This week on Stand Up for the Truth, we have been talking about the Christmas story – which as you know is actual, true history – and how it seems to have been reduced to a sweet little baby in a manger who brings peace to all men. But why does it seem there is such a lack of peace on this earth and what is the rest of the story?
Mary and Joseph. The angels. The shepherds. The wise men. The innkeeper. And of course, the baby Jesus. These are the people we primarily think of this time of year. But as we read the gospels, there is another important character introduced in the early days of the life of Christ who often seems forgotten; the devout man of God, Simeon.
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:33-35
Wow! What does it mean that Jesus is “appointed for the rise and fall of many,” and how about what Simeon said to Mary, “a sword will pierce your own soul”?
Pastor Mike Abendroth of No Compromise radio joins us today to take the conversation about Christmas deeper as well as touch on discernment issues.
Questions Pastor Mike answers in today’s program:
Some say that celebrating Christmas on December 25th is a compromise because it is a pagan Roman holiday, and putting Christmas trees up is idolatry. What is a good balance for Christians this time of year?
Spending Christmas with families and friends that do not believe can be a great ‘door opener’ for us to share the gospel. But when many of us have tried, it is often met with either a roll of the eyes or “hey, let’s not get too religious (or serious).” Give us some effective and practical things to consider on how we can share the gospel at this time of year.
When we cower from sharing the entire gospel and the teachings of Christ, are we doing what Jesus warned us against in these difficult passages?
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:25-26
Are we actually being ashamed of Jesus or are we hurting people when we do not (preach the whole gospel) tie the birth of Jesus to His life, death, resurrection and eventual return to Judge all men?
As we read the accounts of Jesus’ birth, we think of Mary the chosen vessel of God to be the earthly mother of Jesus. Some have lifted her up to a place of adoration. What is a healthy, respectful way to appreciate the virgin, Mary and avoid idolatry?
As we wrap up 2015—certainly a year of turmoil, political unrest, and even challenging times for Christians and the church in America. What do you foresee for our church and nation heading into the next year?
Click the podcast above to listen to Pastor Mike’s answers as well as the intriguing discussion today!
1 John 3:8
1 Peter 3:15
Mike Abendroth’s new book, Sexual Fidelity: No Compromise