Christmas Lesson

                                   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?






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

Acts 28:23-28

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

ashamed"  -


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



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

a vision


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


ch. 10:13




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"!







Then, the work of God "is to believe on Him whom

He hath sent"  - the Sent of God




Is. 9:6-7

Luke 1:26-33

Is. 53:10-11

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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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

this death?"


v. 13 - "that sin by the commandment might become

            exceeding sinful"




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


which should be doubly welcome - A GOSPEL OF



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

of sin.


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"


Genesis 49:10