In Luke 2:10, 11 an angel of the Lord said to the shepherds in the fields, “Behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people; for today in the City of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
This year’s Christmas Life Lesson comes with permission to use from Pastor Brian Biggers at Lamb’s Chapel Church in Burlington, N.C. Thank you Pastor Biggers. His Christmas message has blessed me so many times and to not share this gift with you at Christmas would…well…just not be right.
I have always loved the simplicity of this great verse in Luke where the angel announced the message of Jesus’ arrival to earth. The message of Jesus, or as we call it “the gospel”, according to the Bible is supposed to be “Good News” that should bring us “great joy.” However, the “gospel” I heard when I attended church was anything but good news and it sure didn’t bring me great joy! You’ve got to stop cussing, drinking, smoking, hating, fighting, fishing on Sunday, amongst a host of other “thou shalt nots.” Plus, you’ve got to throw away your Leonard Skynard (it is spelled correctly even if spell check disagrees) and start listening to organ music that no doubt was intended for a wake, stop laughing, stop enjoying your life, stop hanging around with normal people and a pile of other stops!
Then there were the “tries”. Try to be nicer, try to talk spiritual, try to think better, try to serve, try to forgive! Then on top of all that they wanted you to try to talk other people into joining in the misery! I tried till I almost died! And you call this good news? It may be good advice, but where I’m from it sure ain’t no good news! And it causes great stress more than great joy!
So what was the problem? Looking back after these years I can clearly see that what I heard wasn’t the gospel of Jesus; it was the gospel of religion. The gospel of Jesus according to the Bible is truly good news! It is an oasis of hope in a weary land of self-condemnation. Religion says “do”, Jesus says “done”! Religion says “try”, Jesus says “trust”! Religion says “better”, Jesus says “believe”! Religion says “wrestle”,
Jesus says “rest”! Religion causes you to worry because of your performance; Jesus causes you to worship because of His power in you!
Just imagine a gospel that tells you trust Jesus to be all you need for salvation. “We believe that Pastor Brian.” Now imagine a gospel that tells you trust Jesus to be all you need for everything else! “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, so live in Him.” What if the Jesus that was your Savior became your sanctifier? What if the Jesus that was your sin bearer became your burden bearer? You want to hear some good news? The Jesus that tells you to love your neighbor will be the one to love your neighbor through you! The Jesus that tells you to serve others will be the one to serve others through you!
The Bible never says “you trying harder is the hope of glory.” It says “Christ in you is the hope of glory.” Christ in me by the person of His Holy Spirit is the one that lives through me. Why don’t you give up on trying to live the Christian life? You heard that right. Give up and tell Him, I can’t do it. He already knew that. Then tell Him “I’m trusting you!” If you don’t do it in me, it won’t be done. Watch what He does!
LIFE LESSON: The same Grace that saved a wretch like me is the same Grace that can change a wretch like me? Jesus is the only person that can be Jesus! And He will be glad to be Jesus in you when you give up and trust Him! Thank you Jesus for being all I need for all I need!
Now that’s Good News!
Merry Christmas from all of us at Growing in Grace Ministries!
Please keep the ministry in mind as we approach this yearend giving deadline. Thank you for your prayers and financial support.
Joy to the World, the Lord is Come.