful and in need of a Savior as we read “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my SaviorFor the Mighty One has done great things for me;  And holy is His name.“ 

Mary Queen of Heaven? No!

Sinner made saint by her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

And holy is His name.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

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Who Were the Wise Men?

Who Were the Wise Men?

Who were the wise men? Are you ready for that? Matthew chapter 2. All of us have wondered. I remember when I was a little boy I wondered who those guys were. How many were there? Were they really kings? Did they really ride camels?

Why did they come to Bethlehem? And, as Paul said, we have most of our ideas about this fascinating group from the people who draw Christmas cards rather than theologians. Vincent, who has written some very helpful word studies says in regard to this, “Many absurd traditions and guesses respecting these visitors to our Lord’s cradle have found their way into popular belief and into Christian art. They were said to be kings and three in number. John MacArthur

Here is a three part series to help you to answer that question…  Who Were the Wise Men?

Who Were the Wise Men?

Fools and Wise Men, Part 1

Fools and Wise Men, Part 2

Dr. MacArthur writes… Isn’t it exciting to you how God controls history. Does that excite you? Now see, you looked at every-thing I said and you listened to it and I talked to you for fifty minutes and you know why it was so fascinating to you? Not because it was just a bunch of historical facts but because you were seeing God at work History is His story. Long ago He picked out a man named Daniel, put him in a place to influence some men who had arrived in perfect timing.

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria
Lenny

 

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