Titus 2:11-14 “Zeal for Good” JUMC XmasEve 20131224

stnickgloves

 

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. [NRSV]

Jesus gave himself to save us and to do Good.

1. Grace Appeared.. in Jesus’ birth
2. Bringing Salvation.. to show and sacrifice
3. Training us to
a. renounce Worldly Passions
b. Live self-controlled, godly, upright lives
4. Wait with hope for the Manifestation of Jesus
Titus attempts to give us handles to grab hold of and to comprehend who Jesus is for us and the world.

I am so frustrated by friends and particularly clergy friends who are impassioned with political correctness and the feelings of those who don’t want to hear that Christmas is Christ’s birthday. Why does it matter?

Why Was Jesus Born?

Jesus was not born to bring us good feelings
Jesus was not born so we would all get along
Jesus was not born so promote Santa Shopping
Jesus was not born to keep him to ourselves
Jesus was not born for publicity
Jesus was not born to be only remembered,

Jesus was born for relationship
Jesus was born to save us from ourselves and sin
Jesus was born to love us even when divided
Jesus was born to share with the world
Jesus was born to live and teach us how to live

Christmas is celebrated when we remember

The angel’s message of hope in a fearful world
The gifts are for the Love of Christ and not to attempt to buy love or relationship
Take the Good News and apply it to our daily actions

I learned this year that the Original St Nicholas was instrumental in working on the foundations of faith through the Council of Nicene. He was known for getting into fisticuffs to defend his faith and beliefs and hold off heretics. Now that is an interesting image of Santa fighting for the church.

We tell the story of the Nativity again and again to remind us that the gift lives in us.

If we let the world tell what Christ is upto it becomes clouded with cartoons, gifts, and the weakest failures where the church makes the news.

Be responsible for giving birth to the Nativity story of Christ alive in you this night, this month, and all this next year.

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