TAKE THE LORD OUT OF THE MANGER

manger-cross
Americans spent nearly 51 billion dollars during the Thanksgiving weekend to kick off the Christmas spending season. Is the ‘reason for the season’ really Jesus? Why does so much of this activity, clamor, entertainment, spending and planning yield so little if anything for the Kingdom of God? How could so much count for so little?

When God commissions an event or mission, He is in it and it will not fail. He will make Himself and His power known without bells, whistles or tinsel. In fact, all He seeks is a willing vessel, often choosing the weakest, the oldest, and least capable.

“The Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing”. (John 6:63)

While the Word of God is “active and living, sharper than any two edged sword” the Lord chooses to conceal some ‘vital information’ from man – obscuring specific dates, times and places such as the burial place of Moses. He knows man’s propensity to enshrine and idolize events, times and places, and, in doing so, miss the mark. Have we missed the mark here? If so, why?

Perhaps presenting God in a manger is a benign message – one the world can easily tolerate. A helpless baby, animals, shepherds and gift bearers – all pose no threat to the average man or the world at large. The whole world can celebrate without conviction or accountability. Yet, we know that when God moves, the world trembles.

It is good and right to rejoice at the truth that God became flesh. As vessels of God, Old Testament prophets stood as living beacons for this event, preaching a message of repentance and hope. However, this most important event of history had no fanfare, no crowds, no entertainment or publicity. By God’s design, those whom He called, those who would seek Him, would find Him. As the Body of Christ, we are called – commissioned – to be heralds and beacons, surrendered vessels to proclaim the coming Messiah – proclaiming not only His birth, death and resurrection but His return – as Judge!

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Matthew 24:44

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…” Acts 3:19

“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world by the Man He has appointed.” (Acts 17:30.31)

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His Kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season…” II Timothy 4:1-2

“He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed as Judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42)

“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God…” (I Thessalonians 4:16)

The Lord did not point to His birth as He walked in this world…He pointed to His return, commanding and beckoning us to “watch”, “wait”, “pray” and keep our lamps burning. As His Body in this dark world, we extend His call to repentance and reconciliation, hoping men might turn, receive forgiveness, new life, and life everlasting.  Are we willing to go beyond the manger, calling people to repentance, to the cross of Christ?  Can we tell of and point to His promised return?  

The full Gospel is not a popular message, even among some Christians.  But it is the message delivered by the Holy Spirit, through surrendered vessels, to hearts prepared to receive.   Heaven does not rejoice over the popular, heaven rejoices when one sinner repents.

Time is short. Christ is no longer in the manger, He’s standing at the door!

“Behold, I am coming soon!” Revelation 22:7

 

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