Today is Christmas Eve, the night before we celebrate the birth of Christ. There’s much busyness in this season, many churches will have several services today, there are presents to be wrapped, baking and cooking to do, many activities that can take your mind off the true reason for the season: the celebration of the birth of the fully man, fully God Jesus Christ who came so that we may have eternal life with our Lord.
“So Jesus said to them again, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All those who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.'” (John 10:7-11)
What we are celebrating is not that a baby was born, but that God’s Son came to the world born of a virgin, to die for our sins so that we may have fellowship with our Lord God because of Christ’s righteousness if we choose to deny our own lives, pick up our cross and follow Him (Matt 16:24).
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them…For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of armies will accomplish this.” (Is 9:2, 6-7)
No matter what you hear from anyone who professes there are many paths to God, there is but one: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is narrow and the way is constricted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt 7:13-14) The narrow gate is the only way to the Father, through faith (not works) in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior because we understand that we are sinful and in need of a Savior because we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).
Since there is only one narrow gate to enter, we must “beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (Matt 7:15-16a) If you are told and believe you’re on your way to heaven, but haven’t been encouraged or given up the life you led before coming to know about Jesus, then you have not entered through the narrow gate, you are on the wide path that leads to hell.
Jesus is very clear when He says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matt 7:21) We are to follow our Lord’s commands, and not follow our own version of truth. “for it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the Law who will be justified.” (Rom 2:13)
When Jesus was asked which of the commandments are the greatest, “And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Upon these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.’” (Matt 22:37-40) Notice it doesn’t say keep on as you have thinking what’s best for yourself. We’re told to seek the Lord first in our lives, and to love our neighbors as we do ourselves. In fact we are told to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves” (Phil 2:3).
And for those who claim Jesus as their Lord, but don’t deny themselves and follow His teaching, He asked the question: “Now why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) Because if we don’t apply His Word to our lives, repent from our sin and follow His Word, then we have not entered into His rest. “Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who previously had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience” (Heb 4:6). The reason many do not enter His rest is because “they profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Tit 1:16).
On the contrary, Jesus said “blessed are those who hear the Word of God and follow it” (Luke 11:28). This is repeated in an epistle: “but prove yourselves doers of the Word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves” (James 1:22).
Make certain that you seek the truth, which you will if seek the Lord in His Word, so that at the end of your time on earth you don’t hear: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matt 7:22-23)
Don’t miss the very reason He came, to die for all of our sins and to raise from the dead to have victory over death. As the final verse from the psalm we finished studying yesterday said, “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.” (Ps 34:22) Jesus is our good shepherd, and “to Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3). Make certain that He truly knows you because you truly know Him! Merry Christmas!