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The Problem with Nativity Scenes

The Problem with Nativity Scenes


At Christmas time, we celebrate the coming of Jesus. 

At Trinity Lutheran Church, Dec. 14, 2015 an officer was dispatched because there was someone missing from their nativity scene.

Thieves stole the illuminated baby Jesus. A lighted shepherd figure had blown over in the wind and when the pastor came to pick it up, he noticed the baby Jesus was missing.


The problem with nativity scenes is the people who are missing from them.

Jesus did not come for people who loved Him, He came to call sinners to righteousness.

He did not come to make bad people good, He came to make dead people alive.


On hearing this, Jesus told them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” —Mark 2:17


The nativity leaves out the ignorant.

Cesar Augustus took a census that had Joseph and Mary journeying from Nazareth back to their ancestral home of Bethlehem. Augustus was clueless about the divine scheme behind his decision, yet Jesus came to save him and the others who are ignorant and dead in our sins, and living without a thought for God and His will in their lives.


for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” —Rom. 10:13


Cesar Augustus is left out  of the scene.


The scene also leaves out the indifferent.

The in keeper said there was no room, because he was indifferent to the plight of Mary. The keeper could have given up his own room. Our world is filled with people like that innkeeper who are indifferent to the interests of God and His grace.


When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  After they had seen the Child, they spread the message they had received about Him. And all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. —Luke 2:15-18

The flabbergasted people who heard the message of the angels from the shepherds are left out of the scene. They heard the account from the shepherds, but they did not go to see the savior of the world.

Like those people every time someone hears an account of the glory of God, That is just like the story from those shepherds, and yet so many of them who hear the message are left out of the scene.


The self-righteous are also left out. The religious leaders were so blind to truth, they could not recognize it when they saw it with their own eyes.


When the eight days until His circumcision had passed, He was named Jesus, the name the angel had given Him before He had been conceived. —Luke 2:21


The religious leaders in Jerusalem were only 5 miles away from Bethlehem. The did not go to see Him and when Jesus came to them, they still did not recognize Him because they were blinded by their own self-interest.


All the wicked people of the world were left out, even though Jesus came for them to be restored to right standing before a holy God.

King Herod did not want to take the risk of loosing his kingdom to the messiah, so he sent soldiers to kill the child. 


The next time pass by a nativity scene, remember that Jesus died not to make bad people good, but to make good people alive.

Listen Now!

   

What if Jesus had never been born.

Matthew 2:12-21
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they withdrew to their country by another route.
The Flight to Egypt
(Hosea 11:1-7)
13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up!” he said. “Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the Child to kill Him.”
14So he got up, took the Child and His mother by night, and withdrew to Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my Son.”b
The Slaughter of Infants
(Jeremiah 31:1-30)
16When Herod saw that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was filled with rage. Sending orders, he put to death all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, according to the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was spoken through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
and refusing consolation,
because they are no more.”c
The Return to Nazareth
(Isaiah 61:1-11; Matthew 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6; Luke 2:39-40; Luke 4:16-30)
19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20“Get up!” he said. “Take the Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those seeking the Child’s life are now dead.”
21So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he learned that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.” 

Our adversary satan is still trying to reverse the work of Jesus in this world.
Herod found out from the priests where the savior was to be born, and from the wise men he learned when. What if the grinch had succeeded at murdering the baby Jesus?
We would not have all these trees and lights in the honor of Jesus Christ, God’s son.
We would eliminate Thanksgiving with no one to thank.
There would be no John 3:16 and all would perish.
There would be no 1 John 5:12
The penalty of sin is paid.
The power of sin is broken if we look to the Holy Spirit for grace and strength.
Without the birth of Jesus, seaman John Newton would not have written the hymn “Amazing Grace”
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
He paid a debt He did not owe, and I owed a debt that I could not pay.
If we could work our way to heaven, we would not have needed a savior
We are saved by grace through faith.
1 Corinthians 6:9
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who submit to or perform homosexual acts, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
12“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be mastered by anything. 13“Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,” but God will destroy them both. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Revelation 21:5

Listen Now!

   

Thank God for Heaven

Thank you Lord for delaying your return until after we were brought into your kingdom. Please also give our family members the gifs of repentance and salvation.

Last week we sang a new song called “Count Them All” and we were reminded to give thanks for all God’s blessings.

I thank God for heaven.
There is hell to be shunned and a heaven to be gained.
Thinking of our precious saints who have gone before us to be with the Lord.
What wonderful things they must be experiencing in heaven.
Eye has not seen what wonderful things, but it has been revealed to us by His Holy Spirit.
The bible does not tell us all we want to know, but it does tell us all we need to know. The words given us about heaven are largely symbolic, probably because we don’t have the right words to express it.

11And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and
the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of
thousands; 12Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and
riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Rev. 5:11 10

Salvation
1And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation,
and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2For true and righteous [are] his
judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication,
and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3And again they said, Alleluia. And her
smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down
and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5And a voice came out of the
throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
The Marriage of the Lamb
6And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the
voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Rev. 19:1-6

Our own family members are part of that great voice

Rev 21:3-5
3And I heard a great voice
out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them,
and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. 4And God
shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor
crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write:
for these words are true and faithful.

There will be no pain in heaven
1And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of
God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there]
the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the
leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations. 3And there shall be no more curse: but the
throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4And they shall see
his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads. 5And there shall be no night there; and they
need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for
ever and ever.
Rev. 22:1-6

The door is open (Rev 4), but not everyone will go through it.’
The door is open to as many who choose him.
Eph 2, 16

Listen Now!

   

Count Your Blessings

Count Your Blessings
Thanksgiving Is Much Better than Grumbling

Grumbling is murmuring or muttering in discontent. (Numbers 14, 1 Cor. 10)
How do you spot a grumbler and what is the cure?
1) You might be a grumbler if you are never satisfied with what you have.
2) You might be a grumbler if you always have a complaint or an excuse.
3) You might be a grumbler if you believe that you could never succeed.

Parable of the hired workers.
1For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man [that is] an householder, which went out early in the
morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2And when he had agreed with the labourers for a
penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3And he went out about the third hour, and saw
others standing idle in the marketplace, 4And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and
whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5Again he went out about the sixth
and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others
standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7They say unto him,
Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever
is right, [that] shall ye receive.

8So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and
give them [their] hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9And when they came that [were
hired] about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10But when the first came, they
supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
11And when they had received [it], they murmured against the good man of the house, 12Saying,
These last have wrought [but] one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have
borne the burden and heat of the day. 13But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee
no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14Take [that] thine [is], and go thy way: I
will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?
Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be
called, but few chosen.
Matthew 20: 1-16

Grumbling is a symptom of a deeper issue — the grumbler is mad at God.
Jesus is interested in why you do what you do.

The path to a thankful heart:
1) Take time to thank God for the blessings of your day.
Thank God for the blessings of yesterday before starting your grumbling today.
2) Don’t judge yourself by the way God treats someone else, and don’t compare yourself to others. God is not obligated to treat everyone the same way.

People think the more the produce, the bigger their reward will be. God considers you motive.
The world considers what did you do, The Lord wants to know why did you do it.
The parable teaches us the equality of faithfulness not the equality of opportunity.

Listen Now!

   

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