Pastor's Corner: Celebrating Christmas and the crossBy DANIEL AUSBUN
First Baptist Church, Moreland
We celebrate Christmas because of the cross.
In 17 days we remember the birth of Christ. God tells us in I John 3:8 why He sent His Son, “The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.”
This Christmas don’t underestimate the gravity and offensiveness of your sin in light of God’s infinite majesty, holiness and justice. Christmas cost God.
Christmas and the cross must be seen as more than a special church gathering. The birth, death and Resurrection of Christ are foundational themes.
We will not understand Christmas until we understand the cross. Here are three reasons why:
First, we must have Christmas and the cross for our access to God. Only Christ’s work on the cross ensures our complete and immediate access to God.
When we approach God, “we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:12). Apart from Christ’s finished work, we would have no access to God.
No worship leader, pastor, band or song will ever bring us close to God. We can’t shout, dance or prophesy our way into God’s presence. Worship itself cannot lead us into God’s presence.
Only Jesus Himself can bring us into God’s presence, and He has done it through a single sacrifice that will never be repeated — only remembered and trusted in.
Jesus served as our mediator when He willingly endured God’s wrath against our sins at the cross, even though He was completely innocent. God poured out on His Son the cup of wrath we deserved — and Jesus drank the last drop. No wrath or judgment remains for those who have trusted in Christ.
Don’t miss this — Christmas is about God giving you access to God — access you wouldn’t be able to obtain yourself.
Second, we must have Christmas and the cross for acceptable worship. Wise men, after seeing Jesus, fell “to their knees, they worshipped Him” (Matthew 2:11).
Christ’s birth and work on the cross assures us that our worship is acceptable to God. As hard as we try, our hearts and worship will always be tainted in God’s sight.
We cannot worship the eternal Father apart from the eternal Son. He was able to offer His own righteous life as a perfect offering because He had no sins of His own to die for (Hebrews 7:25). Our worship is accepted not on the basis of what we have done, but on the basis of what Christ has done.
Third, we must have Christmas and the cross for God’s glory. Christ’s work on the cross displays God’s glory most clearly. Where do we find God’s glory? “In the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
We do not move from Christmas to the cross every winter and spring. Revelation 5:12 makes it clear heaven does not “get over” the cross, as if there are better things to think about. Heaven is not only Christ-centered, but Cross-centered, and quite blaring about it.
It’s astounding how often we go through entire church services with only passing references to what He’s accomplished through His birth, death and Resurrection. How can someone fail to mention Christ’s great work in our songs, prayers and messages about Christ?
Don’t allow Christmas to overshadow the cross. The person and work of Jesus is the who and how we meet with God. There’s nothing about our worship of God that isn’t defined or affected by Jesus Christ. He is worthy of all worship.
When Christians come together this Christmas, we retell, remember and respond to the gospel and all it has accomplished.