We are entering into our second Christmas season as a church plant family, and I have to tell you that there is nothing like it in the world! As much as we looked forward to Christmas during the years before God called us to plant Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach, those years were nothing compared to the sense of joy and anticipation that we feel as part of a growing church family.
We start gearing up for Christmas in November and focus the whole month of December on the One named Immanuel: God with us. And this year our observances built to a Christmas Eve where we held three candlelight services.
It is my desire this Christmas day to share a word of encouragement that I pray will stay with you, not just throughout the remainder of this Christmas season, but throughout the rest of your days until you are received into your eternal rest.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
In one of the most familiar verses in all of sacred Scripture, we see that Christmas has its promises to keep for those who believe in the Son of God as the Savior of the world. Let’s take a look at three of them.
PROMISE #1 – God gave His one and only Son
The first promise that Christmas keeps is the promise God made all the way back in the Garden of Eden to send a Savior (Genesis 3:15). Adam and Eve had committed their grotesque act of cosmic treason and were hiding from God. Yet God, in His infinite grace and mercy, gently called Adam to Himself. Instead of simply wiping Adam and Eve off the face of this earth and hitting the reset button with some different dirt, God promised to provide the solution to their sin problem; God promised a Savior, and His name is Jesus Christ.
PROMISE #2 – Whoever believes in Him shall not perish
The second promise that Christmas keeps is the promise that all who believe in the accomplishment of the first promise shall not perish. Let me be blunt: as children of Adam, we are all under a death sentence. We are perishing as sinners, both by nature and by habit, and we should expect nothing but the condemnation and wrath of Almighty God. But to those who believe that the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger is the Savior of the world, that death sentence has been erased.
Jesus grew up and lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death, and was raised from the dead on the third day. Because Jesus took the full punishment and made the full payment for sin, those who believe in Him shall not perish.
PROMISE #3 – Whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life
The third promise is found in the already and not yet context. We already have eternal life in Christ, by grace through faith, but we will not fully possess it until we get to the other side of the grave. We have been given the Comforter—the Holy Spirit—and we possess all of the promises that are in Christ, but we are still clothed in our sinful flesh and cannot yet fully experience that eternal life. When we are received into glory, we will know a life of everlasting, unimaginable joy and pleasure, free from the pain, sorrow, tears, sickness, and death because the old will be passed away and the new will have come.
With all of the excitement and great joy surrounding the Nativity story at Christmas, we can easily miss the great comfort found in a promise-keeping God. When God makes a promise, you can count on it! God promised to send His Son as the Savior of the world, and He kept His promise on that first Christmas morning. The shepherds saw this promise kept and believed. The Wise Men saw this promise kept and believed. How about you?
I pray that this Christmas day you will be reminded of these three Christmas promises kept. If you believe, you shall not perish, but have eternal life. You have God’s Word on it.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
Merry Christmas to you and yours!