HEBREWS 12:28-29: “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.” NLT
OBSERVATION: It is just a few days before Christmas. Even during a pandemic, people are rushing to buy their last minute Christmas gifts. Christmas lights shine brightly and children cannot wait to gather around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. Our focus centers around a lowly manger in the City of Bethlehem. Yet, it is easy to forget in this festive season,
JESUS IS NO LONGER IN THE MANGER!
While I love a beautiful nativity scene just like everyone else, I must admit that it can blur my vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even the many movies that are made about Jesus can do the same thing. Jesus is no longer in a lowly manger. He is no longer walking in sandals along the shores of Galilee. And, most importantly, Jesus is no longer hanging on the cross!
JESUS IS RISEN! JESUS IS GLORIFIED!
- “When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.” Revelation 1:12-16 NLT
This is the Jesus who came by the way of a manger. This is the Jesus who lived as a humble carpenter. This is the Jesus who walked among men, performed miracles and was crucified on the cross. This is the Jesus who now stands at the right hand of God the Father in all of His glory. And, this is the Jesus that the writer of Hebrews calls us to worship with holy fear and awe!
THIS IS THE JESUS WE NEED TO SEE THIS CHRISTMAS!
Everyone loves a baby. Yet, Jesus is no longer a baby. He is no longer a humble carpenter. And, He is no longer a suffering servant. Jesus Christ is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all glorious.
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IS A CONSUMING FIRE!
- “Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.”
Fire has the power to do two things. Fire can destroy and fire can purify. Fire can ravage a house and burn it to the ground. The same fire can purify gold until it glistens with brilliance, free from all of its impurities. Malachi thinks of the fiery nature of our Lord when he writes,
- “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all. “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Malachi 4:1-3 NLT
The true message of Christmas is not found under a tree, or even in a lowly manger. The true message of Christmas is found in the fire of God. Jesus came to redeem sinners. His obedience to the Father, His death on the Cross, and His glorious resurrection, are the real message of Christmas. If Jesus never humbled Himself, He would never have sacrificed Himself. And, because He did He has been given a name above all names. He stands ready to save and purify with the fire of His holiness and love, those who call upon His name. And, He will come to judge those who reject Him with the fire of His holiness and judgment.
- “Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.” Revelation 19:11-16 NLT
Christmas, the lights and trimmings, and all of its celebrations remind us – Jesus came the first time to save sinners, and He is coming again to judge the world. Jesus is no longer in the manger. The cross and tomb are empty. He will come as a consuming fire. His fire will be just and fair. It will purify His own and judge the ungodly. Our God is a consuming fire!
The greatest gift of Christmas is that you and I can choose which type of fire touches our life. We can be touched by the fire of His love and forgiveness through faith, or we can be touched by the fire of His judgment through our unbelief and dismissal of His great gift. The three Hebrew children were thrown into the fire, yet they were not burned, because they met one like the Son of Man. Jesus stands with His arms opened wide. He reaches out to touch you and me this Christmas. In all of His glory, like the Apostle John, He reaches out to us and we can hear Him say,
- “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” Revelation 1:17-18 NLT
Lord, this Christmas, help me to worship you with holy fear and awe. When I look upon the manger, may I see the fire of God!
In Jesus Name!