According to Bible scholars, Christmas Day counts as one of the seven greatest works of God in the history of the universe. Here they are:
- The creation of the angels.
- The creation of material universe, including earth and life on earth.
- The Incarnation of Christ — that’s Christmas Day.
- The Crucifixion.
- The Resurrection.
- The Second Coming.
- The creation of the new heavens and new earth.
Those are considered the seven greatest divine undertakings in the history of the cosmos.
But I would have to add one more.
Because the eighth greatest work of God — one that it totally on par with these others — is the moment when spotted a little boy in Chicago, praying a prayer, and believing in Jesus — and on that day God saved that little boy, and adopted into his family forever.
And that salvation was the very point of all the other works of God… saving me was the reason Jesus came on Christmas Day in the first place.
Hundreds of people have been praying God would repeat that same stupendous miracle today. People have even been praying for you… by name… to be saved today.
I have been praying too… that you would make this Christmas your first Christmas as a child of God.
Let’s think about how that might happen.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS. (Matthew 1:18-25, NKJV)
The physical universe in which we live is governed by laws of energy and matter, of chemistry and physics.
But at the first Christmas, another realm broke into this realm, with its own laws and realities.
And by having the heavenly realm intercept our earthly realm, God gave us a little window to view the enormity of his works and of his plan.
Just think of a very small bit of his cosmic plan.
A pagan Roman emperor, August Caesar, issued a decree at just the right moment in world history. That decree would cause Joseph and Mary to move to just the right town — sleepy backwater town of Bethlehem — for the Savior to be born… just as the ancient prophet Micah foretold. The right place, the right time, of the right lineage of David.
How did Caesar come to that decree? By the miracle working power of God.
A young woman, a virgin, conceived and brought forth a Son.
How did the virgin Mary bring forth a son on that first Christmas morning? By the miracle working power of God.
Wise men from the East, kings from far-away mystic lands, studying the Scriptures… they saw a star and they followed it to find their Savior.
What timed the movement of the stars to tell celestial observers have a world away that the prophecies of as Savior’s birth have been fulfilled? It was the miracle working power of God.
The power that God put forth on Christmas Day is a greater, stronger, different power than the forces of physics and space and time.
Angels flew down from heaven, to appear to a carpenter named Joseph and later to humble shepherds in the field. Such a sight of glory made those rugged men tremble.
Shouts of glory. Flashes of brilliance in the sky. A voice from the clouds promising the greatest promise of all:
UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY IN THE CITY OF DAVID, A SAVIOR, WHO IS CHRIST THE LORD.
No sooner had the angel made the announcement than the whole starry sky erupted in fireworks and shouts of angelic praise.
No astrophysicist could explain it; no science could contain it.
Glory to God in the highest, said the angels. And on earth, peace, good will toward men.
What science can explain an angelic visitation, or a celebration in the starry night sky?
Only the miracle-working power of God.
Christmas is a massive shock to the secular system.
It is a massive revelation of a world beyond this world, a time beyond this time, a bigger, broader, deeper reality than what we can see with our eyes or probe with our philosophies.
And the wonder that rises above all other wonders of Christmas is the astonishing truth that lying in the manger was the Son of God.
God gave the most remarkable Christmas gift of all the ages by giving himself, and by giving himself in this particular way to accomplish this particular mission.
What was it? A Savior
You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.
Christmas means the gift of a Savior.
The greatest gift of all. God gave a Savior.
A doctor could assist you medically in this physical realm.
But what about the heavenly realm? What medicine can prepare you for heaven?
A banker or broker could prepare you financially to this economic realm.
But what capital will you bring to the heavenly realm? Everybody knows you can’t take it with you.
A counselor can help you cope with emotions and identity and recovery and loss.
But how will you cope with eternity? How will you be prepared?
That great heavenly realm, that realm that surrounds the entire cosmos, and upholds it, and makes it real…
- The spiritual realm.
- The kingdom of heaven.
- The kingdom of God.
It has its own powers flowing down from God’s throne.
It has its own citizens, innumerable angels, flashing like lightning to do the bidding of God.
It has its own moral code, the infinite, unflinching, unquenchable holiness of God. The God who admits no imperfection into his presence.
- Who can equip you for that realm?
- Who can qualify you?
- Who can cleanse you?
- Who can prepare you for heaven?
Answer: A SAVIOR.
And that is the very person God gave on Christmas Day.
- It was a Savior the angels announced.
- It was a Savior that the shepherds rushed to see.
- It was a Savior that Mary brought into the world.
- It was a Royal Savior that the wise men travelled to meet.
On Christmas day, the world celebrates the birth, and the gift, of a Savior.
What do you do with a doctor? You let the doctor heal you.
What do you do with a banker or broker? You let them invest for you.
What do you do with a Savior? You let the Savior save you.
So I have to lovingly, respectfully, urgently ask you… Have you ever let the Savior save you?
Wouldn’t that be the main point of Christmas? But you say, what does that mean? How do I do that?
That is what I want to show you today. In fact, I want to walk you through the steps. If you have never received Jesus as your Savior before, I believe God brought you here today as a divine appointment.
And I believe he’s been working on you. And softening your heart. And preparing you for this moment.
Because today is going to be that great day of your very own salvation.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to single you out. I won’t embarrass you.
I want to lead you in a silent prayer, and if, in that prayer, you will express your desire to God, then today will be the day of your salvation.
When divers go into the underwater realms, they wear scuba gear.
When astronauts go into the cosmic realms, they wear space suits.
What gear do you need to enter heavenly realms? What kind of outfitting does the Savior provide?
Three Ways The Savior Outfits you for Heaven
There’s a story in the Bible between Jesus and his disciples.
The Bible says Jesus took off his coat, wrapped a towel around his waist, poured water into a basin, and began to wash his disciples’ feet.
He was washing away the grime of the streets.
Here was the Supreme Being, the Master and Commander of the the Universe.
Here was Almighty God, the Great I Am, the Shepherd of the Stars, stooping to wash feet.
Amazing, when you think about it.
But not amazing when you realize, if he was willing to stoop to a manger, he would be willing to stoop to washing their feet.
When Jesus got to Peter, Peter tried to stop him.
“No way,” Peter said. “You must never wash my feet!” (John 13:8, Phil).
And Jesus said this to Peter, something that applies to every single one of us today: “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.”
He would say the same thing to you and to me today too. If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.
Has Jesus washed you? This is the why of Christmas, you know. This is why he came. That is why he lived. That is why he died. That is why he rose again.
The Son of God became the Son of Mary, and the Son of Mary became the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He outfits you by cleansing you. From sin and guilt and shame and everything that disqualifies you from the presence of a holy God.
This is what a Savior does. This is how a Savior saves.
Maybe you’ve tried to cleanse yourself.
You’ve determined to cleanse your sin, but the stain won’t come out.
You’ve vowed not to do it again, but you’re doing it more than ever.
You look in a mirror, and you see a mess.
Or you might see the opposite: a person so successful you have no need of God.
That’s the beautiful thing about Christmas.
You have the lowest of the low, in the shepherds.
You have the highest of the high, in the royal advisors of Persia called Wise Men…
So that whether you are high and mighty, or low down and humble, it makes no difference. You need the Savior. You are invited to the Savior. You can apply to him to cleanse you for heaven, and for God, and for time, and for eternity, and he will.
What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
He wants to wash you today, if you’ll let him. He wants to make you qualified for heaven, freely as a gift, if you’ll say yes. I want to help you do that today.
He offers cleansing. He also offers…
I remember one time being with a group of friends. We wanted to try a nice new restaurant. We walked in. We saw that everyone was dressed in suits and ties and nice dresses. We were in jeans and t-shirts. We didn’t fit in. We walked out.
Jesus told a story like that.
There was a king, he said, who threw a wedding feast, and invited everybody in town, good and bad alike. And the hall became filled with guests.
Here’s what happened:
But when the king came in to inspect the guests, he noticed among them a man not dressed for a wedding. ‘How did you come in here, my friend,’ he said to him, ‘without being properly dressed for the wedding?’ And the man had nothing to say. (Matthew 22:11,12, Phil).
And the king had him removed from the feast.
Heaven’s halls have a dress code. It has nothing to do with wealth or classiness or style.
It has everything to do with being morally adjusted to the holiness of God.
Have you ever been somewhere where someone you loved was cold, so you took off your jacket, and put it on them? Maybe your spouse, or a child, or an elderly relative.
That is exactly what Jesus Christ has done for you.
First he cleansed you; he took away your garments stained with sin.
But then he clothed you; he wrapped you in his own garments of goodness and grace.
I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10, NLT)
This is what a Savior does for you. This is how the Savior saves you.
You needed to be good enough for God; and Jesus wrapped you in his own goodness.
You needed to be righteous before God’s throne; and Jesus wrapped you in robes of righteousness.
You needed to be perfect before the courts of heaven; and your Savior attired you in his own perfections.
He took your tattered robes, and wore them all the way to death on the cross.
And then he took his glorious robes of resurrection, and wrapped you up, that you might be outfitted for the heavenly realms. That’s truly the gift of Christmas.
Have you ever let him do that for you?
Have you ever received the robes of Jesus Christ?
You can receive that beautiful gift today, if only you will believe. Please, be willing.
Christmas means that the Son of God became just like you so that you can be made just like him.
He outfits you for the realms of angels: he cleanses you, he clothes you. And then he gives you:
Christmas means that death has met its match. The birth of Christ meant the death of death.
Because the baby in the manger became the hero on the Cross.
He squared off against the master of Death in the cage match of the cosmos.
And just when it looked as if death had won the day, Jesus body slammed death with a crash heard round the universe, and defeated that old monster forever for all who believe.
All because a Savior was born for you on that day so long ago, the ticking time bomb of death has been defused… and the sting has been taken out once for all.
If you have received Jesus Christ, or if you will receive him today, you will immediately join the ranks of the immortals:
[God] has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, (2 Timothy 1:9, 10, NKJV).
He abolished death.
He brought life and immortality to light.
Through the gospel.
I am proclaiming the gospel to you today. And one of the stupendous, astonishing wonders the gospel is about is immortality.
On Christmas day, God gave you a Savior… and the Savior saves by outfitting his people with immortality.
- Everlasting life.
- Everlasting heaven.
- Everlasting pleasure and existence and grace.
- Endless love.
- Boundless joy.
- Infinite peace.
I can say I am immortal all because unto us was born that day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And I want to show you today how you can say the exact same thing, based on the unbreakable promise of God.
Christmas means that the Son of God became just like you, so that you could become just like him.
- His rights will become your rights.
- His identity will become your identity.
- His privileges will become your privileges.
- His perfections will become your perfections.
- His destiny will become your destiny.
- His authority will become your authority.
- His throne will become your throne.
- His glory will become your glory.
- His everything will fill up your nothing, and you will obtain everything in him.
Because this is how the Savior saves.
This is why the angels sang, the wise men came, and the Savior was laid in a manger.
Because of you.
For your sake.
Because God was loving you, and setting up everything required to prepare you for the heavenly realms, now and forever.
A man went to his pastor, and said, I am ready to stand before God on my own two feet. I want to stand before God on my own merits, show him my own goodness, and claim my rights before his thrown.
The pastor assured the man that that would be like standing within a mile of the sun.
He would be blinded by the dazzling brilliance, and consumed by the blazing heat.
So the Bible asks,
“Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God?” (1 Samuel 6:20, NKJV).
And the answer is only the person who has been outfitted by Bethlehem’s Savior.
The time has come. Let’s do this right now.
Now, it’s about you. You personally. You and God.
You can join the ranks of the eighth wonder of the cosmos right now.
I’m going to ask you to bow your head, and to close your eyes. We do this to create a quiet space for you, and to extend that courtesy to the people sitting around you.
For our prayer today, I’m going to use the words of a famous Christmas carol, called O Little Town of Bethlehem. The last verse is a prayer and it goes like this:
O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to me, I pray
Cast out my sin and enter in
Be born to me today
O come to me, abide with me
My Lord Emmanuel
And let’s just add this final ABC prayer:
ADMIT. God, I admit I need you there is a gap between me and you. I am not yet equipped for heaven. I cannot outfit myself. I feel it in my heart. I am fallen. I am sinful. I admit I need you today.
BELIEVE. But I believe that on Christmas day, you sent Jesus into the world. I believe he is your son. I believe he died for my sins. I believe he rose again. God, I don’t get how all this works, but I’m telling you as best as I can, that I believe in Jesus.
CHOOSE. So right now God, I choose to trust in Jesus as Savior. I believe him as my Only Hope. God, please cleanse me. Please clothe me with your perfections. Please grant me life and immortality with you. I’m asking you God, please save me. And please make this Christmas my first Christmas as your child forever.