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Sermon: Apologetics & Christmas

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Apologetics and Christmas

You have some great opportunities to show the truth

First Peter 3.15–17

I used some information from here:

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • December 24, In the year of our Lord, 2017


  1. Whether you believe we should not observe Christmas in anyway or
    1. whether you believe we should go full head on into it,
    2. we can all see this as an opportunity to help people know more about Jesus.
      1. Do not use it to blast people who observe it,
      2. nor blast people who do not observe it.
  2. People who do not know the Bible but
    1. who know about Christmas
    2. have questions or
      1. for those who may not have questions,
      2. perhaps you can still find a way to give them biblical information.
  3. There is no doubt
    1. that the birth of Jesus of Nazareth was a world-changing event.
    2. We can rejoice over His birth,
      1. even as the angelic host did,
      2. even as the shepherds did,
      3. even as the wise men did.
        1. We rejoice because it fulfilled prophecy, and
        2. God was keeping His promise made long ago, starting with
          1. the serpent and
          2. then Abraham.


  1. Was Jesus Born on December 25th, ad 1 or ad 0?
    1. We do not know the exact time when Jesus was born.
    2. What about our designation of the year?
      1. BC and AD measure time from Christ.
      2. Not everyone in the world accepts these designations, but
        1. we do throughout the Western World and much of the Eastern World.
        2. Secularists and some religionists are promoting the abbreviations
          1. BCE, Before the Common Era and
          2. CE, the Common Era, but
            1. they still measure these from the birth of Christ.
      3. BC means Before Christ and
        1. AD stands for the Latin, Anno Domini,
        2. Year of our Lord.
    3. Whatever year Jesus was born in,
      1. how do we calculate that year?
      2. Truthfully, a four-year error was made in the numbering of the years, but
        1. it was not realized until hundreds of years after Christ.
        2. Thus, we now say He was born in 4 bc.
          1. Although that probably seems to say so.
          2. That does not mean you can claim to be 4 years younger!
    4. The Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, had revealed
      1. the approximate time that the Messiah would come into the world.
      2. One way to see this is through the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 weeks.
    5. Without getting complicated,
      1. Daniel 9 provided clues to know the time of the death of the Messiah,

        “Know therefore and understand,
        That from the going forth of the command
        To restore and build Jerusalem
        Until Messiah the Prince,
        There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
        The street shall be built again, and the wall,
        Even in troublesome times.”
        (Daniel 9.25)
      2. Gabriel the archangel told Daniel
      3. that from the time the command was issued
        1. to restore and build Jerusalem
        2. to the time the Messiah arrived or began His ministry,
          1. would be 69 weeks, or
          2. 483 years.
      4. Therefore, from the beginning of the counting of the 70 weeks
        1. to the mid-point of the 70th week,
        2. there would be 486.5 years.
          1. Do you understand that Gabriel was telling Daniel
          2. that the Messiah would be killed
            1. 486.5 years after the command
            2. to restore and build Jerusalem?
      5. The first command to restore and build Jerusalem was in 457 bc.
        1. Adding the 486.5 years
        2. brings you to the year ad 29.5.
          1. Jesus died at 33.5 years old.
          2. That puts His birth during 4 bc.
    6. If that sounds complicated and
      1. you want to investigate more,
      2. we can do one of two things:
        1. I can supply you with some notes I have on the subject or
        2. we can sit down together and I can show it to you.
  2. Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?
    1. First, how is remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus pagan?
    2. Perhaps people mean the tree and things associated with it.
      1. Perhaps at one time, but now? How is that pagan?
      2. The Fourth of July would be pagan also.
    3. The church years ago may have attempted to counter a pagan festival
      1. so that Christian would not participate in the paganism, but
      2. remembering the birth of Jesus is not observing paganism.
  3. We Three Kings of Orient Are?
    1. This is the first line of a well-known Christmas song.
    2. People object to the use of
      1. Three,
      2. Kings, and
      3. Orient.
    3. We do not know their number when they went to see the new King.
      1. Matthew 2 shows the number of the kind
        1. of gifts they brought for the new born King of the Jews,

          And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2.11).
        2. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh, three gifts, but
        3. delivered by how many people?
          1. Is this something to fight over?
          2. Yes, we should speak the truth accurately, but
            1. every person I know who is cantankerous about such things,
            2. misses the boat badly on other issues.
      2. Choose your battles, and
        1. look for ways to bring people to the truth.
        2. Ecclesiastes 10 imparts much needed wisdom,

          Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment,
          And cause it to give off a foul odor;
          So does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.
          (Ecclesiastes 10.1)
          1. Be careful of your attitude.
          2. You can
            1. turn people off to the truth or
            2. you can turn people on to the truth
              1. by your attitude.
              2. It is up to you.
    4. What or who were those visitors to Jesus?
      1. Tertullian,
        1. a so-called church father,
        2. men who became prominent after the apostles, said,

          “…the East generally regarded the magi as kings” (Against Marcion, Book III, Chapter 13, verse 8).
      2. All modern translations call them either
        1. “wise men,” or
        2. translations just give the Greek word, ma¿goi, “magi.”
      3. Again, there are greater issues over which to contend,

        Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers (2 Timothy 2.14).

        But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife (2 Timothy 2.23).

        But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless (Titus 3.9).

        1. If the point comes up,
        2. just say what the Bible says, or
          1. you can add what Tertullian said, but
          2. remember what Paul told Timothy,

            24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2.24–26).
            1. Judge whether this is a soul-saving or soul-damning issue.
            2. Take the smaller issues and
              1. use them to launch into
              2. the greater issues of the Scriptures.
    5. Were the wise men from the Orient?
      1. I used to think of the Orient
        1. as places like China and Japan and the nations in that area.
      2. However, once I got into preaching school,
        1. we studied everything,
        2. including geography.
          1. We learned that the Orient is the East.
          2. What is the East?
            1. Traditionally it has been that area east of Europe.
            2. Or in this case, the area east of the land of Israel.
  4. Is the Narrative of the Virgin Birth Based on Ancient Mythology?
    1. This always fascinates me because
      1. whenever the world finds a story that sounds similar to one in the Bible, or
      2. one that bends the elements of a worldly story to make it sound biblical,
        1. they will argue that the Bible copied that story,
        2. rather than that the story copied from the Bible or
          1. that the story writer witnessed the same thing as the Bible writer.
          2. They do this with the Flood.
            1. The Epic of Gilgamesh reads similar to the Flood narrative.
            2. Ancient Chinese letters retell the story of the Flood.
              1. This should not surprise us, because
              2. as the people dispersed after the Tower of Babel,
                1. they would have carried the stories with them
                2. that we read of in Genesis 1–11,
                  1. which included the Flood and
                  2. other facts of the pre-flood world now lost.
    2. The same thing with other stories of a virgin birth.
      1. Either these myths
        1. copied the Old Testament prophecies of the virgin birth and
        2. other facts of the coming Messiah, or
      2. they provided their stories after the fact.
      3. Also, I have examined these myths, and
        1. they do not have much in common with the biblical story as they say.
        2. If someone challenges you, make them prove it.
  5. Was Jesus Born in a Stable?
    1. Luke 2 simply says,

      And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2.7).
      1. The text does not say anything about a barn, stable, or a cave.
      2. It says nothing of an innkeeper.
    2. It does say that Mary laid Jesus in a manger.
      1. When I worked at a diary in Klamath Falls,
      2. the man I worked for, told me to put some hay in the manger.
        1. I said, The what?
        2. He said, The manger, the feeding trough.
          1. It surprised me that we still use that term today.
          2. Jesus was placed in a feeding trough shortly after birth.
    3. Does that automatically mean a place where the animals lived?
      1. Yes or no.
      2. It could have meant that Joseph retrieved the manger, because
        1. they could not stay at the inn and
        2. so he used what would be best for a baby.
    4. The inn may not have been an inn.
      1. First, it is likely that Joseph and Mary went to stay with relatives, but
      2. that the guest room was already being used.
        1. I say “guest room,” or “upper room,” because
        2. Mark 14.14 translates it as guest room.
        3. Same with Luke 22.11.
          1. Perhaps their family could not put them in the guest room, but
          2. down below where the animals were brought in at night.
    5. Whatever the situation,
      1. we never would have imagined that a king,
      2. would have been placed in such humble furniture after His birth.
        1. He knew it would be this way and so did the Father and the Spirit.
        2. Yet, they all worked to have Mary and Joseph as the parents,
          1. born in Bethlehem where they were away from home, and
          2. then to have Him grow up in Nazareth,
            1. begin His ministry in that area and
            2. finally die the death of a common criminal, all to save us.


  1. I think everyone agrees,
    1. whatever your Christmas opinion is,
    2. that Christmas has turned into
      1. a huge celebration of materialism as we celebrate the birth of
      2. the world’s most anti-materialistic man who ever lived!
  2. Rejoice in His birth.
    1. Rejoice in His life.
    2. Rejoice in His works.
    3. Rejoice in His words.
      1. Mourn at His crucifixion.
      2. Rejoice at His resurrection.
      3. Rejoice at His ascension.
    4. Prepare for His return.
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