Classic Christianity – Bob George – Christmas P1 (12-24-18)
Welcome to Classic Christianity radio with Bob George. During this Christmas season, we are reminded of God’s greatest gift to you and me. We are told in scriptures that God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Our prayer for you is that you would accept Jesus Christ into your life and know how you are deeply loved. Check out BobGeorge.net for various resources to help you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us now join Bob as he shares practical biblical insights to help people experience faith, hope and love in Jesus Christ.
Bob shares a five part series on Jesus Christ, the person on whose birthday Christmas is slated to honor in our culture today, whether people fully understand who he is or what he came to do. Every year Christmas is recognized by many around the world as the birth of a man named Jesus. Yet he is more than a man. What is so unique about Jesus than any other man that the whole world would set aside a holiday for this event in history? Some ponder that question and have come to know God through Jesus Christ as truth was revealed to them. For others, the Christmas season comes with distractions or traditions of men that prevent people from understanding eternal life in Jesus Christ. And believers have been caught up into activities, hardly giving Jesus Christ much thought, neglectful of meeting with other believers so as to grow in Christ, or caught up in error by traditions of men and so are not walking in true love and freedom.
Yet, even though Christmas is in general a day set aside by many to honor his birth into this world, we live in strange world. We live in a world where people like to criticize Jesus. What is there to criticize Jesus, a man who preached love?
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Is that not real life, to love one another? But who can really love one another perfectly?
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
God is perfect love and loves us perfectly. So who is the source of love? Does is not come through faith in the one who loves you and can produce this love in and through you? Who showed us who God is? Jesus! As one comes to know God through Jesus Christ, would he then be able to love?
What are people thinking about? Who are they against? There is a conflict between good and evil and as long as live in this world this conflict will remain. So why is there a conflict in this world? Do people not grasp who Jesus is, what he did and said? Yet, even people who do grasp at least something of what Jesus did or said, they fail to walk in love. As born again believers, do we have a choice to walk in love? What about non-believers? Do they have a choice to walk in love?
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
So then when we were lost, without the Holy Spirit of God living in us, we were slaves to sin and ruled by sin. But Christ died so that this body ruled by sin would be done away with. So a person with the Holy Spirit of God living in him, a born again believer, is not a slave to sin and has the choice to not continue in sin. Indeed why would Christ die unless his death would lead to the possibility for man to live a new life free from sin’s control?
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ [those lost or dead spiritually]. 10 But if Christ is in you [those saved, believers, born again or made alive spiritually], then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
People walk in the energy of their own flesh, fulfilling their own desires until the Lord comes back. But we, as believers, have an option. Are we going to continue in our sins, continue to engage in habits we know are contrary to life and what is good for us? And we have a choice? How many times do we make a wrong choice? No matter how many times we make a wrong choice, there is still another day to start new. So we commit from this day forward, “I am going to serve the Lord”. That is an inner decision, you decide regardless of spouse or friends.
So what makes the difference in a believer? Is it not the Holy Spirit residing in him?
We live for gratification. We have options unlike when we were lost because we have Christ Jesus living in us.
1 Corinthians 2:16
for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
We have the mind of Christ living in us. We are indwelt by the Spirit of God. We have been given everything we need for life and godliness. Yet we put that aside! Why? God commands us not to be unequally yoked. Do you spend more time with bad company than with believers? Do you think only about how to gratify the flesh? Are you doing things contrary to what is right, what you know is right? Are the people you spend time with influencing you? What do you think would happen if you spent time with those who love the Lord and have the mind of Christ, who have learned to walk by the Spirit and not the flesh?
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Knowing that sin still indwells our flesh and that sin-indwelling flesh is contrary to the ways of God, what has God provided for you so that you can walk in a new pattern of life? Do you have the Holy Spirit living in you? the mind of Christ? So then, you can choose to walk by the Spirit who instructs you and teaches you.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
There is a benefit to being with people of like mind, to have fellowship and have communion with. Have they renewed their mind? Have they learned to walk by the Spirit? Do they walk in love? Would you not be built up and encouraged by being with true believers in the Lord?
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Is there not a pull of the flesh in every human being? Who can help us? By the daily encouragement of other believers, would we not be more inclined to walk by faith and trust in God our Savior? Would we be more likely not to worry about things on earth below? Would we not see the answer to prayers and see God at work and be encouraged by that?
Yet where are our priorities but to do everything else but what God wants us to do. Now, to be clear Bob is not talking about going to church that have no mind, or certainly not like mind. There are people who volunteer their time at Bob George Ministries because they believe the message, the truth revealed by the Spirit of God through the word of God. Certainly one should not go to some denominational facility where truth is not preached. People with the Spirit of God demonstrated by the love of God produced in them and through them is what assembly one is looking for. The true church is the people of God in whom the Spirit of God dwells.
So then, by the admonition of scripture, do you see your need for local fellowship? To be with another brother in Christ, or an assembly of brothers and sisters in Christ, wherever you decide to commit to meet and be together.
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
To be clear, Bob is not putting people on a guilt trip, as if putting somebody under a law that says you must meet together. Does not God through His word encourage us to be together? For what purpose? Is it not to spur one another on to love and good deeds? A true leader also needs the encouragement other people and would want those who look up to him as an elder to also receive the encouragement they need. So a true friend says, “I want you to be with other believers because it is good for you.” Bob even mentioned how Moses, the most humble leader in his generation, how he received the encouragement from those submitting to his leadership.
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Do you realize it is an encouragement to be with other believers? When loving one another there cannot be a deeper encouragement than that. Moses had people who held his hand up.
Yet some people are in the habit of giving up meeting together. Now to be clear, Bob and true believers would not encourage you to go to some place of phoniness and insist you practice some religion or do some activity but rather be around sincere people who genuinely care for you. Think of the early churches that the Apostle Paul established in every location he brought the gospel and appointed elders to care for the people of God. What can you glean about what a true church should be about? You are indeed blessed if you can join in fellowship with such men and woman of God like that. Think of the example of the Apostle Paul and the words of admiration Paul had for these elders!
1 Thessalonians 2:8
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8 so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. 21 For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.
Now, if you are no so fortunate, you may only be able to find one brother of like mind in the area you live. Count yourself blessed indeed if you have but one believer in Christ. Do you have a believing spouse? How blessed you are! Think of the words of the Apostle Paul.
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Now, if you are blessed to have many like-minded believers to be with, then think about a decision to weigh your responsibilities. If approached to set appointment to a business at certain time in conflict with a regular planned meeting with believers, then do you place a higher priority on the business venture than on being with believers so as to be encouraged and remain strong in faith, growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. What is more valuable to you, the things of this world or the things that last forever? Money and material things are here today and gone tomorrow but people and the word of God lasts forever. Don’t give into the cravings of the flesh, and we all have flesh that seems to grab our attention and divert us from hearing the voice of the Lord. We even like food and can even overeat. And we even have lazy flesh that would rather sleep in than go meet with the Lord’ people. You won’t lose a customer when God is in it. You don’t always feel like it but do it anyway. I don’t like to mow my lawn, things we do not like to do sometimes, but has to be done.
Praise the Lord as a group, one day a week, couple hours a week. There are people who drive 200 miles to have fellowship because that is a priority for them and see the love and encouragement that comes with being with other believers. How important is the encouragement of other believers or encouraging other believers from what God has gifted you, the mutual encouragement that comes from each other’s faith. If God loved you so much that he gave, why should we do less.
Now, when one receives such encouragement from believers, how should that look like when in the world of those who do not know the Lord. Can they see your faith in action?
1 Peter 3:15
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
When out with people I am to be available to give an account of that hope that is within me. Do I fear death? Now I am not speaking of the fear of dying but the ultimate fear of death? You should not fear death. Why? What is your hope?
2 Corinthians 5:4-9
4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
So to be absent from body is to be present with the Lord. So there is really nothing to fear. Now that is something worthy to talk to people about! Bob recalls the time he had a heart attack and chose a stint with its risks of death by cardiac arrest. So Bob shared with the doctor that if he could choose how to leave this world, then snap just like that, cardiac arrest would be the way to go”. We have assurance of eternal life, the truth and the reality of it.
Knowing that you have eternal life, is that not a great message to share? If you had a change in your life, talk about it. To know that you are saved and that God gave you eternal life, an eternal inheritance, would not others want to hear such great news? Some would. Yet People in religion want to get rid of that talk. Why did Jesus go to the cross if he thought that some way man could stop sinning another way? Jesus walked about 33 years on this earth for one purpose, to die on a cross to take away sins of world and to rise again so as to offer eternal life to anyone willing to simply accept his offer. Jesus did not come to atone for sin, the blood of bulls and goats did that. He came to take away sins of the world to never be seen again.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Is that good news? worthy of praise? Yes
But we get off on other earthly things in our conversations with men. We get more excited about a raise or a new car than about the gift of eternal life. We have a tendency to lose sight of who we are and God’s divine purpose. Are you more thrilled with earthly things than eternal things? That is why we need to continually renew our minds. The Apostle Paul reminded believers, “Again I say rejoice”.
In regards to renewing of the mind, have you been raised in a certain religion that taught you things that you simply believed because a leader told you it to be true? Have you read the bible for yourself? Have you been under true believers who rightly divide the word of truth? How important is knowing truth to you? How many follow the traditions of men rather than the clear instruction and teaching revealed by the Spirit of God, living in you, through the word of God?
For example, the Catholic church teaches that Mary was a virgin all her life. Is that true? How would you know if you were raised Catholic and were never confronted with truth or read the scriptures?
“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
We know Joseph did not have intercourse with Mary until Jesus was born. Yet huge denominations that say Mary was virgin all their life. People err because they do not know scriptures. Mary was a virgin around 13 years old, being impregnated by the Holy Spirit of God. If Jesus was born in Adam, then he would have a sin nature. That is why Mary was a virgin at conception, but only until Jesus was born. Jesus had brothers and sisters as their names are clearly mentioned in scripture in Matthew 13:55. I am not angry at Catholics, for I myself am a former Catholic and love my family, but I am angry with Catholic teaching that is based on tradition rather than the word of God. If someone says Mary is a virgin all her life then then they are negating the truth in the word of God. Now, if they err in this one thing, what more serious matters are they in error over, things pertaining to how someone can obtain eternal life?
So then in order to truly love, one must know God. And to know God is to know Jesus Christ. So why did Jesus come to earth? Did he not come to give us understanding of real life, Christ in you, to live a new and different life, a life of loving one another, of giving of yourself to God in worship for what he has done for you. Do you know what he came to do and what he did for you?
Oftentimes traditions of men crowd out the truth that Jesus came to bring. How much attention is focused on receiving or giving of gifts but not on the person of Jesus Christ. How much is spent on entertainment, such as watching the “Grinch of Christmas” or even telling lies such as the existence of Santa Claus to your children? Yet, as it was when Jesus was born, the partying and carnal life of men, there was no room in the inn for Jesus. The world was busy with things of this world but gave no thought to eternal things, such as where will I go when I die or how then can I live in such a dark world or how can I be free from sin. There were those who recognized him, or at least were willing to come into the light to be taught of God. Most of them were those who listened under the teaching of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the Messiah to be revealed to Israel. The wise men knew something, for they were wise to study the scriptures and knew something about where he was to be born from the prophets. Yes, and the shepherds were visited by angels who announced the birth of Jesus, the promised Messiah. And Mary believed the message of an angel telling of how Jesus was to be born in her as a virgin. But what is the real message? Is it just about Jesus miraculous birth? No. Far more than that. Jesus came to die and rise again so that men may know God, who is eternal life.
1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
1 John 2:2
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Birth is how Jesus became a man, God in an earth suit, in the appearance as a man. Always God and always will be. Jesus is God clothed in an earth suit. It is only the sacrifice of God Himself that such a sacrifice was capable of taking away sins in the eyes of God never to see again. Even for the lost, sins were taken away. Hitler’s sins taken away – yes, but he wasn’t saved. Even though sins taken away does not mean you are saved. You are not saved by the cross. The cross prepared you for salvation. You are saved by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Being aware that something is missing, that something is wrong inside you, does not come from being sinful but comes from being lost, from being dead spiritually. Christ Jesus had to enter into my death with me so I could enter into his resurrected life with Him. The objective is not to get man out of hell into heaven but to get Himself out of heaven into you and me. This plan was set in motion at the birth of Jesus Christ. Birth is just how he got here, and in a miraculous way for sure. But after he got here, what he did is what saved us.
Another tradition of men held to be true yet few recognize or care to correct. Since the matter is not a salvation issue most tend to overlook. Every Christmas season, how many see a nativity set with three wise men coming to see a baby in a manger? Wise men did not come in a manger but came to a house. Tradition has them with shepherds at a manger. The wise men came with gifts, gifts of significance. In a later lesson, Bob will go into this in more detail.
In this season, much giving of gifts to one another is so customary. And such giving can be done with the right heart attitude, as that of the wise men who gave gifts of great significance. And it is more blessed to give than to receive. Yet, have you pondered over the most significant gift of all, the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ? Have you taken the time to thank Him? Even Jesus saw it as a joy to give, the most costly of all gifts, his very life, so as to bring us as gifts to God. He was blessed when he gave, for he gave us as gifts to God.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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