December 25, 2005
Luke 2:8-20, 36-38
Luke 2:8-14 Matthew 1:21,23
Romans 9:32-33 - Centerpiece of 2005 Christmas lesson.
It seems incredible that the highest display of Divine
wisdom and goodness should be regarded by those
for whose benefit it was provided, with INDIFFERENCE
But then, man does not take into account the distorting
influence of sin upon the minds of men.
The Spirit comes into conflict with men's errors,
prejudices and guilty conscience and is a stone of
stumbling and a rock of offence.
Self-righteousness - little conscience of sin - little
pining for forgiveness - the "natural man" stumbles
at this condition which he thinks applicable to others
but not to himself?
WITHOUT CHRIST, THERE IS NO CHRISTMAS -
IN FACT THERE IS NOTHING!
I have come into a lot of hostility or indifference this week
not even looking for it - I heard a Middle-Eastern
Christian talking about Bethlehem being taken over by
Arabs, they want Jerusalem,
Intelligent Design - board of education in Pennslyvania
ousted - the press on the attack on all fronts - creation/birth -
recreation/new birth -
Find a thing which has created itself? If you had no
existence, how could you create yourself? Nothing cannot
produce anything! How can a man recreate himself? A
man cannot recreate himself into a new condition when
he himself, has no being in that condition.
Carnal security is the heaven of fools! CHS
The attempt to substitute the term "holidays" for
Christmas - this is the silliest thing I have ever experienced
in my life - millions of arm chair quarterbacks criticize
coaches for moves or substitutions they make - this is
in league with the greatest goof of all times - substituting
the world/materialism and its spirit for CHRIST?
Isaiah 1:2-3 - Hollywood is good at calling people asses -
they do not know how prophetic they are!
John 1:1-5 Col. 1:12-17
Isaiah 65:17-19 "that which I create"
waste -misspent - missing out '
Romans 10:1-3, 9:1-5
Act 26:12-18 - (don't want Paul to get in the way BUT)
Acts. 13:46-50 church age
Romans 11:25-32 apostasy
"Behold, I lay in Zion a Stumbling-stone and Rock of
offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be
It seems a strange thing that Jesus, the Savior of all
men, He that was with the Father in the beginning, and
by whom all things consist, and without whom nothing
was made that was made, should be set before
us in this way!
"And He shall be for a Sanctuary, but for a stone of
stumbling and for a Rock of offence to both the houses
of Israel" - Is. 8:14-15
Matthew 21:42,44 - "And whosoever shall fall on this Stone
shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall
it will grind him to powder"
These Scriptures all convey the same message - a solemn
warning - THE DANGER OF REJECTING CHRIST!
Men find difficulties even in the way of SALVATION?
They raise mental objections to the very way in which the
Creator of the world wants to give them a share in His
heavenly inheritance, and consider whether there might
not be some other way just as good as through the Son
of God, the Eternal Savior, "who, being in the form of
of God.....made of Himself no reputation, and took upon
Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness
of man....and became obedient unto death, even the death
of the cross" (Phil. 2:6-8) and in His matchless love, gave
Himself to die for the redemption of their souls!
How can anyone, writhing in sin and its results, stumble
at this stumbling block - which ought to be an encourage-
ment, a strength and confirmation of faith in the glorious
Son of God!
If you stumble at the cross, you stumble at the very
threshold of the gospel - it reminds me of what God
said to Cain when he brought a bloodless offering:
Genesis 4:7 - "if thou doest well, shalt thou not be
accepted? and if thou doest not well, SIN
LIETH AT THY DOOR"
"without the shedding of blood there is no remission"
Penances are no stumbling-block - men will freely inflict
on themselves fastings and bodily sufferings, to purchase
as they think, pardon for their sins and the hope of
heaven (ch. 10:6-13)
Plains Indians used to fast and look at the sun and cut
themselves and attach skewers to their skin and hang for
But to simply accept the salvation provided by God
through His Only Son, Jesus Christ, when asked
to do this they hesitate, they raise difficulties,
they entertain doubts.
Old time revivals - two weeks - sinners clinging
to seats - hesitating - understanding it was for
their life like a bird in a snare but "almost
persuaded" still lost - I don't know that
American society has that asset today of
really knowing what is what, right from wrong,
fantasy from reality -
God's way is too simple for many - Is. 45:22
How unreasonable to choose the pleasures of
sin for a season rather than follow the Savior
whose service is perfect peace and at whose
right hand, there "are pleasures for evermore"!
DO YOU WANT TO PLEASE GOD/
WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO SOMETHING FOR
JESUS THIS CHRISTMAS/
Then, the work of God "is to believe on Him whom
He hath sent" - the Sent of God
CHRIST IS GOD'S GIFT TO A FALLEN WORLD!
Leviticus 17:11 (God has explained the plan of
salvation throughout the Bible but in the seemingly
boring book of Leviticus - 49 times atonement is
emphasized -"know unto God are all His works
from the beginning"
John 1:29 - "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh
away the sin of the world"
A system that secures righteousness and life not by
human merit and obedience to certain laws or
rituals but by faith in the RIGHTEOUS ONE!
"Without faith it is impossible to please God for
he that cometh to God must believe that He is and
that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek
Him" - contrast Zacharias with Mary
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of
the Lord shall be saved"
It is a shame that the preaching of Christ becomes
a "savour of death"
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PERTINENT NOTES FROM CHAPTER 7
Ideally, the Law, as a ray of light makes visible the dust
in our homes, discovers to us how far short we are and
in need - sin overreaches itself and we feeling the working
of death and dreading its issue we are led/forced to cry
to Him who "was manifested that He might destroy the
works of the devil"
v. 11 - delusion - the thing desired was not really good
for man but the "lust" - epithemia - inspired
by the tempter cause it to seem so.
Once great purpose of regenerating grace is to dispel
this delusion; an to bring us back to the true view of
things as they are and to peace with God!
Mystery of sin and the Remedy in Christ!
Sin is revealed to us as deadly but gives no deliverance
and brings the crisis in the desperate cry "O wretched
man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of
v. 13 - "that sin by the commandment might become
The Law reveals the Divine character and purpose -
it reveals a higher standard of duty for man - it reveals
the powerlessness of man to obey it and served to
INTRODUCE A NEW DISPENSATION OF GRACE -
which should be doubly welcome - A GOSPEL OF
SALVATION AND LIFE!
Although having nothing to do with salvation (the Law
is a mirror to show us ourselves and our short comings)
it still remains as the standard of right life - "no other gods
before God" - "no graven images to worship" - "no taking
of God's name in vain" - "honor your parents" - etc.
IT IS STILL BINDING as the rule of life, the standard
of morality - thus the great folly, the great sin of separating
it from the state - God has recorded America's greatness
when, like Israel, in Jer. 2:2-3 - (read)
The destroying of this foundation in America is a height
verse 14 describes a progress towards regeneration
with the utter dissatisfaction with self and a
keen yearning after good (a roused and
and enlightened conscience) the state of one
who is being prepared for deliverance and not
far from the kingdom of God!
The image of God in which he was made is represented
as defaced but not obliterated!
psyche - the animal life animating the soma (body)
for purposes of mere human life - The pneuma - which
associates us with Divine life.
Psyche expresses our whole weak human nature now -
thus the obsession with the body and mind of psychologists -
apart from the pneuma (spirit) which connects us with God!
So, does the "psyche" or the "pneuma" dominate your
Thus "pneuma" generally denotes the Divine, which
man apprehends and aspires to - (original breathing
into him of the breath of life - Genesis 2:7 - "And the
Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man
became a living soul" -DIRECTLY FROM GOD!
The Law is here called "pneumatikos" - as belonging
to the Divine sphere and expressive of Divine order -
founded in the being of God and shared with man -
but man though still able to admire, nay, even delight
in and aspire to, this higher order, cannot yet conform
himself to it because of the "sarke" - the flesh, which
is infected still with sin, and which at present
enthralls him (charms, spellbound in slavery)
Slavery to sin is not the rightful condition of our nature -
we feel the burden of our slavery and long to be free,
when the Deliver shall come - "the Desire of all nations"