29 Dec 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
On 24th of December, Pastor Tan Jooi Long preached about the purpose of Christmas, at the Hosanna Praise Assembly’s Combined Christmas service in Kajang.
He preached about the purpose of Christmas.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
#1 Christmas is a time for giving
Christmas is a time for God to give His Son to men. The journey began in a cradle at Bethlehem and ended on an old rugged cross at Calvary.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
God gave his Son to die for sinners. When Christ was born, the shepherds and the three wise men gave their souls to God.
If you were to give a gift to the Lord, what would it be? Think about it.
#2 Christmas is a time for good news
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” (Luke 2:10)
The angel brought a message of salvation to Mary. He came to proclaim the good news that a Saviour was born in Bethlehem!
In other words, the good news is a message of hope, especially to the shepherds. The shepherds were social outcast. Considered unclean by their religion, they were not allowed to enter the Temple of God.
But God did not forget them! In fact, they were the first ones to hear the good news of the Lamb of God being born in the world. How wonderful these wretched and sinful men who gave their lives to raising sheep for the Temple services were looked upon by our Father. Men can shun you but God will never forget you!
And this message of hope has not changed. You may have committed terrible sins. You may feel God would not want to save you. And you may feel that you have no hope.
But there is hope in the Gospel. There is hope in the cross.
#3 Christmas is a time for amazing grace
We always hear the saying; “Christ is the reason for the season”! But we are also the reason for the season.
Because of God’s grace, we receive the unmerited love and favour of God towards sinners like you and me. So, just as it was with the shepherds, we gain salvation by grace and grace alone.
#4 Christmas is a time for glorifying God
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill towards men!” (Luke 2:13-14)
If we read down a few more verses, we will find that the angels were not the only ones glorifying God.
Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marvelled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. (Luke 2:17-20)
The shepherds were glorifying God as well! (Luke 2:17-20) When they had seen Jesus, they went about telling others about Jesus Christ. Although they returned to their daily task of looking after sheep, they glorified and praised the Name of the Lord.
What are you doing to glorify the Lord this Christmas?
#5 Christmas is a time for coming home.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David… (Luke 2:4)
On Christmas day, Joseph returned to the ancient home of his forefathers. For he and Mary, it is a time for coming home. Likewise, Christmas is a time when may of us will return home to be with our loved ones. This makes Christmas special.
Why do we need to come home to Jesus? Isaiah 53:6—also the John 3:16 of the Old Testament—tells us so clearly about the way of salvation that we cannot miss it!
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Notice that ‘all’ is in the beginning and the end of the bible passage above. We have all sinned. We have all gone astray. We have all missed the mark. And we have all turned to our own way.
Like the prodigal son, we may have wandered from the Father’s house and lived out in the far country. But now, it is time for us to come home. Do not be afraid. We will find forgiveness and blessings in the Father’s house.
And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son. (Luke 15:21)
For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry. (Luke 15:24)
There are also some of us who have never met the Saviour. Your greatest need is to come home. God’s offer of salvation is available to everyone who will respond in simple faith.
Sin is between you and God. If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear. But if you have done something wrong, you have everything to fear because it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.
Come home to The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Come home to Jesus.
Although we see many Christmas gifts under the Christmas tree, Jesus Christ Himself is the greatest Christmas gift of all.
Let us come home to Jesus.
ABOUT Pastor Tan Jooi Long: At 66 years old, Pastor Tan is the founder of the L.O.S.T. Cause, which stands for Leading Orang Asli Towards Salvation and Transformation. He is the former Editor of Bernama before he resigned at 47 years old to start a Financial Communications Consultancy. Later on, he headed the Asia Pacific operations of a United-States-based-newswire. He has been married to Mary-Joy for 44 years.
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