Tim Challies Blog | Moroni From the Realms of Glory

The PianoGuys are phenomenal musicians. Undeniably gifted in music and creativity. They are also Mormon, so they are NOT Christian. Over the weekend, one of their videos went viral and lots of Christians shared their video via social media. Tim Challies wrote an excellent article on the problem with this phenomenon. We shared it on our Facebook page, but I thought it worth posting a link here at FaithfulStewardship.

Tim Challies Blog | Moroni From the Realms of Glory

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV)

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present youblameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

“Popular” Christmas Minimizes Christ

As a bit of a side note, I wanted to share a reminder that while it seems like a good thing that the whole world embraces this holiday season of Christmas, they don’t honor Christ. The world hates Him. Not all Christmas songs honor Christ, most of them just celebrate celebration itself.

Billboard Holiday 100 Songs

  1. Mary, Did You Know? — Pentatonix
  2. All I Want For Christmas Is You — Mariah Carey
  3. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree — Brenda Lee
  4. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) — Nat King Cole
  5. Last Christmas — Wham!
  6. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) — Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  7. Santa Tell Me — Ariana Grande
  8. Feliz Navidad — Jose Feliciano
  9. White Christmas — Bing Crosby
  10. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year — Andy Williams
  11. Jingle Bell Rock — Bobby Helms
  12. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer — Gene Autry
  13. Do You Want To Build A Snowman? — Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn & Katie Lopez
  14. A Holly Jolly Christmas — Burl Ives
  15. Baby It’s Cold Outside — Idina Menzel Duet with Michael Bublé
  16. Silent Night — Kelly Clarkson Feat. Reba McEntire & Trisha Yearwood
  17. Wonderful Christmastime — Paul McCartney
  18. It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas — Michael Bublé
  19. Happy Xmas (War is Over) — John Lennon & Yoko Ono
  20. Christmas Canon — Trans-Siberian Orchestra

In the top 20, only 3 make an attempt to reference the Birth of Christ. While the first song is good, we saw in our last Christmas Gospel post that the song kind of ignores a great deal of what Scripture makes clear that Mary knew. Christmas Eve Sarajevo get’s a pass because there are no words, but the melody begins with “what Child is this” (We’ll be looking at this song next Tuesday). Silent Night is a good song as we discussed in today’s DiM Post, but it got trumped today by Matt Maher’s version.

Remember that Jesus came to a world that was fallen and was not truly looking for Him. The World isn’t celebrating Him, nor is it seeking Him. We aren’t here to make the World acknowledge our holidays; rather, we preach Christ and Him crucified so that those who believe in Him will be saved out of the world and into eternal life in Christ Jesus.

John 1:1-18 (ESV) | The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,and the life was the light of men.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as awitness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Colossians 3:16-17 (ESV) 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Friday Sermon | Alistair Begg – Elizabeth and Zechariah (Luke 1:5-23)

2011-alistair-beggToday, we’ll visit TruthforLife.org for a sermon by Alistair Begg.

Elizabeth and Zechariah

After years of prophetic silence, God announced the birth of John the Baptist to one faithful couple. As Alistair Begg explains, the announcement illustrates the mystery of God’s work throughout history. The events surrounding the birth of Jesus remind us that the providence of God can be seen at work in ordinary events, both good and bad.

Luke 1:5-23 (ESV) | Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I amGabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute.23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

May God bless you and keep you until the Day of Christ’s Return,
In Him,
Jorge

Christmas Gospel | What Mary Knew

Truthinator's Blog: Humor, Satire, and Opinion of a Theological Nature

Truthinator’s Blog: Humor, Satire, and Opinion of a Theological Nature

We’ll continue our study of the Gospel According to Matthew in a few weeks. For now, we feel it is important to remain fixed on the topic of Advent, when the Word became flesh, Jesus the Son of God. One very popular Christmas song explores the question of “Mary, did you know” who Jesus would become and what He would do? Recently the Truthinator’s Blog Facebook page shared this graphic, which solidified my desire to explore what it was that Mary knew, by faith.

What Gabriel Told Mary

Luke 1:26-38 (ESV)

Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Wow. She was told a lot. Mary knew that Jesus was the Son of God. She knew that He would be given David’s throne, and that He would be great, and His reign would be eternal. Only God can have such a reign. By faith, Mary knew that the child would be the Son of the Most High God. Now, after the angel departed from her, Mary went to visit Elizabeth. Let’s continue in the text.

Luke 1:39-80 (ESV)

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

I get emotional every time I read this passage. No doubt Mary was still concerned by her encounter with the angel Gabriel and what his message meant. God is so good that the moment Mary greeted her, the Holy Spirit prophetically confirmed for Mary all that the angel had told her regarding her pregnancy. Let us continue.

Luke 1 | Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

46 And Mary said,

My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

Mary rightly understood her place, a humble servant, and knew that all generations would caller her blessed. Not by her merit, simply by what God had done for her, to the Glory of His Name. Mary knew a great deal of who Jesus was and His significance for all of mankind. However, there is more… let’s continue reading.

Luke 1 | The Birth of John the Baptist

57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 Andfear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74     that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Mary likely heard these stories, and this prophecy, and knew that John would prepare the way for Jesus. Shortly after His birth, the shepherds came to worship him as they were told by the Angels, the Heavenly Host. Let’s turn to Luke chapter 2.

Luke 2:8-20 (ESV) | The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Now the shepherds relayed what they had been told by the angel of the Lord, that Jesus is the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. She knew who Jesus was. Where there things she didn’t know? Sure… she and the disciples never quite understood that Jesus had to die for the sin of all mankind, despite how often He taught them and told them it would be. She and Joseph did receive a prophetic message concerning this… but it didn’t become clear until the events transpired. Let’s continue in the text.

Luke 2:22-38 (ESV) | Jesus Presented at the Temple

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

As we learn in the Gospel according to Matthew, some time after this Herod sought to kill Jesus, and the Holy Spirit warned Joseph in a dream and they fled to Egypt (Matthew 2).

Did Mary anticipate each individual miracle He performed? Probably not, but Mary knew who Jesus was. She and the disciples didn’t understand how dying on the cross could be part of God’s plan, but in His Grace and Mercy He spent time teaching them what it all meant. In closing, I’d like to share my favorite rendition of this Christmas song, “Mary did you know”. I think it is fitting that my favorite version is sung by one who is probably not a Christian… though he might consider himself from “Gospel roots”. Please pray for Cee Lo Green, that he may come to know the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

[youtube http://youtu.be/D1ptNwE7K8o]

Whenever you hear this song this season, know that Mary would likely answer “yes” to most of the lines in this song. The truly important question, is do you know who Jesus is? Do you know that He is returning?

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) | Doxology

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

CTT | Christmas Pitfalls

The “Christmas Season” is a great way to liven up an otherwise dreary time of the year. Since so much time will be spent indoors, it serves as a good time to gather together friends and family for feasts and merriment. Since it comes at the end of the year, it’s a good time to reflect on the year in much the same way as we in the U.S. do for Thanksgiving. Not everyone has the means for festivities and merriment, especially during this harsh time of the year, so Charity is often promoted heavily during this time of year with food drives and gift-giving. All of these things are “good” things. I enjoy Thanksgiving-style festivals. As Christians, we know that for Thanksgiving, all praise and glory and honor and thanks go to God the Father. Unbelievers talk about “being thankful” but to whom and for what remains undefined… because they lack faith. They are lost and have rejected God by suppressing the Truth in their unrighteousness, knowing God but refusing to worship Him as God (Romans 1)… but they still observe the feast of Thanksgiving without acknowledging the Creator. Essentially, we observe the same festival in two distinctly different ways… Christians thank God the Father for all He has done, while unbelievers focus on mankind and “being thankful” in a general sense.

Christmas and Thanksgiving are Man-made Feasts

In fact, when we look at these two modern-day holidays as feasts or festivals, we see that they are not all that different from feasts and festivals around the world. Sure the trappings and the details change, but all of the “good things” in these festivals are the food, family, and fellowship. These are man-made feasts. Neither of these feasts is intrinsically Holy, for neither of them were instituted by God in Scripture. That doesn’t make them evil, it only means they are man-made customs. That they are both nationally recognized means that they are extremely popular, but that doesn’t mean everyone is celebrating the same thing. Just as we discussed the difference between how unbelievers and believers honor Thanksgiving, there are major differences in what the world celebrates and what Christians celebrate for Christmas. At least, there should be. The problem is that we’ve allowed the world to set up some rather perilous pitfalls with the season.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In truth, it isn’t. This time of year is hard, difficult, cold, and depressive. The world turns to a lot of legends, folklore, romance, and alcohol to pass the time and look out for each other to make the most of this time of year. Jack Frost, Old Man Winter, Santa Clause, elves, fairies, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, ghosts of Christmas past/present/future,… these are all folklore and pagan legends.  None of them are Christ-affirming, and that is to be expected from a world that Hates Jesus.

John 15:18-25 (ESV) | The Hatred of the World

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did,they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

So then, the first pitfall I want to make clear is that the world that Hates Jesus, is NOT celebrating Him. When the world gathers together for Thanksgiving, it isn’t to thank God… they find their own things to thank: themselves, humanity, or nature in general. They tend to celebrate the food, the Football, the Parade, the time away from work… anything but God. Similarly, when the world celebrates Christmas, they celebrate Santa, Gifts, Romance, Time off from work, the food. If there is a spiritual element to their celebration, it’s usually a spirit of humanism, or some sort of pantheism. The world has constructed a malleable idol of “the christmas spirit” which compels them to do good works in hopes of a reward from Santa. If you listen to the songs that play in the stores and on the radio, you’ll quickly recognize that they are honoring the feast, the parties, the traditions of the season, not the birth of the Savior. That’s what the world celebrates. And as the world celebrates their thing, they demonstrate their benevolence toward Christians by allowing us our nativity scenes. The world isn’t intimidated by “Baby Jesus”, or “Christmas Jesus” as was demonstrated so horribly in the Thanksgiving Dinner scene of Talladega Nights (ref scene here). The world doesn’t bow the knee to a Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… yet. When Christ returns, every knee will bow… and tongue confess… but for many it will be too late to escape judgement.

When the Church Conforms to the World’s Version

A common refrain within the visible church is, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. If that is the case, why are so many Christians offended by those who reject the Santa lie? Why do we bring Santa into churches? Why do Christians take part in “Elf on the Shelf” nonsense? Probably for the same reason that so many popular pastors have deemed it appropriate to preach sermons based on blockbuster movies rather than the Word of God. They’ll preach their own experiences or a recent Christian self-help book from a best-selling author (who may have bought that title) rather than the Word of God. Here is the second pitfall I’d like to point out, that simply including some mention of Jesus or insisting on “keeping the ‘Christ’ in Christmas”, doesn’t somehow make everything associated with Christmas sacred. If the Christmas tree in the foyer is just a decoration, fine… it’s a decoration no more/less holy than a welcome mat. Just don’t fall into the trap that somehow it needs to be there or the holiday is ruined.

Christmas Songs

Few Christmas songs actually point to Christ. Of those, not many convey the full Gospel. Of those, few are played on the airwaves and in the stores. What does get played a lot are the songs glorifying “the Christmas season” or various cultural traditions “at this time of year”. We actually have songs singing to the Christmas Tree, to Santa Clause, and songs about other fantasy creatures such as Rudolph or Frosty. My blood flash-boils whenever I hear one of these songs sung in a Church during Praise and Worship. Who are these songs praising and worshiping? Let that sink in a moment…

Christmas Movies

To date, the only decent one is A Charlie Brown Christmas, because of the scene where Linus recites the Luke 2:8-14 Narrative.

[youtube http://youtu.be/pn10FF-FQfs]

There are a lot of entertaining movies that are released at this time of year, but none of them convey the Gospel message. And that leads me to the next pitfall, there is no way of ‘Saving Christmas’ so that it becomes an institutional Gospel message. Do not expect the world, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that is the Great Commission for Believers. Don’t expect the world to keep this holiday sacred, that’s patently absurd.

So is Christmas okay or wrong?

Neither. There is nothing intrinsically Holy about Christmas. The Gospel isn’t Christmas, it’s Jesus Christ. I pray you understand the distinction I’m making. The Christmas Holiday is a great festival, but completely disposable… the Biblical account of the Virgin Birth is indispensable and is part of our faith and Gospel year-round. Avoid the pitfalls of making more of the wrong things than we ought. Don’t lie to your kids about Santa… he’s no more necessary for their upbringing than my-little-pony and he’s potentially far more dangerous for their faith. This culture pushes kids to believe in what they KNOW to be a lie, harder than they push for them to know their Savior Jesus Christ. God forgive us. But more importantly, don’t conflate what is essentially a Thanksgiving festival with the Gospel Message of the virgin birth of the Messiah, Son of the Living God. In all things, even in this rebuke/warning, we are to walk in love and in thanksgiving to God. For our final pitfall, let us open our Bibles to Romans 14.

Romans 14 (ESV)

Do Not Pass Judgment on One Another

14 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Do Not Cause Another to Stumble

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up building.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God.Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

The biggest pitfall of this season, is in casting judgment upon our brother/sister over how they choose to celebrate (or abstain) this man-made festival. We will continue studying God’s Word and what is Written our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and how the Word became flesh and walked among us. It is always a good thing to everything you do to the honor and Glory of God, and Christmas can be such an occasion, just like Thanksgiving, New Years, Easter, the 4th of July… that’s why we are called to walk in Him. We walk everywhere we go, thus wherever and whenever we are walking we are to do so in Him. Now there is one holy occasion in Scripture that we are told to observe in Christ’s honor. In fact, He instituted it Himself. Let’s look at that before we close.

Luke 22:14-20 (ESV)

14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying,“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

The Apostle Paul also received these instructions and relayed them to the Corinthians who were making a mockery of Communion (some were getting drunk and eating for their fill).

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (ESV)

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

May the Lord Bless you and keep you until the Great Day of His Return.
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge