(12/31) Every year around Thanksgiving, a white haired and bearded man in a red suit appears in our malls, and parades. Children's minds are filled with hope that this one will fulfill all their desires and mysteriously deliver them toys and things that they want. Movies like Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, and numerous Hallmark films
entertain us every December with stories of this supernatural benefactor. Clement Moore's, A Visit from Saint Nicolas, is a timeless classic. And few Christmas specials are without the song, Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
Now, I am not going to preach against Santa Claus this morning, nor will I answer the question of whether you should tell your children that there is a Santa Claus. It is already too late for that. But, there are several things that trouble me about this.
1.) It bothers me that we have somehow ascribed to this person, the attributes of Deity. He sees you when you are sleeping, He knows when you're awake' He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake....." Miraculously, he manages to visit all the children of the world in just one night or 24 hour time period.
2.) The tremendous disappointment that children feel when they learn that they have been spoofed, bothers me. If Santa, whom we have seen at the mall is a myth, is Jesus, whom we haven't seen, also a myth? If my parents, and other adults would deceive me about this, what else are they deceiving me with?
3.) Have any of you heard the song or seen the video, Where is the line to see Jesus? Most children know much more about Santa and the North Pole than they do about Jesus and Bethlehem.
So, here is what I suggest to you. William Bennett, has done us a tremendous service, and for a few dollars, I suggest that you all get a copy of, The True Saint Nicolas and Why He Matters to Christmas, published by Howard books. Less than 120 small pages, Mr. Bennett shows us the truth and the legends that have grown around this one named Nicolas that
was a Pastor in Myra of Turkey around the 3rd century. How his wealthy parents died in a plague and how Nicolas loved to secretly gift and bless people in need, especially children, and how he cared for the poor and survived one of the worst of the Roman persecutions, and how the legends of his generosity and spirituality grew into the myths we embrace today. Telling your
children about the real Nicolas will help to transition them to the real celebration, spirit and worship of Christmas. Tell them that Nicolas of Myra deeply loved Jesus Christ and he lived to serve the People that Jesus was born and died to redeem.
Again, what does this have to do with our text? The only onniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent one is the one who came to us as a Child in Bethlehem. Isaiah tell us that this Virgin born child, that would be the Light of the World, and who would govern the world, would be known by His character and attributes:
- He would be Immanuel - God in human flesh
- He would be a Wonderful, Counselor- that is, Awesome, Indescribable, Matchless in Wisdom and words.
- He would be the Mighty God - That is, a Strong Hero God who would rescue those in distress, defeating His enemies, saving His people.
- He will be the Prince of Peace, and the King of Kings
And He is the Father of Eternity, that is the more literal rendering of the phrase, Everlasting Father. The sense is not that the Son is the Father, but that the Son is the source from which everything has come.
Isaiah is telling us that the child to be born is the one who was before all that is and is the one from which all that is has come to be. He is the one that truly does see you when you are sleeping and knows when you are awake. He alone knows if you have been bad or good. He knows what you need before you ask Him for anything. He knows how to take
care of you. He knows what is in men's hearts.
Isa. 40:25-28 "To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, And speak, O Israel:
"My way is hidden from the Lord, And my just claim is passed over by my God"? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable."
- Gen. 1:1; " In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
- John 1:1-3; In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
- Col. 1:15-17; He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
- Heb. 1:1-3; God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of
His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
The Bible says that this child whose birth we celebrated is the divine author, creator, and sustainer of all there is and He is moving everything according to His eternal purpose. He will accomplish all that He has declared.
This Child did not begin on the womb of Mary, nor was there ever a point to which He came to be despite what various religions like the Jehovah's Witnesses want to say. If you could go back to the edge of eternity past, there you would stare into the face of this God. Even Micah 5:2, in his prophecy of Messiah's birth, said this: "But you, Bethlehem
Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting. (or eternity)"
What does this mean to you and I today? Well there are several important truths we need to realize.
1. He is the Author of All that is. The question of the earth's origins are answered in Him. We spend hundreds of billions of dollars trying to figure out how the world came to be and the answer is simple- Jesus! in 1968 Sir John Nichols, Nobel Laureate in nuerophysiologyu said that the odds against the right combination of circumstances occurring to
have evolved intelligent life on earth are about 400 hundred trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion to one. But it probably did happen but could never happen again. That is more zero's than I can count. But how ridiculous that is! Yet we teach it as fact to our children. When we consider those odds, then consider the intelligent design, and order of life and the universe, and
the intricate nature of all cells and DNA, and then say there is no creator is just plain absurd. The Psalmist is right. (Psalm 19:1) "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork." Paul follows up on this and says, " because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His
invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (Romans. 1:19-20) He is the Author and Source of All Life.
2.) He is the Author and Source of Eternal Life. Remember His words in John 14:6, "I am the Way, The Truth and The Life." The Bible clearly reveals that without Him we are all dead. Alive horizonally, but dead vertically. All of us are separated from God because of our sins. Ephesians 2:1 is speaking to Christians as it reminds them of what they were
before they believed-they like us were dead because of trespasses and sins. We are like the movie about a man on death row, just dead men walking. Do you remember when Jesus called a man to follow Him and the man said, "let me first go and bury my father." and Jesus said, "Let the dead bury the dead." Isa. 59:1 makes it clear that our sins have separated us from God. But the
one who created life is the one that wants to restore life eternally for sinners like us. He paid the penalty for ur sins and is able to change us change us from dead to fully alive in Him. He said in John 10:10, 27, The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. and, My
sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand."
- John 5:24, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."
- 1John 5:11-12, "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."
- John 20:31, "but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."
- Acts 4:12, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
- Isa. 45:21-22 "And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other."
Buddha can not give eternal life, Mohammed can not give eternal life, Krishna can not give eternal life, only the Author of Life can give eternal life and make us one with God. When you repent of sin, He forgives you and comes to reside in you by His Holy Spirit and we are born again and have His eternal life. Col. 3:4 reminds us that Christ is Our
3.) He is the Sustainer of all Life. Col. 1;17 says, "He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. and Hebrews 1:3 says that He is, "upholding all things by the word of His power," Concerning this John MacArthur wrote. "Can you imagine what would happen if Jesus Christ relinquished His sustaining power over the laws of the universe? We would
go out of existence. If He suspended the law of gravity, we would all perish, in unimaginable ways.
If the physical laws varied, we would have an unbelievable mess. We could not exist. What we ate would turn to poison. We could not stay on the earth; we would drift out into space. We would get flooded by the oceans periodically. Countless other horrible things would happen, many of which we could not even guess.
Consider, for example, what instant destruction would happen if the earth's rotation slowed down just a little. The sun has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees F. If it were any closer to us we would burn up, if it were any further away we would all freeze. Our globe is tilted on an exact angle of 23 degrees, providing us with four seasons. If it
were not so tilted, vapors from the oceans would move north and south and develop into monstrous continents of ice. If the moon did not retain its exact distance from the earth the ocean tides would inundate the land completely twice a day. After the flooding of course, the others would not matter as far as we are concerned. If the ocean floors were merely a few feet deeper
than they are, the carbon dioxide and oxygen balance of the earth's atmosphere would be completely upset, and no animal or plant life could exist. If the atmosphere did not remain at its present density, but thinned out even a little, many of the meteors which now burn up harmlessly when they hit the atmosphere would constantly bombard us. We would have to live underground or
in meteor-proof buildings.
How does the universe stay in this kind of fantastically delicate balance? Jesus Christ sustains and monitors all its movements and interworkings. Christ the preeminent Power, maintains it all.
Things do not happen in our universe by accident. They did not happen that way in the beginning. They are not going to happen that way in the end, and they are not happening that way now. Jesus Christ is sustaining the universe. (MacArthur Commentary on Hebrews, pp. 17-18)
And here is the deal, the one who created and sustains the universe is the one who sustains you and I. It is He who has promised to meet your needs as you seek His Kingdom and righteousness as your priority. He is able to keep you. It is he who is working everything together for your good as He conforms you into His image. Whatever difficult time you
are going through now, he is able to bring you through it and accomplish His purpose for allowing it in your life. He is able to complete what he has started in you, that is, to chip away the old you and leave His image. "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" (Phil. 1:6) John says, (1 Jn.
3:1-2) "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God: Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
In a similar thought;
4.) He will Love and Care for you like a Father does his children, or a Shepherd does His sheep. Our Savior loves us and wants the best for us. He wants to nuture us with His word.
- He wants to guide us by His Holy Spirit
- He will discipline us when we ignore His ways because He loves us.
- He knows what we need and wants to supply it
When we stray, He comes looking for us and as we see in His story of the Prodigal Son, He is always ready to receive us with open arms. He wants us to come to Him with all our concerns and to cast all our care on Him.
The author of Hebrews reminds us, that, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." He will never leave us, never stop loving us, never stop caring for us as a Father does His children. He is the source of all grace, forgiveness, and mercy.
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
And listen, like a Father, He wants to bestow Good gifts on His children. The gift of life, The gift of His abiding presence in His Holy Spirit. The gift of adoption, the gift of righteousness, the gift of peace, forgiveness, grace, joy, love, a new nature, a new purpose for living, the gift of hope form eternity. Santa Claus has none of these in his
bag; but Jesus, the source of eternity, the everlasting Father has them all for you.
5.) Because He is the Author of Eternity and the Author of Creation and Life, He is also the Author of all Truth. He Himself is truth. He tell us that His word and His commands are for our good always. It amazes me that people will follow Dr. Phil. and Dr. Oz, and Oprah but don't take the time to open the Bible and listen to the words of Jesus. The one
who created life knows the best way to live our lives, the best way to start over, the best way to raise our children, have good marriages, and do business. He is the truth. The world, our country and many of our homes are in a mess because we think we can do life our own way and ignore truth. He is the wonderful Counselor.
6.) Because He is the Author of Life, He is Also It's Finisher. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Isa. 44:6; Rev. 22:13). He is directing the world towards its determined end, and His return to reign as its rightful King. He will come again exactly as He says in this book. The one whose birth we
celebrated is The Great I AM, Jehovah Elohim, The Author of and Finisher of Life, The Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings, He is the Author and Finisher of this world and your faith.
The one who keeps this world and sustains it is able to keep and take care of you for time and eternity. He is able to strengthen you, provide for you, and be with you both now and forever. He just wants you to come to Him and follow Him and rest in His care.
Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman