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Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday From My Heart: Classic Sermons...the Birth of Christ

A few years ago my son (with the help of his dad) got me a special gift for Christmas.  A book collection of Classic Sermons.  Each book in the series has a focus and quickly that very year my fast favorite became "On the Birth of Christ".  I love the month of December with tea and this book to bring reminders to me as I read through the Christmas passages of scripture. I thought I would share some excerpts because sometimes as I read I feel like the wisdom of the ages presents some thoughts that are so worth pondering. I also love the reminder that even though these men preached in different time periods of life on earth, God's Word is proven true again when He says there is nothing new under the sun.
In "The Secret of Peace and Good Will" by John Henry Jowett: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among men. And that is all an illusion, is it? Yes, where is the promised peace? Where is the goodwill among men? Look around and see the irony of reality in the happenings of the whole world! And one is obliged to admit that peace seems to have been scared into hiding, and goodwill does not appear to have woven many strands in the intimate web of human fraternity. But is there any explanation of the apparent illusion? The peace was promised; the goodwill was proclaimed. Is it possible that we may have overlooked something which is altogether imperative if the gracious issues are to be realized? I ask these questions with all the more urgency because I know how prone we are, in other matters than those which are distinctly religious, to fasten our attention on effects, and to be strangely negligent of the causes...Where is the glory to God in the highest? We have fixed our eyes upon the third phrase of the angels' song - goodwill among men; or upon the second phrase - peace on earth! And we have overlooked the first phrase, the phrase which is casual and causative - 'glory to God in the highest' That is to say, we have been concerned about fruits, but we have been careless about roots...We have been wanting the corn before we had got the field. We have been expecting man to be right with man before man was right with God...Vital peace among men is to be brought about by the individual man being at peace with God - rectified and justified and sanctified in the power of God's redeeming love and grace. We simply cannot save the world in masses...Salvation and peace are to be found only in the surrender of the personal life to the Saviorhood and comradeship of Christ...It must begin with me".

In "The Mother of Our Lord" by George H. Morrison: "That public throne is not a mother's throne. That glittering crown is not a mother's crown...For the truest humility is not humiliation, nor any abject disparagement of self. It is never to think about oneself at all...Clearly she was a woman who had the gift of silence as truly as she had the gift of song; a woman who knew that there are things you tarnish the moment you begin to speak of them; a woman who set a guard upon her lips...Mary had a heart so full of all that was written in the Word of God, that in that hour it came welling to her lips. Upon the Word she had fed her heart."

In "The Christ of Christmas" by Walter A. Maier: "Above all the hatred of a war-torn world the Christmas anthem 'Peace on Earth' goes out into the world tonight to tell men that the only way to establish peace with our God and peace with our conscience is to come to Christ and to believe that He has effectually and forever removed the discord that exists between the holiness of God and the unholiness of men' that He by His incarnation, by the poverty and suffering to which He as the Lord of lords and the King of kings subjected Himself, satisfied the claims of divine justice and offers to all the benefits of that momentous peace treaty between heaven and earth that has been signed and sealed by His very blood."

In "No Room for the Christ in the Inn" by Charles Haddon Spurgeon: "Were there not in Bethlehem some people who were very respectable, who kept themselves aloof from the common multitude; persons of reputation and standing - could they not find room for Christ? Ah! dear friends, it is too much the case that there is no room for him in what is called good society. There is room for all silly little forms by which men choose to trammel themselves; room for the vain niceties of etiquette; room for frivolous conversation; room for the adoration of the body; there is room for the setting up of this and that as the idol of the hour, but there is too little room for Christ, and it is far from fashionable to follow the Lord fully...How often learning helps men to raise objections to Christ! Too often learning is the forge where the nails are made for Christ's crucifixion...Too often in the priestly church, when once it becomes recognized and mounts to dignity, there is no room for Christ...In this free land, men speak of what they like, and there is a public opinion upon every subject; and you know there is free toleration in this country to everything - permit me to say, toleration to everything but Christ...There was no room for THEM - no room for Joseph, nor for Mary, any more than for the babe. Who are his father, and mother, and sister, and brother but those who receive his word and keep it? So, as there was no room for the blessed Virgin, nor for the reputed father, remember henceforth there is no room in this world for any true follower of Christ...Will you give room for Christ when there is to be henceforth no room for you?"

In "O Come, O Come, Immanuel" by James S. Stewart "But the true comfort of Christ is a strong, bracing, reinforcing thing. It is like a wind to a boat that has been becalmed. It is like the gift of a job to a man who has been for years out of work. It is like the clasp of a friend's hand in time of need. This is certainly the root idea of the word "comfort" in the New Testament; and when Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as the 'Comforter,' He is really giving a promise that God will stand by a man in the day of his need, and brace his heart and nerve his arm, and make him more than a conqueror."

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