"It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." 1 Timothy 1:15
As we approach Christmas time and ponder the birth of our Savior it is an appropriate time to really consider why God sent the tiny baby born in a manger called Jesus. As I was studying 1 Timothy this week I felt Paul did an amazing job explaining to Timothy, his young disciple, the simple, but profound truth of Christmas. Listen to Paul as he tells you the trustworthy statement deserving your full acceptance. Jesus came to save sinners, and he then transparently and humbly professes among whom I am foremost of all. We all qualify for the gift that was sent from our Heavenly Father as we remember Christ at Christmas. We are all sinners, and knowing ourselves as we do, I think most of us have felt ourselves to be the foremost of all at various times in our lives. We are all in need of a Savior.
If we allow ourselves to stay focused on the true reason for Christmas it is a great message of hope to the hopeless. Listen to Paul in the following verse:
"Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. "
There is no sin you can commit that you cannot be forgiven and cleansed of. The perfect blood of the baby in the manger was spilled out on the cross as a man for you to be saved, and to have eternal life. There are no exceptions. All mankind was included. This is the greatest message there is for anyone and everyone on earth! This was the expression of love we were created to long for, and nothing will fulfill that void, but the baby in the manger who became the man that was martyred on a cross in order for us to be reconciled to God eternally. That is the gift that God the Father purchased for each one of us with the holy, perfect blood of His Son, Jesus.
"Worthy are You to take the book, and to break its seals, for You were slain and purchased for God with your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation." Revelation 4:11
Paul knew he was nearing the end of his life on earth when He wrote these letters, and this is the message he is desperately trying to get to those he loves. He is entrusting Timothy to continue his message of truth he holds so dear as he has lived out what he is teaching. He knows it to be true enough to die for. These letters were written when he was alone and cold, residing in a dungeon under the persecution of Nero in Rome. Shortly thereafter, he was beheaded on the Ostian Way, west of Rome. Paul was a true follower of Christ, and he followed the example of the One he followed.
God help us to get back to the true meaning of Christmas! It is the greatest gift you can give or receive. How can we possibly allow ourselves as Christans to be so distracted by the futile things of this world that keep us from such a costly gift that is ours for receiving and giving freely? It is the most priceless gift we can give our children and families, and yet it is so taken for granted. Is this what we want to teach our children by the way we live our lives before them this time of year? It is time to sit down and stop with the material things, and give our children the truth of God’s Word. It is a time to introduce them to the baby in the manger and the cross and resurrection of Christ, His soon return, and heaven being our final destination. It is a time to reveal to them there is One who is much greater than themselves. They need to know the price paid for them to have eternal life. As a family heed the words of Peter in 1 Peter 1:17-21:
"If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth, knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God."
I have often challenged my children with this thought: "If you don’t believe in something worth dying for, you have nothing worth living for." I firmly believe this. The truth of the Word of God is worth dying for, for two reasons. Firstly, He thought we were worth dying for, and He died for us to be reconciled to our Heavenly Father. This is a truth worth giving your life for in order for others to be told, so they might have something worth living for. I realize this is a heavy truth, but our society needs a shock of reality of what really matters in life. We are lulled into such complacency in our faith and the truth of the Gospel! May I challenge you, as I do myself to make this Christmas about something bigger than worthless, futile, expensive gifts. Dollars and cents don’t define value. Stop the chaos we create in our homes this time of year, and give your children your time this Christmas in order to teach them something worth learning that decides yours and their eternity! As Paul said, It is a trustworthy statement deserving our full acceptance. And then let us as families and friends gather together maybe for the first time joining Paul in proclaiming 1 Timothy 1:17:
Now to the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
In His love.
As we celebrate the baby in the manger, let us share the love of the cross, and the hope of His soon coming return as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!