With all the controversy over it being the Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, allow me to state why I insist on saying "Merry Christmas" to everyone. I believe that Jesus came to Earth to live and die for me, because He loves me just as He loves everyone.
Borrowing from the writings of Oswald Chambers, the Scottish Christian minister and teacher best known as the author of the devotional "My Utmost for His Highest" and who died in 1917, let me share some thoughts. They still apply today. Chambers said: "Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is an absurdity and there is absolutely no need for it. What the world needs is not 'a little bit of love,' but major surgery."
When those that people refer to as born again or evangelical Christians find themselves face to face with a person who we feel is spiritually lost, we remind ourselves of Jesus Christ on the cross. If that person says he or she can get to God in any other way, then the cross of Christ was unnecessary. If you think you are helping lost people with your sympathy and understanding, you are a non-believer (traitor) to Jesus Christ. You must have a right-standing relationship with Him yourself - not in a human way that ignores God. The theme of the world's religion today is to serve in a pleasant, non-confrontational manner.
But the only priority for believers must be to present Jesus Christ crucified. Every belief that is not firmly rooted in the Cross of Christ will lead people astray. A person who truly believes in Jesus and is trusting in the reality of redemption will want to share the Good News with compelling words to others. What is important to us believers is for our relationship with Jesus to be strong and growing. Our usefulness to God depends on that, and that alone.
Oswald also stated, "The calling of a New Testament worker is to expose sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior. Consequently, the worker cannot always be charming and friendly, but must be willing to be stern to accomplish major surgery. We are sent by God to lift up Jesus Christ, not to give wonderfully beautiful speeches. We must be willing to examine others as deeply as God has examined us. We must also be sharply intent on sensing those Scripture passages that will drive the truth home, and then not be afraid to apply them."
Do you need major surgery? If so, find a church that teaches the truth.
Let me close with something I heard on the radio a couple days after the tragedy in Connecticut. A teacher was asked if she would take a bullet for her children and she responded that "Yes" she would. She further stated that she knows she will spend eternity with Jesus when she dies. But she was not sure about all her children, thus she would give her life in hopes that a child could make a decision to walk with Jesus one day.
May people's News Year's resolution be to find a believing friend and ask why Jesus died for them.