While much can be written about this season Christ-mas – and much has already been written and spoken about it – here is another perspective many do not consider. Even if we do refer to Scripture or lead brethren to read certain articles which we do believe the Lord has enlightened to us to share, there would be two ways of receiving responses:
- Either the brethren will hold to their liberty in Christ and will continue as in the past, holding to their traditions; or
- The brethren will read the Scriptures and articles and put it away because they have not been convicted by the Holy Spirit.
Let us now consider this, that we do not neglect remembering and celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, as we truly do rejoice in our eternal God manifesting Himself and taking on the form of man (John 1:1, 14) to come on a mission to suffer and die upon a cross purchasing our justification and salvation. More importantly, He was resurrected and is alive on high, reigning in Heaven. What we must understand is that God had to take on flesh to enter in to fulfil all prophesies and Scriptures that were before revealed and written about Him as Saviour coming to save His people. We do not contest that the supernatural birth of Jesus Christ – conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin named Mary – in Bethlehem did take place. No argument. In fact we have fulfilment of prophesies in the Scriptures and we can read of Immanuel – God with us (Matthew 1:23) – fulfilling His earthly ministry. The birth was truly a miraculous and supernatural event in history, but from the good news accounts recorded of the birth of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, we do not have any other Scriptural precedents of when and how the birth of Jesus was celebrated. In actual fact Jesus gives no commandment to celebrate His birth, His disciples and apostles give no instruction to celebrate His birth, and in fact there are no commandments or instructions for even His disciples, the followers of Jesus Christ to celebrate their own births in modern time. Now please stay with me on this issue, and then you can give me Scriptural validation to support your answers. Please, don’t go away dispelling this before hearing what is said.
We know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was without sin (Hebrews 4:15) and He lived a perfect life upon the earth, and no where are we told of Him celebrating His birthday. Yet Christ came to this world to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He enters into this world, lives a miracle performing ministry that confirms His deity – “… manifested forth his glory; … (John 3:11) – and “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” (Colossians 2:14) He goes the way of the cross – crucifixion, suffering and ultimately experiencing the cursed death upon a tree (Galatians 3:13). We too are called to die to self, to lose our lives as we read, as it is written, Jesus speaking:
(39) He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. ~ Matthew 10:39
(25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. ~ Matthew 16:25
(35) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. ~ Mark 8:35
(24) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. ~ Luke 9:24
(33) Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. ~ Luke 17:33
(25) He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. ~ John 12:25
We also know that Jesus said that unless you are born again you “cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). We read further:
(5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. ~ John 3:5-7
That which is born of flesh is flesh. And that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Jesus says that we must be born of the Holy Spirit. We must be born of God. God must give us the power to become sons of God, as we read:
(12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. ~ John 1:12, 13 (my emphasis added)
We are also told that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Jesus had to die and to be raised in newness of life for victory over sin and death:
(2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. ~ Romans 8:2
(4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. ~ Romans 6:4
(12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. ~ Colossians 2:12
In our newness of life – in my case, I rejoice that the old man who was born on 31st December 1964 is dead and a new man came into existence, a new birth came about when I called upon the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and believed in faith on 26th December 2004, for we read:
(17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
Now if I am born again of the Spirit why should I want to celebrate the old man (flesh) who died – “old things are passed away”? The new birth is what brings life. Why would I want to live, be reminded of and celebrate a dead person’s birthdate? The new birth is far more profitable. We also read:
(20) According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. (21) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (22) But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. (23) For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (24) Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. ~ Philippians 1:20-24
In celebrating my old birth, it is not profitable or needful. Why would I want to heap or want to receive praises on a “dead man’s” birthday? Why would I want to receive gifts and store up treasure here on earth, when my treasure is being stored in heaven? Why would I want gifts that I would not possibly ever use? Why should I have a huge celebration when the day is yet just another day? This is yet another day that should be used for reaching the lost – that is needful, showing the love of Christ to others – that is needful, and not thinking and living for me – that is needful. If you receive a “birthday” message from me on Facebook or any other time, it would most probably read:
“Another year passed, be all praise and glory to God Almighty. He has shown you mercy and grace.”
Too often we see messages that take the praises and glory off God and is either put on, or directed to, the birthday celebrator. Senseless messages, like – and these even appear in community media like Facebook amongst Christians – “Have a blast!”, “Hope you are spoilt rotten by … (sometimes a girlfriend or boyfriend’s name is included)”, “Have a beer on me”, “Party hard like we know you can”, “Lucky you!” – What happened to the providence of God – luck? Etc., etc. The messages speak volumes when praises are heaped on the individual and actions encouraged which go against Scriptural observances. It often looks just like the world, sounds like the world, and is the world!
You see, our Great King Jesus Christ said a very important thing in John 14:19 – “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” This statement was made in reference to Him being raised to life. Here is the full text when He was speaking to His disciples:
(17) Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (18) I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (19) Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. (20) At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (21) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (22) Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? (23) Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (24) He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. ~ John 14:17-24
The world (unbelievers) cannot understand this as they are still dead in their trespasses and part of the first birth (born of the flesh is flesh), but you will understand these things because you are born of the Spirit which is spirit. You see, where life truly begins is from being born again and that is after one’s death. To be born again the old must pass away first. Hence, Christ gave us the command to remember His death till He returns:
(23) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: (24) And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (25) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. (26) For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Are you following God’s words, sayings and commandments? Remember, death must precede new birth!