Calvary Road Baptist Church

ďHow Can You Celebrate Christís Birthday Without Going To Church?Ē

Luke 2.7

I wish you all a very merry Christmas day today. I trust that the blessings of God in your life will be reflected upon and deeply appreciated, especially that wonderful blessing of our Lordís incarnation that we celebrate every year and refer to as Christmas. I am so delighted that you are here this morning, and commend you for the rational and reasonable decision you made to be here today and to celebrate Christís birth with us. I wish I could commend everyone I know today, but I am afraid there are many who either do not celebrate Christís birth at all today in any meaningful way, or engage in the somewhat bizarre ritual of celebrating the birth of Christ without the involvement of their church assembly.

Despite our pride in behaving ourselves logically and conducting ourselves in a reasonable manner, logic and reason actually has little to do with most peopleís lives. Take Isaiah 1.18 for instance, where the LORD said, ďCome now, and let us reason together,Ē a dramatic departure from the usual basis of peopleís dealings with God. It is God who seeks reasonable and logical intercourse with mankind, but mankind for the most part refuses. On the other hand, we find that in the lives of Christians we are still so often not as logical and rational as we would like to think we are. The Apostle Paul describes the Christianís presentation of his body to God as a living sacrifice as not only acceptable, but also as reasonable, Romans 12.1. Yet, how many Christians do we know who are not emblematic of a living sacrifice, meaning those Christians do not do what is reasonable?

It is quite easy for most professing Christians to recognize the irrationality associated with the lives of unsaved people. After all, how much sense is involved in opposing the one true and living God, and in not only facing a certain death but also facing that certain death while stubbornly refusing to prepare for it? We are not astonished that lost people are not entirely consistent in their lives, and sometimes wildly unreasonable. As for Christians, however, we like to think we are at least a bit more consistent and rational. After all, based upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have obeyed the gospel. We do engage in Christian witness, in giving tithes and offerings, in supporting missions, and in Bible reading and prayer. That said, do you not find it amazing that people who name the name of Jesus Christ, who publicly profess to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, who credit themselves with being reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ, will actually feel good about themselves and the way they approach their celebration of Christmas, without setting foot in the house of God in the process?

Different churches approach the celebration of Christís birth in different ways, and as a classical Baptist, I am committed to churches exercising their discretion in their various approaches to celebrating Christmas. However, where is the logic of Christians having no part in their churchís celebration of the birth of Godís Son, the Second Person of the triune Godhead? To question the matter another way, how can you celebrate Christmas without going to church? Of all the times not to assemble with the saints for worship, encouragement, and celebration, I would think only Easter Sunday would surpass Christmas in terms of importance and significance to the Christian faith. Yet there are professing Christians who routinely engage in such irrational behavior as not attending church on Christmas or on Easter Sunday. Go figure. Those of us to who believe the Bible to be Godís inspired Word, our only rule of faith and practice, hold as a Bible-based conviction that Jesus is the eternal Son of the living God, that He was born of the virgin Mary in fulfillment of prophecy, in Bethlehem of Judea in fulfillment of prophecy, and at the appointed time in fulfillment of prophecy. Those prophecies, by the way, were made centuries before their fulfillments.

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ, otherwise known as the incarnation of God, when God took upon Himself human nature and became man while also being God, the God-Man, is a miracle of such proportions that only the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after three days and three nights in the grave surpasses it. It is a miracle of greater proportions than the worldwide Flood recorded in Genesis. It is a miracle of greater proportions than the creation of the universe and all that herein is in six literal 24-hour days. In light of the epic miracle that was culminated in Christís birth in Bethlehem on that afternoon so long ago, what kind of logic is demonstrated by men who do not celebrate Christmas? It is one of the five most stupendous miracles that have ever or will ever be worked by God in His dealings with the human race. As well, what ignorance is demonstrated by those who celebrate Christmas, but who do so in what they claim to be ďtheir own way,Ē with barely a nod to the birth of Godís only begotten Son.

Excuse me for seeming to be quite narrow, this morning, but there are some things that are so utterly preposterous, so obviously beyond the pale, so completely out of bounds of reason, that despite the dullness of those who engage in the practice that is being challenged, it cannot be allowed to pass without vehement opposition. Celebrating Christmas is one of those things. The thought processes of those who observe Christmas without going to church, the depth of the ignorance of those who observe Christmas without going to church, and brazenness and tackiness of those who observe Christmas without going to church, simply must be challenged by thinking men and women of conviction. While Christmas should have nothing to do with reindeer or Santa Claus, and should be focused on the birth into this world of the Savior Who would grow to manhood and die for the sins of the world, we are saddened by the present state of affairs insofar as Christmas is concerned. However, despite how much the world is committed to making a super big deal of Christmas trees, Santas, and gifts, we can and should make proper use of our annual remembrance of Christís birth in Bethlehem. I am not suggesting that you should throw your Christmas trees away and never give or receive Christmas gifts. By all means, have at it. I am only suggesting that we tenaciously cling to Christmas as a Christian celebration, as a Christian event, and that must certainly include going to church in connection with Christmas.

Why should Christians celebrate Christmas by attending and joining the celebration with their church? Three considerations for you to reflect on and discuss with others:

 First, CHRIST WAS BORN ON CHRISTMAS DAY TO CREATE THE COMMUNITY OF CHRISTIANS WHO COMPRISE THE CHURCH

 Several separate details show this to be true when properly brought together:

First, we know the Lord Jesus Christ was born for the express purpose of saving His people from their sins, Matthew 1.21. To accomplish this, it was necessary for Him to die on the cross of Calvary on our behalf, paying for our sins while He was completely innocent so the guilty could be forgiven. This is why John the Baptist identified Jesus as ďthe Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world,Ē John 1.29.

Second, we know that everyone is born into this world with a sinful nature, who then chooses to act on that sinful nature by committing personal sins that each of us is held responsible for committing. The just punishment for our wicked conduct, the wages of our sin, is death, Romans 6.23, with this death being more than physical death, but also including eternal death in the lake of fire.

Third, we know that when a sinner hears the good news of the gospel message, that Jesus died on behalf of sinners, the Just for the unjust, and is called by that gospel message to turn from his sinful ways and embrace Jesus as His Lord and Savior, he becomes a new creature by means of the miracle of the new birth. Such a person becomes a new creature in Christ, with old things passing away and all things becoming new.

In the Bible, we not only see how sinful men become Christians, but we also see that Godís plan for such people is to gather them together in congregations such as this one for worship, adoration, praise, and effective and faithful service. Therefore, we see that what began with Christís birth in Bethlehem comes to fruition when a sinner becomes a Christian and joins in the company of other Christians in a Christian church. See how it all comes together? See how the Christianís life in Christ and his involvement in his church is the result of what visibly began with the birth of Christ so long ago? Therefore, the sinner who is now a Christian, and the congregation that is a gathered group of sinners now made into Christians, is the only appropriate place for Christmas to be fully recognized, properly celebrated to its greatest extent, and all of that done as a logical and reasonable observance and remembrance of Christís birth.

Are you not delighted that you are here in church this morning?

 Second, GOD IS BEST GLORIFIED IN CHRISTíS CHURCH BY CHRIST JESUS

 We know from Revelation 4.11 that all Godís creatures exist to bring Him glory: ďThou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.Ē Thus, Christians who take their profession seriously recognize the end for which we have been created, and for which we have been so wonderfully blessed with the salvation we have as believers in Jesus Christ have. It takes no genius to recognize that in every area of life and in all kinds of endeavor, the good is the enemy of the best. Therefore, it is entirely inappropriate for any Christian to think in terms of good when it comes to glorifying God, when best is at our disposal. To that end, I direct your attention to two of Paulís letters written while in Roman imprisonment.

In Colossians 1.18, Paul wrote, ďAnd he [Christ] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he [Christ] might have the preeminence.Ē Recognize that things are not at present the way they will someday be. We still live in a world that is sinful and under the curse. However, in the church congregation can be seen something that foretells not only the way things should be, but also the way things will be. Jesus is the head of the church, and our goal as a congregation (as is the proper goal of every gospel preaching church of Jesus Christ) is to display in our assembly and our ministry the preeminence of Jesus Christ in all things. So, what does Jesus Christ in His preeminence in the church do? Turn to Ephesians 3.21: ďUnto him [God] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.Ē Here we see that God the Father is glorified in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Our preeminent Savior makes use of this congregation to glorify His heavenly Father, something that He not only does now, but will also do throughout eternity.

Therefore, you see, it is a wonderful thing to make much of Jesus Christ. Celebrating His birth by appropriately observing Christmas is very fitting. However, if you want to do it right, Christís preeminence is best seen in the context of the church congregation, wherein He will glorify God throughout all ages. Thus, the best place in which to do what we were originally created to do is in the context of our church congregation, even when it comes to celebrating Christmas. One might say especially when it comes to celebrating Christmas.

Are you not glad you are here in church this morning?

 Finally, CELEBRATIONS ARE BY DEFINITION GATHERINGS OF THOSE WHO HAVE A COMMON GOAL, A COMMON THEME, AND A COMMON ORIENTATION, AND WHO ENJOY THE BENEFITS WITH EACH OTHER OF THEIR HERITAGE AND THEIR VICTORY

 Christmas is the Christianís celebration of the birth of the long awaited Savior, Who came into the world to die on the cross a sacrifice for our sins, to rise from the dead the third day, and then to ascend to heaven where He waits until it is time for Him to come again. Christmas is the beginning of that series of events that culminated in Christís crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension to His Fatherís right hand. We who are Christians celebrate that. It is the beginning of our victory.

If you have ever played on a volleyball team, a soccer team, a football team, a basketball team, or a baseball team, then you know the thrill of the victory won by and for your team, and you well remember the celebrations by your team. Perhaps you have been an involved spectator, fully invested in the team you identified with and rooted for, and rejoicing in celebration when your team won the game, or won the championship. Close your eyes for a moment and relive that celebration of victory. I well remember sitting in the stands on October 15, 1988, game one of the World Series, when Curt Gibson limped to the plate and hit a pinch-hit home run, causing all of us in Dodger Stadium to erupt in rejoicing. Of course, the Dodgers went on to win the World Series that year.

Now, let me ask you a question. When your team won, did you run across the field to celebrate your victory with the opposing team? Did you rush into the locker room of the opposing team? Did you invite the opposing team to your teamís celebration that took place after your victory? Of course not. The other team could not appreciate your victory, would not understand your victory, could not share in the excitement and thrill of your victory, and would not want your victory. Yet there are professing Christians who choose to celebrate Christmas with lost people instead of the Christians in their church family? Where else do you see anything like that taking place? I am not suggesting that you exclude your unsaved family members from your observance of Christmas. Do not do that. However, by the same token, how can you celebrate Christmas without your celebration being in great measure involved with your church? ďBut it makes my family uncomfortable.Ē Were last yearís Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers supposed to tone down their victory celebration so the Pittsburgh Steelers would feel more comfortable? Of course not. Yet you are concerned that a lost person feels uncomfortable about a Christianís celebration of Christís birth? Hello. He is supposed to feel uncomfortable about Christís birth. Donít you dare tone down your celebration of Christís birth out of consideration for the opinion of a lost man. What about the opinion of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is His opinion of your rejoicing to be taken into account? I certainly hope so.

Celebrations of victory are primarily for the victors to share with each other. They are not celebrations of victory that are primarily for the benefit of the vanquished, or those who will be vanquished in the end. Therefore, do not rush into their locker room to celebrate Christís birth. Come into our locker room. Come into the assembly of the saints and celebrate Christmas with us.

Are you not glad you are here in church today?

 In a very real sense, the Christian lives in between two worlds, two realms. On one hand, we have been translated into the kingdom of Godís dear Son, Colossians 1.13, insofar as our spiritual life is concerned. However, we are still living in an unredeemed and unredeemable world, with its wickedness, heartache, and disappointment. Therefore, in light of the fact that God has given us His Spirit to produce in us joy unspeakable and full of glory, we should capitalize on our opportunities to rejoice and praise His name. We are given such opportunity at Christmastime.

I can understand why an unsaved person would be somewhat reluctant to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way, since Christmas is the birth celebration of that One who will someday sit in judgment on the lost of this world before pronouncing their punishment. However, for you, Christmas speaks of your Savior, your Lord, your Advocate, the One who forgave all your sins, your Great High Priest, and your Bridegroom.

Celebrate, my Christian friend. Lift up your voice and praise His holy name. Perhaps in doing so your friends and loved ones who are not yet Christians will become interested enough to investigate the claims of Jesus Christ. Perhaps by this time next year they, too, will be Christians.



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org