Sunday, December 9, 2018

Answering Christmas – Part 1: When was Jesus Born? - HOFC


Answering Christmas – Part 1:
When was Jesus Born? - HOFC
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

This Document is a Sermon Outline, you may hear the full audio of the actual sermon by following the link Online Audio Files located above for this, and other Full Sermon Audios.  For a complete list of Sermon Outlines, visit TruthDigest.org, or Truth Digest on facebook; for our Official Church website, visit PS127.org, or find us on facebook at House of Faith Church

SERMON INTRODUCTION
Over the next few weeks we will be discussing the truths and falsehoods of Christmas, to gain a better understanding of the scripture, and how we can joyfully celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior without offense to God.

The series will focus on what I consider to be “keys” to understanding.

As Christians, we need have no fear of those who hate and despise the Word of God, and we need not have any fear of those who cry “foul”, say we (Christians) are hypocrites for celebrating Christmas, or in other ways try to make a mockery of God.

The series will answer important questions about WHEN Jesus was born, WHY Jesus was born, WHAT led up to His birth, WHO Jesus was born for, and the most important key of all understanding, HOW do you KNOW Jesus?

My goal in this series is to answer once for all, all of the questions, doubts and misconceptions about Christmas, Jesus’ birth, why we celebrate and return this season to the former glory and celebration we remember from our youth!

Family, love, peace, time together, and a celebration of the bond formed between Christ our Lord and those who belong to Him!


SERMON SERIES
Part 1 - When was Jesus Born?
Part 2 - Why was Jesus Born?
Part 3 - What led up to Jesus’ Birth?
Part 4 - Who did Jesus Die For?
Part 5 - How do you Know Jesus?


TODAY’S SERMON
Part 1 - When was Jesus Born?


SCRIPTURE READING
Matthew 13:11-17
Jesus replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Jesus speaks to the disciples about those having a taste of the knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven (Understanding through the Holy Spirit), they will be given more understanding about the secrets.

Secrets because only those in the Kingdom have understanding. Those outside of the Kingdom (who do not have the Holy Spirit) are incapable of receiving and understanding anything of the Kingdom.

Jesus follows these verses with the parable of the sower and the seed, they “heard” (got the seed) but because they did not receive (accept Christ and receive the Holy Spirit) the seed was taken from them easily.

THIS is why I feel this series is important.

Those here who have received the Truth, and have the Holy Spirit, will gain more knowledge of the Kingdom through this series, and be able to witness more effectively to friends and family who may look at Christmas itself as a stumbling block to belief.

Gaining understanding of the Kingdom in any form will always increase our ability to reach the lost by breaking stumbling blocks of our loved ones, friends, family and neighbors.

So, firstly, I would like to say that no one knows the actual exact date of Jesus’ birth because the bible does not give us the date.

I personally believe it is because His birth is not as important as His death.

We are never told in scripture to celebrate Jesus’ birth, however we are told by Jesus we ARE to celebrate His death on the Cross, which is done every time we gather in the form of Communion.

Just because we are not commanded to celebrate His birth, does not mean we cannot celebrate it.  In fact, when some of the early Christians continued to observe feasts and strict food laws from the Old Testament it had caused arguing within the Body of Christ because those things were no longer necessary, and Paul answered with Romans 14 saying, whatever they are doing, they are doing for the Lord, so don’t argue over meaningless things.

If we wish to honor and celebrate the Birth of Jesus, and we are doing it for the Lord, then we can celebrate it! Regardless of which day it is.

Mary did this.  In Luke 2:20 we are told that Mary treasured up all the events and pondered them in her heart.  A very useful spiritual exercise to think about the how, when and why of events surrounding the birth of our Lord.

There are two major themes at Christmas...Santa Clause, and Jesus Christ.

Santa Clause was fashioned after St. Nicholas, a Monk who lived around 280AD in modern day Turkey. Dutch immigrants brought the story of  Sinter Klaas to New York in 1773, which later was pronounced Santa Clause.

This myth, this story, was meant to teach children lessons about giving, and being kind to others. Also used as a tool for misbehaving children. All made up from stories and tales, all of which vary.

Jesus Christ however is fact.  His birth recorded in the Word of God as well as in secular texts. The only debatable point of Jesus, not whether or not He was born, but why?  This brings us back to what I read earlier from the text, those without the Spirit cannot understand spiritual matters.


                  I.            THE KEY TEXTS TO THE BIRTH OF JESUS
a.      Galatians 4:4-7 when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

                                                                         i.      When the time had fully come...God had a set point in our timeline for Jesus to be born

                                                                      ii.      Jesus was born during Pax Romana, When Rome basically ruled the world.

                                                                   iii.      Why was this the set time? Because “all roads lead to Rome” at this time.  Greek was the language spoke by most in the world at this time. This was the time that the Lord would come and the Word would spread far and wide with ease because of the roads, and one language.

                                                                    iv.      The time to fulfill all of the Old Testament prophecies.


b.     When we become His sons, we receive the Spirit in our hearts


c.      The angel came to Zachariah and Elizabeth, and then to Mary, then to the shepherds, then the Magi in the east saw the star, and knew the King of the Jews had been born.



               II.            NORTH STAR FACTS
a.      The North Star did not exist until it was time for Jesus’ birth.
                                                                         i.      It appeared when it was time, or else the Magi who spent generations studying stars would have already seen it...since it is the most easily observable star in the sky.


b.     According to NASA it takes approximately 447 light years for the light to hit earth.
                                                                         i.      This means, 447 years BEFORE Jesus’ birth, the star was formed, and began sending its light to earth, which would not arrive for 447 years before making its first appearance.


c.      What was taking place when the star was formed?
                                                                         i.      According to scripture, Nebuchadnezzar II had just attacked, conquered and destroyed Jerusalem, and was crowned King.

                                                                      ii.      Daniel would write a decree for the people stating 7 x 70 years from the issue of the decree to restore, rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah comes.

                                                                   iii.      SO;

1.      Babylon (symbolic of sin in the world) destroyed Jerusalem

2.      Daniel prophesied 7x70 years Jerusalem would be restored, rebuilt (new construction) and last until the Messiah came

3.      At the time of this decree, a the Northern Star formed, and began sending light towards earth, taking 447 years to get here, the exact time of Jesus’ birth, which places Him as King over Nebuchadnezzar II, restoring Jerusalem, and rebuilding it (new construction, a spiritual Kingdom) which will last until the messiah comes (When He comes as the Lion, with Judgment)

4.      Not a coincidence, mistake, by chance, but by the Creators Design, forethought and planning!

d.     Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

                                                                         i.      Today (a specific day, whichever it was)

                                                                      ii.      In the town of David (a specific location)

                                                                   iii.      Not some random location, but in Bethlehem, a real town, that still exists today, in the same place it was in David’s day.

                                                                    iv.      If this were made up, they would not have chosen a specific real place that could be verified by anyone living there at this time!



           III.            THE PROPOSED YEAR OF JESUS’ BIRTH
a.      How December 25th came about
                                                                         i.      In 525 AD Pope John I asked Dionysius to prepare a calendar for the Western Church

                                                                      ii.      He did so, making January 1st, 754 Roman Time the beginning of 1AD

                                                                   iii.      They believed at the time Jesus’ birth was one week before, and since there is no Zero year, it became 1BC

                                                                    iv.      Later research discovered he made a mistake in his calculations though, and he was 4 years off on his calendar, so it is really 2014 right now, not 2018.


b.     What biblical evidence is there?
                                                                         i.      Luke 2:1-3 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.”

1.      The only time in history I would be thankful for taxes.
2.      So Jesus was born during the reign of Caesar Augustus
3.      Greater than his great uncle Julius, he was 19 years old when he came to power in 44BC and was Emperor for 58 years.


                                                                      ii.      Matthew 2:1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

1.      Josephus records a lunar eclipse in the spring of 4BC when Herod died, which astronomers calculate was March 13th, 4BC, so Jesus was born BEFORE this date.


c.      Other biblical evidences
                                                                         i.      John 8:57 “You are not yet 50 years old”
1.      John 8 written in 29AD

2.      So Jesus was younger than 50 at this time. I am sure the desert sun and beard made it difficult in guessing a man’s age at that time.

                                                                      ii.      Matthew 2:16 - Herod orders the babies under 2 years old to be killed.
1.      Matthew 2 written in 5BC

2.      Jesus was 2 or younger at this time, or Herod’s evil plot would not have eliminated the King of the Jews.

                                                                   iii.      Luke 3:23 “Jesus was about 30 years old”
1.      Written in 26AD

2.      About could mean anywhere from 27-33, guess they weren’t sure because even Jesus didn’t celebrate His birthday.

3.      Meaning Jesus was probably born around 5BC


            IV.            THE PROPOSED DAY OF JESUS’ BIRTH
a.      December 25th ?
                                                                         i.      Hyppolytus (165-235AD) suggested December 25th
                                                                      ii.      Chrysostom (343-407AD) agreed.
                                                                   iii.      This doesn’t necessarily make it so.

b.     January 6th ?
                                                                         i.      Both December 25th and January 6th are mid-winter dates.

                                                                      ii.      The Roman calendar marks December 25th the Pagan holiday of the feast of Saturnalia

1.      This is the Pagan festival of “the birth of the unconquered son”

2.      Created in 274AD AFTER Hyppolytus and Chrysostom suggested the date for Jesus’ birth.

3.      So, Christians DID NOT take over a Pagan holiday.


c.      Jewish Calendar
                                                                         i.      If Jesus was born on December 25th, it might have been a message to the world that Christ was greater than the pagan gods, like the plagues of Exodus that answered the Egyptian deities. As stated by a Theologian in 320AD, “We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of Him who made it.”

                                                                      ii.      It must also be noted that Luke states the flocks were in the fields eating, which probably did not take place in mid-winter.


CONCLUSION
It is true the bible does not give us the exact date of Jesus’ birth.

These facts remain;

  • ·        The time had fully come
  • ·        Daniels prophecy was being fulfilled
  • ·        Jesus WAS born in Bethlehem
  • ·        He was born during the time of the census, the reign of Augustus, and rule of Herod
  • ·        When Babylon (the biblical symbol of sin) destroyed Jerusalem, and Nebuchadnezzar II was crowned King, Daniel set forth the decree 7 times 70, and Jerusalem would return, and new kingdom built and it would remain until the coming of the Messiah.
  • ·        At that time, 7 times 70 light years away, a star formed, and sent its light towards earth
  • ·        To arrive at the perfect timing of God, to notify the world, the King of the Jews was born.
  • ·        Jerusalem (the throne of David) was returned, Jesus King of the Jews was crowned, and a NEW Jerusalem was built, a Kingdom which was unlike any before it, a spiritual one.
  • ·        This spiritual Jerusalem Kingdom will remain, until the coming of our Messiah.


These facts are indisputable, it is not about santa, toys, lights on a tree.

We chose to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And we do so in clear conscience, we did not steal a pagan holiday, we do not celebrate santa...what we do, we do for the Lord.

The tree and it’s lights with the angel or star at the top reminds us of our Lord’s birth and the sign of the Northern Star put into motion long before His arrival, of prophecy fulfilled.

The time spent in celebration with friends and family, a  foreshadowing of the believers future, where we will be surrounded by those who love the Lord as we for time never ending in Glory.

The gifts we give, a reminder of the most beautiful gift ever given, a sacrificial death to atone for our sins, our very everlasting souls purchased with the blood of our savior, a free gift to any who would receive it.


Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?   

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