The Wonders of Christmas: 1 Timothy 1:15
by Jack Cottrell (Notes) on Friday, October 16, 2009 at 9:58am
[This note sheds some light on a previous note, “Can Christians Be Called Sinners?” Also, this note is not addressing any specific issue. It is just a Christmas devotional thought. It also works as a sermon outline!”]
THE WONDERS OF CHRISTMAS: 1 TIMOTHY 1:15
To children,Christmas abounds with wonders. How can reindeer fly? How does Santa know if they’ve been good or bad? How can he visit the whole world in one day? How can a fat man come down skinny chimneys? How can he hold all the cake and cookies set out for him in every household?
Maybe we will never solve such mysteries, but as we get older we learn the TRUE wonders of Christmas. Paul sums these up in 1 Timothy 1:15: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost.”
I. The wonderful FACT of Christmas is that “Christ Jesus came into the world.” Amid all the holiday travel and present giving and family gatherings, we must not lose sight of this central fact. This is what makes Christmas CHRISTmas.
That Christ Jesus came into the world is not just a fact, but a WONDERFUL fact, a fact filled with wonder, a cause for astonishment, a miracle! The birth of Jesus was a miracle because the baby born in Bethlehem that night was GOD HIMSELF, taking on a human identity. The Eternal Creator and Lord of the universe presented Himself as a newborn infant. This makes all those Santa Claus mysteries look like kindergarten stuff!
Think about it. Here is the omniscient One—crying and cooing and unable to talk. Here is the omnipotent One—helpless and dependent and needing His diaper changed. Here is the Creator of all food—taking milk from Mary’s breast. Here is the omnipresent One—lying in a manger in a stable in a small town in a pint-sized country on a tiny hunk of rock and dirt in one corner of the cosmos He created. What a wonder!
II. Our text also states the wonderful PURPOSE of this event: Christ Jesus came into the world “to save sinners.”
Christmas teaches us valuable lessons about love and joy and peace, but its real purpose is more specific: Jesus came to save sinners from the consequences of their sin. The ultimate consequence, of course, is to suffer the eternal wrath of God in hell. Jesus came to save us from this by taking this wrath upon Himself through His death on the cross.
Here is the greatest wonder of Christmas—not just that Christ came into the world, but that He came ANYWAY, knowing what He would have to go through before He could leave it! He knew He would have to die, and He knew it would not be an ordinary death. He knew He would experience the equivalent of eternity in hell for all human beings. But still he came, in a sense walking straight into the jaws of hell to save us from it. What a wonder!
III. The last wonder is the wonderful CONFESSION: Christ came to save sinners, “of whom I am foremost.”
One’s personal celebration of Christmas is often governed by external circumstances. Some think Christmas is ruined by poverty: no money, no presents, no Christmas. Others think it is ruined by being alone or away from home: no family, no loved ones, no Christmas. For others, personal sickness or tragedy robs the season of its meaning: “My father just died. How can I think of Christmas?”
Actually you need only one thing to have a meaningful Christmas. You can be poor, alone, sick, or in sorrow, but your Christmas will still be filled with meaning if you realize and confess that YOU ARE THE SINNER CHRIST JESUS CAME TO SAVE!
When you make this confession, you know the real reason for Christmas. We often hear that Jesus is “the reason for the season.” Not so. SINNERS—you and I—are the reason for the season.
Most people have lost the true meaning of Christmas because they have no consciousness of being sinners before God. Thus they miss the point of Christmas altogether. As Christians, though, we know who we are. We are sinners—indeed, the foremost of sinners. But thanks be to God, because of Christmas, we are SAVED sinners. What a wonder!