Who is your Savior this Christmas?
Maybe it’s Martha Stewart who guided you in the fine art of the perfect gingerbread house with just a pinch of powdered sugar sprinkled over the top like glistening snow.
Maybe it’s the fine people at Toys R Us who directed you, as a dad, to know the difference between Princess Anna and Princess Elsa.
Maybe it’s those little mint chocolate stars from Trader Joe’s a great reward system to help you make sure Christmas gets done.
Maybe it’s a 1 inch wide wooden door that separates you from your daughter’s CD player blasting her favorite Frozen song for the 100th time in the last hour.
Who is your Savior this Christmas?
Whatever it is that gets you through Christmas, today we gather together because the kids have a message for us: YOU have a Savior – He is Christ the Lord!
Let’s look at a Christmas passage that tells us that exact truth. Take a look at that passage from 1 John. It says, “The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” Pay careful attention to what those words say. It’s easy for us to get distracted and insert our own interpretation of what God is telling us here.
1) Jesus is Not One of Many Saviors.
That’s a pretty common concept in the world. God can be whoever you want him to be and as long as your are sincere about it, you’ll be saved.
And with that logic, the mouse cursor that I am using to type up this sermon could be God. As long as I really mean it when I say to you, "Christmas is about my mouse cursor;" today's world would have you respond: "Good for you."
But Scripture does not say that. Look at the passages again. It does not read “The Father has sent his Son to be one of many saviors in the world.”
It isn’t as if the first Christmas happened because God the Father looked down on earth and said to Jesus, “Go down there. I think Zeus, Poseidon and Vishnu could use your help. And if you don’t quite do a good enough job—don’t worry. I’ll send Mohammed, Buddha, and Tom Cruise to make sure this saving really happens.”
No. Scripture plainly says, “The Father has sent his Son to be THE Savior of the world.” As in – the only One. The Only One needed. The Only One in existence. Without him, there is no saving!
Maybe that’s why the appearance of angels surrounds this Christmas story. Maybe that’s why he’s born of a virgin. In a way unlike anyone else in the history of the world. Maybe that's why he life was filled with miracle after miracle -- the blind to see, the lame to walk, the dead to rise!
Because God wants you to PAY ATTENTION. Jesus is the One. He is THE Savior. The miracles throughout Christmas (and the rest of Jesus’ life) are like a big Christmas display screaming out to you:
PAY ATTENTION. The Savior of the World is here!
2) Jesus is not the “Savior…from Unimportant Things.”
Now maybe you’re thinking, “So what? What does this “Savior” save me from? A long winter? Too many calories from my Christmas treats? Having to buy too many Christmas presents?" (It’s about Jesus, you know.)
Or maybe you think it’s all a joke. Some kind of phony Almighty God in the sky that’s a made of invention of people to control others? I’ll have no part of that.
- I bet that’s how Mary felt when the angel told her she’d have a baby without even having sex…until she felt him kick in her belly.
- Or how the shepherds felt when the one angel appeared in the sky! “Are you seeing what I’m seeing? We need to lay off the shepherd rum…” Until the one angel was joined by a chorus of a thousand angels undeniable in their divine mission.
- Or how the wise men felt as they left family and work to travel two years to get to a child. “Are we really travelling this far because of some ancient scroll?" Only to find the child just as the thousands of years of prophesies had foretold.
Here’s the truth: Jesus is not made up. Nor is what he saves us from made up. God doesn’t draw our attention to Jesus to tell us something unimportant. Rather he tells us something that has eternal significance. Jesus is the Savior from real, terrifying, awful things: Sin. Guilt. Death and eternity of suffering in hell.
3) Jesus is not a “Help you Save yourself-er”
Your response might be simple. “Ok. That’s stuff might be real, but so what? I’m pretty good. I gave plenty of coin to that red bell ringer at Walmart. I took five of the Giving Tree gifts. I’m fairly nice and friendly – saying Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays depending on what the situation warrants. I appreciate Jesus. But Pastor Phil – I don’t need saving.”
Hear my heart. This scripture does not say, “The Father has sent his Son to to encourage you to save yourself,” nor does it say, “The Father sent his Son to save those who need it.” It says, “The Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”
Are you a part of this world? If so, you need saving.
It’s so much more than just Jesus helping you out. Scripture says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) To fall short, means we can’t get there. We need someone to take us there.
Too often we view Jesus like the guy who comes and puts his finger on top of the ribbon so that you can tie it into a nice gift bow. Jesus is more than that. He’s more like the gift wrapper at Kohl’s who does all the wrapping for you!
Jesus does all the work because he can. Jesus does all the work because you can’t. Jesus did all the work because he had to. Jesus is the Savior…Period.
4) Jesus is not the Savior of Everyone Else, but You.
Some of you might be reading this and thinking: "I’m too far gone. I’ve been away from God. I’ve done some pretty nasty things. I’m dealing with addiction. I’ve destroyed relationships. I’ve given God little to no time at all. This “saving” stuff might work for others – that happily married family – that nice smiling guy at Starbucks – that pastor in the robe – but Jesus isn’t my Savior, because I am unsavable."
Question. Are you a part of the world? If so, understand this:
“God sent his Son to be the Savior of you.”
It’s what Mary is telling you as she names her son, “Jesus because he will save you.”
It’s what the angels are telling you as they proclaim, “A Savior has been born for you.”
It’s what the star points you to as it says, “Here…in this house, is the Savior of the world. The Savior of you. “
It doesn't matter if you're from North Raleigh. It doesn't matter if you're from South Raleigh. It doesn't matter if you're from Durham, Chapel Hill, Knightdale or Garner. It doesn't matter if you are from up north, out west, down south, or homegrown. It doesn't matter if you have light or dark hair, light or dark skin, light or dark eyes, light blue, dark blue, or red as your favorite college basketball team color! (Really...It doesn't!)
Jesus is the Savior of you!
This is what the kids in our Christmas program will be telling you.
Now adults don’t always listen to their kids. That’s a smart practice. Especially if they tell you’re their broccoli is gone and you can see the napkin has changed into a smushed yellowish green color.
So when they come out hear in a bit, it’ll be easy to pass it off as cute, funny, and a good opportunity for an Instagram update.
But it’s more than that.
A little more than a week ago, I got a birthday card from the kids. It had some funny stuff on there. “Eat cake,” “I want to show you my basketball," “You’re silly.”
But then another message made me stop. At the bottom of the card in green crayon with a backward “J” and a few oblong letters, it said, “Jesus loves you.”
Listen to the children today. They have an important message for you.
They will be telling you about your Savior from sin. Hear them say what God says, “You are forgiven!” They will be singing about your Savior from death. Hear them proclaim as God does, “You will live.”
They will be imploring you to believe in your Savior from God’s wrath.
Hear them whisper as God whispers “You are at peace with God.”
Listen to them. You have a Savior. It’s Jesus. Amen.
And when Christmas ends soon—when the wrapping paper is thrown away and the decorations are replaced – please don’t put your Savior away. You need Him! Connect with him and stay strong in Him.
You do that through studying his Word. That’s what we’re here as a church to do. To encourage you in faith at a church service, in a Bible study, in a personal study, with devotions, emails, updates, and prayers.
Take a next step to connect with us. Check out our upcoming study groups and sign up for a way to stay connected to your Savior here.
It's the New Year. There's no better time to join a church, get connected to your Savior and be encouraged throughout the year!