GOOD NEWS AT CHRISTMAS
With the news media, what is considered newsworthy, what is considered good news is something that shocks, something that jolts, something that is downright bad to hear; this is what makes the headlines. But, what we are about to hear now is the real good news.
10And the Angel of the LORD said to the shepherds, “…I bring you good news of great joy which would be to all people.”
This news is not only good, it is also a source of joy, not sadness. It is not for a select few, but for all; old and young, rich and poor, men and women, Jew and gentile – people of all races. The news: the good news of great joy. What is this good news of great joy?
11“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the LORD.”
This is the good news that the angel brought. This good news is the birth of a baby in David’s town of Bethlehem. But more than that, what makes the news good is that this Baby is on a mission.
Do you have a mission in life; and if you do, what is your mission? I hope your mission is not just making money, making babies and making enemies?
One lady said that her mission in her church was to smile people in and smile them out. That’s good mission. If you visit a church where an usher has a long face and an angry and unfriendly look, will you go back there?
What is the mission of the Baby? His mission is to save people. That is why He is called Jesus. Some people have been saved from ghastly accidents, saved from financial ruins, saved from murderous attacks. Is that the kind of salvation that the Savior came to bring? Some preachers will say emphatically yes. That is not what the Savior came to bring. But it is true that God graciously saves us from these kinds of dangers. God can deliver from any kind of situation. But the salvation that this Baby came to bring is that from sin, salvation from the penalty of sin, salvation from the power of sin – and someday soon, salvation from the very presence of sin. Sin is the problem that necessitated God’s gift at Christmas.
21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall all His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
In man’s legal or judicial system, people can get away with all kinds of crime, especially where effective law enforcement is absent, as it is in our society. They do not pay any penalty for their crime. But, not so in God’s Legal System.
13…All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
To whom we must give account! Friend, nobody in the economy of God, in God’s Legal System, gets away with anything. Every sin must be accounted for; and God in His love, mercy and grace has provided for this accounting in His Son. This is the gift of Christmas.
6For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
He paid the penalty in full when He said from the cross, the Tetelestai. Tetelestai means, ‘paid in full’. That is why you cannot add anything to the salvation of Jesus Christ. And of course God will not permit you to subtract anything either. It is paid in full. He does not only save from the penalty of sin; He also saves from the power of sin. Anyone who doubts the power of sin should review his or her life in the past couple of hours, in the past couple of days, weeks, months or years, you will find the same thing that the apostle Paul found. That is, that sin has power.
19For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it but sin that dwells in me.
Willpower is not powerful enough to check the power of sin. This explains the struggle many have with sin. But Jesus saves from the power of sin.
34Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
It is Jesus, by His death and resurrection, and His ascension into heaven that gives the power over sin. The power that breaks the power of sin. That is why we read in:
1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Under the control of the Holy Spirit whom the Savior gave to those who believe, the power of sin is broken. And therefore we read in Romans 6:14 for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace.
Charles Wesley captures this beautifully in his hymn:
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!
In stanza 4, he says,
He [that is Christ the great Redeemer] breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood avails for me.
Someday soon, as we said, Jesus will save us also from the very presence of sin. And that is when He returns, and we are renewed in our resurrection bodies; then we will be removed from the presence of sin. For He said for where I am, there you will be also. And that is outside the presence of sin.
Dear friend, receive the gift of Christmas, Jesus Christ, and you will be set free from sin.
Father, we thank You again for this time we have reasoned with You in Your Word, and with one another. Thank You for Jesus who breaks the power of sin, every cancelled sin, who sets the captive free. May it be so for all who hear me today, in Jesus Name. Amen!