Manspeak


Bob Kauflin Thinks about Christmas by Travis Evans
December 20, 2006, 3:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

 

by Jonathan Oldacre

Well, let’s keep my pattern of linking to posts going with this excellent addition from Bob Kauflin:

bkauflin.jpg

“During my private worship this morning I was reading Mark Dever’s commentary on the New Testament, Promises Kept, transcribed from messages he’s given at his church. This morning I happened to be reading his sermon on 1 Timothy. Providentially, it was a message he first gave on Dec. 19, 1999, so it contains numerous references to Christmas. I wanted to share some of his comments with you, along with my thoughts.

1. Christmas isn’t about who’s been “naughty or nice.”

“The news we have to declare as Christians is not fundamentally about our law-keeping or our obedience. The glad tidings we bear are not for ‘good people.’ It is ‘for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly, and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers, and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers’ (1 Tim. 1:9b-10a NIV). I doubt you have received many Christmas cards like that. Yet have you realized this is who the Christmas message is for? The Christmas message is not for a bunch of well-dressed, respectable people who attend church to celebrate a cultural holiday. The Christmas message is a message that brings joy to people like father-killers and slave-traders!” (p. 345-346)

To truly find joy in Christmas, I have to acknowledge that Jesus didn’t become a baby because I’m so good. He came because I’m so evil and needed a Savior. He didn’t come to reward us for what we’ve done, but to save us from what we’ve done.

2. Christmas isn’t merely about good feelings.

“A Christmas card theology of ‘holiday cheer’ or of angels with trumpets singing ‘Peace on earth, good will toward men’ is simply not good enough in a world that includes real tragedies like the Columbine High School shootings, the terrorist threat of nuclear weapons, or, truly, the contents of your heart and mine. If you regard evil only as what those ‘bad people out there’ do, you will not understand Jesus at all. You must understand this truth first: there is far more to the Christian gospel than celebrating the mean remnants of goodness that may remain in us” (p. 348).

The expressions of “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy Holidays!” that I’ve heard so often recently are in one sense a sign of common grace. Many people tend to be kinder and more thoughtful at Christmas time. However, to think that’s all Christmas is about is to miss the point. We need more than a temporary respite from the real tragedies, problems, and fears that plague our lives. We need more than good feelings. We need a Savior. And Christmas tells us that he’s come.

3. Christmas is only one part of a greater story.

“To think that Christmas is more about the stable in Bethlehem than about the cross in Jerusalem is to regard the acorn as more important than the oak…The Christmas message is not merely the fact that God became man by being born of the virgin Mary; the Christmas message is the reason for the Incarnation: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'” (p. 353-354).

Jesus held by the wood.
Delivered and delivering,
Jesus held by the wood.

Witnesses on either side.
Mary silhouetted,
quietly gazing
with great feeling
on her son,
the sky dark above.
As at the beginning,
so at the end.

Jesus held by the wood.
Delivered and delivering,
Jesus held by the wood.

The scene of Christmas
and of Calvary,
of the cradle
and the cross.
(Mark Dever, p. 354-355)

While the mystery of God becoming man stretches the boundaries of our comprehension, his coming can’t be separated from the reason he came. May the two stories – the cradle and the cross – always remain inseparable in our meetings, our relationships, and our hearts.”

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1 Comment so far
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Amen Jon! Thanks for pointing us to great resources.

Comment by Travis




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