25 Dec 2019
Christmas is a season for giving, for God gives men eternal life. We need eternal life for we have lost it when the first man, Adam, sinned against God. Since then, we are dead in sin and cut off from God. Mankind now suffers from guilt, shame, fear and emptiness. But God promises eternal life through His son, Jesus Christ. He is the savior promised by God once Adam fell. And Christmas reminds us of how Jesus was born into this world to die and pay for our sins- that we may be saved and have eternal life. God now commands men everywhere to repent and believe in His son. He that has the Son has life, and he that does not have the son does not have life.
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We are grateful you can join us today, and we want to share with you about the real meaning of Christmas. Now I love Christmas, it's the time where I first met my first girlfriend and my wife now. But Christmas is always a beautiful season. It's the time of the year where people are more relaxed, the weather is cooler, the traffic is lighter, it's the time of the year where you eat more.
And it's the time when you receive gifts. Christmas is the season of giving, because it most of all reminds us of God's gift for us.
A story is told of a woman, a lady, who had three friends who wanted to give her Christmas presents. The first friend is a florist, she sells flowers. The second friend owns a cake shop. The third friend owns a wine shop. So the first friend, florist, comes with a bouquet of flowers. The second friend came with a box of cake. And she was delighted with the flowers and the cake.
The third friend, a wine shop owner, came with a big crate, a big box. She received it from her friend, and she felt something wet. She saw that there is some yellow liquid from the box. She puts it to her mouth and asked, “Is this wine?” She says, “No”. She puts it to the mouth again, “Is this champagne?” She said, “No”. What is it? “I thought you've always wanted it? I've bought you a puppy.”
We really, it's really important to know the gift. God has a gift for us, and the Bible tells us very simply how amazing this gift is.
In Romans chapter 6, the Bible says: “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) God has a gift for you! It is called eternal life. You say, “What is eternal life?” Well it speaks of spiritual life. You see, life can be seen in many different levels. We can be said to be alive physically, intellectually, and most of all spiritually.
Let me give you an example. If you were to go to this place at night, would you find any man walking, alive? If you do, you're in trouble. This is a place where no one is alive. The body may be in the ground, but the heart is not beating and the blood is not flowing. He's not breathing, he's not alive.
But what if you go to the hospital, and there lies a person - is he alive? Well, in a sense he is alive, because his heart is beating and his blood is pumped out, his blood is flowing. But in a certain way, he's not quite alive. He's in coma, he's unconscious. He's not thinking, he's not speaking, he is not communicating. So in a way he is alive, but he's not fully alive.
Then what about the crowds in Orchard Road? Are they alive? “Oh yes”, you say. Their hearts are beating and pumping, their blood is flowing, they're breathing, they are talking and smiling and laughing and communicating.
Yet, on the other hand they are not quite fully alive.
You see, the Bible tells us there is something called eternal life, the quintessence, the real life. Jesus Himself said, “this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent”. (John 17:3) So when the Bible speaks about life, often times it's not just about the heartbeat, it's not just about the way your brain works. It's whether your soul knows the true God and His Son Jesus Christ.
That's why your heart may be beating, and you may be talking, but according to God you are dead. Because you do not know God, who is your Maker. You do not His Son Jesus Christ. You are cut off from God because of your sin, and that's why this gift of eternal life is so important.
God wants to give you the ability to know Him and His Son again. You see, the Bible tells us that we are cut off from God because of our sin. We need this gift of God, because we have lost life with God.
The Bible reminds us that “sin came into the world through one man”. (Romans 5:12) According to the Bible some 6000 years ago, God made the Heavens and the Earth, made man, gave man a very simple command - he can eat of every tree, but except this one tree, the knowledge of good and evil, don't eat of it.
However, Adam and Eve, our common ancestor, decided to listen to Satan's temptation. They desire to be like God, and so they rebelled against God's clear and simple command, and therefore sinned against God. And ever since then, this whole world is plunged into sin. And the Bible therefore says: “as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men”. (Romans 5:12)
That's why all of us, we expect to die. Qin Shi Huang wanted to be “Chang Sheng Bu Lao” (Mandarin expression for someone who is immortal); the first emperor of China wished to live forever. But he could not do it, because he is a sinner, and sin brings death.
Now we try to delay our death. We go to the doctors, we go for surgery, we take medicine. But all men would die, because all have sinned against God.
Now that's physical death. The Bible speaks also about the spiritual death, where we are now cut off from God, who is the source of our joy. That's why today, you can be a rich person - you can have a big car, a big house, a big bank account, many people may adore you and praise you - but deep in your heart, you are filled with emptiness and guilt and shame and fear. You know when you are alone, you're never really satisfied.
You know why? Because God made you, and you are made for God. And only when we are rightly related to our Creator will we find real joy and satisfaction.
There's a philosopher - Pascal, his name is. He said this: “There was once in man a true happiness” - he's talking about Adam. Adam had real happiness, because he is rightly related with God.
But of course, as you have heard, Adam sinned against God; he's cut off from God, he lost that happiness in God. And so now for men “of which there now remain to him only the mark and empty trace”.
So we find a little bit of happiness from the world around us. Maybe some happiness when we are with our family, some happiness, in your accomplishments, in your jobs, some happiness in some possessions you have. But it can never fill this abyss, this void in our hearts – “which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings”. And it goes on to say: “But these are all inadequate, because this infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say only, by God Himself.”
In a play, in that little animation you saw, it’s about a gift. A gift a mother wants to give to her kids and to her husband, but she forgets that there is a greater gift for her - eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
And that's the gift God wants to give to you, that you may know Him and His Son.
Augustine, he said: “You have made us for ourselves oh, for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in You.” The restless heart can only find its home in God.
So dear friends, the search for happiness is not away from the Bible. The pursuit of happiness can only be satisfied according to the Bible. And the Bible tells us that God has given Jesus Christ so that we may find eternal life in Him.
I do not know about you, but maybe during Christmas is a stressful time because you're so busy, and then suddenly Christmas comes, and you realize that there are so many people you have yet to buy presents for. So now you “Cik Cok Lok Kio” (colloquial expression used when someone scrambles at the last minute). You are very anxious, very nervous, you have, you have no time to get the gift; it's so last minute.
What about God? Is His gift to man “Cik Cok Lok Kio”? That means very nervous and anxious, and last minute. God is not a “Cik Cok Lok Kio” God. The Bible tells us, when Adam sinned against God, almost immediately, God promised a solution.
You know when people offend you, you want to withdraw from the person right? You either want to kill him, or you want to run away from him. But God did not do that.
When man sinned against God, He's the One who said, “This is the way I will get back to you, and you will get back to Me.” God promised a Savior, who will crush the head of Satan. (Genesis 3:15) Satan came like a serpent that day, and so God promised a Savior that will crush Satan's head. Splat.
So God promised a Savior who will crush Satan. It's not a last-minute plan.
Now, the Savior did not come for quite a while. The Bible reveals that that Savior did come, some 4000 years later. So the promise given to Adam and Eve, and then to Abraham, and then to the people of Israel was for many years.
So people were waiting for a long time for a Savior who will save people from their sins. And that's why Christmas is such a big deal, because Christmas tells us this promised Savior has come, and He's none other than Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
So on that day, the angel appeared to the shepherds by night, and the shepherds must be shocked. I'm not sure if they all, “Aah!”, like that. But I'm sure they are absolutely stunned. Oh, but this was a momentous event because there is great news. After thousands of years, the promise of God is coming true today! Because “unto you is born this day… a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”. (Luke 2:11)
The One who will defeat Satan and sin, He is here. And therefore men who has been cut off from God, may now be reconciled with God, that we may now have eternal life, because this is what Jesus came to do. He came to save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
I know someone here, he said he wanted to invite his friend to this service, but the friend says, “I don't want to come, unless Jesus can give me money.” Now let me be clear - many people think that following Jesus, believing in Jesus, is the way to money, to health, and to wealth. But I tell you, that's not what the Gospel, what the Bible teaches, because that cheapens the work of Jesus Christ.
A rich man can give you money, but the rich man cannot save you from your sins. There is no one who can save us from our sins. No one can cleanse us from this debt that we owe to the Great and Holy God.
But Jesus Christ can. He was born into this world to die. He was born into this world to be a sacrifice. He was there on the cross as our substitute. So He came that He may be pierced and crushed and chastised and wounded. (Isaiah 53:5) Not to give you money, but so that your transgressions and your sins may be washed away.
Oh, some of you are businessmen here. Some of you buy things and sell things on Carousell. You know what's a good deal. You know what's a good trade. This is a bad trade. This is so unfair, this is a terrible deal. Because Jesus, who knew no sin, is made sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
You say what is this deal? It’s that this sinner here would become righteous through Jesus Christ, the holy and perfect Son of God, who became sin for us. And that's why this is good news folks. This is something amazing, that when we are so undeserving, God sent His Son to die and to save you from your sins.
Because this is love. “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16) - this big, bad, wicked, sinful, world - this amazing God, with this amazing love, still loves a sinful world. And He did not just talk about it, He did something about it. He gave His only Son, to be that sacrificial Lamb that whosoever believes in this Lamb of God will not perish, but have everlasting life.
What is life? To know God and His Son, Jesus Christ. God did not love moral people, did not love nice people, did not love good people. Because according to the Bible, before God there is none nice and none good. But God loved sinners. (Romans 5:8) Unworthy, filthy people like myself. And He demonstrated His love by giving us His Son.
CS Lewis, an author well known for Chronicles of Narnia, he said, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” God is here to bring us joy, and joy is found only in Him. And the only way we can have this joy in Him, is when we are brought back to Him through Jesus Christ.
My friends, today the Bible says, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12) You say, “I'm alive! I'm breathing, I'm talking.” But you do not have life if you do not know Jesus, His Son.
Oh, there are bodies lying in a grave today, they are not alive. There are bodies lying today in the hospital, they are partially alive. There are many bodies walking in Orchard Road today – oh, they need to be alive in God. This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and His Son Jesus. (John 17:3)
I end again with CS Lewis. He says: “This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumor going around that some of us are some day going to come to life.”
I pray today you will come alive; you'll come to repent and believe in Jesus, that you may be brought back to God.
Let's bow for a word of prayer. I want to thank you for being a wonderful audience. It's not easy to come to church, it's not easy to be maybe in a church service for the first time in your life. But I'm glad you came, because the Bible tells us of good news, of great news, that there is now salvation and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
Christmas is not about Santa Claus. It's not about a turkey. It's about the Son of God who came into this world to be a ransom, a Savior for your sins.
Today, you might be struggling in guilt. You're struggling in your life, you're living in shame, because you know you're living in sin. Maybe you are fearful about life, you're fearful about what happens after you should die. Maybe you are empty on the inside, you feel lost, purposeless, your heart is restless. You know that is a sign, a symptom for you to know you are made for God, and you can only find rest in God.
And today, Christmas reminds us the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. God commands men everywhere to repent, to turn from your wicked ways, to turn from your sin, and to believe that Jesus is the Christ the Savior promised. And Jesus Himself said, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Would you today receive this gift? We've told you about a gift. And this gift is available to you. But this gift will not benefit you until you receive it by faith.
I want to speak today also to my fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Maybe to you Christmas is just a day you come to church for a service. Maybe it's a day for you to chill, and relax, and have a holiday. But maybe Christmas is a day for you to remember who you're made for, to be reminded who you worship, and where your life is heading.
We are recipients of this amazing gift of grace. I beseech you, therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present yourself a living sacrifice. God has given us His gift of His Son some 2000 years ago. How will you give to God today?
Father, we thank You for this morning, that even as the world is caught up with all the festivities, and Santa Claus, and mistletoes, we can be still and to know that You are God, that You are the gracious and generous God who reached out to men when we sinned against You. You not only promised a Savior, but You actually gave Your Son to be born into this sinful, messed up world to save us from our sins.
Father, this morning we pray for Your Holy Spirit to work in each and every heart here, that men and women will repent of their sin and believe in Your Son, because he who has the Son has life.
Oh God, for those who are struggling and wrestling with guilt and shame and fear - Lord, let them come to Your Son today. Let them hear the Words of Your Son when He said, “Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Lord, let them come to Christ that their sins may be washed in the fountain of blood drawn from His veins. Let them be cleansed, and forgiven, and reconciled. Father, please soften their hearts, and may this seed of the Word planted in their hearts today bear forth fruit in Your time.
And Father I pray for our church, that our faith will be vibrant and real, that we will not be like robots coming to church service, week after week. But our hearts will beat for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that we will give ourselves to You because You have given Your Son for us.
Thank you for the gift, the perfect gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. We thank You in Jesus Name. Amen.
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Email [email protected] to serve or to report transcription errors.
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