Christmas: The Right Season

Christmas: The Right Season

    1. Introduction
      1. Favorite Christmas Song
        1. “White Christmas” – best-selling Christmas song of all time
        2. Guinness Book of World Records – over 50 million sales
        3. Written in 1940 by Irving Berlin
        4. Popularized by Bing Crosby
        5. Written in Palm Springs, California
      2. Irving Berlin was from Russia
        1. Moved to New York
        2. Now in Palm Springs dreaming of a white Christmas
      3. We have chosen the theme of this Christmas: Red (not white)
        1. God’s perspective: It takes red to get white
        2. Blood red
        3. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins (see Hebrews 9:22)
        4. The blood of Jesus cleanses us (1 John 1:7-9)
        5. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” Isaiah 1:18
      4. Galatians 4; three verses
        1. Theology, history, and philosophy
        2. By Christmas – hope that you will be thoroughly equipped and knowledgeable of what Christmas is really all about
    2. Galatians 4, “The fullness of time”
      1. The end of a period of preparation
      2. God readying the whole world
      3. The Law of Moses that governed the Jews had accomplished its purpose
        1. All people failed to keep the Law
        2. God introduced a new era of redemption
        3. Picture: a glass slowly, slowly, slowly filled with water, until it finally reached its proper fullness
      4. Why didn’t Jesus come sooner? Why at that time, in that culture?
        1. That was the fullness of the time—the right time
        2. Two main thoughts: God always keeps His appointments; God’s time is always the right time—He make appointments and always keeps them
          1. “To everything there is a season…” Ecclesiastes 3:1
          2. Story: Skip’s busy earthly dad
          3. “God is not slack or slow…” 2 Peter 3:9
          4. “There are no loose threads in the providence of God, no stitches are dropped, no events are left to chance. The great clock of the universe keeps good time, and the whole machinery of providence moves with unerring punctuality.”—Charles Spurgeon
          5. Jesus comes on the scene (see Mark 1:9-15)
            1. Goes down to John to be baptized
            2. Goes into the wilderness to be tempted
            3. Came back and started His ministry
            4. His first words: “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mark 1:15)
          6. There are references throughout Scripture about the time
            1. At the miracle of the water into wine, He tells his mom, “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4)
            2. They tried to take Jesus by force and make Him a king. (see John 7)
            3. At the Last Supper, He got up to wash His disciples’ feet because He “knew that His hour had come” (John 13:1)
            4. In His prayer, “Father, the hour has come.” (John 17:1)
          7. God makes appointments and He always keeps His appointments
      5. God’s time is always the right time
        1. We look at B.C. and A.D. – Jesus split time forever
        2. What made this time the “fullness” of time?
          1. The right time spiritually
            1. A pervasive hunger for spiritual things
            2. Influence of Monotheistic Judaism
            3. Alexander the Great “colonize the world”
            4. Rome had conquered the world
              1. The gods of the cultures who had been conquered had not saved them
              2. They were open to an alternative belief system
            5. The Jews believed in Messiah—a Deliverer
              1. Romans also believed in a deliverer
              2. A Roman poet, Virgil, wrote that Caesar Augustus was the ideal savior king, “This one will be the divine king of which the world has awaited.”
              3. They were already open to a deliverer coming
            6. The world was ripe spiritually for both the Romans and the Jews
              1. The expectation of the Messiah coming reached fever pitch
              2. “Prior to the first century, the Messianic interest was not excessive. The first century however, especially the generation before the destruction of the second temple, witnessed a remarkable outburst of Messianic emotionalism. When Jesus came into Galilee, spreading the gospel of the Kingdom of God and saying the time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand, He was voicing the opinion universally held that the age of the Kingdom of God was at hand. The Messiah was expected around the second quarter of the first century of the Christian era.”— Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver
              3. That is exactly when Jesus came
              4. No wonder when John the Baptist was at the Jordan River baptizing, people asked, “Are you the Christ?” (see John 19)
            7. Jews believed that was the time because
              1. Ancient prophecy in Genesis
              2. Jacob gives his last words to his sons
              3. Judah – “The scepter shall not depart…until Shiloh comes” (Genesis 49:10)
              4. Rabbis down through the ages believed that Messiah would not come until the right to rule was taken from Judah
              5. Josephus, the Jewish historian tells us that in the first quarter of the first century, when the Romans took over, they took the right of tribal rule from Judah
              6. When that happened, the Jewish Sanhedrin put sackcloth and ashes on their bodies and marched through the streets of Jerusalem bewailing, “The scepter has departed from Judah, but Shiloh has not come.”
              7. They believed God broke His promise
              8. Interesting: about that time Jesus was about to lay down His carpentry tools and march down to the Jordan river – Shiloh had come
            8. It was the right time spiritually
          2. It was the right time culturally
            1. First time since the tower of Babel there was a universal language – Greek
            2. Alexander the Great thought that the world should be Hellenized
            3. He managed to go as far as India and make Greek the language of the East
            4. Then Rome made Greek the trade language of the West
              1. Now you could express ideas together in the same language
              2. People could understand each other – free flow thought in expression and ideas
              3. Greek is the most precise instrument to convey human thought
              4. Interesting that God waited for the most precise language to be the language that the New Testament would be written in
          3. It was the right time politically
            1. Rome was in charge
            2. Caesar Augustus established the Pax Romana – Roman Peace
              1. Peace
              2. Cultural growth
              3. Road system – 250,000 miles, 50,000 miles paved
              4. Travel safely and freely around Roman Empire
              5. Some of the soldiers got saved
      6. It was the fullness of the time
        1. It was the perfect time
        2. The right time
        3. By the end of 312 A.D., every one in ten people in the Roman world claimed to be Christian
    3. Closing – God’s timing in your life is perfect
      1. We don’t always understand God’s timing
      2. This day could be the perfect time in your life
      3. He might be bringing you to a personal confidence and trust in Him, in a relationship with Him
      4. This could be the fullness of the time for you
      5. Today is the day of salvation (see 2 Corinthians 6:2)
      6. If you would like to commit your life to Christ, do it right now

Publications referencedGuinness Book of World Records

Figures referenced: Irving Berlin, Bing Crosby, Charles Spurgeon, Virgil (Roman poet), Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, and Josephus

Cross referencesGenesis 49:10Ecclesiastes 3:1Isaiah 1:18, Mark 1:9-15, John 2:4, John 7, 13:1, 17:1, John 19, Hebrews 9:222 Peter 3:91 John 1:7-9

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