Merry Christmas First Baptist Church, December 2023

Christmas is one of the best times of the year. People are usually filled with joy and generosity and even people who aren’t regulars at church tend to be thinking about Jesus. Images of the nativity are visible at stores and in peoples front yards. Carols about Jesus’s birth fill the air and are entertainment at shopping venues.

People often think of Jesus as a good man or a prophet, but many people do not understand him to be the incarnate Son of God. The apostle John makes the incarnation a centerpiece in his writings.

1 John 4:1-3 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flash is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus, as not from God.”

The apostle John was combating the idea in his day, that Jesus was a spirit and not a real human being. They had the idea that Jesus had shown up but not in the flesh, thus they were denying the incarnation. There was a concept, which we call Gnosticism, and they believed flesh (being bad) and spirit (being good) were so divided and different that they could not coexist. In order to make Jesus deity, they had to deny his humanity.

This is the reason why John includes the words “every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” The most common error in John’s day about Jesus was a denial of his humanity. By denying Jesus’ humanity, they also denied his birth, death, and resurrection.

Today, the most common error about Jesus is the denial of his divinity. Of course, if they accepted his divinity, they would be accepting him as Lord and Savior as well. Some are willing to accept his miracles and even his resurrection, but the biggest barrier to their acceptance of him is the question of his divinity, his divine nature. The spirit of this age rejects the divine nature of Jesus Christ.

Christmas season is a great time to invite friends and neighbors to worship. They are already familiar with the carols, images, and stories. But it is also a great moment for them to come into contact with the real Jesus. The Jesus, the Son of God, who took on flesh, who took on a human nature.

Consider who among your friends and neighbors you would like to be your guests this Christmas. Pick a Sunday when you think they would feel comfortable. Invite them to be your guest at worship. Meet them in the parking lot. Then make sure to sit together during the worship service. Let’s use this wonderful opportunity, when people are already thinking about Jesus Christ, to introduce them to our Lord and Savior, The Son of God.

Merry Christmas,

Pastor Dave