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Friday, 22 December 2017

My favourite Christmas text!

It was on Sunday that I was privileged to bring the message at the Christmas worship service of the French fellowship in which my wife and I are in membership. I want to share a slightly edited version, here on my blog, over three posts. This is the first part!

My favourite Christmas text doesn't have anything to do with shepherds, angels, or magi. However, it does have the true reason for the season! Let's unpick this well-known verse: " God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16).

The first thing that we may notice is
1   the Fact
“… God so loved the world … This is the fact that is behind the whole plan of salvation – God loves the world. And that means that He loves me, and He loves you! He doesn’t just love the good people, but the world – the unlovable, and the unlovely; those who are loved by no-one else; those who never even give Him a single thought. I don’t care! I don’t care if your skin colour is black or white; brown or yellow; green with purple polka-dots. I don’t care!  I don’t care if you are tall or short; fat or thin; healthy or unhealthy. I don’t care! I don’t care if you speak French, English, Dutch, Malagasy, Romanian, Belgian, Portuguese, or The Doric. I don’t care! I don’t care if you are rich or poor; a public figure, or completely unknown; highly intelligent, or intellectually challenged. I don’t care! I don’t care if you live in a large mansion surrounded by servants, or sleep in a shop doorway because you are homeless. I don’t care! I don’t care if you are the most sincere disciple of Jesus since the apostle Paul, or if you are a blaspheming atheist. I don’t care! I don’t care who, or what, you are. God loves you! Let that wonderful fact sink into your heart this morning.
He knows all about you – your failures and successes; your doubts and fears; your hopes and aspirations. He knows you better than you know yourself. And still, He loves you! Does that not warm your heart as you read? It certainly warms mine – and I trust that it does warm yours as well.
Love is the very mainspring of the Being of God. So John assures us in his first letter: “God is love” (I Jn.4:8, 16).
And even the tense used shows that God’s love, reaching back in eternity, and coming to fruition in Bethlehem and at Calvary, is viewed as one great central fact. It is His infinite and unique love that is the motivating force behind the Incarnation; and it is that same love that is the motivating force behind the Passion of the Lord Jesus, His crucifixion, and His resurrection.

“… God so loved the world …” – the greatest fact in all of history, and the one with the most far-reaching results. And part of the wonder of it is that it is a fact. It’s not a scientific theory; it’s not a legal speculation; it’s not merely some popular idea. It’s a fact! God loved the world – you and me – so very much. And it's the basic message behind Christmas.
More tomorrow!

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