25 Dec 2020

Covid & Christmas


Covid wrecked havoc in the world in 2019 (and beyond). It represents disease, death, deferment of plans and disappointments. Christmas, on the other hand, represents joy, life and hope. At first glance, Covid and Christmas are poles apart. But what if I say that Covid and Christmas are actually part of God's wise and loving plan for the world?


Sermon Transcript

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A very good morning to all of you and welcome to Gospel Light Christian Church. Thank you for joining us this Christmas Day and we're so glad to have this privilege to share with you the reason for the season. Of course I like to wish all of you a very blessed and merry Christmas. This year Christmas looks very different with the COVID 19 pandemic, things seem to be very different, especially when we have to celebrate Christmas in the shadow of this viral infection all around us.

I, I'm sure many of you are familiar with this song, 12 days of Christmas, on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me and so on and so forth. And in that song there are lyrics here that you might be familiar with, about three French hens, two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree and not too long back I also saw this lyrics of not 12 days of Christmas, but 12 days of Corona in the year 2020 the pandemic gave to me.

What did the pandemic give many of us, cancelled plans, face masks, sanitizers and so on and of course, right at the end a massive shortage of TP, what is TP toilet paper this is a unique year. This has been difficult for many of us and some struggle through this lock down, some struggle through the loss of jobs and so this has been a memorable year. If you were to celebrate Christmas and you were to put up the Christmas tree, maybe your Christmas tree might look like this, just to remind yourself of the COVID situation or maybe with this emblem of the virus here, but certainly many might feel COVID 19 has ruined our Christmas this year.

I can totally understand that because COVID and Christmas seems to be opposite ends and they don't really mix, they're like water and oil. Christmas represents celebration and joy and life, but COVID represents a showstopper represents death and disease. So these two things actually don't quite match in our minds. But what if I were to say they're not that far apart, they do come together. You might scratch your head and say, how would these two things, Christmas and COVID come together. Well, I like to just ask you to give me 10, 15 minutes of the time to just share with you the reason for the season and, and to share with you how COVID and Christmas according to the Bible really can come together alright.

So let's first of all ask this question, why COVID, why is there COVID in this world what's the reason. Well, I asked this question, not because I have the answer to the genetic code of the COVID 19 virus, not because I know where this virus originated from, what species of animal if its bats what specific species of bats. I, I'm not sure, I don't have the answer to that scientific genetic angle, but I do know from the Bible that there is an explanation for this virus and COVID 19 exists today, according to the Bible for the same reason why there is flu and the diarrhoea and pneumonia and malaria, why today we all can struggle with dengue and stroke and heart disease and cancer.

You see, the Bible tells us the origins, the cause of all these diseases and deaths in our world. According to the first few chapters in the Bible, the book of Genesis, God said in chapter 2 verse 17, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. God is saying to Adam and Eve, the first man and woman that on the day you eat of the fruit that is forbidden, the fruit of the knowledge, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, if you were to disobey Me and eat of this fruit, you sin against Me you rebel against Me then you shall surely die and it was not an empty threat.

We today struggle with diseases and death because God's Word came came true throughout all human history ever since Adam and Eve sinned against God we have been plunged into the necessary suffering of diseases and death. Now I want you to know that, that was never really the original design of creation. The Bible tells us that when God created the world in six days His verdict was that this world is good. In fact He said it was very good. It was a world of absolute provisions and abundance and joy and bliss.

God gave man, Adam everything he needed, God gave him all kinds of food, he could eat of any fruit of any tree except for that forbidden tree, he had the access to all kinds of precious stones and gems, he had dominion over all animals and God even provided him a wife, Eve and of course, supremely above all, God walked with man in the garden of Eden. It was a world of joy and peace and bliss, a world that is unmolested by sin untainted by, by diseases and no one dies.

But on that day, Adam and Eve decided to listen and to trust the devil, the serpent and to ignore God's Word and when they took of the fruit and ate of it, the Bible tells us, that was a day guilt and shame and fear came into their life, they hid themselves from God. They were ashamed and it was that time that they were separated from God and ever since then, diseases and death came into this created world.

So this world was plunged into pain and suffering and this world now begin to see all kinds of diseases. Well, it's all the fulfillment of God's warning, on the day you eat of it you shall surely die. So why COVID, why flu, why malaria all these diseases are allowed by God in our world to function like a kind of a warning sign, a kind of a reminder that things are not what it should be, we are not living in eternal bliss because man though loved by God, have sinned against God and God is giving us all kinds of signals. It's, it's like a traffic police giving you a summon, it feels bad it feels terrible but the goal of the government is so that you might be warned with this summon, so that you will not continue in your sinful ways. So God gave us diseases and God gave us deaths as a reality in this world so that perhaps you and I might learn to take heed repent and turn back to God.

So the Bible says, it is better, it is good for you to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind and the living will lay it to heart. So the preacher in Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament, he says it's good for you to go to a funeral, why, because when you go to a funeral, you start to think about death. You lay it to heart, you think about eternal things, you think about life after death and you think about God and you think about the need to stand before God.

So COVID 19, what is it for, like all diseases, and even death, God is using all these things to warn us about the curse of sin, so that we might perhaps turn and return to Him.

But let me tell you something, the Bible does not talk only about the curse of sin, the Bible talks also about the cure for sin. Amazing, isn't it, that God would give us a cure for sin. And it is actually also in the first few pages of the Bible.

God said in Genesis chapter three, that He will provide a savior and this savior would come through Eve, this Savior is described to be her offspring, one of her many descendants. And what this offspring, this descendant will do, is that He will bruise the serpent's head.

Genesis 3:15 is spoken by God to the serpent, who is the devil and God is saying there will come someone from Eve's line who would absolutely defeat you and crush you. He will be someone who will once again restore humanity to God, someone who would eradicate sin, someone who will destroy the works of the evil one.

So, with this promise, all of humanity waited longingly for the arrival of this savior. Adam and Eve, when they had the first son, they called the son Cain, which means acquired or received. They were excited about this baby boy because they thought to themselves, he will be the one. But of course, it did not turn out that he is the one. It was also not their second son Able.

It was also not their other sons or daughters, and generations went by people were all waiting. They were wondering when will the Savior come. And if you look at the rest of the Bible, it's a story of waiting, waiting for that man, waiting for that offspring of Eve, who will absolutely crush the devil. Thousands of years went by, kings come kings go. prophets come prophets go, priests come priests go, great men were born but great men die.

But there was no one who would be the Savior, until 2000 years ago, maybe about 4000 years after Adam and Eve. On one silent night, that's Christmas, on one silent night, that's what Christmas reminds us of. The Bible tells us of the birth of a very special baby.

There is that silence, but there is that glory in that silence, because the Bible tells us, the angels in heaven declared this Good News unto the shepherds in the field, for unto you is born this day in a city of David, this town called Bethlehem, in your town, in this little town of Bethlehem will be born a savior, and He is Christ the Lord.

The word Christ means the chosen One, so the one whom God has appointed a long time back is now born into this world, He now enters this world. And this will be a sign for you, you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, very humble beginning very, inconspicuous, very lowly, but in that manger, would be the Savior of this world.

What is He here to do? Well, and other part of the Bible, it tells us that the angel said you, she will bear a son, Mary will bear a son and you shall call His name, this son, Jesus. Why, for He will save His people from their sins. The name Jesus means God saves or God is Savior. And the idea here is that this little child is no ordinary man, He's a unique God Man. He is the Son of God who is born into this world to be that unique God Man, so that He will save His people from their sins.

So Christmas is actually that fulfillment of the cure for sin that God spoke about, right in the Garden of Eden. So Jesus came into this world to save us from our sins. How did He save us from our sins? Well, you would know that He lived a perfect life. But most of us will be familiar with Jesus not because of the life He lived, but because of the way He died.

Everybody across the world must have heard somewhat about the cross of Jesus Christ. And this is the amazing reality, the Son of God came to be born as man, God Man, not so that He could enjoy His life, not so that people would serve Him, but that He will give His life, a ransom for many, so that He would give His life to save us from our sins.

So the Bible tells us, that Jesus was born into this world, so that one day He might go to the cross. His destiny was to go to the cruel cross. The cross was an emblem of suffering and shame, the cross was an instrument of execution, is designed to inflict the greatest pain upon the criminal, and it was reserved for the worst of sinners. And that was where Jesus went to.

But you say, Jesus lived a perfect life. Yes, He lived a perfect life. But you see, He was hated by those who hate God. He was hated by those who prefer their works of darkness. And so they accused Him, they heaped accusations at Him, they mocked Him, and they sentenced Him to death on the cross.

But friends, He was not there because He was helpless. He was not there because He was weak. He was there precisely, to die for you and for me. He was there to lay down His life, He was there to be the sacrificial Lamb who would shed His blood to wash us from our sins. He was there, let me say this, to be cursed. He was there to take on the curse of the sins of those who would believe upon Him.

That's what Galatians, a book in the Bible says, Christ redeemed us, He rescued us, He saved us, He paid for what is necessary so that we are no more under the bondage of said, He redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us, for it is written in cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree?

Why did He go to the cross, was He a bad man, was He a wicked person? No, but because He was there to be our Savior. He was cursed for us, He became a curse for us. Do you now see, that God's plan of salvation, God's plan of cure from sin, it's not that man could do something to save himself or to clean himself, man can do that, but God's plan is that He will send His own Son to be born as man, that unique God Man, so that He might suffer, and be cursed, on the cross to die and pay for your sins and my sins.

My friends, that's the most amazing demonstration of love. And that's what God is, that's who God is. God is love, He loved His people so much that He would give Jesus to die for them. And so the most unfair exchange took place that very day, for our sake, He that is, God the Father, made Him that is God the Son to be sin, who knew no sin.

He was perfect, He was spotless, He was without blemish. He never sinned against God, but He was punished like the worst of criminals, because He became sin for us. He took on our sins so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

So on the cross, Jesus will take and then suffer, and then die for those who would believe upon Him. And those who believe upon Him, would be given the absolute perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.

My friends, this is Good News, don't you see, this is astoundingly Good News. The bad news of the Bible is that man has sinned against God, and he will be judged, he'll be damned with eternal judgment if he does not repent. But the Good News of the Bible is that God sent His Son Jesus Christ, to die and to pay for your sins, and mine.

So I like to end with this. For God, so loved the world, astounding love. This is the manner in which He loved us, that He gave His only Son. It is at a high cost to God, but He did it because of love. He gave His Son to die on the cross to pay for your sins. And His Son did not stay dead, because the Bible tells us three days later, Jesus rose from the grave. He is now seated back at the right hand of God in the heavenlies, He's victorious over sin, and one day He is coming back to receive His people back to Himself.

So God gave His Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. You know why I'm excited to preach this message, because of the word whoever here, it could be you.

Maybe you think of yourself as a terrible sinner. You think of yourself as absolutely undeserving of anything at all. Let me tell you this, this is what God loves to do. He loves to show His generosity and His grace to those who are least deserving. Do you know that, in the Bible, many a times, it's those who recognize how wicked and unworthy they are, who come to Jesus and get saved. Jesus reached the last, the least, the lost and I think Jesus wants to save you.

Maybe today, you want to prove your worth. You want to do good to earn favor with God. Let me tell you, that is pride, all our so called righteousnesses are like dirty cloths in God's sight. If you want to be saved, then come humbly, come like a beggar, come looking to Jesus Christ. Don't look to yourself because you can't save yourself. The Good News of the Bible is that Jesus paid it all. He went to the cross and before He died, He says, It is finished, the debt is fully paid.

And if you today will just humble yourself, repent of your sin, realize that you've sin against God, realize that you are unable to save yourself and then look to Jesus, believe in Him, my friends today, you will not perish, but have eternal life. You know, what's that? It's not just living forever, it's knowing God, knowing the Son. That's what you're made for, that's what your soul is craving for, reconciliation with the Holy God. It is possible through Jesus Christ. I'm the way, the truth and the life no one comes to the Father, but by Me, Jesus said, Would you today Come to Jesus?

So COVID reminds us about the curse of sin. But Christmas tells us about the cure of sin, and the cross of Jesus Christ demonstrates the finished work of our Savior. One day Jesus will return, I know where I'll stand before Him. I know that I'll stand in His grace, because of His love for me, and because I believe in Him.

I hope today that you will join me on that day, or it'll be a scary thought, that when Jesus comes, you still will not repent, and He will cast those who refuse to believe into everlasting torment. Don't do that, come to Jesus today. May you truly have a blessed Christmas? May Jesus be born in you, may you receive Him into your life.

Thank you for listening, thank you for finding out the reason for the season. Let's bow for a word of prayer shall we. Our Father in heaven, we thank You today that even though we live in a very difficult world, we know that there is a purpose and plan behind it all. Thank You that you are giving all these reminders, although they are painful, but they are reminders, so that we might not continue in our sinful ways, so that we might perhaps be awakened to the reality of sin and the need to turn back to You.

So I pray for all friends, and guests who have been listening in. Please help them to see the glory of Your Son Jesus Christ. By the work of Your Holy Spirit, may you bring about humility, may you bring about true repentance and faith in Jesus. We pray that many will be born again, many will be given this spiritual life as they repent and believe in Your Son.

Thank You again, that this Christmas, even though it's filled with face masks, and social distancing, can still and indeed is still a season of great joy, because Jesus has been born to save us from our sins. Bless each one, thank You. We ask all this in Jesus Name. Amen.

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