Philippians chapter one. The part that I wanted to focus on is beginning of verse number twelve where the Bible reads, "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,"
What I want to preach about tonight are 'Thoughts on Christmas', because we're in the time of year when a lot of people are thinking about Christmas and kind of gearing up toward Christmas, a big part of our culture here in the United States, and so I want to give my thoughts on Christmas from the Bible. My Biblical philosophy of how I feel about Christmas and the whole season and all the things that are associated with it.
Now, the first thing I want to point out about Christmas is that Christmas is a time when a lot of people hear about Jesus more than they normally would. What I'm showing you here in Phillipians is the Apostle Paul talking about the fact that some people are even preaching Christ for the wrong reason, they're not even doing it sincerely, but he says, "Nevertheless, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,"
For example, if people turn on their TV this time of year, they might tune into the Charlie Brown Christmas special for example. I don't know if that's still on TV but I'm assuming they probably still play it. They played it when I was a kid and as I was growing up. If they tuned into that, Linus gets up and pretty much reads Luke chapter two straight out of the King James Bible, and I'm sure that the TV executives, they don't have a motive about getting the word of God into as many homes as possible, but yet God could still use that, that a seed would be planted in people's minds when they actually hear the word of God being spoken. I'm not condoning of all the worldly junk that's on the TV and all the garbage that's played, but at least at this time of year the word of God is going to go forth. Christ is preached. Even when you walk through the stores today, you'll hear songs that talk about Jesus being born, Jesus dying for our sins, and so people do get a basic understanding of Christ and the gospel around this time of year.
One thing that I've noticed is that the prominent Christmas songs that have to do with the birth of Christ are actually doctrinally correct if you listen to them. When you listen to what they're saying, they talk about how he's dying for our sins, and he's God in the flesh, and all these great doctrines in the songs. They're not songs that teach a false works-based gospel from what I've noticed. Obviously there are a lot of foolish Christmas songs that have nothing to do with Jesus, and that's not what I'm talking about. Obviously, "Rudolph the red-nosed rein-" I personally get kind of annoyed by the whole 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree' and 'Frosty the Snowman', it gets old, but you know what? It never gets old hearing people singing about Jesus and the birth of Christ and salvation through Jesus.
That's one thing that I like about this time of year is that people are hearing about Jesus, people are thinking about Jesus, they're being exposed to the birth of Christ, his death, his burial, and resurrection through Christmas songs, through Christmas plays, Christmas specials. I'm not saying that everything that goes on around the time of Christmas is godly or wholesome, but I will say this, people are hearing the gospel this time of year and they're thinking about Jesus. It's also a great opportunity for you to preach the gospel to people, where you can take an opportunity to say, "Hey, you know what Christmas is even about? We're celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ." It's a great way to lead into a salvation message and talk to someone about being saved, talk to someone about the Gospel.
I therein do rejoice, and I will rejoice, as Paul said, just that the Gospel being preached. However it's happening, I'm just glad that people are hearing about Jesus. See, our society, if you would flip over to Luke chapter two, our society is actually becoming de-Christianized in many ways, and there are countries in this world that don't have a Christian culture, and so they know a lot less about Jesus than people in America do, because at least we have a Christian culture that's a vestige of the past when a lot of people in our nation were Bible-believing Christians. There still are a lot of Bible-believing Christians even though we're slowly becoming de-Christianized, to the point where sometimes you'll go door-to-door soul winning and actually knock on someone's door and ask them if they know who Jesus is, and they know very little. It blows my mind today to talk to teenagers or even adults and to say to them, in the United States of America, "Hey, Jesus died on the cross. What happened three days later?" And they say, "I don't know, what happened?" They know that little. They've heard almost nothing.
I remember I talked to a girl, and she was almost an adult, I mean she was an older teenager, and she even went to a Baptist church, but it was one of these kind of, "Wooo!" Kind of Baptist church. I think it was Pilgrim's Rest Baptist. That is what it was, actually, in Phoenix. I talked to her, and I explained to her the resurrection of Jesus, and she said, "Wait a minute, did this really happen?" I said, "Yeah." She said, "Is this a real story?" I'm like, "Yeah, this really happened." I'm like, "You haven't heard this before?" "No." I'm like, "How long you been going to church?" "Since I was a little kid." I mean, it's just bizarre, but at least through some of these traditions people at least are hearing about Jesus and it gives an opportunity to talk more about Jesus.
Some people will object to celebrating Christmas for a variety of reasons. One of the things that they'll object to is they'll say, "Well, we shouldn't celebrate the birth of Christ because there's no mandate, there's no directive that tells us in the Bible, 'Celebrate the birth of Christ.' Therefore we shouldn't celebrate the birth of Christ." But in fact, there is the great emphasis put on the birth of Christ in the Bible. It is something that was celebrated when it happened. Look down if you would at Luke chapter two verse number one. This is the famous passage that we've all heard Linus quote many times. The Bible says in verse number one, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed." Of course there's nothing new under the sun, right? That's what governments have always done, "Let's tax the whole world."
"(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
"And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."
This was a major event. God just spent twenty verses on this, and really all the way up through verse thirty-nine he's still dealing with the baby Jesus, the birth of Christ, so here we have a huge chunk of scripture dedicated to this exciting event where the angels show up and they're all singing and praising and glorifying God and shouting, and the shepherds are glorifying God and praising him. It was a big deal, so it doesn't make any sense to condemn people for memorializing something that is such a big deal in the Bible, and making a celebration out of it.
But they'll say, "Where does the Bible say that we have to celebrate it once a year?" Here's the thing, you don't have to celebrate it once a year, because the Bible actually says in Romans chapter fourteen, it says, "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." It's not a command to celebrate, but here's the problem that I have with people condemning those who do choose to celebrate it. No, the Bible does not command us to celebrate the birth of Christ, but there's a problem when you have a movement out there now that basically wants to falsely accuse those who celebrate the birth of Christ according to just the basic traditions that we've been handed down, and say that they're pagans. I've even heard people say that if you're celebrating Christmas you're actually worshiping the devil. You're worshiping Beelzebub and Nimrod. No, it's nonsense. You know what? That is a false accusation.
There's nowhere in the Bible that says that we should avoid Christmas, but there are plenty of scriptures in the Bible that condemn people for making false accusations. If we are talking about Jesus and using the name of Jesus, and by the way, we're talking about the Jesus of the Bible, the Jesus of Luke chapter two. We're talking about the Jesus who is God in the flesh. We're talking about the Jesus who is the savior of the world, and we're talking about the Jesus who is the son of God, so we don't have the Muslim Jesus. The Muslim Jesus is not the son of God. We're talking about the biblical Jesus that is the son of God, savior of the world, J-E-S-U-S. Let me tell you something, if you are worshiping him on any day of the year, you're worshiping Jesus, you're not worshiping the devil.
To sit there and say, "Well, because you're calling it Christmas and doing it on December twenty-fifth, that makes you worshiping the devil." No, it makes you a devil, because in fact the word devil, if you actually study the word devil, it means 'accuser', 'false accuser'. That's what the word devil means. The devil is so many times called the accuser of the brethren. Even etymologically, our word 'devil', if you trace that word back, comes from the word that means 'a false accuser'. Actually, the devil is the one who is accusing someone of worshiping Satan when they actually pronounce the name of Jesus, and actually exalt the Jesus of the Bible. We need to be very careful that we don't just jump on bandwagons of what people are talking about, the latest trendy doctrine, where we're carried about with every wind of doctrine and then just start flying off with these railing accusations about how Christmas is demonic or whatever. There's nothing demonic about celebrating the birth of Christ.
People will say, "Jesus was not born on December twenty-fifth." But yet there is a one in three hundred sixty-five chance that he was. I don't claim to know when Jesus was born, in fact, I've studied the Bible extensively on this subject. I looked at all the evidence. There are people out there that will claim to be able to pinpoint when it was, and they'll claim to know for sure it was in September and all this, but in fact their logic is flawed. I fact checked it, I've looked it up, I've studied it, it's not legitimate. The Bible simply doesn't tell us when he was born. You can't figure it out from the Bible, I've tried. I've looked at all their arguments for September, and yada yada, it isn't there. Therefore I believe that there is a one in three hundred and sixty-five chance that he was born on December twenty-fifth. I'm not just certain that he was born- Who knows when he was born? The thing is, it doesn't really matter when he was born. If it mattered, God would have told us.
If people choose to set aside a day to celebrate the birth of Christ in a wholesome way, praise the Lord. "Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, and will rejoice." If other people choose to esteem every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind, but let them not condemn one another. You'll find it's the anti-Christmas crowd that's doing the condemning. I don't condemn anyone who skips Christmas. I've eaten Christmas in Jack-In-The-Box one time, because it was the only thing that was open. One time when I was a teenager we were in the middle of moving, and so we didn't really have a chance to celebrate Christmas because we were moving on Christmas day, and so we spent Christmas in Jack-In-The-Box. You know what? So what? It's not a big deal. We were still praising God anyway, and we still love Jesus. The point is though, you'll see that the people who are doing the condemning are the anti-Christmas crowd, and making the false accusations, when in reality they should just be fully persuaded in their own mind and leave people alone who want to celebrate a godly holiday.
If you would, look at Titus chapter one. Titus chapter number one. Go to Titus chapter number one, the Bible reads in verse nine of Titus one ... This is actually the verse where our church gets its name from, this verse. Titus one nine. "Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers ... " Now, vain talkers are people who blather about things that don't really matter. Vain talkers are people who strive about words to no profit. There's really not any point, they're not really accomplishing anything, they just kind of like to hear themselves talk. That's a vain talker, but he says that there are many, " ... vain talkers and deceivers," Now, the deceiver is actually intentionally trying to teach lies. The vain talker's just kind of a fool that blows off his mouth with a bunch of things that don't matter, but notice this last phrase, "specially they of the circumcision:"
What's he saying? He's saying, "Look, there are a lot of vain talkers, a lot of deceivers out in the world, but you know what?" He says, "Especially of the circumcision." What is he saying? Especially the Jews is what he's saying. "Oh, he's anti-Semitic." That's what he said. Saying, "Look, the biggest false teaching is coming from Jews." He said. "Especially of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. One of themselves," One of whose selves? One of these deceivers, especially of the circumcision, right? "Said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;" He's saying, "Look, these people, they think they're better than everybody else, these of the circumcision, these Jews. They're saying the Cretians are always li-" They're down on the Cretians like the Greek is not as good as the Jew. What does the Bible say? "There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek." He says, "Rebuke them sharply." In fact this is one of the few groups that the Bible tells us to rebuke sharply, and in fact Jesus rebuked the most sharply, was the Pharisees, which were the Jewish rabbinical teachers.
He says, "Rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth." Now what are fables? Fables are stories that are made up, and in fact they usually have some kind of a supernatural element to them. We think of Aesop's Fables, or other stories that are not real. They're not true stories, and they usually have some kind of a supernatural element to them. The Bible, of course, is the word of God, it's not a fable. It's not made up, it's not fake, it's real, and there are supernatural things that are recorded in the Bible, there are miracles that are recorded and so forth, but then there are other just Jewish fables where they've kind of made up their own stories and made up their own miracles that have nothing to do with the truth of the Gospel.
He says, "Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Now you say, "Why did you turn to this passage, Pastor Anderson?" Think about this. It says in verse fifteen, "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." Let's stop and think about that verse for a minute. This is obviously not saying that something that is sinful becomes pure. He's not saying, "Hey, adultery's pure, murder's pure, covetousness is pure." Obviously that's not what he's saying. That wouldn't make any sense, would it? What we're talking about here is just things that don't have anything to do with morality, jut objects, for example this pulpit, or this tree right here, or this piano. These things are not good or bad in and of themselves, they're just inanimate objects, okay?
If you would, keep your finger here in Titus as we explain this and go over to I Timothy chapter number four. He said, "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure;" What is he saying? People who are men of corrupt minds and reprobate, the Bible says that they can even look at something that's just clean and innocent and pure, and everything is dirty to them. It's actually just because they have a dirty mind. Now, you all knew this kid in junior high, that has a dirty mind, where anything anyone says, he finds a way to make a dirty joke out of it. You remember that kid? People would say the most innocent, normal things, but because he had a dirty mind, it was like he interpreted everything that way, and turned it all into a smutty joke. "Unto the pure, all things are pure." It's not saying that sin is pure, but it's saying that just things in this world "are pure unto those that are pure, but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving, is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."
Look at I Timothy chapter number four. The Bible reads in verse number one, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained."
I want to be a good minister of Jesus Christ. I want God up in heaven to look down and say, "Now there's a good minister of Jesus Christ." In order to be a good minster of Jesus Christ, I must put the brethren in remembrance of these things that we just read. What are those things? That, "every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." What are we talking about here? It's in the context of people commanding you to abstain from meats. Telling you, "Hey, don't eat this type of food and that."
What there is out there today is a movement to try to take stuff from the Old Testament law that was done away in Christ, that the Bible specifically repeals in Colossians chapter two, in Hebrews chapter nine, it specifically explains that these things are done away in Christ, they were only imposed on them temporarily. They're going to try to impose them upon us today, and it says that in the latter times they'll teach doctrines of devils, and they'll also command to abstain from meats.
We need to remind everybody that every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If you do that, he said, you'll be nourished up in good doctrine. Because we're talking about food he used the word nourished. Look at verse seven, "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness." Again, these two passages go together, don't they? Because they both talk about fables, and they both talk about the fact that one person sees things as being pure, and then another person everything's defiled to them, because their mind and their conscience is defiled.
You see, this Judaising movement today that teaches us not to eat pork, or not to eat other types of meat because they're unclean under the Mosaic law is a doctrine that is coming from people who literally teach doctrines of devils. It's coming from people who are of a reprobate mind. I'm not saying that people who believe in it are that way, but I'm saying that that's who it's coming from. That's who's teaching these things. It's doctrines of devils the Bible says. Why? Because Judaism is a demonic religion. It's a religion that blasphemes Jesus, that attacks him in every possible way. In the Talmud it says horrific things about Jesus. I'm not going to re-preach the sermon where I covered all that, but horrible things about Jesus.
Those that are defiled and unbelieving, that would be the Jews. He specifically called them out and said, "Specially them of the circumcision." He said they are giving heed to Jewish fables. Let me ask you something, who's defiled in God's eyesight? Is it the Jew who rejects Jesus Christ and spits three times every time his name is mentioned? Or is it the Christian who sits down to a ham dinner on Christmas? Who is unclean in God's eyes? There are people out there that want to say we're unclean for eating the Christmas ham, right? When in reality, you know what makes you unclean is when your mind and conscience are defiled because you're reprobate concerning the faith because you have rejected Jesus. That's what makes you unclean. Those of us that have believed in Jesus Christ, our soul has been washed and made clean by the blood of the Lamb. The Jews don't have the blood of the Lamb. They don't have the blood of any lamb, because they don't even perform any animal sacrifices any more, they've stopped doing that for some inexplicable reason.
The point is, when we look at scripture here, we see that the ones who are really defiled are the ones that are telling us to abstain from meats. Now you say, "What does this have to do with Christmas, Pastor Anderson?" Because of the fact that if you look at where this anti-Christmas movement is coming from, it is a Jewish-led movement, and the movement is to tell us to not celebrate Christmas, and the punchline is always to get us to celebrate Hannukah. You know what, I Googled just, "Christmas is pagan." Or, "Should we celebrate Christmas?" If you read the articles, they go on with all these fables, all these made-up stories that no one can verify or prove in order to prove how bad Christmas is, and then always at the very end, the punchline at the very end is like, "You should consider celebrating Hannukah instead. Hannukah is the alternative."
Now, let's talk about Hannukah. By the way everybody, today's Hannukah. I learned that, I was out to lunch today and I saw a sign up that said, "Hannukah, December 6 is when it starts." Today's Hannukah folks, all right? Not celebrating it. Not celebrating it, and let me tell you why. Because Hannukah is based on a Jewish fable. What does the Bible say? Does the Bible say, "Avoid Christmas, avoid ham, avoid all these hot cocoa and singing and ... " No, you know what the Bible actually says when we actually find a verse that talks about something specific? It actually says to avoid Jewish fables. Hannukah is based on a Jewish fable.
You see, the story of Hannukah goes that when they re-dedicated the temple, this is back after Antiochus Epiphanes had gone through and desecrated the temple, this was back before the birth of Christ, and he desecrated it and messed it up. When the Jews fought back and got the temple back, they re-dedicated the temple. This is just a historical fact. Daniel prophesied that this would happen. We don't have a record of it in the Bible, but we know Daniel prophesied it happening, so we know it happened. Anyway, there's a made-up story associated with it, a fake story, a Jewish fable, that says that when they went to re-consecrate the temple they didn't have enough olive oil. They only had enough to burn for one day in the lamp, so they lit the lamp, and they only had oil for one day, and it was miraculously stretched to eight days. That's why they celebrate these days of Hannukah, because of this miracle.
Except here's the problem, that miracle's never recorded in the Bible, number one. Number two, the first time that miracle was ever even talked about or stated was around five hundred years after Jesus, so six or seven hundred years later, we don't know the exact time, but somewhere around five hundred AD. Six or seven hundred years after the fact, some Christ-rejecting Jewish rabbi made up this story that this oil was multiplied and that it was supposed to last one day and lasted eight days. Frankly, I don't believe in it. Why should I believe in something that someone who rejects Christ teaches when there's no record of it in the Bible, there's no historical record of anyone even talking about it, except to come from the Talmud, which is one of the most blasphemous books ever written? Why would I just believe that story because it came from the Talmud?
Now, the Bible says, "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?" Christ means Messiah, so who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Messiah? He's antichrist that denieth the father and the son. Why would I believe someone who the Bible tells me is a liar? Total liar. Christ-rejecting Judaism says, "Oh, this miracle happened." It's a Jewish fable. What does the Bible say to avoid? Jewish fables. The only Jewish literature I want to read is the one that's inspired by God, that was preserved in the Old Testament scriptures.
I'm not interested in anything the Jews have to say after they rejected Jesus, because after they rejected Jesus and God turned away from them and said, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing for the the fruits thereof." Everything they say after that is just null and void. It's all lies. I don't want to hear it, because they are defiled and unbelieving. This movement out there that says, "Hey, let's get us to celebrate Hannukah." I believe that there is a biblical command not to participate in this, because it says, "Avoid Jewish fables." Whereas there's no 'avoid Christmas' verse in the Bible.
Now if you would go to John chapter ten, because this is what people will bring up, they'll say, "Wait a minute, Jesus celebrated Hannukah." I've seen so many articles like this, and so many people bring this out, and this time of year, "Did you know that Yeshua celebrated Hannukah?" And of course, his name is Jesus, not Yeshua, is a good place to start, since the New Testament's written in Greek, not in Hebrew, so he's always called Jesus, which in the Greek tongue is spelled more like I-E-S-O-U-S. Yesus, exactly. In modern Greek it would be pronounced 'Eesus', okay? Which is where we get Jesus, Yesus, Eesus, it's all the same name, whereas Yeshua is basically a fiction where somebody speculated, "Well, since we know that he was speaking Hebrew with his parents, they must have been calling him Yeshua." And all that, even though nobody even knows how Hebrew was pronounced back then. Nobody even has a clue, because there are no vowels in Hebrew number one, and number- That's why you'll see different variations, 'Yehashua', 'Yehushua', 'Yashua', 'Yeshua', because it's just kind of a shot in the dark.
Here's the main point on that, and this is real important doctrine folks, because we're living in the last days, and the Bible warned us about this Judaising movement of commanding to abstain from meats and doctrines of devils. There is an attack on the name of Jesus. Here's the bottom line. You can sit there and speculate about what language Jesus and his disciples spoke all you want, but let me tell you this right now. The New Testament is the word of God, and it says Jesus. It says 'Yesus', or if you're reading in Spanish, it says, 'Hesus'. In the original it says 'Eesus' or 'Yesus' or however you want to pronounce it, since we didn't have a tape recording of what they talked like back then.
The bottom line is though, if Jesus wanted us to call him 'Yeshua', wouldn't that be somewhere in the New Testament? I mean, the New Testament has twenty-seven books in it, right? They all talk about Jesus, so wouldn't you think somewhere in those twenty-seven books there'd be one verse that said, "Oh by the way, his real name is Yeshua." No, but we have all these verses that say, "Hey, neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." Jesus. Jesus is the name above every name. Anything else is not based on the Bible, it's based on speculation, vain talkers, and deceivers. What does the Bible say? "It's not in English." Pull out a Greek New Testament and show me Yeshua. It ain't there, because of the fact that God didn't want it there, because otherwise it would've been there. I mean, makes sense, it's pretty clear, right? I mean, is that so hard to understand, that if the Bile's the final authority that that's what we have to go by on what the name of the Savior is?
By the way, Jesus was raised in Galilee of the Gentiles. That's where he lived. That's why a lot of the Jews rejected him. They said, "Well, no prophet comes out of Galilee. Can any good thing come out of G- No way." Search and look, "For out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." That's what the Pharisees said, and they're like, "Yeah, but never-" They didn't realize he was born in Bethlehem. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but nobody knew that, because if you remember, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a couple years later his parents fled and took him down to Egypt to escape Herod the king, and then they brought him back and they were afraid to go back into Judea. They weren't even anywhere in Judea. They literally were in a different region completely called Galilee of the Gentiles. That's where he grew up. But he never spoke Greek. By the way, his disciples never spoke Greek, even though they wrote all their books in Greek. How did Peter write first and second Peter in Greek if he didn't speak Greek? Can somebody explain that to me?
How did John write in- ? How did Matthew write the Gospel of Matthew in Greek? How did they write it in Greek if they didn't speak it? It doesn't make any sense, but people believe this fraud. The true story is that Jesus, in all likelihood, and his disciples, probably spoke three languages. They probably all spoke Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew. Why? Because most people in this world speak more than one language folks. You live in America where everybody speaks ... There's a joke that says if somebody speaks two languages they're bilingual, three languages trilingual, one language is American, is what that's called.
When you speak one language you're American. Why? Because people from Africa today, most of them speak three languages. People from India, most of them speak three languages. They speak a local language, then they speak a broader regional language, and then they often speak English as a third language. Obviously Jesus and his disciples, being around Galilee and Nazareth ... By the way, Jesus's followers came from all over the place. He didn't just preach in Judea. The Bible says the fame of him went abroad into all the region roundabout so that people came from Syria, and people came from Decapolis, and people came from all over to hear Jesus, so it's very likely that he was preaching in Greek. But I don't want to confuse you with the facts.
Anyway, where are we at here in the sermon? Where did I turn to? John chapter ten, oh yeah. "Jesus celebrated Hannukah." This is the smoking gun, folks. This is the big evidence that Jesus celebrated Hannukah. Are you ready for this? I mean, it's everywhere. John ten twenty-two, "And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch." Bam! You see that? You see Jesus lighting the menorah? You see Jesus lighting the candles and talking about the miracle of the oil being stretched for eight days? No, in fact all it says is that it was at Jerusalem, the feast of the dedication, and it was winter, and Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Jesus just happens to be walking there, but this is him celebrating.
Let's see if Jesus was there in harmony with all of the rabbis, enjoying Hannukah. Let's actually read the context of the passage. Look at verse nineteen, "There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him."
I don't see Jesus here in this passage celebrating Hannukah. I see Jesus at Jerusalem preaching, because Jesus would often do a lot of preaching on these feast days because of the fact that it was a time when people would come from all over. People are from out of town, and so he would take that opportunity to preach, and he's preaching things that are upsetting people in fact. Now, the Bible does say that Jesus Christ was under the Law, in the sense the at he was circumcised on the eighth day, and he followed the laws as he was coming up, because that was before they were done away in Christ. I do believe that he celebrated the holidays that are mandated by scripture, in the sense that he obviously celebrated the Passover, he obviously celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles, and things that are actually mandated by scripture, but there is no evidence that Christ celebrated this extra-biblical holiday.
If you look at what Hannukah is all about, and if you would flip over to Matthew 24, if you think about what Hannukah's about, first of all it's based on this fable, which I say it's a lie. Where's the proof? God never told us about that miracle. But number two, it's based upon the re-dedication of the temple. Remember, the temple had been desecrated by a foreign invader, so then they re-consecrated the temple, and that's what Hannukah celebrates. That's what we're celebrating supposedly starting on December sixth, is that' re-consecration process. Here's the issue that I have with celebrating that, is that that physical building is completely irrelevant in the New Testament. That physical building of the temple has become completely irrelevant. In fact, it's been leveled to the ground. What a ridiculous holiday to celebrate, "Hey, isn't it great? When that temple was re-consecrated God gave us our temple back." Because they say, "Oh we're praising God for giving us the temple back." Um, news flash, he took it away again. In AD 70.
Stop and think about this, why would we get all excited about the fact, "Woo! We got the temple back." God caused it to be destroyed in AD 70. It's been gone for almost two thousand years, why are you celebrating it? Let's see, these are my choices in December. I can celebrate the birth of Christ, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords who reigneth forever and of his kingdom there shall be no end, or I can celebrate a building that got destroyed almost two thousand years ago, and you know why it got destroyed? Because God wanted it to be destroyed. A building that God leveled, that God used the Romans to destroy. Why? Because Jesus said in a parable, he said, "When they rejected the Son of God," He said that the armies came through and burned their city with fire and destroyed it as a result of rejecting Jesus. Read the parables in Matthew twenty-one. Explains that.
What did Jesus think of the temple when people tried to show it to him and tell him how great it was? Look at Matthew twenty-four verse one, "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple." His disciples come to him and want to take him on a little tour of the temple. They say, "Jesus, come with us Jesus, we want to show you the buildings. We want to show you how beautiful they are. We want to take you on a little guided tour." Verse two, "And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." By the way, don't buy into this myth that that wailing wall has anything to do with the temple. The Bible says there's not one stone left upon another, so who should we believe?
In fact, that wall is a wall of a Roman fortress that had nothing to do with the temple, that was built by the Romans. It's a Roman fortress, is what they're crying doing this number and everything like that. You know what? It has nothing to do with the word of God, nothing to do with Jesus. Why would we replace a celebration of the birth of Christ with a celebration of a building that has no relevance, none, and doesn't exist any more. It's been destroyed by the order of Jesus, by his prophecy. I know why, you know why anyone would want to replace that, is just because they reject Jesus. That's what I'm saying about who's behind it. It's the Jews that are behind it, to basically get us to throw out the birth of Christ and embrace worship of a building that God took away from them because they were unworthy. They judged themselves unworthy of the kingdom of God.
Now, I got to hurry up here for sake of time, but here are some things that we should avoid at Christmas, because I told you I'm going to celebrate Christmas. If you don't want to celebrate Christmas, let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. I choose to celebrate Christmas, I like this time of year, I like hearing Jesus' name. I never get tired of hearing the birth of Christ, the name of Jesus, the Gospel. It's the greatest story ever told. I'm going to celebrate it. There's no scripture telling me not to, and in fact it seems very godly to do this things. But there are some people where everything's unclean to them. I mean, what in the world could you find wrong with getting together with family and reading the Christmas story from the Bible? What in the world could you find wrong with drinking hot cocoa and singing songs about Jesus? What in the world could you find wrong with ham, mashed potatoes, corn, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, eggnog? What in the world could be wrong with it? But to those that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure.
They'll even say that, "Oh, bringing greenery into the building of any home or church, that's pagan." Well I got news for you, buddy. Every human being on this planet since Adam and Eve has probably been bringing greenery into their house. I don't think houseplants are limited to a certain religion. I think everybody on this planet has probably had a houseplant at one time or another or brought in some greenery. "This comes from the pagan practice of bringing greenery into the home." That's called the human practice of bringing greenery into the home, okay?
But again, what are some things that we should avoid at Christmas time? What should we avoid at this time of year? Because obviously it's not all good, right? See, a lot of people they throw out the baby with the bathwater, they have this all or nothing approach to this subject. They'll say, "Oh, you're celebrating Christmas? Well you must believe in Santa, and you must be doing the reindeer and all this other ... " But hold on a second. Here's what we should avoid at Christmas time. Covetousness, because this is a time of year where people get kind of materialistic, covetous and greedy, things like that. We should avoid covetousness. Number two, I think we should avoid Santa Claus, because Santa Claus is like a quasi-godlike character, where he knows when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake.
Not only that, but supposedly you're earning gifts from Santa. Here's news for you, you don't earn a gift, gifts are free. The gift of God's eternal life, it's not earned, it's a free gift purchased by the blood of Jesus. The whole Santa thing is a weird story. Plus, you shouldn't lie to your kids anyway, because then when they grow up they're going to think you lied about other stuff too. If you lied about that, what else are you lying about? Now my parents never lied to me and told me about Santa, and my mom told me, "The reason we never told you about Santa is because if we're going to spend money buying you gifts, we want to take the credit for it. I'm not going to buy you a gift and spend all this money and then say it came from someone else. I want to get the credit for giving you that gift." That's why we were never told in our house that the gifts came from Santa.
Another thing that we should avoid this time of year is drinking. A lot of people are drinking, and if we're going to drink eggnog, it needs to be an un-alcoholic eggnog, right? Who likes eggnog? Pagan. Heathen. Anyway, I'm sure it's pagan. I haven't heard it yet, but I'm sure that, "The eggs in the eggnog represent fertility." Well you know what, if you're against fertility you're in the wrong church, because we have thirteen women that are pregnant right now, okay? Maybe it's all the greenery we brought in here, it's making everybody fertile. Woo! It's so funny when these people act like fertility is a cuss word. Anyway, the eggnog is pagan. I love eggnog, but just get the un-alcoholic type.
Laziness. Man, that's another thing that it seems like everybody just shuts down between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and you're trying to get things done, and everything goes really slowly. That's something that we should avoid. We should still work hard and do the ... I mean, of course, take time to rest, but you don't need the whole six weeks or whatever to rest. That's too much rest between Thanksgiving and New Year's.
Another thing that we should avoid is idolatry. Now idolatry is something to be avoided. What does the Bible define as idolatry? The Bible does talk about a sort of metaphorical idolatry of, "Hey, covetousness is idolatry. Anything that you put before God is idolatry." But I'm talking about literal idolatry. What does idolatry literally mean? Well, it's one of the ten commandments, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image." Idolatry is when we make a graven image or a molten image. The Bible tells us, and in fact, flip back if you would to Deuteronomy chapter four, and let's just quickly look at it in Deuteronomy four. Deuteronomy chapter four, because idolatry is graven and molten images, and the Bible tells us in Deuteronomy chapter four for example, is one place. There's plenty of scripture in the New Testament that talks about fleeing idolatry, little children keep yourselves from idols, all this stuff.
The Bible says here in verse sixteen, "Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:" What the Bible is very specifically telling us not to do, and there's tons of scripture on this, do not make carved, (graven means carved, engraven) carved or molten image, what's molten? Melting metal. Do not make carved or molten images of any male or female. That means we should not make a molten image of human beings, and we should not make molten images of animals, okay? You walk in the Chinese restaurant, there's a molten Buddha. That is wrong, that is idolatry. Whether or not they're worshiping it, it's a molten image. Don't make any- It doesn't just say not to worship it, it says don't make it. Don't make a graven image, don't make a molten image.
Now obviously one of the biggest sources of idolatry is the Roman Catholic church. They have all kinds of graven images, molten images, of Mary, Jesus, the saints, and all these different images. Now, this time of year people will often have a Nativity scene, which is usually a graven or a molten image of Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus. That should be avoided, because it is in violation of Scripture, okay? We should not have statues. Look, all statues are wrong according to this verse and according to the teachings of the Bible. For example, you go to Washington DC, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial is a giant idol, okay? If someone made a statue of me, that would be idolatry right there. You're making a graven image or a molten image. We should not have statues of animals, and we should not have statues of human beings, male or female. Christmas time we should avoid the Nativity scenes, avoid anything that is a graven image, okay?
Here's what's not an idol. Greenery brought into your home. If you would flip over to Jeremiah chapter ten. Some people will say that a Christmas tree is idolatry. I don't know how they figure, since it's not a molten image, it's not a graven image, and it's not a figure of a male or a female, so I don't know how they're figuring this, but they, "Hey, its idol-" I mean, I guess a guitar is idolatry, because it's carved, or I guess the piano is idolatry because it's carved from wood. I guess this tree is idolatry, because it's a tree. No, is that what the Bible said? No, the Bible talked about graven and molten images of male and female.
Now what people will do at this time of year, the anti-Christmas crowd, will basically take Jeremiah ten and say, "This is teaching that we should not have a Christmas tree." What they'll do is they'll take this verse out of context and twist it to teach that. Let's see what the Bible actually says. Listen, you don't have to agree with me. If you walk away and say, "I still am against Christmas trees." Well, you know what? I'll tell you right now, I at least want you to see what the Bible says before you make that decision, because it makes no sense and is ludicrous, but if you want to believe that, fine. At least look at the facts, look at the evidence.
The Bible says in Jeremiah chapter ten verse one, "Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." They basically stop right there and they say, "Right there, look at that, that heathen practice of cutting down a tree, bringing it in, decking the halls. Deck it with gold and silver, and fasten it with nails. That's your little tree stand. The nails. That's a Christmas tree [inaudible 00:51:50]." But here's the thing. They're not even understanding what this is talking about, they're just taking a scripture out of context, because if we keep reading, even the next verse gives us a little hint, but as we go further it spells out exactly what's being talked about.
Look at verse five, "They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not:" Now, has anyone ever expected a Christmas tree to speak to them? Why does it say that? Well keep reading, "they must needs be borne, because they cannot go." It's saying you have to carry it because it can't walk. Did anyone ever expect a Christmas tree to be able to walk, or to have the ability to walk? No. "Be not afraid of them;" Now, I'm sure there's a toddler somewhere that's afraid of their Christmas tree, but this is talking to adults. "Be not afraid of them;" Is there anyone who's afraid of a Christmas tree? "I'm scared of it. What's it going to do to me?" Okay? "they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord; thou art great, and thy name is great in might."
You see, what's actually being talked about, and I'll prove this from later verses in the passage, it's talking about cutting down a tree and carving it into an idol, carving it into a false god. Decking it, or gold plating it, silver plating it, decking it. Think about your deck, what does deck mean? To cover. They're covering it, and this is why they think it can speak or do evil, they're afraid of it, and they're, "We don't want incur the wrath of the gods." Or whatever, because they think it's God, they think it's a god, and the Bible's saying, "No, there's none like you God. Their gods are vain that they're making. They can't walk, they can't talk, they can't do good or evil." Look at the proof. Look at verse number nine, the Bible reads, "Silver spread into plates" We're not talking about a silver ornament or silver garland. We're talking about something that is silver plated. A carved image of wood that is silver plated.
"Silver spread into plates s brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men. But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens."
Jump down to verse fourteen, "Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity" What did it say at the very beginning of the passage in verse three? "For the customs of the people are vain:" Then he begins to explain the process of cutting down the tree, and laying over it with gold and silver, thinking it can walk, thinking it can talk, thinking it can do these things. It says they are vanity. Who's vanity? Idols are vanity. Graven images are v- It says the molten image, the graven image, it mentions both by name in verse fourteen, "in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The Lord of hosts is his name."
When you actually get the passage in context, this passage is not condemning Christmas trees, because Christmas trees are not idolatry by any reasonable definition. Because a plant is not ... Bringing a plant indoors, it doesn't become an idol, okay? It's when you carve it into a face of an image, or a body that would be worshiped. Some people would say, and I'm just going to show you this one last verse in Isaiah sixty, if you want to turn there it's the last place we'll turn. Some people will say, "Yeah, but these evergreens, watch out for these evergreen trees. They're pagan." All right? "Okay, houseplants, yeah, but not evergreens, because that's something that's very pagan." But in fact, there's nothing wrong with pine trees and fir trees, which are the types of trees that most people use for a Christmas tree.
It actually says in Isaiah chapter sixty verse thirteen, "The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious." So apparently God doesn't have anything against fir trees and pine trees, since he's talking about bringing them into the house of God and beautifying the house of God therewith. The bottom line is, we shouldn't believe everything we hear. Don't be carried about with every wind of doctrine, every trendy thing of, "Let's just throw out the Christmas that we've celebrated our whole lives and our parents' lives and our grandparents' lives. It's a vain tradition of the heathen. Let's embrace Hannukah. [foreign language 00:57:03]" Not interested. Not going to do it. I don't want to have any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. I'd rather reprove them.
People are concerned, "Hey, you're fellowshipping with Catholicism." No I'm not. You know why I'm not fellowshipping with Catholicism? Because there's going to be no graven images or molten images in my Christmas celebration. I'm not going to have anything to do with that which is Catholic. There will be no veneration of Mary in my house. We will not worship Mary, we will not pray to Mary, we won't call her the Mother of God, we will not talk about the fact that she was sinless when she gave birth, because guess what? She was a sinner. She was a normal human being. We're not going to have idolatry, we're not going to drink alcohol like Catholicism does. We're going to actually have a Baptist worship of Jesus in my house. We're going to be doing it all Bible-based. Now to those that are defiled and unbelieving, they're going to find something wrong with everything that you do. I find it to be a wholesome activity.
Here's what I believe we should do, biblically. At this time we should focus on spiritual things, because it's always the right time to focus on spiritual things, Jesus, the Gospel. We should take the opportunity that our culture gives us to spread the Gospel during this time, and we should enjoy some wholesome refreshment with our family and friends. Why? Because you know what, having holidays and giving gifts is a good thing biblically. Since God has specifically told us not to celebrate the Jewish holidays, even the feasts of the Lord from Leviticus three we are no longer supposed to celebrate. I'm not going to re-preach my whole series on Galatians where that was proven from the Bible. Does that mean we just never relax? We never feast? We never give gifts? Because God just repealed the old ones and didn't give us any new ones? No. We can choose to celebrate when we choose to celebrate.
People want to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, whatever you choose, just make sure that you give God all the glory, and don't sin. Don't drink liquor, don't worship idols or carve idols, but there's nothing in the world wrong with December twenty-fifth. Every day belongs to God, and you can worship God on that day just as good as on any other day, and let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father we thank you so much for the birth of Jesus Christ, and we thank you for family and friends and a church Lord that we can celebrate with and enjoy this time of year Lord. I don't think it's going to be a white Christmas in Arizona, but Lord thank you so much for all the blessings that you've given us throughout the year. Help us to just take this time to see the Gospel go forth and win people unto Jesus, and help us to abstain from anything about this holiday or about this time of year that is sinful Lord. Help us to actually stay away from the things that are sinful according to your word, not according to fables. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.